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NATO Summit in Sofia: Escalating Western recklessness unchecked

NATO Summit in Sofia: Escalating Western recklessness unchecked

Interview with Arto Artinian

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In this episode of "On the Barricades," Boyan Stanislavski and his guest, Arto Artinian, discuss the implications of the recent #NATO Parliamentary Summit held in Sofia, #Bulgaria Boyan expresses concern over the summit's declaration supporting Ukraine's use of NATO weaponry against #Russia and the potential dangers it poses to Bulgaria, a historically NATO-skeptical nation. He highlights the strategic risks mentioned by #Putin regarding small NATO countries becoming targets and contemplates the existential threat to Bulgarian statehood.

The conversation shifts to historical and #geopolitical analysis, where Arto draws parallels between current NATO actions and historical events, such as Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. They discuss the ideological and strategic motivations behind NATO's stance, including the potential for nuclear escalation and the irrationality of such policies. The discussion concludes with reflections on the nature of political elites in Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries, their alignment with Western interests, and the ideological underpinnings of Western policies towards these nations.

Thematic segments

1. Introduction and overview of the NATO Summit in Sofia * 0:16 - 3:37 - Discussion of the NATO Parliamentary Summit in Sofia and its declarations. - Boyan's concerns about the implications of these declarations for Bulgaria.

2. Putin's reaction and strategic risks * 3:38 - 5:39 - Analysis of Putin's comments potentially targeting small NATO countries. - Discussion on the strategic risks for Bulgaria and potential Russian reactions.

3. Historical parallels and NATO's strategy * 5:40 - 13:45 - Arto draws historical parallels between current NATO actions and Nazi Germany's strategies. - Discussion on NATO's military strategy and its implications for Ukraine and Russia. - Examination of the ideological motivations behind NATO's stance.

4. Nuclear escalation and NATO's irrationality * 13:46 - 23:38 - Arto and Boyan discuss the potential for nuclear escalation and the irrationality of NATO's actions. - Concerns over the strategic and ideological mindset of NATO leadership. - Analysis of historical attitudes and contemporary political dynamics within NATO.

5. Western Contempt for Eastern European Nations * 23:39 - 34:00 - Discussion on Western attitudes towards Eastern European countries, particularly Bulgaria. - Examination of historical and contemporary contempt by Western political elites. - The role of NATO and EU policies in shaping these attitudes.

6. Political Elites and National Interests * 34:01 - 43:10 - Analysis of Bulgarian political elites and their alignment with Western interests. - Discussion on the motivations and actions of political elites in Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries. - Reflection on the ideological and humanistic factors driving these elites' policies.


Transcript of the discussion

Boyan Stanislavski

Hello and welcome  "On the Barricades". My name is Boyan Stanislavski and today with me is Arto Artyanian, one of our favorite guests. Favorite guests not only of mine, but also of our viewers.

Hello Arto, thanks for coming on.

Arto Artinian

Hello Boyan, thanks for inviting me as always.

Boyan Stanislavski

Right, so we're gonna talk about Bulgaria today and about what happened over the weekend. Because what we've had is a kind of Euro-Atlanticist extravaganza, and a dangerous one, not just spectacular. Because we've had this thing called the NATO Parliamentary Summit, which was held in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria.

And we've had some pretty stunning declarations that were made or adopted during that summit. And, you know, to see that kind of statement being adopted in Bulgaria by NATO, in Bulgaria of all places, one of the most NATO-skeptical, or the most NATO-skeptical nation within this Northern Treaty Alliance. So during this Parliamentary Summit in Sofia, there was this declaration adopted to support Ukraine until victory over Russia.

But also the change of policy that follows this declaration, which means free usage of NATO weaponry supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces, and the allowance to use them deep inside Russian territory to strike, like, you know, the radar stations, we've seen that over the past week or 10 days. And it's happening, or it's being declared in Bulgaria. And why I find it extremely dangerous is the fact that the president of the Russian Federation was on a trip to Uzbekistan.

And during that trip, there was a press conference organized, and he alluded, in my opinion, to Bulgaria, and to this statement or change of policy adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, where he pointed out that it's surprising that small NATO countries, I think he even said small NATO countries of Europe, are subscribing to this idea because they are densely populated, small territories, and this should be considered as a major strategic factor in their deliberations, instead of just, you know, subscribing thoughtlessly to whatever is happening, which to me is, first of all, a clear allusion to Bulgaria.

