Who is Aleksandr Dugin?

Aleksandr Dugin has come to public attention as “Putin’s Brain,” as Foreign Affairs memorably dubbed him – that is, as the ideological mastermind behind Russia’s moves towards reasserting imperial ambitions, notably with respect to Ukraine. Is this accurate, or is it just media hype? The truth is that it’s extremely difficult to judge with confidence exactly to what extent Vladimir Putin’s more aggressive policies towards, for instance, Ukraine reflect Dugin’s influence (or supposed influence) as an omnipresent publicist and behind-the-curtain advisor to aspiring czars. (The suspicion easily arises that Putin uses Dugin – lets him rant on state TV – without himself buying into the crazy worldview.) But whether Dugin really is influencing Russian policy or is simply the object of excessive hype, either way intellectuals as well as ordinary citizens in the West need to be aware of him, lest they be taken in by his pretensions as a theorist and his claimed interest in civilizational dialogue and pluralism, which functions as a rhetorical cloak. Either way, he’s dangerous.

ALEKSANDR DUGIN: THE FOURTH POLITICAL THEORY

The principal aim of Professor Dugin's work is not simply to deconstruct the previous failed political theories, which he lists as fascism, communism, and liberalism, but to fashion a new fourth theory, utilising what may be learnt from some of the previous models after their deconstruction rather than dismissing them outright on the basis of particulars worthy of rejection. That is not to say that the Fourth Political Theory is simply a synthesis of ideas that in their singular form have seen their day. Dugin is conscious of the necessity to bring something new to the table, with one of the principal of these novel ideas being the rejection of the subjects of the old ideologies, such as class, race, or the individual, in favour of the existential Heideggerian concept of Dasein (roughly Being or being-in-the-world. Literally da – there; sein – being) as the primary actor.

Thoughts on Dugin's "Eurasian Mission"

Along with the more geopolitical aspects, the Fourth Political Theory lies at the heart of Eurasianism, and constitutes its philosophical core. Drawing its roots from France's New Right, the Third Way, the German Conservative Revolution, and thinkers as diverse as Heidegger, Boaz, Evola, and de Benoist, the Fourth Political Theory could be summed up by what Alain Soral calls "la gauche du travail et la droite des valeurs" ("the worker’s left and the moral right"). It is important to note that, just like Alain Soral, Dugin rejects ethnocentrism. The Fourth Political Theory rejects not only liberalism (capitalism), but also communism (socialism) and fascism, preferring a blend of the two non-capitalistic systems in order to prevent each one’s particular shortcomings.

Even though it believes in multipolarity, Russia is central to Eurasianism, as is the goal of creating a "European Space," encompassing both Europe and Russia. The objective is clearly to shift the balance of global power from Washington to Moscow, although Dugin denies this in an interview with Arktos published at the end of the book. 

American Dasein: The USA and Deep Identity in The Multipolar World

What struck me on arriving in the US was the interest in and presence of other cultures, especially in relation to spirituality. Spiritual, New Age and occult centers (or at least bookstores) existed and seemed relatively vibrant. Religion was also far more important than in England, whether that was Christianity, Judaism, Tibetan Buddhism, or something else. There was (and of course still is) a big Chinatown, where Chinese was spoken (London’s is tiny). I practiced Kung fu in the early morning at a park in Chinatown and went for tea at a Chinese place afterward; I went to read in a French cafe that was always empty and the owners were actually French; I went to the spiritual and occult bookstores; to the museums, to Japanese events with my Japanese friends; and so on. Moving to the US, my life was steeped much more consciously in the archaic and the “Traditional” than in the much older culture of England.

Capitalism, of course, always seizes on what is different and exciting, and repackages it for the mainstream, often destroying the culture-creating roots as a consequence. But, if we leave aside this aspect, and get back to the people, America’s history is one with as much depth as anywhere else. Indeed, while Britain and Europe ape the most crass aspects of the USA, Americans often look to something more integral.

Maoism is too Modern for me

I defend the plurality of civilizations, the absence of the universal (Western) pattern of social development. I strongly oppose any kind of xenophobia and nationalism as the bourgeois artificial and essentially Modern construction. 
I am not communist nor Marxist because I refuse the materialism of any kind and deny the progress. So much more correct to describe my views as Fourth Political Theory and traditionalism. 

Mao was right affirming that socialism should be not exclusively proletarian but also peasant and based on the ethnic traditions. It is closer to the truth than universalist industrial internationalist version represented by trotskyism. But I think that sacred part in Maoism was missed or underdeveloped. Its links with Confucianism and Taoism were weak. Maoism is too Modern for me. For China it would be best solution to preserve the socialism and political domination of national-communist party (as today) but develop more sacred tradition –  Confucianismand Taoism. It is rather significant that ideas of Heidegger are attentively explored now by hundreds of Chinese scientists. I think Fourth Political Theory could fit to contemporary China best of all.

