Bungling the New World Order

By relying on NATO interventions and other military strategies, the U.S. is bleeding itself economically and crippling its ability to cooperate with Russia, China and other emerging forces in the multi-polar world that is taking shape, a grave geopolitical mistake, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

By Graham E. Fuller

On the world scene, America is a declining power. This decline is in part domestic and self-inflicted, reflecting a certain weariness and neglect of our social order. No amount of huffing and puffing from politicians will significantly change this decline.

But the decline is also relative, relative to the rise of new world powers. China, India, Brazil, even the return of a more active Russia; all now severely affect America’s former ability to dominate the global scene.

A U.S. soldier in Afghanistan fires an MA-2, .50-caliber machine gun, in a training exercise at the U.S. base in Afghanistan's Farah province on Sept. 22, 2012. (Photo credit: U.S. Defense Department)

A U.S. soldier in Afghanistan fires an MA-2, .50-caliber machine gun, in a training exercise at the U.S. base in Afghanistan’s Farah province on Sept. 22, 2012. (Photo credit: U.S. Defense Department)

Numerous historical examples abound of imperial exhaustion, loss of spirit and decline. Yet, with our ambitions more modestly set, there is no reason why America cannot comfortably live within the framework of the newly emerging world order. Indeed, President Obama, to his credit, (partially) does grasp the already serious costs of imperial overreach, even if his key strategists do not.

American strategy seems fundamentally stuck in defensive mode against rising powers. Such powers indeed do challenge American aspirations for continued hegemony. But a defensive posture robs us of our vision and spirit; it represents a basically negative orientation, like King Canute on the beach trying to stop the encroaching tide.

Worse, American military power, and the budget keeps rising, seems to have become the default U.S. response to most foreign challenges. The Pentagon has put the State Department out of business. NATO today particularly symbolizes that myopic and defensive orientation.

So while Washington focuses on building defensive military structures, bases and arrangements overseas against Russia and China, we are being rapidly outflanked by a whole array of new economic plans, visions, projects for a new continental infrastructure and institutional developments that span Eurasia. These developments are indeed spearheaded by China and Russia. But they are not fundamentally defensive or military in nature, but rather represent the creation of a new international order from which we have either opted out, or even oppose.

Meanwhile, obsession with NATO and military alliances as the major vehicle of U.S. military policy after the Cold War is a chief reason we are losing out in that new order. With the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1991, a top Soviet ideologist told a senior U.S. official that “We’re going to do a terrible thing to you; we’re going to deprive you of your enemy.”

Indeed, the focal point of U.S. leadership for nearly half a century after World War II was to keep communism and the Soviet bear at bay, primarily through overwhelming military supremacy, bolstered by a thriving economy. NATO was the chief vehicle of that policy.

Our mental legacy from that era lingers on. Back in the day Washington’s analytic touchstone for nearly all regional crises was “What are the Soviets doing?” That question usually topped my mission directives as a CIA officer overseas during the Cold War.

As a result, Washington viewed most complex conflicts unfolding in the developing world primarily through the Soviet geopolitical optic. Major regional issues were not appraised for their intrinsic nature, but rather as part of a U.S.-Soviet global chessboard. Hence the Vietnam War was all about Russia or China; ditto for El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Iran, Indonesia and countless other countries in crisis. We never saw the trees for the forest.

But after 1991 there was no USSR anymore; it had imploded, stunningly, with hardly a shot fired, surely a first in the annals of collapse of empire. And NATO suddenly seemed to be without a mission. What to do?

Washington and hawkish elements among European politicians sought a new mission for NATO, lest it fall into irrelevancy. NATO was, after all, the key instrument of American influence in Europe.

So the roots of a New Cold War were planted. The U.S. moved swiftly to scarf up into NATO most elements of the former East European Soviet empire including a newly united Germany despite early American promises to Russia that NATO would not expand into the borderlands of the former USSR.