Second, it's as open declaration as you can possibly hear from a Russian diplomat or president or high-ranking politician that we are going to attack you if you only dare to actually realize or materialize from your own territory some kind of attack on Russian territory deep into the heartland, using NATO weaponry or using NATO territory and so on. And, you know, I have the feeling that we are actually looking, if it happens, you know, God forbid, of course, but if it happens, we are looking at the end, at the final stage of Bulgarian statehood. What's your take?

Arto Artinian

Well, Boyan, I think I'm less worried about Bulgaria being the intended target of those words by Putin. I think, personally, I think he was referring more to the three Baltic states, which openly seem to be eager to fight a war against Russia for some reason, which I don't understand, because three Baltic states themselves combined, their population doesn't come up to half of the population of Moscow. And furthermore, roughly 50% or very close thereabouts of the population of those three Baltic states consists of ethnic Russians.

So, clearly, these politicians in the three Baltic republics do not speak for themselves. They're simply repeating what they're being told by their more powerful NATO allies. So, I think he was much more addressing this to both the Baltic states than to Bulgaria, because I still think it's difficult to imagine Bulgaria being threatened by the Russian military in some kind of an escalation against NATO, except possibly NATO military bases in Bulgaria, which would be a horrible escalation, of course, if the war reached that stage.

But I think any intended targets would probably be American military bases in Bulgaria or whatnot. But I don't think that's likely at this stage, although I don't know, of course.

Boyan Stanislavski

But I think- Yeah, let me just interject here. Let me just interject that before the summit began, I'm talking about this parliamentary NATO summit in Bulgaria, and before all those declarations were adopted until victory, and yes, please strike deep into the Russian heartland and so on and so forth, Bulgarian government has offered itself or has offered the Bulgarian territory in order to establish a special kind of military decision-taking body there, which would manage, which would be called the East, the East, like whatever it is, but would be called the East. And, you know, I understand military bases would also be there, but there would be this command center in Bulgaria.

So I suppose it's like inviting Russian missiles.

Arto Artinian

I think this follows very much in the sense, for example, when United Europe under Adolf Hitler's leadership invaded Poland and then the Soviet Union, when the war reached the Soviet Union, the United Europe, and I use this term deliberately because we're witnessing United Europe again, using essentially the same language. In my mind, these are neo-Nazis. But anyways, I'm referring to the European Union senior leadership.

As we've spoken before, a lot of the German chancellor, the foreign minister, the finance minister, they literally come from very, very prominent, unreformed, unpunished Nazis from the World War II period. So there must be, it's not just the family continuity, but there's also historians have shown continuities in the legal structure and the legal language and theory of the European Union and Third Reich SS legal scholars' imagination about what United Europe would be. I'm referring here to the famous French historian, Chateau-Po, currently teaching at the Sorbonne in Paris, who's written a number of books on this continuity of Nazi legal theory in the contemporary European Union.

But anyways, when the United Europe led by the Nazis was invading the Soviet Union, they created a headquarters in the east for Hitler in Poland. So this very much, but just to add here, Boyan, I think since Bulgaria is a member of NATO, it is automatically assumed that NATO senior leadership can do whatever it wants with the military infrastructure of Bulgaria and any other member state. So it is automatically assumed that any military base in Bulgaria can at any time be placed under the full command of NATO military high command.

And I think that's what's happening right now, which is essentially causing these problems that you're referring to. But I think just to go back, I think there are a couple of issues that are preparing this conference in Sofia, I think, in my view, in addition to trying to push the Bulgarian political leadership into sliding more into more active participation in the war, the suicidal step, as you said, potentially, hopefully it'll never happen. But the first thing is that in the NATO-Russia war, NATO is losing through its proxy state Ukraine.

Ukraine is currently NATO's most capable army in Europe and the Ukrainian army as essentially a de facto member of NATO fighting the Russian Federation. The British newspaper, The Telegraph, published an article yesterday, I believe, on its web, at least on its website, which had the title, Ukraine has lost. And this title was subsequently changed three times.

And I believe the last version of the title is Ukraine has only a few months left, right? So clearly NATO is losing the war in Ukraine militarily. It's losing it in a very unexpected way.

