A Speech by Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” delivered at the Opening Plenary Meeting of the 12th Rhodes Forum on September 26, 2014
Ladies and gentlemen!
Dear participants of the 12th session of the Rhodes Forum!
Welcome to our regular session of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations.”
Today, despite the bitter political environment of mistrust, just like in the previous eleven years more than 400 participants from 65 countries came to Rhodes. All these years we have been united by an open and open-minded dialogue for the purpose of finding the answers to the issues that are vital for human survival. These are the issues that directly and objectively reflect the existing reality contrasting with the “global agenda,” which is being masterminded by the global financial oligarchical structures and offensively promoted by the dependent political elite and relevant media.
I am profoundly pleased to welcome the special guest of the 12th session of the Forum, the President of the Czech Republic Mr. Miloš Zeman.
The entire 12-year-long history of our Forum is based on the methods of historical analysis and their correlation with the images of the future that are visible through the concept of “Dialogue of Civilizations.”
The peculiarity of our time is that we live and work in the environment that has been long ago foreseen by us. This is the environment of the tectonic transformations and systemic socio-economic and political crisis.
What are the main characteristics of this “new world” that require such a focused attention?
– The systemic crisis that I mentioned before, proves that even the descriptive potential of the neo-liberal globalization concept has exhausted itself, not to mention its prognostic potential;
– The rise of the Gini coefficient, i.e., the rise above any reasonable limits of income inequality in the world in general and in the United States and developed countries in particular;
– The extreme increase of the level of injustice and inequality in the world, which is especially evident on such contrasting continents as Europe and Africa;
– The prevailing factor of global domination of one single country over the entire arena of world politics, the messianism and ideology of American exceptionalism;
– The establishment of “neo-liberal totalitarianism” – wide expansion of total surveillance and total control of information flows alongside the totalitarian suppression of dissent;
– Continuous application of the controlled (managed) chaos tactics for overthrowing any government that, according to the American “strategic planners,” threatens or challenges the US hegemony for whatsoever reasons – political, resource, ideological, and moral;
– An increasingly aggressive policy of the destruction of social and cultural civilizational roots of different peoples, an unrestricted administrative “push” of artificial clones of universal values. In this case, in addition to the propaganda of consumerism, there is an imposition of forced satisfaction of even non-existent needs and requirements, superiority of individual interests over any public needs, reluctance to assume responsibilities in any form, promotion of anything unconventional or non-traditional as an imperative to the future world, legalization of public drug use, non-traditional sexual relations, including the most unnatural ones;
– A forced fascization of social processes in Ukraine and European countries;
– The purposeful erosion of the results of 25 years of efforts to integrate a greater peaceful Euro-Asian civilization by way of destructing natural sympathies between the Europeans and the Russians;
– The attempts to designate Russia as a “rogue state” for the purpose of preventing its integration into the European political processes, including the processes of advancing economic cooperation on the Euro-Asian continent.
On Global Economic Dynamics
After the global financial crisis of 2007-2009, the world economy has been in the process of yet incomplete transition to essentially new state which is charaterised with increasing turbulence partly caused by unorthodox economic measures applied by a number of states.
The new stage of the global economic development is characterized by a certain slowdown as compared to the 90s and the first decade of the 2000s. The disparity in growth rates has increased significantly both for developing and mature economies. The European economy has never overcome stagnation after the crisis of 2009. The USA economy is now showing significant growth and the reduction of budget deficit, however, the stability of this growth is doubtful, and in 2016-2020 the growth rate may decrease significantly due to the accumulation of structural problems. For mature economies the post-crisis period is characterized by significant state and corporate debts, as well as persistently high unemployment rate. The world economy as a whole is facing the growth of social and wealth inequality on the national and global levels, the worsening of structural contradictions, ecological, climatic and regional problems, the competition between major countries for natural resources. All that creates potential global turbulence sources in various fields.
It is difficult to evaluate the ability of the new world economy to regain stability. The uncertainty is caused not only and not just by technological changes, but mainly by accumulated imbalance between financial and non-financial sectors, as well as uncertainty related to the search for an effective development policy, including the problem of abolishing the so-called unorthodox economic measures.
