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Austro-Japanese aristocrat Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi later concentrated on plans for Pan-Europe.
- Unity is strength: This 1920s map divides the world among just five superstates.
- The map was produced by count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, who devoted his life to European unity.
- This utopian map may have inspired George Orwell's dystopian world in 1984.
Geopolitical dreams<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2MTkwMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDkxMDUwN30.9gBzH-knkE03U5Qm9nOptbISMxpQpPsoLYqtm8EjNvs/img.jpg?width=980" id="83700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ca98b063ffb36e1bbedae3a87d74f1b7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1926" />
Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1926.
Image: public domain<p>If the geopolitical dreams of a 20th-century Austro-Japanese aristocrat had come true, this is what the map of the world would have looked like: dominated by no more than five super-states. </p><p>Now mostly obscure, count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) is remembered mainly as the hero and villain (respectively) of the two fringes of the never-ending debate about European integration. </p><p>And that's a shame, because Coudenhove-Kalergi cuts quite an intriguing figure. Not only is he the one who proposed Beethoven's <em>Ode to Joy</em> as Europe's anthem, he also served as inspiration for Victor Laszlo, the fictional resistance hero in <em>Casablanca</em>. <br></p><p>On his father's side, Richard was the scion of an Austrian noble family with roots in Flanders and Greece and branches all over the rest of Europe. His mother, Mitsuko Aoyama, came from a wealthy Japanese family of merchants and landowners. </p>
Pan-European Union<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2MTkxMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDgzMzIzOX0.yQ2GAj0L-cCDiZQ_GOu8QnsK3nl4hjBPd41hrZicosw/img.png?width=980" id="505e2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="29076df7563c30e3090649cd50080d60" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Original flag of the Pan-European Union." />
Original flag of the Pan-European Union. The current flag includes the twelve stars of the European Union. Co-founded by Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1922, the PEU is still in existence: its current president is former French MP and MEP Alain Terrenoire. Its HQ is in Munich.
Image: Ssolbergj, CC BY-SA 3.0<p>In 1922, Coudenhove-Kalergi co-founded the Pan-European Union, together with Austrian Archduke Otto von Habsburg. A year later, he published the manifesto Pan-Europa, and in 1924 he founded an eponymous journal, which ran until 1938. In 1926, the first Congress of the Pan-European Union elected Coudenhove-Kalergi as its president, which he would remain until his death. </p><p><span></span>The motivation for the count's Pan-Europeanism was the threat of "world hegemony by Russia". The only way to prevent that was to supersede Europe's various nationalisms. The Pan-European superstate as envisioned by Coudenhove-Kalergi was a curious mix of social democracy and Christian conservatism – a "social aristocracy of the spirit". In response, Leon Trotsky, then Soviet commissar, in 1923 called for a "Soviet United States of Europe". </p>
Five superstates<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2MTkxMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzg5OTMxM30.TAiThTEm6Wl3d7MWc7XrW7wUsy9g_OxybU2MyntzAPw/img.jpg?width=980" id="5ea19" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0bba124a86dbc983441a9f7262b997d0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Karl Haushofer: Geopolitk der Pan-Ideen (Berlin: Zentral-Verlag, 1931)." />
As in 1984 (and post Brexit), the UK in Coudenhove-Kalergi's system is not a part of the continental European superstate.
Image: public domain<p>The original framework for Coudenhove-Kalergi's Pan-Europeanism was a global polity of no more than five superstates, as shown on this map taken from one of his early works:<br></p><ul><li><strong>Pan-Europe</strong>: uniting all European countries, minus the Russian and British empires. Pan-Europe also includes the French, Italian, Portuguese, Belgian, and Dutch colonial possessions, with a foothold in the Americas, half of Africa, and substantial parts of South East Asia.</li><li><strong>Pan-America</strong>: all of the Americas, with one major exception: Canada – controlled by the Brits. Minor exceptions include all the other bits controlled by the British and European empires. Pan-America also includes the Philippines, U.S.-administered at the time of publication.</li><li>The <strong>British Commonwealth</strong>: basically, the British Empire at its height. Great Britain and Ireland, Canada and British Guyana, Africa from Cape to Cairo (and Nigeria, plus other territories in West Africa), the Arabian peninsula and the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.</li><li>The<strong> Russian Empire</strong>: almost at its greatest extent. Ukraine is under the sway of Moscow, as are the Caucasian and Central Asian areas that are currently independent. But the Baltics are part of Pan-Europe.</li><li>The smallest, but probably most populous of the five empires is <strong>East-Asia</strong>: uniting Japan, Korea and China, and also including Nepal.</li></ul>The big idea behind the map is clear: There is strength in numbers, and efficiency in scale. The world is gravitating toward large zones of cooperation, and these are five geopolitical concepts that seemed like viable options to Coudenhove-Kalergi. Do note, however, that there are some countries that do not fit into the count's world vision: Question marks cover Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia.
