Questions by Gene H. Hogberg
Translated by Dr. David Wainwright
Part 5 of 6. (For the rest of the interview, click here .)
Question 8: Spain is now a member of the European Community. It represents the mother culture of much of the New World. Will a united Europe have strong links to Latin America? Do you foresee such ties conflicting with the interests of the United States in the Western Hemisphere?
Jean Thiriart: First of all, let me remind you that I was a close friend of Peron during his exile in Madrid. By this time Skorzeny had made a new life for himself in Spain as a civilian. He was an importer of industrial equipment. (Before becoming an officer in the Waffen SS, he had been a qualified engineer in Austria.)
We formed a friendly threesome, meeting together frequently either in Peron’s magnificent villa or in the Horcher restaurant in Madrid which for two of us was a reminder, as well as a somewhat romantic symbol, of “the good years” — ours of course. Early on, Peron got into contact with me when he learned of my anti-American stance through Skorzeny. I have published letters and interviews with Peron (at your disposal). When it came to discussing the United States, we were definitely on the same wavelength. In Madrid, political pilgrims from all of South America — not just Argentina — came daily to see Peron. There was a continual stream of visitors. He was the symbol of Latin-American dignity.
When we got together for that enjoyable dinner in January 1987, I told you in the library of the Brussels Hilton that a United Europe might adopt as a common language either English (a pragmatic solution) or Spanish (a political solution). If the Europe I envision — from Vladivostok to Dublin — comes together under conditions of grave military conflict — it will immediately have to control the whole of North Africa . . . which isn’t Africa proper. North Africa belongs to the Mediterranean. Africa proper begins only South of the Sahara. The logic of the situation calls for a thrust toward Johannesburg, if possible before you’re able to effectively strengthen your defenses in the area. But another obvious offensive axis needs to be established; one between Senegal and Brazil. This is both a military and ideological axis. If Europe has to take a tough military stance against the stubbornness of the United States, the establishment of the Senegal-Brazil offensive axis is a foregone conclusion. If the unification of Europe comes about in the context of worldwide political realignments then this would alter everything. No one can, or does, know what the future holds.
The sensible non-radical solution would be as follows: On the one hand the United States (this time sincerely for a change) would help in the industrialization of a great South-American Common Market; while Europe, on the other hand, would peacefully devote its energies to developing Africa and industrializing Siberia, the idea being to restore the world’s political balance. In such a case, Europe would not attempt to exercise hegemony over Latin America.
The revolutionary solution would be for Europe to unify in a death struggle with the United States. In such a case, for us Europeans, Brazil would fulfill a similar role to that played by Sicily for the Romans, when they were engaged in the destruction of Carthage. This brings me back to our discussion in the Hilton library. The political solution for a United Europe: would be for it to adopt Spanish as a lingua franca. Spanish, in both Moscow and Paris. Everywhere. The adoption of the Spanish language for the future Europe would immediately allow it to be at the gates if not in the antechamber of the United States. A Europe officially speaking Spanish would immediately be in the suburbs of Los Angeles and Miami! Throughout Latin America, Europe is held in an esteem that it has not enjoyed in the United States especially since the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s Big Stick policy.
There are many historical corpses between you, the United States, and the whole continent of Latin America. Remember the dividing up of Central America about 1840, the Vera Cruz massacre in 1847, the bombing of Creytown in Nicaragua by your naval artillery in July 1854, the Spanish-American war followed by such plundering as the theft of Cuba and the Philippines.
Armed struggle against the United States, armed politico-military struggle (underground activities), has already begun throughout more or less the whole of Latin America even though it has not yet begun here in Europe. McKinley wanted to “civilize and Christianize” the Philippines. Between 1899 and 1903 the Americans killed 220,000 Filipinos 90% of whom were civilians. You Americans have two cards you can play:
1. understanding, moderation, and even generosity toward others; or else.
2. arrogance, contempt, cynicism. Followed by inevitable backlash (Vietnam, Iran, the Philippines, etc.).
You have a real knack for making your enemies look like devils: England in 1840, the Kaiser in 1917, Hitler in 1941, the Soviet Union today. But this approach has far-reaching consequences for you: e.g. Vietnam. The United States has its official catalog of demons. At the time of your 1844 elections there was hysterical anti-British fever. In conclusion to question number eight, do I really need to tell you what sort of psycho-logical weapon Latin America could be in our hands — if we use such a weapon, or if we need or even have to use it?
