The End of Democratization from Without
The Crimean frontier in world development is not only a result; it is a new step in the rise of the polycentric world.
The course of history which had, it seemed, become familiar over the past quarter century has been disrupted; its rhythms have become noticeably faster. The stage of the buildup of contradictions rushing spasmodically toward their elimination is ending. A time of «unlikely events» is coming, a time of mysterious and powerful «black swans», to use the expression of Arab-American entrepreneur and uncertainty theorist Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
One of the facets of the developing polycentric world is the repudiation of democratization from without and the acknowledgement that it is necessary for conservative, progressive and even fundamental regimes to coexist; democracies and autocracies; everything which is a natural part of various cultural and historical grounds. The world must avoid unimaginative emulation of the West, as uniformity is fatal for the continuation of life.
With Ukraine, it seems that the «masters of discourse» made a fatal error. The caricature-like nature of the «national revolution» which was victorious in Kiev and the crudeness of the work of its outside financers and directors are as unprecedented as they are provocative. The audacity of the «democratizers» cannot but bring about major consequences.
After the Crimean frontier, the likelihood of a strong reverse effect from the generously funded democratic missions multiplied. Instead of a well-trodden path of successive democratizations, the West now faces a patch of dense fog from which some kind of dinosaur could jump out onto the road at any moment.
The stock of governments and states which are not in religious awe of the democratic image has soared abruptly. One small example: Chinese analysts, usually very correct in their expressions, were harsh and caustic with regard to the democratic exercises in Kiev. «Among all the member states of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine underwent one of the most catastrophic democratic processes, like an expectant mother who suffers miscarriage every time she gets pregnant,» wrote the respectable Beijing Internet resource the Global Times in an editorial.
Let us point out another conclusion in the same publication: «When the West promotes its political values… when it meets with a tough target, it will not sacrifice its own interests for the sake of 'democrats' in non-Western countries. The West is always selfish and calculating. That's international political science».
The West's export of democracy relies on gullible fools or unabashed scoundrels, and the new leaders in Kiev are unlikely to become an exception to this rule. But «totalitarian» giant China, seeing the helplessness of Kiev, is fully convinced of the soundness of its political system and from now on will use democratic tools only the extent that they merit it.
It is not surprising that this new authoritarianism, which has become a powerful instrument for the volcanic rise of East Asia, is already becoming the object of study and emulation. It is not impossible that analogs in other parts of the world will crowd out standard democratic models, if only because of the growing necessity of organically interacting with the Celestial Empire and the need to respond quickly and precisely to the geopolitical offensives of the West.
If one keeps in mind that in a world of asymmetrical dependencies true democracies are probably impossible, temporary returns even to absolutism now look both likely and justified. After all, classic absolutism is capable of taking various class interests into account, and most importantly, it can restrain the appetites of international predators.
And perhaps it is simply that the world is already different. It is not impossible that the forms of democracy which are customary for the neo-European West simply do not meet the harsh criteria of the new era and its frenetic pace.
A new period in history, opened by the reunification of Crimea and Russia, demands non-standard political solutions from the leaders of the world's leading countries. And in and of itself, this is an obvious reaction to the long, unceremonious and merciless offensive of Western neoliberalism. The overcoming of neoliberal (neocolonial) traditions which is taking shape, including the removal of the corrupt stratum of compradors, will cause a demand for precise government calculations, subtle management techniques, complex diplomatic maneuvers and mass public support. It will require methodical discipline and long-term patience; it requires strategy and tactics, new ideologies and scientific research. It needs commercial innovations and clearing of red tape. It needs the kind of self-movement of capital that V.I. Lenin called populist or democratic and against which comprador capital, mostly from trade, has been competing according to the harshest laws of the market and information wars.
The new authoritarianism needs a broad social base for its emancipating work; this, incidentally, has already been created by the information society. After all, the unsophisticated essence of democratization from without is completely transparent to the millions of people in the energetic Internet community, which recognizes with confidence both the self-interest of officials and «democratic» hypocrisy. But the search for new forms of fruitful statehood, including in the interests of developing populist capitalism, is becoming a critical need for everyone.
Today it is necessary to turn states still weighed down and deformed by financial globalization into national development states, as it was decades ago when the colonial administrations of Asia and Africa were restructured.
Russia's Crimean manifesto may signify the beginning of a turbulent era in which world views and strategies can be overturned, political discourses and forms of government can change, and new ideologies and international borders can appear…
The Crimean prologue may mean the beginning of truly deep transformations both in Russia itself and in other countries. Such transformations, of course, will have nothing in common with the colored uprisings and coups d’état of the previous historical stage of Western domination. Such transformations will inevitably be directed against the neoliberal remake of the colonial project. If that is so, we will see the completely predictable, albeit delayed, reaction to democratization according to foreign templates.
(To be continued)