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ACADEMY MEMBER ILIE BĂDESCU:"Political idealism - a solution to the crisis which will be unleashed after the coronavirus pandemic"

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"Political idealism - a solution to the crisis which will be unleashed after the coronavirus pandemic"

The head of the "Dimitrie Gusti" Sociology Institute of the Romanian Academy, Academy member Ilie Bădescu, granted BURSA an interview, providing a sociological perspective concerning the geopolitical chances which the COVID-19 epidemic is bringing to Europe, from short-circuiting globalism to the Polish model of sovereignty, while also making a few proposals for Romania's recovery from the pandemic crisis.

Victor Roncea: Professor, in your opinion, how is the COVID-19 crisis changing the world, geopolitically? What will companies do in the new context generated by the coronavirus?

Ilie Bădescu: I perceive that question as leading towards another angle which to look at things from: what the world will be like after the coronavirus. It is already going through what I would call a mutation. Mutations are processes which imply the changing of codes, meaning of the ways in which life manifests itself. In my opinion, what we will see tomorrow is a new frontier appearing across the world: on one side will be the societies that have learned the lesson and have made the switch from yesterday's profile of society, which have submitted themselves to the thinking systems of the globalists, from which they got direct advantages, but still very costly ones (access to resources, to consumer goods was controlled by the major markets, by big finance, by big dependency, meaning by the new-fangled colonialism of transnational corporations), to the profile of societies that have opted for what I would call "political idealism". Societies that will stand out on the world stage will be those whose elites have opted for political idealism, meaning that they have chosen to focus on the calling of an ideal capable of changing the collective destinies (thus foregoing immediate material advantages in exchange for sacrificing the dignity and the futures of their peoples). These will be radically different from societies whose elites continue to stand by the ideology of "political realism", which has made them completely dependent on the bigwigs (on the big metropolises, big finance, big corporations, big markets etc.). This style of thinking dominated by the paradigm of "political realism" has been the supporting force of globalism. Elites which have this line of thinking will justify their subservience and dependence using international "reasons", through the argument that the powerful "know what they're doing" and that at any rate it is beneficial to obey them because they are the ones shaping history and therefore what they're doing is the standard of history, etc. We will thus notice that elites that have been "educated" in such a manner are basically focused on materialism: they see everything through the lens of immediate benefits, of immediate satisfaction, based on what the reality of the world has to offer, as it is defined by the globalists.

Globalists are changing their strategy

Victor Roncea: And yet, some of these vectors of globalism have gone back on their their own propaganda guidelines, switching to domestic protection in the name of national security interests - see how Italy was abandoned and left to fend for itself, for instance. After they have derided US president, Donald Trump, they seem to be circling back to his words that made them squirm uncomfortably in their seats at the UN: "We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism".

Ilie Bădescu: Indeed, the current pandemic has plunged this internationalist scheme into a total crisis. The big ones, I am referring here first of all to the powerful states (in Europe: Germany, France and a squad of the semiperipheral countries, meaning Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria etc.) have been, somewhat paradoxically, the first to abandon the globalist scheme, and have adopted schemes we can fit within the sovereign formula (could we call it "nationalist selfishness"?): a) they have stopped the exports of basic goods, framing that policy as a strategic option; b) they have declined the requests for help, as has happened with Italy, Spain and Serbia, which were received with silence, as if their calls for help hadn't been heard. With that turn of events, the globalists' scheme of political realism has now revealed its true face: on top of the underlying materialism, its ethnopolitical selfishness has also been revealed: "Myself first, and if I can do more afterwards, we'll talk". That is the crowning reasoning of this style of thought of the elites which used to be globalist until yesterday. They have made the transition from globalism to sovereignty quickly and without prior notice, somewhat cynically, we could say. On the other side of the neopolitical frontier are the elites of "political idealism", which have understood that political realism does not help them, in other words they have understood that honoring the world's circumstances created by the globalists brings no benefits to the lower classes and, therefore, they have also changed their roadmap, without any support from what exists (market, global finance, corporations, major countries etc), because that support had completely cut out the smaller entities, and, through self-containment, became something that only the major players benefited from.

As such, their only resource was and is political idealism, meaning being guided by the national ideal, by the feeling of national worth and dignity, of the search for an alternative path through their own resources, based on doctrinal sovereignty, even though, in their case, sovereignty is rather an institutional scheme. The elites of the small countries from central Europe, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc., have understood that early, changed their political code and have scored victories in service to their own peoples.

With a Romania that has no elites, Russia does what it knows: it attacks the security of NATO and the EU

Victor Roncea: Romania?

