zaterdag 5 mei 2018

Paul Craig Roberts 274

Russia: Washington’s Next Vassal?

Russia: Washington’s Next Vassal?
Paul Craig Roberts
If reports coming out of Russia are true, Vladimir Putin is considering appointing Washington’s agent, Alexei Kudrin, to negotiate Russia’s surrender to Washington. and 
In checking out this story with well-informed and connected experts, I am advised that John Helmer in his report might have put too much credence in the story planted on the Financial Times by Kudrin. One expert whose judgment I trust told me that Kudrin and other members of the “pro-US lobby”—the traitors that The Saker calls the Atlanticist Integrationists—are playing their  usual games. Kudrin may have gone too far this time by planting the story in the UK’s Financial times of his forthcoming appointment as negotiator of Russia’s surrender to Washington. The expert, whom I trust, told me that everyone in the Putin administration really dislikes Kudrin as a person and political figure — the sly games he plays, exploiting Putin’s personal loyalty from the past. It is widely said in Russia that Putin is too loyal to old friends like Kudrin who no longer serve him well. Kudrin’s few allies are in Medvedev’s group, and Washington’s incompetence recently sanctioned a couple of Kudrin’s Russian allies. 
Another expert whom I trust responds that rumors fly in Russia like they do everywhere as ambitious people jocky to elevate themselves in the media. In contrast to the rumors that Putin is going to turn Russia’s fate over to an American agent, he reports rumors that Putin, pushed by nationalist patriotism and the military, is about to purge the Russian Fifth Column—Kudrin and the pro-Washington faction.
On the other hand, a Russian journalist tells me that in actual fact Putin himself is the biggest pro-Western liberal of them all and that Kudrin was instrumental in bringing Putin from St. Petersburg and installing him in the Moscow establishment.
Perhaps Putin’s inaugural address will indicate whether Kudrin will be given the power to surrender Russia or whether the pro-American Fifth Column will be finally excluded from the government or whether nothing changes.
Kudrin sounds like a traitor who should be put on trial for treason. It seems unlikely that Putin would make Kudrin the number two man in the Russian government. Kudrin, a protector of oligarchic control of Russia by billionaires who stole their fortunes by “privatizing” public assets, is also known for his advocacy of austerity for the Russian population while creating more billionaires by privatizing state assets.
Possibly there is as much fake news in Russia as there is in the US and Europe and that the truth is that Kudrin is a nonentity and not a player in Russian government decisions. However, if Kudrin is elevated, perhaps his rise is due to neoliberal economics.
Kudrin along with the Russian central bank and most Russian economists who have been brainwashed by American neoliberal economics—“junk economics” in Michael Hudson’s accurate characterization—believe that the success of Russia’s economy depends on being tied to Washington’s imperial system. They believe—very erroneously and quite stupidly—that without American investment and the lifting of the sanctions, the Russian economy is doomed. That is what they say. The case could be that, like global economic interests everywhere, the oligarchs are only concerned with money, not with their country’s sovereignty.
As Michael Hudson and I have pointed out, the neoliberal economics taught to Russians by Americans in effect makes Russian economists agents of the West. The Russian economists represent policies that work to Washington’s, not to Russia’s, interest. Pepe Escobar, who believes Putin is moving in the opposite direction from Kudrin, acknowledges the pro-Washington faction’s control over Russian economic and financial policy. 
As there are few economists to tell Putin any different, the Russian government receives advice that Russia will fail unless its economy is integrated with the West. 
Kudrin also intends to cut Russia’s military capability in order to save money with which to pay interest on foreign loans that oligarchs will use to privatize public assets. The consequence would be to make Russia’s vassalage permanent as a colony of the West.
In my article on May 3, I asked if Russia knows what’s up. Apparently not in the Middle East. The Russian government thinks Syria is about fighting terrorism and working out a peaceful settlement. But this is the last thing that Washington and Israel want. Washington and Israel want Assad and Iran overthrown so that Hezbollah is left without support and Israel can ocupy southern Lebanon. Perhaps the Russian government’s inability to deciper the situation is the reason that Russia, always hoping to involve Washington in a peace settlement, never decisively brought the war in Syria to an end. Now Russia is faced with US, French, and British forces in the American-occupied part of Syria and with Israeli military attacks on Syrian army positions.
If Kudrin is permitted to put Russia under Washington’s control, China, whose government also seems impervious to the real situation that it confronts, will stand alone. By privatizing state assets and creating billionaire oligarchs more loyal to money than to China, the Chinese government has created levers for Washington to use to neutralize China. 
Even if Helmer’s report is true, Washington and its ally Kudrin might still fail for any number of reasons, including the mounting problems of the US. Nevertheless, that Putin is reportedly considering endorsing Kudrin and his surrender policy is an indication that Russians face a challenge to their sovereignty from the pro-American forces in Russia.

The Rebel Elite

Post can be found on
Most people in the banking and financial industries have no clue how economics or monetary policy actually works. Universities do a great job of concealing these types of truths from them.

Every once in a while, however, even investment bankers become red-pilled about the true nature of the Almighty Dollar---and sometimes they decide to fight back.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing former banker and founder of the Danish JFK Party, Mads Palsvig. Before waking up, he was just another financial "expert" playing with numbers and enjoying a lavish salary.

