The kind of regime that is being imposed on the world by what still passes for the West has two basic forms.  The form preferred by the Democratic Party in the United States and by the European Union is multilateralist and therapeutic.  The form favored by the people who currently control U.S. foreign policy is unilateralist and triumphalist.

The former claim to be motivated by the disinterested desire to bring peace, human rights, and democracy to the benighted multitudes who do not have those blessings but are allegedly entitled to enjoy them.  They are commonly known as liberals but have more in common with Marx and Gramsci than with Mill or even Wilson.  They are not opposed to military interventions but want them approved by a semimystical “International Community” (i.e., themselves) and conducted in pursuit of ideals common to all men.  In last year’s election campaign, John Kerry thus insisted that “those ideals and interests in this globalized world are consistent with the peace, prosperity, and self-determination of every country on earth.”  As long as there is a single country anywhere in the world that does not enjoy peace, prosperity, and self-determination, the adherents of this view will feel justified to seek new U.N. authorizations for various Wars for Human Rights.  The intervening country’s security interests, as defined in any traditionally intelligible sense, are explicitly discarded in favor of a regime of global social work.  As Kerry put it, “America has taken a rare step in human history in arguing that its interests and the world’s are one.”

The latter are commonly known as neoconservatives, but there is nothing remotely conservative in their worldview.  They also use universalist rhetoric, notably when trying to justify their Iraqi adventure by the alleged need to expand democracy in the Middle East.  Ultimately, however, they assert the right of the United States to act in pursuit of her security interests, provided that they define those interests, in disregard of the desires and misgivings of other players in the international system.  The fact that their definition of American interests is, at best, eccentric and, at worst, treasonous must not be discussed.  At home, they impose a numbing uniformity of discourse; abroad, the neoconservatives revel in what William Kristol and Robert Kagan have memorably termed, almost a decade ago, the regime of “benevolent global hegemony.”

Both camps claim that everyone around the world wants what “we” want and, moreover, that “they” want “us” to give it to “them.”  Both are ready to impose their gifts by force, if it turns out that the recipients of their largesse are reluctant to accept it.  The former will pretend to use that force in sorrow; the latter will barely conceal their joy in using it when they are confident of winning quickly and cheaply.

In real life, both are acting in blatant disregard for their stated principles.  We can offer but a brief summary before asking what is really going on.

In 1979, the first American administration in history to proclaim that “human rights” were its guiding light and main objective decided to support hard-core Muslims in the insurgency against the Soviets in Afghanistan.  As we now know, that decision was a strategic mistake: It prompted the release of the jihadist genie from a bottle that had remained sealed for almost three centuries following the siege of Vienna.  Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “brilliant idea” (as he called the Afghan covert action in an interview almost two decades after the event) violated the stated principles of the Carter administration, which claimed to abhor Realpolitik and to uphold human rights.  Billions of dollars were eventually poured into the coffers and arsenals of people who openly stated their intention to rebuild an early-medieval Allahocracy in which women would remain downtrodden and the Kufr would be killed or enslaved.  They did not hide their desire to export this model to the rest of the Muslim world.

The fruits of U.S. support were beyond the jihadists’ wildest dreams.  Jimmy Carter will go down in history as the man who did for Osama bin Laden what the Kaiser did for Lenin by providing him with that sealed train back in 1917.

A series of “liberal” interventions in the Balkans ensued in the 1990’s.  They were contradictory in objectives and mendacious in execution.  The state of Yugoslavia—a multiethnic, decentralized polity—was declared untenable, and, in late 1991, her constituent republics were encouraged by the European Community to seek independence on the basis of self-determination.  At the same time, the European Community declared that the boundaries of those republics would be inviolable, even though they did not correspond to the ethnic map and although they had been arbitrarily fixed by a communist dictator whose sole objective was to cut down in size the most numerous of the country’s constituent nations.