And now we see Russian reactions in the face of this Western strategic expansion at Russian cost. The re-absorption of Crimea into Russia sprang most directly from U.S. demonstrated ability to sail warships into the Black Sea to threaten the exposed Russian underbelly there.

This was followed by an ugly tug of war between the U.S. and Russia over the geopolitical soul of Ukraine, at one time the cultural cradle of the first Russian state. And Russia took steps to prevent another U.S. folly, efforts to bring Georgia, on Russia’s southern doorstep, into NATO.

Do these Russian actions herald a new era of Russian aggression? First let’s think about the process of dismantling old empires, such as the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires after World War I. That that process has still not fully stabilized after 100 years; witness Kosovo and Syria. In that same vein, let’s remember that the internal borders within the former Soviet empire were hugely arbitrary, even irrelevant, all these regions were, after all, part of a single country, the USSR.

Many “republics” had been bizarrely drawn while others were nominal fictions or even newly contrived. It is hardly surprising that there is some post-Soviet shakedown within these old internal borders delineating the new Russia from the old empire. Whatever they are, they are not the foundations of World War III.

Now, I do not make light of the plight of small countries living on the periphery of Russia, like Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic, Caucasus, and Central Asian states. Living next to an imperial power after all is never comfortable. Same goes for those who live next to China, or India.

And Mexico, Central and Latin  American states have always cringed at a history of constant U.S. intervention, overthrow of regimes and of course earlier,  U.S. annexation of Mexican lands. There were even attempts to rip off portions of Canada. “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States,” as former Mexican President Porfirio Díaz once quipped.

Of course, we cannot completely ignore border power plays undertaken by Russia, China or other great powers. But these great powers will always have great sway over their weak neighbors. And each case cannot be taken as a testing point of U.S. resolve in a zero sum game. And weak neighbors will always seek distant powers like the U.S. to guarantee their sovereignty. (Would not Latin American states, especially in the past, have welcomed foreign “protection” of their sovereignty against U.S. pressures?)

But today, although neocons in Washington will disagree, it is hard to build a credible case that Russia, under Vladimir Putin or any likely leader, is gearing up to invade Eastern Europe much less Western Europe. But yes, Russia is determined to maintain regional sway, as other great powers do in their backyards, especially when distant powers intrude.

And let’s remember the actual conditions under which Soviet Russia invaded and created most of its East European empire: it came only at the end of a hot global war in which Russia was fighting together with other Western states closing in against Nazi Germany in World War II. It was those unique conditions that facilitated Soviet aggrandizement, not sudden aggressive Muscovite ideological whim.

Today we need to reconsider the preeminent role of NATO in U.S. policy.  Does not its continued existence after the end of the Cold War perhaps serve to generate new tensions with Russia after the Soviet military equivalent, the Warsaw Pact, ceased to exist?

All European states know they are going to have to live and work with Russia next door, forever. Small countries on Russia’s border will of course eternally champion NATO; it gives them room for maneuver and they will be happy to drag Europe and the U.S. into a war with Russia any day if need be.

But that does not make it good policy for the U.S. Indeed, none other than Cold Warrior supremo Henry Kissinger remarked just last week  at the Gorchakov Foundation in Moscow that “in the emerging multi-polar order, Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not primarily as a threat to the United States.”

In the Middle East, the U.S. moved swiftly to further justify NATO’s existence through its projection into the post-Arab Spring conflicts, in Libya and Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan (surely a stretch). Washington is now jockeying to create a NATO role in the Syrian conflict, a bad idea that politicizes yet further the tangled geopolitical nature of that tragic morass. The front against ISIS should be truly international, and not part of an anti-Russian military bloc’s agenda.

The much broader question today is not NATO’s indispensability, but rather the extent of U.S. dependence upon military power, and by extension NATO and far-flung bases, as the major instrument to promote America’s place in the world. NATO is a military instrument. It possesses little cultural, economic, or even significant political or soft power. And lacks an enlightened global vision. It is obsolescent.

