Sun, 11 Feb 2018 16:04 UTC
“It’s déjà vu all over again with one big change – the dominant ideology in the world now is nationalism,” said Soros. “It’s the EU that’s the institution that’s on the verge of a breakdown. And Russia is now the resurgent power, based on nationalism.“
I wasn’t surprised to read his prediction about the European Union. His condemnatory tone against Russia – which he has accused of hacking his emails in 2016 – was no surprise either. The West’s demonization campaign against that country has even led to accusations that it ‘hacked’ the Oscars, so these days anything is to be expected in that respect.
I was intrigued, however, by his comments about nationalism – an ‘ideology’ against which he pledged to “fight back” as he announced that he’s remaining chairman of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) for another five years. Last October Soros transferred $18 billion to the organization – apparently as part of his bid to ‘stop nationalists’ worldwide.
In this 2014 CNN interview, Soros went a bit further in explaining his problem with Russian nationalism:
ZAKARIA: You have been very pessimistic or – or gloomy about Europe. Um, do you think that in this Ukraine situation, you’re seeing another aspect of the tragedy of Europe, the lack of collective action?
SOROS: Unfortunately, Europe is very weak. It’s preoccupied with its internal problems, which are unresolved. The euro – the euro crisis is no longer a financial crisis, is turning into a political crisis. And you’re going to see it in the elections. And – and Putin…
ZAKARIA: Explain what that means. It’s going to be – you’re going to see it in the elections because you’re going to see the rise of nationalist, anti-European forces?
SOROS: Yes. And interestingly, they are supported by Russia and pro-Russian. So Russia has emerged as an alternative to the European Union. Putin has sort of come out of the closet in – in Ukraine with an ideology that is Nationalist based on ethnic nationalism. You could call it Russism…
SOROS: – that’s a new word to describe it, because I don’t want to call it Nazi, because it is very similar to what you had in the interwar period… fascism. You know…
“Ethnic nationalism, Russism, nazism, fascism… you know…”
It’s comical hearing Soros throw loaded terms together in the hope that one of them might strike a chord. It’s also ironic that he does so in the context of discussing Ukraine. He did not mention that the ‘ethnic Russians’ in Eastern Ukraine who are recipients of Russia’s humanitarian aid were up in arms because a Western-sponsored coup ousted the government of democratically-elected Viktor Yanukovich and replaced it with Ukrainian nationalists who count neo-nazis among their ranks.
ZAKARIA: Protecting your ethnic groups with military force, if necessary…
SOROS: Well, it’s more than that. It’s – as an ideology, a new sort of myth of Russian superiority. If you – those who watch Putin’s speeches, he actually has revealed this new myth of Russian genetic superiority. You might have heard that previously from someone else. It’s a – a new ideology based on ethnic Russian superiority.
ZAKARIA: And as you say, a lot of these nationalists who are we – who are doing well in European – these European-wide elections seem very pro-Russian…
ZAKARIA: – whether on the left or the right. Do you think this nationalism could break up the European Union?
SOROS: Yes. It’s a real threat. And – and Europe needs to recognize it. And we need to recognize it, actually. We need to have a bipartisan foreign policy. We used to have that and we have lost it. So we need to reestablish it, because there is a real threat. It’s a ret – it’s a threat to America, also, because what’s happening in – in Ukraine and in – in Europe is having repercussions in – in Asia. You know, the – the Chinese drilling rig that is establishing facts on the ground…
The remark about ‘Russian ethnic/genetic superiority’ is perplexing. Nothing in the actions or discourse of the Russian government since the Ukrainian crisis erupted suggests a racial complex, much less an aggressive one, leaving us with just Soros’ accusation that Russian policy is racially-motivated. Considering the amount of influence this man has on politics in the US and elsewhere, you naturally wonder if he is causing the anti-Russian hysteria in the US and Europe rather than just another of its gullible victims.
