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Interview with Jean Thiriart, Part 2


Jean Thiriart, 1922–1992

4,023 words

Questions by Gene H. Hogberg

Translated by Dr. David Wainwright

Part 2 of 6. (For the rest of the interview, click here [2].)

Question 3: You advocate a rapprochement, a new Europe-wide Rapallo pact, embracing a united Europe and the Soviet Union. What advantages would there be for both sides in such an arrangement? Would Moscow, for example, give greater freedom to the Eastern European nations in return for economic help from Western Europe?

Jean Thiriart: My thinking has evolved since 1964 when I envisaged a Europe deriving its momentum from the West and spreading eastward, while all the time maintaining good, close relationships with the USSR. Now, in 1987, I have changed my perspective in favor of an east to west dynamic.

Today, I see something far greater than an enlarged Rapallo pact. A book to be published under the title L’Empire Euro-Sovietique de Vladivostok a Dublin [The Euro-Soviet Empire From Vladivostok to Dublin] will answer all your questions. The book was completed three years ago. I haven’t as yet published it because: (1) My time was very much taken up with professional responsibilities during a period of rapid business expansion;  (2) I hadn’t yet decided which computer system to adopt I now have a large network of IBM computers at my disposal; so I shall be writing my bible on European expansion with the help of IBM and “WordPerfect”–the irony and paradox of it all!

Militarily, the USSR cannot indefinitely go on tolerating the “American beachhead” on its western flank—a beachhead made up of the American servants, the lackeys of Bonn, London, Paris, Rome, and Brussels. Today’s Western Europe, under the control of NATO, is a tumor in the side of the USSR. All of the efforts of Admiral Gorshkov’s naval strategy are virtually useless as long as the United States keeps that “beachhead,” that piece of Rimland.

Militarily, the USSR is constantly on the defensive—a costly defensive. On its western side, the USSR is not yet complete. NATO in Europe and the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean are a real nightmare for the Soviets; it’s an awful position of weakness. The USSR needs European industry to develop Siberia. Siberia, Russia’s Far-East, is experiencing an interesting but very sluggish economic growth when viewed in connection with the industrial possibilities of Western Europe. The development of Siberia would be five times faster if it could tap into the industrial potential of Western Europe, and Western Europe’s integration with the USSR would signal its own autonomy in terms of energy. There is so much mineral and energy wealth between Kiev and Vladivostok that absolute and total autarchy would become a point of fact.

Arthur Koestler, whom I greatly admire, and whose entire literary output I know well, has written describing a totalitarian Europe stretching from London to the Urals (once again we see the geographical misconception regarding these insignificant hills). In his politico-historical novel, Bernard, one of his characters, speaks on this matter. Have someone translate for you pages 181, 182 and 183, regarding the “new gigantic Eurasian fatherland.” And hang this translation over your desk. Of course, my Europe goes further than the Urals; I have a better knowledge of geopolitics, and better economic and military knowledge than he does; my Europe extends to, or if you like, starts at Vladivostok. Thiriart is a sort of antitype of Koestler’s Bernard, though on a larger scale.

In Koestler’s novel, Bernard is a National Socialist; whereas I haven’t been a National Socialist since 1945; I have my feet on the ground. I have never had a “nostalgic, old-soldier” type of mentality. Since 1945, I have seen that even though National Socialism (with its stupid German nationalism and equally stupid anti-Slavic racism) failed to create the Europe I envisage in its thrust eastward; nonetheless, a Soviet Union, with a little bit of creative imagination, could bring this Europe into being through an initiative westward. The Bernard of 1987 has become a pan-European national-Bolshevik — serving a communism that has thrown off the shackles of Marx. Here’s what the Koestlerian Bernard of the winter of 1942-43 said concerning his vision of a national socialist Europe. Bernard says the following:

