The View From Olympus 26: The New Great Game

With Russia’s retaking of the Crimea (and soon perhaps part of Ukraine proper), we find ourselves facing a new great game. While the great game of the 19th century focused on northern India and Afghanistan, the new great game is a much greater game. Its playing field is the globe, and the contenders are globalist internationalism and national sovereignty.

Washington is the leader of globalist internationalism, with the European Union playing Sancho Panza. The globalists seek to bring about “one world,” where the state has withered away and its replacement is world government.

Earlier generations of internationalists desired an official world government, in the form of the League of Nations or the United Nations. Today’s globalists, more clever, realize they are more likely to attain their ambition if they leave the form of the state in place but transfer its authority to larger entities. This might be called the “European Union model.” The real basis of world government becomes the globalist, internationalist elite that rules in every country and has more in common with its counterparts elsewhere than with its own people. This man behind the curtain is seen whenever a people elects a national government not made up of globalist internationalists. The globalists refuse to recognize its legitimacy, as we saw recently in Ukraine and some years ago when Hamas won in the Gaza strip. On the contrary, the globalists pull every lever to bring a non-globalist government down, elections be damned.

The two Great Powers that reject globalist internationalism and adhere to national sovereignty are Russia and China. It is not surprising that Washington has tense relations with both. The new great game will determine not only which player wins, but which survives. A victory by globalist internationalism will bring the extinction of the state as anything more than a hollow form. But if state sovereignty is able to reassert itself, it is difficult to see globalist internationalism surviving. It will be a superhero that has lost its powers.

The current front in the new great game is Ukraine. As of this writing, state sovereignty is winning—not that of Ukraine, which is an artificial state, but that of Russia. Russia is playing by the rules of the 19th century: policy reflects raison d’etat, and both threats and opportunities often call for the threat or use of force. Globalists loathe a policy based on national interests and use force only against those too weak to resist them. Russia is not in that category, so Washington is left to wring its hands and bleat.

The drawbacks of an international system based on state sovereignty can be expressed in one number: 1914. But conservatives should remember that war was not inevitable in 1914, and a system of state sovereignty had largely kept the peace in Europe since 1814, when a coalition of states stuffed an earlier internationalism, that coming out of the French Revolution, back into Pandora’s box.

Globalist internationalism, on the other hand, is Tolkien’s “one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.” It represents Huxley’s Brave New World coupled with the ideology of cultural Marxism. The Globalist internationalists intend to ram both down the throats of everyone on earth.

Between the two contenders, conservatives must favor state sovereignty. A victory for globalist internationalism would mean the extinction of conservatism and everything it believes in. Russell Kirk’s “Old Night” would descend everywhere, as all variety was replaced by a gray uniformity, the Left’s “equality” achieved by the abolition of man.

So in Ukraine, I say “two cheers for Moscow.” Not three, because Moscow is taking a high-risk road, where a few blunders there and in Washington could create a 1914-like situation. But Russia represents state sovereignty that fights back, unwilling to bow before the dictates of the globalist internationalists. A victory of state sovereignty is a conservative victory. In the new great game, conservative must recognize which side we are on.