The Fall of the Johannesburg Wall

June 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm (tWP) (, , , , , , )

Japanese Imperial Navy defeats its Chinese counterpart at the Battle of Yalu. Japan was the first non western power to join the 'Berlin Consensus'. It is also one of the most homogeneous Asian societies.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down. The GDR citizens flooding the streets of West Berlin was an image that sent a powerful message throughout the world: it symbolized the end of the alternative socio-economic development model of the Communist Bloc. Those states and regimes which until then had been reliant on Soviet force projection and/or which had based their economies on state driven principles suffered a shock. The Moscow elites did away with the USSR and prevented a counter-coup soon after, in order to as quickly as possible, adopt the western liberal-democratic model. The same happened throughout the communist bloc, with socialist federations falling everywhere and giving place to democratic capitalist states.

For the next two decades the Washington Consensus reigned supreme. In fact, the US model of development inspired and imposed itself not just on the ‘east’ but also on the ‘west’. During the Cold War, in spite of American leadership, an offshoot of sorts developed in the west which disputed the reasoning of the ‘leaders of the free world’. The isolationist strain of the Capitalist Bloc resisted the narrative of the superpowers and oriented its efforts towards the possible preservation of the pre Cold War status quo. The entente which intermittently gathered France, South Africa, Israel, Portugal, Rhodesia or Taiwan, was actually the first incarnation of the authoritarian-capitalist model and sought at times to resist the Atlantic-Warsaw-Bandung narrative which ended up changing the world order by subverting the old European establishment.

A first Bandung had been attempted by Japan during the Second World War. Throughout the Cold War Beijing simply replaced Tokyo’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere with its self proclaimed leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement. In any regard, the purpose was the same: to gather the non-European world against the European colonial powers – USSR and USA included…

The Suez crisis was the last attempt to preserve some part of the European order but whereas London decided to join America in the lead of the capitalist bloc, Paris chose to trade isolationism from the new narrative for the preservation of its own territories and interests. This more staunch defence of the old order was able to on occasion, resist the antagonism of the new order. The Biafra war is perhaps the best example in which this entente was confronted, not with one of the two Blocs but by the two plus the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

However, the twilight of European global rule was the defeat of Germany in the two world wars. The utter defeat of the two Reich denied the west European naval power projectors, their traditional source of capital and technology, and the replacement of German financiers with American ones replaced also the old narrative for a post-modern extra-European one.

Thus, what can be called the ‘Berlin Consensus’ – which emerged out of the Berlin Conference of 1884 – of mercantilist imperialism ended up being replaced by the Washington Consensus seventy years later, itself spawning from the San Francisco Conference, which in creating the UN, ensured the tools for the international law which was to regulate decolonisation. This new International Law also ensured that the world was bound by the standard of the Atlantic revolutions given that the UN Charter was almost a facsimile of the American and French constitutions.

The Niponic 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere' was for all intents and purposes a proto-Bandung

Like the Bandung regimes and the US, the Soviet model aspired to replace the European one but proved in time to be inferior to the American. It was inferior economically but also politically and socially. The west however seems to have only apprehended the defects of the two first instances.

In fact, both the communist and capitalist models were socially multicultural by nature and here lies one of the great stress tests for the Washington Consensus because in a multipolar world, no one pole aims to compete for global supremacy and the need to appeal to universal values fades. This in turn, creates room for identity politics. The stress test comes from the danger that the west’s Achilles Heel may very well be its multicultural model of society, emulating the American ‘melting pot’.

Multiculturalism is a feature of the Anglosphere as a whole but America’s victory – by attrition – in the Cold War, did much to anchor the belief that it was an essential component of a prosperous and modern society. Following the collapse of the USSR, it was thought that the ethnic strife which immediately plagued the communist federations was a by-product of economic depression and undemocratic regimes but nowadays, after the Bush 43rd Administration’s demonstration of American hubris there has been a backlash in the world which is increasingly questioning the Washington Consensus.