“United Citizens of a Gigantic New European Fatherland. Well, first of all forget at least half our official propaganda stuff. We have to beat the drum to get the people going: if we told them the truth, they wouldn’t understand. What we really believe is that with the rapid development of science and technique, mankind has entered the phase of its puberty, a phase of radical, global experiments with total disregard of the individual, his so-called rights and privileges, and other liberal mumbo-jumbo. The laws of orthodox economy, customs, currency, frontiers, parliaments, churches, vested sacraments and institutions, marriage, ten commandments—all mumbo-jumbo. We start from scratch. I’ll tell you how. . . Close your eyes. Imagine Europe up to the Urals as an empty space on the map. There are only fields of energy: hydro-power, magnetic ores, coal-seams under the earth, oil-wells, forests, vineyards, fertile and barren lands. Connect these sources of energy with blue, red, yellow lines and you get the distributive network. Blue: the joint electric power-grid stretching from the Norwegian fjords to the Dnieper Dam; red: the controlled traffic-stream of raw materials; yellow: the regulated exchange of manufactured goods. Draw circles of varying radius around the points of intersection and you get the centers of industrial agglomeration; work out the human labor required to feed the net at any given point and you get the adequate density of population for any district, province, and nation; divide this figure by the quantity of horsepower it introduces and you get the standard of living allotted to it. Wipe out those ridiculous winding boundaries, the Chinese walls which cut across our fields of energy; scrap or transfer industries which were needlessly built in the wrong places; liquidate the surplus population in areas where they are not required; shift the population of certain districts, if necessary of entire nations, to the spaces where they are wanted and to the type of production for which they are racially best fitted; wipe out any disturbing lines of force which might superimpose themselves on your net, that is, the influence of the churches, of overseas capital, of any philosophy, religion, ethical, or aesthetic system of the past . . .”

“Including those totem-poles and tribal forces which you were so fond of using?” interrupted Peter.

“Yes, of course,” continued Bernard imperturbably, “including the national traditions and culture of the temporarily subjugated peoples. They will never voluntarily abandon their anachronistic claim to national sovereignty, the only means to unify Europe is by conquest, just as the German dwarf-states could only be unified by the Prussian armies. If you wait either for your competing capitalists or for your international working class to do the job, you can wait for a long time, and meanwhile you can watch your proletarians forgetting all about their class solidarity every twenty years and rushing to arms to kill each other. You have started solving the problem at the wrong end; you were amateurs, my friend. Tribal rivalry can only be abolished by the biggest tribe swallowing the smaller ones. That fits, by the way, with your Hegelian dialectics. Thesis: the conqueror, antithesis: the conquered: synthesis: conquerors and conquered united as citizens of the new Eurasian giant-fatherland.”

The fusion of the USSR with Western Europe would release huge numbers of armed forces (currently defending the plain from Lubeck to Sofia) that could be used elsewhere. I underscore: elsewhere. This fusion, this marriage between West-European industry and the mineral and energy resources (oil and coal) of a comparatively small present-day USSR would create a situation of unassailable autarchy. This fusion would allow us to regain control and direction of the whole of Africa. You mention the “Eastern European nations” in your question. In my view, it is imperative that these nations never again be allowed to look at the 21st century with any hope of real independence whatsoever. This would be a negation of European unification. Historically speaking, even if the Soviet occupation from Warsaw to Sofia is a cruel thing in terms of current, day-to-day living, it is a good and positive thing for the formation of Europe.

France which occupied Algeria for 130 years unified the country. In 1830 Algeria resembled a motley breeding-ground of inter-tribal strife. When France left Algeria in 1962, it handed back a unified country to the inhabitants. One more paradox of history. Here in Western Europe, from a historical point of view, NATO is positive in serving to bring about a supranational or transnational consciousness. Not everything is negative in the military occupation of Western Europe. On the technico-military level, you are unwittingly forcing the appalling and imbecilic English, German and Italian petty nationalists to work together with each other.

In the long run, the Soviet occupation from Warsaw to Sofia will also have positive results. And the same applies to the American occupation from Oslo to Athens, from London to Ankara. NATO blurs and diminishes the psychologically harmful attitudes of previous, narrow-minded petty nationalisms–Italian, French, Greek and so on. The “ways of God” are unfathomable, as the faithful say.