Instead of the Russian army mobilizing 10 million soldiers and using some kind of a brute force to overwhelm the heroic NATO defenders, it's doing it in a way through very small, deliberately small scale kind of actions, which are horrific because Ukrainians and Russians are dying in this completely unnecessary war. But the Russians are prevailing very clearly to the point that even the British mass media is saying it. So the second factor, I think, is the relatively massive increase relative to NATO's military capabilities of the Russian military.

And yesterday, again, senior officials of the Ukrainian government indicated that in their view, Russia has half a million troops in Ukraine now in the Ukrainian battle area with another 300,000 in reserves. This is in addition to their regular army of conscripts who do not participate in the military operation. So the second point, I think, that served as a backdrop to the conference in Sofia is that the Russians have succeeded in essentially enlarging the size of their military far more than NATO has because beyond the forced conscriptions of Ukrainians, which is not going well at all, because increasingly, obviously more and more Ukrainian people do not wanna fight in this war because they understand what's happening and where it's coming from. NATO is simply in a position where they don't have enough soldiers to keep this war going as horrible as it is for the Ukrainians and the Russians. They just don't have the soldiers.

And the third point is the very premise that NATO is now going to allow or to make the decision to use long range NATO weapons into Russia, it's a lie. Long range NATO weapons are already being used on Russian territory. The two attacks against the long range radars that you referenced that were attacked in Russia.

So NATO, i.e. Ukraine, so NATO attacked two of Russia's strategic long range radars that are supposed to essentially watch the sky for signs of a nuclear missile attack.

Boyan Stanislavski

These are not - So we're talking about the most strategic, most important infrastructure, like from the… Yes, it's part of it.

Arto Artinian

It's not the only part, but… Yeah, of course. Attack against such strategic radar sites can automatically trigger a nuclear missile launch by the Russians. So this is, again, extremely irresponsible.

One of the radar sites was damaged. The other one was undamaged, according to public reports. So this happened with Portuguese drones, okay?

Because some of the drones that were shot down were subsequently analyzed. So Portugal is a member of NATO. So NATO weapons are being used to attack targets deep in Russia.

So in addition, shorter range anti-radar missiles called the HARM, H-A-R-M, are regularly fired deep inside Russia, at least 50 or 70 miles inside Russia. So Russian military targets in Russia, and civilian targets, are regularly attacked by NATO. So this is not a real change.

The second thing is NATO doesn't really have any other weapons other than those ATACMS that have a 300-kilometer range. They really don't have any other missiles other than nuclear missiles or- Well, they have some Storm Shadows and that kind of stuff.

Boyan Stanislavski

Or those cruise missiles like the Storm Shadows, yeah.

Arto Artinian

Yeah, those cruise missiles. But again, they reach 300 to 500 kilometers, right? So those missiles...

So NATO is already doing this. This is not something that happened. Yes, they can use additional new...

They can send Storm Shadow cruise missiles or whatever, but this is not new, right? So in a way, this is kind of like a false argument from their side of view. So I think that if we draw the line, I think what's happening is NATO is losing the war, militarily and economically.

And I think they're trying to find ways to slow down the rate of loss, if you will. But I think the really scary question for me here is, and I've mentioned this before, to this day, I don't understand this logic. NATO leadership seems to be okay with the idea of openly militarily attacking a nuclear superpower.

And to me, this is the most dangerous question. How are they rationalizing this? How are they rationalizing escalation to nuclear war?

In other words, do they have some kind of a special weapon like Star Wars, like the Death Star will come and will shield Europe from Russian nuclear missiles? What is the game plan? And it's not clear from these public statements in Sofia that these people are in reality.

These are irrational people who have lost their reading, or maybe they never really understood the reality of nuclear war. They're out of their league, they're incompetent, and thus they're placing all of our lives in danger. I think this is probably for me the biggest question and the biggest fear.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, you're right. So, I mean, I agree, I want to say. But I think that we should not underestimate the fact that they decided to do it in Bulgaria.

And perhaps I'm over-focusing on that. Perhaps I'm reading a little too much into that. But I really feel that there's so much hatred on the part of the Western chauvinists with regards to Bulgarians, most of all, because they don't really have any feelings towards the country.

And I think they love the political elite that does everything that they want. But they hate the nation for its stance, for its attitude towards Russia. And it's not only Bulgarians that they hate.

