Ideology Skews Foreign Policy


By Wayne Allensworth

Professor John Mearsheimer is a leading proponent of a realist foreign policy based on national interests and maintaining a balance of power among the major countries. In the video below, however, Professor Mearsheimer admits that the theory, which assumes that the great powers act according to a realist view of the world, doesn’t always work. A number of wildcards can skew the great game of power. The international scene and the countries that are involved in the game are highly complex, while the theory is by its nature a simplified version of reality. Thus, he knows that the theory will fail at times. States will not act in their own interests as set out in the theory. One of those wildcards is ideology.  

Regarding Russia and the Ukraine war, Mearsheimer rightly judges that the West’s portrayal of Russian President Vladimir Putin as an imperial leader who planned aggressive expansion in Ukraine all along is wrong. Putin is guided by traditional balance-of-power considerations, not by imperialist ideology. Thus, the possibility of Ukraine entering NATO was a “red line” for Moscow, as the Russians considered NATO’s eastward expansion a threat to Russian security. Putin attempted a number of times to engage the West in a dialogue on that subject but was rebuffed. As of this writing, with Russia advancing on all fronts in the Ukraine war, Moscow’s aim appears to be creating a buffer zone in eastern Ukraine and leaving a Ukrainian rump state incapable of threatening Russia. Putin, notes Mearsheimer, is no idealogue. Russia today is not an ideologically-driven state. And the West’s leaders, especially American elites, should have understood that NATO expansion would lead to the current war and the devastation of Ukraine. But their distorted view of Putin forced a situation that violated the professor’s theory. 

The power of the Israeli lobby in American politics also negates realist thinking. The U.S., he says, is bogged down both in Ukraine and the Middle East. What the professor thinks about China as a security threat is another matter entirely. As I have argued repeatedly, the real threat to the American Remnant is not in any of those far corners of the globe, but right here at home. The professor’s worldview is incapable of processing that threat as it does not fit into his power politics theory, in which states and the power balance are determining factors, a point to which I’ll return.

Putin is acting as a national leader in a war driven by balance of power and security concerns. He recently designated the Russians — ethnic Russians, that is — as the “state-forming people,” something certain Russian nationalists have wanted for some time precisely as a pushback to imperialist ideology. They, and not only them, regarded the Soviet Union and the old Russian empire as having subordinated the real interests of the national core to those of empire. In their eyes, the interests of ethnic minorities and the at least nominally universalist ideology of the USSR meant that the core population was neglected, that the Russkiy narod, the Russian people, bore much of the burden of empire. How true that was is debatable. But it is a view that I have heard expressed many times in my career as a Russian area specialist and analyst.

The Russian president’s recent step probably means that Putin, who has made a habit of praising the multi-national character of the Russian Federation, is acknowledging that Russia is, in fact, a national state with national interests, and that those interests will not be drowned out by any ideology. It’s a natural extension of his realist views. If anyone understands the balance of power, it is Putin, a man who has established an equilibrium within a complex system of political-economic “clans.” He is not an ethnic nationalist in any ideological sense, but, rather, a proud Russian who is determined to defend his homeland.

Russia is far less an ideological country these days than our own. Professor Mearsheimer might not be able to grasp the root cause of the American elite’s acting against the apparent interests of the state precisely because this country cannot be considered a coherent nation state any longer. It is an ideological “proposition” state. The “state forming people” in America, the European core whose foundation was Anglo-Saxon, is demographically being displaced. The globalist elite in this country believes that is a good thing. Indeed, globalist ideology is the current Zeitgeist and its various supporting emanations, such as “woke” ideology, “anti-racism,” postmodern nihilism, expansionist “liberal democratic capitalism,” and the anti-natal, anti-national, anti-Western, and anti-Christian forcefields that surround it negate any thinking that could support a realist approach to foreign policy.

What’s more, the U.S. power structure extends its tentacles far from home. That power is based not only in the state, but across a Blob-like conglomeration of overlapping bureaucracies, trans-national corporations, and a globalized media, academia and educational system. The Blob rules over an increasingly heterogeneous population created by mass immigration as well as globalist propaganda. The nerve center of the Blob’s globalism is the Internet and all of its arms. How can one formulate a policy based on traditional national interests in such a milieu? The tools of diplomacy have been subsumed within a virtual world that envelops core populations in the West and drowns them out in globalist newspeak. Yet core Americans still speak of foreign policy in terms and within a framework that comes from another era.

We have not been invaded and conquered by a foreign army and, indeed, are in no danger from that. The conquest has happened from within, the invasion is demographic, and the demoralization is the result of a spiritual and psychological attack. Globalism is the Blob’s version of a state religion. Technology and mass society and all its deracinating attributes have undermined the core, which seems prepared to acquiesce in its own replacement.

Spare me the standard GOP appeals. MAGA was an illusion and, judging from its wild expressions of patriotism — for Israel, not America — is subject to the same corrosive and debilitating agents as its erstwhile opponents. “Waving the bloody shirt” is still largely effective in mobilizing middle America for foreign policy goals that are not in its interests. Fox News has done its job of framing something called “Biden” as the enemy of an America that still exists only in vestigial form, while rallying the troops to the great cause of proving we are not racists through an often bloodthirsty support for Israel that is driven by an apocalyptic ideology and telescopic patriotism, projecting their patriotic zeal onto Israel. 

What passes for the right in America is all for free speech except where Israel is concerned. Then it morphs into full scale “anti-racist” mode in denouncing “antisemitism.” As far as I can tell, MAGA has shown no real interest in defending itself as the national core, which has been eroded more by legal immigration since the adoption of the 1965 Immigration Act than the illegal-alien invasion flood that is, after all, icing on the globalist population replacement cake. The very idea of a national core, one that defines the country by providing the ethnic, political and cultural underpinnings for the polity, is just as unspeakable among many MAGA cheerleaders as it is on the beast’s left wing. Both are manipulated by globalists and foreign interests. Yet MAGA’s implicit attachments to an older America that was overwhelmingly white make it a prime target for denunciations by professional anti-racists and woke “activists.” That’s an attack for which the mass of Middle Americans has no ready defense, as it has largely absorbed the narrative and has mounted only a weak defense of their country’s symbols, monuments, and national story, much less its demographic base.  

To sum up, foreign policy realism is incompatible with a multi-cultural, ideology-driven, “diverse,” proposition state, one that is zealously intent on imposing its propositions on other states. It can’t be any other way because the core has declined. The Blob’s ideological precepts, especially concerning America as a “universal nation” and not subject to any of the boundaries limiting other countries, are the legitimizing myth of present-day post-America. MAGA has bought into that myth far more than it realizes. 

Chronicles contributor Wayne Allensworth is the author of  The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia, and a novel, Field of Blood. For thirty-two years, he worked as an analyst and Russia area expert in the US intelligence community.

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Wayne Allensworth

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