To finish my answer to question three, I will summarize as follows: A fusion of the USSR and Western Europe would allow:

(a) Western Europe to completely recoup all that it has lost piecemeal between 1955 and 1965 (the territories formerly belonging to the French, Belgians, Portuguese, Spanish. . .)

b) Siberia to develop five times faster than today

c) the Soviet Army to be relieved of its exhausting defensive role between the Baltic and the Black Sea

d) the Soviet Navy to finally have a genuine role to play on an oceanic scale—the Euro-Soviet Fleet I should say both the USSR and Western Europe to bring about absolute autarchy. Any war that might cut off the South Atlantic, the Indian Ocean or the Eastern Pacific would be of little consequence. The united bloc from Vladivostok to Dublin would be able to do without commercial traffic by sea for decades and decades.

My view of a Europe made with, or rather made side by side, peacefully, with the USSR has progressively changed since my 1964 book, so that now, since 1982 in fact, I envisage a Europe made by the USSR. This will shock only those who classify men and nations as Good or Bad, in a Manichean way. Arthur Koestler, who has had a certain, undeniable influence in molding my political and historical outlook, proceeds from the same pragmatic viewpoint.

In London, at the end of 1944, he wrote: “Historically, it makes little difference whether it is Hitler or someone else who brings the United States of Europe into being. . .” Shortly before this, in 1944, he had already written: “If Hitler has failed, Stalin can succeed, and if Stalin fails, someone else will succeed m a century or two.”

Koestler’s philosophical path led from Zionism to Mandism, and at the end of his life from Marxism to English Liberalism. Mine has progressed from communism to National Socialism, and from National Socialism to a projected, enlightened, Marxless communism. Finally, for me, as with Koestler, Hitler and Stalin appear somewhat as “means to an end,” the tools, the potential obstetricians of history,” we could say of History, with a capital “H.” Koestler (whose example I follow) often stresses the essential difference between history perceived with political vision and history viewed historically. The historical unification of Europe is inevitable: in the long run it is “statistically” obligatory–dictated by geopolitics.

The Common Market politicians in Brussels and the speechmakers of the Strasbourg Parliament fall within a political perspective. In 1987, as I look for a means to speed things up, the only way seems to be through armed conflict. My present and future writings must serve the same purpose as a “particle accelerator” in experimental physics. The perspective must be historical rather than political. And the only possible way to bring this about is through armed conflict with the United States. Not with atomic bombs; in this case a .45 automatic is all that is needed. In my interview with university students in Paris, in 1975, I said that 300 Americans “assassinated” in occupied Europe would both shatter your complacency and provoke a heated reaction. And this would cause you to finally give us the martyrs we need. I am exasperated by the courageous but intellectually absurd struggle of the Red Brigades in Italy, the Direct Action in France, the Fighting Communist Cells in Belgium, and the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany. While their strikes are very often impressive from a technical point of view, their goal, unfortunately, cannot be taken seriously: a type of pre-1848 communism. None of these groups has thought of unifying under a common European title, and of having a single common enemy: the “odious enemy,” the American. I shall close by saying that armed conflict would change the perspective from political to historical. It would also change it from trivial to tragic.

Before concluding my answer to your third question, I think it would be useful to quote Arthur Koestler at greater length. On the difference between the political and the historical, on the inevitability of European unification, and on the irrelevance of the means used (only the end counts) to bring about this unification: whether through a Hitler, a Stalin, or a new Stalin. Here is what Arthur Koestler wrote at the end of 1944:

A vast mass of individuals subjected over long periods to certain pressures and influences–climatic, economic, etc.–will react, sooner or later, in a more or less predictable fashion. The words “sooner or later” and “more or less” must be stressed since they indicate the margin in which subjective factors, such as chance and personality, may play a part. However, if history is viewed on a broader scale, by centuries rather than by decades, the importance of subjective factors becomes negligible and statistical probabilities become certainties. So, we can predict that the high speed of transportation systems will inevitably lead to the unification of Europe. If Hitler has failed, Stalin may succeed; if Stalin does not, then someone else will succeed within a century or two. History resembles a river, and the subjective factor is like a boulder thrown into the middle of its course. A kilometer downstream the water will once more fill the whole breadth of the riverbed (which is determined by the structure of the terrain) as though the rock had never existed. But for a short stretch—a 100 meters or a 100 years–the shape of the boulder makes a considerable difference. Now politics doesn’t count by centuries but in years, and this is why it leaves a margin of freedom and personal responsibility to the leaders. It is not a question of the leaders’ abstract responsibility toward History, but of their moral responsibility toward their contemporaries. Historically, it makes little difference whether it turns out to be Hitler or someone else who brings about the United States of Europe. In a century or two, the edge of Nazism would be blunted, racist theories and Jewish programs would be nothing but a distant memory, and the lasting results would have been a unified Europe which, around the year 2500, would have possessed the same overall characteristics of the one that will be created by the successor to Hitler. But politically speaking, if we count in years rather than by centuries, the difference is enormous in terms of all the human suffering entailed by the painful diversion of the river.