Ilie Bădescu: Unfortunately, countries like Romania and Bulgaria have opted for the old scheme of "political realism", which reveals its demagogic profile, so that, faced with major challenges such as the current pandemic, are forced to rely on their own resources, which are however, stretched thin to the point of a deadly risk, meaning towards the point of a security threat. In this context, there are already "experts" crawling out of the woodwork, urging states to further cave to the globalist strategy suggesting the restart of the borrowing race from the entities which are pivotal to the globalist philosophy, like the IMF. The Romanian elite has pushed the scheme of the realist globalists so far that today it seems the most ossified elite in Europe, the most submissive, and through the results thereof, has been forced to resort to the purest form of demagoguery, because in reality, in circumstances of serious crisis, the country will have to either fend on its own, or else harbor the hope of poor Lazarus that the rich will throw him some crumbs from their opulent table (which didn't happen in the Bible and obviously won't happen in the case of the current merciless rich sultans). Among the big countries, three states have successfully used the code of political idealism: president Trump's America, who bluntly mentioned the formula of political idealism when he said: "the future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots", China and Russia, both with a totalitarian undercurrent. In America's case, that idealism has energized the American nation under the slogan "America first", in China's case, the initiatives which restart the geopolitics of the Silk Road, and in Russia's case, the initiatives of the geopolitics of Sevastopol, by which Russia acquired control of the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian geopolitical triangle, which the security of the EU on the north-eastern flank depends on. Furthermore, through the apparently secondary operations with Austria and Hungary (and partially with Germany), Russia has managed to insinuate itself in the Carpathians-Danuble-Black Sea Triangle, thus deforming the geostrategic layer of security on the south-eastern flank of the EU and of the North-Atlantic structure. It is obvious that in the current context, both America, as well as Russia and China have become the adepts and the promoters of sovereignty as a line of thinking and thus as a geopolitical paradigm, which hugely weakens the attractiveness of the pre-pandemic globalism. The coronavirus pandemic has, transformed the political geography drawing up a new planetary political border and a geopolitical frenzy of reorganization and therefore opened the way towards a redefining of strategy, and maybe even of alliances.

Domestic political boycott and hard times for the migrants from the diaspora

Victor Roncea: What is going to happen internally?

Ilie Bădescu: Internally, we will see a conflict between the ruling elites and the majority which, since it has no party to represent it, will continue to resort to the strategy of the historic boycott, as Lucian Blaga has defined it, daring to believe that better times will come, and if they don't, then their only chance will still be the boycott together with the exodus strategy. Obviously, the exodus will no longer be as attractive as it used to be, because the alternative of migration or of the diaspora has revealed its many drawbacks and its vulnerability, as can be seen with current Europe which is under yellow code, (or even red code, such as Italy), where countries have opted for the shutdown strategy, meaning that the movements (especially on the segment of pendulum, or alternating migration, as it is called) have themselves become dangerous, or in any case, unattractive. Furthermore, the internal policies of the destination states will drastically reduce the availability of welfare for the disadvantaged, which will obviously lead to a drastic marginalization of the migrants, exacerbating their already existing vulnerability. The governments at home won't be successful in providing alternatives for those returning, so the bulk of those migrants will be faced with very dark and sad days. It is another aspect of the quick reveal of the true face and collapse of the globalist option. For these migrants the globalism is no longer attractive and thus they will be forced to rediscover their profile of "natives", which they thought they had left behind when they opted for angrily declaring themselves members of the "diaspora" (as if being a member of the diaspora could erase their "nativeness"). Even this soul-searching process of rediscovering the nativeness would be a painful one especially since many of them have left grinding their teeth, angry at everybody and everything, but particularly at Romania and at the fact that they were born Romanians, or even at the Eastern Orthodox faith, etc. Of course, not all of them have allowed themselves to be seduced by the siren song of chasing the motherland from their hearts, but some, who have been in actuality the most vocal, have done so and have involuntarily hurt themselves in the process. And it was precisely their wounds that have reopened in the context of the pandemic crisis, when they have remembered, just like the prodigal son, about the home they left with such hubris and naivety. For the unhappy segments of the diaspora, the rediscovery of their profiles as natives, which they yesterday repudiated and treated with contempt, which some even cursed, is one of the social dramas of the post-pandemic period which we need to accept, in our hearts and in our minds. The submissive government will need to resolve these problems as well, aside from the already crushing ones of the pandemic.

"Side with the people unless you want to lose your way"

Victor Roncea: In your opinion, what would be Romania's priorities after the crisis?

Ilie Bădescu: There are three matters which are on the forced agenda of today's and tomorrow's Romanian elite: a) the redefining of its own option and of the spiritual profile and thus, of the choice on the globalism versus sovereignty axis (an operation where we are behind Hungary, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia etc.); b) the reevaluation of the abilities and skills in the face of menacing challenges, today and tomorrow, as well as the current coronavirus pandemic (with the two major challenges first; the healthcare and the education system, which is crucial on Romania's future chosen direction when it comes to the main topics: East vs. West, globalism vs. sovereignty, science vs. religion, and thus body vs. soul etc.); c) the search of an alternative answer to the pressure of the almost 4 million Romanians in the diaspora, which, on every segment, need backstage support from the government at home. In one word: "tomorrow" it will be simply impossible for things to be the way they are "today" in any way, regardless of how much obstinately globalist the Romanian elites may be. If the country doesn't go back to being first in the minds and hearts of the elites, competently and sincerely (with a full commitment in that regard), they will become increasingly useless and the biggest curse upon this people. For that to happen, the elites should stop fearing "the powerful", because they are only powerful with those who are scared, and to remember the urge of Simion Bărnuţiu: "Side with the people unless you want to lose your way".