But one day while collaborating with a group of colleagues, he was asked how money was created---and it suddenly dawned on him that he didn’t really know where it came from.

What followed was a tumble down the rabbit hole that eventually led him to found the Danish JFK Party and spread the word about the true nature of fiat currency.

This interview is jam-packed with insights and revelations ranging from the real effects of state regulations to having dinner with Federal Reserve witch Janet Yellen.

Palsvig and I also spoke about the JFK Party’s goals and the resistance we freedom lovers face from the banksters and a willfully-ignorant public.

You can watch the full interview here:

The good news is, the world is waking up and the truth is spreading faster than ever before. Regular readers of TDV know this----especially subscribers who’ve benefited from getting the inside scoop on crypto and investment trends for years (subscribe HERE).

Some of the most truly "woke" among us are those who’ve previously worked in banking and finance and have seen the sausage being made---a sign that maybe we’ll be able to destroy this system from within.

Willem Willem en Bert Heemst

Een lezer van mijn blog Willem Willem stelde mij vandaag deze vraag naar aanleiding van de volgende bewering van ene Bert Heemst:

'Linksen zouden met terugwerkende kracht allemaal goed geweest [zijn] in WOII, hebben ook altijd gelijk gehad tijdens de koude oorlog, en nu geven ze even niet thuis. Los het maar op jongens, want we verdiepen ons in luchtfietserij zoals hier, en/of we hakken op de personen in die ons bekritiseren, wat dan ook, alles liever dan ons fatale ongelijk te erkennen. Daar zijn 'we' na ons hele leven gelijk hebben iets te zelfvoldaan voor geworden.'

Wat is daar mis mee Stan?

Wat is er mis met die opmerking van Bert Heemst, Stan?

Welnu Willem Willem, nog afgezien van het feit dat deze bewering in zijn algemeenheid belachelijk is, heeft deze bewering niets te maken met de citaten van Heemst die ik gaf, namelijk:

wat 'de witte man' fout heeft gedaan [wordt] zo opgeblazen, dat het niet meer dan normaal is dat hij het binnen niet al te lange tijd een stuk moeilijker krijgt.


Bert Heemst
3 maanden geleden

Ongelofelijk hoe een op mij joods overkomend iemand, partijen die opkomen voor de bescherming van vrouwen, homo's en joden ! zo kan beschrijven als hier wordt gedaan. De man lijkt me enigszins een dwaallicht.

Wat begrijp je nu niet aan mijn conclusie dat we hier te maken hebben met een ressentimentvolle kleinburgers? 

Laat me het weten. Dan zal ik het voor je uitspellen.

Paul Brill over de Witte Goj Paul Scheffer


12:10 (8 uur geleden)

aan mij 

Sonja heeft een nieuwe reactie op je post "Bert Heemst" achtergelaten: 

Paul Brill en Esther Voet versus Arnon Grunberg. Prettige Bevrijding? Draadje

Wat een laag-bij-de-grondse aanval van op Paul Scheffer vanochtend in . Ver beneden zijn niveau. via

Wie veinst dat antisemitisme een islamitisch probleem is, bezoedelt de herinnering aan de Holocaust

Arno Grunberg
‘Herdenken in tijden van antisemitisme’, luidde de kop van Paul Scheffers column in NRC. Daarin werd het stokpaardje van een bepaald soort rechts bereden: het hedendaagse antisemitisme zou een islamitisch probleem zijn.
Hij negeert het artikel van Leo Lucassen en Annemarike Stremmelaar in NRC over het onderzoek ‘Antisemitism and Immigration in Western Europe Today’, dat Scheffers opvattingen nuanceert.
Eveneens gaat Scheffer voorbij aan het feit dat bijvoorbeeld in Duitsland antisemitisme vooral van extreem-rechts komt. De AfD wil de Wehrmacht opnieuw vereren. Ja, buitenlanders die Israëlische vlaggen verbranden moeten ook het land uit. Zo kom je tegelijk van Joden en moslims af, hopen ze vermoedelijk.
Zeker, antisemitisme komt veel onder moslims voor, maar wie veinst dat antisemitisme een islamitisch probleem is, bezoedelt de herinnering aan de Holocaust, bedacht en uitgevoerd door christelijke Europeanen.
Afgezien van het feit dat de Jood gebruiken om een ander mee te slaan klassiek antisemitisme is.

The Dutch Government Finances The Extremist White Helmets

Gepubliceerd op 4 mei 2018


This is an informal video, a compilation of clips taken while I visited Saqba, Ghouta, the other day, looking at the White Helmets complex and the Faylaq al-Rahman bomb factory just a couple of hundred metres away, both groups working hand in bloody hand. Please listen to Vanessa Beeley's highly-informative interview on this complex (starting at around 39 minutes 40 seconds into her May 1, 2018 interview on UK Column):

vrijdag 4 mei 2018

Bert Heemst

Geef de griezelige kleinburger de ruimte om zijn ressentimenten te spuien en men krijgt zoiets als dit:

wat 'de witte man' fout heeft gedaan [wordt] zo opgeblazen, dat het niet meer dan normaal is dat hij het binnen niet al te lange tijd een stuk moeilijker krijgt.


