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- Breakdown of the American Order
Olivier Berruyer: Mr. Todd, how do you see the present crisis with Russia? The strength of Russia is basically defensive. Russia is a balancing power: its nuclear arsenal and its energetic autonomy allow it to play as a counterweight to the United States.
It can afford to welcome Snowden and, paradoxically, contribute in this way to the defence of civil liberties in the West. But the hypothesis of Russia devouring Europe and the world is absurd. At the beginning of your career, you were much interested in Russia — even predicting its impending break-up. Whereas today, where nothing of the sort is happening, besides a population democratically voting in Crimea to return to the Russian homeland, we have the impression that we are spectators to some enormous tragedy which would almost warrant going to war in order to forcibly give back Crimea to Ukraine, despite the opposite wish of its inhabitants.
Why such a difference in treatment? The West, which I grant you is massively dominant, is nevertheless at present, in all its components, worried, anxious, sick: the financial crisis, a stagnation or decrease in incomes, a hike in inequalities, a total absence of perspectives and, in the case of continental Europe, a demographic crisis.
If you put yourself on the ideological plane, this fixation on Russia appears above all to be the search for a scapegoat, or better, the creation of an enemy, necessary to maintain a minimal coherence of the West. Its unemployment rate is low.
Of course, the Russians are poor and nobody in Western Europe can envy the Russian system, including at the level of liberties. But to be Russian today means belonging to a strong and reassuring national community, a possibility to project oneself mentally into a better future, it means: to be going somewhere.
Who could say the same about France? Russia is about to become again, in spite of itself, the symbol of something positive which reaches beyond it. In this sense, yes, it is a real threat for those people who, in the West, pretend to govern us, grabbling around in history, who talk about the values of the West but who, according, I believe, to Basile de Koch, really know well only the values of the stock-market.
After the Empire : The Breakdown of the American Order
But it is already no longer a traditional conflict between East and West, regressive in a psychiatric sense, of which America would be the engine. The recent crisis stems entirely from the European intervention in Ukraine. Very early, I have had the feeling that this time around, the United States, fearing to lose face after the return of Crimea to Russia, have followed in the footsteps of Europe, or rather, of Germany, as it is now Germany which controls Europe.
We register contradictory signals coming from Germany. Sometimes, we feel it to be almost pacifist, on a line of retreat, of cooperation.
Sometimes, in the contrary, it seems very far ahead in the contestation of, or the confrontation with Russia. This hard line gains in strength every day. Steinmayer took along Fabius and Sikorski when he went to Kiev. Now, Merkel visits the new Ukrainian protectorate all by herself. But it is not only in the confrontation with Russia that Germany is at the forefront. Within six months, including during these past weeks, when it found itself already in a virtual conflict with Russia in the Ukrainian plains, Merkel humiliated the British by forcing onto them, with unbelievable rudeness, Juncker as President of the European Commission.
Even more extraordinary, the Germans have begun to confront the Americans, using some story of being spied on by the United States.
It appears today that the BND, the German intelligence service, is also spying, as a matter of course, on American politicians. At the risk of shocking you, I would say that, given the ambiguities of German policies in the East, I am quite favourable to the CIA monitoring the German politicians in charge.
New German Empire (Emmanuel Todd) [1180x995]
And I hope moreover that the French intelligence services are doing their job and participate in the surveillance of a Germany that is becoming more and more active and adventurous on the international level.
To which one must add that this anti-American aggressiveness of Germany is a new phenomenon which one must take into account.
The way German politicians have talked about the Americans shows a deep contempt. There is an important anti-American background there.
I was able to measure it when my book After the Empire came out in German. According to me, it explains largely the success in sales of this translation.
It has been a while already that the German government has been laughing at American remonstrance in matters of economic management. What, we? Contribute to the balance in world demand? What next? At present, I observe that Russia is fundamentally a nation in a state of stabilization, and only that, even if people represent it as the big bad wolf.
The true emerging power, before Russia, is Germany.
It has gone a prodigious way, from its economic difficulties at the time of reunification to its economic recovery, to taking the continent under its control over the past five years. All this deserves to be reinterpreted. The financial crisis has not only demonstrated the solidity of Germany. It has also revealed its capacity to bring the whole continent into line.
If we free ourselves from the archaic rhetoric of the Cold War, if we stop shaking the ideological rattle of liberal democracy and of its values, if we stop listening to the europeist blah-blah, and have a look at the historical sequence playing itself out under our eyes in a brute and almost childish way, in brief, if we accept to see that the king is naked, we observe that:. This simple phenomenon is obscured by a double denial: two countries are acting as bolts, so that one cannot understand what is taking place in reality.