They hate the Serbs. Of course, they hate the Hungarians. There are many people of the former Eastern Bloc that they hate.

Perhaps they hate all of them. But this Bulgarian example, so to say, I think it's really irritating for them. And I've heard many politicians in the European Parliament, in various NATO meetings, referring to Bulgaria and the Bulgarian public as a place where Russian propaganda obviously works.

This is the only way they are able to explain it to themselves. It's not like someone can genuinely be on this side. It's just that someone has to be propagandized into something.

Arto Artinian

It is very interesting, Boyan, because it exposes at least two ways, it seems like, we can try to make and understand what's going on with this war. The first way, and I'm following your logic, is, and I agree with, I think the first explanation could be the kind of frivolous, stupid way through which the NATO political, EU elites are talking about the possibility of nuclear war or fighting directly a nuclear superpower, is maybe they're just short-term thinkers. They only worry about what the big brother, the superpower of the United States, is going to do, and what's going to happen in the November elections.

Let's just keep the war going until November. Let's see who wins the presidential elections in the United States. And let's see if the United States changes course.

So this is just talk. Let's just escalate in words, but we're not really prepared to fight a nuclear war against Russia, et cetera. That would be the more benign scenario.

And that would be a scenario where the war might end relatively soon through some kind of a negotiation where NATO is going to have to lose or withdraw from its initial positions before the war. And then everything will be better because we would have avoided a nuclear war. But the second possibility, which is kind of your worry about the extreme measures through which Bulgarians are trying to be kind of brought against Russia or to try to force Bulgaria into some kind of a war that most Bulgarians are completely against and it makes no sense to them.

This leads us to another way of explaining the conflict, which is that this is really a conflict from the point of view of the strategist on the NATO side. So, and we have hints about, and the Russian government announced this week that they have started, they've completed late tests and accelerated development and possibly production of intermediate range nuclear ballistic missiles. And now during the Cold War, it was decided between the Soviet Union and the United States that intermediate nuclear ballistic missiles will be eliminated as a category of weapons in order to reduce the danger of nuclear war between the two superpowers.

So both the Soviets and the United States destroyed those weapons. The United States doesn't have intermediate range nuclear ballistic missiles, neither does Russia. But now what the Russians are saying, because the US is developing such missiles, the Russians are also developing them now and their weapons that would be targeting Europe, Western Europe, for example, because they would have the range to easily reach every European capital, including London and especially London from the Russian point of view, leaving the really big missiles, the intercontinental ballistic missiles for the United States and vice versa. So this is a real escalation and the Russians are sending a signal that European Union targets are going to be within minutes of reach once the decision is made.

So this is another escalation that shows that things are getting worse on the question of nuclear war. Now, so I think the second interpretation of what you pointed our attention to by focusing on why Bulgaria is being highlighted with this conference and forcing Bulgarian elites to say, we're going to fight the Russians. And we have to remember here that there has been a geostrategic political rivalry, specifically an attempt by the British government to essentially defeat Russia politically for its own geopolitical interests for at least 300 years.

So British ambassadors arrived in Russia during the reign of Ivan the Great, okay? And since then, there's a well-documented history of British imperial attempts to destabilize Russia in order to gain control of the landmass between the European and Asian continental landmass, which is the largest landmass, the largest economic space and the richest space of natural resources in the world. And this is an old battle when the old British empire, having controlled the oceans and the trade routes, still lacked control of the land routes, right?

Of the most important economically, most important part of the world. So it's an old dream of a kind of British imperial structure to control what is now known as the Eurasian landmass, which is populated by the state of Russia. So if we look at it from some kind of a geo-strategic kind of long-term game, the British empire doesn't exist anymore as an empire, but it exists as a financial empire essentially, right?

The city of London being the second most important capitalist center of accumulated capital wealth and thus influence and power. So I think it's not surprising that the British government is the number one force behind the NATO-Russia war. I would argue even more than the United States.

Boyan Stanislavski

And I think we can also throw in, sorry to interrupt you, but I wanna make that point. Have also always held Bulgaria in deepest possible contempt. I mean, we've got documents.

I mean, this is again, a well-documented sort of attitude, historically speaking. And I think even during the second world war, one of the politicians, I can't remember which one at the moment, even famously stated that Bulgaria should not only not exist, but it should be turned into a potato field.