Bert Heemst 3 maanden geleden
Ongelofelijk hoe een op mij joods overkomend iemand, partijen die opkomen voor de bescherming van vrouwen, homo's en joden ! zo kan beschrijven als hier wordt gedaan. De man lijkt me enigszins een dwaallicht.

Magchiel C. Matthijsen

M.C. Matthijsen
21:03 (1 uur geleden)

aan mij
Drie korte bijdragen misschien kan je er iets mee.

Israël I
Hypocriete berichtgeving van de NOS
De dag nadat Israël enkele bommen op een Iraanse militaire basis in Syrië had gegooid, moest ik de volgende ochtend constateren dat dit gebeuren, door een land dat al meer dan 100 keer de soevereiniteit van het luchtruim van Syrië heeft geschonden, tijdens de nieuwsuitzending niet met naam en toenaam genoemd werd. Het ging alleen om een aanval van een bepaald land.
Ik dacht daarbij onmiddellijk aan de gifgasaanval waarbij de NOS niet over zoveel schroom en politieke behoedzaamheid beschikte. De hele westerse wereld wist onmiddellijk (zonder enig onderzoek) wie de schuldige was. Assad werd onmiddellijk genoemd, want zoiets paste precies in het plaatje dat al een hele tijd van hem bestaat. Een dergelijk soort mens doet zulke dingen. Alleen een dergelijk soort mens kan zulk soort dingen doen. Van Israël bestaat ook een soort plaatje, maar wel een geheel ander. Als dat land iets ‘verkeerds’ doet, dan gebeurt dat ongetwijfeld uit pure zelfverdediging, dan bestaat er een dreiging. Dat is begrijpelijk. En, eerst maar eens even afwachten welke woorden de grote nieuwsbureaux voor dit nieuws vinden.
Magchiel C. Matthijsen (4.5.2018)

Israël II
Is de NRC nu definitief om?
Donderdag 2 mei j.l. verscheen de eerste collum van Paul Scheffer in NRC-Ne. ’s Avonds was hij ook te lezen in de nrc. Wij werden met onze neus op het probleem van het (Europese) antisemitisme gedrukt. Scheffers zijn zorg betrof in de eerste plaats de lange arm van Saoedi-Arabië, onze ‘bondgenoot’ (en wapenafnemer), en de influx van moslims die kennelijk om onverklaarbare redenen met een vreemd soort virus behept zijn.
In de nrc van vrijdag werd de N.B. de hele voorpagina gesierd met een stuk over hetzelfde onderwerp. Behalve dat deze beide stukken niet voor niets rond de dodenherdenking verschenen en die kennelijk nog weer eens een keer extra vanuit een bepaald licht bezien willen hebben, gaat het mij niet in de eerste plaats om de inhoud. Het gaat vooral om wat er in beide stukken niet stond. Dat zijn de woorden Israël en zionisme.
Het lijkt dat Israël succes heeft gehad met zijn strijd om de definitie van het antisemitisme in de VN. Die andere begrippen vallen kennelijk onder het algemene begrip antisemitisme en hoeven niet meer apart genoemd te worden. Dat beide stukken hiervan zo openlijk getuigen betekent dat dit van nu af aan niet alleen de politiek van de krant, maar we mogen aannemen tevens de politiek van de Nederlandse media is geworden.
Wie daarvoor verantwoordelijk is laat zich raden. In Amerika kon je regelmatig op een tv-kanaal een of andere politieke uitspraak horen waarna een ‘tegenstander’ die opmerking nog 15 keer liet horen maar dan zoals andere moderatoren die op andere kanalen met precies dezelfde woorden herhaalden. Dat wil dus zeggen dat deze teksten zijn voorgekookt en van een of andere instantie aan de media zijn doorgegeven. Als dit de buitenlandse politiek betreft is het niet onwaarschijnlijk dat de CIA daarbij betrokken is.
In Nederland hebben wij geen 15 kanalen die je kunt aanklikken. Maar hier wordt onze pers ook naar Amerikaans voorbeeld aangestuurd. Omdat wij die berichten niet in 15-voud kunnen laten zien, en ook omdat wij geen politiek met elkaar concurrerende kanalen hebben, is de beïnvloeding van buiten ook minder makkelijk te ontdekken.
Maar als deze versie, als het probleem Israël op deze manier geframed wordt, geen zionisme geen Palestijns conflict, geen gerichte schoten op Palestijnse kinderen (‘de prijs voor onze veiligheid en levenskwaliteit’ aldus gen. Vogel), doodt bij aanvallen op een soevereine staat 12 soldaten, slaat een permanente oorlogsroffel in de VN, dus zonder enige context, dan is het duidelijk wie hier de politieke lakens uitdeelt, niet Nederland en zelfs niet Amerika.
Als antisemitisme op deze wijze door een krant onder de aandacht moet worden gebracht of beter: onder tafel wordt geschoven, dan beseft zij kennelijk niet dat dit nog maar het begin is van een golf van zgn. ‘antisemitisme’, want als we een debat tegemoet gaan waarin bovengenoemde entiteiten onbenoembaar zijn is het gevolg dat ik mijzelf ook tot de ‘antisemiten’ zal moeten rekenen, en misschien nog wel enkele anderen met mij.
Magchiel C. Matthijsen (4.5.2018)

