Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sputnik International — Estonian Sports Hero Condemning Fascism Told to Go Read Works of Hitler

The Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), embroiled in a scandal earlier this month involving a recently elected parliamentarian's comments about the "many positive nuances" of fascism, was hit again on Saturday in an op-ed by a famous party member and national sports champion who said that he had once been told that he was just another "illiterate athlete who must first go to the nearest library and read the works of Hitler."
Earlier this month, the EKRE was hit by scandal following local media's discovery of an old blog post by recently elected MP Jaak Madison, who noted in 2012 that he saw "fascism as an ideology that consists of many positive nuances necessary for preserving the nation-state." The young politician also noted that while "it's true that there were concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a fondness for the use of gas chambers, at the same time, [the Nazis'] 'iron-fisted' rule did bring Germany out of deep trouble as the development initially based on military industry growth made the country one of the most powerful in Europe in just a few years."....
What with the rising popularity of Stalin in Russia and Hitlers in Europe? The answer is pretty simple, although obviously different parties have divergent views that complicated a full answer. The quick takeaway, however, is that in parlous times many people look to a strong leader and more authoritarian state to assuage rising fear. While this phenomenon is usually explained by rising nationalism and based on exceptionalism, which is true to a degree, the overwhelming factor seems to me to be a reaction to events called forth by a broad perception of threat. While Stalin and Hitler are generally thought of in terms of their authoritarian excesses, they are also remembered by some for their leadership qualities based on projection of power.

This is also playing out in a similar fashion post 9/11, where the US has adopted a form of politics that has become increasingly illiberal and authoritarian, suspending constitutional liberties indefinitely based on an endless "war on terror," as well as adopting a "unitary executive" doctrine, which is a euphemism for dictatorship. The increasing militarization of domestic security and increasing heavy-handed ness on its part are also symptomatic. The overwhelming domestic and international strategy of the US now is projection of power. And its bipartisan although the GOP is more hard line and vociferous about it. The irony of this on the part of the US is that it is purportedly in defense of liberalism.

The worrisome thing is that a resurgence of authoritarianism can be a harbinger of impending war.

Sputnik International
Estonian Sports Hero Condemning Fascism Told to Go Read Works of Hitler

This study reported in the following article supports the view that Putin's recent rise in popularity is due to his exhibiting strong leadership in strengthening Russia. He is faulted, apparently since the question was not put directly, for not reining the oligarchs that arose in the Yeltsin liberal period enough. Russians perceive the liberal period as a disaster for Russia and for most of them, and there is little possibility of Russia returning to that type of regime any time soon. My sense is that US strategists realize this and have concluded that the next best tactic is to destabilize the Russian Federation and its near abroad and tie it down with border issues.

Russians' Attitudes Toward Putin Are Changing, And Not How You Might Think


Dan Lynch said...

@Tom said in parlous times many people look to a strong leader


NeilW said...

All of the world appear to be moving steadily towards a new kind of feudal system but backed by corporate and finance power this time rather than land ownership directly.

And using the understandings from psychology and sociology to control people more effectively via PR and marketing (or propaganda as it used to be known).

All very 1984.

Ralph Musgrave said...

“….who must first go to the nearest library and read the works of Hitler." I actually read Mein Kampf about 20 years ago. As I remember it, it was a bit of a disorganised ramble: much the same sort of nonsense as one gets from politicians nowadays.

Tom Hickey said...

Yes and no. This is why I am continually emphasizing the role of geopolitics and geostrategy. Territory is still basic and always will be. It's no longer land ownership as under feudalism but rather control under advanced capitalism. Top management doesn't need to own a corporation to control it through the board, and countries don't need to own other countries as colonies to control them either.

So what's happening in the process of globalization is basically a struggle for control of key regions of the global that are important strategically and economically for a variety of reasons.

Which is why there are conflicts over what appears to be mostly barren desert or far flung island that can serve as stationary aircraft carriers to control key littoral areas like the South China Sea.

Those who control nation states don't mind "investing" in strategic and tactical means to carry out policy that they perceive as of foundational significance geopolitically because they expected return is far far greater, on one hand, and because others are vying for control, too, on the other hand.

All boils down to wealth and power, and they are joined at the hip. Neoliberalism is a particular manifestation of it. But there is also nationalism and exceptionalism. While neoliberalism may include that also, other political forms exhibit it, too, which is want empire has often been about in the past and that historical memory persists in some places.

The US is an anti-imperial contract that has stumbled into empire also against its collective will and is in collective denial of it. But many previous empires still look to past glory and would like to regain it, which produces a revanchist urge in at least some of the population — Imperial Britain, Imperial Russia, Imperial China, Imperial Japan, Imperial Germany, Napoleonic France, Imperial Persia, Imperial Rome, Alexandrian Greece, and Ottoman Turkey come to mind, as well as other countries that were prominent in the Colonial Era. But most countries can look to a more glorious past and the revanchist element looks to recreate it in so far as possible.

The world is not done with imperialism, nationalism, exceptionalism, and revanchism yet. Recall that "fascism" originated in Italy with Mussolini's attempt to resurrect the glory of the Roman Empire, and Nazism was self-described as the Third Empire (Gr. Reich). Japan was already an empire but it was actually rule in by a military dictator (J. shogun)

What about the US. The US stumbled into empire in creating a federation of sovereign states of the former colonies with a strong central government. History then conspired to transfer the former domain of the British Empire to the US through naval superiority ("Britannia rules the waves"). Post WWII that was extended to are superiority, missile superiority, and now technological and information superiority. Because exceptionalism.

Roger Erickson said...

what are "parlous" times? :)

When you sit in the kitchen, or parlor?

Dan Lynch said...

@Roger, I had to look up "parlous." It's actually a word. :-)

Tom Hickey said...

Parlous times is when not only the proletariat is the precariat. :)

Roger Erickson said...

parlous sounds purtneer to an archaic form of perilous :(

at least in the south

Roger Erickson said...
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