The Hegemon and The Revisionist

The Prudentialist

The Prudentialist

Observing the world from a dissident and realist perspective. Musings on culture, politics, and international relations.

There has been a lot on my mind as of late, balancing the cultural and every day observations I have between the weekly content on International Relations. I didn’t want to do this in a stream, or try and do this in a Reel Talk fishing video, but rather write my thoughts out so hopefully you’ll see where I’m coming from.

So let’s begin.

Since the end of the Cold War, the world stage of international politics has faced an ongoing debate, one between unipolarity and multipolarity. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the dissolution of the USSR, many, like that of the late Charles Krauthammer in 1990, discussed the “Unipolar Moment” in Foreign Affairs Magazine. Later that decade, Francis Fukuyama would write The End of History and the Last Man. Where he had detailed that unlike the Marxist ideal that history would end with the proletarian utopia Marx had envisioned, it would come with liberal democracy triumphantly standing over the alternatives.

The laudable, and nowadays often laughable “Pax Americana” never really came to fruition, especially for those in its crosshairs. The US Government and its non governmental elites, pursued a path of universalizing globalization, the great “Americanization” of the world. It changed, from globalization and optimism of the new millennium, to an authoritative state in the midst of a global war on terror. What was posed was a unique challenge, how does a traditional nation state, with a massive standing military force filled with the latest in R&D and psychological operations, go to war against ideologies, terrorist cells, and a fundamental religious belief that could hardly be found anywhere in the West?

Even William T. Cavanaugh pointed this out in his book, The Myth of Religious Violence, that the Modern American Ideals of Religio-Political separation were uniquely Western and modern concepts to the rest of the world, where the Enlightenment never took place nor did the Reformation. However, despite its withdrawal from a 20 year engagement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, an earlier withdrawal only to come back to ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the US has effective memory-holed the threat of non-state actors like Islamic Fundamentalists. The idea of another 9/11 happening dwindled as it pursued an effective campaign of pandering to Western sensibilities. The Trotskyist Neoconservatives gave way to Progressive Globalists, a rainbow flag for every nation, protest signs in English with a fancy color attached, and the concern for women’s schools and education in places where Women’s Lib never came to be stands to show culture, a foreign policy of deterritorialization works wonders both at home and abroad.

It raised and changed the stakes of the debate, and has certainly evolved since the times of 1991, 2001, or even 2021. Today in 2022, the debate extends beyond ideology, but the question of power. Who will rule, who can maintain an empire, and if possible can the current one fall at this present moment? Many, like Niccolo Soldo, Fukuyama and Richard Hanania, have argued that the USG, the United States, is in a particularly powerful position so much that Fukuyama has declared his ideas to have held through with a triumphant apologetic of his nearly thirty year old work. Yet the central question, as posed by many in the field of International Relations, has been the paradigm of how power transitions from one power to the next.

A.F.K. Organski, an Italian-American scholar and political scientist, devised and proposed Power Transition Theory in his 1958 book, World Politics. In his view, Organski wrote:

An even distribution of political, economic, and military capabilities between contending groups of states is likely to increase the probability of war; peace is preserved best when there is an imbalance of national capabilities between disadvantaged and advantaged nations; the aggressor will come from a small group of dissatisfied strong countries; and it is the weaker, rather than the stronger power that is most likely to be the aggressor.

However, it is the evolution of this theory that is important to note, that conflict is often to trigger during times where one feels that their power is slipping, or that there is high potential energy for rival states to carve out sphere of influence. Ronald L. Tammen in his 2000 book, Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century expands on this, saying,

War is most likely, of longest duration, and greatest magnitude, when a challenger to the dominant power enters into approximate parity with the dominant state and is dissatisfied with the existing system. Similarly, alliances are most stable when the parties to the alliance are satisfied with the system structure. There are further nuances to the theory: for instance, the sources of power transition vary in their volatility, population change being the least volatile and political capacity (defined as the ability of the government to control resources internal to the country) the most volatile.

This becomes the nature of the debate today, between power parity, and how power is attained on the international stage. This will become a focus of a much larger discussion on my channel going forward with regards to international relations, yet I must introduce one more topic before trying to translate this to a smaller scale.

When it comes to the issue of power transition, or even a “multipolarity” where in there are options non aligned states can choose to throw their respective lots in with, we must examine the concept of revisionist versus hegemonic states.

Hegemonic states are pretty straightforward, they are part of the, or are the state of the current ruling hegemony. Just as the Romans, or the English, for right now it is principally squared that the United States is the de facto hegemonic power since the end of the Second World War. Revisionist states are nation states whose objective is to change or put an end to the current system, in this case the post-war rules based order that is often so discussed in the headlines and current IR Literature.

