Czech version here
Recently, I was speaking to a friend about the Russo-Ukrainian War and specifically, the effect it has had on Western nationalists. Many people calling themselves anti-imperialists have enthusiastically embraced the imperial project to annex Ukraine and erase Ukrainian nationhood, absorbing this people into the broader Russian imperial body. More people who until recently called for “no more brother wars” are now enthusiastically cheering as Russian and Ukrainian soldiers kill each other in a bloody brother war.
If we plot these people on a map, however, we see a general tendency of people who live in America and Western Europe to cheer on the Russian imperial efforts, whereas people from Eastern Europe tend to be either more ambivalent or outright pro-Ukrainian. Or, as my friend put it, “the further away you are from the bear, the cuter it looks.”
This isn’t just the case among dissidents and nationalists. National governments in the West have varied wildly in their support of Ukraine in the conflict against Russia. The governments of the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Scandinavian countries have been the most supportive, often to the detriment of their own national security, whereas France and Germany have been the great ditherers. The outlier, of course, is Hungary, but as I was once told on a visit to Budapest, “Hungarians hate all foreigners, they always have and that is the way it should be.”
Of course, Anglophone countries have also been strongly supportive, but they have an imperial geopolitical interest of their own to pursue in opposition to the Russian imperial interest, so their motivations and behaviors aren’t those of nation-states. I will therefore focus here on the difference between the Eastern European (chiefly Poland and the Baltics) and Western European (chiefly France and Germany) responses to this war and a possible historical root of such responses.
I first want to clarify that I’m not going to put France and Germany on the spot or assign particular blame to them for their lackluster response, because I believe in the right of nation-states to set their own foreign policy, choose their allies and competitors, and set their own course in the world. I will also recognize that France and Germany cannot give their all in aid to Ukraine as Poland and the Baltic states have done for another reason related to geopolitical reality: While Russia represents the primary security threat to the Eastern countries and defense against it encompasses almost their entire military and security operational framework, Western Europe has different security and military priorities. France in particular has not given up on being a world power, and so finds it very important to retain independent power projection capabilities. Thus its military is geared towards that end, as opposed to the militaries of the East, which are built around the idea of defending against Russian attack. If Poland empties its warehouses of materiel with which Ukrainian soldiers neutralize the Russian threat, Poland has not strayed from its long-term strategic objectives, but if France does the same thing, then it risks its own ability to project power in Africa, the Maghreb, and its various overseas departments.
What I will comment on is that there is a certain ingratitude on the part of the West for the sacrifices the East (and to a lesser degree, the South) of Europe has historically made and still makes, of which the West is a beneficiary.
The European continent is bounded by the Eurasian steppe and Ural Mountains to the east, by Asia Minor and the Levant to the southeast, in the south by the Mediterranean Sea and beyond it, North Africa. The continent’s western and northern borders are bounded by the vast, historically impassable Atlantic and Arctic oceans. But to the east and south, danger brewed and enemies of Europe came from there to attack the continent and its white inhabitants.
First came the Huns from the steppe, displacing the Germanic tribes of the east and driving them into the already fragile Roman Empire, causing the collapse of its Western half. Barely had the Germanic kingdoms in the West established some semblance of order when the Arabs and Moors came rushing in from the south, taking all of Iberia except Asturias and only just being beaten back by the knights of France. Italy was never safe from the Arabs until the Crusades broke the back of the Caliphate, and just like Spain, its southern half, including the island of Sicily, was conquered by the Arabs and kept enslaved until the de Hauteville Norman aristocratic family managed to almost single-handedly drive the menace out (although with Papal support). Then came incessant waves of steppe peoples in the Middle Ages — Bulgars, Tatars, Cumans, Magyars, Pechenegs, and finally the Mongols — whose reign of terror across the Eurasian landmass was halted by the combined efforts of Poland and Hungary, but not before much suffering, devastation, and the subjugation of the Rus, which would continue for another two centuries.
In the meantime, the collapse of the Byzantine Empire meant the entry of the Ottoman Turks into Europe from the southeast and the permanent loss of Anatolia to European civilization. Over the course of the next 300 years, the Ottomans fought bloody battles with the Balkan principalities, finally conquering and subjugating them all before moving on to Hungary and Austria, where they were beaten back by an Austrian-Polish alliance and forced to retreat. Tellingly, France allied with the Ottomans in what has been called a sacrilegious union, and French assistance was instrumental in the Ottoman defeat and occupation of Hungary. The Ottomans were beaten at the gates of Vienna and relinquished Hungary and Croatia only after 150 years, in the wake of the Great Turkish War, but the Balkans would remain in the Turks’ grip for much longer.
In the twentieth century came one final threat from the East, the Bolshevik horde. The first attack was beaten back by resurgent Poland in 1921 during the Polish-Soviet War, naturally with Baltic assistance, but the second attack in 1941 was unfortunately successful, and in 1945 Eastern Europe, including the eastern part of Germany, fell under Soviet occupation. The succeeding 45-year period of Soviet occupation resulted in a breakdown of traditional and high culture in the East, as well as dysgenic fertility caused by this cultural breakdown, as well as the perverse incentives set up by the Bolshevik states. Of course, the wars themselves and Communist massacres such Katyn and Bleiburg destroyed some of the best men the East had to offer before they could father children, while the Bolsheviks’ heightened social status and their useful idiots has led to a proliferation of the Communist criminal chromosomes characteristic of the commissars in the East. The genetic damage is probably immeasurable. The East has harbored a mistrust of the West ever since.