Meanwhile, Eurasia proceeds to develop bold new architecture before our eyes, new roads, rail connections, maritime routes and institutional consultation, all under the roof of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It represents a bold new geopolitical skein that is not fundamentally military in nature, although its geopolitical implications could have long-run military implications, especially if Washington chooses to treat it as a hostile power bloc.

There may well be a time and place for some defense assistance to some countries (very carefully chosen and not unilaterally). But are we not hobbling ourselves by primarily promoting defensive alliances against Russia and China while a positive new world is under construction all across Eurasia, one that even Europe is finding hard to resist?

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan.” (Amazon, Kindle) grahamefuller.com

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17 comments for “Bungling the New World Order

  1. Truth Seeker
    February 13, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    There are interesting developments regarding the botched MH17 investigation in the Netherlands.

    http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/02/09/demands-for-mh17-transparency-reach-dutch-court/NEWS OUTLETS TAKE MH17 TRANSPARENCY DEMANDS TO COURT

    Three Dutch news agencies are taking the Ministry of Security and Justice to court, demanding that the government release more information about the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster. On Tuesday the Administrative Court in Utrecht will address arguments in the case, jointly filed by the Volkskrant newspaper, and broadcasters NOS and RTL Nieuws.

    Shortly after the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight different news organizations independently filed Freedom of Information procedures in order to reconstruct the government’s actions following the disaster on July 17th, 2014, according to the Volkskrant.

    In February and April 2015 the Ministry of Security and Justice released a number of ministerial and official committee reports, but large parts of the texts were blacked out. The Ministry gave two reasons for the blacked out text. Firstly that releasing all the information would make contact with “other countries and international organization more difficult” and secondly that it would “hinder the free exchange of arguments” between employees.

    The intent behind the Freedom of Information Act is that government information should be accessible. There are exceptional situation in which the government may decide not to release certain information, such as officials’ “personal opinions on policy” may be blacked out. But all facts must be disclosed.

    The three news organizations state that the Ministry of Security and Justice denied them information on false grounds and used its “black marker” way too freely. “Given the social impact of the disaster with MH17, it is very important that the government is transparent about its efforts in the aftermath of this disaster”, said Philippe Remarque, chief editor of the Volkskrant. “For journalists this openness is essential for monitoring the government’s activities.” According to Pieter Klein, deputy editor of RTL Nieuws, the “politics of the black marker” frustrates journalistic work. “That seems to me to be unworthy of an open, democratic society.”

    According to Jan van der Grinten, the lawyer acting on behalf of the three news organizations, the government is misusing the exceptional conditions clause in the Freedom of Information Act to not disclose information. “Facts are, by definition, not personal opinions on policy”, the lawyer said in the Volkskrant. According to him, in the MH17 freedom of information procedures, information was blacked out that fall under the headings “facts”, “description of the situation”, “fact sheet” and planning”. He feels that this case exemplifies the problem with this Act. “You do not know exactly what we can not know, because that information is blacked out. But you get the feeling that the government does its very best to prevent the sharing of information. And that while the principle should be: transparency, unless.”

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russias-rosaviatsia-tells-mh17-families-that-dutch-investigation-is-biased/559145.html

    In a letter to the relatives of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsia has called on them to demand transparency, objectivity and efficiency from the Dutch investigation into the tragedy, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday.

    The letter from Oleg Storchevoy, deputy head of Rosaviatsia, points out that Russia has repeatedly noted the extraordinary secrecy and bias of the Dutch investigation. The Netherlands must explain why the technical investigation lasted for so long and resulted in abstract and vague results, Storchevoy said in his letter. The letter is intended as a response to a letter sent by the families of the victims to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Dutch authorities ignored data provided by the Russian side, according to Storchevoy’s letter.