Russia is not Soros’ only target. Notice his comment above about China. Soros also had something to say about Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month: “I consider the Trump administration a danger to the world.” He added a veiled threat: “But I regard it as a purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020, or even sooner.”
What Russia, China, and some eastern European countries, have in common is resistance to foreign intervention in their affairs – Soros calls this ‘nationalism’, meant in a derogatory sense. Trump is kind of in that camp too, though Soros’ beef with him is that Trump has threatened to stop letting the US be used as a vehicle for Soros-backed foreign intervention. Nationalism is indeed evident in the way Russia and China have played their hands in the geopolitical arena in recent years, although it is not the racial, expansionist, ‘fascist’ nationalism that Soros imagines it to be.
In the case of Trump, his nationalism is expressed in his ‘America First’ program, aimed at ‘making America great again’. By this he seeks to refocus the US away from foreign intrigues towards improving the living conditions of American citizens. However, it is an open question whether he will succeed in this. The Pentagon is still fully engaged with proxy forces in Syria, and threatening to expand elsewhere. This drains the US itself of human and economic resources and betrays the principle of non-intervention that Trump explicitly embraced.
Despite little observable shift in foreign policy from previous US administrations, for George Soros, a Hillary Clinton campaign multi-million dollar donor, Trump is nothing more than a gangster – and the same goes for Putin:
“Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of dictatorships and mafia states, exemplified by Putin’s Russia, are on the rise. In the United States, President Trump would like to establish a mafia state but he can’t, because the Constitution, other institutions, and a vibrant civil society won’t allow it.”
The US does of course have a “mafia state” (though it goes by the term ‘deep state’) which routinely flouts the laws of the land and currently holds its president hostage, while the “vibrant civil society” Soros refers to is the radical left #Resistance that threatens to destroy Western institutions as we know them and which he personally helped to ‘activate’ on that mafia state’s behalf.
Democracy Meddler Par Excellence
George Soros is admired as a philanthropist thanks to his generous donations to ‘charitable’ causes. These inevitably come with strings attached because he donates via his OSF to causes that will drive his particular ultra-liberal vision of the world – not what the target countries might otherwise choose for themselves. This is akin to the way in which the IMF and the World Bank dictate the economic policies of countries they ‘aid’.
This week we learned that Soros donated £400,000 to the ‘Best for Britain’ pro-EU lobby group that aims to stop Brexit from happening. Soros himself admitted at Davos that he “would like to see Britain remain a member of the EU or eventually rejoin it.” This matter, however, is only for the British public – or the UK parliament on their behalf – to decide, which they already have. Imagine the headlines if a Russian ‘oligarch’ had made a donation to either side in the Brexit campaign…
In the past, Soros’ NGOs and initiatives have been accused of interfering in democratic processes and seeking ‘regime change’ in several countries under the guise of ‘democracy promotion’. For example, in 2005 the Soros Foundation launched the ‘Wider Europe’ program, targeting post-Soviet states Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine as ‘future partners’ to the EU through educational, legal and political initiatives.
Soros’ remarks on Ukraine and Russia are all the more hypocritical since, in June 2016, DC Leaks (website currently down) published 3,000 documents from Soros groups which revealed their involvement in the 2014 coup d’état against Yanukovich. Worried that too many in Europe were ‘doubting’ the legitimacy of the new regime in Kiev, one of Soros’ groups – the Open Society Initiative for Europe – circulated an internal document in 2015 that called for:
“[stimulating] debate and doubt in movements, parties and audiences” in Europe where a negative perception of the “transformation” of Ukraine was “very preponderant“; discrediting the idea that “the independence and integrity of Ukraine is an ideological cause of the Right“; influencing the way information about Ukraine is heard and perceived in Europe, “especially among the group of doubters.”
