Analysis of the International System from a Libertarian Perspective

by Bruno Lima Rocha/Kurdish Question

With this paper I hope to begin a theoretical-normative demonstration of the necessity and capacity for formulating a new framework for analysis of the international system. Analytical proposals and formulations are hegemonically linked to a realist and statist logic. In starting this essay, I hope to contribute my two cents on the geopolitical and geostrategic plan as well as on conflicts of economic and financial matters on a global scale. The words that follow are the visible part of a differentiated theoretical concern based on a left-libertarian (anarchist) matrix of thought and action.

A critical perspective of geopolitics

The office of international relations analyst writing in a rebellious publication is an exercise in didactics. On the one hand we have an obligation to expose the international system as it is presented, with a balance of forces where multilateral institutions and the presumption of the search for “peace and security” are, often, a way of freezing the realities of injustice on a global scale. Reinforcing this concern, there is also the fear of confusing the lines.

When I write, speak in a classroom or debate, I outline the foundations of strategic studies – in general – and the paradigms of geopolitics – in particular – assuming that the theoretical and methodological approach of realism is not my thing at all. I disagree that the world of life is just disputed (competition for cooperation) and neither do I understand the National State as the only major player on the world stage.

The same applies for the object of study itself. One of the duties of internationalists today is to know how to position agents, actors, interest groups, transnationals (TNCs), managing elites and belief systems in the framework of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf, the Middle East or of Central Asia. And as most disgusting as the occupation of Palestine is (and it is) and the presence of oil giants – always accompanied by naval forces and intelligence services – we can not assume that all who oppose them have projects with some sort of libertarian perspective. The Sunni, Wahhabi or Salafi fundamentalist networks are indefensible from a democratic or humanist point of view, as well as the Shiite power project headed by the Council of Ayatollahs of Iran and its Hezbollah satellite group who have nothing socialist or libertarian nor even democratic.

It is not as of today that leftist thinking is lost amid the dispute between States. In 1939, after the terrible drama of the Spanish republic and Spanish revoltuion, Moscow satellites overflowed explaining the “logic” of the Infamous Pact (Ribbentrop-Molotov) that signed an armistice between Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. During the Cold War we were caught suffocated between the Right, pointing us out as a line of defense of the “West” under the umbrella of the US, and the “comrades” reproducing the Soviet Bloc and the Iron Curtain. The option of non-aligned seemed the most interesting, although it was led by autocratic leaders like Egyptian general Gammal Abdel Nasser. Today there is a temptation to confuse the positions of Russia, or even with a Latin American integration that chooses the IIRSA plan as strategic. Criticizing the supremacy of the United States and being in favor of multilateralism is not the same as unconditionally supporting governments and regimes.

International networks between peoples, cultures, advocacy groups of universal causes, social movements and leftist organizations must emerge beyond the dispute between states, ruling classes and elites. Through this point of view, supporting the Rojava Revolution and Democratic Confederalism implicates in defining a new approach on international politics and international studies.

A critical perspective on the international economy, TNCs and financial capital

As I said in the previous section, the office of international relations analyst writing in a progressive publication is a didactic act. To exercise the analysis, the requirement will always be the separation of voices and positions. Often the analysis is to meet the regulatory budget. That is, we say what has been presented to us as visible and not what we want. It is the eternal collision between be and should be. The left confuse theoretical misery and the misery of the people all the time, going from an abstract political philosophy to a cynicism resultant of historical defeats and lack of broad possibilities. This happens routinely in two areas and inter-disciplines of the International Relations where I act: Strategic Studies (with emphasis on geostrategy and geopolitics) and International Political Economy (with emphasis on the critique of Financial Globalization and in favor of Development Economics).

Just as it is impossible not to have sympathy for former non-aligned countries, nor is it reasonable to adhere to proposals for societies based on the cult of personality or charismatic or autocratic leaderships; the same occurs in the field of production, circulation, distribution, use and disposal of goods and material, virtual, physical or symbolic resources. To critique how this process operates globally in the capitalist mode of production, critique of original political economy, does not mean adhering to the thesis of state capitalism (commonly “Real Socialism”) and not even to remotely consider systems of a “lesser evil” or “checks and balances” just.

Multilateralism in the International System is a necessity, therefore the World Trade Organization (WTO) is less unjust than the triad organized by financial globalization. To say this is to consider that the presence of the Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevêdo as director general of the WTO is a triumph for Brazil and the G20; it does not mean it deems acceptable the level of development proposed by this organization. It is valid as an alternative within globalized capitalism, but that does not even remotely resemble any kind of internationalization of production in the direction of sustainable development, including ancient peoples and cultures.

The problem is that sometimes the criticism is more urgent than the proposition. It is necessary to sweep away the neoliberal counteroffensive, dissect the criminal housing bubble of 2008 and its terrible consequences for the world, especially for hard-won social rights in Europe. Any space taken from the banks, from risk analysis agencies and their global information partners, from groups and investment funds, as well as any speculative net will always be something positive for the planet. But, I insist, this does not mean adhering to Keynesian theory, artificially separating productive from fictitious capital. Criticizing the delinquent economy is not the same as adhering to a “more humane capitalism”, if that’s possible.

Underpinning solutions

As well as it is necessary to look for possible reference of a territorial autonomy integrated into a confederal and democratic system with massive participation of the people who live there, you need to understand the urgent need to formulate a capacity for sustainable development of the same territory that is under collective control. This piece of land would certainly have to develop a local production base and also some ability to get commercial-transactional exchange circuits where production goods and raw materials are available to complete the system of local development. So, again I insist, to support the Kurdistan Social Revolution from abroad means also to create and recreate theoretical possibilities based on the concrete experience of this heroic people and the amazing realizations done by the PKK umbrella organizations. We will embark on this topic in forthcoming publications.

Bruno Lima Rocha has a PhD and MSc in Political Science and is a Professor of International Studies and Geopolitics teaching at three local universities in Southern Brazil. 

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