Nineteen Eighty-Four<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2MTkyMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDg2MzAwMX0.sVIuAWDjJf2ZCNHWVtn4AuLHkTKzNEq-YN5V43I-aT4/img.png?width=980" id="3cd55" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7dad7d16ccce9b1a56a559784798d976" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="A map of the world in 1984, showing Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia." />
A map of the world in 1984. George Orwell may have been inspired by Coudenhove-Kalergi's rather more utopian map.
Image: public domain<p>The map is also a bit scary: A globe dominated by an 'oligopoly' of just five states suggests governments that are far removed from their citizens. </p><p>It's a small leap from this world map to the one that informs <em>1984</em>. In fact, George Orwell may have been inspired for his dystopian geography by the count's utopian vision: One of the three superstates on Orwell's imaginary map is in fact called 'Eastasia'. Another one, 'Eurasia', could be identified with another iteration of Coudenhove-Kalergi's Pan-Europe, without the colonial empires but including Russia. </p><p>In his later work, Coudenhove-Kalergi seems to have abandoned the global dimension of his agglomerative vision, concentrating more on unity within Europe. </p><p>His Pan-Europeanism may have been directed against the threat of the extreme left, that didn't make it popular with the extreme right. Hitler denounced the count (and his ideas) as those of a "rootless, cosmopolitan and elitist half-breed." The Nazis considered Pan-Europeanism a Masonic plot. <br></p><p>Fleeing into American exile after Austria's <em>Anschluss</em> (1938), Coudenhove-Kalergi spent the war continuing to make the case for European unity. At one point, however, he also proposed to form and head an Austrian government in exile – a suggestion that was ignored by Roosevelt and Churchill.</p>
Eurasian Union<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2MTkyNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTk5MTA0OX0.0Y9KfF4t3RN1tXA12_tjsqEyGNfpsFN8QQhHArDo-2k/img.png?width=980" id="7ba91" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="373a6b82bd39c6cebb1e8ff42ca7f4f3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Europa erwacht! By Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi. Paneuropa Verlag, 1934." />
Cover of a 1934 book by Coudenhove-Kalergi, showing another vision on Pan-Europe: without Europe's colonies, including the territory of the entire Soviet Union.
Image: public domain.<p>After the war, it was others who led Europe towards greater integration, although Churchill lauded the count's Pan-European Union for its work in a speech in 1946 in Zürich. Coudenhove-Kalergi was instrumental in founding the European Parliamentary Union in 1947 and in 1950 was the very first recipient of the annual Charlemagne Prize, awarded by the city of Aachen for work in the service of European unification. </p><p><span></span>Coudenhove-Kalergi's grave, near Gstaad, carries the epitaph: <em>Pionnier des États-Unis d'Europe</em>. For all its simplicity, that sounds a bit grandiose – he was not directly involved in founding the EU or any of its precursors – not to say premature: today's European Union is not (yet) the dreaded monolithic superstate evoked by the epithet 'United States of Europe'. </p><p>Nonetheless, proponents of (further) European integration happily praise the count's life-long devotion to the cause. Streets and squares throughout Europe – although admittedly never the longest or largest ones – carry his name.<br>On the other hand, opponents of European integration from the nationalist and identitarian camp denounce the so-called Kalergi Plan, a plot to use immigration to dilute Europe's 'whiteness', supposedly penned by the "cosmopolitan" count. It's a hoax on a par with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, unfortunately also by token of its continued currency among those fringe groups. <br></p>
Philosopher Nick Bostrom's "singleton hypothesis" predicts the future of human societies.
