Noopolitik in the Arctic

Item urgeat pacem aedificere in bactrianam[1]

Part I. Can Nature Vote?

 

This article is a case study of possible transcendence in the Arctic. It explores some promising ways of escaping the otherwise everlasting and devastating null-sum game paradigm that has conditioned all resource wars since the emergence of civilizations on earth. It has persisted from Alcibiades invading Sicily to Russia claiming the geographical North Pole. It considers that a culture of transcendence is inevitably connected to a culture of wisdom, which makes Noopolitik and transcendence-based diplomacy the two heads of one eagle. Furthermore, it declares that in a universe that has simply more galaxies than human beings [2] (and thus unless human population dramatically expand in the future, where the end of a human being has the potential to remain overall a much rarer event than that of an entire galaxy), resource wars have always been futile.

The battle over the Arctic Ocean, at once a major maritime chokepoint and an area with a huge potential for resource discovery, seems to be the textbook example of an intractable, null-sum balance of power. As interests diverge, overlap and become entangled for organizations or individual states such as NATO, Russia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, AUSCANNZUKUS and People’s Republic of China along with the European Union, one expects that in the Arctic game whatever one player wins, another has indeed lost. Thus, the North Pole will inevitably become balkanized by the many powerful interests dividing it, as has happened in any area where empires have fought across history.

Balkanization has been the reproducible mark of the concession-based settlement born of intractable tensions between empires throughout history. The response to this phenomenon has also invariably been the search for hegemony: since hegemony will presumably impose one single interest, it is a trivial outcome to resolve conflicts of interest. And since it would also impose only one will, it would disrupt the fundamental destiny of Man to display a diversity of opinions, cultures, customs and aspirations. Thus, from Rome’s imperialism to the USA promoting unipolar globalization and a form of “end of history”, one can see the eternal phenomenon of concession-based diplomacy, which affords but one trivial solution to the otherwise sub-optimal balkanization of the world, namely hegemony and one-willed (as opposed to decentralized) world governance.

Another trend is arising, which analysts such as Jean-Yves Heurtebise have been inclined to call a “New, New World Order”[3], in that it describes the rebound effect of potent multilateralism to the trivial dreams of plain unilateralism that the 1991 Bush Sr. administration was attempting to call a “New World Order”. This multilateralism, the destiny of Man, may only be harmless if it is accompanied by a culture of transcendence, an agenda of transcendence and more importantly, an ideal of transcendence, which will be shared by all powers and in the hands of none at the same time – a sort of inter-cultural and horizontal code of Hammurabi. Within the paradigm of transcendence, balkanization is not a suboptimal solution anymore, and hegemony not the only optimal outcome.

Regarding the North Pole, which for a time Humanity has made its geographic pole [4] and which is the symbol of the United Nations, in contrast with concession-based diplomacy, this essay advocates that transcendence and Noopolitik provide viable alternatives to the mere “balance of tensions” paradigm, which could bring North Pole players success on both global and individual levels. Helpfully, this would be without necessarily “freezing” the area as was done in the Antarctic after the decisive intervention of Greenpeace to prolong the unique protected status now usually known as a “World Park” it had inherited from the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 [5]

The Noopolitik strategy for gaining influence over the North Pole, this essay argues, shall most critically depend on setting a domestic example rather than relying on foreign coercion, whereby adopting an exemplary green posture at home could be leveraged to claim more international authority over the Arctic. As Michael Barr accurately commented, “Chinese soft power starts at home.” [6] This applies to the soft power of any nation, and makes exemplarity a vital policy for any nation, particularly those other than the USA, namely the BRICCA or Brazil, Russia, India, China, Canada and Australia. [7] Due to the territorial vastness of these states, the question of nature’s political weight is posed. The country that could demonstrate natures otherwise political weight to the world stands to gain an immense amount of “smart power” [8]

In the Arctic game Canada – while trying to assert greater autonomy vis-à-vis the USA – is battling with Russia, the state with the golden opportunity to deeply and terminally fracture NATO by playing its northern members’ interests one against another. Unlike land, water is a milieu where changes in the balance of power, and especially balkanization, propagate and sustain differently – something which sets a tellurocracy apart from a thalassocracy, even though the Arctic Ocean is already semi-solid [9]. Russia and Canada, the largest tellurocracies in the world, therefore seem to be deciding which 21st century thalassocracies they will become by asserting influence over the globe’s most difficult ocean.

In what we may call the “Brzezinski II” doctrine, Zbigniew Brzezinski between 1997 and 2011, noting the obsolescence of the Project for a New American Century’s doctrine, identified exemplarity and leadership (technological, political, economical, etc.) as some objectives the United States should strive to secure in the 21st century. A domestic excellence in education, welfare, services, public satisfaction, utopian idealism, infrastructures and of course innovation could then be the most powerful international lever the USA could develop – well beyond a potent military capacity – to refit its leadership. The underlying principle being that a state should exert power over itself before it does it over others and this we have called State Stoicism, after Marcus Aurelius’ Thoughts to Myself . Such an arsenal of exemplarity could best be used in the Arctic game, which this essay reviews.

The view is that green diplomacy and sustainable development, within a grand Noopolitik posture of exerting smart power over the Arctic and utilising candid – and sincere – exemplarity is the best strategy that may be adopted by any Arctic Gamer. From this perspective, the last two parts of this essay will analyse a remarkable initiative of U.S. Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck as a member of the network of “Green Embassies”. The initiative is an prime example of state stoicism as a source of international power in the neorealist paradigm. The case of Ambassador Bruce Oreck is all the more interesting in that it could illustrate the “initiatory curriculum for Peace” of N’Daw and Dieye, which claims that the most potent peace leaders in modern times have systematically been those who were willing to change themselves – and face their early life review, conditioning and parental legacy in all its pain, darkness and complexity – to change the world.

Knowledge constantly changes states, organizations and human beings, and the limit to national intelligence becomes the national limit to the willingness to learn without changing one’s self image, which intelligence agencies should critically remember at all time. In that also, the capacity of a nation to absorb immigrants is critically connected to its capacity to absorb innovation and self-change, and may account for a decisive dimension of France and Russia’s failure to foster the emergence of their Silicon Valley, or Singapore and the USA’s compared success [10].  A credible leadership in smart power and Noopolitik may be taken by human beings who have practiced self change and self control, as embodied representatives of change and evolution.

Noopolitik, the network-based politics of knowledge (and thus innovation), is indeed [11] the willingness to find oneself “in Athena’s camp” or as Richard Francis Burton had earlier sung in The Kasidah:

Till men hold Ignor’ance deadly sin, till man deserves his title “Wise:” [12]

In Days to come, Days slow to dawn, when Wisdom deigns to dwell with men,[13]

Such a view of Noopolitik as the willingness to be “in Athena’s camp” is already very interesting as it opposes “Athena’s” approach of war to that “of Mars”: wisdom against brute force by simplification. Athens was a thalassocracy; Sparta a tellurocracy. Noopolitik then becomes definable as not only the power of knowledge but the power of wisdom. No empire has remained perennial without wisdom, thus while power is demonstrated by history – and by historians such as Ibn Khaldoun and Arnold Toynbee – as not sufficient to the survival of empires, wisdom has proven vital. Any empire that has forsaken wisdom for futile dreams of dominance, “total information awareness”, hegemonic control and coercion has consistently declined from biblical Egypt and Babylon to the hegemony of America.

Noopolitik seems to be deeply connected to naval policy; Bruce Oreck has underlined the role the US Navy is currently playing in the “Greening of America”, while we know it is also playing a key role in the balance of tensions in the Arctic. Beyond this space, large tellurocracies endowed with natural resources control extraction and exports (e.g. Russia). Conversely, Thalassocracies typically control movement and imports, thereby developing a complex system of financial innovation and insurance to cover the many risks that are inherent movement at sea (e.g. 1st millennium BC Phoenicia, 1st century BC Veneti Gauls, 14th century Republic of Venice, 16th century Hanseatic League, 17th century Holland, 19th century Great Britain, 20th century USA, etc.).

The very word “Risk”, in the venetian origin of “risco” or Spanish “riesgo”, stems from the Latin resicum from which the English “reef” and French “récif” are both derived. Most critically, the co-evolution of thalassocracies with the changing oceanic environment seems to shape their collective thought in a posture which is more akin to change management and an ability to foresee the consequences of that change is a constant in the Universe. There is again one limit to this capacity – success. Success – a terrible master – indeed tends to dumb down even the brightest, most open organizations. The early 20th century US Navy proved faster in foreseeing change than its then more successful British peer, which proved decisive for the US later becoming the ruler of the wave. The thalassocracy of Napoleon III was much more conducive to technological innovation than his uncle’s resolute tellurocracy and complete lack of trust in the possibility of a steam-powered navy.

Thus if there has been, in History, a link between thalassocracy and financial innovation, there is actually one with control of the maritime traffic and innovation at large, and further with Noopolitik. The 13th century Mongol army remains cited as the best early example of network-centric swarm warfare, while network-centric organizations are considered most conducive to Noopolitik at the defense level. Network-centric warfare [14] has itself been applied to civilian defense, “color revolutions” and civil disobedience movements in general [15] , with many applications within the so-called New Great Game. [16]

In exploring to which extent Noopolitik is still a potent game changer for thalassocracies, and to which extent they are inclined to adopt it as a comprehensive posture, this essay must address such a stance to the aforementioned BRICCA  – the group of countries with vast territories which are also all fast-growing, industrialized and clearly asserting their naval power.

While the history of the French Navy has been decisively conditioned by France having to constantly divide its forces between two separate maritime façades, [17] this essay argues a comparable harmony of opposites must be found by the BRICCA between thalassocracy and tellurocracy, and more importantly, between considering nature a source of raw material and considering nature a source of knowledge, which is the ultimate form of Noopolitik sensus largo. Such harmony of opposites, would be the most decisive strategic feature of the BRICCA, and force them to transcendence, hence the interest in exploring them for a case study of transcendence in the Arctic.

In the three dimensions of being [Descriptive-Prescriptive-Predictive] for a total of six points this essay – for further comparison with others – may be considered respectively [3-2-1].

Nature has had little political weight so far…

If industrial civilizations have been seeing nature as a source of raw materials and natural wealth, the post-industrial civilization is increasingly considering it a – largely unexplored – library of innovative solutions and a source of knowledge. The creation of the Asknature.org collective database in biomimicry is just one out of many examples of this trend. As the knowledge economy fully encompasses sustainable development, the post-industrial civilization is realizing to which extent the exploitation of natural resources has denied next generations’ exploration of robust and sustainable natural innovation. Besides, the knowledge economy also propagates a culture of non null-sum exchanges in that knowledge exchanges are fundamentally non null-sum and thus contributes to the spreading of a culture of transcendence.

Biomimicry indeed, the field that systematically studies natural innovation with the aim to reverse engineer it into applicable solutions for the human community, is gaining momentum worldwide. As we have seen, from Gunter Pauli’s research into the “100 innovations” that he considers could generate “100 million jobs” [18] to the “Ask Nature” database for innovative solutions jointly created by biologist Janine Benyus to entrepreneurs Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre’s solution for renewable mycelium-based plastics engineering, the profitability of protecting nature’s immense history is being asserted to even the most narrow-minded industries and the most cynical advocates of raw realpolitik, let alone the many ecopreneurs.

Such manifesto of what we may call “Biologism”, a movement that would be very much comparable to the 20th century’s “Futurism” although without the same political polarity [19] is far from trivial. Biologism marks a trend within the complex inter-relation between Man’s concept of history and the history of life on Earth. While urban humanity decided to mark the beginning of history to that of writing, aboriginal cultures, who rarely developed writing and maintained a mainly oral tradition (this invariant holding from Brazil’s Mundurucu Indians to the Masai tribes to the Australian aboriginals to the Maori peoples) interwove their sense of history with the greater one of the Universe. Two complementary visions would emerge from this natural process of cultural diversity: an aboriginal culture that would consider Nature most perfect and the idea to change it – or even worse, dominate it – anathema and an urban culture whom, as Nobel Prize laureate for Literature Seamus Heaney wrote, considers death “unnatural” [20] and the capacity to dominate Nature a form of intelligence.

In painting, an expression of this clash may be seen in John Gast’s American Progress, while an expression of the many attempts to transcend the two cultures into a wise unity may be either Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (with its serene landscape-portrait interaction), Wtewael’s Perseus and Andromeda or Benjamin West’s The Treaty of Penn with the Indians.

Rather than being transcended into a global unity after 1492, which would have endowed Humanity with a much wider wisdom and intelligence, the two visions violently clashed in a winner-take-all conflict that would culminate in de-colonization. The same winner-take-all attitude would later apply to knowledge exchanges and much condition the circulation of knowledge within today’s peer-reviewed academia, making knowledge exchanges largely more competitive than collaborative.

After contemplative cultures were simply considered inferior, the superiority of dominating cultures remained asserted for a long time, and the capacity to subordinate Nature a virtue defining advanced civilizations. Leslie White would even come to quantify cultural superiority in his 1943 essay asserting that culture is proportionate to the product of energy consumption and energy efficiency. One Far Right Member of the European Parliament would later simply state that the superiority of cultures and civilizations over others is illustrated through the fact that a philharmonic orchestra is objectively superior than a tam-tam. Besides that, as a blogger noticed, what he called a “tam-tam” was actually a playing instrument in many Western symphonies, never would it have occurred to this gentleman that the interplay of cultures could be regarded otherwise than as a winner-take-all competition, and that if the aboriginal culture did not produce the philharmonic orchestra, it did not produce the concentration camps either, and preserved nature, the common heritage of Mankind, more than any other tradition. Yet we know, in the political discourse, of the practice consisting of comparing the worst with the best.

There is no Good, there is no Bad; these be the whims of mortal will:
What works me weal that call I ‘good,’ what harms and hurts I hold as ‘ill’

They change with place, they shift with race; and, in the veriest span of Time,
Each Vice has worn a Virtue’s crown; all Good was banned as Sin or Crime [21]

Urban civilizations’ sense of history, while it departed from nomadic culture’s vision of time and progress, thus came to forget the subtlety of natural history and more importantly that it had invented a very powerful form of writing we still know very little of, that spanning such things as genotype, epigenotype, proteotype, phenotype and ecosystems. This complex writing humanity is learning to decipher little by little, yet the founding paradigm on which it bases its research is still that, arrogant, which considers death unnatural and the capacity to coerce nature a decisive correlate of progress. In line with this industrial reading of biology, one could also remember that the R of RNA is the R of Rockefeller [22]

The clash between nature’s knowledge and man’s knowledge, nature’s writing and man’s writing, would pursue in a winner-take-all manner, until man’s disproportionate affection of the ecosphere came to be identified as “anthropocene”, a geological period on its own, while the ecosphere itself would be considered again a complete homeostatic and self-regulating organism. The latter concept, a translation of the aboriginal common culture to the scientific community, was known as the Gaia hypothesis and notably developed by chemist James Lovelock after him having observed that traces of DDT [23] could be found as far as within mother’s milk. The Gaia hypothesis would cohabit with Maturana-Varela’s concept of autopoiesis in a very fertile manner and inspire both the research into terraforming and the origins of life.

