Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Emmanuel Todd - DRM bricks Polish trains

 Interesting interview in French magazine Le Point of Emmanuel Todd, one of the last great French intellectual, over his latest book "The Defeat of the West" (and actually what he says will be the last book he'll ever write).

Todd is particularly renowned for having been one of the first Western intellectuals to predict the fall of the Soviet Union in his 1976 book "The Final Fall".

Here in "The Defeat of the West" he argues, as the title suggests, that the West - led by the U.S. - has essentially collapsed. In the interview he goes over 2 "levels" of this defeat: 1) The economic level: "globalization has put not the West in general, but specifically the United States in a state of incapacity to produce the necessary armaments for Ukraine. The Americans sent the Ukrainians to disaster during the summer offensive with insufficient equipment.
I devote an entire chapter to the deflation of the American economy where I demonstrate the largely fictitious nature of its gross domestic product with the continual worsening of its trade deficit. I also show that the United States produces fewer engineers than Russia. I think it's the ability to produce dollars at zero cost that prevents the restarting of American industry." 2) The second level is more ideological: "the collapse of what made the rise of the West and particularly the Anglo-American world, that is, Protestantism with its values of work and social discipline. I observe that the vaporization of Protestantism in the United States, England, and the entire Protestant world has made disappear what constituted the strength and specificity of the West. 
The central variable is the religious dynamic. After the active state and then 'zombie' state, we can talk about a zero state of religion in the West." To him this has led the U.S. as it stands today to "tip into nihilism and the deification of nothing. I speak of nihilism in the sense of a will to destruction but also a denial of reality." He says that it is this nihilism that essentially pushes the Americans to "always worsen conflicts", taking Gaza as a current example. He says this process of collapse started long ago and was actually masked by the fall of the Soviet Union:
"The Soviet collapse masked the fact that the United States, since 1965, was engaged in an industrial and intellectual decline. It's this paradox of a Western expansion triggered by the collapse of the Soviet pillar that sought to isolate Russia, even as the core of the system collapses. We discover this today with Americans trapped in Ukraine. Their industry no longer follows, and they are forced to scavenge for 155 caliber shells." Obviously he goes into a lot more details in his book, which I'll try to get my hands on. But at first glance the notion that the U.S. are led by a destructive form of nihilism stemming from a loss of deeper meaning in American society seems quite accurate. Last interesting note. He says one way to salvage the West would have been to integrate Russia within it, which "Schroeder and Chirac attempted to [do] by anchoring it to Europe in the 2000s". 
However he says "this was broken by the Americans" because "avoiding the rapprochement between Germany and Russia was an American objective" as "this rapprochement would have signed the ejection of the United States from the European power system". He says this means that "the Americans preferred to destroy Europe rather than save the West."

Wayne LaPierre announces resignation as leader of the NRA days ahead of civil trial CNN 

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