One of those republics, Bosnia-Herzegovina, was a microcosm of Yugoslavia itself: Her three constituent nations were Serbs (one third); Croats (one fifth); and Slav Muslims, currently known as “Bosniaks” (42 percent).  But when Bosnia disintegrated in 1992, under the pressure of the same centrifugal forces that had been deemed irresistible in Yugoslavia’s case, the “international community” declared that she had to be put back together again in the name of multiethnicity.  Both democracy and self-determination were denied to the majority of Bosnian citizens, Serbs and Croats, who did not want to be Bosnified under Alija Izetbegovic (of The Islamic Declaration fame).  Bosnia has been run for the past decade by a series of Eurocrats as an international protectorate—unstable, unviable without international patronage, and certain to disintegrate when that patronage is removed.

Arbitrarily tyrannical fiats were applied in other disputed areas of the Balkans.  The Albanians of Kosovo were supported in their secession from Serbia by NATO’s military intervention (“self-determination”), but the Krajina Serbs were expelled in the biggest act of post-1945 ethnic cleansing in Europe rather than being allowed to secede from Croatia (“inviolability of borders”).  Macedonia was effectively partitioned between Slavs and Albanians three years ago, but no such arrangement was allowed in Kosovo, where, under NATO occupation, 90 percent of Christians were expelled and over 100 of their shrines were put to the torch by their Muslim neighbors.  While the Hague Tribunal continues its quest for alleged war criminals in Bosnia, a war criminal par excellence was enthroned as the “prime minister” of Kosovo last November, and his election was hailed by the U.N./E.U. governor of the southern Serbian province as an example of “democracy at work.”

Democracy no longer signifies the participation of informed citizens in the business of governance but the social and political content of decisions preordained by the “international community.”  The outcomes are fixed: a unitary Bosnia and an independent Kosovo in the Balkans; Yushchenko’s victory in the Ukraine.  The process of reaching them is “democratic”—never mind the actual vote count.  Any process likely to produce undesirable outcomes—for instance, a referendum on the partition of Bosnia along ethnic lines or the initiative to make eastern Ukraine autonomous—is a priori “undemocratic.”  Massive foreign underwriting of elections in Belgrade, Tbilisi, Minsk, and Kiev is laudable when it helps the “right” side; otherwise, it is “interference.”

The most tangible result of the liberal experiment in promoting “common ideals and interests in this globalized world” is the existence of a vibrant jihadist base in the heart of Europe that has had a connection, one way or another, with every major terrorist attack in the past three years, from Istanbul to Madrid.

The neoconservatives are less obsessed with the Balkans as a lab for postmodern social engineering, but they are no less guilty of pursuing policies that are inconsistent, illogical, and ultimately harmful to the security interests of the United States.  That they lied about Iraq is no longer a matter of dispute.  Although the lie was no greater than Clinton’s claim that the Kosovo war was waged to stop a “genocide,” its immediate costs in American lives and treasure are far higher.  That they will lie again is certain: The conviction that deceit is a proper technique of control exercised by the elite of rulers over hoi polloi is inherent to their mind-set.  It is in the knowledge that things are not what they seem, and even less what the neoconservatives say they are, that their policies need to be scrutinized.

Contrary to what could be expected on the basis of their rhetoric about the Iranian threat, the neoconservatives are remarkably forgiving of the transgressions committed by Pakistan, one of the weakest links in the “War on Terror.”  They accept General Musharraf’s farcical elections as legitimate.  His past support for the Taliban is impolite to mention; his duplicity over Kashmir is deemed irrelevant; and his claims to have had no knowledge of Dr. Khan’s nuclear-proliferation network are taken seriously.  The same people call Turkey an “indispensable ally” (Paul Wolfowitz), gloss over the “post-Islamic” character of her current government, forgive her refusal to help in the Iraq war, and insist on her “right” to join the European Union.  They reject warnings that Turkey is a semidormant Islamic volcano that may erupt with a virulence unseen since Iran in 1979.  In both cases, their surprising benevolence is rooted in the desire to use these putative allies as the tools of a broader geopolitical design.  In Pakistan’s case, it is to keep India in check.  In Turkey’s, it is to help maintain Israel’s alliance with at least one major Muslim power, to project a counterforce to Russia in the Caspian basin and Central Asia, and to make Europe ever less European.