Nature has little political impact, and that democracy does not let it vote is a trace of that “politics” has emerged as the science of the City, not that of Nature, namely that of mass governance – where cynical realism can arise more easily with the growing distance between leaders and the people, which does not exist within a tribe. The seven wonders of the world were in their time much more attended than any natural wonder on earth, because as Richard Francis Burton had meditated:

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.[24]

The ancient theatre of Taormina was built by the Greeks and intended to have nature as the décors of its plays, since nature was then conceived as a perfect aesthetical experience. The Romans would later rebuild a structure over it, this time to accommodate naumachiae and gladiator fights, thus hiding a part of the perspective. This anecdote may illustrate a permanently cyclic attitude towards nature, between domination and contemplation, that great powers have alternated in their historical existence.

The Humanist movement essentially consisted of bringing back nature and the human body to the center of aesthetical and ideal considerations, and it is no coincidence that it brought back pantheism to the speculations of philosophers (Baruch Spinoza among them) and that its explorations displeased the political Church (as opposed to the spiritual Church) of the time. This same political Church was at the same time, through the infamous Valladolid board, discussing whether or not New World natives had a soul, and had established de facto – though not de scripto – the domination of Nature as both a duty of Man and a mark of his spiritual rank.

In the same Humanist period those Christians who were probably less preoccupied of political affairs such as Vittorino da Feltre, founder of the Ca’ Gioiosa school and Guillaume Budé, a decisive architect of the Collège de France, had developed another attitude towards nature, already conceived of as a source of knowledge and not of evil. The Industrial Revolution and the scientific zeitgeist of its time would still lead to a proportionate revolution in the way Nature and wisdom would be perceived.

The capacity to dominate Nature would constitute a manifestation of knowledge, and Nature itself would become a source of raw material. In the same time, and this is probably best exemplified by the Meiji period in Japan which defined the ultra-rapid industrialization and modernization of the Japanese society, wisdom would be conceived of as a source of power over others. Namely the most essential incentive for a state to acquire wisdom, and thus to educate its people, would be not for it, and its people to attain bliss and happiness, but for the purpose of defense and then of attack. Napoleon the 1st as an individual and the French Revolution as a then dominant spirit decisively weighted in France’s ice-cold and intellectually coercive Grandes Ecoles [25] system for the purpose of defending France with the appropriate elites. Japan established its educative system for the purpose of matching the Russian industrialization and to avoid the fate then known by China.

That a country encompasses natural wonders thus did not, in the past, fascinate the masses and establish it as a great power. Only industrial Man could give its name to what he has not created, which aboriginal cultures, wherever in the world, never do. The native name given to present-day “Victoria’s falls” was not that of an individual or a dynasty. Natural parks have not been a source of political greatness, yet the very idea of an emerging movement, “Biologism” supposes that this is not meant to last. Would Man-made monuments cease to have more political weight than natural-made ones, this could be noted as a decisive change in the global consciousness of the age. Would Humanity harmonize its exponential urbanization with a much called for form of “rurbanization”, the very notion of “politics” would evolve in a historically decisive way.

The BRICCA + the USA are by definition the countries that have most to gain in such a transition, having many natural wonders on their own. Yet being industrialized and – for the BRICCA, which defines them – being all attempting to control their vast territory, they are at the same time both among the least and most inclined to do so. Most because they do not lack a cosmopolitan society (“educated” or not) with an interest in preserving the environment, and least because the past has proven them that their industry and economy were the instruments of dominance. Besides, having an abundance of any wealth is not the best way of becoming aware of its great value.

Nowadays the world’s greatest monuments remain much more attended than nature’s greatest ones, and the UNESCO’s man-made world heritage sites will command more attention than the natural ones, just as a man-made commercial will be looked at more often than a tree or river in a city. Yet, such could decisively change throughout the 21st century, and that nature see its political weight increase this essay calls the manifesto of Biologism.

The BRICCA, Noopolitik and the Blue Economy

Coining the term BRICCA is not a reaction to Goldman Sachs’ “BRICS”, now an academic and media meme, but rather another aggregation of countries on geo-economic grounds. Excluding the USA as the only hegemon, as of 2011 – though this is meant to change – BRICCA thus stands for Brazil, Russia, India, Canada, China and Australia. It thus adds Canada and Australia to the BRICS and removes South Africa, although as we will see South Africa, much like Argentina or Algeria, has a typical BRICCA profile in the overlapping of its fundamental national interest and its economic policy.

The BRICCA are the world’s six largest countries by size (without the USA), and although they much differ in culture, demography and industrial development, this fundamentally defines a posture they all have in common: the difficult balance between on one side the export of raw materials and reliance on heavy industry and on the other side the fostering of sustainable edge-cutting innovation at the national level, namely as if they had no raw material wealth and were forced to behave like pre WWII Germany, or modern time South Korea, Taiwan or Japan and massively invest in the Economy of Knowledge.

Since all BRICCA countries have major stakes in the knowledge economy, all being industrialized and politically assertive, a network-centric politics of innovation is fundamentally in their interest as it can also organize their national ingenuity by segmenting its complexity into an intricate web of inter-connected villages, cities and states. Thus BRICCA countries do aspire to the development of smart cities and smart countryside (again, “rurbanisation”, the access to urban-quality services and opportunities in the country), as they are all striving to connect (a term we prefer to “dominate”) their large territory. All are facing world-changing challenges in their Man-Environment interaction, which means they all have the invaluable opportunity of becoming environmental trend-setters and establish themselves as countries where any man would love to live.

Indeed unlike the USA, all the BRICCA countries have not connected their territory with a reliable network of infrastructures. This very notion – and the name it often bears in geography: “domination of territory”, which testifies of a post-modern relationship to nature – is usually not the greenest. In the USA the deployment of the telegraph and the trans-continental railroad was fueled by the hijacking of the otherwise peaceful spirit of a “Manifest Destiny” by some white supremacists against the natives in the late 19th century. This BRICCA countries cannot allow to happen lest they lose the soft – and beyond “smart” power they most critically need. This being said, all BRICCA countries are being tempted by expedient greed and may reiterate some of the most disastrous mistakes the USA made towards its natives and environment.

A reaction to this tendency of establishing a scale of civilizations has prompted Brazil to declare its natives are a national wealth, a line which Canada and China are following each in their own way. For China, derivatives of such a policy could prove excellent ways of sanitizing both Xinjiang and Xizang. For Russia, it is difficult to achieve a balance between a fundamental hatred of federalism, all the more intensified by the dismantlement of the USSR and the mortal risk that late 1990’s oligarchies posed on Russia’s national unity, and the clear desire to foster innovation, technology and novelty in general.

Like any BRICCA, Russia has a rich and complex wealth of native cultures, spiritualities and philosophies which should not be preserved for the mere sake of knowing the past, but rather as a genuine think tank or library of fertile stances towards the environment that Man as a whole has tended to forget. National innovation and the preservation of native cultures go naturally together. Curare, having saved hundreds of millions of cumulated lives as today’s ubiquitous surgical muscle relaxant, is just one example of an invaluable (and hopefully non-patentable) drug which could have been completely lost to Humanity had ethnobotany not propagated it. If the world’s chemical library is burning, so is that of native spirituality since 1492. As Sufi Amadou Hampaté Bâ reminded the African proverb to the UNESCO in 1960:

En Afrique, quand un vieillard meurt, c’est une bibliothèque qui brûle.[26]

BRICCA countries all want to foster their national ingenuity harmoniously, while their immense geological wealth poses the risk of turning them dumb by limiting their interest in innovation and the knowledge economy, a case which Algeria perfectly illustrates. Algeria, now Africa’s largest country since the balkanization of Sudan, could indeed be described as the “raw” end of the BRICCA profile spanning from the sole interest in raw materials and that in a national Noopolitik. India and China on the other hand, having a rather poor level of resource per capita, are massively investing in innovation and change, while of course the very limit to this investment is their own willingness to change.

Considering the BRICCA and their local versions (such as Algeria) sheds new light on how what has been considered recurrent curses in International Relations can actually prove remarkable blessings. Japan and Germany’s lack of raw materials proved decisive motivations of their imperialism, yet later proved even more decisive motivations of their industrial excellence. Both countries thus transcended the null sum game and their trivial willingness to possess resources and territories (Hitler’s notion of lebensraum) by taking the uncapped, infinite path of knowledge and innovation.

As it is harder to be exemplary and domestically excellent for a large rather than a small country, Africa’s horrible Balkanization (the second most comprehensive after that of Eurasia) could prove a blessing rather than a curse if African states are ready to move beyond the European political import of nationalism and decide to focus on themselves only: state stoicism is easier to achieve for a small country. Such state stoicism may have been decisive in the Dutch Golden Age, as ensuring individual and collective liberties proved an excellent way for the Netherlands – a resolute thalassocracy, forced by its geographic destiny to explore the world, to attract audacious thinkers.

Since covering a country with infrastructures and achieving national unity cannot be done nowadays in the way it was done by the USA in their early continental unification, all BRICCA countries naturally have major stakes in the Green Economy, and in particular in what most of them do not know yet is called “The Blue Economy”. Elaborated within Gunter Pauli’s “Zero Emission” paradigm, the Blue Economy is a highly profitable, non linear network-centric Green Economy. A clear kin of Noopolitik although its purpose was not that of defense but that of peace and zero pollution prosperity the Blue Economy was elaborated in the period that followed America’s energy crisis and Jimmy Carter’s remarkable “Moral equivalent of War” discourse.

The book, The Blue Economy could already become the backbone of any policy in the economy of knowledge or a national Noopolitik stance. Essentially, it tends to demonstrate that biomimical economics and management, contrarily to a widely held post-modern misconception, are actually extremely profitable and provide a clear competitive advantage to states or corporations. Thus preserving the environment, for Gunter Pauli, can actually yield greater profit than destroying it. For having so consistently made the protection of the environment economically and politically ultra-profitable, Pauli may one day deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, as the consequences of the Blue Economy for international security are immense. The later parts of this essay will see that the critical link between Noopolitik and the Blue Economy could be a game changer in the Arctic, which incidentally Ambassador Bruce Oreck is exploiting in a remarkable way even in spite of that he did not know of the Blue Economy as a movement until very recently.

Coming back to how the BRICCA illustrate the opposition between thalassocracy and tellurocracy, innovation and pure commodity wealth, we may further describe the geopolitical profile of the three biggest Arctic gamers: Russia, Canada, and the USA. Canada and Russia are tellurocracies with vast reserves of natural resources, while China, a maritime power in nature and History (its development is massively littoral) is like the USA a major net importer of raw materials [27] and shall be keen to adopt the attitude of a thalassocracy, especially in the Pacific and Indian Oceans where it could connect with Brazil and South Africa in an attempt to bypass India. BRICCA countries control vast masses of land and natural resources yet significantly partake in global trade – each in their own way – enough to covet the control of maritime chokepoints, which Canada is reasserting in refusing to cede any bit of sovereignty over the critical Northwest Passage.

2012 Algeria for example is not truly a BRICCA country, because it is a resolute tellurocracy which leads it to build little or no soft power and rely heavily on its stocks of natural resources rather than on its ingenuity, propensity for innovation and capacity to foster something akin to Silicon Valley, something which its longstanding inferiority complex and poor self-confidence have thoroughly prohibited so far. What it has provoked and sustained however is the very tense feeling of frustration of its educated, young and ebullient population which resent its overly conservative elites while – in the particular case of Algeria – also remains traumatized by the horrendous civil war that immediately followed the collapse of the USSR. For all these reasons Algeria’s conservative and patriarchal [28] political leadership is surely not in “Athena’s camp” as of early 2012.

From the point of view of Noopolitik, the BRICCA can be defined as that being halfway between “Athena and Mars”, and by that economically they both rely on their stocks of resources and on innovation. While Japan, Great Britain and Germany demonstrated that a high rate of innovation and a promotion of industrial excellence is impeded by the search and maintenance of a colonial dominion, to which extent the control of large pieces of land does impede Noopolitik has seldom been studied. What is sure is that leadership within the economy of knowledge is in the BRICCA’s agenda, and that their interest in the knowledge economy will provide for many case studies to answer such a question. There is indeed a dilemma in massively exploiting natural resources within a power-hungry international context, like the oil sands in Alberta or natural gas in the Barents Sea, and attempting to be among the most exemplary and environment-friendly countries.

The question also arises as to the interaction between Noopolitik, which is network-centric in nature, and centralization, which is tempting to the BRICCAs to resort to in order to avoid separatism, from Quebec to Xinjiang to Siberia to South-East Brazil [29] to Kashmir and to a possible aboriginal separatism in Australia [30]. In the USA maintaining a high rate of innovation seems to have critically depended upon federalism. That California, Texas and Washington had a culture on their own was no doubt instrumental in their tertiary industrial excellence.

As of today the USA is still the foremost Noopolitik player in the world. Knowledge is the high point and it may indeed solve all the problems, but it can bring a state to change itself, which all states deeply fear. We submit there is no higher limit to Noopolitik than states’ own self-limitations, and that is also why surveying China’s interest in Noopolitik is so interesting, as the best actor in China’s potential for change is China itself. This applies to any state.

The Knowledge Panacea doctrine

Being in Athena’s camp requires the understanding that knowledge can solve or transcend any problem in the universe. In this model, an obstacle or a challenge is therefore never a bad thing, but rather the opportunity to learn and generate knowledge, which will generate value among other things. If there is a peaceful war for states to generate value, then constraint is strength. Again, if knowledge is kept secret for the purpose of dominance the knowledge panacea doctrine immediately ceases to exist, as it critically requires that there is absolutely no barrier to the free circulation of knowledge other than freewill. Inter alia today’s academic peer-review system, and the massive privatization of common knowledge it entails since the vast majority of academic journals are not accessible for free while the research they publish was publicly funded, is but a very obsolete and worn out remnant of Man’s tendency to speculate over knowledge which must be transcended as well. One may also argue that we have reached a point of history where, if all knowledge that exists was let free, states would cease to exist as we know them. One could argue – as does the Constitution of the UNESCO – that the “fog of war” is not only a consequence but also a cause of wars. Total knowledge has the power to make the wars between states unnecessary.

That Algeria has large stocks of hydrocarbons somehow keeps it in the late 19th century. Probably a decisive way for NATO to truly alter China’s development would have been that it did not have to fight for its own supplies of raw material, something which could very well have brought China to follow the most unbalanced policy of Russia’s reliance on raw material exports and neglected innovation; the present reality is that it is precisely China’s constraint that encourages its Noopolitik. States are cognitive, and the geopolitical pressure of OCDE countries on the SCO does actually makes it much stronger. That the USA could enjoy such an undisputed preeminence over the world’s oil supplies brought it to neglect its infrastructures and decentralized power production from the decisive Carter presidency to the present wake-up recall in favor of national ingenuity that prompted the appointment of Steven Chu to the Department of Energy.

If during the Cold War industrialized states have much resorted to an environment-damaging “growth panacea” policy, which by self-regulation caused the birth of the Club of Rome, we have acknowledged in an earlier study [31] that the natural continuation of such policy was the much benevolent “knowledge panacea” doctrine, to the extent that states do not deny their own doctrine by refusing to change themselves in acquiring knowledge.