First, France, who does not want to admit that it has put itself in a state of voluntary servitude in relation to Germany. It cannot act in any other way as long as it does not admit fully the growth in power of Germany and the fact that it is not at a level to control it. If there is one geopolitical lesson from WWII, it is that France cannot control Germany, whose immense qualities of organization and economic discipline we must recognize, as well as its just as immense potential for political irrationality.
The French denial of German reality is an evidence. He has reached exceptional levels of unpopularity which stem, in part, from his servility towards Germany.
On a broader plane, the French elites, journalistic as well as political, participate in this process of denial. The last time, the task fell to the Americans and to the Russians. As a historian and an anthropologist, I would say the same thing of Japan, of Sweden, or of the Jewish, Basque and Catalan cultures.
France has other qualities. It has produced the ideas of equality, liberty, an art of living which fascinates the rest of the planet, it makes more children than its neighbours, while remaining an intellectually and technologically advanced country.
It is probable that, in the final run, if one really had to make a judgement, one would have to admit that France has a more balanced and satisfying vision of life. But we are not talking metaphysics and morality here: but of international power ratios.
Emmanuel Todd: interviews
If a country specializes in industry or in war, one must take this into account and see how this economic, technological and power specialization can be controlled. The United States. Because the key to the control of Europe by the United States, which is the inheritance of the victory of , is the control of Germany. To recognize the German emancipation in would have been to recognize the beginning of the dissolution of the American imperium.
Germany is playing a complex, ambivalent, but driving role in the crisis: often, the German nation appears as pacifist whereas Europe, under German control, appears aggressive.
Or the reverse. Germany is now wearing two caps: Europe is Germany and Germany is Europe. Therefore it can talk in different voices. When one knows the psychological instability which historically characterizes German foreign policies, and its bipolarity in the psychiatric sense, in its relationship with Russia, it is rather worrisome.
I realize that I am talking harshly, but Europe is at the brink of war with Russia and we have no longer the time to be courteous and smooth. Populations of Russian language, culture and identity are being attacked in Eastern Ukraine with the approval, the support and possibly already the weapons of the European Union. I think that the Russians know that they are in fact at war with Germany. Their silence about this point is not, as in the French and the American case, a refusal to see reality.
They need time.
After the empire emmanuel todd pdf creator
Their self-control, their professionalism, as Putin or Lavrov would say, compel admiration. This America which is no longer in control, but must give its approval to the regional adventures of its vassals, has become a problem, the geopolitical problem Number One. In Iraq, America must already cooperate with Iran, its strategic enemy, in order to face the Jihadists sponsored by Saudi Arabia.
Saudi-Arabia has, just like Germany, the status of a major ally. Its treason must therefore not be acknowledged… In Asia, the South Koreans, out of resentment against the Japanese, are beginning to cook up things with the Chinese, the strategic rivals of the Americans. Everywhere, not only in Europe, the American system is showing cracks, is crumbling, or worse.
After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order
German might and hegemony in Europe are therefore well worth an analysis, in a dynamic perspective. We must explore, project, foresee in order to orient ourselves in the world which is being born.
We must accept to see this world as the realistic strategic school is seeing it, the one of Henry Kissinger, for example, that is, without asking oneself about political values: just plain ratios of force between national systems. If one thinks along these lines, one sees that Russia is not the problem of the future, that China does not amount to much yet in terms of a military power.
It is interesting to evaluate the ratio of potential power between the two. But we must make an effort to project ourselves beyond this crisis. What the Americans should most fear, today, is Russia caving in.
But one of the characteristics of the situation is that the actors are incompetent or are very little aware of what they are doing. I am not only talking about Obama, who understands nothing about Europe. He was born in Hawaii, lived in Indonesia: only the Pacific zone exists for him. I am particularly thinking of Zbigniew Brzezinski, now an old man, but who remains the theoretician of the control of Eurasia by the United States. He has not seen that the American military might, by extending NATO all the way to the Baltic States, to Poland and to the other former Popular Democracies, was in fact cutting out an empire for Germany, at first economic, but at present already political.
Germany is beginning to get on with China, the other great world exporter. Faithful to his Polish origins, he feared a Eurasia under Russian control.
He is now running the risk to go down in History as another one of these absurd Poles who, out of hatred of Russia, have insured the greatness of Germany.
As you have asked me to do, I propose to analyze the following charts, comparing the United States with a Germano-centric Europe:.
Breakdown of the American Order
What these graphs are showing, is the potential industrial superiority of Europe. Granted, Germany is heterogeneous and intrinsically fragile, potentially unstable, but the mechanism of hierarchizing now taking place is beginning to define a structure of domination that is both coherent and efficient.