During the Indonesian crisis in September, the American media faithfully toed the U.S. government line. “East Timor is not Kosovo!” declared Albright, Berger, and Cohen; “Amen!” responded the Fourth Estate. But commentary on America’s hypocritical diplomacy was abundant abroad. In the Toronto Sun (September 14), Lorrie Goldstein wrote:
If East Timor was [sic] Kosovo, we all know what would have happened by now. U.S. President Bill Clinton would have gone on national television to denounce Indonesian president B.J. Habibie as a new Hitler and a threat to world peace. There would have been American-led cries (with a hearty, “Me too!” from Jean Chretien and Lloyd Axworthy) to indict Indonesia’s army generals for war crimes. The media would be referring to what is now happening in East Timor as a “new Holocaust.” The reason none of this is happening is obvious. The United States, the key player in both conflicts, regards Serbia as a pariah state and Indonesia as a valued trading partner.
The U.S. has given more than moral support to Indonesia; in fact, it has secretly trained Indonesian death squads. According to the Observer of London (“How US trained butchers of Timor,” by Ed Vulliamy and Antony Barnett):
Indonesian military forces linked to the carnage in East Timor were trained in the United States under a covert programme sponsored by the Clinton Administration which continued until last year . . . The US programme, codenamed “Iron Balance,” was hidden from legislators and the public when Congress curbed the official schooling of Indonesia’s army after a massacre in 1991. Principal among the units that continued to be trained was the Kopassus-an elite force with a bloody history—which was more rigorously trained by the US than any other Indonesian unit, according to Pentagon documents . . . Kopassus was built up with American expertise despite US awareness of its role in the genocide of about 200,000 people in the years after the invasion of East Timor in 1975, and in a string of massacres and disappearances since the bloodbath. Amnesty International describes Kopassus as “responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in Indonesia’s history.”
The Pentagon documents show that the training was in military expertise that could be used internally against civilians, such as urban guerrilla warfare, surveillance, counter-intelligence, sniper marksmanship, and “psychological operations.” Specific commanders thus trained have been tied to the current violence and to some of the worst massacres of the past 20 years, including the slaughter at Kraras in 1983 and at Santa Cruz in 1991. The U.S.-trained commanders include the son-in-law of the late dictator General Suharto, Prabowo Subianto.
There is one reason why bombing Indonesia had always been out of the question: It is a Muslim nation—the most populous one, at that—and the regime in Washington is fond of Muslims. But courting Islam, flattering it, and hoping to make it benign may not work. In the United States, it is not p.c. to say so aloud, but such restraint does not apply to William Reese-Mogg of the London Times. On September 20, he wrote that East Timor, Chechnya, Kosovo, Iraq, and Kashmir are all parts of a single global problem:
The danger lies in the reaction between this revival of Islamic confidence, backed by a growing population, and the fears of the neighbouring civilisations. All the neighbouring civilisations feel potentially under threat. The West is concerned about oil, nuclear proliferation, immigration, the survival of Israel and human rights. The threat to Russia is even more direct, from the current wave of terrorism and claims for independence. The Serbs fear a greater Albania. India fears Pakistan and potentially the alienation of the 100 million Muslims in India itself. China is concerned about Central Asia and about the Chinese in Indonesia. The non-Muslim population of sub-Saharan Africa has anxieties as well.
Islam is an unresolved problem, concludes Rees-Mogg, and the West needs to face up to the fact of its revival: “The world is not going to find it easy to bind up the ‘bloody borders’ of Islam.”
That those bloody borders may soon move across the Atlantic does not concern our rulers, not because they are unaware of the threat but because some of them do not expect the United States to be around for much longer In a laudatory profile in the New York Times (September 21)—the second in six months—Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott declared his belief that the United States may not exist in its current form in the 21st century because nationhood will become obsolete.
But far more remarkable was Talbott’s espousal of ideological globalism before he joined Clinton’s team. In an essay in Time magazine (“The Birth of the Global Nation,” July 20, 1992) he stated that he was looking forward to government run by “one global authority.”
