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Bypassing Islam: War in Ukraine and a New Discourse of Civilizational Clash
The war in Ukraine has given rise to not only new political alignments but also unlikely ideological alliances around civilizational identities. As Russia, Iran, and China have coalesced their military and economic powers against what they frame as American imperialism and Western hegemony, conservative political commentators have evoked the contested thesis of the class of civilization. While Huntington framed the debate as the incommensurability of the “Muslim world” with the secular West, today the divide is constructed along a different question: is liberal democracy the only viable political model for the future of global politics? This paper examines new conceptions of civilizational difference and ethno-national discourse through the “philosophical” writings of Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian far-right political strategist, and Jason Reza Jorjani, an Iranian-American AltRight thinker. In his influential book, The Basics of Geopolitics, Dugin calls for the reconstitution of a Euro-Soviet empire as “a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution.” What is surprising is that Dugin includes Russo-Arab and Russo-Persian alliances in his scheme. Jorjani, for his part, advocates for a new planetary civilization based on a return to Indo-European and Persian racial and mythical “roots.” Appropriating Nietzsche and Heidegger’s critiques of Western modernity and the Enlightenment, both Dugin and Jorjani wish to create a new world order by reviving ethno-mythical roots of ancient Euro-Soviet and Persia, while also bypassing Islam. The implicit consequence of this project is the exclusion of Muslim civilizations from the future of history. This research project argues that the war in Ukraine has not merely reanimated the Cold War era’s spatial and political divisions. Rather, it has facilitated a move toward political projects that exceed the limits of nation-states and nationalist political imaginaries.
International Relations/Affairs
Political Science
Religious Studies/Theology
Geographic Area
former Soviet Union
Islamic World
Sub Area