In particular, these measures include virtually unlimited monetary easing in the form of the so-called “quantitative easing” (QE), which leads to the fundamental transformation of traditional models and tools for monetary policy. The side effects of this policy can be felt all around the world due to the high volatility of capital flows, the intensity and direction of which tend to change drastically depending on the sudden fluctuations in the global players’ expectations. I would like to emphasize, that until now the primary factors of the global financial crisis (ultra-low interest rates, refinancing and moral hazard effects, high public debt, global imbalances) mainly remained unaddressed, and the possibility of some form of another crisis is not excluded.
However, the fundamental uncertainty it is not really connected with accumulated internal imbalances and contradictions remaining unsolved after the crisis of 2008-2009.
There is an additional source of risks and disturbances, namely, the rapid formation of newly configured global power centers due to the progressive growth of the Chinese and Indian economies (despite of certain slowdown in the post-crisis years). Now they account for about 19% of the world GDP, which corresponds to the GDP of the US economy, and in 2020 the total GDP of China and India is expected to exceed 25% of the world GDP and leave behind the US and EU economies. China has already accumulated 3 trillion dollars of gold and forex reserves becoming the biggest debt holder of the United States and the EU. According to other sources, the GDP of major eastern countries, which include China and India, counted 50% of the world GDP back in 1820, and came close to this value again in 2014 (p. 2). In other words, according to the Indian author, in 1990 world GDP share of the G7 economies was 51%, while the share of the so-called emerging markets was 36%, the situation has become quite the opposite by now.
Such drastic tectonic shifts will require and inevitably cause the major restructuring of international economic institutions, changing the role of the BRICS countries.
At the same time, in the modern economy even human beings are regarded as capital assets, and the “economic man” was reduced to a marketable item by Adam Smith long time ago. The Marxist “commodity – money – commodity” logic also excluded the man from the economic activity equation. Contemporary neo-liberal economists commodify the man in an overt, if not inhuman character. As a result in someone’s head excited by the advantages of global domination appeared an idea that economy can operate by itself without human intervention, as an independent achievement of human civilization. In the frames of prevailing economic and financial model “Humane went of the human being” theory and the ideology of global domination, the process of the human being separation from civilization and the meaning of the human existence started to progress. However, comprehension of such a process by people progresses too as well as mass resentment of these schizophrenic transformations, forgive me for not being politically correct.
Activities of WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations” in 2014
During the last year our non-governmental organization, which can be considered small by international standards, was focusing on the following major tasks:
– Establishing the dialogue related to long-term political and economic consequences for the wide European community. For this purpose, in May the conference “Europe: Lost in Translation?” was held in Berlin, which we organized together with the German-Russian Forum. The participants of the conference particularly noted that the stability and prosperity of both the Eurasian continent and the world as a whole in many ways depends on the willingness and ability of European countries to go beyond the hegemonic interests of the global financial oligarchy and start to cooperate. It is particularly connected with the fact that the boundaries of the modern Europe are much wider than those of the euro-zone. Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific is the modern alternative of civilization. In our opinion, such Europe indeed has a substantial chance to become the economic and political power of the future, taking into account of the processes occurring within the Eurasian civilization space;
– Creating the possibility for an extensive global search of spiritual and environmental basis for the “humanitarian civilization”. For this purpose, in May the first Russian Altai Forum “Society, Human and Nature Co-Development within the Framework of the Dialogue of Civilizations” was organized. In the course of the Forum an important document named the Altai Charter was created, which encourages the environmentally responsible economic and social development and emphasizes the importance of cultural and national heritage for the future of the mankind, as well as the necessity to protect and creatively develop the diversity in the world.
– Expanding the international collaborative research of possibilities to create a mature humanitarian dialogue community in the territory of Euro-Asia (not to be confused with Eurasia) together with our Chinese partners. The possible strategies for combining the newly declared Silk Road Project and the Trans-Eurasian Belt “Razvitie” were discussed at the conference held in July at the Shanghai International Studies Academy. This topic was further discussed at the round table “Great Silk Road Economic Belt”, which took place a month later at the Lanzhou University;
– Promoting comprehensive intergenerational communication and dialogue, a vivid example of which will be given on the third day of this forum, and which is implemented within the successful practice of establishing “dialogue schools” in Eurasia.
On Future Development of Public Dialogue
As we have noted many times in previous years, the dialogue of civilizations is not a merely speculative concept of “wishing well”. This is a natural process of approaching other nations, penetrating into the depths of one’s own culture and becoming familiar with other cultures, as well as searching for the principles and forms of co-existence, revealing one’s own potential and actual possibilities.