    MH17 Experts: Strange That Radars Were Not Operational – ADL Netherlands

    http://www.ad.nl/ad/nl/31544/Rampvlucht-MH17/article/detail/4230233/2016/01/22/Deskundigen-MH17-Vreemd-dat-radars-uit-stonden.dhtml

    More news on Ukraines missing MH-17 radar information: From Google translate. Experts MH17: Strange that radars were not operational

    Piet van Genderen, Radar Expert University of Technology and Riemens, CEO of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) during the hearing on the policy response to the research about the MH17. It is strange that three radar systems in Ukraine were disabled for maintenance during the disaster of flight MH17 said radar expert Piet van Genderen at TU Delft on Friday in the lower house, where among other things the report by the Dutch Safety Board on disaster of flight MH17 is being discussed.

    Van Genderen said that it is unlikely that there was planned maintenance occurring simultaneously on the three ‘primary’ radar systems. One explanation could be that there was a lack of spare parts to keep them running.

    Plenty more here:

    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/12/mh17-evidence-may-be-compromised-by-ukrainian-secret-service-telegraaf/

    http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/12/15/law-expert-corrupt-mh17-evidence-will-make-prosecution-difficult/

    http://yournewswire.com/mh17-australia-say-russia-not-to-blame-evidence-tampered-with/

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/warning-of-corruption-in-flight-mh17-criminal-case-1.2468911

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/dutch-experts-and-council-of-europe-slam-ukraines-investigations-into-mh17-and-killing-of-pro-russian-protesters/5496317

    • February 13, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      is it possible for wolves to herd so many sheeple,
      when throughout history sheeple have been known to morph into lions?
      it will happen … the herds of sheeple morphing into lions …
      but the benefits of that event will not be for the current generation coming into adolescence.
      those who benefit will be for the generations which follow.

  2. Tom Bowshall
    February 14, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Meeting people from western countries, US,Canada,Australia,NZ UK, Germany etc they are all nice decent friendly people, good stock, yet they all to a person elect such rotten,evil Governments, is that even feasible? I wonder if the outcome of elections isn’t fixed. A radical idea, I know.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      How is it that these nice, decent people, the electorate, will – by example- heartily BOO a Donald Trump (in the last debate) when he points out the fact of GW Bush and company Lying campaign leading to the illegal invasion & occupation of Iraq?
      These decent people admonish and attack Obama for what they call “falsely blaming Bush” for our Middle East troubles.

      I’m definitely not a Trump fan but in this case he’s telling the God-awful truth about Bush’s Iraq War and republican voters sit in the audience roundly BOOING him.

      How in this world can these so-called christian-nice-decent people be so completely deceived or so BLINDLY loyal to and supportive of this horribly feckless mistake? !

  3. Sam
    February 14, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Militarist tyranny is the eternal enemy of democracy, and its rejection is the foundation of democracy. Aristotle described it in detail in his book Politics, and the founders of the US knew it well. They gained ascendancy in the US by the economic dominance of the the mass media and elections, the tools of democracy. We have had a right wing revolution and democracy has lost.

    The standing military serves no democracy, but only the enemy oligarchy that creates and pays them. The oligarchy can be overthrown by infiltration and debilitation of the Republicans, the police, the mass media. A generation of geriatric suicide bombers would be effective, taking out the mass media, the rich, the CEOs, the right wing politicians, and the courts.

    This should be done in NATO countries as well, so that they can eject the US as the sponsor of warmongers and the worldwide enemy of democracy and progress.

  4. Brad Owen
    February 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

    You sound a true note, Mr. Pillar. The reason we’re stuck in “permanent war mode” and remain a threat to progress and development for the entire World (including us here in America), is the malicious Right Wing, after forming itself into a deep state (from dyspeptic Tory seeds planted right after the Revolutionary War) in Post-WW II forties, successfully sold the canard to policy-makers, that “the FDR New Deal didn’t end the Great Depression, WWII did” directly leading to the present situation of nascent WWIII knocking on Earth’s door. We COULD HAVE had a MASSIVE CCC/WPA/PWA/TVA/COE-Agro-Industrial COMPLEX busily engaging the World, ALONGSIDE the BRICS Nations, in Research/Labor/Capital-intensive projects of CONSTRUCTION and DEVELOPMENT, instead of the destruction and chaos one gets with a Military-Industrial Complex…all because we bought the lie that only intense military production/activity ended the Great Depression, and NOT civil production/activity.