It is with difficulty to try and make these terms analogous to what’s going on with politics at home, but I find the concept of revisionist and hegemonic states to be rather fitting for the current situation at home. Both here in the United States and in Great Britain, its old stock faces a revisionist force that has become the dominant hegemon in its own power elite. The revolution came in the night of the depression, and the desire to avoid the wars of the world gave birth to a new hegemon after two generations of young men of the old and new world wasted away in the battlefields of Europe.

We are what’s left, or those who have come to realize what had followed in that great chiliastic promise of peace on earth and no war ever again was nothing more than false promise, a sense of egalitarian security that would usher in a brighter tomorrow. The only thing that is bright, is the afterglow that comes from thieves getting away with looting a treasury, and deliberately ushering in a tyrannical environment where no one gets along, and the people that look like you are now public enemy number one.

Here in the West, we are the revisionist powers. Not just in terms that are commonly associated with revision, like history, but we wish in the IR sense of the word, to change or put an end to the current system for the betterment of the nation and our compatriots. Although the use of the term “Revisionist” I am highly skeptical of using because even though we fit the IR definition of the term, it comes with its own political baggage in other contexts. This is where we are though, and the question, that I think Power Transition Theory, along with what other writers have discussed, offers a pathway of understanding how to dismantle the current post-modern hegemony.

Military Power Parity, in terms of nation-states, is not as applicable here, as I doubt any time soon any rivaling political group in the West is going to be able to go toe to toe with any standing military or police force. Power of course, comes in other forms besides the hard power of a military industrial complex. Power can exist in aesthetics, a vision, the capability of mass socialization, and economic resilience. Even in times of international sanctions campaigns, states like Iran or Cuba have taken a beating, but survive and focus on what they have within their own respective territories. Iran has a well capable manufacturing sector, Cuba has a vermiculture unlike any other part of the world. In our instance, economic resilience is a firm necessity. This would mean being well enough trained and employed to survive, and to have a firm network that in case you are fired for stating the plain fact that women can’t be men you have readily available aid to work for fellow travelers or have your own business.

Mutual aid societies, must make a return, and that is the future goal and project of the American Old Glory Club, which at the time of this writing, I am the vice president of. This also means alliances, at least for the time being. What is considered to be the “Dissident Right” a term I grow frequently more frustrated with using, is a large mix of Christians, Traditionalists, Neo-Pagans, Disaffected Libertarians, Paleoconservatives, old Alt-Righters, and more, all lumped in together as a catch all term where much like apes in a cage, are either jerking each other off or are throwing their own shit at each other on various social media platforms and other intellectual ghettos that we find ourselves in after we’ve been banned or de-platformed elsewhere. This will require us to get along a lot more, at least in the areas we can, a loose confederal model will be required, and if you’d like to hear more on that, I would recommend Ryan Turnipseed’s work and his numerous discussions on that issue.

While many can agree on clearing them out, a viable alternative and positive vision also demonstrates power, or at least the allure of power for people wanting something different and something better. If we, the revisionist state that we are (I think I like the term restorationist better), must offer a secure positive future. One where where men aren’t addicted to online pornography, and can use its technics for the better. I’m not suggesting we use advertisements cooked up by the Mad Men of Madison Avenue to peddle some kind of kitsch trad aesthetic, but rather one wherein it is feasible to see people having families in one income households, immigration ceased, that paints a way forward. I am preferable to an archaeo-futurist aesthetic, but I hope this can spur a discussion going forward. Power also means the capability to command, and to attract those disaffected with the current system. A viable, and dare I say a sensible, alternative must be available to them.

At the present moment, the current hegemon with various shades of blood libel, promoting medical assistance in dying to a rather all lily white cast in a commercial about it to pushing for debauchery with children seems to be all over the place and metastasizing in the last redoubts. To respond to this, a synthesis of tradition, modernity, religiosity, and vitalism will be part of our ongoing cause and dialogue against the current hegemon within our respective nations, an inverse chemotherapy if you will.

There is much I think that there is a lot of IR work and theory that can be applied to those who advocate for a progressive vision, especially in the traditional High-Low-Versus-Middle Model of De Jouvenel, and that of nationalists and those who have grown tired of the current hegemon who wish to seek revision or outright change. This video has been more of me thinking out loud, trying to see what I regularly talk about with regards to the world stage and bring it a little closer to home. We are indeed, revisionists, restorationists, or at the very least, oppositional, but it cannot just be standing about flailing about the doom and gloom to come or what’s already here but rather as many on the left like to say, “doing the work.” What work is there to be done? Plenty, whether it’s meeting in person, getting involved locally, setting up community organizations, alongside just being an individual not terminally online although that last one I think applies to the younger portion of my audience.

In the current situation at hand, it is safe to say that much of the “dissident right” or pivots to being “sensible and grounded” to avoid overtly political and investigated labels, are not the hegemon in power. They are indeed revisionist states and groups, but I believe there is much to learn from IR in its application in a smaller scale. Do let me know what you think in the comments, and I’ll see you all next time.

Godspeed and stay prudent.

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