Ik stuurde je dit verhaal al eerder, maar nu met iets meer peper
De nieuwe Nederlandse ideologen: Poetin bashen waar het kan
Donderdag 26 april in de vroege avond konden we op de tv een vrolijk programma zien over vijf jaar koningsschap van Willem Alexander. Wij zagen in flitsen bekende en minder bekende beelden voorbij komen. Plotseling zagen we een vrolijke groep mensen in Sotsji samen een biertje drinken. Willem Alexander en Poetin hieven gezellig het glas. Dat was teveel voor de commentator. W. A. met deze man. Hij stelde om de zaak te verduidelijken dat W. A. ’in de val was gelopen’ die Poetin voor hem had uitgezet. Dit vond plaats op zondag 10 februari 2014 in het Holland House. Geen vuiltje aan de lucht. Ontspannen, gewoon gezellig. Maar dat mocht niet van de commentator, die onbetrouwbare man moest iets in zijn schild voeren; hij had een val uitgezet waar W. A. helaas met open ogen intrapte. Dat was zo ongeveer de enige smet op zijn koningsschap.
Echter, in november 2013 was onze Koning al in Moskou geweest en had Poetin daar al eens gezien. Ze zagen elkaar nu voor de tweede keer. Gewoon hartelijk. Maar dat was waarschijnlijk de val, dat had W. A. niet mogen zijn! Volgens de Volkskrant van 14.2.2014 was minister-president Mark Rutte zonder meer positief over deze ontmoetingen. Kijk eens aan! Kort voor de Amerikaanse interventie in de oekraïne die de wereldsituatie compleet veranderde.
Dit was allemaal nog voor het ‘echte’ Maidan, want elf dagen later op 21 februari, verscheen de eerste Europese politicus om het vuur op Maidan op te stoken, Guy Verhofstadt.
Op 22 februari gingen daar de remmen los. Toen sloegen de scherpschutters toe. Georganiseerde bendes die o.a. vanuit Georgië waren aangereisd. In ieder geval geen Russische hulptroepen van Victor Yanoekovitsj. Het feest van Maidan en alle goede hoop waren vervlogen. President Yanoekovitsj, door een grote meerderheid gekozen, vluchtte dezelfde dag.
Poetin wist vanaf dat moment dat het menens was. De nieuwe regering zou door de Amerikanen in het zadel worden geholpen en het land zou mogelijk Europa en de NAVO binnen gesleept worden. Er moest gehandeld worden. Sebastopol, de enige Russische Zwarte Zee-haven liep gevaar.
27 februari werd de Krim bezet. Geen schot gelost. Kort daarop sprak het Krimse parlement zich met grote meerderheid uit voor aansluiting bij Rusland. Dat besluit werd op 6 maart in Moskou positief ontvangen.
Petrosjenko werd de nieuwe president op 7 juni en de MH 17 zou pas 17 juli neerstorten. Toen begon er pas een nieuwe periode.
Het zou goed zijn het ideologische denken af en toe aan de feiten te toetsen.
Magchiel C. Matthijsen (28.04.2018)

Why Assad Has to Go

The crisis in modern masculinity

The crisis in modern masculinity

Luridly retro ideas of what it means to be a man have caused a dangerous rush of testosterone around the world – from Modi’s Hindu supremacism to Trump’s nuclear brinkmanship

by Pankaj Mishra

Sat 17 Mar 2018 08.00 GMT Last modified on Sat 17 Mar 2018 10.29 GMT

On the evening of 30 January 1948, five months after the independence and partition of India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was walking to a prayer meeting at his temporary home in New Delhi when he was shot three times, at point-blank range. He collapsed and died instantly. His assassin, originally feared to be Muslim, turned out to be Nathuram Godse, a Hindu Brahmin from western India. Godse, who made no attempt to escape, said in court that he felt compelled to kill Gandhi since the leader with his womanly politics was emasculating the Hindu nation – in particular, with his generosity to Muslims. Godse is a hero today in an India utterly transformed by Hindu chauvinists – an India in which Mein Kampf is a bestseller, a political movement inspired by European fascists dominates politics and culture, and Narendra Modi, a Hindu supremacist accused of mass murder, is prime minister. For all his talk of Hindu genius, Godse flagrantly plagiarised the fictions of European ethnic-racial chauvinists and imperialists. For the first years of his life he was raised as a girl, with a nose ring, and later tried to gain a hard-edged masculine identity through Hindu supremacism. Yet for many struggling young Indians today Godse represents, along with Adolf Hitler, a triumphantly realised individual and national manhood.

The moral prestige of Gandhi’s murderer is only one sign among many of what seems to be a global crisis of masculinity. Luridly retro ideas of what it means to be a strong man have gone mainstream even in so-called advanced nations. In January Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian self-help writer who laments that “the west has lost faith in masculinity” and denounces the “murderous equity doctrine” espoused by women, was hailed in the New York Times as “the most influential public intellectual in the western world right now”.