    (COE= army Corp Of Engineers)

    • February 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Brad Owen
      thumbs up to your comment

  5. Bob Van Noy
    February 14, 2016 at 10:21 am

    So much for “a team of rivals”, more like “l’ll do what I please,at state, like it or not.”

  6. Mike
    February 14, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Barack,
    Emergency Meet with Putin+Jinping to form an INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE.
    Use R2P logic to deploy law-enforcement officers[deputized military personnel] to Saudi Arabia
    and ISRAEL as they are both FAILED STATES unable to maintain domestic tranquility /civil society.
    POLICE ACTION;Cap ALL the wells in SA,form interim Gov.,enact new Human Rights codes by decree.While their
    troops are focusing on Syria.
    POLICE ACTION;Deploy Special Forces to and secure Dimona and all Israeli NukeBomb facilities,
    form interim Gov.,enact new Human Rights codes by decree.
    USA[NATO],China,Russia to form INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE
    Setting the precedent for transitioning from warfare between states to the [NEW]NEW WORLD ORDER of No Warfare.

    OP-ED,Potential war criminal Obama CHANGES the course of history of the world and becomes non-violence HERO
    and is over time recognized as a SAINT or Great World Peace Leader/Christ !!!!! Saves the entire planet from doom!!!

    Please Barack Christ,
    Bless the human beings of Saudi Arabia[+Yemen] and the human beings of Israel-Palastine with
    A LAW-ENFORCEMENT MISSION TO END ALL WARS.

    PS
    I think P.G.County ought to be renamed Organic Michelle Obama County,Maryland.

    Sincerely,Dr. Now

  7. J'hon Doe II
    February 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Brad Owen
    February 14, 2016 at 9:14 am
    You sound a true note, Mr. Pillar. The reason we’re stuck in “permanent war mode” and remain a threat to progress and development for the entire World (including us here in America),

    is the malicious Right Wing,
    :
    State church of the Roman Empire
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Emperor Theodosius I, who made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire.
    Nicene Christianity became the state church of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 CE, when Emperor Theodosius I made it the Empire’s sole authorized religion.[1][2] The Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and the Catholic Church each claim to be the historical continuation of this church in its original form, but do not identify with it in the caesaropapist form that it took later. Unlike Constantine I, who with the Edict of Milan of 313 CE had established tolerance for Christianity without placing it above other religions[3] and whose involvement in matters of the Christian faith extended to convoking councils of bishops who were to determine doctrine and to presiding at their meetings, but not to determining doctrine himself,[4] Theodosius established a single Christian doctrine, which he specified as that professed by Pope Damasus I of Rome and Pope Peter II of Alexandria, as the state’s official religion.

    Earlier in the 4th century, following the Diocletianic Persecution and the Donatist controversy that arose following it, Constantine convened councils of Christian bishops to define an orthodox, or correct, Christian faith, expanding on earlier Christian councils. Numerous councils were held during the 4th and 5th centuries, but Christianity continued to suffer rifts and schisms surrounding the issues of Arianism, Nestorianism, and Miaphysitism. In the 5th century, the Western Empire decayed as a polity, with Rome being sacked in 410 and 455, and Romulus Augustus, the last nominal Western Emperor, being forced by Odoacer to abdicate in 476. However, apart from the aforementioned schisms, the church as an institution persisted in communion, if not without tension, between the east and west. In the 6th century Justinian I recovered Italy and other sections of the western Mediterranean shore. The empire soon lost most of these gains, but held Rome, as part of the Exarchate of Ravenna, until 751, a period known as the Byzantine Papacy. The Muslim conquests of the 7th century would begin a process of converting most of the Christian world in West Asia and North Africa to Islam, severely weakening both the Byzantine Empire and its church. Missionary activity directed from Constantinople did not lead to a lasting expansion of the power of the empire’s state church, since areas outside the empire’s political and military control set up their own distinct state churches, as in the case of Bulgaria in 919.