- Nick Bostrom's "singleton hypothesis" says that intelligent life on Earth will eventually form a "singleton".
- The "singleton" could be a single government or an artificial intelligence that runs everything.
- Whether the singleton will be positive or negative depends on numerous factors and is not certain.
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New report shows the extent of China's hidden power as the developing world's creditor.
- Over 50 developing countries' Chinese debt accounts for on average 15 percent of their individual GDP.
- New report shows that the majority of the world's developing country's debt to China is considered "hidden."
- China's loans for poor countries are primarily for crucial infrastructure.
China’s creditor strategy for economic growth<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="07ae4bd181bf0f05b0632e3876f9fcb3"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TeGKEiODCjA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>China is in a state of further economic evolution. Long gone are the days of being the world's impoverished manufacturer. With a thriving consumer market boosted at home, China is now flexing their influence over vast swathes of the world. One of their strategies is by becoming the world's most involved lender to poor countries. </p><p>This can be problematic for a number of reasons. Countries that take this deal, end up grossly indebting themselves to China's policies in a number of ways, both monetarily and culturally. An example on the extreme end of the spectrum is Djibouti, whose Chinese debt is equivalent to 70 percent of the country's GDP. On average, the top 50 of China's borrowers owe somewhere near 15 percent of their GDPs, which, still, on a global scale is quite a lot. </p><p>The authors also found that China has never officially disclosed any loans to Iran, Venezuela, or Zimbabwe, which on other records it's been shown that China is a major creditor. The report speculates that one of the ways to avoid these international cross-border crediting claims, is by the Chinese government disbursing loans straight to Chinese contractors rather than the developing governments themselves. </p><p>A great deal of these loans aren't subject to credit rating agencies, because most of China's foreign loans flow straight from their government. China's lending practices take on another interesting dynamic, as the country is lending much more than just money: it is also helping build crucial infrastructure in these developing nations. In doing so, China exports a healthy dose of its culture and influence.</p>
Growing influence in Africa<p>China's investment in Africa takes the form of loans in exchange for infrastructure development. Oftentimes, Chinese companies and citizens reap the benefits and profits of these large projects. While many Africans welcome the much needed investment into their countries, it's not clear how much the continent is benefiting from this Chinese influence. </p><p>One major issue a lot of countries are facing is that almost the entirety of their country's debt load comes from China. For example, of Kenya's $50 billion in debt, more than 72 percent of it is from China. In Senegal, highways, industrial parks and other crucial developmental projects for a functioning country are all funded by large, risky Chinese loans. Again, much of this value goes back to China. They're not doing this for humanitarian reasons. The Chinese expect a capital and cultural return. </p><p>Tim Wegenast, who wrote a report about Chinese mining in Africa states: </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's more or less safe to say that Chinese companies employ less local labor than other companies because they bring over many Chinese workers, and when they develop local infrastructure, they provide countries with loans which are being used to pay for it, which is then constructed by Chinese companies and Chinese labor."<span></span><br></p>
A future of Chinese credit<p>According to <a href="https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/07/13/a-new-study-tracks-the-surge-in-chinese-loans-to-poor-countries" target="_blank"><em>The Economist</em>,</a> China's lending prowess is more of a mixed bag. While many new loans from China were offloaded with debt relief by Western creditors after defaulting, China has in the past put forth some debt restructuring plans on 140 of their foreign loans. Although at other times, they've taken their collateral with ruthless abandon, for example when they seized the Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.</p><p>Many Chinese loans have higher extended interest rates and short maturities, with heavy collateral that includes commodities, or even important strategic foreign infrastructure. </p><p>The authors of the report note that China has started talking about being more transparent and sustainable on their loans in the future. But no clear evidence of this taking place has yet to materialize. </p>
Why one expert believes it is knocking on death's door.
- Michael O'Sullivan's book The Levelling declares that the end of globalization is near.
- In its wake, he believes the world will become a place of multipolarity, bereft of a central guiding international force of control.
- These new poles of power will take on unique and divergent political and cultural ways of doing things.