Bernard Levi's Imperial Dreams: Time has approached to accept Multipolarity
Globalist philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy reports that in the coming weeks, the French President and his Italian counterpart will announce a “Quirinal Treaty,” which is said to be modeled on the Elysee Treaty, which defines the framework for Franco-German relations. It is not the first year that the pact between Italy and France has been talked about. However, now, according to the liberal philosopher, it is high time to conclude such an agreement .
In support of his thought, Bernard Henri Levy cites the 1945 text “Latin Empire”, written by Alexander Kojeve, a French Neo-Hegelian philosopher of Russian origin. Kojève wrote it for General de Gaulle. Levy sees in the concept of “Latin Empire” a chance for Macron’s France.
Empires as a postponement / preparation for the end of history
The meaning of the “Latin Empire” is as follows: after 1945, the era of national states ended, the world is taking shape in post-national empires. Kojève believed that one of these world empires was the Soviet Union, the second was the Anglo-Saxon bloc of the United States and Great Britain. Germany is torn between these empires. However, according to the philosopher, there is another pole that can declare itself – this is France, as well as Italy, Spain and Portugal – the countries of the “Latin world”, united not by Protestantism and labor ethics (like the Anglo-Saxon Empire), but by Catholic roots. the ability to live aesthetically (general style), and the Roman heritage.
From a geopolitical point of view, Kojève proposed creating a supranational union of the “Latin Empire” based on exclusive control over the Mediterranean and colonial possessions in Africa. In the religious sphere, this empire had to rely on the Catholic Church (Kojève even assumed that such an empire in relations with the USSR would be able to achieve unification with the Orthodox). Moreover, it was Catholicism, due to its universal nature, that Kojève considered as an important means for the empire not to withdraw into itself, a reminder that this empire is just a “stage” on the path to the final unification of mankind.
In this case, the Hegelian end of history for Kojeve would have been embodied in the triumph of “Christian Catholicism”, and not irreligious humanism.
France: Imperial Dash or Oblivion?
At first glance, the appeal to the imperial idea in a Catholic form is strange for the strange for the ultraliberal and globalist Levy. However, it was Levy who published this previously forgotten text by Kojeve back in 1991. Now he, according to the philosopher, is even more relevant.
“I ask if Emmanuel Macron has read Kojeve, because the same happens with great texts as with historical events; because they take time, often the whole life of a person, to acquire full and complete meaning; and because 75 years after the first publication of these legendary pages, the world seems to be in exactly the situation that Kojève predicted, ”writes Levy.
“So, here it is, the Russian Empire, which, together with others, from whom such a rise was not expected in any way, is again declaring itself in the international arena. Here is the United States …. Angela Merkel’s Germany, as well as Germany, which will replace it, confirms its energy dependence on Russia and at the same time its strategic status as a satellite of the United States . “
“The idea is that there is a commonality of values, civilization and metaphysics among the peoples of Southern Europe, which, if emphasized and realized, will fight the growing impoverishment of human capabilities.
In this way, debate, selfish cultural tensions and petty balances will give way to true vision; this common wealth will have the opportunity to declare itself; and, of course, without questioning the historical achievements of the Franco-German axis, opportunity will be transformed into success, and the event will be given maximum metapolitical significance.
For France, this will be the last opportunity not to run to the abyss: to a downgrade of status, to becoming a dwarf power, to the disappearance of big politics under sovereign and populist noise. “
The last statement is extremely important. The fact is that not only Levy is concerned about the decline of French influence. The conclusion of the Anglo-Saxon alliance AUKUS, the reputational blow in the form of Australia’s refusal of the French multi-billion dollar contract for the construction of submarines in favor of the United States, the incessant post-Brexit border conflicts with Great Britain show that despite any ideological closeness between Macron and Biden – liberals and globalists, geopolitical logic developments are driving their countries into different corners. The globalist Macron is increasingly forced to play the role of a European sovereign, to advocate a single European army, greater autonomy for Europe within NATO.
