Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

What Would Machiavelli Do? Thoughts on the Russo-Ukrainian War and the Renewed East-West Cold War

By Keith Preston February 8, 2023

Ukraine amounts to a falling out among the international versions  Five Families over who controls the rackets in a particular neighborhood. The Gambinos (Russians) claim it’s their local territory but the Genoveses (Americans) demand a cut as the largest of the crime families.

When crime wars between gangs occur, the first concern for most people is to avoid becoming collateral damage, like being the victim of a drive-by shooting. The same applies to rivalries between international crime gangs (states).

Naturally, individuals are going to be most opposed to the crime gang that most threatens them personally, for example, the gang terrorizing their own neighborhood as opposed to the gang across town, even if that one is larger and has a longer reach.

Individuals are often more likely to side with the gang that most represents their own tribe or sect. Italians side with the Italian mafia, Russians with the Russian mafia, blacks with black crime gangs, rednecks with redneck mafias, etc.

But meta-politics is over and beyond the needs of individual, group, sectional, regional, or localized interests. When it comes to potential nuclear confrontation, meta-politics is about civilizational and species survival.

Therefore, the principles of the realist framework become fully operational as a matter of necessity when international relations are involved. A good rule of thumb is to ask: What would Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, or Clausewitz do in a similar situation?

The core issues in Eastern Europe and East Asia are the prevention of nuclear confrontation and escalating conflict into a WW3-like situation. These considerations outweigh the interests of any individual players in any one conflict.

The goal of the antiwar movement needs to be the containment of hostile powers and the negotiated settlements, with keeping the peace as the primary objective. An armed peace between East and West is the most beneficial outcome of anything likely or probable.

The most likely outcome will be a “new Iron Curtain” in Central Ukraine and a “new 38th parallel” at the “first island chain.” An armed peace of that type is possible. It worked during the Cold War.

The main danger would be to the Global South, as the East-West geopolitical rivalry for dominance in the South may be repeated. It’s already happening in Africa and to a lesser degree Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Latin America, just like in the Cold War.

Russia and China are imperialist gangsters that would ideally be dissolved. But it matters whether they are dissolved before or after the NWO (Atlanticist unipolar hegemony) entirely collapses. The Eastern geopolitical mafias place constraints on the Atlanticist mafias.

An armed peace between regional mafias is preferable to a Pax Romana imposed by a unipolar, unilateral singular mafia, particularly one capable of maintaining a global Panopticon. Therefore, the emerging tripolar world order is generally preferable to the former unipolar one.

However, constraints need to be placed on all geopolitical actors. Preferably, lesser mafias will emerge to regionally and locally challenge the larger mafias. Turkey, Iran, India, KSA, Israel, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the “Pink Tide” countries are among these.

The lesser actors are no less criminal (I’m not making any value judgments about “crime”) but merely present a counterweight to the larger crime families, like when a street gang or 1% percent club refuses to pay street tax to a mafia family.

Therefore, in international relations, we need to hope for a crime wave by the smaller gangs and mafias as a counterforce to the Five Families.

For example, the antiwar movement needs to be pushing to strengthen the NAM in opposition to the international Five Families Commission (also known as the UN).

The efforts of 4GW forces (startup gangs) against the larger and smaller crime families also merit sympathy.

All of the causes, ideologies, and identity groups that make up the various political actors are no different than gangs fighting over who will sell heroin in a particular neighborhood or tribal-sectarian warfare in premodern societies. None of that matters in the big picture.

An armed peace that makes civil life possible while preventing the emergence of a singular Leviathan is the only thing that ultimately matters from an existential perspective.

I am a philosophical nihilist, political pluralist, cultural relativist, moral skeptic, and ethical subjectivist, which means I don’t give a fuck about anyone’s preferred form of do-gooderism or special pleading as to why their favorite cause is more important than anyone else’s.

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