Samuel Huntington claimed that if the conflicts of 20th century revolved around ideology, then the conflicts of the 21st century will revolve around culture.
Huntington (a Harvard professor alas) wrote his masterpiece The Clash Of Civilisations And The Remaking Of World Order in the early nineties — more than twenty years ago — and events since that time seem to have borne out his central claim rather well.
The political scientist, Christopher Coker recently gave a talk asking if Huntington was right? (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MWxUw3gBy7E)
Coker largely seems to think so. In his view, he has “never see the world more divided” —by culture. The West is the dominant but declining power, Russia is a resentful, angry, challenger. According to Coker, Russia (Putin) articulates that the West has no values, and if it does it does not defend them. Russia, meanwhile, claims that it is the responsible power that defends civilised values: Orthodox Christianity, stability, order and moral values. China is a rising power, one whose full intentions and ambitions are only starting to become clear. Coker mentions that a growing intellectual movement (cultural nativism) — a “first in history”— in China claims that Chinese culture and language can only be understood by people born into it and who speak it as their first language. Thus Chinese culture is distinct and, to use a phrase from Thomas Kuhn, “incommensurable” with other cultures (a canny memetic defence!) Finally, Coker mentions that ISIS is the first group in modern history to reject modernity.
Mencius Moldbug wrote (somewhere in his voluminous output) that once Europe had separated into “Athenian” and the “Spartan” virtues the stage for conflict was set and resulting tragedy (the deaths of tens of millions of people) was inevitable.
World War 4
Norman Podhoretz, one of the founders of neoconservatism, once claimed that the struggle between the West and Islam is, in fact, WW4. (https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/world-war-iv-how-it-started-what-it-means-and-why-we-have-to-win/)
Naturally, this begs the question of what was WW3. Podhoretz claimed that the struggle between the capitalist, democratic and liberal West and the Communist world was WW3.
What, however, is war?
Clausewitz claimed that war is a struggle, like a duel, or a wrestling match. War is one group trying to impose its will upon another group. A duel or a wrestling match need not involve lethal violence, and war need not be either violent or lethal. Sun Tzu claimed that all warfare is deception and that the best way to win was to win without fighting. Clausewitz claimed that (modern and Western) war is an extension of politics. Mao flipped that claim and stated that politics is a continuation of war.
Thus, there is economic, legal, intellectual and moral warfare.
The link between modern warfare and political ends, however, are assumed as given. In the past, this was not true, but it is today. Today, warfare must have (even if it’s only for show) a moral purpose.
The ultimate object of modern warfare is to control people’s minds. Mind control is executed via command and control of the ideological production, distribution and supply centres.
Moldbug calls this system “repeaters.” A “repeater” is a church, a university, or a media outlet that “repeats” a message — a meme.
In Consider Phlebas, a science fiction novel written in the eighties is a story that intentionally mirrors the cultural conflict between the West and Islam, the denouement (spoiler!) involves the Culture’s (West) AI taking command and control of the Iridian’s (Islam) computer system — its repeater.
At the end of WW2, when Nazi Germany was conquered, the Allies had command and control of the country, the people, and the system — the Allies undertook “Denazification.” The universities, schools, newspapers were cleansed of all Nazi’s and Nazi ideas. The political system of Nazism was dismantled and a new system was installed.
Nazi memes were eliminated and the meme’s method of reproduction was neutered.
The same was executed in conquered Japan. The same was attempted in Iraq, but it failed.
Modern war is over the “rules of the road.” — the values, visions, and fundamentals of political, legal, economic, educational and moral systems.
World War 4, however, is not simply a conflict between the West and Islam. Two other players are in the game: Russia and China.
Here are the players of WW4:
1: Harvard (The West, the “headquarters” of the Cathedral.)
2: Mecca (Islam.)
3: Kremlin (Russia.)
4: Zhongnanhai (China.)
The West and Islam ( memeplexes) are committed (a better word would be determined by their memetic programming) to world domination. Russia and China have expressed no such ambition (yet), and may never do so. Russia and China, as of this moment, are interested in only maintaining their sovereignty from Western attack (memetic infiltration and subversion). Islam, however, is engaged in a struggle for world supremacy against the West and the rest. “Cthulhu swims slow, but he only swims left.” Allah dances fast and furiously — but he only dances right.
Harvard’s grand strategy against Mecca is, as it does with most of its enemies, is absorption, digestion and excretion. In essence, it eats its enemies. Harvard’s strategy is to divide and conquer. First, create a self-imposed distinction of “moderate” and “radical” Islam. Co-opt the “moderate” wing and then either eliminate, marginalise or ignore the “radical” wing. The end is that Islam becomes, essentially, Unitarianism. Harvard’s strategy is feminine. It seduces Muslims (marginal and oppressed Muslims — women, gays, atheists, intellectuals and artists) with promises of power, wealth, prestige and equality and freedom. Furthermore, it is feminine because it provokes the ‘males” of both cultures to fight each other.
In Larry Niven’s science fiction novel Ringworld, a war is engineered by an alien race to cull another Alien race of its more aggressive members — using the humans as a cat’s paw. The aggressive members die in combat and thus do not reproduce and pass on their aggressive genes. While this strategy was planned, I believe Harvard’s strategy is more “Darwinian” in the sense that it is (largely) unplanned.
Mecca’s strategy, in contrast, is conquest and submission. Its strategy is therefore masculine. Violence and fear are its primary instruments. Harvard seduces, Mecca eliminates or intimidates.
The struggle between Harvard and Mecca is the most epic and consequential war in human history.
If it was a straight fight between Harvard and Mecca, Harvard would be the likely winner (given the balance of power.) However, the presence of two other players changes the dynamics of the conflict.
Kremlin is an active challenger and open opponent of Harvard. Hai, however, is still (somewhat) practicing the Deng Xiaoping principle which is to “hide your brightness.” Though, recent events in the South China Sea indicate that Hai is becoming more assertive.
So, we have three power centres that are not under Harvard’s control, two of which actively oppose Harvard.
The key issue is what if all three powers align against Harvard?
Christopher Coker claims that the strategic nightmare for the West (Harvard) would be an alliance between Kremlin and Hai. It is true that Kremlin and Hai have grown closer in recent years. If Harvard keeps pushing Kremlin and Hai, then their alliance will only deepen.
The real kick, however, would be if these two powers began to leverage Mecca against Harvard.
Harvard and Mecca are ultimately engaged in the propagation of memes. Progressivism and Islam are missionary religions which seek converts and conquests. The other two powers, however, have developed immunity (so far, because of the Communist disaster) from Western progressive memes; but they must keep adapting to attempts by Harvard to infiltrate and infect their “repeaters” — their churches, universities and media outlets.
So, this is the world in 2016. These are the centres of powers. These are the players.
A global Hobbesian state of nature.
The Making Of The New World Disorder.