This is, hopefully, an exaggeration. It is arguable, however, that a frenetic pursuit of masculinity has characterised public life in the west since 9/11; and it presaged the serial-groping president who boasts of his big penis and nuclear button. “From the ashes of September 11,” the Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan exulted a few weeks after the attack, “arise the manly virtues.” Noonan, who today admires Peterson’s “tough” talk, hailed the re-emergence of “masculine men, men who push things and pull things”, such as George W Bush, who she half expected to “tear open his shirt and reveal the big ‘S’ on his chest”. Such gush, commonplace at the time, helped Bush, who had initially gone missing in action on 11 September, reinvent himself as a dashing commander-in-chief (and grow cocky enough to dress up as a fighter pilot and compliment Tony Blair’s “cojones”).

Amid this rush of testosterone in the Anglo-American establishment, many deskbound journalists fancied themselves as unflinching warriors. “We will,” David Brooks, another of Peterson’s fans, vowed, “destroy innocent villages by accident, shrug our shoulders and continue fighting.”

As manly virtues arose, attacks on women, and feminists in particular, in the west became nearly as fierce as the wars waged abroad to rescue Muslim damsels in distress. In Manliness (2006) Harvey Mansfield, a political philosopher at Harvard, denounced working women for undermining the protective role of men. The historian Niall Ferguson, a self-declared neo-imperialist, bemoaned that “girls no longer play with dolls” and that feminists have forced Europe into demographic decline. More revealingly, the few women publicly critical of the bellicosity, such as Katha Pollitt, Susan Sontag and Arundhati Roy, were “mounted on poles for public whipping” and flogged, Barbara Kingsolver wrote, with “words like bitch and airhead and moron and silly”. At the same time, Vanity Fair’s photo essay on the Bush administration at war commended the president for his masculine sangfroid and hailed his deputy, Dick Cheney, as “The Rock”.

Some of this post-9/11 cocksmanship was no doubt provoked by Osama bin Laden’s slurs about American manhood: that the free and the brave had gone “soft” and “weak”. Humiliation in Vietnam similarly brought forth such cartoon visions of masculinity as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is also true that historically privileged men tend to be profoundly disturbed by perceived competition from women, gay people and diverse ethnic and religious groups. In Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle (1990) Elaine Showalter described the great terror induced among many men by the very modest gains of feminists in the late 19th century: “fears of regression and degeneration, the longing for strict border controls around the definition of gender, as well as race, class and nationality”.

In the 1950s, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr was already warning of the “expanding, aggressive force” of women, “seizing new domains like a conquering army”. Exasperated by the “castrated” American male and his “feminine fascination for the downtrodden”, Schlesinger, the original exponent of muscular liberalism, longed for the “frontiersmen” of American history who “were men, and it did not occur to them to think twice about it”.

These majestically male makers of the modern west are being forced to think twice about a lot today. Gay men and women are freer than before to love whom they love, and to marry them. Women expect greater self-fulfilment in the workplace, at home and in bed. Trump may have the biggest nuclear button, but China leads in artificial intelligence as well as old-style mass manufacturing. And technology and automation threaten to render obsolete the men who push and pull things – most damagingly in the west.

Many straight white men feel besieged by “uppity” Chinese and Indian people, by Muslims and feminists, not to mention gay bodybuilders, butch women and trans people. Not surprisingly they are susceptible to Peterson’s notion that the ostensible destruction of “the traditional household division of labour” has led to “chaos”. This fear and insecurity of a male minority has spiralled into a politics of hysteria in the two dominant imperial powers of the modern era. In Britain, the aloof and stiff upper-lipped English gentleman, that epitome of controlled imperial power, has given way to such verbally incontinent Brexiters as Boris Johnson. The rightwing journalist Douglas Murray, among many elegists of English manhood, deplores “emasculated Italians, Europeans and westerners in general” and esteems Trump for “reminding the west of what is great about ourselves”. And, indeed, whether threatening North Korea with nuclear incineration, belittling people with disabilities or groping women, the American president confirms that some winners of modern history will do anything to shore up their sense of entitlement.

But gaudy displays of brute manliness in the west, and frenzied loathing of what the alt-rightists call “cucks” and “cultural Marxists”, are not merely a reaction to insolent former weaklings. Such manic assertions of hyper-masculinity have recurred in modern history. They have also profoundly shaped politics and culture in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Osama bin Laden believed that Muslims “have been deprived of their manhood” and could recover it by obliterating the phallic symbols of American power. Beheading and raping innocent captives in the name of the caliphate, the black-hooded young volunteers of Islamic State were as obviously a case of psychotic masculinity as the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who claimed Viking warriors as his ancestors. Last month, the Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte told female rebels in his country that “We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina.” Tormenting hapless minorities, India’s Hindu supremacist chieftains seem obsessed with proving, as one asserted after India’s nuclear tests in 1998, “we are not eunuchs any more”.

