Published on Current Concerns no. 26, by Prof Dr Klaus Hornung, November 21, 2011, (Translation by Current Concerns).
It sounds like a saga, but it happened only two decades ago. 1990/1991, the Sowjet imperium imploded leaving behind the United States as the only world power. Now, euphoria reigned in the West to harvest the fruits of victory over communism. Arnulf Baring was one of the first to counter this euphoria with an appropriate realistic prognosis, when he wrote in 1991: “It would be an illusion to believe we had now entered a paradise-like state of the world, where crisis, turmoil, revolt and war become inconceivable. Quite the opposite, indeed. In the coming years and decades, agitation of all colours will be escalating due to the demographic pressure, social and economic emergencies in many parts of the world.”
Not the end of history:
In fact, history did not come to an end with the victory of liberalism, as Francis Fukuyama thought. Quite the opposite, it adopted the speed of a cataract. In 1991, the Americans themselves waged the first war against Saddam Hussein who had invaded Kuwait. In September 2001, with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., the Islamic terror hit the American world power in its center.
The interventions in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq 2003 – the latter of which were later rectified by George W. Bush with the transparent lie that the atomic bomb had to be snatched out ot Saddam Hussein’s hands – did not only underline the US’ imperial claim to leadership by the USA but led the “Second Rome” and its international auxilliaries into the entirely alien area of Central Asia. These interventions are the latest illustration of historical experience that empires are inclined to overstrain their capacities by exorbitance and thus ruin themselves in the long run.
The cause of the US debt crisis: … //
… A Europe of nations and citizens
Utilizing the crisis, Brussels’ Commission is making a new approach to this goal at present. Kielmannseggs’ proposal deserves attention: instead of aiming at that goal, he suggests, we should enter into a new European debate of principles in order to correct the past European wrong decisions and false procedures.
His proposal is to flow into a new sustainable political concept for Europe, which will finally be legitimised by plebiscites, expressing the will of the democratic sovereign.
As it is generally known, the present European political-economic oligarchy wants to avoid this way by all means. As a matter of fact, the earlier decisions concerning the European unification proved to be a project of elites above all – in plain terms – of the trusts and banks.
This way, which has brought about a big loss of confidence into the European project, has to be corrected to become a Europe of nations and citizens, a continent not only characterized by economic and financial interests, but a world region that will be able to conduct a policy that is realistic and guided by historical awareness.
The severe double crisis of the West in America and Europe reveals a political change of system, from the liberal representative democracy to a new form of oligarchy democratically masked. In the course of globalisation, supranational institutions like the European Commission and international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been taking political influence. They interfere with the national governmental and parliamentary decisions.
Group interests of financial capitalism have to be democratically controlled:
The decision making is being transferred rapidly from the democratic sovereign and its representatives to oligarchic circles which are in most cases not democratically appointed and legitimised. Kielmanseggs’ colleague Hans Vorländer from Dresden talks about new forms of a “democracy of elites” (“Frankfurter Allmeine Zeitung” of 12 July 2011), a situation which became obvious e.g. during crisis meetings of the European heads of states and governments. The representatives of the international capital of finance, formally appointed as “consultants” of the politicians, also sit at the table practically as co-decision makers if not as final decision makers.
According to Vorländer this change of system reveals one more factor: the enormously grown influence of the medias’ “public power of interpretation” on the voting public, not least the electronic media with their impressive “dramaturgy of the visual”, reinforcing and legitimising significantly the elite democraty’s “decisions without alternatives”. The voting act by the citizens as qualifying verdict is being eroded to become mere acclamation.
The present crises in the West have revealed the background of the decisions patterns by the “elite democratic” bodies. They have shown how little they can claim the cache of quality of the common good. Instead, they are one-sidedly determined by oligarch interests. It’s urgently required to reinstall the balance of the common interests and the individiual interests – to install a stable control of the finance-capitalistic group interests in exchange to democratic participation and political and public control. (full text).
(Klaus Hornung, born in 1927 was a professor of political science at Stuttgart Hohenheim university until his retirement. He published numerous scientific books, including classics as “Das totalitäre Zeitalter. Bilanz des 20. Jahrhunderts” or his study on Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst, reformer of the Prussian army “Scharnhorst”. From 2001 to 2003 he was chairman of the Studienzentrum Weikersheim).