March 23, 1823 . — Now, to recognise a Government one must know first of all know what it is; and to enter into negotiations with it one must have recognised it. It is, therefore, necessary that we should know first of all what the Government will be.
Not all of you can investigate those details, especially Americans. Here we are home to the dumbest, most thoroughly incompetent “nationalists” in all the West.
Such woeful circumstances force us to import illegal British immigrant labor to do the job the American paleocon/altright/whatever are incapable of doing. For today’s purposes that job is making a coherent argument that America is an informal empire.
Responding to our article on Regionalism, Imperial Energy has made as good an argument as can be found for America running an “informal empire”.
One should probably look at it as an adaptive feature – a camouflage. It avoids all the usual signs (on the surface) of being an empire, yet it is one.
Following Moldbug’s “Modern Structure” we can talk of the “Global Structure” which is a a maze of bureaucracies, NGO’s, charities, media, corporations, trade agreements and “international law”.
Central organisations would be the UN, World Bank, IMF and NATO. Then you have such thing as “Bilderburg” or the “tri-lateral commission.”
The three key organizing principles of the Empire is 1: Security organised, directed and carried out by the American military. 2: Dollar as a world reserve currency. 3: Progressive values and “international law”.
From Brezenski to Kissinger to Obama, their goal is to create these “international institutions” that transcend the nation-state or ethnic-groups or a particular religion.
They claim to be “Universalist” but what they do not, or do not appear, to acknowledge is that these things are “parochial.”
Things like “human rights” and the “responsibility to protect” are rejections of the “Westphalian” order where nations do not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. These doctrines allow America and its allies to judge and interfere in any country for pretty much any reason.
But of course, it does not look like straight-up imperialism of yore – because of the informal, hidden, bureaucratic nature of the thing.
America, in short, is an empire without any emperor. Kissenger once joked that “who do we call in Europe?” But the same thing can now be said of America. This is not the same with Russia (Putin) or with China (Xi).
Moldbug was always at his weakest when he didn’t break from paleocon orthodoxy and this is a textbook example of one of those mistakes by him.
Facts are facts, and when we look at them in detail we find neither formal nor informal empire. Sometimes a spotted owl is really a camouflaged Bilderburg spy satellite; other times a spotted owl is simply a spotted owl.
To figure out what kind of bird we have in hand we have to deep dive into the gears of its machinery, whether those gears be mechanical or biological.
Viewing the mechanics of American foreign policy and how past empires worked, what we see is why the latter insisted on strict, overt measures of colonial management: Informal empire doesn’t exist anymore than “partial pregnancy”.
Empire is all holding direct military control over the conquered territory or it is not empire at all.
Or, to put the problem with “informal empire” existing at all in mathematical terms, given discrete phenomena E(mpire) and R(epublic), if E is expanded over the political distribution as if it were continuous phenomenon I(nformal Empire), I becomes incompatible with the definition of E, turning I into R entirely. And vice versa.
This is an unsolvable definitional problem. And without a definition of “informal empire”, informal empire cannot exist. Of course, you likely don’t believe this is an overwhelming problem if you’re inclined, at this moment, to endorse the definition. But you will realize the scale of the problem after reading on.
In Europe great sport has been made for decades labeling America a type of empire by almost everyone across their political spectrum: The far left, center left, center, center right, and far-right almost all agree America is running a criminal empire of some kind. In general, there is grudging acknowledgement American empire does not hold its sway in the direct fashion. But that there is an informal empire somewhere is taken for granted.
But what type of criminal empire depends on the accuser’s political priorities which they see America standing in opposition to: To the European Left America is a corporate-Nazi hegemon, to the far Right it is a Liberal interloper in European affairs.
Here we come to the first indicator this definition of “informal empire” can’t be logically expanded from a mere slogan to a conversation about the real world without the it breaking down: Those who accuse America of informal empire cannot agree what ideology it adheres to.
Only run of the mill Republican voters have some vague idea that America is not an empire of any kind because we don’t grab territory – “collateral damage” be damned! – as classic empires did in the good old days when the only international right was right of conquest.
But the objection of Republican voters, weakly articulated as “American Exceptionalism”, is equally wrong. There is nothing “exceptional” about American power, it is obeying a great power law. What makes it not empire is that the needs of modern Capitalism have allowed to emerge an entirely new type of international power other states voluntarily remain in; one that is not empire, formal or informal.