Knowledge implies non-linear growth and thus transcends cities’, organizations’ and Humanity’s problems or conflicts of interest. As Sufism, Humanism and the Enlightenment prescribed, this essay believes it is the one best way to achieve Pax Universalis and this should be kept in mind by any International Relations expert. What used to be an intractable opposition between an industrial group and the protection of the environment can become a common interest overnight; what used to be a dreadful Military-Industrial Complex can become an even more powerful Peace-Industrial Complex, which interestingly Bruce Oreck has very well understood and developed. All this just requires the sustaining of a good knowledge flow at both the national and international levels, which is strictly more powerful than cash or resource flow, and that powers and organizations sustaining this very flow actually absorb it themselves. As Idries Shah recalled, the false sage is he who does carry knowledge but does not allow it to change himself.

Michael Parenti has also well described how the over-reliance on cash flow, which clouds the collective consciousness’ natural aspiration to a more balanced and knowledge-driven economy, has grown into a “pathology” [32] on its own. Just as Michael Ruppert and also the members of the Club of Rome, Parenti clearly summarizes :

“An ever-expanding corporate capitalism and a fragile finite ecology are on a calamitous collision course, so much so that the support systems of the entire ecosphere—the Earth’s thin skin of fresh air, water, and topsoil—are at risk.”

The natural link between Noopolitik and sustainable development is that such collision course can be transcended by knowledge – which includes the willingness to face problems as opportunities to generate knowledge rather than unproductive profit-limiting situations. What Gunter Pauli demonstrates is that using knowledge to address added pressures on a business model, such as the most fertile constraints of protecting the environment by vertically integrating the waste chain of any value chain, can actually generate immense non linear profits by turning waste transformation into very profitable value chains on their own – this is called “upcycling” rather than recycling. The systematic exploration of this Blue Economy framework should be left to another essay, as the Blue Economy could be a genuine game changer of International Relations and more particularly of the New Great Game; here this essay shall merely focus on its ability to provide means of transcending the Arctic game although it was necessary to explore its global implications.

Knowledge, a renewable and virtually uncapped resource, is duplicated rather than exchanged in a null sum way (unlike capital) and is what allows for solving problems. Reaching for smart cities, fast systems and global networks is today one of the best-known ways of sustaining a high-bandwidth knowledge flow. Besides, as social entrepreneur Bruce Cahan accurately records, if information systems are infrastructures, they must be treated, and invested in, as infrastructures. The future will belong to intelligent, meaning well-connected (inter-ligere) nations, and this India as perfectly understood, developping the 20$ tablet in a policy that Bruce Cahan would probably not have recommended any other way.

As Kozmetsky & Gibson also underlined, the core “histology” of Silicon Valley is its exceptional vascularization by a constantly growing flow of knowledge and confidence, which includes a well-spread “can-do attitude” and a constant input of idealistic new eyes, much in the form of immigrants and minority entrepreneurship who naturally sustain the advantage of seeing a country in a facsinated way no citizen of strain can easily achieve.

The economics of knowledge is ubiquitous yet poorly understood because it is nonstandard. Besides that they are not null-sum, knowledge transfers are not instantaneous, unlike capital transfers. It takes virtually zero time to give someone 100 Yuan but it does take long to give someone core competencies in quantum chromodynamics. Knowledge is what allows adding value to resources, and this in a way between exploration (namely the attitude that is summed-up in the  “keep it crazy, kid” or “KICK” advice) which is a non linear attitude of the mind and exploitation (“keep it simple, stupid” or “KISS”) which is linear and thus predictable.

Finally, knowledge is in fine the common good and wealth of Humanity, yet since it takes efforts to generate it there is a propensity to speculate on it and hoard it. Since knowledge also defines certain social statuses with a very sharp income inequality between them there is already a trend for knowledge speculation in the academic world: for example acquiring a bit of medical knowledge becomes more costly worldwide than acquiring one – of comparable duration – of the poetry of François Villon (although the social utility of the latter cannot be formally expressed and is probably much bigger than one has tended to think in the post-modern world).

In any case, that states should focus their national efforts not on the acquisition of information and intelligence but on that of self-transforming Knowledge is the sine qua non condition of them adopting a comprehensive Noopolitik posture. States that will manage to be the first movers in this doctrine, however small and poor, will become major players of the 21st century, as the knowledge revolution shall simply be as significant geopolitically as the industrial one, hence Carter and Brzezinski having much researched into it throughout the 1970s and the latter having clearly studied “America’s role in the Technetronic era”.

Once again, entering the knowledge revolution and its fertile Blue Economy paradigm requires of states that they also change themselves, because becoming wise fundamentally implies self-change. State wisdom is hard to achieve indeed, as is individual wisdom, but it is part of the fundamental effort states have to apply themselves in order to become strong internationally and the only way through which they can merge the global interest with their own.

True, many states believe they are strong by measuring the effort they manage to apply to other states, and rarely define strength as the stoic exertion of efforts to themselves, like say the much exemplary kingdom of Bhutan who, hence, developed and self-applied the concept of “Gross National Happiness”. As a whole, the comprehensive description of this most fertile paradigm of state stoicism should also be left to another article. It is yet, in the case of the growing tensions over the Arctic, what shows that it is in the interest of any Arctic gamer to play it “green and soft” for the reaching of even the most diverging objectives of national interest.

Nove et nova [33], whatever Canada, the USA, Russia, China, Norway or Denmark want, playing it green and soft should be the very best way of obtaining it, which puts a premium on Bruce Oreck’s vanguard green diplomacy. This essay will also argue, in line with the global sub-optimality of international relations, that many arctic gamers do not want what is good for them, and that Noopolitik is a means for them to reach maturity beyond an adolescent “give me what I want” political attitude. The paradigm of state stoicism, as a post-realist one, indeed posits that states can reach cognitive adulthood and strive to obtain what they need-which is then what the world needs – rather than what they want.

As of yet we shall retain the fundamental intuition that knowledge, the universal game changer, is also a potent, if not the most potent, game changer of international relations, and it is then logical it be so critical to take it into account within the Arctic game. If there is any panacea doctrine, at both the foreign and domestic levels, it is the one of knowledge panacea. Yet, a mortal threat to the fostering of a complex knowledge panacea doctrine from local to global is the fear of organizations to change themselves.

 

 

Part II. This is TED America

 

The State of the Union

Native-wise, the “State of the Union” is that the territories of the present-day USA had 20 million natives in 1623 and only about 2 million nowadays. A library burns to the ground again, as Noopolitik, which needs a diversity of thoughts, opinions, philosophies and customs, critically needs natives to fully spread, without even mentioning the fact that the grand library of nature natives can read better than urban dwellers, which can provide a variety of very high added value solutions to the world economy. One may remember the Concurrent Resolution 331 of the US Supreme Court fully acknowledged the contribution of the Iroquois Nation to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Connecting territories is also essential to the fulfillment of a grand Noopolitik. Of all the BRICCA, India is the only one to have fully inter-connected its territories and prolongs, as we have seen, this very policy throughout the knowledge economy by developing the 20$ tablet nationwide. The effect of such interconnection is well seen when observing India at night from a satellite, as compared to any other BRICCA territory. The image, to a neuroscientist, somehow looks like that of a Diffusion Tensor Imaging of the brain’s connectome, and the connectomics of India is by far the highest of any BRICCA, although India’s explosive demography and recent major power grid breakdown may nuance any excess of optimism.

North America’s power, conversely, came from that the USA had the benefits of Balkanization without its disadvantages, much like Federal Germany, or Switzerland. The least balkanized continent in the world had that nation, the USA, endowed with a large population, large territory all then well connected by infrastructures, and enjoying a unity of political will. Nowadays the European Union enjoys the very same advantages along with a larger population, a larger GDP and a larger domestic market although with no independent political will, thus being subservient to NATO in almost any matters of Foreign Policy [34]. The People’s Republic of China enjoys an even more tremendous population, an even more tremendous domestic market – namely, prevailing on the Chinese market would soon imply prevailing on any market – but is not well connected, and unlike Brazil, has not got its capital relocated westward yet.

Thus, it is of vital importance to the USA’s policy to counter the immense leverage of the Chinese domestic market by co-opting new markets into a one, single integrated market on which they would exert their united political will. This market would ideally co-opt the European Union (“keep the Russians out” as it is notoriously the purpose of NATO and since post soviet Russia did not tip to the US economic sphere of influence) and Japan, or all OECD countries. This China very well knows of course. And this Karl Marx had somehow anticipated in the widely quoted analysis of future transatlantic integration as NATO attempts to consolidate it today before politically hazy-minded Europe tips to either Russia or China:

The fulcrum of world commerce, in the Middle Ages Italy, more recently England, is now the Southern half of the North American continent…Thanks to the gold of California and to the tireless energy of the Yankees [35] both coasts of the Pacific will soon be thickly populated, as industrialized and as open to trade as the coast from Boston to New Orleans is now. The Pacific Ocean will then play the same role the Atlantic Ocean is playing now and the role that the Mediterranean played in the days of classical antiquity and in the Middle Ages – the role of the great water highway of world commerce – and the Atlantic Ocean will sink to the level of a great lake such as the Mediterranean is today. [36]

Yet the cement of the US unity being internal mobility and excellence in infrastructure – which is far from being the case, present-day United States must also ask itself what is the most important between “United” or “States”. Can the USA fall back from a state of Union to a union of states, the opposite of what it did after the Civil War (this we will explore in part II.3 “Machiavelli on NATO and the BRICCA)? The state of its infrastructures, the state of its cultural exchanges, the state of its cosmopolitanism, its main – and absolutely immense – advantage over China, is the State of the Union.

This is TED America

Frustration is volatility and that popular aspirations to an ideal utopian world have been simmered worldwide for so long in a general morose “cannot do” attitude (a corollary to the belief in  “TINA” for “There Is No Alternative”) has already generated such self-propagating processes as the so-called “Arab Spring”, Stéphane Hessel’s powerful Mouvement des Indignés now spreading to Spain, the USA and Canada, and the unleashed pent-up popular feelings in Greece. Every human being seems to be born with this powerful idealism we find in children’s dreams and hence the disempowerment of the masses seems rather unnatural. It generates immense tensions which can slip into hatred and violence if they are not harnessed to constructive projects and ideal peaceful tasks. “If violence is the result of pent-up feelings, then we have to identify those feelings before they reach flesh point” admonished Idries Shah.

As Mahmoud Musa, a psychiatrist and pharmacist turned Professor in International Relations recalls, along with ecosystemics geopolitics is the science of the most complex system we know, in the sense that Humanity’s actions are totally inter-connected, although Humanity has not achieved the crystal-clear consciousness of its unity as a super-organism and is therefore mostly trapped in the delusional self-hatred which we call conflicts. Man-Earth interaction forms the most inter-dependent known web of actions on Earth, and is a textbook complex system in the sense of theoretical biology.

Would one think the genetics of cyanobacterias can be safely detached from the nuclear balance of power and that therefore such knowledge of biology and that of international relations need be separated? Because they could grow on their hull, the emission range of cyanobacterias’ and other algaes’ photosystems could have been a satellite signature of ballistic missile nuclear submarines and then eased their identification and tracking. The very marginal research into mass-energy equivalence led by a few independent researchers in the early 20th century also instrumentally developed the atom bomb and defined most of the Cold War’s rules of the game. The speculations into historic materialism of a young German philosopher commanded the constitutions of both the vastest and most populated countries in the world. Back to the sea, can shrimps decisively influence close-range submarine warfare? They can, and any naval officer will know how the typical swarm snapping of the shrimp genus Alpheus such as species A. heterochaelisi has to be separated from other submarines’ acoustic signature.

If international relations cannot be made separate from green algae and snapping shrimps, one cannot separate the dynamics of the Arctic balance of power from the growing call for empowerment of the world’s masses. Those two issues being inter-related, it is very possible that bringing about massive popular satisfaction and empowerment be a way for Arctic gamers to prevail at the North Pole.

In the English-speaking world there is today a very efficient well of cutting-edge knowledge from which idealist thinkers and utopian young generations come to drink worldwide. It comes from the vanguard exemplary America many of us used to love and which somehow lost its identity in the last four decades, but which people like Bruce Oreck are decisively attempting to resurrect. These are the TED talks, which emerged from nowhere else than the USA, maybe contributing to the changing of it into a utopian attractive in futurum thing we may call “TED America”.

René Guénon has underlined the cyclic nature of zeitgeister [37] within the early cosmological concept of “cosmic cycles” and Kali Yuga. At the narrower level of civilizations’ evolving identities, we may observe cyclic phenomena as well, which Toynbee, Ibn Khaldun and Paul Kennedy had also well identified, and in which the ethics and ideal of powerful entities come and go, alternating their dark age and renaissance.

In the age of William Penn, founder of the “fraternal city” Philadelphia, the USA was profoundly instilled with a utopian ideal and the desire to never reproduce the barbary Europe had often fallen into and also much exported. Yet during the 19th century the USA was typically confronted with the problems the BRICCA are all now facing. Like the BRICCA, the USA turned domestically colonial, denying its very ideal of fraternity to the natives, then African-Americans, then Hispanics, etc… Fraternity is an extremely hard ideal to stick too, but it should not be abandoned for this sole reason. “Human beings are members of a whole”. “E Pluribus Unum”.

The high masonic identity of modern France had already elaborated the Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen. Later modern France, via René Cassin and Stéphane Hessel among others, whom destiny and the sense of History seems to render immensely influent through the Indignés movement, decisively weighted in the debate to declare human rights “Universal” rather than “International”. Yet France also deprived the indigènes of its colonies of this very Fraternity, and denied them many of the most fundamental human rights. Ideal Zionism based on equality and the equivalent “Manifest Destiny” to turn the land of Israel into a place of harmony and perfection, a clear respect for the Decalogue and equal fraternity between Jews and goyim, left place for the adulterated version we are now the morose spectators of in the denial of the Palestinians’s human rights and the denial of the truth that many Palestinians would actually qualify for being of matrilinear converted Jewish descent[38]…

TED America is that portion of America, however big, however leveraged, which is seeking back its common ideal and at the same time trusts the future for containing that knowledge we miss, but which could save us all. It is the knowledge from material science and biology that brings such entrepreneurs as Eben Bayer to offering an environment-friendly mycelium-based plastic, the knowledge of international relations and behavioral economics that will bring us to realize to which extent trivial psychological biases have generated an unconscious conflict envy [39], the knowledge of new political systems and biomimical modes of governance, the knowledge of new peace-based social networking and peace journalism, the knowledge of healthful finance, etc… TED-America is not only the knowledge-based America, it is that spiritually advanced America which is ready to face the knowledge it has acquired to change itself rather than to change others, and, more importantly, does not consider it a weakness.

TED America is that of say Ashoka Fellow Bruce Cahan, whom we have seen argued that if knowledge exchanges represent an infrastructure of their own, they would have to be treated and invested in as an infrastructure. Such a “Knowledge Freeway” may then become to Humanity what myelin was to the vertebrates throughout evolution. Humanity, as a global brain, may address absolutely all of its problems by simply being more connected, and having knowledge flow much more freely between its single agents, namely human beings. In this perspective knowledge infrastructures will become decisive power multipliers, if not the most decisive of all, just like the industrial revolution proved Great Britain’s most decisive political lever. Again, in this endeavor of growing wiser, states will be their own limit.

