The East and the Rest: A Romanian point of view


The globally dominant narrative for the last two decades was a disarming from simplicity: The West is the model; the West is good, developed, prosperous, free, democratic and tolerant. If the East and West had not come into contact, this narrative would have survived to this day. Thus it was that in 1989, China, a Chinese person could declare to an American that the US could have had to have sent a few bombers to rescue the demonstration in Tiananmen Square by Chinese criminals rulers [1]. Likewise, in the euphoria of the early years after 1989, Romanians argued, bitterly joking that the only way to solve seemingly insoluble problems of the country was a state of war between us and the US occupation of Romania by the great power overseas.

The meeting between East and West occurred, and occurred in a rather dramatic fashion. On the topic of China, which today is certainly the largest vector of manifestation of Eastern force, apparently, according to the same sources cited above, the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by the US in 1999 started the slow process, vast but deep, of restoring natural connections between the elite Chinese and Chinese people.

The issue of relations between East and West is, finally, an example of the relationship between elite and mass. And it is a sociological problem and... chronological.

Sociologically speaking, the Eastern elite constantly tends to detach themselves from their own people, instead attaching to the dominant global power, which is the Western civilization. Any relationship between East and West begins with this "sliding" of the power elite in the orbit of the West. In Romanian history, the most important sociological phenomena are related, indeed, to this permanent displacement of the native elite to dominant European or (today) global elite. “Form without substance” and politicking (which is the application of the “form without substance” to the political action) are the two key concepts in which we understand the modern social history of the country. By moving in such a manner, however, the local elite has fought with insurmountable difficulty: gradually, the Western civilizational model tends to deprive the human material it needs to manifest itself as elite, i.e. the mass.

This is a very profound reason not related to our local area and its imperfect political organization. The gap between elite and mass, which becomes a risk to the elite themselves, is due not to structural elite disability or the lack of intellectual and material accumulation etc., but the overall development model of the modern world. In short, from a sociological point of view, the West is not capable of producing the elite in the traditional sense. This is however not recognized as such and each time, in every critical historical period, it is retracted through the mechanisms of economic, political or military power. Every time it is "victorious" historically (last time it happened in 1989 in relation with the USSR), the Western elite (in fact, false elite) seems to surpass himself and thus relies on themselves. But it is a false basis that is only delaying the dramatic old intuition of all those who, from a traditional perspective, talked about the "decline of the West".

In the classical sense, the elite cannot occur outside of a people who willingly submit to the authority of the first. Only a "subject" of people can forge a traditional elite, an authentic one. The modern West, which knows the ideal of obedience to authority, cannot therefore be a generator of an elite. The organic model of relations between the "elite" and the mass in the West is that described by Pareto, i.e. a model of mechanical overlapping of those who earn the concrete plan due to all means (fair or not) due to a "mass" continued lack of defense. The idea that the brightest wins over the weakest, an idea approved by social Darwinism, is only a mechanism for covering up the true drama hiding behind the Western "circulation of elites": actually, not positive qualities, but ability, strength and cunningness are the modern tools of the new elite, whatever the civilizational area.

The elite detachment from the mass phenomenon, and mass from the elite, was widely discussed by one of the leading traditionalist European philosophers, the Italian Julius Evola. We will quote a passage (of very many that can be cited) that seeks to capture the essence of this tragic phenomenon of modernity, namely the forfeiture of the dignitas's aristocratic elite altitude but also the loss of fides's masses, which could be called recognition or loyalty. Evola goes in the footsteps of Dante, who remained faithful to the Roman imperial and medieval idea, the ecumenical Middle ages that all traditionalist thinkers regret: "When, on the one hand, decades that dignitas can reign over the multiple item temporal and contingent; When, on the other hand, it loses the ability of a fides, a gratitude more than material from subordinate elements taken individually, then arises a tendency centralizing political absolutism trying to keep everything under control through a violent unit, political and of state, even super-political and spiritual; or make their presence felt and take their momentum, the processes of bias and decoupling."(Revolt against the modern world) [2].

Current Romania has lost the advantages deriving from her membership in the Soviet empire. That is the Eastern world. What could be the advantages? Today, when all official propaganda blames the Soviet era, we must try to rethink that context. The Soviet Empire was primarily a space empire. Its western border was in Berlin, and the eastern near the coast of Japan. Being a space empire, the USSR gave Romania what she lacked most in its historical development, namely time. It may seem a strange idea, but at a closer look, we can glimpse the truth that large states or, better said, empires, have the ability to metabolize space and time, i.e. to transform the space into time and time into space. Romania needed, for harmony and sovereignty, to grow and negotiate fair relations with the West, with a range of more advanced civilizations from the point of view of the pace of development. This gap of historical pace was compensated by the enormous geopolitical space that the USSR and its allies put between itself, on the one hand and the western world on the other. Once the Berlin Wall fell, an element of space, geopolitical time, compressed and European nations had awakened, says Fukuyama, in the end of history. The "End of History" was just the chronological transfiguration of the spatial loss of The Soviet Empire [3].

Outside of this space-time respite, Romania would not be able to develop and will not be able to develop from now on. In the global rhythms, Romania is doomed to lose time, if not space ... Nowadays, the phenomenon of global imperial revival primarily concerns China, and Russia in second place. Let's leave aside Russia and talk about China. Unlike the USSR, China evolves (apparently at least) in reverse: it "produces" time, because it is launched into an irresistible race against the clock to the west, and this acceleration-packed time seems to bring benefits of space: from South America to the South China Sea China, it produces its own development space which is allocated through the unnatural pace of work. "Labour Island," as it is called sometimes, insulates or actually ”continentalizes” the world. It is not known yet whether this development path will lead to anything but classical globalization, the American pattern. It would be desirable to lead to something else...

In the current global geopolitical context, Romania can only hope for the preservation of the traditional natural potential of the relations between elite and mass as a precondition for a future rebuilding of the sovereign structure of the Romanian state. But this recovery, although it could not "come" from somewhere specific, can be based, in our opinion, only upon the traditional (or Eastern) model with regard to the political relations within the state. So far, the West does not seem to realize the fatal danger that concerns it and probably thinks, by a historical convenient reflex, it will further build on the classic development gap between the East and West, which is a scenario of colonialism to ensure supremacy outside their own political space, and the internal premise of survival.


[2] As can be seen, modernity brings both centralism and fragmentation, partiality. Globalization does nothing but disintegrate and uniform, to include in an inadequate form the unities of space and civilization that she reaches for.

[3] Of course, it is inadequate to make an apology for the defunct empire. Like any modern political event, it was a phenomenon deviated from the traditional line. However, his role, "katehontic" i.e. phrenic, in the final disintegration of the modern world cannot be completely rejected. Through the ability to submit economic elements of political and military decision, this empire was traditionally speaking higher to the current configurations of power on the global scale.