The “Progressive values” Imperial Energy points to are not among the principle reasons this voluntary alliance exists. Internationally, they are primarily of most interest to Western Europe. Most other are at best indifferent. Our humanitarian values are, anyway, diplomatically and militarily applied too inconsistently for them be a core organizing principle because post-WWII Republican Presidents have tended to downplay them in favor of more concrete strategic interests. Democratic Presidents also are more likely to give empty words against “human rights” violations than to substantively intervene for their sake.
Only Capitalism and its consistent security requirements explains the durability and voluntary nature of our alliances.
If we exclude hard power, we’re left with the features of American “soft power” that Imperial Energy argues constitute “informal” imperialism.
First, the international organizations he lists:
- The United Nations
- World Bank
The glaring problem with this is the fact Russia and China are members of the UN, World Bank, and the IMF.
Russia and China are former enemies and potential enemies that Moldbug concedes are independent of USG.
If international organizations are informal levers of control over our “informal” imperial vassal states, why do genuinely sovereign states, Russia and China, hold seats on them?
The answer: America isn’t an informal empire. Certainly, the UN – where either “American vassal state” Russia or China can unilaterally veto any resolution we put up for a vote – and other international forums don’t qualify as informal body of American imperialism.
At first “informal empire” seemed so easy to treat as a serious definition.
We just extend our discrete variable, E, to be continuous variable I sitting intermediate between E and R.
Except that you’ve just extended I over the non-puppet regimes of Russia and China and, in doing so, just discretely converted your continuous I variable into a R(epublic) not an E(mpire).
The debris of this logical train wreck is what one (and Moldbug) find your illegal-immigrant self sweeping up when your conductor was a paleocon/altright hack pundit like Pat Buchanan who, in Scaramuccian terminology, was too busy sucking his own cock to operate the train.
If you were inclined towards defining America as an “informal empire” you now see the basis of that argument falling out of your hands like confetti. You may, of course, try grabbing those scraps back into your hand. But you won’t look persuasive running around the field in circles looking for them.
At a minimum the given definition of “informal empire” needs to be returned to the drawing board for a serious redesign session.
Or, one can face reality and admit the American paleoconservative and altrightists who wasted years arguing America is an empire are pseudo-intellectuals who don’t know what they’re talking about because they didn’t get their definitions right from the beginning, as Metternich two centuries ago said must be done correctly whenever discussing Government.
But we are not finished.
Let’s take the concept of international organizations and see whether international bodies can even serve as informal levers of power in an “informal empire”.
An “informal empire” too must have a sort of centralized “directional flow” in terms of sovereign-vassal relations: If the “informal” American empire exerts informal pressure on its compliant vassal states, Russia and China, through international organizations the command signal should have a traceable “direction” emanating from the top of America’s informal imperial palace through the international forum which then moves down to our Globalist puppets in Moscow and Beijing.
Given the way international institutions have been arranged by Progressives, American soft/informal power is in practice diluted because decision making on those bodies is pooled with potentially hostile powers such as Russia and China and minor powers such as Iceland who are given a greater say than they would have under any kind of imperialism.
If sovereignty, including American sovereignty, is pooled then international organizations in most cases cannot be considered American informal control mechanisms because there are too many other seat holders who have power over those “mechanisms” to stop or dilute our initiatives.
A mere “informal empire” must conserve the “informal levers” to itself just as much as a formal empire must conserve control of formal levers. But international bodies do not concentrate voting power with America, they are pooled across multiple sovereign nations, some of which are hostile to America. As an informal lever of imperial power, international bodies are inadequate.
This raises the question why do American globalists want to dilute “informal” American soft power if Progressive Presidents can, at best, only exercise “informal” power very ineffectively through those bodies?
International organizations are substantially a hindrance of American will by design. The “Blue Empire” enjoys transferring as much sovereignty as possible to international organizations because they adore corrupt bureaucracies and world government promises to bring forth the most most corrupt bureaucracy of all time.
The problem with using “Blue Empire” internationalism as an example of informal American Imperialism is that to the extent Progressives succeed in handing off American jurisdiction over to global organizations they undermine the ability of America’s Executive Branch to execute its own diplomacy to the benefit of other allies and enemies. Even global initiatives of Progressive Presidents wind up bogged down for decades with bureaucratic paperwork, Congressional hearings, challenges in Federal Court, confused under peer-reviewed jargon in academic journals, diplomatic negotiations, university seminars, objections by potentially hostile powers, payoffs to Liberal special interest groups, and haggling with even more globalist-minded European allies.