TED America is also that of idealist Jane McGonigal, who having observed that Humanity had already spent a cumulated 6 million years playing World of Warcraft, clearly underlined that “gamification” could change the world by turning virtually any monotonous or un-motivating task into a pleasurable or addictive game. Such is already a core explanation of the emotional addiction that is observed on Wikipedia: a Mass Multiplayer Game in itself, with its addicted community of gamers often aching to defend their narratives and fight against each other, though a largely constructive one in the end. Such would apply to any tasks, a fortiori those of diplomacy and community caring.

The idealism of Silicon Valley, that of entrepreneur and “fast-systems” or “zero time” proponent George Kozmetsky, that of young Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, had many manifestations in History, from the Republic of Venice to the Loire Valley to the Hansa to Al Andalus to the Dutch Golden Age, to the Ming Era to the late Timurid civilization to the Olmecs, the Sumerians, Timbuktu in the Golden Age of trans-Saharan commerce etc… It is natural to Man to attempt to reach for the stars and it is Man’s natural state to be empowered by his immensely fertile imagination. It is then unnatural and frustrating, and so, conducive to violence, to have his imagination coerced by morose norms, TINA and a global “cannot do” attitude. “Imagination governs the world” [40] said Napoleon. The global disempowerment we have experienced is then but a short coma of History at large, and in spite of Francis Fukuyama’s academic meme History is far from having reached its climax, whichever future it will mean for Humanity.

Today one of the consistently quoted elements of the USA’s structural decline, besides Todd’s remarkably reliable demographic argument which is fresh from his tradition of the Ecole des Annales, is the poor state of its infrastructures. [41] Being what connects a country, infrastructures are what make it a holistic, synergetic whole which emergent behavior and intelligence is bigger than that of its parts. The health (or lack thereof) of the USA’s public transportation system has been analyzed as a reliable correlate of the health of the USA as a whole. That Paris’ subway system be so worn, saturated and neglected can nothing but reinforce the structural lack of confidence [42] (in oneself and in others) that the super-centralized French society is facing, and which may also prevent it from ever witnessing the emergence of its own Silicon Valley or a complex fabric of small companies like that of Germany’s economy. Paris’s subway is Paris’ vascular system; if it is clogged, frustrating (meaning conducive to violence and mistrust), dirty and uncomfortable the Paris’ economy cannot be healthy. On birthdays the French have the proverb “you are the age of your arteries”; a country is the age of its infrastructures.

But as History may bifurcate, choose between global chaos or a global renaissance (or both if global chaos does not degenerate into a global nuclear free fight), we may witness the emergence of a knowledge-based “TED-renaissance”. Noopolitik and soft power naturally go together because knowledge is fascinating. TED America can fascinate, just like free America used to after 1941.

Knowledge and the Earth also go very well together, because the knowledge economy is naturally pure physiocracy. As Gunter Pauli simply puts it, “let us not demand more of the Earth. Let us do more with what the Earth provides”. [43] Such strategy is qualitative and not quantitative anymore. It consists of foraging better rather than foraging more. René Guénon had insistently warned us, as early as 1945, in observing the devastating consequences of our idolatry towards grades and quantitative measurements [44] As Ken Robinson analyses, grades belong to the industrial revolution, and the Malthusian exclusive quantitative resource-management, which carries the very seeds of exclusion and frustrating social inequalities by asserting without any demonstration that there is fundamentally not enough resource for every human on Earth (while the potential leverage of any resource is infinite), can but lead us to an irremediable collapse.

Knowledge on the other hand is uncapped and there is more than enough for everybody on Earth. What you can make of a single resource, like the oil that was economically ignored by kingdoms for millennia before it became vital in the 20th century, is also unlimited. Knowledge brings this permanent escape route to resource scarcity, as even from a narrow financial point of view, cascading cash flows may be generated in an infinite and entangled diversity of ways from the resources we have. This is about “doing more with what the Earth provides”, which is qualitative resource management, and rather than impeding growth, it grandly multiplies it. The only thing that is required is that post-industrial quantity-worshipping Humanity changes its ways of thinking. Self-change, the bottleneck of Noopolitik again.

Thus if knowledge and the Earth naturally go very well together, Gunter Pauli’s ZERI agenda (for “Zero Emission Research Initiative”) is not merely a constraint imposed on the global economy but an opportunity for innovation. The added restriction that Man pollutes zero rather than just less could actually bring Humanity to an era of massive innovation. The generation of lazy business models, dissatisfied with any restriction that is put on them, needs to be terminated if the knowledge economy wants to prosper. Constraint proved strength for Germany, for forcedly landlocked modern Austria, for Japan, or for South Korea with its full Ministry of the Knowledge Economy.

California was an agricultural state. A good knowledge technopolis is also a good green city and a very livable city. China knows it, which has clearly entitled the Shanghai world fair “better cities, better life”. Canada and Australia know it, which cities are consistently ranked among the world’s most livable ones, along with Vienna by the way. We know very well that a country where one wants to live can be, in that, a powerful one, and this in the most neo-realist way.

Jimmy Carter had already made clear that developing a national conscience of energy could be Wiliam James’s “moral equivalent of war”. During the 1970’s energy crisis, a time which coincided with the inception of the Trilateral Commission, an era of massive innovation begun among Europe, Japan, and North America. This era matured into the Internet in the USA, video games in the USA and Japan, or high-speed trains in France, over a period in which the country asserted “In France we have no oil but we have ideas” [45]  France’s president of the time, technocrat-labeled [46] Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, recently awarded Zbigniew Brzezinski the Tocqueville Prize for public liberties… Brzezinski had well foreseen “America’s role in the technetronic era” though post 1991 hubris-dominated USA decisively failed to change itself in light of the knowledge it had acquired. Yet, connectedness remains one reason for which the USA has its Silicon Valley and France does not, and along with the can-do attitude, one reason for which Facebook emerged in the USA and not in France.

Carter still, did want to turn the constraint of the energy crisis into a brilliant Moral equivalent of war. Such an attitude was excellent, in that it wanted to transmute the “lead” of constraint into the “gold” of innovation and exemplarity, and unite the nation without a total war, the only thing that had succeed in uniting the USA to such an extent in the past:

“The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly. Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern this nation. This difficult effort will be the ‘moral equivalent of war’, except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy.”

Jimmy Carter —Address to the nation, April 18,1977[47]

With plenty of motivating – though later often forsaken – objectives, Carter’s speech was remarkably exemplary, and aimed to federate the USA – then the world – into ingenuity and innovation, efforts and a shared ideal. His speech was also notably a source for the US Department of Energy’s historical creation. This is what the French-American Foundation is attempting to resurrect with its joint French-American Symposium on “the Greening of America and Europe” and this is what Bruce Oreck is succeeding to resurrect so far in leading a league of Green Embassies.

This is TED America.

Machiavelli on NATO and the BRICCA

On June 9th 2010 French journalist David Pujadas took part in a broadcast episode of public speech on the French state channel France 2. Giving the speech was, at the time, Russian Premier Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia:

PUJADAS : About Russia, there is in France – er – respect and there are also – er [facing the camera] – concerns – er – because Russia – er – which is a democracy of course reduces certain counter-powers such as the audiovisual press; crimes against journalists go unpunished… Do you understand these concerns?

PUTIN : [laughing, mocking] Yes… I understand them : it is an old tradition for European countries to impose their rules and standards to others. [Smiling] Remember the period of the colonization of Africa. Europeans were landing with their laws, their rules, and they were proud to educate and “civilize” the natives [PUJADAS looks uncomfortable]. Regarding these violations they exist everywhere. If we take the violation of Human Rights in prisons – in your country, in France!

PUJADAS: You think it is comparable?

PUTIN: [smiling, assertive] Of course. A few years ago Human Rights organizations wrote thick-like-this volumes on Human Rights in your prisons. These violations exist. We must struggle against that. [48]

The moral of the story is: do not go around giving lessons to others if you are not exemplary at home. For example, do not criticize the co-called “Great Firewall of China” if you are closing a Megaupload.com yourself. Pujadas, who although at the time of the interview was a member of the secretive, elitist and locally influent “Le Siècle” club in Paris and had a long record of arrogance on air, was merely being given his first job by French channel TF1 when Vladimir Putin was a seasoned KGB PSYOP officer in East Germany. Not quite the psychological profile that a French journalist can expect to destabilize on air.

And the Russian federation is now launching an unprecedented mass media campaign to show to which extent it is becoming the “land of the free” and notably that of what we may call “Foreign free expression” by co-opting those heavyweights among Euro-Atlantic non mainstream media figures such as Webster Tarpley, Gerald Celente, Thierry Meyssan or William Engdahl. Who could have expected that in 1991?

With its English, Spanish and Arabic-speaking international channel Russia Today [49], Russia indeed tends to co-opt all the unsatisfied Americans whose idealism and interest in the truth about such topics as Enduring Freedom, the National Energy Policy Development Group and 9/11 have been left frustrated for too long. The damage dealt to the US soft power is tremendous, and this is just a beginning. How can one then expect to isolate diplomatically and in media the most potent Arctic Gamer? The answer is to be flawlessly exemplary, and this in a publicly palatable manner. There is a posture for that, and this is “The Choice” of the Brzezinski II doctrine.

The June 2010 Interview was also an opportunity for Pujadas to mention the Russian Federation’s acquisition of French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers for equipping its Black Sea Fleet, in particular after the Georgian conflict, the attempt of NATO to co-opt Ukraine and the tensions around Tiraspol in Transnistria.

NATO’s containment strategy vis-à-vis Russia has led to a very fast escalation of tensions in mitteleuropa, especially regarding the deployment of anti-ballistic missiles in Poland, which may have played a critical role in the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash [50]. Many very successful attempts have been made throughout the Cold War, and more intensely since 1991, to turn Russia into a geopolitical island from Central Europe to Central Asia to Alaska and the Kuril islands. Thus of course Russian geostrategists, and Putin first among them, are much seasoned in playing this game, and this only reinforces their traditional territorial claims. We may also remember Marx’s famous comment about Russia’s “unchanging expansionist aims” [51]. Russia also is a cognitive system and what does not kill it surely makes it stronger; with a very long experience in dealing with containment, we may expect that the Russian Federation demonstrate both more smartness and more composure in claiming the North Pole.

What most Russian strategists must be thinking when considering the possibility that the Arctic Ocean be denied to them is simply “no way!”. The general feeling among them is that they have been denied warm waters for too long to leave NATO asserting authority over what they claim is their very ocean, where the names of Russian explorers and scientists such as Vitus Bering and Mikhail Lomonosov are still vivid testimonies of Russia’s longstanding ambitions. Would the USA default on its debt or devaluate its currency, it would not be surprising if Russia made tremendous efforts to co-opt Alaska, as we see hereafter in Igor Panarin’s over-exaggerated dismantlement scenario.

Since Russia indeed has come very close to implosion in the early nineties, with the oligarchs having turned it into a “composite principality” more akin to what Machiavelli described in France than in the Ottoman Empire [52], Russian strategists now expecting the decomposition of the US Empire are also expecting their dreams of revenge to come true, in the vein of Igor Panarin, who in 2010 predicted the decomposition of the United States of America into four different nation-states according to the four different areas of influence that would be establishing their lateral pressure over it. [53] Panarin then clearly stated Alaska would rejoin Russia in such a scenario. After all, the dismantlement of the USSR was the “biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” [54] for Putin, and the new Russian President is sure expecting his US contenders to fully grasp the meaning of this phrase in the 2010’s.

Indeed on composite principalities Machiavelli had defended that the spectrum of possible governances was essentially spanning between such structures as that of France at the time, then highly decentralized with the King being able to deprive a noble of his power only at his own risk, and that of the Ottoman Empire, with the Sultan being able to revoke the power of any of his subordinates in an instant and with very little risk for his own authority.

What is also interesting is that French and the Ottoman empire would remain the longest allies in their history, neither France nor the Ottoman Empire having been allied to any other power so consistently and for so long a period [55]. As Machiavelli had well stated, if the French knew more about governance they would not leave the Church with such power in their country, and they would centralize their authority. This is precisely what the French did over a few centuries, with Louis XIV attempting to develop his own Gallican Church and Cardinal Richelieu leveling down such regional strongholds as the Usson castle in Auvergne. Masons and the French revolutionaries would then consistently both centralize France and deprive the Church of its power within the nation, from Napoleon to the Third Republic which enacted the separation of the State and the Church in 1905.

Machiavelli underlined that decentralized composite principalities such as France in the 16th century are both hard to hold and easy to invade, because one can always find a breach of frustration or sympathy towards foreign interests within its complex web of influences. The Ottoman Empire was, conversely, hard to invade and very easy to hold.

Since all the BRICCAs have a large territory, the integrity and unity of which must be maintained, they are then, very much seduced by super-centralization, which is made all the more unstable when, unlike Brazil, they have not relocated their littoral capital to a more central position. This proves one of the biggest problems of Russia and China, and this by the way is one reason for which Madrid was placed at the very geographical heart of Spain in its time.

The problem is that a centralized country is dumb, because it limits its national intelligence to the mental bottleneck of a few. The human brain is certainly not less intelligent than a single neuron, or limiting itself to the intelligence of a group of neurons. Yet theoretically, super centralized nations are tending to do just that – to limit their national cognition and intelligence to that of a small group. Such physiology, such structuring of their knowledge flow is not conducive to innovation, idealism and Noopolitik or the knowledge economy at large. This is the one most important bottleneck of their knowledge economy: too much centralization is not conducive to innovation and collective intelligence. Knowledge infrastructures and organizations must be very finely balanced between a centralization of collective knowledge (like say Wikipedia) and an empowering decentralization of initiatives.

This problem is then absolutely typical of the BRICCAs, and on which part of the spectrum a BRICCA country will place itself depends most essentially of its history and demography, and rather little of its geography. Russia has been traumatized by having come, in its current elite’s thinking, blood-chillingly close to explosion and Balkanization while its impoverished and humiliated population is more inclined to look to a stronger savior than ever. This, along with the spectacular recovery of its economy in his years, is the number one reason for Putin to be and remain in power. The man from “united Russia” is clearly credited with having rescued the “Federation” from separatism, which is by the way one of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s “three evils”, and with having unambiguously countered the rise of the Russian oligarchs whom his Chekist [56] methods clearly out powered. We know that the Geographical Pivot of History is being Balkanized beyond limits, and we know this may bring us to a nuclear war one day, just as the European Balkanization brought us to the Great War and that of Central Africa was the very first cause of all its wars, the Coltan war above them all. At the geographical level there are very few other factors of volatility as powerful as Balkanization, and we may in that observe that the working strategist who uses Balkanization essentially uses something that is beyond him, however faithful he is to his doctrine of “ordo ab chao”, although this is a natural penchant of Man to resort act in ways which are beyond himself.