Morbid visions of castration and emasculation, civilisational decline and decay, connect Godse and Schlesinger to Bin Laden and Trump, and many other exponents of a rear-guard machismo today. They are susceptible to cliched metaphors of “soft” and “passive” femininity, “hard” and “active” masculinity; they are nostalgic for a time when men did not have to think twice about being men. And whether Hindu chauvinist, radical Islamist or white nationalist, their self-image depends on despising and excluding women. It is as though the fantasy of male strength measures itself most gratifyingly against the fantasy of female weakness. Equating women with impotence and seized by panic about becoming cucks, these rancorously angry men are symptoms of an endemic and seemingly unresolvable crisis of masculinity.

When did this crisis begin? And why does it seem so inescapably global? Writing Age of Anger: A History of the Present, I began to think that a perpetual crisis stalks the modern world. It began in the 19th century, with the most radical shift in human history: the replacement of agrarian and rural societies by a volatile socio-economic order, which, defined by industrial capitalism, came to be rigidly organised through new sexual and racial divisions of labour. And the crisis seems universal today because a web of restrictive gender norms, spun in modernising western Europe and America, has come to cover the remotest corners of the earth as they undergo their own socio-economic revolutions.

There were always many ways of being a man or a woman. Anthropologists and historians of the world’s astonishingly diverse pre-industrial societies have consistently revealed that there is no clear link between biological makeup and behaviour, no connection between masculinity and vigorous men, or femininity and passive women. Indians, British colonialists were disgusted to find, revered belligerent and sexually voracious goddesses, such as Kali; their heroes were flute-playing idlers such as Krishna. A vast Indian literature attests to mutably gendered men and women, elite as well as folk traditions of androgyny and same-sex eroticism.

These unselfconscious traditions began to come under unprecedented assault in the 19th century, when societies constituted by exploitation and exclusion, and stratified along gender and racial lines, emerged as the world’s most powerful; and when such profound shocks of modernity as nation-building, rural-urban migration, imperial expansion and industrialisation drastically changed all modes of human perception. A hierarchy of manly and unmanly human beings had long existed in many societies without being central in them. During the 19th century, it came to be universally imposed, with men and women straitjacketed into specific roles.

The modern west appears, in the western supremacist version of history, as the guarantor of equality and liberty to all. In actuality, a notion of gender (and racial) inequality, grounded in biological difference, was, as Joan Wallach Scott demonstrates in her recent book Sex and Secularism, nothing less than “the social foundation of modern western nation-states”. Immanuel Kant dismissed women as incapable of practical reason, individual autonomy, objectivity, courage and strength. Napoleon, the child of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment, believed women ought to stay at home and procreate; his Napoleonic Code, which inspired state laws across the world, notoriously subordinated women to their fathers and husbands. Thomas Jefferson, America’s founding father, commended women, “who have the good sense to value domestic happiness above all other” and who are “too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics”. Such prejudices helped replace traditional patriarchy with the exclusionary ideals of masculinity as the modern world came into being.

On such grounds, women were denied political participation and forced into subordinate roles in the family and the labour market. Pop psychologists periodically insist that men are from Mars and women from Venus, lamenting the loss of what Peterson calls “traditional” divisions of labour, without acknowledging that capitalist, industrial and expansionist societies required a fresh division of labour, or that the straight white men who supervised them deemed women unfit, due to their physical or intellectual inferiority, to undertake territorial aggrandisement, nation-building, industrial production, international trade, and scientific innovation. Women’s bodies were meant to reproduce and safeguard the future of the family, race and nation; men’s were supposed to labour and fight. To be a “mature” man was to adjust oneself to society and fulfil one’s responsibility as breadwinner, father and soldier. “When men fear work or fear righteous war,” as Theodore Roosevelt put it, “when women fear motherhood, they tremble on the brink of doom.” As the 19th century progressed, many such cultural assumptions about male and female identity morphed into timeless truths. They are, as Peterson’s rowdy fan club reveals, more vigorously upheld today than the “truths” of racial inequality, which were also simultaneously grounded in “nature”, or pseudo-biology.

Scott points out that the modes of sexual difference defined in the modernising west actually helped secure, “the racial superiority of western nations to their ‘others’ – in Africa, Asia, and Latin America”. “White skin was associated with ‘normal’ gender systems, dark skin with immaturity and perversity.” Thus, the British judged their Kali-worshipping Indian subjects to be an unmanly and childish people who ought not to wrinkle their foreheads with ideas of self-rule. The Chinese were widely seen, including in western Chinatowns, as pigtailed cowards. Even Muslims, Christendom’s formidable old rivals, came to be derided as pitiably “feminine” during the high noon of imperialism.

Gandhi explicitly subverted these gendered prejudices of European imperialists (and their Hindu imitators): that femininity was the absence of masculinity. Rejecting the western identification of rulers with male supremacy and subjecthood with feminine submissiveness, he offered an activist politics based on rigorous self-examination and maternal tenderness. This rejection eventually cost him his life. But he could see how much the male will to power was fed by a fantasy of the female other as a regressive being – someone to be subdued and dominated – and how much this pathology had infected modern politics and culture.