On the other hand, Macron’s France is facing new challenges in its traditional sphere of influence – in Africa, from where the French are being ousted by Russia, China and Turkey. The appearance of Russian military experts in Mali and the anti-French statements of the authorities of this country, who recently accused Paris of supporting terrorism, indicate that France’s influence in the Sahel is in question. France was unable or unwilling to cope with the terrorist threat in the region, and France’s withdrawal from Mali is compared to the American disaster in Afghanistan. Russia is also actively strengthening in the CAR. Turkey has become the second economic partner of Algeria and entrenched in Libya. China comes out on top in the entire former French Africa, and the local population hates the French and is just waiting to finally say goodbye to Paris and its henchmen.
Paris is faced with the problem of reassessing its geopolitical strategy and adapting to the emerging multipolar world. What should France be? An independent pole, an ally of the United States, part of the Franco-German core of a united and independent Europe? Different answers are offered. For example, General Henri Ruhr proposes to consider France as a global power (a kind of analogue of the post-Brexit “Global Britain”) and to develop based on overseas possessions:
France is not a European country, it is a country of all continents. The huge territory is not the only merit of France as a great power. A powerful army, nuclear deterrence, the world’s second largest diplomatic network, a permanent seat on the Security Council, and a francophone world all contribute to its potential power. These vectors require development and improvement. Of course, France is strong with a thriving economy, but GDP has never been an exceptional factor on a global scale. The French are blinded by the ultra-liberal capitalist system imposed by the United States, which ranks countries according to their output, in dollars, of course.
The New Right (Alain de Benois and others) are no less patriotic, but they position France as part of the future sovereign European pole, in a multipolar world, focused on friendship with Russia geopolitically and on the preservation of tradition and identity in the midst of domestic politics. There are such European sovereignists in Italy as well. Interestingly, not only right-wing but also left-wing philosophers advocate greater European sovereignty or a reassessment of the EU’s structure. This is how the Italian left-wing philosopher Giorgio Agamben also previously referred to the idea of Kojeve’s “Latin Empire”:
“Today, when the European Union was formed by ignoring the specific cultural ties that exist between nations, it would be useful – and relevant – to revive Kojève’s proposal. What he predicted turned out to be true. This Europe, striving to exist on a strictly economic basis, abandoning all true affinities between lifestyle, culture and religion, has repeatedly demonstrated its weaknesses, especially at the economic level. “
Geopolitics of the “Latin Empire”
In the realm of practical geopolitics, moving towards a “Latin Empire” would mean an alliance between Rome and Paris on the issue of resolving issues in the Mediterranean. At stake is the oil and gas wealth of Cyprus, on which the Italian ENI and the French Total have their eyes set. In this issue, the problem for both countries is Turkey, which claims significant parts of the shelf both on its own behalf and from the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Italy, in recent years, has blocked with Turkey on cooperation with the governments in Tripoli, focusing on the same forces that control the West of the country. However, if the Franco-Italian rapprochement continues, then Paris and Rome may try to squeeze in Libya each of their “ally” – Italy – Turkey, and France – Russia (like Paris, Moscow is more supportive of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the Libyan conflict).
Finally, Italy and France may try to balance their influence in Africa by pulling up Spain and Portugal as well. In the EU, a transalpine bloc could counterbalance Germany by giving Paris the role of balance-keeping center.
Very interesting is the rush of the globalist Levy towards Hegelianism, which is also globally oriented in Kojeve’s version towards the unification of humanity through the passage and subsequent overcoming of the imperial dimension. Most recently, he spoke on behalf of the one and only liberal empire challenged by 5 kings: 5 independent poles of power. Now he states that this empire does not exist, and France can become the center of one of several empires that will divide the world among themselves, empires based on “common values, civilization and metaphysics.” Yes, the appeal to Kojève’s “post-national empires” means that the focus on ultimately creating a united humanity remains. However, like Kojève, Levy is forced to admit that the end of history in the form of a single liberal humanity is being postponed. The time of empires is coming. And then that not only he (and even he) is thinking about the empire in France – it is very indicative for understanding the situation in which we find ourselves. In some ways, this is similar to Francis Fukuyama’s rollback from the liberal optimism of the “end of history” towards statements about the need to strengthen the national modern state.
And this is the most interesting thing, globalists admit that the project of a united humanity has failed, the world is becoming multipolar (without losing hope that this multipolarity can be dialectically overcome).