In late February 2014, the world looked on with jubilation or shock, depending on their region or political point of view, at the fleeing of the Ukraine’s embattled President Yanukovych from Kiev. Only days following a deal brokered between the government and opposition, steps toward stability after months of protests centered in the capitol deteriorated into a power vacuum quickly filled by the president’s opponents.
Western media hailed this as a victory of “the people,” that ever so nebulous platitude that propels useful idiots towards their martyrdom in hails of government gunfire. Russia and its sympathizers, along with those on the dissident Right, saw this is as the victory of the mob over the rule of law and an elected government. Both are mistaken, however. The state has, in fact, triumphed. The reasons for this lie in what a state is, and how it acts (or does not).
Famed German sociologist Max Weber defined the state as “a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” Recall the weeks and months leading to the recent change in Kiev. “Protesters”, protected by shields, gas masks, and that false label, and armed with Molotov cocktails, clubs, petrol bombs, bulldozers, and guns attacked police in a manner that warranted deadly force in response. Not only was deadly force not met with deadly force, but in most cases riot police simply stood their ground and acted as punching bags for their tormentors. Force would have been legitimate, but it was not applied.
Perhaps President Yanukovych was listening too closely to his opponents’ chief enabler. “We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible in making sure it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way,” Obama told his media. Condemnation of the opposition’s actions is practically nonexistent, while every swing of a police baton in response was considered a human rights violation. It was one thing to put up with the propaganda of the opposition, but to allow it to use force for so long and to contest it so little was to invite legitimacy into the ranks of those who wanted the president gone or dead. Had Max Weber came to life in the tent camps of the opposition, he would look at the Ministry of the Interior troops as rebels against the regime in power.
Outside the Ukraine, the opposition was busy at work. International relations were established with the US, the EU, and several of its member states including Poland, Germany, France, and the UK. It did not matter to them that the opposition had associations with groups they themselves consider unsavory, such as neo-Nazis. After all, a sovereign often has to work with such people in order to achieve its ends. Examples abound, such as the US support of the contras, cannibalizing al Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria, and the mujahedeen of 1980s Afghanistan. Were the opposition truly a protest movement and not a state-in-waiting, associating with neo-Nazis would have led to their assets being frozen by Western powers, not those of the President and his staff.
Offices of the government throughout Kiev and western Ukraine were taken by an actual Occupy movement, whose agents could travel wherever they please. This new state had complete freedom of movement in its own territory, and was going to show this to its opponents just as Germany demonstrated to Britain and France that it could place the Wehrmacht in the Rhineland. As that government and every other before or since has shown, it can break its own laws and agreements as the Ukrainian opposition did. The truce reached shortly before the opposition’s power went from de facto to de jure is now gone and will not be remembered outside Russia or our circles. “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”
Throughout the conflict, President Yanukovych’s government showed the world it was not a true state, as his opponents did the opposite. When I watch footage of an opposition bulldozer pushing against police barricades, I am reminded of the NYPD removing Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Though all deaths in this chapter of the Ukraine’s history are unfortunate, the force used so far by the opposition has been proportionate for what their real aim was: the overthrow of the government and its replacement with their own.
What do we as whites take away from this?
Like many on the dissident Right, I viewed the news out of the Ukraine with anger. Once I removed the media’s distorted lens from what has happened in that part of the world, I realized the root- the radix- of the clashes speak to the natural truths we have been saying all along. That is that different people cannot live under the same government forever, and that forcing them together leads to crisis after crisis.
As the opposition and now the government in the Ukraine has accomplished, so should we emulate. Before we can have a state, we must have a state-in-waiting. Established leadership and alliances abroad are necessary, and luckily we are in the mature stages of this step. What we lack are the heartlands out of which a demos can grow into a state. It has been said that we are the ultimate cosmopolitans, jetting around the world to attend conferences and drink champagne with other elites as we talk politics, science, and culture. This however is exactly what our leadership should be doing as elites, though it is not enough. We must have that connection to folk and soil should we ever hope not just to lead, but to govern.
Do not fret then over this crisis. The short-term gain by Washington and the short-term loss by Moscow are of little concern to men of archaic virtues with eyes on the cosmos. What we have witnessed is a reaffirmation written in blood of our eternal principles. Hearken close, listen well, and when it comes time for us to push the pretenders aside, remember the lessons taught here.