Thus in the Russian establishment’s order of priorities, innovating is good but it comes after putting Russia back together, under the strong guidance of someone who also knows very well of its fear-and-discipline delivery infrastructure, Chekist Vladimir Putin. Again, we see the typical case that the Russian leaders who are preferred by western Europeans are usually the least popular domestically. The case of Putin and Medvedev is then most interesting. And we know NATO attempted to fracture the Medvedev-Putin tandem more than once, and with increasing intensity. The double-headed eagle is more creative but maybe less focused.

Russia, therefore, needs to find balance between pure reliance on raw materials and a centralization of power which considers federalism a seriously bad swear word (à la Putin) and an innovative idealism which will bring it fully to the knowledge economy, help it surpass its demographic traumatism and foster the emergence of a real Silicon Valley. This is a typical BRICCA profile: finding balance between the fear of separatism and an empowering and popularly satisfying innovation. Interestingly, the solution lies in infrastructures: both physical (trains, grids, pipe lines, skyship lines, etc.) and virtual (knowledge infrastructures, social networks, Russia’s DARPA-like projects etc). This is because infrastructures are posited to both increase the cohesion of a country and make it more intelligent.

Thus, as an apparently composite principality, what truly is NATO as compared to the non-federalist Russian Federation? Is it more of a sixteenth century Kingdom of France or Ottoman Empire? The immense political power NATO has had over Europe from 1944 to present would undoubtedly lead us to think that it has always adopted the Ottoman structure. For a brief sum-up of this complex history, we may underline to which extent NATO contributed to the Italian “strategy of tension” in the 1970s and to the expansion of Christian-Democratic parties in Europe during the Cold War. The influence of its many stay-behind networks, including Gladio in Italy, is undisputable. If its support to the Christian Democrats brought and kept Giulio Andreotti in or close to power for more than fifty years in Italy, it also took all this power back in an eye glimpse after 1991; NATO also later decisively weighted in bringing Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy to power, without mentioning the immense influence the USA have had over Japanese politics, beyond Europe. One may finally remember how close the US headquarters of Italian Military-Industrial complex behemoth Finnmeccanica are to the White House. Interestingly – continuing the relationship between the Military-Industrial Complex and Noopolitik, Finnmeccanica’s motto happens to be precisely “The Future is the question, knowledge is the answer“.

Thierry Meyssan, a notoriously anti-NATO French journalist with Gaullist sensibilities whom Russia has logically made one of its key media assets by co-opting him (on the visible side) into the Russia Today galaxy [57] claimed on July 2008 in Almaty (Kazakhstan) that French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose step father was CIA member Frank Wisner Jr., could never have been elected without US support (hence Sarkozy having maintained close contact with Alain Bauer, also a former NSA executive), and that his election which was consecutive to the swift beheading of Gaullist “Chiraquie” [58] along with the nomination of neocon Bernard Kouchner and Christine Lagarde, was somehow an answer to France’s opposition to the war in Iraq within Condoleeza Rice’s “punish the French” geopolitical advice [59]. The voice of Russia, Meyssan further claimed that France’s stay-behind network had both weighted in the bringing back of de Gaulle to power and contributed to taking him down after his failure to prevent Algeria from tipping to the Eastern Bloc [60].

Former French Minister of Defense Jean-Pierre Chevènement, who notably resigned in 1991 in protest to France’s participation in the first Gulf War, would later say of Kouchner that since one had never seen a weak country intervene in the affairs of a strong one, Kouchner’s defense of the Responsibility to Protect was neo-imperialism in disguise. Kouchner, well-known for his Atlantist sympathies, notably announced in 2007, as the chief of the French diplomacy, “Iran must expect the worse, which is war”. Connecting these dots gives us a much clearer big picture of NATO’s influence over the politics of Western Europe and to which extent we may clearly consider it an Ottoman-like composite principality  This also means that its demise would very well follow the dynamic of the Ottoman Empire, which is probably why Panarin has forecast such disintegration of the USA, and why the Green diplomacy Oreck is advocating may prove most fertile and decisive in establishing peace over the North Pole, but also in ensuring an extremely smooth post-hegemonic transition for America rather than a terminal self-made implosion.

Whatever is said by Russia or its many media assets, NATO’s past strategy proved deadly efficient in the short term although it now proves deadly catastrophic, and one may remember the basics of realpolitik: it consists of identifying what one sees as the highest objective for the common good, strategy’s “high point”, and then to achieve it by any means possible because it is considered the one way that will spare the largest number of lives. Within this allegedly benevolent strategy is the most decisive flaw: that a working realpolitician must turn himself blind to new opinions or changing circumstances, thus usually becoming a nuisance rather than an asset for humankind in pursuing his initial plan through thick and thin. Few have then been able to challenge NATO’s objectives frontally in Western Europe. But the Russians have. In the 2010s, this decisively increases their prestige among the upset European masses, which Russia knows it could use to co-opt a crumbling Europe. Russia Today is just one small bit of such grand design. In geopolitics one is weak when one is strong, and one is strong when one is weak. A strong Stalinist USSR had actually much less chance of claiming Western Europe than a post-1997 weakened “Russian Federation”. The interest in – relative – humility and soft power that weakness has taught Russia now makes it much more able to claim an exploding Europe than ever. If the Euro collapses and the E.U finds itself dismantled, Russia will need to show an amazing display of public “soft” benevolence and idealism to commandeer Continental Europe. In that its attitude at the North Pole is most decisive; in that the attitude of the USA at the North Pole is most decisive as well.

Besides that the “pragmatic” paradigm of realpolitik is, for its lack of an ability to update itself and learn on the spot [61], being proven wrong a little more every day, we know that the Cold War mentality is dying hard. French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique then simply entitled its September 2007 review of the North Pole Game “Beginning of a Cold War on the floe” [62]. Yet Cold War mentality is the one universal enemy now, especially for both Russia and the USA, while China has been transcending such mentality for a long time although the USA’s moves on the Grand Chessboard demonstrate a little more everyday how much the 20th century empire is attempting to confine the People’s Republic in it. Such mentality great powers must decisively disenthrall themselves from, which Oreck also helps envisioning. Although one may have thought for long that there cannot be a situation at the North Pole where all parties are winning the most, transcendence, innovation and Noopolitik provide for such possibility, which is still way beyond the old Cold War strategy. Noopolitik is a potent game changer, so is the Blue Economy, and both can turn the most intractable null sum situation into an epic non null sum win.

A Canadian quick-read of the balance of power at the North Pole

Were we to write a memo on it, as of today we may outline the northern geopolitics of Canada in the Arctic game as follows:

The Northern geopolitics of Canada is conditioned by its traditional claims over the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. A tight competition exists, notably between Canada and the Russian Federation (but also Denmark and Norway) for the claiming of the North Pole area, in a manner which is reminiscent of the competition between China and India for preeminence in the Indian Ocean added that the North Pole is resource-rich and difficult to navigate.

On August 2nd 2007 two high-depth Russian submarines, Mir-1 and Mir-2, planted a titanium flag at the vertical of the geographic North Pole. Aboard Mir-1 was Artour Tchilingarov, vice-president of the Duma and well-known Arctic explorer who made the Russian ambitions clear: “it is a bit like the first step on the moon”.

Mr Peter MacKay, then Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and now Minister of Defense, also made Canada’s reaction to this claim little ambiguous:

This isn’t the 15th century. You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘We’re claiming this territory” [63]

In response to these words the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov declared:

I was amazed by my Canadian counterpart’s statement that we are planting flags around. We’re not throwing flags around. We just do what other discoverers did. The purpose of the expedition is not to stake whatever rights of Russia, but to prove that our shelf extends to the North Pole” [64]

Comparable to the Mediterranean, the Arctic Ocean is a geographical pivot over which the balance of power is rapidly shifting. The Montego Bay Convention [65] enacts that the Exclusive Economic Zone a sovereign nation can claim, which is normally 200 nautical miles beyond its coasts, is extended to the underwater prolongation of its continental shelf, hence the race to deploy geological surveys of the sea bottoms. One of the pivot territories of Canada is the Ellesmere Island, which is connected to Greenland underwater by the Lomonosov ridge [66]. Just as the very naming of the “Indian” ocean has been encouraging India to claim it, Russia had formally claimed the Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges were extensions of the Eurasian continent as early as 2001 (it submitted its claims to the UN commission on the extension of the Continental Shelf on December 2oth 2001), with the UN asking for additional scientific proofs in 2002, thus launching a geological race.

In spite of its large military subordination to the USA, Canada is a key player in the North Pole balance of power, which is roughly divided in two circles: a first one opposing Russia to those of NATO countries having direct territorial interests in the region like Canada, Denmark (through Greenland), Norway, and the USA and a second one further involving the UK and China, which is vitally interested in northern trade routes for its oil imports.

The diplomatic dynamic of the North Pole tension is that it naturally divides NATO allies. Canada claims full sovereignty over the Northwest Passage chokepoint which the US attempts to deny by threatening Canada with receiving less support from NATO against Russia; this Canada may then very well remember would the USA recede influence, for example, by voting more constrictive budgets for the Pentagon.

Russia actively exploits its political unity and the fractures of interests between NATO members to oppose them against each other (Canada and the USA notably) and become the first player in the North Pole while attempting to co-opt NATO member states just as the Atlantic Alliance did with former members of the Varsaw pact after 1991. Yet in the non-parameterized, non quantified escape route of Noopolitik and innovation, Canada has an opportunity to both transcend NATO countries’ conflict of immediate interests and enter into a unifying, potent, harmony of far-reaching stakes and then take a credible leadership at the North Pole. Canada knows well it is becoming the main pivot in the North Pole race (with Denmark second), which Russia could influence increasingly would the USA lose power in the game in the manner it did in South America after having focused most of its geopolitical reach on Operation Enduring Freedom, thus paving the road for the political success of the South American Pink Tide.

Amid all the opposing interests of the North Pole game the Canadian politics thus grows increasingly more independent. Canada does not want to cede any piece of sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, and knows Russia is by far the North’s biggest, most assertive and most powerful player at the moment (although again Noopolitik and audacious innovation could at any time decisively upset the balance of power). While a member of NATO, OECD and AUSCANZUKUS, and having its aerospace defense totally dependent on the US-led NORAD, Canada does not want to aggravate China either, a main trade partner in the North Pacific. In that we can expect military expenses to grow in Canada and the country to attempt to assert more and more political autonomy, while geopolitical conservatism would most surely doom Canada for long, as it would doom absolutely any Arctic gamer.

It is then crucial that we have considered Canada the North Pole’s second biggest player and first pivot if we consider it preeminent to the USA in this very game [67]. The situation of Canada shows to which extent NATO is fractured in the Arctic. Hence Norway having settled its last ongoing territorial conflict with Russia with little NATO consultation. As the global seams of lateral pressures are rapidly shifting with the economic crisis, we can expect the processes of “Finlandization”[68] to become much more numerous and diverse worldwide (from the Pacific to the North Pole to Europe to South America) which is another reason for Panarin to have made his forecast over the disintegration of the USA.

As we have said, there is a prediction we may retrieve from NATO having adopted the structure of the Ottoman Empire, from Machiavelli’s point of view. It is that if its power breaks, it will not be a continuous and slow process but rather a fast, explosive change with a potent spring effect, the result of NATO having accumulated too much frustration on behalf of its vassals. Such frustration, when the dominance of the suzerain becomes disputed [69] – and Brzezinski made clear the role of the US as the global suzerain of the West in The Grand Chessboard – expands as a gas and breaks all the valves: A bang, not a whimper.

We may thus expect that NATO is aware of this ongoing dynamic, surveying with a lot of care every single bit of frustration it has generated and how it can expand, and adopt a new posture for a peaceful new deal wherein it will change itself by using the very knowledge it has acquired and critically disenthrall itself from the Cold War victor/victim mentality and the paradigm of the null-sum game. Here comes green diplomacy, here comes Noopolitik, here comes Oreck’s invaluable piece of advice of turning a significant piece of the Department of Defense’s gargantuan budget into a global investment for peace, prosperity, exemplarity and the Blue Economy rather than for destruction, just as Jimmy Carter had advised. Here comes a humble view which could be a game changer and a viable escape route for NATO to transform itself before it is too late.

We know very well what would happen to the USA and NATO at large and then to Europe and Canada: exactly what happened to the Ottoman Empire after its terminal crumbling (which was much slower in those times) or to the Soviet Empire in 1991, where we saw the massive co-option of its most strategic partners, the greatest geopolitical scramble since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In such a scenario, China and Russia would become the most fervent competitors, as they would both compete to co-opt former NATO pivots, each in their own way. Yet the clear and repeated veto made by Russia and China ate the UN security council over a possible NATO intervention in Syria shows to which extent the Alliance has threatened their common interests and thus brought them together. Would the Federal Reserve declare bankruptcy and the USA default on its debt this would also bring China and Japan together into a potent and aggravated “US debt consumer organization”.

So would go the Arctic game as well. Russia would love to co-opt back both mitteleuropa states and Arctic pivots thanks to any decisive sign of NATO weakness, which is still critically occupied in Central Asia. It has a revenge to take which is best served Arctic-chilled. Yet of course our major advice about such a situation is “don’t take it as a revenge” we know all too well what revenge brings to International History, the spring effect it has, the oscillation it provokes between peace and war, victor and victim, with each successive war being dramatically more destructive than the precedent, and proportionate to the peace, prosperity and innovation it succeeds to. Peace leaders have never taken revenge. Quite beyond revenge, they have consistently declared, as Gandhi did “forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. Yet again, the strong are weak and the weak are strong.

Could Russia find an opportunity window to co-opt any political piece of Canada? No doubt, if China fails at doing so in the event of a terminal NATO implosion comparable to that of the Warsaw pact. Can Russia play the game differently? most surely, as any co-option obtained under coercion is but a very temporary and metastable one, while soft (or “smart”) co-option by the use of cultural and philosophical power is much more sustainable. In the latter case, Canada is well protected by its very high standards of living, its dynamic knowledge economy and its belonging to the anglosphere, which tradition for mutual protection and support has proven reliable across time. In any scramble to expand or protect its sphere of influence Russia, and any Arctic Gamer, would have to adopt a comprehensive and exemplary Green posture which should decisively encompass the minorities and environment protection, as the North Pole game is first of all a game for BRICCA-profile countries.

Turning the Arctic into a fascinating world park – a political eden – which will mean a piece of world leadership for whoever succeeds in doing so. In becoming an exemplary and best livable “Land of the Free” Russia still has a long way to go. A humble America would then be most protected and yet influent, but the challenge is very hard for the USA to accept.

In this way absolutely all Arctic Gamers shall play it green and smart, except that some may do it for the purpose of defending themselves from cultural and economic assaults and preserving their influence (like Finland, Norway, Denmark or Canada) and others may play it aggressively to culturally dominate others and ease their further co-option: such is the strategy of Russia, and again its Russia Today network is just one small gear in it.

Yet be it for attack or defense, Green and smart power is the very best strategy for all parties at the North Pole.