Its most insidious expression was the conquest and exploitation of people deemed feminine, and, therefore, less than human – a violence that became normalised in the 19th century. For many Europeans and Americans, to be a true man was to be an ardent imperialist and nationalist. Even so clear-sighted a figure as Alexis de Tocqueville longed for his French male compatriots to realise their “warlike” and “virile” nature in crushing Arabs in north Africa, leaving women to deal with the petty concerns of domestic life.

As the century progressed, the quest for virility distilled a widespread response among men psychically battered by such uncontrollable and emasculating phenomena as industrialisation, urbanisation and mechanisation. The ideal of a strong, fearless manhood came to be embodied in muscular selves, nations, empires and races. Living up to this daunting ideal required eradicating all traces of feminine timidity and childishness. Failure incited self-loathing – and a craving for regenerative violence. Mocked with such unmanly epithets as “weakling” and “Oscar Wilde”, Roosevelt tried to overcome, Gore Vidal once pointed out, “his physical fragility through ‘manly’ activities of which the most exciting and ennobling was war”. It is no coincidence that the loathing of homosexuals, and the hunt for sacrificial victims such as Wilde, was never more vicious and organized than during this most intense phase of European imperialism.

One image came to be central to all attempts to recuperate the lost manhood of self and nation: the invincible body, represented in our own age of extremes by steroid-juiced, knobbly musculature. Actually, size matters today much less than it ever did; not many muscles are required for increasingly sedentary work habits and lifestyles. Nevertheless, an obsession with raw brawn and sheer mass still shapes political cultures. Trump’s boasts about the size of his body parts were preceded by Vladimir Putin’s displays of his pectorals – advertisements for a Russia re-masculinised after its emasculation by Boris Yeltsin, a flabby drunk. But shirtless hunks are also a striking recent phenomenon in Godse’s “rising” India. In the 90s, just as India’s Hindu nationalisation got into gear, formerly scrawny or chubby Bollywood stars began to flaunt glisteningly hard abs and bulging biceps; Rama, the lean-limbed hero of the Ramayana, started to resemble Rambo in calendar art and political posters. These buffed-up bodies of popular culture foreshadowed Modi, who rose to power boasting of his 56-inch chest, and promising true national potency to young unemployed stragglers.

This vengeful masculinist nationalism was the original creation of Germans in the early 19th century, who first outlined a vision of creating a superbly fit people or master race and fervently embraced such typically modern forms of physical exercise as gymnastics, callisthenics and yoga and fads like nudism. But pumped-up anatomy emerged as a “natural” embodiment of the evidently exclusive male virtue of strength only as the century ended. As societies across the west became more industrial, urban and bureaucratic, property-owning farmers and self-employed artisans rapidly turned into faceless office workers and professionals. With “rational calculation” installed as the new deity, “each man”, Max Weber warned in 1909, “becomes a little cog in the machine”, pathetically obsessed with becoming “a bigger cog”. Increasingly deprived of their old skills and autonomy in the iron cage of modernity, working class men tried to secure their dignity by embodying it in bulky brawn.

 India prime minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in a cricket stadium in Srinagar in 2015.
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 India’s prime minister Narendra Modi rose to power boasting of his 56-inch chest, and promising true national potency. Photograph: Danish Ismail/Reuters
Historians have emphasised how male workers, humiliated by such repressive industrial practices as automation and time management, also began to assert their manhood by swearing, drinking and sexually harassing the few women in the workforce – the beginning of an aggressive hardhat culture that has reached deep into blue-collar workplaces during the decades-long reign of neoliberalism. Towards the end of the 19th century large numbers of men embraced sports and physical fitness, and launched fan clubs of pugnacious footballers and boxers.

It wasn’t just working men. Upper-class parents in America and Britain had begun to send their sons to boarding schools in the hope that their bodies and moral characters would be suitably toughened up in the absence of corrupting feminine influences. Competitive sports, which were first organised in the second half of the 19th century, became a much-favoured means of pre-empting sissiness – and of mass-producing virile imperialists. It was widely believed that putative empire-builders would be too exhausted by their exertions on the playing fields of Eton and Harrow to masturbate.

But masculinity, a dream of power, tends to get more elusive the more intensely it is pursued; and the dread of emasculation by opaque economic, political and social forces continued to deepen. It drove many fin de siècle writers as well as politicians in Europe and the US into hyper-masculine trances of racial nationalism – and, eventually, the calamity of the first world war. Nations and races as well as individuals were conceptualised as biological entities, which could be honed into unassailable organisms. Fear of “race suicide”, cults of physical education and daydreams of a “New Man” went global, along with strictures against masturbation, as the inflexible modern ideology of gender difference reached non-western societies.

European colonialists went on to impose laws that enshrined their virulent homophobia and promoted heterosexual conjugality and patrilineal orders. Their prejudices were also entrenched outside the west by the victims of what the Indian critic Ashis Nandy calls “internal colonialism”: those subjects of European empires who pleaded guilty to the accusation that they were effeminate, and who decided to man up in order to catch up with their white overlords.