Arto Artinian

It was Winston Churchill.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, it could be.

Arto Artinian

Who also said, it's kind of amusing for a country to declare war on us that doesn't bathe for more than once a month. So this is what they thought of the Bulgarians. The attitude was no different than the Nazi attitude towards Slavic people. You know, Polish people or Belorussians or Ukraine.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, and also the British king during the second world war, he was a big fan of Adolf Hitler.

Arto Artinian

Yes. And by the way, we should add here for fans of World War II history, which is still not publicly well described, the flight by Hitler's number two, Rudolf Hess in 1940, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. And Rudolf Hess, the number two in command of the Nazi German government, flew allegedly secretly to Britain.

And then he jumped with a parachute and there are speculations as to his, he was maybe going to, this was part of some kind of secret negotiations between the Nazi government and parts of the British elites in order to maybe become allies and et cetera. That part of the history is still clouded in secrecy because a lot of the materials are classified. Anyways, but these are important subjects.

So I think if we look at this irrational ignorance of the nuclear danger through the viewpoint that maybe some part of European, Western European or British elites or whatever have decided that it is time to attempt to dismantle the Russian state and thus preside over some kind of a neocolonial takeover over that part of the world geography through any means necessary, then it makes much more sense.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, about this irrationality, complete lack of logic, and I think it's ideological obsession and also a psychological kind of derangement because they are just not able to comprehend, to rub their head around that now, after 500 years of the domination of the West and the white man and so on and so forth, now the Chinese are gonna rule the world or the Chinese and the Russians or the Chinese and the Russians and the Indians or the Chinese and the Russians and the Indians and the Brazilians and so on, right? So I think there are all those factors, but a conglomeration of delusions that the ruling classes, the political classes of Western Europe live in and their inability to control their own emotions and their hatred and their disdain and their contempt for Russia and for other Eastern European nations. And I think this is what triggers the lack of logic, the kind of desperate moves, the sudden shifts and turns, the kind of, as I interpreted, the kind of trying to break the backbone of the Bulgarians and just expose them to some direct military attack from Russia to show them, ah, you see, you see, we were right.

We've always known, unlike you stupid Bulgarians, we've always known that the Russians are right and now they're shooting at you and you still don't believe it, you still don't get it. So I want you to talk a little bit about that, like the ideological obsessions and the increase of their intensity as things go from bad to worse.

Arto Artinian

Yeah, I mean, it's a big question and maybe we could also revisit this in a separate conversation for more full, but I think the first thing that we must confront and ask ourselves without knowing the answers fully is that it is definitely true, it seems to me, that we live in a time of transition, global systemic transition. Capitalism is being dismantled, but it is not being dismantled necessarily or primarily by communist or Marxist-based or informed revolutionary forces because the Soviet Union doesn't exist. There is no oppositional systemic alternative today to the capitalists.

Boyan Stanislavski

Well, there's China.

Arto Artinian

Well, to China, but China only recently has started more aggressively a language of revolutionary socialism or communism, right? So China is always there, but in terms of the West, within the Western political space, the absence of the Soviet Union, so I think it's the capitalists themselves that are dismantling slowly capitalism over the last 30 years. And I think the question is, the old ways of doing politics from the capitalist point of view are giving way to something new, but that new thing hasn't really been established yet.

Now, the Greek economist and politician Yanis Varoufakis has recently written a book about techno-feudalism. He makes the argument, I haven't read the book fully yet, I'm reading it now, that some kind of a post-capitalist world is emerging that's replacing capitalism as some kind of a, for lack of a better term, techno-feudal lords and their large transnational multinational corporations are starting to dominate or are dominating everyday life. It's definitely in the West, there are no markets, they're just monopolies, right?

Like we shop on Amazon or we buy stuff from et cetera. I agree to an extent, but I also would add here that in order to understand what's going on now from a Marxist-infused point of view, but not only, capitalism was never about free markets. And this is sort of what the typical anti-communist liberal would say, that in Bulgaria too, that capitalism, we wanted capitalism in Bulgaria because it's going to bring us into a market economy.

Capitalism is not about market economy. Capitalism's biggest...

Boyan Stanislavski

And it's also BS, sorry, it's also BS that in Bulgaria, anyone has actually, that they're kind of genuine pro-capitalist tendencies ever in Bulgaria during the socialist era.