 

Part III. A Political Eden à la Bruce Oreck

We have come a long way from a macropolitical and contextual analysis to argue unambiguously that – whether he or his accreditor may be aware of it or not – Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck is an invaluable asset for the USA in the Arctic Game, especially because he is an asset of the world rather than a mere national/imperial one whose scope is limited to particular interests, precisely in the manner that Martin Luther King defined the transcending “ecumenical” allegiance:

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

Martin Luther King Jr. 24th December 1967

In that we may hope Oreck is a “universal asset”, while we should also further develop such notion of “universal assets” in international relations at large, be it from a geopolitical or geostrategic point of view, for the intelligence expert, the citizen or the politician. Universal assets also happen, without exception, to be tremendous national assets, although they are beyond national, tribal, political, corporate or racial allegiances.

As any game changer, such an asset is also a rather low profile one, which very well illustrates the reality that “you are strong when you are weak, and you are weak when you are strong” that applies to absolutely any organization. The USA is no exception.

“Disenthrall”, such was the keyword that Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck insisted upon at the summit of the French-American Foundation in Paris (October 2011) on “The Greening of America and Europe”. His presentation, using the evocative, rather novel and très TED America Prezi slideshow system was perfectly in line with the earlier observation that powerpoint may be “the enemy” [70], namely, that American leadership needs a grand new consciousness of its actions to evolve and transform itself. There is no power without consciousness, nor is there any without the capacity for self-change. Somehow this is exactly what TED America representative Steve Jobs had advocated at the 2005 commencement ceremony of Stanford University:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” [71]

Job’s poignant address was coming from the guts. Nations, just like individuals, do have a heart and intuition, and they do have a power-hungry ego as well [72]. When talking about the heart, Jobs was underlining something remarkable for the Sufis, who have been admonishing Man to follow his heart throughout their entire collective existence:

Pluck the old woman from thy breast: Be stout in woe, be stark in weal;

Do good for Good is good to do: Spurn bribe of Heav’en and threat of Hell.

To seek the True, to glad the heart, such is of life the HIGHER LAW,

Whose differ’ence is the Man’s degree, the Man of gold, the Man of straw.

See not that something in Mankind that rouses hate or scorn or strife,

Better the worm of Izrâil than Death that walks in form of life.

Survey thy kind as One whose wants in the great Human Whole unite;

The Homo rising high from earth to seek the Heav’ens of Life-in-Light;

And hold Humanity one man, whose universal agony

Still strives and strains to gain the goal, where agonies shall cease to be[73]

Thus “Pluck the old woman from thy breast”, such is an excellent meaning of Oreck’s vanguard interest in “disenthralling” America’s consciousness of the age. Then no doubt “to seek the truth, to glad the Heart, such is of life the HIGHER LAW” and “Everything else is secondary”. Did the USA gladden its heart in Enduring Freedom? We doubt that. Can the USA gladden its heart in the North Pole? Yes it can.

And it actually has attempted to do so in the past. In quoting William James in the inspiring way he did, President Jimmy Carter may have briefly gladdened the national heart in the past. What Bruce Oreck has to bring with his interest in freeing his country from living with the result of someone else’s thinking and being trapped by dogmas and the law of the instrument, is an attempt to help himself, and thus the USA, glad his heart.

A French commentator said that for the Left the core belief about society is that when it is healthy the individual is, while for the Right wing this is just the opposite. The two views may easily overlap in a constructive way. Oreck is attempting to turn his surroundings, what is under his very limited but well-administered sovereignty, including himself, into something more exemplary, something to follow. In that he attempts to “be the change he wants to see in the world” as Gandhi had admonished.

We cannot account for Man’s Anagke, neither can we of its Free will, and we cannot account for Bruce Oreck’s future actions or the ones we ignore, but we may see something surely encouraging in his psychological profile and his search for exemplarity. Above all, his attempt to reign over himself and then turn the appointment he has been trusted with into something truly inspiring would probably not disappoint Marcus Aurelius’ conception of power. His attempt to secure power over himself “be his own master” indeed, could also parallel the famous comment of Napoleon 1st:

I may have had many projects, but I never was free to carry out any of them. It did me little good to be holding the helm; no matter how strong my hands, the sudden and numerous waves were stronger still, and I was wise enough to yield to them rather than resist them obstinately and make the ship founder. Thus I never was truly my own master but was always ruled by circumstances. [74]

Or also as simply put in The Maxims of Napoleon: “The greater the man, the less is he opinionative, he depends upon events and circumstances” [75]. And then again, truly and powerfully “Imagination governs the world”.

Brzezinski had thus simply explained the structure of the USA’s power of attraction…

The American emphasis on political democracy and economic development thus combines to convey a simple ideological message that appeals to many: the quest for individual success enhances freedom while generating wealth. The resulting blend of idealism and egoism is a potent combination. Individual self-fulfillment is said to be a God-given right that at the same time can benefit others by setting an example and by generating wealth. It is a doctrine that attracts the energetic, the ambitious, and the highly competitive. [76]

…but in the brave new 21st century we may reassert Man’s global fraternity and replace “egoism”, which easily degenerated into self-centered individualist greed with “stoicism”, “self-control” or “exemplarity” and “competitive” with the simple “cooperative”. We then strive to create a global competition to cooperate and go “from Me to We” as the Kielburger brothers have encouraged. [77]

There is a God-given right to every human to fulfill the desire of his heart. But on the near seven billion heart-seeds there are in the world, very few are germinating so far, and the majority believe such low germination rate to be natural. We may though expect the process to be self-catalytic and thus endowed with a typical sigmoid kinetic. Namely, since having interacted with a germinating heart eases the germination of one’s own heart, we may expect that whenever a critical mass of blossoming hearts is present in Humanity a positive catastrophe (à la René Thom) occurs and Humanity makes a decisive step towards its destiny, which is the fulfillment of the “Great Man’s” heart at large.

Bruce Oreck seems to us to be on his way to such a fulfillment, and we may survey this process as it has, like the emergence of any peace leader such as say Dag Hammarskjöld, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi or Eleanor Roosevelt, a tremendous significance for international relations at large. Here this significance is mainly regarding the dynamics of the North Pole, in which we all have the absolute duty to be optimistic. After all, History, through the otherwise very manipulative French Prime Minister Michel Rocard’s desire to obtain forgiveness for the scandal over the bombing of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship on behalf of France – among other events – gave a largely unexpected leverage to the endeavor of Greenpeace to protect the Antarctic. The Protocol on Environmental Protection in the Antarctic Treaty Greenpeace would never have contributed to obtain had it been pessimistic. If idealism and altruistic exemplarity are the new “potent combination” of the 21st century, optimism is what they need to combine.

Man is chiaroscuro – it is also interesting that the drawing technique emerged in the Renaissance – and we know no Peace being in modern times who did not have a history of pain, violence, frustration or hatred to transcend. So goes the metaphorical sense of alchemy, the lead of our passions, cravings, thirst for blood etc, is actually the necessary raw material in Man’s Grand Oeuvre which consists of turning his inner lead into gold. This may be Abe Lincoln’s “We must disenthrall ourselves” that Oreck quotes, as Lincoln himself was pretty much into turning the lead of his life review into illuminating gold, and he was already insisting upon fraternity “we can succeed only in concert”:

We can succeed only by concert. It is not “can any of us imagine better?” but, “can we all do better?” The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country [78].

Already Lincoln was asserting the fundamental collegiality (in the etymological sense) of Man’s interactions and the need to go “from me to we”.

You look at Bruce Oreck and you cannot help noticing the cool earring, making eye contact, shaking his hand, and you feel you are meeting one of those human beings who are striving for mental freedom. To disenthrall themselves indeed. You see someone who has, and carries on transcending his complex life to turn all the lead it has accumulated into gold.

The son of David Oreck of the Oreck vacuum cleaners company, Bruce Oreck could have slipped into the poisonous life of a rich kid, spent a good deal of his limited time on earth complaining about what is not automatically granted to him and at best have pursued a few of his father’s achievements. Instead, Oreck Jr. decided to live his own life. In spite of his relative wealth, one can easily decipher that it was not straightforward for him to be admitted in the elitist political and economic cenacle of the United States. Though a very creative mind – this strikes when meeting him and sure contrasts with the gathering of clones modern diplomacy can assemble at times, and is only reinforced when one knows of his interest in mineralogy besides his rigorous Law education – Oreck is no Ivy League graduate and not quite the profile of a Yale Delta Kappa Epsilon, much less a bonesman, and this is all his strength.

A candid appraisal of Oreck’s biography would lead any psychologist to suspect he may have experienced – and transcended – many hard arguments with his father over his life decisions and many a feeling of inadequacy. Intuition could also lead one to think Oreck’s heritage in the vacuum cleaner industry must have been a marginal source of mockery to the future ambassador [79], just in the same manner that President Jimmy Carter was often called “peanut” as he had been a peanut farmer in Georgia. Let the world say what it will, and let Oreck follow his path, transcending – as is the duty of any human being – the complex parental legacy life has given him.

What strikes also in Oreck’s simplicity of manners, attitude and straightforwardness, for anybody a little acquainted with basic human psychology, is that this gentleman has clearly experienced the feeling of inferiority in the past and has much transcended it as well. This is one of the human parameters that make him most interesting as a prospective peace leader. Intuition again could lead one to think him having decisively contributed the Obama campaign must have brought accusations of not truly deserving his appointment [80] which is that of a Democrat from a Democrat since 2009. Again, let the world say what it will, as what most matters is how Oreck serves the USA’s interests and – more importantly – that of the world. For what is good for the world is good for the USA. The way Oreck has seen fit to fulfill his ideal shall be judged in light of his diplomatic achievements.

In which country does Bruce J. Oreck represent the United States of America? The Republic of Finland. A high HDI nation with a vanguard educational and environmental policy though it knows many challenges in this matter, among others, by that its relative lack of natural resources has brought it to invest in Franco-German nuclear power technologies. “Finlandized”, Finland is not a NATO member, both out of fear of Russia’s reaction and relative distrust of NATO cohesion at the time, which makes it even more interesting from the point of view of the Foreign Relations of the USA. While one psychorigid strategist would merely see this situation as an intolerable flaw in the containment of Russia, another could see it as the opportunity to experience with new, non-coercive dialogue-based policies for the achievement of strategic objectives. Among such policies could be the exemplary projection of appealing smart power, an unexpected new deal involving the many Scandinavian and Arctic natives, a green geopolitics and any combination of novel diplomatic techniques for the achievement of the world’s interest, and within it, that of the USA.

Here comes Oreck’s gamble. We ignore whether or not he would differ, but from the outside and given his personality Finland may seem quite the excellent appointment for him. A country that is close to Russia though rather neutral in the Arctic game (unlike Norway and Sweden) and thus, almost in the same position as Switzerland in the Korean conflict, Finland has the potential of being a peace-setter. A country limited in its natural resources, Finland is also forced, much like Germany and Japan, to choose innovation and industrial excellence to pursue its growth and national interest. In that it has nothing of the BRICCA’s cognitive profile, and much to teach them then. That Finland’s state-owned Valmet conglomerate is manufacturing the hype US Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid car is just one story among many others to attest to its inclination towards a green policy of innovation.

Since November 2010 Bruce Oreck has been the leader of the League of Green Embassies, a “U.S. Department of State initiative promoting international cooperation in energy efficiency and clean technologies” which was founded “in 2007 by Michael M. Wood, former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden” [81]. Not quite like the embassy compounds of the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the building is bigger than Vatican City and not exactly green. This initiative of the USA we must then much encourage, as it may represent what the forward America has best to offer in international relations. Let us hope it spreads to the world’s first diplomatic network (that of the USA) and much influence the world’s second (that of France, which may or may never be of the most decisive leverage to a potentially unified EU diplomacy, and which has never tried to go green).

As Françafrique has proven itself severely misguided, the US informal, post-colonial equivalent has not shined much either. So far exemplary embassies, embassies that do not display extroverted power but pure attractive soft power and green diplomacy compounds exist only in high HDI, rich countries. But the further development we expect of them is that they spread across the third world and help all the frustrated hearts there fulfill their deep idealistic desires. In that the destiny of Malian Born NASA Astrophysicist and now head of Microsoft Africa Cheick Modibo Diarra is most exemplary. In that the initiative of Pakistani Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam to found the International Center for Theoretical Physics, which now operate under a UNESCO agreement, is also most inspiring.

So goes green diplomacy. Bruce Oreck is acting both in the interest of the USA and that of the world. As Brzezinski has demonstrated that the USA is the one country which interest is the most convergent with the world’s, and underlined that it is ready to change itself to build this convergence up, would be the most tremendous geopolitical leverage the states have ever built for themselves. We may here point out that the Oreck diplomatic strategy is very well in line with the Brzezinski II doctrine.

Thus in his capacity as US ambassador to Finland and leader of the promising League of Green Embassies, Oreck has been receiving such people as democrats Al Gore, Steven Chu and Republican – and fellow body builder – Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whether or not Oreck may acknowledge it, we may here observe, from the outside, that his initiatives could be part of a comprehensive “Green-Brzezinski II” posture and that in this capacity Oreck seems a most promising diplomat. There may also be a reason for that: in spite of the misconception that following one’s heart and politics are mutually exclusive, the US Ambassador to Finland’s following what his life of camping and mineral collecting has brought him to deem good is good for himself and good for the USA. Sufi Master Abdoulaye Dieye managed to reconcile heart and policy in being the mayor of Saint Louis, Senegal’s second city. “Do good for Good is good to do!”

There is then little left to the imagination to envision the birth of a potent green-industrial complex innovated either in BRICCA countries – which would be a tour de force – or in small, resource-poor ones such as France, Germany or Japan. Taking a credible leadership in the greening of the world, for the world to acknowledge later where such a green wave actually came from, would be an invaluable political lever. At the time we met with him, Bruce Oreck had not heard of the brilliant works of Gunter Pauli and his systematic demonstration that the Green Economy 2.0 (“Blue Economy”) is actually immensely profitable. Pauli reminds us that the sole case study of reforestation in Las Gaviotas, Colombia actually yielded a much more tremendous – and sustained – profit than say having invested in Microsoft shares from its very inception to present. The reason was most simple: the mere real estate value of the otherwise semi-barren land which Paolo Lugari had contributed replanting with Caribbean pines, had skyrocketed way beyond any stock or the infamously juicy margin of heroin trade while providing drinkable water, biodiversity and a universal renewable fuel (turpentine, on which Soichiro Honda founded his early automotive empire). There is actually a fortune to make on reforestation. Physiocracy at its best. [82]

Maybe such is the message that Al Gore, Chu and Oreck have come to convey: green is the new black, and it is actually extremely profitable both economically and diplomatically. In that we may see the average business cognition, which collective self organization has turned the world into what it is, as that of a cognitive miser. Namely non green businesses all attempt to do the smallest cognitive efforts to solve a problem and are not inclined to innovative ingenuity unless they are forced to. Hence again lobbying and book cooking being the solutions of cognitive misers. The average organization does not desire either to change itself or to generate new knowledge. Such structural laziness has to be expelled from business models at large, as it prevents them from generating knowledge – and thus profits – and also makes dramatic changes, namely crisis, the only natural ways for Humanity to truly innovate.