This accounts for a startling and still little explored phenomenon: how men within all major religious communities – Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish as well as Christian and Islamic – started in the late 19th century to simultaneously bemoan their lost virility and urge the creation of hard, inviolable bodies, whether of individual men, the nation or the umma. These included early Zionists (Max Nordau, who dreamed of Muskeljudentum, “Jewry of Muscle”), Asian anti-imperialists (Swami Vivekananda, Modi’s hero, who exhorted Hindus to build “biceps”, and Anagarika Dharmapala, who helped develop the muscular Buddhism being horribly flexed by Myanmar’s ethnic-cleansers these days) as well as fanatical imperialists such as Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement.

The most lethal consequences of this mimic machismo unfolded in the first decades of the 20th century. “Never before and never afterwards”, as historian George Mosse, the pioneering historian of masculinity, wrote, “has masculinity been elevated to such heights as during fascism”. Mussolini, like Roosevelt, transformed himself from a sissy into a fire-breathing imperialist. “The weak must be hammered away,” declared Hitler, another physically ill-favoured fascist. Such wannabe members of the Aryan master race accordingly defined themselves against the cowardly Jew and discovered themselves as men of steel in acts of mass murder.

This hunt for manliness continues to contaminate politics and culture across the world in the 21st century. Rapid economic, social and technological change in our own time has plunged an exponentially larger number of uprooted and bewildered men into a doomed quest for masculine certainties. The scope for old-style imperialist aggrandisement and forging a master race may have diminished. But there are, in the age of neoliberal individualism, infinitely more unrealised claims to masculine identity in grotesquely unequal societies around the world. Myths of the self-made man have forced men everywhere into a relentless and often futile hunt for individual power and wealth, in which they imagine women and members of minorities as competitors. Many more men try to degrade and exclude women in their attempt to show some mastery that is supposed to inhere in their biological nature.

Frustration and fear of feminisation have helped boost demagogic movements similar to the one unleashed by the locker room bully in the White House. Godse’s hyper-masculine cliches have vanquished the traditions of androgyny that Gandhi upheld – and not just in India. Young Pakistani men revere the playboy-turned-politician Imran Khan as their alpha male redeemer; they turn viciously on critics of his indiscretions. Similarly embodying a triumphant masculinity in the eyes of his followers, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can do no wrong. Rodrigo Duterte jokes, with brazen frequency, about rape.

Misogyny now flourishes in the public sphere because, as in modernising Europe and America, many toilers daydream of a primordial past when real men were on top, and women knew their place. Loathing of “liberated” women who seem to be usurping male domains is evident not only on social media but also in brutal physical assaults. These are sanctioned by pseudo-traditional ideologies such as Hindu supremacism and Islamic fundamentalism that offer to many thwarted men in Asia and Africa a redeeming machismo: the gratifying replacement of neoliberalism’s bogus promise of equal opportunity with old-style patriarchy.

Susan Faludi argues that many Americans used the 9/11 attacks to shrink the gains of feminism and push women back into passive roles. Peterson’s traditionalism is the latest of many attempts in the west in recent years to restore the authority of men, or to remasculinise society. These include the deployment of “shock-and-awe” violence, loathing of cucks, cultural Marxists and feminists, re-imagining a silver-spooned posturer like Bush as superman, and, finally, the political apotheosis of a serial groper.

This recurrent search for security in coarse manhood confirms that the history of modern masculinity is the history of a fantasy. It describes the doomed quest for a stable and ordered world that entails nothing less than war on the irrepressible plurality of human existence – a war that is periodically renewed despite its devastating failures. An outlandish phobia of women and effeminacy may be hardwired into the long social, political and cultural dominance of men. It could be that their wounded sense of entitlement, or resentment over being denied their customary claim to power and privilege, will continue to make many men vulnerable to such vendors of faux masculinity as Trump and Modi. A compassionate analysis of their rage and despair, however, would conclude that men are as much imprisoned by man-made gender norms as women.

“One is not born, but rather becomes a woman” wrote Simone de Beauvoir. She might as well have said the same for men. “It is civilisation as a whole that produces such a creature.” And forces him into a ruinous pursuit of power. Compared with women, men are almost everywhere more exposed to alcoholism, drug addiction, serious accidents and cardiovascular disease; they have significantly lower life expectancies and are more likely to kill themselves. The first victims of the quest for a mythical male potency are arguably men themselves, whether in school playgrounds, offices, prisons or battlefields. This everyday experience of fear and trauma binds them to women in more ways than most men, trapped by myths of resolute manhood, tend to acknowledge.

Certainly, men would waste this latest crisis of masculinity if they deny or underplay the experience of vulnerability they share with women on a planet that is itself endangered. Masculine power will always remain maddeningly elusive, prone to periodic crises, breakdowns and panicky reassertions. It is an unfulfillable ideal, a hallucination of command and control, and an illusion of mastery, in a world where all that is solid melts into thin air, and where even the ostensibly powerful are haunted by the spectre of loss and displacement. As a straitjacket of onerous roles and impossible expectations, masculinity has become a source of great suffering – for men as much as women. To understand this is not only to grasp its global crisis today. It is also to sight one possibility of resolving the crisis: a release from the absurd but crippling fear that one has not been man enough •

• Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger: A History of the Present is published in paperback by Penguin. To order a copy for £8.49 (RRP £9.99) go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.


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