The Clashing Dance – Dugin-Fukuyama-Krastev's Meeting

Fukuyama's main tenets

never getting to the core of things – "We [USA] are not good at democratizing countries". But then again, who in the world asked you to do that "for us"? This question has to be answered honestly—as a matter of fact, it is Paikin not asking this that proves the show to be sold in advance;

replacing truth for political correctness – "Liberal democracies don't fight each other". The idea is mischievous at least for three reasons:

the problem with this assumption relies not only in the accuracy of the claim itself (there has been wars between democracies), but also in the fact that its credo is precisely what leads to war against other kinds of regime, who are considered intrinsically a crime punishable by war; therefore, the claim recognizes its prejudicial vision of the Other as a phenomenon and legitimizes the necessity of their killing.

Who is Alexander Dugin?

Vladimir Putin's name is known throughout the world. Alexander Dugin's name, not so much. But to people in the know, Alexander Dugin is a very important name, as the Russian public intellectual says what Putin thinks. The Agenda examines the man who has been called "Putin's brain." Does two personalities really know each other? How close they are? What is the extent of Dugin's influence. Political analyst Michael Millerman the translator of many Dugin's works into American tries to answer those questions. But the question rests: is the Fourth Political Theory advocated by Dugin really affect Russian politics? Judging on the influence of Eurasian ideas it should.

The Turning Point?

Russia, for its part, is seeking to implement a new geopolitical axis with Beijing and Tehran, a factor of multipolar balance of power opposed to the Atlanticist endeavors. The Chinese, after long procrastination, are no longer hiding their desire to “de- Americanize the world.”  Yet, the future of Russia, a great power, albeit still fragile, in a similar way as China, with its own inner contradictions, remains uncertain. Countries of Eastern Europe are still hesitant  as to which path to follow—all the more so as Germany is seeking to replace the former USSR as a federating factor in Eastern and Central Europe.

We are witnessing a restructuring of the forms of world domination. The United States, with its financial markets, its armed forces, its language and its culture industries remains the leading world power. Its economic impact, however, is decreasing bit by bit (its share of global industrial output has fallen from 45% in 1945 to 17.5% today), with the dollar representing today only a third of world trade in comparison to more than a half in 2000.  The process of “de- dollarization” has already and simultaneously begun, in oil and gas trading and on the monetary front. Russia and China, emulated by other Third World countries, are using more and more their national currencies in trade and investment. The project of trade in energy and raw materials, without resorting to the dollar, is beginning to take shape. Meanwhile, the purchase of gold is gathering momentum. The advent of a new international reserve currency, designed to replace the dollar, seems inevitable.

Clashing Visions

There are more modern democracies in the world than there were 50 years ago, but confidence in the institutions of those democracies - parliaments, elections, politicians - appears to be waning. How much trust do citizens have in the hallowed symbols of democratic rule? Are we confident enough to think that democracies should be established in countries which have remained immune to its charms like Russia and China? Francis Fukuyama, Alexander Dugin and Ivan Krastev join Steve Paikin to debate the current state of Western democracies and how differing perceptions about them are causing geopolitical conflicts.

The Real Dugin

From our examination thus far, it should be obvious that there are too many misconceptions about Alexander Dugin’s thought being circulated among Right-wingers. These misconceptions are being used to dismiss the value of his work and deceive members of Right-wing groups into believing that Dugin is a subversive intellectual who must be rejected as an enemy. Many other important Right-wing intellectuals have been similarly dismissed among certain circles, due to practices of a kind of in-group gleichschaltung, closing off any thinker who is not seen as readily agreeable. It is important to overcome such tendencies and support an intellectual expansion of the Right, which is the only way to overcome the present liberal-egalitarian hegemony. People need to take a more careful and unbiased look at Dugin’s works and ideas, as with other controversial thinkers. Of course, Dugin is not without flaws and imperfections (nor is any other thinker), but these flaws can be overcome when his thought is balanced with that of other intellectuals, especially the Revolutionary Conservatives and the New Rightists.

Eurasian Mission: An Introduction to Neo-Eurasianism

According to Alexander Dugin, the twenty-first century will be defined by the conflict between Eurasianists and Atlanticists. The Eurasianists defend the need for every people and culture on Earth to be allowed to develop in its own way, free of interference, and in accordance with their own particular values. Eurasianists thus stand for tradition and for the blossoming variety of cultures, and a world in which no single power holds sway over all the others. Opposing them are the Atlanticists. They stand for ultra-liberalism in both economics and values, stopping at nothing to expand their influence to every corner of the globe, unleashing war, terror, and injustice on all who oppose them, both at home and abroad. This camp is represented by the United States and its allies around the world, who seek to maintain America’s unipolar hegemony over the Earth. The Eurasianists believe that only a strong Russia, working together with all those who oppose Atlanticism worldwide, can stop them and bring about the multipolar world they desire. This book introduces their basic ideas. Eurasianism is on the rise in Russia today, and the Kremlin’s geopolitical policies are largely based on its tenets, as has been acknowledged by Vladimir Putin himself. It is reshaping Russia’s geopolitics, and its influence is already changing the course of world history.