Romania should look more towards Poland

Victor Roncea: But what will happen to the priority of strategic alliances?

Ilie Bădescu: None of Romania's strategic commitments should be broken, but we do have to constantly and in every circumstance remember that those commitments are frameworks for increasing the security and peace in the region, which should also feature the local interests, and not just the global ones, meaning that every "participation" and response of ours needs to take care of both, because a conflict between them violates precisely these two axioms. Romania has no obligations to make war, but to strengthen security and preserve peace. Any other requirement may not be accepted, precisely because it would violate the premise of the strategic commitments of the Romanian state: security and peace. In this case as well, the matter is one which arises from the way of thinking, except in this particular case it is a matter of diplomacy. Poland, with which we share a similar past, when it comes to the Russian occupiers, and which we are close to in terms of size, in the EU, honors its commitments but it unambiguously puts itself first. Unless we figure out how to harmonize our foreign commitments with the sacred duty of defending our national spirit, then everything becomes absurd, cynical and dangerous. A self-centered style in the policy of the Romanian state does not involve any risk for our commitments and strategic alliances, because the reason for these alliances has to be the assumption that they are intended to defend peace, security in the region and our own interests as a a culture near the lower Danube. That is the axiom of any Romanian geopolitics. Without honoring this assumption, our regional function, as a state and as a people, becomes unlikely, so that, in the lower Danube region, the factors which generate regional security will become increasingly ineffective. The geopolitics of exclusion, are also harmful for the "big" interests (of major countries) as well as for "small" national interests, they need to move aside to leave room for the geopolitics of inclusion and of diplomatic dialogue. If we look at our smaller neighbors, Hungary wasn't shy about removing Soros from the geocultural structures, the IMF from the geoeconomic structure, Brussels from the ideological structure, but without violating its commitments to NATO, the EU, etc. Did anything happen? Did the Euro-Atlantic defense system crumble? I think it's quite the opposite. The mistake of our neighbors is evident in some approaches with have influence on political dyads, such as those that tie it to Romania, Serbia, Slovakia etc., to different degrees, of course. Such mistakes could prove costly further down the road, even though they draw praise from some minor nationalists today, with their narrow mindedness, in some of our neighbors.

The return to "through our own strength"

Victor Roncea: Could you provide us some details on the notion of political idealism. What does it mean, more specifically, meaning, when applied to a government's reaction?

Ilie Bădescu: It means three things: the wake up from the economic sleep-walking of the colonialist line of thinking; the abandonment of the "political capitalism", the suprastructural one, meaning the abandonment of the submissive mentality which turns the political class into an ally of purely exploitative capitalism, which comes here to get the benefit of the cheap and rich resources (which are almost free) and of cheap labor, essentially a tax haven (of a state which spares the corporations from many taxes and from the duty of contributing to social security and healthcare etc.); the adoption of a new direction based on a reversal of the gravity axis from an attitude of relying on external support (which provides safety for the submissive elites and is absolutely illusory for the people) to a policy based on "through our own strength", as Brătianu had described it in the period between the two world wars, back when the PNL was truly a national party without being, Heaven forbid, anti-international. Regardless of how painful a policy based on belt tightening would be, Romanians would accept if the government were honest with them, meaning if it were to initiate programs focused on the interest of the country, truly subordinated to the national interest, and not to those of oligarchs, covered up by the shifty formulas of the demagogic state. Romanian entrepreneurs will have to become a strategic entity of the governments, which will have to make them their main allies. Otherwise, the economic effects of the pandemic will sweep away what little national capital there is that has survived following so many raids and waves of the great tsunami of inter, multi- and transnational "political capitalism", that major corporations have resorted to in their operations in South-Eastern Europe, and which countries from the Visegrad have successfully managed to protect themselves against - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia etc. Forms of the political idealism have appeared in some of the technocratic initiatives of some ministers, such as the minister of agriculture, Daea, who initiated a program for supporting agricultural entrepreneurship, but, unfortunately incomplete, inconsistent, with many flaws, which an honest researcher is aware of, but also with many positive effects. Initiatives such as amending the royalties, the contractual terms in areas of maximum security, such as the energy sector, or the labor-like ones (of redefining the nation's critical thresholds of wages and pensions) are also directions which were announcing a beginning of political idealism and thus of a sovereignty option. Unfortunately, those initiatives don't seem to have too many supporters among the current governing and opposition parties. And yet, these talks can provide solutions to the savage crisis which will be unleashed after the current pandemic. However, all of these could be discussed distinctly through my studies, research and works and those of other colleagues from the Sociology Institute or those of the colleagues from the Quality of Life Research Institute etc. We will be making available to those who are interested such studies through the Institute's website, through our magazines and the Sociologia-azi.ro website.

Victor Roncea: We are waiting for you and we are awaiting for them with interest!

Recorded by Victor Roncea

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