Empires as Civilisations
Forward to the Empire!
The topic of the empire will inevitably come to the forefront. The term ‘state-civilisation’, introduced into scholarly discourse by our friend, the Chinese thinker Zhang Weiwei, essentially means ‘empire’.
At the recent meeting of the Valdai Club, and in his earlier policy speeches, Putin directly called Russia a ‘state-civilisation’. Essentially, this is a declaration of a move towards an empire. Not historically, but rather in a technical sense.
An empire is a form of supranational political organisation with a singular strategic decision-making centre (the emperor) and a wide diversity of local subjects (from communities to ethnarchies and fully fledged polities), encompassing a ‘vast expanse’ and possessing a distinct civilisational (religious, cultural, ideological) specificity.
One can join the empire peacefully, but also forcefully. If harmony is established with bordering regions, they can retain partial sovereignty, and in the case of an empire, it is not so crucial whether the bordering states, closely tied to the empire, are independent or part of it. They are certainly a part of the ‘vast expanse’, and this is the most important thing. As long as they behave correctly, they can consider themselves nation-states. If they start rebelling against the empire and align with another empire, their fate is not enviable. This applies not only to Ukraine and other post-Soviet states but also to Taiwan and many others.
The Singular Empire
A unipolar world is conceived as a single empire (essentially the USA and its satellites, united in NATO and other blocs). Contemporary American political scientist Niall Ferguson, funded by the Rothschild banking family, demonstrated how the imperial idea gradually permeated modern American political discourse. Whereas the USA once saw itself as a republic, and an empire, especially the British one, was perceived negatively, representing what liberty-loving Americans fought against during the War of Independence and afterwards, the idea of a global empire began to captivate American elites, until neoconservatives loudly pronounced this coveted word. America essentially declared itself the ‘empire’ governing mankind. Liberal globalist elites around the world agreed with them.
However, this evoked rejection from another segment of the elites. This other segment gradually became so influential that it grew into directly repudiating American hegemony and declaring themselves ‘empires’, meaning ‘state-civilisations’. This is multipolarity.
A critical review of the Western empire can be found in the works of left-wing authors Negri and Hardt, renowned sociologist Emmanuel Todd, or the profound and non-conventional thinker Alain Soral.
The Seven Empires: A Multipolar Project
The multipolar world denotes the coexistence of several empires, fully sovereign primarily in relation to the USA, against its claim to exclusivity and universality, and also towards each other.
Today, the world is gradually showing signs of a multipolar heptarchy, i.e., the model of the 7 empires is emerging:
- Western Empire (USA + EU + vassals and lesser vassals).
- Eurasian Empire (Russia + post-Soviet space, come what may). This is our emerging state-civilisation, as mentioned by Putin at Valdai.
- Chinese Empire (mainland China + Taiwan and several states gravitating towards China from the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative).
- Indian Empire (Bharat + Nepal + Bangladesh + Southeast Asian nations leaning towards India).
- Islamic Empire (a potential bloc of Islamic countries with major poles being Saudi Arabia + Arab Sunni countries, Shia Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Maghreb countries, and others).
- Latin-American Empire (based on a union of Brazil and Argentina with the addition of other countries, right up to the Caribbean nations and Mexico).
- African Empire (Manden plateau empire around Mali + central and southern Bantu ecumene + Ethiopia and the Cushitic world).
The first empire, still claiming exclusivity, formed after the collapse of the USSR and, despite its decline, still strives to maintain its hegemony. Despite all its crises, it remains stronger than any other when taken individually. However, in terms of key metrics – economic, demographic, resources, and even ideological – it falls behind the alliance of other non-Western empires.
The next three empires – Russia, China, and India, which, by the way, have a very long history spanning centuries and even millennia – are actively forming. Essentially, they already represent independent sovereign poles and will continue to strengthen and expand their influence.
The Islamic Empire, with Baghdad as its logical centre (making it a kind of new Abbasid caliphate), is united by a powerful religion and its underlying ideology but is politically fragmented.
The African and Latin American Empires remain projects, but steps are being taken towards their realisation.
All 6 empires, excluding the Western one – that is, actual or potential state-civilisations, are united today within the expanded post-Johannesburg BRICS structure. Next year, Russia will chair BRICS, making it an opportune time to advance multipolarity and bolster it ideologically, economically, financially, militarily, and strategically. To achieve multipolarity, everyone needs to collectively challenge the Western empire’s claim to exclusivity. Not the empire itself, but its claim. The peoples of the world are called upon to break Western globalist arrogance. This is precisely what Russia is doing in Ukraine today.
SWA (Southwest Asia) represents the first hot conflict between unipolarity and multipolarity.
Three Purely Potential Poles
For the sake of fairness, one might theoretically propose three more ‘great spaces’. If the West divides into America and Europe, then the EU, after first shedding the Atlantic globalist elites and bringing to power continentalists of the de Gaulle type, could become a separate pole. But this is not on the agenda for now.
Equally speculative is the idea of a Buddhist civilisation led by Japan. However, Japan is entirely dependent on the West and does not pursue an independent policy.
The ‘great space’ of Oceania is a ghostly entity, gradually turning into a zone of military-strategic confrontation between the Chinese empire and the American empire. It could have been different. However, it is unlikely that brave Melanesians, Papuans, Australian aborigines, and militant Maoris could stage an anti-colonial uprising against the Anglo-Saxons, unless they receive external help. Africa had help, and it worked out. The situation here is more complex, but it is worth trying for the other poles.
Well, Hello, My Empire!
If empires are returning, now is the time to comprehend their historical roots, and understand their origins and the corresponding ideology. It is a highly fascinating topic that will help us understand much about ourselves, the Russians. We are a people of the empire. We have been, are, and always will be, no matter what we call ourselves or what we think of ourselves. The time is coming when we will realise this once more. After all, even the USSR was, in a technical sense as we emphasised, a kind of ‘empire’ and definitely a ‘state-civilisation’. We just need to recognise that it is our destiny.
For a deeper acquaintance with this topic, Konstantin Malofeyev’s three-volume Empire and my philosophical comprehensive work Being and Empire will be highly useful. From there, guided by a detailed and exhaustive bibliography, everyone can venture in this direction, freely choosing routes—through the West and East, past and future.