Many now point to the possible emergence of a Beijing Consensus which based on authoritarian capitalism and hegemonic ethnicity, can rival with the American model of development. Recent events in Burma, Sri Lanka and the Sudan would seem to indicate that not only China is willing to accommodate regimes which are strategic for Chinese interests but that these regimes may even inspire themselves on the Chinese example: in Sri Lanka the government has just militarily defeated its long term Tamil minority rebellion (with Chinese aid), in the Sudan, the Arab government has been trying to establish its authority over African Darfur and in Burma the government tries to keep the state united by establishing a ruling ethnicity while fighting the centrifugal minority resistance movements.

In truth, the fight between the liberal and socialist narratives throughout the Cold War, contributed only to empower the third narrative, that of the 3rd world represented in the NAM. Incidentally, both the NAM states in general, and their long time spokesman China in particular, have been quite proficient at securing hegemonic ethnicities: there was such a trend in Africa where white European settlers were ‘incentived’ to leave – Ian Smith for example was quite right in claiming that for the africanists and communists, the problem with his government was not that it was a minority ruling a majority but that it was a white minority at that – in Indonesia where the Javanese elites transformed the United States of Indonesia into the Republic of Indonesia and in China where the Han ethnicity is the core of the empire.

Democracy, being a natural guarantor of rights regime is usually quite deadly for multi-ethnic states. Yugoslavia, Russia and the west European naval powers all lost a great deal of strategic assets with democratisation. It would seem that the Washington Consensus was just as toxic for the third world – such trends can be seen in Bolivia, Nigeria or the states already mentioned.

In such a context, there is a significant possibility that the fall of the west will not be brought about by financial troubles in Wall Street or the City but by severe national incoherencies in the social fabric of western society.

The American melting pot model was based on a fallacious premise: that because different nationalities and ethnicities produced a viable new nation-state, all states can extrapolate and achieve the same multi-cultural miracle in whatever circumstances. In fact, the Chinese coolies, the Amerindians or the Hispanics were only integrated as long as they remained minorities against the prevalent WASPs. It is one thing to integrate a society when it is made up of intra-civilisational ethnicities and when the Anglophone ethnicity remains the hegemonic core of the state, it is another when different civilisational ethnicities are incompatible – see Israel. What is being attempted today throughout the world under American and European auspices is blind universalism. If the dismal failure results in another Wilsonian ‘republic’ like Kosovo, the rest of the world will logically conclude that the benefits of liberal society are not worth the risk of state disintegration.

British troops take Johannesburg from the Boers thus laying the seeds for Anglophone multiculturalism

The imminent collapse of Belgium and the significant integration and assimilation difficulties of muslim minorities in the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany or the UK, further heighten fears for the western social model. In America, more and more the different racial groups separate geographically from each other. The Baptist African-American (Black Anglophone Baptists – BABs?) in the southeast, the WASP in the north and the Hispanics in the southwest.

It is in South Africa that the western model’s adaptation to the third world has more been praised. It is here that Lib-Dem universalists make their case for the possible coexistence of incoherent civilisational ethnicities. Curiously it is also here that mismanagement on the part of the affirmative actioned black elite is more visible. South Africa remains a poor country with a huge economic divide. More importantly it is in South Africa that we find one of the world’s biggest racial divide. In order for a nation to have a future, miscegenation is a must; alternatively, a federal political model and a long multi-ethnic traditional coexistence would be needed.

If the Washington Consensus’ social model goes critical, South Africa is the country to watch since if it goes wrong there, there’ll be little incentive left for states around the world – Europe included – to keep applying it.

Is it a matter of time before the Johannesburg Wall of tolerated racial divide comes down?

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2 Comments

  1. M. Silva said,

    The Balkanization of Barack’s Party
    http://buchanan.org/blog/the-balkanization-of-baracks-party-4514
    By Patrick J. Buchanan

    After John McCain’s defeat, even amateur political analysts could see a trend ultimately fatal to the Republican Party.

    Ninety percent of McCain voters were white, and 90 percent Christian. But Christians have fallen to 75 percent of the population and are sinking, and white Americans have fallen to 66 percent of the population and are headed for minority status by mid-century.

