As mentioned in a number of previous blog posts, four ontological states (basic essence of being) remain in this day and age: Modernity, Marxism, Populism, and Natural Religion (Islam). These four ontological states shape the essence and nature of the international system, and in turn the nature and essence of the international system shapes everything else.
Because of the drastic differences in the nature and essence of these four different ontological states, there is chaos and social turbulence in the international system. The basic nature and essence of each ontological state can be characterized by two primary qualities. For modernity, they are money-worship and warmongering. For Marxism, they are cynicism and skepticism. For populism, they are anger and frustration. And for natural religion, they are love and romance.
The question is which of these four basic ontological states will win out in the coming years. Trends suggest that natural religion is on the rise, and it will continue to garner more adherents as time progresses. As the number of its adherents grow, natural religion will exercise growing influence over the international system, and in turn the influence of natural religion will prompt important changes and reforms to the international system, which is a welcomed prospect for anyone who is in favor of change and reform.
There are also different theories and opinions as to whether economic and social growth on a global scale is perpetual or limited. If you account for most or all of the factors that are beyond human control — for instance, natural disasters, pandemics, or meteors hitting the earth — the three factors that are most identifiable and relevant to thwarting economic and social growth on a global scale which are under human control are corruption, belligerence, and war.
Inflation is primarily the result of corruption, belligerence, and war. Aside from these three factors, no one has been able to identify a clear-cut cause for inflation as of yet. There are theories for inflation, but no clear-cut cause or causes for inflation to be identified. But the clearest and most credible explanations or theories that we have for inflation at this time are corruption, belligerence, and war.
By some accounts, inflation has gone up by somewhere between 45 to 50 percent since Bush 43 and his cronies started global wars in 2001 for no good reason. A kabob platter that you could buy for $9.99 in 2001 now costs at least fifteen bucks. Essentially, the economy revolves around two things: inflation and interest rates. If you understand inflation and if you understand interest rates, then you understand economics and the economy.
Inflation is just one reason as to why foreign policy is intertwined with domestic policy. A belligerent and war-mongering foreign policy has real effects on both the internal economy of the United States and the global economy. Thus, if we are to sustain economic and social growth on a global scale, the first move that we have to make collectively is a paradigm shift in foreign policy, whereby belligerence and war-mongering are replaced with diplomacy and friendly engagement that is aimed at spurring global commerce and trade.
As Kant argued, war and commerce cannot coexist. Moreover, war is now obsolete in a globalized age of interconnection and interdependence. You have to choose either war or commerce as your basic domestic and foreign policy paradigm.
Also, human beings have largely evolved over the course of the last two decades. Human beings are now more compassionate, empathetic, and loving than they’ve ever been through the course of human history. Ultimately, a tradeoff has to be made between either war or commerce as a policy paradigm and social paradigm. As the saying goes: “You can’t hold two watermelons in one hand.”
Moreover, the war paradigm has failed to accomplish the goal of preserving American power and prestige over the entirety of the globe. In September of 2001, the Taliban controlled and held somewhere between 90 to 95 percent of Afghanistan’s territory. Today, it controls and holds 100 percent of Afghanistan’s territory. In 2003, Iraq was for the most part a solid buffer between Iran and Israel. Today, Iran dominates Iraq, and Iran has extended its influence and reach to Israel’s doorsteps. In 2001, China’s national wealth and GDP was only a minuscule fraction of the United States. Today, China’s GDP equals America’s GDP, and by 2024 China will surpass America in terms of both national wealth and GDP. And in 2001, Russia was largely in shambles. Today, Russia looms large over Europe from both a geopolitical and geostrategic standpoint.
After the United States emerged from its isolationist phase during World War ll and reached peer power status with European powers, two consecutive geopolitical and foreign policy strategies followed, namely, containment and global hegemony. The former is underpinned by the “Rimland Theory” of Nicholas Spykman, and the latter is underpinned by the “Heartland Theory” of Sir Halford John Mackinder. It seems as though after two decades of testing Mackinder’s theory and failing, the United States has reverted to Spykman’s “Rimland Theory” as the underpinning of its geopolitical and foreign policy strategy.
Realpolitik — or “Realism” — is the philosophical and ontological foundation of American foreign policy because of modernity. The other three philosophical and ontological states (Marxism, Populism, and Natural Religion) have largely failed or have been ineffective in overcoming modernity as the world’s preponderant philosophical and ontological state.
However, natural religion has been spreading at a steady pace and rate. Thus, the basic binary, bifurcation, or dichotomy in the international system from a philosophical and ontological (essence of being) standpoint is between modernity — which is a largely corrupting force on the human body, mind, and soul — and natural religion (theocentrism).
Modernity assumes that human nature is inherently corrupt (Hobbes), but natural religion assumes that human nature is inherently good and that culture, people, the state, and the environment are the factors which corrupt the human being (Rousseau). Thus, the final question of philosophy, religion, and science — which in turn is the final question of politics, economics, and sociology (the “Trinity” of the social sciences) — is the question of human nature and whether it is inherently good or evil.
In my view — which is the Islamic view — human nature has both a good side and a nasty side. It depends on which side you bring out of a person. Education and pedagogy are the primary tools by which you bring good out of a person. The root Latin terms for education are “educare,” which means “to train” or “to mold,” and “educere,” which means “to lead out.” Self-education is the best education. And it comes as no surprise that Western European and Scandinavian countries have greater political stability than the United States because the latter doesn’t provide universal education, whereas the former does.
There are two categories of realpolitik or realism from a foreign policy standpoint, namely, “Offensive Realism” and “Defensive Realism.” After decades of global hegemony and overreach, the United States may need to alter its foreign policy strategy, such that it assumes a “Defensive Realist” position and stance vis-à-vis its two foremost geopolitical challenges, namely, Russia and China.
When a theory for global control and global management defies an oeuvre, the application of the theory will go haywire. Anthropomorphic and anthropocentric theories for global control and global management such as the “Heartland Theory” of Mackinder or the “Rimland Theory” of Spykman sought to defy a theocentric oeurve.
And we can now say with a certain degree of confidence that the outcomes of a global hegemonic endeavor aimed at defying a theocentric oeuvre were dismal. Any theory for global control or global management that replaces the aforementioned theories has to be based on a theocentric oeuvre. Otherwise, the results of such a theory will be chaos and disarray on a global scale.
Global order and global management is our external function as a human race, and contemplation and worship of a supreme power is our internal function. Balancing these two functions requires full energy and focus, and most people are not up to par for the duty and task to say the least. Also, global order and global management has six dimensions: economic, diplomatic, legal, political, military, and strategy. What is missing in the bigger scheme of things is the strategy part, or a “common strategy” which everyone in the international community can agree upon. Up to this point, the American strategy of global order and global management (based on both the “Heartland Theory” and “Rimland Theory”) is predicated upon military hegemony. But military hegemony as the means of establishing global order and managing the world is unsustainable in the long run. Thus, a new strategy of establishing global order and managing the world is needed, which in turn will replace American military hegemony as the primary strategy for global order and global management.
“Strategy changes with context.” Now that the strategy for global control and management has shifted away from a strategic context predicated upon military hegemony — given that a strategy of military hegemony is unsustainable in the long run — any new strategy for global control and management should ideally be predicated upon the following words of advice and wisdom from the legendary Walter Lippmann, who in my opinion ranks among the top three foreign policy experts and strategists in American history, alongside the late Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger:
“The United States is now at the center of the Western world. If we accept the responsibilities which result from this fact, we with our allies can secure a long peace. Otherwise, Western civilization will become a disorganized fringe around the Soviet Union and the rising peoples of Asia.”