Arto Artinian

With the exception of the brief functioning of such markets, capitalist bourgeois markets in the 19th century, it is not in the internal logic of the capitalist way of life to make their money and wealth through some kind of competitive, mostly free markets. The opposite is true. Capitalism, capitalists are always interested in leaning towards monopolies.

And monopolies can only be formed if they are on a global scale, because if you're not a monopoly in a global scale, that means you still face competition and that's a direct threat to your capital accumulation, et cetera, from other competing networks or conglomerates. So capitalist economics always produces or lean drives towards monopolies. And that also means that the state must always be subverted or under the control or bypassed by the capitalist, because the state, by its very definition, if it functions as a state, would be potentially subject to other social classes, influence, right?

Or elites. So in other words, capitalism is about monopoly formation. It's not about markets.

So in that sense, the ongoing transformations are, you can read it as the ongoing battle for the global monopolies. So the United States had, American capitalists had global monopolies over the energy market, over the automobile market, over the consumer goods market and over the financial markets, because the dollar was the monopoly currency since World War II. And now this is being challenged, maybe with a counter monopoly, if you will, like the BRICS or a counter, not a monopoly, but by a challenger like the BRICS, potentially currency, economic area and et cetera.

And this is causing the capitalists that previously had monopoly, the Anglo-Saxon capitalist class to wage a war that might even resort to global nuclear war in order to try to keep their monopoly. So I think that would be one kind of way of looking at things by centering the economy and the creation of wealth and the distribution of wealth as the reason why this ideology is emerging of global nuclear war being okay, potentially. The other thing is, in terms of ideology, Anglo-Saxon imperial politics are defined through the ideology of racism.

And we have to remember and never forget that racism emerged as a state ideology in the British empire. During the period of its expansion, it was based on Protestant kind of reading of Protestant religious faith, predestination. We are born the way we are, created by the, there's difference between different groups of people.

Let's call them racist, just the way there are differences between horse breeds of horses. People are born with unchangeable, this is the fundamental racist assumption of British racism and subsequently American racism and any kind of Anglo-Saxon Nazism. The fundamental belief is there's different categories of people.

There's different breeds of people, just the way there are different breeds of horses. The first analogy used horses, just the way there are different breeds of dogs. They're still dogs, but they're different intelligence levels, different predispositions, different talents.

The racists believe that there are different groups of people who are born with different genetic predispositions. And the most fundamental differentiating factor is intellectual capacity. So the inferior, and then they have gradations from inferior to superior.

The difference is in innate, genetically based differences in intellectual capacity that are assumed to be true. That's the fundamental racist belief. So why genetic?

Because you can't change them through education, through socialization. So racist politics defines the targeted enemy as subhuman. And this is kind of in the language of philosophy when the Nazi party in Germany used the language from the great 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, you know, the untermenschen and the übermenschen, right?

So the übermensch was in the kind of racist dialogue and ideology. The übermensch was the racially superior, genetically superior human being who should rule because they are inherently intellectually superior. They understand the world better.

They are smarter. They can invent ways of living in relation to nature that's going to be better rather than worse and et cetera. They can understand democracy and what it means.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, and everything you're saying now just applies directly, I would say.

Arto Artinian

100% you can see these parallels. And the untermenschen are the, you know, yeah, Nietzsche, of course, didn't mean it this way. For Nietzsche, who hated German racial nationalism, he despised it as kind of a provincial liberal kind of English deviation, right?

For him, the übermensch was the fully developed human being. He called it the aristocratic soul, not aristocratic because you were born in a castle, but because you are meritocratic. You're fully developed as a human being and you understand how to think, how to suffer.

You have an appreciation of beauty. You have the ability to risk yourself in the pursuit of something that is worthwhile to you. You have this kind of fully functional in the best sense human being, which kind of mirrored, in the history of philosophy, Aristotle's notion of what it means to be human.

And of course, the Marxist notion of where we want to be as human beings, right? And in Bulgaria, Boyan, you would remember during the socialist period, the ideology of education was the fully developed human being. That was the goal, right? So we were supposed to be übermenschen, but in a way that's the opposite.

Boyan Stanislavski

And we were encouraged all the time because you would get letters from the leaders of the state. You know, they would be read in a very ceremonial way, you know, every Friday or I don't know, every last Friday of the month. But you would really be, would really be encouraged.

