The Founding Insubordination
Brief History of the Construction of the Power of Nations
These lines intend to be a “peripheral thinking”, a reflection attempt from our being somewhere, and being someone. A peripheral thought about international relations, convinced that – as Stanley Hoffmann would say – “Born and raised in America, the discipline of international relations is, so to speak, too close to fire”, and that “It needs triple distance: it should move away from the contemporary, toward the past; from the perspective of a superpower (and a highly conservative one) toward that of the weak and the revolutionary – away from the impossible quest for stability; from the glide into policy science, back to the steep ascent towards the peaks which the questions raised by…
These lines intend to be a “peripheral thinking”, a reflection attempt from our being somewhere, and being someone. A peripheral thought about international relations, convinced that – as Stanley Hoffmann would say – “Born and raised in America, the discipline of international relations is, so to speak, too close to fire”, and that “It needs triple distance: it should move away from the contemporary, toward the past; from the perspective of a superpower (and a highly conservative one) toward that of the weak and the revolutionary – away from the impossible quest for stability; from the glide into policy science, back to the steep ascent towards the peaks which the questions raised by traditional political philosophy represent.” (Hoffman, 1991:35).
We aim at an analytical and historical study of the international relations from a peripheral view. To analyse the past, to understand the on-going processes and project hypothesis about the future, we are aware of the need of an appropriate system of categories that cannot be a whole as the one prepared by the highest centres of excellence in the core countries. It is for this reason that our most profound goal is to prepare some notes that, after a long process of discussion, argumentation and refutation, will serve to elaborate a critical theory about the international relations. This is precisely what we have developed within the first chapters.
We wish to clarify that in general, our critical stance does not imply either the ignorance or the rejection in its whole of the intellectual work developed in the core countries – particularly in America, where the discipline of international relations was born. On the contrary, the idea is to develop a critical analysis of that intellectual piece of work in a way not to accept it as a scientific doctrine “disguised” as a theory, or as to say, theories contaminated by doctrines.
We consider of the essence the need of a critical stance – being the case that, normally, in periphery countries, as Hoffmann would also stand out – experts in international relations frequently tend to reflect or somehow “slavishly” reproduce “American fashions” – sometimes even outdated (debates and categories of analysis in vogue). By doing so, they also reflect and serve the political interest of the American government due to the existing bonds this country has between the academic world and the world of power. A great number of academics and researchers are left not as standing at a “prelude to power” but “in its kitchen”.
We must also clarify that, when trying to prepare these notes towards a critical theory about international relations, we are aware of what Raymond Aron has reliably proved many years ago: A Theorist in international relations will never be able to elaborate a general law to make predictions. What can be done is not more than making comprehensible the field of analysis by defining basic concepts, analysing essential aspects, and sketching those characteristics that are permanent, with a constant logic along time.
Following, our purpose is to make a trip to the past, to go towards the sources from where the configuration of the current world power and the most important phenomena in the international scenario originated from.
It is undoubtedly that, since our needs are different from those of the core countries, different are the lessons we look for and try to find out in history. We must learn how to study history with our own view, our own eyes. Our intention is to dive in the sea of history trying to find those lessons that will help us explain and get beyond the present, this present that is also challenged with critical consideration.
We dig deep into history with a clear goal: to analyse the historical development of the power of nations that have become some of the principal actors in the international system since the beginning of the process of globalization – more than 500 years ago until today.
Preface by Helio Jaguaribe
With “Insubordination founding” Marcelo Gullo reaches full and brilliant performance of its intention to consider historically and analytically, since the periphery of international relations. The concept of periphery, for Gullo, acquires a double meaning: it is, first, of a perspective and, second, of a …
As content is for the analysis of how, peripheral countries in general and, more specifically, the United States, Germany, Japan and China-cited by the chronological order of their national revolutions – made it out of their peripheral status and became countries effectively autonomous, independent in important international partners. This excellent book leads, in its conclusion, a relevant discussion of the situation in South America and how the region can, in turn, overcome their peripheral status and become well-as did the aforementioned countries – an important international partner independent .
I think it should be highlighted in this magnificent study three main aspects: 1) the relevant analytical category system, 2) its extensive historical information, and 3) its central thesis that all successful emancipatory processes were a convenient combination of an attitude ideological insubordination toward the dominant thought and an effective state drive.