    Justin I, who became emperor in 518, established the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem as the leadership of the Imperial church, referred to as the Pentarchy. By his time, the churches that now form Oriental Orthodoxy had already seceded from the state church, while in the west Christianity was mostly subject to the laws and customs of nations that owed no allegiance to the emperor.[5] While eastern-born popes who were appointed or at least confirmed by the emperor continued to be loyal to him as their political lord, they refused to accept his authority in religious matters,[6] or the authority of such a council as the imperially convoked Council of Hieria. Pope Gregory III (731-741) was the last to ask the Byzantine ruler to ratify his election.[7][8] By then, the Empire’s state church as originally conceived had ceased to exist.[9] In the East, only the largest fragment of the Christian church was under the emperor’s control, and with the crowning of Charlemagne on 25 December 800 AD as Imperator Romanorum by the latter’s ally, Pope Leo III, the de facto political split between east and west became irrevocable. Spiritually, the Chalcedonian Church, as a communion broader than the imperial state church, continued to persist as a unified entity, at least in theory, until the Great Schism and its formal division with the mutual excommunication in 1054 of Rome and Constantinople. Where the emperor’s power remained, the state church developed in a caesaropapist form,[10] although as the Byzantine Empire lost most of its territory to Islam, increasingly the members of the church lived outside the Byzantine state. It was finally extinguished with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

    Western missionary activities created a communion of churches that extended beyond the empire, a communion predating the establishment of the state church. The obliteration of the Empire’s boundaries by Germanic peoples and an outburst of missionary activity among these peoples, who had no direct links with the Eastern Roman Empire, and among Celtic peoples who had never been part of the Roman Empire, fostered the idea of a universal church free from association with a particular state.[11] On the contrary, “in the East Roman or Byzantine view, when the Roman Empire became Christian, the perfect world order willed by God had been achieved: one universal empire was sovereign, and coterminous with it was the one universal church”; and the state church came, by the time of the demise of the empire in 1453, to merge psychologically with it to the extent that its bishops had difficulty in thinking of Christianity without an emperor.[12][13]

    Modern authors refer to this state church in a variety of ways: as the catholic church, the orthodox church, the imperial church, the imperial Roman church, or the Byzantine church, although some of these terms are also used for wider communions extending outside the Roman Empire.[14] Its legacy carries on, directly or indirectly, in today’s Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in others, such as the Anglican Communion.

    • Charlene Avis Richards
      February 15, 2016 at 12:03 am

      But in the end of all the “discussions” (for which there were apparently MANY!), it all still comes down to Jesus Christ’s final commandment at the Last Supper where He said, “My most important commandment is that ye love one another as I have loved you, one to another.”

      How are ANY of the “Christian” leaders in the world (save the current Pope) yacking about “loving one another”?

      The “Christians” Cruz? Bush? Rubio? Kasich? TRUMP??!! CLINTON??!!

      All poseurs, I say.

      They may carry around their “Bibles” and wear their “crosses”, but I see NONE OF THEM speaking the words of Christ, save, perhaps, the “Jew” Sanders.

      Incredible.

  8. J'hon Doe II
    February 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    In its extreme form,
    caesaropapism
    is a political theory in which the head of state, notably the Emperor (‘Caesar’, by extension an ‘equal’ King), is also the supreme head of the church (‘papa’, pope or analogous religious leader).

    The Eastern Orthodox Church,
    Oriental Orthodoxy,
    and the Catholic Church
    each claim to be the historical
    continuation of this church
    in its original form,
    but do not identify
    with it in the
    caesaropapist
    form that it took later.