I just want to make sure that people could be appreciated for everything that they've accomplished during their educational process. And that would be on a state level. I mean, you know, that's right.

Arto Artinian

And you would become an übermensch in the process of living in society and socializing in it and growing up in it to be that way. Whereas the racist argument would be by birth you already have in you the inherent superiority that just needs to be allowed to play a leadership role, right? And it's complete, and then you must terminate the opposition, the inferior races because they are always a problem.

You know, W. E. B. Du Bois, the great black American philosopher, writer, social activist, who was also a Marxist communist. Du Bois in his autobiography describes how he encountered racism for the first time as a black child in a schoolyard. He said, I was playing with my friends who are white and black and they were totally OK because we were kids.

Until one new kid came and she didn't want to play with me. And when my friend said, asked her, why don't you want to play with him? Why shouldn't we play with him?

She said, because people, kids like him are a problem. Why are they a problem? Because they're flawed in some way is the assumption.

They're violent. They're prone to too much sex. They're lazy.

They are primitive, right? This is the sickness of Western European imperial legacy, which is present in today's NATO leadership.

Boyan Stanislavski

And ideology.

Arto Artinian

As a deeply embedded ideology, which sees the Russians as subhumans, as Unter mentioned in that sense and the racist sense, because, you know, it sees the Ukrainians that way as well. They're just expanding.

Boyan Stanislavski

And it sees the Polish and the Bulgarians that way as well. It's just using the Bulgarian and the Polish right now.

Arto Artinian

And this must be understood because it has been a true fact in politics in Europe for over a hundred years. And it's not an accident that when Poland was encouraged to confront Nazi Germany in the late 30s by the British government, most actively, as we know from our study of history, when the Germans attacked Poland, there was no military response by the British except the phony war.

Boyan Stanislavski

You know, on the contrary, I mean, they've actually guaranteed Poland before the second war. They made guarantees that, you know, we have your back. We have your back.

Arto Artinian

You know, just, you know, you would not do that considered to be of the same race, but you would do that to people that you consider to be no different than dogs.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, which exactly what they actually, they even admitted that by saying, you know, publicly making statements like we're not going to send our soldiers to die for Gdansk or so. This is precisely what, you know, the statements that they were making. And, you know, just to sort of conclude that and you said it yourself, we definitely need to pick up, revisit this topic in a separate discussion.

But let's try and conclude by having you comment on the people in those respective countries that are looked down on by the West, like Bulgaria could be Poland, could be Russia. But there are those politicians, parts of the political elite, parts of the economic elite, parts of the political class that are willing, some of them knowing, some of them out of naivety, probably some of them without thinking much, but are willing to actually carry out the policies of self-destruction. And, you know, in Bulgaria, you can see that very clearly because up until a few years ago, when this, you know, crisis, perpetual and permanent, almost political parliamentary crisis has started in Bulgaria, we have like elections every year, every second year, sometimes twice a year.

You know, we've had this government that was firmly in the hands of one mafia boss, which is Boyko Borisov. People might know that, especially our viewers. We've discussed Bulgaria and this person many times before.

And, you know, they were at least aware of the fact that outside the borders of Bulgaria, they are nobody. So they had to have some kind of territory and some kind of, you know, barely viable economy that they can use in order to exploit it for their own benefits and to function somewhere as those exploiters, right? Whereas now we seem to have people who are even worse than that.

They don't even want this. They just want to chop it all up and basically throw it into the bin of history and just extract whatever is left, get paid and then live their life somewhere on Aruba Island, for example. So I wonder, I mean, is this pure cynicism?

Is this treason maybe? Is this stupidity and naivety? Or is this just simple political, philosophical and humanistic demoralization? How do you interpret that?

Arto Artinian

Well, I think there are two types of political elites in Bulgaria who are in the first type that you mentioned, which was like the long, long running kind of power figure in Bulgarian politics in the last 20 years. And the elites are political elites around him. You can call them national elites.

In other words, they see themselves as Bulgarians. They live in Bulgaria, but who understand that in order for them to maintain their position of power comfortably and reliably, they need to serve. They need to follow the orders of the bigger brothers and sisters from London and the United States and Brussels, right?