Here is another passage from Koestler:

Fifty years after the first appearance of the railroad in Europe, the 300 and some German principalities became a single Reich. Today, the same process of amalgamation is inevitable on a European scale; in the age of air transportation, the anachronistic jigsaw puzzle of petty states cannot continue for many decades. It was Prussia, the most militant, the most autocratic, and the most Spartan of the German states, that unified the whole country. The position held by Prussia in the middle of the last century in relationship to the other German states is held today by the Soviets in their relationship to Eastern and Central Europe.

Koestler fully appreciates that from a historical perspective it matters little whether it is Germany of the USSR that brings Europe into being:

A century ago, Nietzsche also saw the need to create Europe. So I shall briefly analyse Nietzsche’s thought on this subject, and to be both objective and up to date, I shall study Nietzsche as seen by a contemporary Soviet professor, Stepan Odouev. I am using the French version of his work Par les sentiers de Zarathoustra. Nietzsche exercises an undeniable fascination, first on the young romantics of Western circles, but also, let it be noted, on certain Marxist thinkers. In November 1968, a special symposium was held in Belgrade entitled “Marx And Nietzsche.” At this symposium, Danco Grlic, a Yugoslav communist passionately supported Nietzsche’s views, an approach that does not appeal to the Soviet Stepan Odouev (sic).

On page 18 of the French version Odouev writes as follows:

In addition, the works of Danco Grlic are extremely characteristic of this point of view. It turns out that the creator of Zarathustra has used “all his titanic force” to totally demolish the values of a hypocritical culture–an immoral morality, stereotypical points of view (the gods and idols of a bourgeoisie perfectly self-assured and content with itself), and Nietzsche has done this in the name of ushering in the new man, with the highest attainable level of human consciousness (143, p. 338). The author endeavors to show that both Marx and Nietzsche chose a similar prophetic outlook of man on which to base their philosophical systems, and that the historical consequences of their teachings, in spite of the differences, “are very close in basic approach,” and invite a parallel between the superman and the communist ideal of a progressive harmonious development of the personality, etc. (cf. 142, p. 13, 15, 131).

The Soviet author sees in Nietzsche a nostalgia for the Roman Empire. Numerous European thinkers have expressed their nostalgia for the Roman Empire, including myself and hundreds of others. For us, everything crumbled after the death of the emperor Julian. The first rebirth was illustrated by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. Five centuries ahead of its time his Constitution of Melfi heralded the unitary Roman State . . . re-constituted in miniature by the first French Republic, and perfectly realized by Bonaparte. Stepan Odouev, studying Nietzsche in fine detail, found what he calls “Something like the Roman Empire.”

The following is an extract from pages 109–110:

From this will must come the birth of an “ideal” State putting an end to the discord resulting from the avid pursuit of democracy and forging genuine bonds of iron for the popular masses, something like the Roman Empire or Russian absolutism. Nietzsche considered Russia to be “the only contemporary nation with the hope of any staying power, able to bide its time and still hold promise for the future,” the antithesis of the “pitiful instability” of western-European parliamentary government. Russia’s power will keep growing unless she is weakened by the introduction of “parliamentary idiocy.””

Odouev speaks of the “national neurosis” afflicting Europe and inviting Nietzsche’s sarcasm. This patriotic neurosis is still rampant today, especially in France where it ranges from left to right over the whole parliamentary spectrum as the cock-of-the-roost clarion call of all political “animals.”