    The handwriting is on the wall. Soon, even GOP sweeps of two-thirds of the white vote that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan managed will not be enough to capture the presidency. And as the GOP base contracts, the Democratic coalition — due to mass Third World immigration, anchor babies and higher birth rates — steadily expands.

    Yet, within the Barack Obama coalition — over 60 percent of Asian-Americans, 68 percent of Hispanics, 78 percent of Jews, 95 percent of blacks — fissures and fractures have become visible, not only along racial and ethnic lines, but along issue and ideological lines.

    “The high-profile Florida Senate race” between Gov. Charlie Crist and Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, writes The Washington Post, “has evolved into a battle that is tearing apart Democrats.”

    How so? Florida Democrats nominated Kendrick Meek, the only African-American with a shot of sitting in the U.S. Senate in 2011. While Meek’s chances remain slim, Al Gore has gone in for him, and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are coming, in the name of party solidarity.

    However, Meek’s former House colleague, Robert Wexler, who represented Palm Beach County while Meek represented Broward, has “all but ordered the state’s many Jewish voters to back Crist.”

    Should Meek lose because Jewish Democrats, on Wexler’s orders, cut him dead for Charlie Crist, black bitterness at this betrayal of their only hope for a U.S. senator will be off the charts.

    What is Wexler thinking?

    Black-Jewish tensions inside the Democratic coalition have also arisen in recent years, as Jewish contributors have poured money into races to defeat black members of Congress seen as hostile to Israel.

    Two smaller minorities, Muslim- and Arab-Americans, also vote Democratic, are growing rapidly in numbers and, like many African-Americans, take the side of the Palestinians as an oppressed Third World people of color.

    Yet, this is by no means the only fracture.

    Proposition 8, the California referendum to outlaw same-sex marriage, won the support of a majority of Hispanics and 70 percent of African-Americans. Black preachers implored their congregations to march to the polls and vote down the abomination of homosexual marriage, which gays, lesbians and liberals regard as the great civil-rights cause of our era.

    On social issues like abortion, Hispanics and blacks, two of the most churched peoples in America and the most deeply religious in the Democratic coalition, regularly vote against white liberals.

    Yet, African-Americans at 40 million and Hispanics at 50 million, now living side-by-side in the cities, also clash over spoils and turf. In New Orleans, black majority resentment at Mexican workers coming in and taking the jobs rebuilding the city spilled out into public acrimony.

    In California, Hispanic and black gangs are engaged in what one sheriff calls “a civil war of the underclass.” In U.S. prisons, black-white violence now takes a back seat to black-Hispanic violence.

    On referenda to cut off social services and keep illegal aliens from getting driver’s licenses, blacks vote solidly conservative. And, understandably for black Americans, as they have been displaced as the nation’s largest minority and now have rivals for diminishing social welfare benefits and the fruits of affirmative action.

    On racial and ethnic preferences in hiring, promotions and school admissions, Asians are classified with whites and are increasingly the victims of reverse discrimination. Asian-Americans’ interest in equal justice under law and no discrimination against their children must eventually drive them, especially Japanese-, Chinese- and Korean-Americans, out of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition.

    Where disparate Democrats still find common ground is on growing the government and redistributing the wealth from the private to the public sector, from those who have to those who have not.

    When the pie is expanding, everyone can have a larger slice. The crisis of the Party of Government, however, is that we have entered an era where most Americans distrust government and many detest government. Second, with the national debt surging to 100 percent of gross domestic product and a third consecutive deficit running at 10 percent of GDP, we are entering a time of austerity, a time of shared sacrifice.

    Now, it is not who gets what, but who gets cut.

    When black District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty picked Korean-American Michelle Rhee to shape up D.C. schools, and she fired scores of black teachers as incompetent, Fenty was soon history. The black wards east of the Anacostia River voted against Fenty six to one.

    Successful politics, it is said, is about addition, not subtraction.

    But, in the coming age in America, it will also be about division.

  2. Thus Spoke Fukuyama « The Westphalian Post said,

    […] colonisation by being remote, inaccessible and compact enough to avoid being permeated by the Berlin Consensus, the world as a whole is not. When western philosophy and values rule unopposed in the Americas, […]

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