Generally, Gullo is located in the area of the realist school of Hans Morgenthau and Raymond Aron. They are the real power conditions that determine the power of the States, including in those conditions the culture of a society and its collective psychology. So covered international relations is observed, from antiquity to the present day Eastern, that are characterized by relations of subordination in which different peoples and subordinating States and other subordinates. This fact leads to the formation, in each ecumene and in each historical period, of a center-periphery, marked by a strong asymmetry, which come from the center of regulatory guidelines and international relations are heading towards the center benefits while the periphery is a provider of services and goods of lower value, and is, thus, subject to the regulatory standards of the center.
The characteristics that determine the power of states and center-periphery relations change historically, acquiring a remarkable difference from the Industrial Revolution. To mention just one example, the Western world of the modern age, shows that Spanish hegemony in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, followed by the French, until the mid-eighteenth, were based, economically based in agriculture and mercantilism , militarily, in the ability to sustain significant permanent forces.
Since the Industrial Revolution is a profound change in the factors of power and Britain, as the only industrial nation for a long time, now holds one indisputable hegemony. Something similar will happen, and in the twentieth century, with the United States.
In this historical context, the study shows how Gullo, to understand current processes, you must use the appropriate system categories. Among those categories excel “threshold power”, which determines the minimum amount of power necessary to participate in the center, that of “hegemonic structure”, that of “ideological subordination” and of “founding insubordination”.
One of the most significant observations of this book refers to the fact that, after its industrialization, Britain began to act with deliberate duplicity. One thing was what actually made to industrialize and progress industrially and over what ideologically spread, with Adam Smith and other spokesmen. Something similar to that which currently does America.
British industrialization, emerging from the Elizabethan Renaissance and strongly developed since the late eighteenth century with the Industrial Revolution, had, as a fundamental condition, strict domestic market protectionism and the appropriate state aid to the industrialization process. Getting to yes success of this policy, Britain will endeavor to support, for others, the principles of free trade and free market activity and condemned as counterproductive, any state intervention. Printing this ideology of preserving appearances hegemony of a universal scientific principle of economy, he successfully persuaded their origin, for a long time (in fact, but with center United States, to this day), others villages and were constituted passively in market for British industrial products and then to Americans, and remained as mere producers of raw materials.
In this context, Gullo presents another of his most important contributions: his theories of “founding insubordination” and “momentum state.” To this end analyzes the successful industrialization achieved in the course of history by countries like the U.S., Germany, Japan and China. Shows that overcoming the peripheral condition depended, in all cases, a vigorous response to the dominant free-market thinking, identifying it as an ideology of domination and, through “ideological insubordination”, successfully promoted with state momentum and the adoption of a satisfying domestic market protectionism deliberate industrialization policy.
So did U.S. rate Hamilton, 1789, to be followed by new and stronger tariff restrictions such as, to mention some of the most notorious, the McKinley tariff of 1890. This also led the German Freidrich List, starting with the Zollverein, 1844. Japan, later, follow the same example, the Meiji Revolution of 1868. China finally start to do with Mao Zedong, but his political ideological suffer negative shocks to the “Great Leap Forward” (1958-1960) and after the “Cultural Revolution” of 1966 to virtually the death of Mao in 1976 . We played well, this extraordinary statesman, Deng Xiaoping, rationally adopt his term in office (1978-1988) state the principle of impulse, combined with a free market policy “selective” under the guidance of the State. As a result China has, since then and uninterruptedly, annual economic growth rates of around 10 percent, and reached as to become the world’s third largest economy.
This splendid study culminates Gullo extremely relevant reflections about the possibilities for South America to perform this “founding insubordination” and, with the support of the state, leaving peripheral status thereby to become a major international player in independent .
I consider this book Marcelo Gullo, essential reading for every American, starting with their political leaders.
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About the Author: MARCELO GULLO OMODEO
Phd in Political Science, Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Master in International Relations, Institut Universitaire de Hautes Études Internationales, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Graduated in International Studies, Diplomatic School of Madrid, Spain.
Graduated in Political Science, National University of Rosario, Argentina.
Disciple of the Brazilian political expert Helio Juagaribe and of the Uruguayan sociologist and theologian Alberto Methol Ferré.
Professor at the Instituto del Servicio Exterior de la Nación Argentina (ISEN), during the years 2010 and 2011.
International Relations advisor of the Latin American Federation of the Education and Culture Workers, (FLATEC).
Full Professor of Argentinian History, Argentinian Foreign Policy and Brazilian Home and Foreign Policy, International Relations Master of Science, National University of Lanús, Argentina.
Professor, Master of Science in Geopolitics Strategy, School of War, Argentinian Ministry of Defense.