In a discussion on The Duran, US commentator Garland Nixon proposed an interesting explanation of the Neocon strategy in the Ukraine War. Or at least, one of their strategies, apart from the most obvious one of engineering regime change in Russia and plundering of its resources as a stage leading up to doing the same with China.
His thought was that by keeping the war, and public support for the war, going for as long as possible, the just anger of the increasingly cold and impoverished citizens of Europe will be held off for a few months. The purpose of that is to give time for the industrial corporations of Europe to avoid collapse by relocating. And where will most of them re-locate? In the USA, thus enabling the Biden administration to claim it has restored the moribund manufacturing and commercial success of the USA.
Now that may seem Byzantine in its deviousness, but isn’t everything now turning out to be Byzantine? In any case, as I will argue, such a plan has more of the appearance of the behaviour of the Western Roman Empire than of Eastern Byzantium.
There is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the deliberate de-industrialisation of Europe by the now indisputable hegemonic power, the American Deep State. Foremost is the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines, which I have no reason to doubt was actually carried out by Britain, as Russia has suggested, but which serves few British interests and plenty of America’s. The immediate gain is the sale of expensive American LPG in lieu of cheap Russian natural gas, but since this is uneconomic, then whilst the ordinary people are reduced to cold and poverty, the big international companies will up sticks.
Some firms have already put out feelers to China or India, but these BRICS nations are already being demonised by America and its colonies, and so more are likely to want to keep in the Western club. And where else can they go than America, which has carefully ensured that the sanctions it demanded damaged Europe more than itself, and its own working classes more than its corporate billionaires?
It seems pretty callous to trash your own NATO allies for your own gain, but it is par for the course in the Neocons’ dealings in every country they have invaded from Vietnam to Afghanistan, and even in the sudden abandonment of China as a trading partner after decades of making that nation’s economy depend on US markets. It’s more profitable to exploit countries with weak armies and cheap labour, but when those are no longer available or competitive, parasitising European industry in order to sell the products back to them may well be the next best thing.
If you doubt the story, than ask yourself how America ought to be acting to assist Europe at a time of economic meltdown. They would cancel the sanctions that have proven so self-destructive after nearly a year, offer help in repairing Nordstream, and get into serious negotiations with Russia to stop the slaughter they fomented in Ukraine, rather than talking about negotiating to string the public along.
But why, Garland Nixon was asked, don’t the European politicians, who must know what’s going on, scream blue murder and do whatever it takes to help their own people and economies, in spite of America? He replied that that is how empires always work – the political class of Europe is the equivalent of Roman client kings, appointed (with or without the illusion of democracy) to serve the Empire rather than their own people. In practice this means appointing the most corrupt individuals, and keeping them on board the project by bribes or blackmail. Such a perspective explains a lot about current affairs.
It also reminds me of a probable parallel in the history of Rome’s occupation of Britain. It is well known that, for reasons including plague, crop failures and internal moral corruption the Roman legions abandoned Britain around 400AD. The period following is one of the least documented in British history, and not just because the Saxon invaders were illiterate: historiography had failed well before they took over.
I recently visited a wonderfully restored Roman Villa in the extensive grounds of an exclusive hotel, The Newt, in Somerset. It dates from the last generation or so of the occupation, and apart from an entire rebuild imagined from the original archaeology, it has a technologically superb museum with rich explanations of the context of the villa.
The only sobering thing is that the sharp social divisions between the privileged villa-owning class and the local serfs and slaves working for them, for little reward, closely mirror the exclusiveness of the modern hotel estate itself, owned by a South Afican billionaire (whose previous venture, believe it or not, is called Babylonstoren), priced to welcome the urban wealthy and exclude ‘oi polloi (we felt rather out of place, but were the guests of those with globalist leanings). The reality of that social division struck home in a conversation I had with the new barman, who reminded me a lot of one of the intelligent, but disregarded, plebs drafted in to staff the industrial base of the villa and appearing in the interactive commentary.
What became clear in a new way from this educationally excellent facility was how the Romano-British rich are neither to be seen simply as foreign occupiers, nor as local people benefiting from the success of the imperial project and Pax Romana. Rather they were those who found ways to do well personally in serving the interests of Rome by expatriating the resources of the nation, whether they be tin, grain, wool or slaves. No doubt many of these people came from the local aristocracies, and so started out with advantages both for themselves and for the Romans.
When an aristocracy is truly local, it can serve the biblical concept of government by using its power and wealth to protect and prosper its people. We can see that in the way many local squires a few centuries ago conscientiously managed their estates to prosper the local economy and their people. Within my own Garvey sept, I discovered that the Garvey landowners at Murrisk in County Mayo made considerable sacrifices to mitigate the effects of the Great Potato Famine – unlike most of the absentee landlords who saw only a loss of profit in the famine.
When aristocrats seek to further a distant imperial power, though, and focus on how that empire will reward them with wealth and influence, they actually weaken their own nation. Many of the richer villa owners, it appears, also had estates abroad, and when the legions retreated, they simply sold up and retreated to safer and more profitable situations… it is of course entirely coincidental that Rishi Sunak has a Green Card entitling him to live in the USA should he ever tire of England. The less affluent landowners can be imagined to have been so domesticated by the imperial economy that they were both unwilling, and unable, to take on any leadership role when the system collapsed. And leaderless people do not prosper, especially when they are used to being told what to do.
Bede, writing in 731, describes how Britain immediately succumbed both to
illegal immigrants foreign raiders and to loss of national cohesion:
They were driven from their homesteads and farms, and sought to save themselves from starvation by robbery and violence against one another, their own internal anarchy adding to the miseries caused by others, until there was no food left in the whole land except whatever could be obtained by hunting.
Bede sadly recounts how Romano-British Christianity proved to be largely superficial and ineffective as salt and light in such a situation,
…even the Lord’s flock and their pastors. Giving themselves up to drunkenness, hatred, quarrels and violence, they threw off the easy yoke of Christ.
This need not have been the case. As is common knowledge, Rome itself was not immune to the evils it had engendered elsewhere, and what with the plagues, the famines and the barbarian raids, order later collapsed even in the city itself. It was largely due to the fact that the Bishop of Rome, Gregory, took a leadership role on behalf not only of the Church, but the people, that Rome survived as a significant metropolis. This also sowed the seeds of a corrupt mediaeval Catholic Church that took on many of the less creditable features of empire, but that’s another story. All human political systems degenerate, witness the England of Magna Carta and the America of the Constitution. We constantly have to struggle to remedy such failures until Christ returns to establish the only truly just government. As Churchill said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
But perhaps the lessons of Rome can be instructive to us all, especially to Christians, as BMW becomes a Detroit operation and the Germans tire of burning their furniture to keep warm. There is always a role for those willing to go against the flow.