This is a natural and long-term process, and despite being discovered in the late 19th century by brilliant Russian and European scientists, it came to attention only after the massive fall of ideological walls that had separated nations and civilizations, largely due to the long-term consequences of our common victory in World War II. In this regard, I cannot help noting that in the late 19th century European and Russian scientific schools practically formed a united research mechanism and no passport systems, more over visas or “sanctions” mechanisms did not exist in that times.
In my opinion, modern European cultural and political space, though invaded by a number of formal dialogues, less and less seems to me as a potential space for establishing the “dialogue of civilizations”. The wrong concept of European multiculturalism and rapid integration in Europe not making migrants responsible for observing the host nations’ cultural principles will lead to the destruction of Europe’s civilization identity and integrity. It could be applied to the cohabitation of different peoples based on a long historical experience, the example of which can be seen in Canada. However, due to the separating and collaborative nature of this concept, it will only aggravate the difficult social and economic conditions on the continent.
If you scope out the big picture of the modern world, you will see that the “dialogue of civilizations” has mainly succeeded in the countries or civilization spaces having already accepted the “dialogue of civilizations” concept as a basis for their further development on the public or semi-public level. This refers to the many years of successful efforts to normalize China–India relations, including the search for mutually acceptable socio-cultural solutions to be used in the future.
The same can be said about Russia-China relations, namely, the Silk Belt of Development, a project that was created a few years ago right here at the Rhodes Forum as a public concept establishing a fundamentally new geo-economic, geopolitical and geocultural reality for the united development of the Eurasian continent, which we have called the RAZVITIE belt.
On Challenges Posed to Russia in the light of Global Domination Projects disproportions
In 2014, the efforts of the world oligarchy to ensure the stability of the global domination system, first of all, in terms of dependable global resources, reached the Russian Federation. In addition to the traditional pressure put on the system of cultural and historical values by implementing various “peaceful” projects aimed to force Russians into the world economy, both within communist or liberal ideology, Russia is facing the threat of one-time sovereignty loss for the third time during the last century. No matter what dialogue initiatives are offered by the government, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of refugees the country hosts due to emergency conditions, no matter what is the opinion expressed by the representatives of the Russian-speaking population, the American exceptionalism doctrine has been already adopted for practical application and, according to its apologists, has to be implemented.
Having worked out the potential of “soft power” that was used to prove the benefits of the “global integration” ideology (forcing other countries to adopt the alien principles of public life, e. g. the “juvenile justice” concept; providing gay people with the same rights as those who prefer the traditional forms of marriage accepted within the country; other types of gender degradation, etc.), the global domination forces have proceeded to the “hot phase” of an armed conflict escalation.
“Soft desovereignization” has failed both in Europe and in Russia.
In this regard, I would like to quote Bismarck saying: “We already have an unsuccessful example of nation Destruction imposed by three powerful aggressors’ on much weaker Poland. Such destruction efforts were unsuccessful during 100 years.
The Russian nation will be at least as much viable; I think, we will be more successful, if we just treat them as an existing permanent hazard, against which we can protect ourselves by means of creating and maintaining the necessary barriers. But we will never be able to eliminate the hazard itself.If we attack the present day Russia, we will only strengthen its aspirations toward unity; if we wait for Russia to attack us, we may rather face Russia’s internal breakup before it finally attacks us, and, moreover, this breakup can occur sooner, if we stop threatening Russia thus preventing her from sliding to the “dead end”. The above statement was pronounced in the past, but it has not lost their relevance.
We assume, that China will be the next to be attacked in the further stage of struggle for the overall totalitarian control over the global politics and economy, as well as planned BRICS project and the developing SCO, which is now expected to be supported by India and Pakistan that have recently declared their willingness to participate. In other words, the public sovereignty is in focus.
To be honest, since the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” was established a long time ago, we have become used to not only criticize the existing world order, but also to jointly seek and suggest an alternative to destructive “global consumerism” threatening the very logic of human existence in a human society. The main goal of the 12th annual session of our Rhodes Forum is to analyze the main directions of the “worldwide dialogue community” theoretical and practical activities and suggest some fair and peaceful models for the coexistence of human communities.
We think, that the “dialogue of civilizations” having an extensive conceptual basis is the only way to achieve the goal we declared 15 years ago, namely, to establish a world order, which will not only ensure the survival of the society, the mankind and the future generations by means of acceptable civilization models, but also let us make a sober estimate of risks and hazards posed to the entire human civilization.