Nietzsche is exasperated by the division of Europe into small States. I quote from page 115:

The Germans wallow in shabby nationalism. Instead of taking advantage of a favorable situation “to make Europe into a political and economic unity,” to conquer other lands, there is “this national neurosis” afflicting Europe and perpetuating its division into small States, parochial politics.

I think you will be fascinated by the total parallelism between what Nietzsche published in Leipzig in 1883 (Thus Spake Zarathustra), and what Koestler has his national-socialist Bernard say in 1942, and what I am writing about as enlightened Totalitarianism.

There is a common thread here leading from the will to power followed by the will to superiority (the Homo novus). Stepan Odouev rightly points out that the idea of European unity in Nietzsche goes hand in hand with the description of the new man–the same Homo novus that Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Gorbachev have wanted and still want today. Before quoting from page 117, let me put Odouev’s statement in correct perspective by briefly referring to page 11 of his preface. The Soviet writer states: “. . . in the thirties when Zarathustra returned from heaven with a swastika on his arm.” Zarathustra could come back a few years from now, but this time to the Kremlin. Swastika or Euro-Soviet Star; it doesn’t make any difference.

Now here is what Stepan Odouev says on page 117:

The twin process of consolidating class forces (objectively conditioned by the development of capitalist means of production on the one hand and also by class struggle in bourgeois society) appears in Nietzsche’s theory as the phenomenon that will bring about both a race of supranational men (the Europeans of the future) and also a unique European state-controlled organization: “the United States of Europe.” Who are these “Europeans of the future?” What does their mission consist of? When he speaks of the “Europeans of the future,” Nietzsche once more distinguishes two “psychologically different” human types, free of the neurosis of nationalism, of all patriotic sentiment, of any party attachment or other “prejudices” of democratic society. Under present evolutionary conditions which are leading to a leveling of the European nations, he notes, there occurs, first, a constant “leveling and lowering of man towards mediocrity,” the forming of a “useful and zealous” animal with a herd instinct, adapted to slavery, and secondly, the promotion, the ascendancy, of a few powerful individuals with the exceptional qualities of tyrannical masters.

Once more, to conclude, here are extracts from pages 121 and 119 of the Soviet writer’s book:

In the works of his last period, Nietzsche speaks a good deal about the need for the political unification of Europe. But he never conceived this unification as an uncontrolled phenomenon, unfolding on the basis of a consensus between European powers; and he was never tempted, nor did he tempt others on this score with a vision of pacifistic Utopias. He infers the inevitability of unification from the will to power, that is to say from the struggle between the present and future claimants for the domination of this zone of the planet. Therefore, the unification of Europe must be preceded by a great war . . . Forging its own will by means of a new caste reigning over Europe, a formidable, far-reaching will, capable of setting goals for millennia. And so Europe will once and for all be finished with the too-long protracted comedy of being divided into small states; her divergent dynastic and democratic whims and impulses will be over. The time for petty politics has gone: the next century will usher in the struggle for universal domination–the obligation for politics on a grand scale (cf. 78, p. 127). This means that if Europe does not unite on the basis of the “Germanic spirit,” it is Russia that will do it.

Nietzsche’s prophecy is being fulfilled. Germany failed to create Europe because of Hitler’s narrow-minded nationalism. Now . . . It is Russia that will do it! (Nietzsche) It is fortunate that your compatriot Lyndon H. LaRouche does not read Nietzsche. It would give him insomnia.

I have been a bit long-winded and pedantic. Please excuse me. But I considered it important to bring to your attention the extraordinary coincidences to be found between Nietzsche, Koestler, and me. I have quoted three; but I could find 50 for you in my library.

Many people, with their nose to the ground like little hunting dogs catch wind of the alarming neo-Nazi, the vile Khomeinyist, the bloody Qaddafyist. By sniffing too low, one can miss what might be swooping down from above. Zarathustra in the Kremlin on Monday, in Dublin Tuesday? In Johannesburg Saturday? In Leipzig, Germany, in 1883, Nietzsche’s book aroused no interest. Stepan Odouev relates that one year after its publication Thus Spake Zarathustra, A Book For Everyone And No One, had sold less than 60 copies.

http://home.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/thiriart/interview2.html [3]