  9. J'hon Doe II
    February 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Caesaropapism
    Political system
    Written by: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica 0
    READ VIEW HISTORY EDIT FEEDBACK
    Caesaropapism, political system in which the head of the state is also the head of the church and supreme judge in religious matters. The term is most frequently associated with the late Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. Most modern historians recognize that the legal Byzantine texts speak of interdependence between the imperial and ecclesiastical structures rather than of a unilateral dependence of the latter; historians believe also that there was nothing in the Byzantine understanding of the Christian faith that would recognize the emperor as either doctrinally infallible or invested with priestly powers. Many historical instances of direct imperial pressure on the church ended in failure, e.g., the attempt of Zeno (474–491) and Anastasius I (491–518) in favour of monophysitism, and the efforts of Michael VIII Palaeologus (1259–82) in favour of union with Rome. John Chrysostom and most other authoritative Byzantine theologians denied imperial power over the church.

    It was normal practice, however, for the Eastern Roman emperor to act as the protector of the universal church and as the manager of its administrative affairs. Eusebius of Caesarea called Constantine “the overseer of external” (as opposed to spiritual) church problems (episkopos tōn ektos). Emperors presided over councils, and their will was decisive in the appointment of patriarchs and in determining the territorial limits of their jurisdiction. Emperor Justinian I, in the preface to his Novella 6 (535), described the ideal relation between the sacerdotium and the imperium as a “symphony,” an essentially dynamic and moral interpretation of church-state relations that did allow numerous abuses but was hardly a submission of the church to the state.

    Caesaropapism was more a reality in Russia, where the abuses of Ivan IV the Terrible went practically unopposed and where Peter the Great finally transformed the church into a department of the state (1721), although neither claimed to possess special doctrinal authority.

    The concept of caesaropapism has also been applied in Western Christendom—for example, to the reign of Henry VIII in England, as well as to the principle cujus regio, ejus religio (“religion follows the sovereign”), which prevailed in Germany after the Reformation.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      New World Order– same as the Old world order with New European controller (USA).

      Same harsh brutality, same determination for Control of the world… .

      Caesaropapism is replaced by Neo-liberalism and the Wealth remains in the hands of Europeanist Bankers. (Original colonists and slave traders, our forefathers, are all European transplants — and the Daughters of the American Republic maintain their Pure White Heritage..

      • J'hon Doe II
        February 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

        I’ve referenced this book for nearly 20 years now.
        The famous quote about ignoring history always applies… .
        .

        Law and Revolution,
        The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition

        Harold J. Berman

        Publication: January 1985

        The roots of modern Western legal institutions and concepts go back nine centuries to the Papal Revolution, when the Western church established its political and legal unity and its independence from emperors, kings, and feudal lords. Out of this upheaval came the Western idea of integrated legal systems consciously developed over generations and centuries. Harold J. Berman describes the main features of these systems of law, including the canon law of the church, the royal law of the major kingdoms, the urban law of the newly emerging cities, feudal law, manorial law, and mercantile law. In the coexistence and competition of these systems he finds an important source of the Western belief in the supremacy of law.

        Written simply and dramatically, carrying a wealth of detail for the scholar but also a fascinating story for the layman, the book grapples with wide-ranging questions of our heritage and our future. One of its main themes is the interaction between the Western belief in legal evolution and the periodic outbreak of apocalyptic revolutionary upheavals.

        Berman challenges conventional nationalist approaches to legal history, which have neglected the common foundations of all Western legal systems. He also questions conventional social theory, which has paid insufficient attention to the origin of modern Western legal systems and has therefore misjudged the nature of the crisis of the legal tradition in the twentieth century.

  10. Andrew Nichols
    February 14, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Would not Latin American states, especially in the past, have welcomed foreign “protection” of their sovereignty against U.S. pressures?)

    Cuba had the Russians and look what happened to them – 50 + years of cruel US sanctions invasions and assassination attempts.

    We are marinaded in western govt hypocrisy. However, slowly but with gathering momentum more and more people principally vi their ability to seek alternative news via the Net are now saying “Enough of your BS Enough of your criminal wars!”

    Thus a key moment prior to WW3 breaking out will be the closure of the Net.

  11. Abbybwood
    February 14, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Here is the upcoming WW III scenario, and it ain’t pretty:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44211.htm

Comments are closed.