Here is one optimist’s reason for believing unity will prevail . . . within the next hundred years . . . nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. . . . A phrase briefly fashionable in the mid-20th century-“citizen of the world”-will have assumed real meaning by the end of the 21st . . . All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary.
Talbott’s ideology demands urgent scrutiny. The destruction of traditional culture and community and its replacement with a nomadic civilization in which man will lose his substantial link with the place where he lives is neither inevitable nor desirable. There is hardly any debate on this life-and-death issue in today’s America. In Russia, however, the debate is in full swing. Writing in the monthly magazine Moskva (December 1998), Andrei Andreyev defined the issue with perfect clarity:
The realisation of the “mondialist” project demands that national communities should disintegrate. To the upholders of this project the nation ceases to be the inner substance of the state. And the state, which constitutes the nation’s external “integument” and lends it political form and the status of an agent, must be replaced by a structure which emerges under the same name but is indifferent . . . to the nation and easily transformable into an organ for outside management. The state is nothing more than a local structural subdivision of a global system of management, which realises the tasks of this system within the territory entrusted to it. This territory itself is elastic, which is normal in the context of this ideology: an organization may amalgamate, break up, merge, and even disband entirely any of its “divisions” or “departments.” The promotion of unifying cultural, political, and economic projects is often defined as Westernization. That is only true to a certain extent, since the peoples of the West are subject to “Westernization” in a specific sense of the word just like the rest, and often in defiance of their inner resistance.
Andreyev is cautiously optimistic that historical tradition will prove more powerful than the “massive informational-technological onslaught” to which traditional communities are subjected. But writing in the same magazine in September 1998, Vladimir Kutyrev warned that the outcome is far from certain:
Mankind is faced with a new problem as it stands on the threshold of the 21st century, a global problem that is probably a synthesis of all othersthe end of culture. A true, responsible grasp of the essence and scope of this problem is a prerequisite for human beings in order for them to assess their various activities adequately-whether such activities are instrumental in their survival or, on the contrary, contribute to their extinction.
Kutyrev deems it possible that humans will learn to live “without the clamps of culture, without the feelings of guilt, conscience, without a sense of duty, without an ability for empathy.” That can happen if the individual follows the operational rules. Personal well-being and social respect are determined by the degree of conformity with a system whose mechanism is devoid of the requirements of morality or the commandments of religion. The result is death:
Just like the death of an individual, the death of man as a generic being is not a momentary act, it is a process inherent in life itself, one that at a certain stage of development begins to prevail over growth. As history moves along the line “the savage-the barbarian-the personality-the actor-the factor,” man reaches a peak of maturity, one can justifiably assume, at the personality stage. This stage lies between the living natural- social world and the world of technology, the social-artificial world. The withering away of personality, its transformation into a “preoccupied automaton,” into an actor- that is the first functional phase of man’s death. . . . The second stage . . . , man’s transformation into a factor of a socio-technological system, is more significant than the transformation of personality into an actor. This death is similar to clinical death; it is manifested in the rupture between body and spirit rather than in their disharmony and tension; it is manifested, in fact, in the disintegration of the specific integrity of man. The individual’s consciousness captured by technology is divorced, as it were, from the time and place of his body’s life. In virtual reality, coordination between information-based and physical being is disrupted along all personality parameters . Man can charge down a high snow-clad mountain or embrace the most beautiful woman on earth in his imagination; functionally he is physically impotent.
The Russian author concludes in the spirit of a seasoned Chronicles contributor, which he may yet become:
The starting point in the struggle of mankind for salvation is the idea of reorientation of its activities from progress to maintaining tradition, to efforts directed against becoming and for the sake of being. That is the essence of the conservative revolution described in philosophical language. In practical terms, it must be expressed in defending the values of historical man in the teeth of its progressivist reduction to technology and intellect. The survival of Homo sapiens assumes the struggle for the eternal against the temporary.