Mr. Nasr, our politicians, intellectuals, media moguls and professors always told us: The political Left is struggling for global peace, they are pacifists. Where do we find their protests against the US-wars and Western proxy wars today?
Nasr: Non-existent for the most part. In fact, in 2011, in the middle of the war on Libya, exactly at the point and time when NATO warplanes were acting as the air force for the local Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, some of the most prominent leftists in the DC area not only did NOT organize or so much as lift one finger or utter a single word against the war, they actually attacked and ridiculed what little anti-war organizing that actually was happening.
In the past disputes about territory, population and resources were the reasons of war – today more and more “human rights”. Is this credible?
Nasr: I don't even know where to begin. Most of the people who believe and spout this tripe are not idiots. But they exhibit an incredible degree of naivete that only be called child-like. They're reading from an entirely different playbook than the one that is actually in use. If the masters of the world are reading from "The Art of War" and "The Prince," the "human rights" crowd is reading "The Happy Little Elves Go to the Market". I'm being generous here, though. Many of the younger activists who espouse the "human rights" line are also building up their resumes so that they can eventually get a job in one of the more respectable and influential GONGOs in this city.
In the West we witness since a certain time so called “left wing falcons” like the US-American writer Paul Berman but also the former German foreign minister and head of the green party Joschka Fischer. They call for war to “liberate” so called “backwarded” or “totalitarian” societies – if necessary with the Army. Isn´t this somehow consequent from their point of view?
Nasr: When we talk about Berman and Fischer we're talking about just two names in the entire pantheon of "God That Failed", reformed ex-Communist intellectuals, who became true believers in "Democratic Capitalism," which they often equate with "freedom." They have merely substituted one evangelical faith for another and now seek to impose "democracy" at sword-point on every recalcitrant, non-"cooperative," non-subordinate nation around the world. The world would be a much saner, peaceful and more enjoyable place if they just decided to stay home, stop writing and speaking and holding office and just master the art of macramé or something.
Berman says more or less, the West should go on war for women rights, gay rights, equal rights, racism, religious fanatism and so on. He criticizes values like sovereignty and the right of national self-determination as values of the last centurie(s)...
Nasr: Ugh... I don't even know where to begin. Selectively applied cudgels against "misbehaving" peoples and states? That's one counter-argument I could make. But the thing is, for Berman and his ilk it's ultimately about power. Whether it's the "hard power" of the US military or the "soft power" of "human rights activists" and "N"GOs (each of them focusing on one of the ills you delineated here). Berman fulfills the role of many who came before him, intellectually paving the way for conquests and wars to come.
Joschka Fischer justified the German participation in the attack against Serbia in 1999 with an “antifascist” rhetoric. Also the US-administration uses those motives from time to time. What do you think?
Nasr: Well, it's ironic then that the state which Germany chose to most identify with and aid during the war, Croatia, was also the only one headed by an out-and-out fascist, Tudjman. More importantly than that though, at this point "fascist" has lost any real meaning and simply become a political term of derogation on par with "doo doo head." It just means "some one, or some political system or nation, that I/we really, really, REALLY don't like." Few people have actually bothered to read the full text of Milosevic's "infamous" speech at Kosovo Polje. Those who have heard it know that it bears no resemblance to the cartoonish call for genocide that it was presented to the world at large via NATO and its mass media.
Was the political Left in the West hijacked by “Liberal” or “Conservative” warmongers?
Nasr: Neither. The political left was hijacked by people who sought to placate bourgeois liberals and their sensibilities. NGO's, labor unions, "professional activism" all have contributed greatly to the current state of the Left. From a geopolitical/international perspective most anarchist and Trotskyist tendencies have shown themselves to be willing handmaidens of imperial aims around the globe. Any country anywhere where the disgruntled segment of its population makes it presence known, they are in favor of overthrowing and "regime changing."
On the other side some so-called “right wing” intellectuals like the French writer Alain de Benoist or the Russian political analyst and philosopher Prof. Alexandr Dugin protest against Western military operations and interference into inner affairs of sovereign states – and call for peace. Do you see a deeper political change?
Nasr: Yeah, as a friend of mine always points out, the divide here is not between "right" and "left" so much as it is between "Atlanticists" and "Eurasianists." Obviously I favor the latter.