One more word about this technique of making opponents seem like devils. This can be an effective technique as far as the common people are concerned, but if those who use the “demonization” technique fall prey to their own game, they will quickly lose the objective clarity needed for good judgment. Your propaganda technology sins because of its self-absorbed Americanism which makes it very difficult for you to understand “others” as they really are. This lack of understanding comes about in the first place through intellectual laziness: your opponents read American and English; you read neither French nor German.
You are firmly convinced of the rightness of your own cause. So often Americans appear to have come from an intellectual Disneyland. On the evil that results from ignorance, I quote from Albert Camus. In original philosophical Buddhism that had not yet turned religious, the worst sin was ignorance. In this respect the message of Sakyamuni is far superior to that of Christ. The somewhat simplistic character of your analyses is apparent in many of your technical works. To mention one out of a hundred, there is the book of William E. Daughery (Operations Research Office) and Morris Janowitz: A Psychological Warfare Casebook. Let’s see what Albert Camus says in his book La Peste [The Plague]:
The evil that is in the world almost always comes from ignorance, and goodwill can reek as much havoc as ill will if it is not enlightened. Men tend to be good rather than bad, but this isn’t really the point. What matters is that to a greater or lesser degree they are ignorant and this is where real virtue or vice comes in, the most appalling vice being the type of ignorance that believes it knows everything and consequently gives itself the authority to kill (cf. Dresden and Hiroshima). The soul of the murderer is blind, and there is no true kindness or noble love without the ability to weigh things up with absolute, objective clarity.
Question 9: What relations do you foresee Europe having in the future with other strategic power centers such as Japan and India?
Jean Thiriart: Japan’s role as an independent power is over. Since 1945 Japan has been an appendage of America. Tomorrow it will have to choose between joining with China, which is most unlikely, or joining with Eurasia, that is with the Euro-Soviet empire. The world as we see it today can overly influence our concept of what it may be like tomorrow. Japan is a magnificent and efficient industrial unit. In times of peace it closely participates in American plutocratic imperialism. In a hot war Japan will instantly be cut off from the United States.
Demographically, Japan represents less than a fifth of the population of China. The situation between China and Japan from 1935 to 1945 no longer exists and will never return. China is once more united, and Mao has succeeded where Chang Kai-shek failed. It remains for China to realize its industrial and economic modernization, and sooner or later this will take place. In Asia the 21st century will be China’s not Japan’s.
The schoolboy’s concept, with Asia beginning at the Urals, is of no serious value. Asia is a gratuitous concept; it comprises several continents. The real borders are the Himalayas and the Altai mountains. Climatically, the Indus separate two different zones: the monsoons from the deserts. As I already said in a previous answer, China’s axis of expansion has had a northwest to southeast orientation for 3,000 years. In the long term, the Philippines, Borneo, the Celebes, Indochina, Sumatra, and Java will become part of a greater China. So I see a China expanded toward the Southeast. India is an Asian continent in itself. Burma will once more join with India, and Siam with China. Baluchistan will become one of the beaches of the Euro-Soviet empire. We must plant our feet in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
The present Soviet Union would have to be totally mad to abandon the buffer state of Afghanistan. Don’t forget that not so long ago the Shah’s Iran was like an American aircraft carrier pointing at the Soviet Union; just as in 1937 Czechoslovakia was like an aircraft carrier aimed at Germany. Relative peace can be brought about by the balance-of-power strategy. Personally, in the next two centuries I see three Asiatic powers emerging, all born of geopolitics.
These are the Euro-Soviet empire, Greater China, and India. Then, should the Chinese choose to march toward Mandalay rather than Singapore, India will possibly have to seek support from the Euro-Soviet empire. And then let us not forget that across the millennia we ourselves are Indo-European. You Americans are Indo-European too. Personally, I don’t believe that the United States will be able to keep its nose above water for much longer. Your lines of communication are dangerously long. Measure the nautical miles between San Francisco and Tokyo on the globe and the distance between San Francisco and Manila. Then compare these distances to those between Canton and Manila or Vladivostok and Tokyo. The precarious nature of the situation is blatantly obvious. The same applies to the Atlantic. “Take all, lose all,” says the proverb. The natural geopolitical axis of expansion for the United States is from North to South. Canada as an independent political entity is an anachronism. It is de facto part of the United States. As for the march to the South, it must not be one of conquest and scorn, but of integration and honest collaboration.