In “Dysgenics of a Communist Killing Field,” the linked article referring to the Bleiburg massacre, Dr. Tomislav Sunić speculates that the Balkan nations’ lower average IQs may be a result of Communism’s dysgenic effects, both in the negative sense of massacres such as Bleiburg and Katyn and in the positive sense of the Communist practice of promoting criminals, sociopaths, and ethnic minorities to positions of privilege which accorded them greater reproductive success then they’d have otherwise had.
I fully agree with his assessment, but I’ll also add that the comparatively higher average IQ of the Central and Eastern European nations who also went through the Communist IQ shredder indicates that it is probably our experience with the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans which has thrown our average IQs into the low 90s. A friend of mine is fond of pointing out that two-thirds of the Balkans’ aristocratic class died fighting the Ottomans, and the third that survived converted to Islam and now live on in Istanbul and Ankara as Turkey’s lily-white ruling class. Not just the aristocrats but also the haute bourgeoisie would regularly convert to Islam, as well as any peasant who figured out that conversion would raise him up from the status of dhimmi; thus, in every generation a bit of the higher-IQ populations of the Christian Balkan nations would be lopped off and transferred to Turkey.
IQ, of course, is not the be-all and end-all of nations, but it is a parameter we can measure. What other immeasurable parameters have been made worse in the East and Southeast by the Ottoman and Communist occupations? What had to be destroyed so that Homo sovieticus could be born? What low knavery had to be dressed up as mastery so that the aberrant psychology of the sovok boomer and his comrade-in-cringe, the yugoboomer, may emerge? Sorrowful is the fate of conquered people.
To the West, the East has been a cordon sanitaire protecting it against invasions from the south and southeast. Spain and Italy have also served as absorbing barriers for Muslim might in the past (and still do). In the meantime, Northwestern Europe has mostly been spared these blights, even though it had its own problems, divisions, and difficulties.
I don’t want to make it appear as if the East selflessly defended the thankless West, of course. The situation was closer to the East defending itself with the security of the West as a positive externality, and with intermittent Western assistance, with notable and often decisive exceptions such as the French-Ottoman and Anglo-Ottoman alliances or the support of America’s Jewish financial and industrial elites in building up the Soviet Union, culminating in the Roosevelt administration’s unconditional logistical, diplomatic, and military support for the Soviet cause, which allowed it to conquer Eastern Europe and part of Germany herself.
It would be foolish to believe that the East’s struggle is the only reason the West managed to develop and become the world-spanning civilization it is. We have a control group for that: In Asia it was China that bore the brunt of steppe savages’ invasions, but this has not led to the development of a civilization of note in Indochina, even as it allowed Japan to rise as a world power. The potential for greatness has to be there for the absence of savages to matter. Japan had some; Northwestern Europe had it in spades. Nevertheless, the East’s blood, shed over untold generations, contributed to that rise.
When my friend first suggested I write about this dynamic, initially I refused because I didn’t believe I could write this article without coming across as resentful of the West. I certainly do not appreciate comments about Mediterraneans, Balkanoids, and Slavs not being white on account of our lower average IQs, higher propensity towards criminality, or our women’s shameless materialism. Those traits are the heavy burdens of having been Europe’s shield to its south, east, and southeast. The best of us died so that the best of you could explore, discover, invent, and create. I am not sorry, because we do get to partake in the civilizational dividend. But take note of the sacrifices that were made — the long-term damage to our genetic quality — and make decisions accordingly.
Next time, the East, whether because it has bled too much or feels betrayed, may not stand its battered body between the West and the swarthy hordes beyond Europe’s borders yet again.
* * *
Counter-Currents has extended special privileges to those who donate $120 or more per year.
- First, donor comments will appear immediately instead of waiting in a moderation queue. (People who abuse this privilege will lose it.)
- Second, donors will have immediate access to all Counter-Currents posts. Non-donors will find that one post a day, five posts a week will be behind a “paywall” and will be available to the general public after 30 days.
To get full access to all content behind the paywall, sign up here:
Paywall Gift Subscriptions
- your payment
- the recipient’s name
- the recipient’s email address
- your name
- your email address
To register, just fill out this form and we will walk you through the payment and registration process. There are a number of different payment options.
Strength Through Joy: An Interview with Béla Incze of Légió Hungária
Why Crime & Punishment is Garbage
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 521 Daily Zoomer & Spencer J. Quinn Discuss The No College Club
Traditional French Songs from Le Poème Harmonique
Are Qur’an-Burnings Helpful?
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 520 Inside Serbia with Marko of Zentropa
The Populist Moment, Chapter 11, Part 4: “Multitudes” Against the People
The Worst Week Yet: January 15-21, 2023