The neoconservatives’ support for the Islamic terrorists in Chechnya is even more remarkable.  Mostly indifferent to “human rights” (and invariably so in Israel-Palestine), they nevertheless joined en masse a group called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, which claims to be concerned about Russia’s brutal oppression of the freedom-loving Chechens.  The list of “distinguished Americans representing both major political parties” in the ACPC includes Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Midge Decter, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, Norman Podhoretz, Joshua Muravchik, Morton Abramowitz, Richard Pipes, Robert Kagan, and William Kristol.  They contend, in brief, that the Chechens are engaged in a just war of national liberation, that their movement is not terrorist in nature or Islamist in character, and that the United States ought to put pressure on Russia to grant Chechnya independence.  Through a host of NGO’s, the ACPC and its members are providing support to Russian critics of Putin’s handling of Chechnya, including such people as Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov, as well as the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow Center.  As John Laughland noted in the Guardian last fall, their Russian clientele has been vocal in blaming Putin for his Chechen policies, in blaming the victim for the outrage in Beslan, and in arguing against well-documented claims that there is a link between the Chechens and global jihad.

From the standpoint of President Bush’s War on Terror, all of this is pure madness—as if the Cold War were still going on and the Afghan blowback had never taken place.

To understand what is going on, we need to look at the zeal with which the neocons have joined forces with the despised “old” Europeans in developing and pursuing a massive joint campaign of disinformation and electoral manipulation in the Ukraine.  The myth was simple: A “pro-Western, reformist democrat” was cheated of victory by an old-fashioned communist apparatchik supported by Moscow.  A wave of spontaneous popular protest reversed the outcome, just as it had in Tbilisi in 2003.  In reality, the show in Kiev was a well-orchestrated and carefully scripted leftist-neocon joint venture that cost about $100 million (which equals half a billion in Eastern European purchasing power), including tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars.

The Western media machine acted in unison, reminiscent of Pravda and Izvyestiya a generation ago.  Not one major outlet reported the fact that Yushchenko’s crowd included antisemitic skinheads from the Ukrainian National Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), a paramilitary movement whose members like parading in Nazi-style uniforms under flags with SS-style inscriptions.  (One can only imagine how the presence of such an entourage would have affected the reporting on Herr Haider’s or M. Le Pen’s election campaigns.)  Not even the commentators who are usually hypersensitive to any hint of antisemitism, real or imagined, bothered to note that these youths relied on a rich tradition, that tens of thousands of western Ukrainians—from the area of core Yushchenko support—collaborated enthusiastically with the Nazis, supplying volunteers for the notorious Nightingale Police Battalion and the Galizien Waffen SS Division.  Useless as a fighting force against the Red Army, these volunteers were highly effective in terrorizing Jews, Poles, and unreliable Ukrainians.  Many were deemed reliable enough to serve as auxiliaries in extermination camps, such as Sobibor and Treblinka.

The common denominator in all of these cases is the tendency of the Western duopoly to turn would-be friends and natural allies into enemies because they are perceived as “the other” in terms of core cultural preferences.  As the jihadist threat looms ever larger, the potential of China, India, and especially Russia to become partners in a common defense strategy is discarded in favor of policies driven by an ideology that breeds animosity toward societies and cultures resistant to postmodernity, such as East European Christians, Hindus, and Han Chinese.

On the central issue of remaking the world in their own image, liberals and neocons, to put it bluntly, fear jihad less than they hate those who have not yet submitted to their grand design.  This provides proof positive that “the West” has no interest in a real War on Terror but merely views it as a means to erect a New World Order centered on itself.  In substance, there is no difference between Bush’s Washington and Solana’s Brussels.  Both preemption and humanitarian intervention negate the sovereign nation-state and provide a self-validating replacement for the traditional model of politics between nations.  Under different slogans, both sides of the Atlantic are busy constructing a system that is arbitrary in nature, violent in enforcement, and global in scope.