Question 10: In your early book, Europe: An Empire Of 400 Million Men you wrote that a united Europe should exist in “symbiosis” with Africa. Is this still true, given the post-independence problems of Africa?
Jean Thiriart: I simply do not believe in a separate destiny for Africa. Africa cannot manage without economic tutelage. South Africa has been described by General von Lohausen as the Archimedes’ point [the nemesis] of your current naval strategy. Europe cannot tolerate your presence in South Africa any more than you would be able to tolerate an Argentine state as a satellite of today’s USSR (or of tomorrow’s Euro-Soviet empire). An imperialist China would also prefer not to have you in the Indian Ocean. I attach to my answer a map taken from General von Lohausen’s book.
Question 11: How do you see developments in South Africa in terms of Europe’s future? By this, I refer to South Africa’s geostrategic location and its reserve of minerals essential to modem industry.
Jean Thiriart: Question 11 already answered in 10.
Question 12: The United States is changing rapidly. What challenges do you foresee for the United States in the next few years?
Jean Thiriart: In the long run your links with Asia are doomed. They are doomed strategically. Under no circumstances will 21st century China tolerate you in Manila or Singapore. Your present control of the China Sea is undisputed, but it belongs to current perspective, not to the historical perspective. It’s just a concept (devised by) bankers, financiers, merchants, and journalists. Venice made the same mistake in the past. Yet, as soon as a continental power such as the Ottoman empire emerged, Venice rapidly collapsed. An imperialist China of the 21st or 22nd century will never tolerate you in the Philippines, any more than the Turkish empire could tolerate the Venetians in Crete.
America’s current economic military expansion in Japan and the Philippines is the result of circumstances rather than of geopolitical or geostrategical realities. Vietnam was a warning shot. Don’t delude yourselves: The Japanese do not like you, and they will not soon forget Hiroshima. My library still contains numerous books from my teenage years, atlases of the 1935 to 1939 era. What remains today of those French, English, Belgian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Italian empires? In less than 50 years all has changed; all has been lost. What will remain of the American-empire by 2035?
In my work The Euro-Soviet Empire, which is coming out this summer, I contrast the temporal stability of states whose territory is contiguous, with the historical fragility of states whose territory is dispersed and scattered over the surface of the planet. From a military point of view, a sea-going power remains more effective than a continental power. I remember the Reich, which in the Spring of 1944 had to disperse excellent armies into Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and Southwest France. Together, these German armies could have polished off Eisenhower’s army in next to no time, but three-fourths of them were never brought to the front.
So, from a military point of view, I prefer a sea-going power to a continental power. But when we consider it from a historical point of view, in historical perspective, the reverse is true. A continental state is better able to weather a crisis than a maritime power. When you’re out of breath on land you sit down for 10 minutes. When you’re out of breath at sea you drown. Think of the British Empire in 1938 and what remained of it in 1958. The work of four centuries disappeared in less than a quarter of a century.
For stability, a state needs both contiguity and continuity. That is the lesson of geopolitics. If I were American, I would write in favor of economic and historical integration from Alaska to the Argentine, just as I write, as a European, in favor of total integration from Vladivostok to Dublin. I do not see history through economic glasses (as American financiers or bankers look at profits from Tokyo and Singapore). I do not look at history with glasses colored by ideology like those who wage an anti-communist battle — when communism is already spent, at least in its Marxist form.
A forward-looking historical policy would have Europe develop Africa and Siberia and would have the United States develop the whole of Latin America. That is where you must initially seek your economic partners, but it must be done fairly. Then make them your friends. Finally, bring about a type of integration through a common culture. By going to South America you will find European roots. It is remarkable what colonial Spain achieved. The old capitals from Mexico City to Buenos-Aires, built between the 16th century and the end of the 18th century, are architectural miracles in stone.
Bury the era of the WASPs, and try to love the Latin Americans instead of looking down on them. In Manila you have a precarious foothold. Here in Europe, also from a historical point of view, your foothold is precarious. Sooner or later you will be driven both from Asia and Europe.