Eurasia in the War of Networks

From the moment of its inception in the 1920s, Eurasianism has always opposed the global domination of the West, European universalism, and supported the uniqueness of the Russian civilization. Therefore, Eurasianism is, indeed, an anti-Western ideology in the sense that it rejects the Western society’s right to impose its criteria of good and evil as the universal norm. Russia is an independent Orthodox-Eurasian civilization, rather than the periphery of Europe, insisted Eurasianists, following their ideological predecessors, the Slavophiles, along with other Russian conservatives.

Gradually, Eurasianism was enriched with the methods of classic geopolitics that were based upon the dualism of the Land and Sea civilizations. Englishman Halford Mackinder introduced this concept in the first half of the twentieth century; it was further developed by American strategists such as Nicholas Spykman and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Here, Russia serves as the core of the Land civilization, Eurasia’s Heartland, and is thus doomed to carry out a centuries-old battle against the Anglo-Saxon world. In the past, its core was the British Empire, and, from the second half of the twentieth century onward, this was the United States. Therefore, Eurasianists oppose Western hegemony, American expansionism, and Liberal values and support the distinct Russian civilization, religion, and tradition. Furthermore, Eurasianists not only oppose the West, but also Russia’s own Westernizers and moderates: Liberals, first and foremost.

SOLDIER, WORKER, REBEL, ANARCH: AN INTRODUCTION TO ERNST JÜNGER

In Ernst Jünger’sIn Ernst Jünger’s writings, four great Figures appear successively, each corresponding to a quite distinct period of the author’s life. They are, chronologically, the Front Soldier, the Worker, the Rebel, and the Anarch. Through these Figures one can divine the passionate interest Jünger has always held toward the world of forms. Forms, for him, cannot result from chance occurrences in the sensible world. Rather, forms guide, on various levels, the ways sensible beings express themselves: the “history” of the world is above all morphogenesis. As an entomologist, moreover, Jünger was naturally inclined to classifications. Beyond the individual, he identifies the species or the kind. One can see here a subtle sort of challenge to individualism: “The unique and the typical exclude one another,” he writes. Thus, as Jünger sees it, the universe is one where Figures give epochs their metaphysical significance. In this brief esposition, I would like to compare and contrast the great Figures identified by Jünger.

Nationalism of understanding (+ F.V. comments)

We can also hear the words of some indigenous masters from Brazil, saying that each person has the responsibility of making the intercultural dialogue happen inside themselves, because we can only recognize the differences as being both unsurmontable and yet all too natural. As such, this dialogue occurs only in a situation of double-endedly openness:

  1. open to the culture of the Other, whom we recognize as being not an Object, but a full Subject of his own, having, then, as much right to existence as we do;

  2. being entirely open to our own culture, or being open to it in its entirety, because otherwise there is no way to be fully recognized as a Subject in turn, and demandSujbec. This second point has two meanings to be conjugated:

a) it is almost impossible to be fully recognized as a Subject by the Other without an inner understanding of such;

b) it is not possible to know what to want when one does not recognize themselves as a full Subject; in this case, one easily "swallows" anything that is given to him without further thinking, becoming, by acting so, a mere Object.

On Eurasianism, the Geopolitics of Land and Sea, and a Russian Theory of Multipolarity

The field of IR is extremely interesting and multidimensional. In general, the discipline is much more promising than many think. I think that there is a stereometry today in IR, in which we can distinguish a few axes right away.
 
The first, most traditional axis is realism – the English school – liberalism.

ALEXANDER DUGIN AND MARTIN HEIDEGGER

Like Dugin, one discovers in Heidegger, whom Dugin routinely calls “the greatest thinker,” a combination of traditional philosophical interests with self-consciously modern concerns. But again, like Dugin, Heidegger was a reactionary modernist, someone who combatted modernity by underlining its defects and shallowness and by trying to prove that the modern enterprise was headed in a very bad direction. Heidegger tried to do this without returning to metaphysical assumptions that he believed belonged to a vanished past. This, too, as in the case of Dugin, is not as simple as it would first appear. There is something backward-looking in both thinkers, as the past is for them a source of creativity. This is totally different from the kind of “cultural conservative” this writer has often encountered: a tedious eccentric who manifests his “conservatism” by making himself the butt of gentle jokes. Such a person may frequent clubs where tea and crumpets are served or may introduce himself as a liturgical traditionalist with an ostentatious interest in Gothic architecture, but he is, above all, an expert at staying out of controversy that could threaten his career or social calendar.

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