It’s possible that Soros believes he is doing the right thing, even though he clearly isn’t. In this 1998 60 Minutes interview, Soros attempted to reconcile his activities as a financial speculator, which have sunk national economies, and his activities as a ‘philanthropist’. He didn’t succeed…
- “I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of what I do” as a financial speculator. [2:40]
- George Soros is “one person who at one time engages in amoral activities and the rest of the time tries to be moral.” [6:35]
- “I don’t feel guilty, because I engage in an amoral activity that has nothing to do with guilt.” [11:24]
No Borders Equals Full Intervention
Since when did nationalism become a dirty word?
Generally speaking, we can understand nationalism as “a political, social, and economic system characterized by promoting the interests of a particular nation, particularly with the aim of gaining and maintaining self-governance, or full sovereignty, over the group’s homeland.” It can describe either the attitude of the members of a nation to care about their national identity, or the actions they take “when seeking to achieve (or sustain) self-determination.”
For most of the twentieth century nationalism was considered a virtuous and worthy goal in most countries. The value of nationalism seems to have eroded in public discourse due to the emergent ideology centered around globalism, globalization and a world without borders. Globalism may be defined as “a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence” or as “the idea that events in one country cannot be separated from those in another and that economic and foreign policy should be planned in an international way.”
Globalization is a term that is often used in place of globalism, but generally refers to “a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology.” Interestingly, most definitions of globalization will stress that the process is primarily economic, and that social or cultural aspects follow the economics.
Liberal-minded people may be enthusiastic about a world without borders because it facilitates the utopian view that without nation-states there will be no differences between people; therefore no more wars and no more disadvantaged people ‘left behind’. But this outlook is extremely naive. The benefits people have obtained from globalization – more freedom of movement, more access to consumer goods, and more access to information via communications technologies like the internet – must be weighed against the harm caused by the facility with which concentrated wealth and power can ‘access the market of ideas’ (the mass mind, in other words) and push their particular ideology down and out across ‘global society’, which has led to the erosion of social and cultural bonds and the concomitant erosion of moral capital, defined by psychologist Jonathan Haidt as:
“the degree to which a community possesses interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, and technologies that mesh well with evolved psychological mechanisms and thereby enable the community to suppress or regulate selfishness and make cooperation possible.”
An ‘internationalist’ stateless entity like George Soros has no interest in “meshing well with the evolved psychological mechanisms of the community“; he seeks to mold the community from outside. Instead of a world in which we are all brothers without borders, we find that the weakening of borders has facilitated the concentration of power by a few who, like Soros, can dictate foreign policy (even to the global hyper-power!) by firing off a quick email, shift public opinion on key national debates by transferring funds from his computer, and win or lose elections for the ‘ideologically correct’ candidate.
There is another reason why the global utopia is not delivering on its promise. The magnitude of the structure of global governance in a fully globalized world is so vast, so all-encompassing, so totalitarian, that the elite at the top has necessarily grown out of touch with the reality experienced by the masses at the bottom. Jordan Peterson explains this gulf in the following video, in which he draws on the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel:
This doesn’t mean that social organization cannot ever develop beyond the nation-state into a different form of social organization. But just as a healthy human psyche requires the establishment of reasonable boundaries in order to interact with others, nation-states cannot afford to blindly give in to the forces of globalism.
George Soros epitomizes globalism. Thus, the only possible reason he may have to condemn nationalism as a matter of principle is that it obstructs globalism/globalization. In his mind, Russia, China and even Trump are ‘dictators’ and ‘mafia’ because they threaten to limit his global influence – whether he believes his own virtuous liberal narrative or not. This logic is not unlike that of a stalker who accuses his victim of cruelty because she will not let him take over her life.
Andrés Perezalonso has been a contributing editor for Signs of the Times in both its English and Spanish versions since 2007. He holds a PhD in Politics, an MA in International Studies, a first degree in Communication, and has a professional background in Media Analysis. He thinks that understanding world events is not unlike detective work – paying attention to often ignored details and connections, and thinking outside of the box. He was born and raised in Mexico and currently resides in Europe.