An informal empire should at least have a clear line of command and control. With such a mess of interest groups holding up Progressive diplomacy for decades, no command hierarchy can be traced that isn’t the result of multiple compromises by non-American interests.
Under these conditions calling America an “informal empire” is an insult to informality by confusing it with anarchy.
And that’s when Progressives hold the Presidency. When a Republican holds it, American Progressives lose control of the hard power (military, economic) and our voting rights at international forums.
As for the dollar, its popularity does not indicate informal imperialism. Sovereign, independent, entities purchase the dollar voluntarily because we are the guarantor of the First World’s economic and physical security. Dollar purchases are also made by China (the largest of all dollar purchasers) and Russia.
If the dollar is a vehicle for “informal empire” its pricing should not involve the say of independent sovereign states. Unless China and Russia are “informal” American vassal states. Are they?
For the same reason, trade and any other international business agreements are not related to informal empire because America trades with the sovereign states of China and, still to some degree, Russia.
Charities and NGOs receive billions in funding from too many different governments for them to be collectively considered American.
Bilderburg and the Trilateral commission are only meeting societies no different than any other Progressive get-together; substantively no more important than elite university seminars because they have no force of international law or treaty.
That leaves us with internationalist ideology, blamed by the altright for being imposed on Europe by America.
The paleocon/altright stupidly links America to a European racial heritage (which is correct) but won’t accept American ideology as anything but a disruptive alien force upon Europe.
However, American political theory cannot be separated from European political theory because America is the result of European politics and ideology. The Founders all looked to examples from European history, culture, religion, philosophy, and governance to structure their project around and compare it to.
Since the Constitutional Convention, it is debatable whether European ideas have ultimately held more sway over America because the academic exchange of ideas has gone both ways. Comte is the actual founder of Progressive ideology; his ideas were adopted by Lester Frank Ward. Keynes heavily influenced Progressive thinking. Does this mean Progressivism is a form of informal European imperialism over America?
Modern Internationalist ideology itself was formed largely by Europeans during the interwar years.
According to the definitive history of the creation of the European Union, The Great Deception – The Secret History of the European Union (available at Amazon), the intellectual basis for the European Union was built on the failed League of Nations. After WWII its connection to the League was hidden because European advocates of what became the European Union did not want it associated with this failure.
From pages 71 and 72 –
However the most fundamental misconception about how the European Union came into being stems from the myth that its intellectual genesis emerged after the Second World War. All the essential ideas which lay behind the moves to unite Europe at that time had in fact been conceived in the 1920s, before the rise of Hitler, as a way to prevent a recurrence of the First World War. In that sense they had already failed in their original purpose, in that they had been unable to prevent the Second World War.
The history proceeds to outline how the French government and other Supranationalists such as Paul-Henri Spaak advanced the precursor organizations of what is now the European Union that were designed by the diplomat Jean Monnet.
While it is true that for about the first 15 years after WWII US diplomats such as George Kennan and Dean Acheson advocated for proceeding with Monnet’s blueprint as a way to economically unite Europe in the face of Soviet expansion, many more initiatives that led to the official creation of the European Union in 1993 took place after the 1960s when America became less interested in the project. Especially important was the 1980s Delors Commission which laid the foundation for the Maastricht Treaty, and the launch of the euro currency in 1999.
The EU could have evolved in a number of more Democratic ways in the decades after the European Coal and Steel Commission was launched. The decision to turn it into an anti-Democratic Bureaucracy was made by European internationalists of their own free will, not “informal” imperial coercion by the United States.
Moreover, the electorates of Western Europe have seen their politicians openly acknowledge they were globalists. Senior EU officials such as Romano Prodi, Jose Manuel Barraso and Jean-Claude Juncker have publicly bragged about the EU being a, in their words, “post-Democracy” project. European voters have gone to the ballot box decade after decade voting for admitted internationalist politicians with full knowledge of what their plans were. The support for internationalism in Western Europe is substantially a reflection of the globalist inclinations of Western European voters themselves, not an example of informal empire tricking them into voting for national suicide.