So there are basically local elites who, when necessary, would fully and automatically follow at crucial moments like this. They would fully follow the orders of the senior capitalist brothers and sisters and their political elites. They're national kind of elites who serve first, their first serve the wishes of the larger imperial forces.

The second group of elites, which is the new political party, the continuing the change and whatever democratic Bulgaria, they are part of the national elite because there are two types of capitalist elites, right? First is the older, because they've existed longer in history, called national elites who see and think of themselves through the language of ethnicity, nationality, they still have a global monopoly seeking orientation, but they think of themselves as Americans, right? In the sense that I'm an American, I have a vision of what America is.

Yes, I'm a member of the ruling class and thus the elites, but the basic starts from I'm an American or Bojko Borisov, I'm a Bulgarian prime minister. The other category of capitalist elites, which are today more powerful, I would argue, and they are the part of the capitalist elites that are presiding over the dismantling of capitalism and this post-capitalist new world, whatever it's going to become, some type of new feudalism or some other new word we would have to invent.

Boyan Stanislavski

Some call it even cyber fascism.

Arto Artinian

Cyber or whatever, right? They are transnational elites, as they're known. They have no allegiance to ethnicity or nationality.

They think of categories like the country, the nation as obsolete categories that are no longer true and they're part of the 20th century in the 19th century. They must be removed. So continuing change and democratic Bulgaria, I would say are traitors in the sense that they have no allegiance to Bulgaria, to Bulgarian society, culture, history and politics and Bulgarian future as Bulgarians because they're transnational in their minds.

Tomorrow they could be just as comfortable as serving as prime ministers of Estonia or they could be living in Aruba perfectly fine without feeling any sense of longing or nostalgia or guilt. Saakashvili, the Georgian former prime minister is an example of such a transnational elite. He was a prime minister or president of Georgia.

Afterwards he became a senior member of the Ukrainian government. He received Ukrainian citizenship and became the governor of Odessa province without ever being a Ukrainian. But he was kind of appointed by the transnational NATO elites in that capacity in Ukraine after 2014.

And then the other point is in Bulgaria or political organizations in Bulgaria that have been, I think, increasing in number and they will increase more who are taking an anti-NATO position and they're critical of NATO's policies vis-à-vis Russia and Europe and et cetera. They're making a big mistake when they cover their critique. They express their critique through the language of we are authoritarianism, we are against the dictates of Brussels.

Yes, those things are true. This is not about democratic politics. The EU does not function as a democratic entity.

But I think they should be using the language of racism first. That is the idea that underpins these authoritarian politics. We should be- Brussels makes decisions and forces it down.

The way in Slovakia with the attempted political assassination of the prime minister and this was publicly, there were signals being said by European senior officials, be careful, the Georgian prime minister was told last week what you're doing because something like what happened to the prime minister of Slovakia might happen to you. These are authoritarian kind of gangster methods of doing politics. But before that, we should say these are racist ways of doing politics.

You would not do such politics against political forces that you seem to be your equal. The methods would be different. So I think we have to critique if we are critical against European Union bureaucratization, authoritarianism, anti-democracy kind of measures, use of political violence or the threat of political violence, we should begin our critique with the most powerful accusation possible and be like, we do not agree with your racism.

Because that's a very difficult thing to defend against because everybody, people in general around the world are disgusted by racists.

Boyan Stanislavski

Yeah, same as they are disgusted by genocide, which is exactly ongoing in different parts of the world. And I think, you know, we've grown to the point where certain things are so abhorrent. We just have to start using those words again.

Yeah, exactly. We have to start using those words. And on that note, I want to end the program today.

We're going to revisit this topic because there are some fascinating points that we could really develop our analysis further on. So we're, I hope we're going to see you again soon. Of course.

In our program. And to our viewers and listeners, I want to wish you all the best. Stay healthy, keep fighting and keep your eye out because we are going to be more regularly available now on YouTube, Substack and on all other platforms where you can find us. Don't forget to subscribe. Don't forget to support us financially. See you in the next segment.


The Barricade
On the Barricades
“On the Barricades” is a thought-provoking podcast that offers in-depth commentary on international events, with a strong focus on systemic critique rather than daily news. Proudly presenting an Eastern European perspective, we delve into the underlying processes and political dynamics shaping our world, drawing on our unique historical experiences with Soviet-style socialism to provide intellectually and politically refreshing insights.