As we cannot separate Bruce Oreck’s leadership in the Green Diplomacy from that of “the Greening of America and Europe” which has been planned by the French-American Foundation, we cannot separate it from that of defense or economic development. In a nutshell, Sustainable Development and the Knowledge Economy are absolutely inseparable. The 2oth century may have belonged to those who controlled raw materials – notably oil – but the 21st will belong to those who can ensure the good circulation of knowledge and ingenuity and foster their national, federal and regional intelligence. If the USA wants to preserve leadership, it must adopt the posture of a fascinating TED America.

Oreck accurately attracts our attention to the US DoD (Department of Defense) which is the “biggest consumer on Earth” as an organization. Its annual real budget which can be estimated in the range of USD half a trillion in direct funding and 1 trillion by extension to its related activities is extremely – to say the least – poorly leveraged in terms of the political return it gives. What does each of the nickels of such a monetary Mount Olympus actually bring to the US interest, and more importantly, to the world’s? It brings what its instruments can bring; war, coercion, destruction, the shock and the awe. There is an immense law of the instrument that tricks the cognitions of states and organizations into resorting to the instrument they have only, there is then an absolute worldwide emergency to develop novel instruments of diplomatic and political leverage, which is precisely what Oreck does.

Oreck’s initiatives, views and strategy may be marginal, just as any innovative thought in history, and beyond that, any innovative meme or gene – just like the transposable P element of Drosophila melanogaster which although marginal initially, propagated across most of the species in only 50 years. Oreck’s initiative, similarly, has the potential to become tremendously invasive. In reviewing some of Oreck’s efforts we hope to contribute to their fecundity and memetical invasiveness, and we expect their propagation has much to bring America and Humanity at large. In helping the USA develop new, positive instruments, the Green Diplomacy may decisively contribute to Humanity’s efforts into self-organized Peace and Gross Global Happiness.

After all, the rampaging Mongols eventually inspired the Taj Mahal. The DARPA brought us the Internet and the GPS, as Oreck recalls, and its endeavoring a quest for “Total Information Awareness” with the clear (and delirious inasmuch as it implies that such endeavor is non self-changing) ambition for omniscience within the “Information Awareness Office” may soon be – against its first intention – a powerful driving force for the USA to change by acquiring new knowledge. We may again underline that the DARPA’s “information awareness” limits are its own willingness to change itself in light of the knowledge it has acquired. The pyramid of the Information Awareness Office’s logo may look quite immutable, but it is unavoidable that the organization will have to fundamentally change itself if it ever wants to metabolize the knowledge it is generating. Again, there is no weakness in that.

So goes an illuminating short story in cartoonists Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar’s “Donjon” comic’s series. A narrow-minded tyrant who has found a magic lamp asks a dying wise from the ghetto, where his kingdom is keeping its slaves, for a piece of advice to use his one wish in the best possible manner. Yet, upset by having to wait for the wise elder to find a good wish, the tyrant suggests “I know: I am going to wish to become a wise man myself, and I won’t need any advice from you” to which the wise one answers: “be careful: if you become wise, you will have the sense of justice and you will have no slaves anymore” [83]. Such is exactly the limit of Noopolitik for any power or organization. Between knowledge and the power to coerce, states cannot have both; Man cannot have both. “Till Man deserves his title “wise””.

What we may observe of the consequences of organizations attempting to grow wiser in search for a trivial dream of power is that as T.S. Eliot put it, “History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors”. A softporn entrepreneur actually co-created Wikipedia. Why would not the US Department of Defense and DARPA bring conflict quelling, the blitz projection of prosperity in poor zones, massive reforestation (a scientific precursor for terraforming by the way), a glocal[84], collectively benevolent version of the Sahara Forest Project and the preservation of the environment? Why would the US Department of Defense not bring about a Peace-Industrial complex? or a Green Industrial complex? or much, much more than all that? Why would it not leverage its immense budget for the purpose of fostering the dreams rather that frustrating human beings?

Innovation and knowledge are decisively what entice Foreign Direct Investments. China is not being massively invested in as the world’s workshop but clearly because beyond clichés it is a very innovative country. The USA could attract massive foreign investments by reasserting its full spectrum Noopolitik, and this would very elegantly fit into an evolving Green Brzezinski II doctrine.

So what should be done at the North Pole then? We claim that the race for the Arctic is not the one that all players think it is: that for resources and geostrategic assets in the good old paradigm of an immutable null sum chessboard. As the BRICCA firmly assert their national Noopolitik to balance the dependency of their economy on raw materials, what has to be gained out of the North Pole race is a leadership in the fascinating Blue Economy and the making of an even more fascinating political eden. Fascinating indeed, and fascination is an extremely powerful political lever. Warmongering NATO shall always fascinate less than a Peacemongering West. Such is in the interest of any Arctic Gamer. There is an immense piece of leadership to earn in being humbly though fascinatingly Green, and it is especially more in the interest of players with a BRICCA cognitive profile to move away from a purely raw material economy and a coercive, dominating attitude towards nature, towards a TED-“Silicon Valley” profile.

Conclusion: Turn the Arctic into a Political Eden

Clearly the North Pole is a cognitive test, in that it will test states’ attitude to constraint, capacity for self change and ingenuity. In the classical paradigm of realism nation states have been seen as striving to remove constraint from themselves and to be able to impose constraint on others. Such paradigm of power is completely obsolete, as power over oneself is the ultimate form of power for any man or organization, and thus constraint is strength. There is then a very general principle, which is that constraint is the incentive to generate knowledge; constraint fosters ingenuity[85].

Ingenuity is what Arctic gamers should follow, and in particular those with a BRICCA. This means that the most significant victory there can be at the North Pole is one which will encompass the protection of both its environment and its natives, and the taking of leadership within a comprehensive green posture, which we have argued very well parallels the Brzezinski II doctrine.

The posture we advocate is that of fascination as the ultimate means of subjugation. It must be Green and Smart, and infrastructures driven in a comprehensive manner, even by a new philosophy of civilization: that of a new Man-Earth interaction which would consider Man the “ortolano eterno[86] in charge of making his very rare planet Earth an increasingly more livable milieu. A non dominating non coercive attitude to Nature is necessary, which is also the base of the Blue Economy, where Nature is used not to forage resources but rather for extracting knowledge, which is more profitable. If any country can found a new paradigm of the Man-Earth interaction, which will require it to dramatically enlarge the time increment and the scope of its national innovation and humbly review the ancient philosophy of its natives, it will be in a position to claim a lasting share of global leadership. Surely who would the European people most want to rejoin in moments of trouble? These countries which will most appeal to a global idealism.

The war of culture, attitude and exemplarity is much more important to win at the North Pole. China knows this very well, and attempts to demonstrate the universality of its culture [87], that what is good for China is good for the world [88]. For any BRICCA there is the permanent need to be exemplary at home, which is collectively their one biggest geostrategic imperative as they have large territories and are eager to resort to self-sufficiency, like China or Russia, while all the BRICCA want to weight in Globalization and, better, “Glocalization” (meaning “think global, act local”). What the BRICCA must critically endow themselves with are smart-decentralized green infrastructures and a comprehensive attitude towards the fostering of positive energy construction and urbanization.

The comfort of a nation’s people is an extraordinary political lever, yet we may underline that spiritual comfort is in that much more important than material one. It would not be surprising that although it is considered one of the “least advanced countries” Bhutan’s gross domestic happiness be actually closely comparable to that of Japan or France. A country’s education, happiness, exemplarity of attitude and propensity to fulfilling its dreams is the most powerful of all. Fascination is a much surer way to subjugation than coercion. Thus the advice to North Pole gamers is “Fascinate us, fascinate the world”. Being fascinating, besides that, is also being legitimate. And it takes actually much less money and effort to fascinate than to coerce. In that the DoD’s immense budget could be leveraged in a totally new way, from “shock and awe” to “fascinate and captivate”.

In this context the Natives have very much to bring us [89], and geostrategists must go beyond seeing them as pawns on a chessboard, as merely latent opportunities for opening the breach of separatism and destabilization within the Grand Chessboard of Balkanization, because their very philosophy and contribution to the science of organizations are game changers on their own and may transcend any chessboard. Their knowledge is far beyond the rigid representation we have of them in the geopolitical game.

William Penn’s attitude to the natives stands as a landmark of exemplarity in History indeed, and we all have a lot of pure power to retrieve from such an experience. The modern manifestation of this attitude of humility towards the knowledge of others is in the profound geopolitical interest of China, Brazil, India, Canada, Australia and of course Russia. As for the USA, we can hope that camping-addict and mineral collector Bruce Oreck, by his leadership of the League of Green Embassies, has much to bring in a pristine new deal with the world’s natives on the USA’s behalf. As of now in the UNESCO’s list of masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of Humanity, the USA contributes not a single entry; China makes the largest contribution with 31 entries as of summer 2012, Croatia has 12, Iran 7. Had Penn’s legacy lived throughout the 19th century, such contribution would have been much larger for sure.

Still from a cognitive point of view, we remember a very useful concept we retrieved from an exchange with Jérôme Bondu, then Director of the Institut Français de l’Intelligence Economique [90] (IFIE). When Sufi Master Khaled Bentounès developed the “Djanatu al Arif” (“the garden of the wise”) Mediterranean center for sustainable development in Mostaganem, Algeria, Bondu commented: “would it have been placed on an oil deposit, this would have been a remarkable means of exploitation denial”. In that we understood the very concept of a political eden: while magnificence and beauty, in our times if and only if it is man-made, can have immense political leverage and multiply a power of attraction, it can also entice world attention and decisively weight in the denial to exploit the resources of an area. If nature can draw attention, nature can vote. If nature is in our minds, nature votes.

Nowadays the Eiffel tower has more audience than any mountain, however monumental, an observation of geopolitical relevance. A natural Eden has zero political leverage, which explains the domination of natives by industrialized nations in Man’s collective history and the almost silent destruction of Nature’s most fascinating ecosystems from the Canadian oil sand industry to the USA, to Brazil to Russia etc. In the 21st century Man will then learn by himself to deploy many political Edens, with a political power that would simply be unprecedented [91]. A political Eden would be a haven of fascinating beauty that would merge Nature and Man’s hand in a way that would brilliantly demonstrate Man’s spiritual and material maturity, the wise synthesis of Humanity’s Native and Post-Industrial philosophies into something testifying of a non coercive attitude towards Nature.

While most Arctic Gamers are then focused on how they can dominate both Nature and others, and while most are busy extending obsolete doctrines within an obsolete game, the sole purpose of this essay has been to underline the existence of another, wiser and more mature transcending game, which stakes and gains make the previous’ most futile. In that we have attempted to evoke transcendence, and the direction towards a wiser attitude that would encompass sustainable development, the knowledge economy and geopolitics at large.

Meanwhile in Russia:

Russia has all but approved an $8 billion plan to build the first-ever city with an artificial climate, as the country steps up to conquer the planet’s frozen wastes with its vast resources, and says the Moon and Mars will be next.

­Named after Umka – a popular late Soviet-era bear cub cartoon hero – the proposed city is to be built on the remote island of Kotelny, in the Novosibirsk archipelago. [92]

Fancy a swim in the Arctic? Well, with an ambitious new project Russia is developing, this could become a pleasurable experience! A luxury settlement housing 5,000 people under a huge dome with complex life support is to rise up from the polar ice.

­Architect Valery Rzhevsky says this is the world’s first such project with an artificial climate and life support, like at a space station. The energy would be supplied by a floating nuclear electric power station. The city would be called ‘Umka’, which means polar bear. It is to be built on Kotelny, an uninhabited island off Russia’s north coast, a thousand kilometers from the North Pole. [93]

The North Pole is all but a test which tells which attitudinal profile that each leader is adopting. From a cognitive angle then, the Arctic Game is much more significant than a mere geopolitical race between a fractured NATO, Russia and China. It will reveal the maturity, or lack thereof, of all its players. Those who will choose Peace and transcendence beyond resources and war will be the most advanced, and thus surely, the most powerful. Oreck’s contribution may be rather small and marginal at the transient moment, but it can have immense leverage, and the genie of history may help it anytime reach for the Global community at large, just like it allowed the geopolitically minuscule idealism of Greenpeace to weight immensely in the freezing of the South Pole.

Hence there is a choice: global leadership, and we may give U.S. Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck the last word:

Is America leading? Is America taking advantage of this opportunity to transform itself as the world economy shifts away from a primary reliance on fossil fuels?

 


Idriss J. Aberkane is a lecturer in strategy at the Ecole Centrale Paris and an affiliate scholar of the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory, Stanford University. Eirin B. Haug obtained her BA and MA from Cambridge University.

To Brendan Simms. Il Miglior Fabbro


[1] Furthermore: “Again it is urgent to extinguish the fire in Bactria” – “Again it is urgent to build peace in Bactria”. As the legend goes that Cato the elder urged to destroy Carthage before or after every discourse of his at the Roman senate, we shall urge to de-balkanize the “Geographical Pivot of History” before each of our next article, as we believe this is the very most vital objective of International Relations at the moment; we know what Balkanization brought about at the beginning of the 20th century, what it brought in Africa with the horrendous Coltan War, and what war septicemia it can bring once it has reached the “Heartland”.

[2] The Hubble Space Telescope estimated the total number of galaxies in the observable universe to be of 125 billion in 1999, this without considering the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics and what could be derived from the conception of a so-called “omniverse”. The total number of human beings who were ever born on planet Earth as estimated in Haub’s (2002) paleodemographic study was of about 106 billion. Haub, Carl (November/December 2002). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?”. Population Today 30 (8): pp. 3–4.

[3] Though the term itself is much older  – it may have been coined by William Safie as early as 1991.

[4] while the term “orientation” refers to a period where the Orient, namely the East, was the reference cardinal point of a map, much as the North is today. This tradition, lost today, may have come from an association of Jesus Christ to the Sun, which is much present through the Christian Mysteries, which had ancient roman churches properly oriented to the East, and which also led to the notion of Orient in Freemasonry.

[5] for freezing does not appease the tensions and is but a palliative measure in fine, even though history naturally brings the states to transcendence and thus the act of delaying a conflict enough may very often solve it.

[6] Barr, M. Chinese Soft Power Starts at Home e-International Relations. February 1, 2012

[7] Which owns the largest claim over the Antarctic continent, cut in two by the narrow French claim of Terre Adélie.

[8] There is no true power without wisdom; the unity of power, truth and wisdom was reminded as far as in Jewish polemics over the oneness of God (“Echad”) against Middle Ages Christrianity. See Jewish philosophical polemics against Christianity in the Middle Ages. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2007 p. 86

[9] Interestingly the law of the sea that is a the core of the Arctic diplomatic game is actually a mere projection of the land into the sea, namely the right of national ownership stems from the extension of the country’s continental shelf.

[10] George Kozmetsky has clearly underlined the impact of immigrant and minority entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley’s vivacity, which may be compared to the relative failure (namely relative to Palo Alto, yet a success compared to say France or Russia) of the Texas technopolis. See Kozmetsky, G. Immigrant and minority entrepreneurship: the continuous rebirth of American communities Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004

[11] As John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt entitled their influential 1997 RAND monograph on Noopolitik: In Athena’s Camp : Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age.

[12] In that Burton refers to Man has « Homo sapiens », namely the wise species of Homo.

[13] Richard Francis Burton. The Kasidah of Haji Abdu el Yezdi London : Palgrave 1880 Song IX.

[14] For an excellent comprehensive approach to Network Centric Warfare see the collective Network Centric Warfare, Department of Defense Report to Congress (US) July 27th 2011. www.c3i.osd.mil/NCW/

See also Davidson, W. G. Marching Up Country: Autonomous Warfare, A New Doctrine. Report for the Naval War College May 11th 2001.

Bokel, J. Information as An Instrument and a Source of National Power Industrial college of the armed forces Washington DC, 2003.

Fewell, M.P., Hazel, M. G. Network-Centric Warfare: its nature and modeling. Australian Government, Department of Defence, Defence Science and Technology Organization, DSTO systems sciences laboratory Sep. 2003

[15] See Engdahl. W. Full Spectrum Dominance. Wiesbaden: 2009

[16] Glanz, James; Markoff, John (June 12, 2011). “U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors”. The International Herald Tribune.

[17] Which France still attempted to connect by digging the “Canal Royal du Languedoc”, known since the Revolution as “Canal du Midi”, in the 17th century.

[18] Gunter Pauli The Blue Economy: 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs Paradigm Publications 2010

[19] Futurism almost immediately associated itself to fascism.

[20] Seamus Heany The Early Purges in Poems, 1965-1975 NYC : Farar, Straus & Girous 1981.p. 13

[21] Richard Francis Burton – The Kasidah Forgotten Books p. 22

[22] “RIBose” meaning “Rockefeller Institute of Biochemistry”-ose.

[23] one of the first well-known hormonal disruptor long before the cocktail of trace pharmaceutical wastes in drinking water would be found responsible of increasing the risk of developing cancer. The most famous study is Oral contraceptive use is associated with prostate cancer: an ecological study. Margel D, Fleshner NE.BMJ Open. 2011 Nov 14;1(2):e000311. See also : Relationship between mineral and trace element concentrations in drinking water and gastric cancer mortality in Japan Nakaji, S.; Fukuda, S.; Sakamoto, J.; Sugawara, K.; Shimoyama, T.; Umeda, T.; Baxter, D. 21: Nutrition and Cancer 4: 99-12 and regarding heavy metal traces: Trace elements and cancer risk: a review of the epidemiologic evidence. Navarro Silvera SA, Rohan TE. Cancer Causes Control. 2007 Feb;18(1):7-27.

[24] The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night (1885) Terminal Essay: Social Conditions, fn. 13.

[25] Which interestingly has been copied absolutely nowhere else in the world.

[26] “In Africa when an old man dies, a library burns to the ground” Ahmadou Touré, N’Tji Idriss Mariko Amadou Hampâté Bâ, homme de science et de sagesse: mélanges pour le centième anniversaire de la naissance d’Hampâté Bâ KARTHALA Editions, 2005 p. 56

[27] US strategic Rare Earth Element (REE) industry company Molycorp forecast in a March 2011 Reuters news flash that it would very soon even become a net importer of REEs in spite of that it accounted for about 95% of its exports in 2006 according to French journal Le Figaro.

[28] and thus increasingly criticized as gerontocratic, a core cause of the uprising in Tunisia an Egypt.

[29] There has been a long-time separatist claim for a República Rio-Grandense between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, which the discovery of offshore oil deposits in the area are making all the more volatile. See McLeod. Andrew Oil fuels fires of separatism in Brazil The Caledonian Mercury March 18, 2010. Then President Lula da Silva had been reported to call the discovery of the Tupi oil field “the second independence of Brazil” yet is this a curse or a blessing?

[30] see Stuart Bradfield Separatism or status-quo?: Indigenous affairs from the birth of land rights to the death of ATSIC Australian Journal of Politics & History Volume 52, Issue 1, pages 80–97, March 2006

[31] Aberkane, I. An optimistic memo on the Chinese Noopolitik : 2001-2011 e-International Relations June 13th 2011.

[32] Parenti, M. Profit Pathology e-International Relations Jan. 27th 2011.

[33] in contrast with the Latin locution « nove sed non nova », “new presentation but not new [thing]”, in Noopolitik both the “thing” (topic) and presentation are new.

[34] The liquidation of Gaullism and Condoleeza Rice’s famous “Forgive the Germans, Forget the Russians and Punish the French” reaction to the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis against the War in Iraq is just one example of this long-standing tension between an Atlantic E.U and an Eurasian E.U and many other such confrontations are to be expected in the future. The German-US consortium “Desertec” which was underlined by the New York Times as representing a USD 475 billion dollar investment is already being well studied by the Russian intelligence. Understandably indeed, its main geopolitical purpose is that of “keeping the Russians out” again, in that it would naturally reduce Germany’s dependence towards Russian gas. One can thus, still understandably, expect Russian intelligence to play a role in its failure in Northern Africa, although the project has many reasons to fail by itself.

[35] It is interesting to note that this is actually the end of the Gold Rush that had left Northern California as devastated economically as say present-day car-industry Michigan, together with the impulse of the 1906 earthquake, that would herald the new world of Silicon Valley, of which Amadeo Gianini may be considered a founding grandfather. But this is another story.

[36] David McLellan Kar Marx, His Life and Thought Harper & Row, 1973 p. 241. Also in John P. Hutton The mystery of wealth: political economy–its development and impact on world events Wiley, 1979 p. 104

[37] “zeitgesit”, the collective consciousness of the time. For its cyclicity see René Gunéon : Formes traditionnelles et cycles cosmiques Paris : Gallimard 1970.

[38] either purely or partly, this debate is of course a very heated one, and is one of the arguments of post-zionism as defended by Shlomo Sand.

[39] that is, the sideration of human beings towards strong emotions, which make arguments, disagreements, strives and oppositions positively reinforced and addictive in certain conditions.

[40] Napoleon : In His Own Words (1916) edited by Jules Bertaut, as translated by Herbert Edward Law and Charles Lincoln Rhodes Ch. 2.

[41] Horizons & Débats N° 42, Oct. 24th 2011 Les infrastructures des USA sont complètement ruinées «C’est la quittance pour trois décennies d’idolâtrie devant l’autel du marché pur, sans prendre en compte les besoins réels des citoyens». The infrastructures of the USA are completely ruined :” This is the receipt for three decades of worship before the altar of pure market, without taking into account the real needs of citizens”..

[42] See Peyrefitte, A. La société de confiance: essai sur les origines et la nature du développement. Paris : Odile Jacob 1995 See also Algan, Y. Cahuc. P La Société de Défiance: comment le modèle social français s’auto-détruit. Paris : Editions Rue d’Ulm 2007.

[43] Gunter Pauli. The Blue Economy: 10 years 100innovations 100 million jobs Report to the Club of Rome Taos: Paradgm Publications 2010 p. xxi

[44] René Guénon Le Règne de la Quantité et les signes de Temps Paris: Gallimard 1945.

[45] As a policy this slogan could have been most fruitful. What France critically lacked, and still lacks, to use its real potential for a knowledge panacea doctrine, was the flow of confidence which its narrow “Grandes Ecoles” educative system has rendered anemic. A simple, reliable though anecdotic indicator of that phenomenon and that France decisively lacks self-confidence and trust is that while Gates, Zuckerberg and the Google Boys all dropped off their ongoing studies in a prestigious institution to found their company, one has never seen a Frenchman drop off either the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Polytechnique, Centrale, Sciences Po or HEC to found a company.

[46] Giscard d’Estaing graduated from the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique, France’s elite college for prospective technocrats.

[47] Encyclopædia Britannica, 1987 The Annals of America: 1977-1986, Opportunities and problems at home and abroad, Volume 21 p. 22

[48] here is a transcript of the conversation in French as it was broadcast on state channel France 2:

PUJADAS: A propos de la Russie, il y a en France il y a –euh- du respect et il y a aussi – euh – [regardant la caméra] de l’inquiétude – euh – parce que la Russie – euh – qui est une démocratie bien sûr réduit certains contre-pouvoirs comme la presse audiovisuelle, des crimes de journalistes restent impunis… est-ce que vous comprenez ces inquiétudes ?

POUTINE : [riant, moqueur] Oui… je les comprends, c’est une vieille tradition de pays européens que d’imposer aux autres leurs règles et leurs standards. [souriant] Souvenez-vous de la période de la colonisation de l’Afrique. Les Européens y débarquaient avec leurs lois, avec leurs règles, et ils étaient fiers d’éduquer et de « civiliser » les indigènes [Pujadas semble très mal à l’aise]. Concernant ces violations elles existent partout. Si on prend par exemple la violation des droits de l’Homme dans les prisons – chez vous, en France !

PUJADAS : Vous pensez que c’est comparable ?

POUTINE [très assuré] : évidemment. Il y a quelques années les organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme ont écrit des volumes gros comme ça, concernant le respect de ces droits dans vos établissements pénitentiaires. Ces violations existent il faut lutter contre cela.

[49] Hillary Clinton notably stated that the “USA were losing the information war” before Congress, although the context of such statement (namely the passing of a budget) could explain her exaggeration

[50] Tom Mysiewicz A polish commentator on “radicalnews” entitled an article “Polish Plane Crash: Accident or Katyn Massacre II?” See also Patrice Dabrowski “Why the Polish plane crash is called “Katyn 2″” Global Post April 14th 2010.

[51] Karl Marx, Johann Anton Doerig Marx Vs. Russia Ungar, 1962

[52] Machiavelli, The Prince London: Penguin Classics 2003 p. 8.

[53] Andrew Osborn As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. The Wall Street Journal December 29, 2008

[54] See also from the Cold War era anti-communist “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty” Claire Bigg World: Was Soviet Collapse Last Century’s Worst Geopolitical Catastrophe? April 29th 2005.

[55] Rewriting history, France could have remained allied to the Ottoman Empire up to the 20th century, and it could have become the worst enemy of the United Kingdom, which in its balance of power doctrine would have then allied with Germany against France in what would have been the Great War.

[56] from the Cheka, Lenin’s secret political police, which is the root tradition of the KGB and later FSB, the domestic breakdown of the former KGB. Both have kept its logo by the way: the sword and shield. FSB agents, just like KGB agents did in their time, may still call themselves chekists.

[57] Meyssan had been declared persona non grata in the USA prior to that.

[58] The Gaullist movement of the right-wing UMP of which Dominique de Villepin was a member.

[59] Meyssan, T. Opération Sarkozy: comment la CIA a place un de ses agents à la tête de la présidence française. Almaty, Voltaire Network July 19th 2008.

[60] Meyssan, T. Quand le Stay-Behind portrait de Gaulle au Pouvoir Paris, Voltaire Network August 27th 2011  and Meyssan, T. Quand le Stay-Behind voulait remplacer de Gaulle. Paris, Voltaire Network September 10th 2011.  This opinion is also discretely held by French comics series ” Jour J”.

[61] that is, a lot of what Noopolitik encompasses.

[62] Kopp, D. Début de Guerre Froide sur la Banquise Le Monde Diplomatique, Sep. 2007.

[63] August 2nd 2007 on CTV Canadian TV

[64] Kommersant Moscow Cold War Goes North August 4th 2007.

[65] United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, article 76, paragraph 8

[66] Norway and Russia also settled the territorial conflict in the Barents sea in 2010

[67] In spite of the immense geopolitical weight of Alaska and in spite of that Canada’s defense is almost completely subordinated to the US one. On the diplomatic and media side, Canada is still a prominent player.

[68] “Finlandization” was coined to describe how the situation of Finland, pressured by NATO and the USSR during the Cold War, can actually be found by other countries throughout history, when they are pressured by the overlapping of two or more imperial sphere of influence. Finland did not join NATO.

[69] e.g. by the failure of Operation Enduring Freedom.

[70] Elisabeth Bumiller We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint The New York Times April 26, 2010

[71] Stanford Report, June 14, 2005 ‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says with full transcript of Job’s address at the commencement ceremony.

[72] Which shed interesting light over the realist paradigm as the relation between nation’s ego rather than between their true interest, the collision between what nations want and what they need, just like Man is in perpetual struggle between his ego who asks “give me what I want” and his inner self who rather asks “give me what I need”.

[73] Richard Francis Burton. The Kasidah of Haji Abdu el Yezdi London : 1880

[74] Conversation with Emmanuel, comte de Las Cases (11 November 1816), Mémorial de Sainte Hélène, v. 4, p. 133.

[75]Political Aphorisms, Moral and Philosophical Thoughts of Emperor Napoleon collected and published by Cte. A. G. de Liancourt; edited by James Alexander Manning; this work is also sometimes referred to as Maxims of Napoleon. p. 146

[76] Brzezinski, Z. The Grand Chessboard NYC : Basic Books 1998 p. 27.

[77] Kielburger, C Kielburger M. Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World John Wiley and Sons, 2010

[78] Abraham Lincoln Annual Message to Congress –Concluding Remarks Washington, D.C. December 1, 1862 in Abraham Lincoln, Joseph R. Fornieri The language of liberty: the political speeches and writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol 13 of Conservative leadership series Regnery Gateway, 2003 p. 639

[79] All the more reinforced by that Mr. David Oreck became a widely recognized figure as associated with Oreck corporation. See T.Leslie Smith,david H. Ostroff;Perspective and Radio in Television: Telecommunications in the United States;1998;p.288;Lawrence Erlbaum Associates;

[80] An islamophobic blog we may not mention furthermore has gone as far as calling Bruce Oreck a “capitalist crony” while still acknowledging him as a “greentech entrepreneur” the ignorant’s insults are often compliments.

[81] « About » Section of the official website of the League http://www.leagueofgreenembassies.org/?page_id=239

[82] For more on the case study see The Paradigm Shifted: The Renaissance of the Rainforest by Gunter Pauli, ZERI, Summer 2005 on http://www.zerilearning.org/resources_rainforest.htm

[83] Larcenet, M. Sfar, J. Trondheim, L. Le Sage Du Ghetto Donjon Parades, Paris : Delcourt 2001.

[84] a portmanteau for “think global, act local”

[85] English has the proverb “necessity is the mother of invention”. Norwegian has ” Nød lærer naken kvinne å spinne” (“need teaches the woman to weave”)

[86] “the eternal gardener”

[87] The deployment of Confucius Institutes around the world may also have to be somehow “balanced” by the reaffirmation of China’s Taoist identity, which is less materialistic and then more in tune with the global and local aspirations of the 21st century.

[88] See Voltaire Network “La Chine s’Affirme Comme Puissance Culturelle”. Oct 29th 2011. http://www.voltairenet.org/La-Chine-s-affirme-comme-puissance

[89] Jessica Shadian Searching for the Indigenous Voice in a New Arctic Scramble: Berlin Conference Part II or a New Global Politics? e-International Relations February 20, 2008.

[90] French Institute for Economic Intelligence

[91] Even at the esoteric level there as a diversity of much laudable obedience to survey in the process of turning Man’s envies into the gold of a global effort to generate a political Eden. Freegardening or the “forest rite” of the Carbonari and Freemasons are just a very few of them. The Myth of Al Khizr (the Green One) is also very interesting in that matter…

[92] Russia takes the lead in Arctic cold war Russia Today October 25th 2011

[93] Arctic dream: Russia’s polar des res Russia Today November 28th 2011

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