Chapter 8 - Karl Schmitt "Behemoth versus Leviathan"

8.1 Conservative revolutionary

The German Carl Schmitt (1888 1985) is known as an outstanding lawyer, political scientist, philosopher, historian. But all his ideas are inextricably linked with geopolitical concepts, and his main works are “Nomos of the Earth” (35), “Earth and the Sea” (36), etc. It is devoted to the understanding of geopolitical factors and their impact on civilization and political history.

Karl Schmitt was close to the German representatives of the Conservative Revolution, a paradoxical trend that combined national-conservative and social-revolutionary elements. The fate of Schmitt is the fate of his books, his law school. Like many other conservative revolutionaries, his relationship with the National Socialist regime was ambivalent. On the one hand, his theories certainly influenced Nazi ideology. Particularly successful were his political science books Political Theology (37) and Political Theory (38), in which Schmitt gave extensive criticism of liberal law and the idea of ​​a “rule of law”. In these texts, the outlines of Schmitt’s subsequent intellectual work are already outlined; they show the utmost political realism,the desire to free political problems from humanitarian rhetoric, sentimental pathos, social demagogy. This was in line with National Socialism.

At the same time, Schmitt’s whole concept was based on the fundamental idea of ​​the "rights of the people ” (Volksrechte), which he contrasted with the liberal theory of “human rights”. In his understanding, every nation had the right to cultural sovereignty, to preserve their spiritual, historical and political identity. The same approach was characteristic of some National Socialists, who considered this ideology to be universal and applicable to all peoples of the earth. But it was precisely pan-Germanism that became the dominant line of the regime, based on chauvinism and a narrowly nationalist approach. Therefore, Schmitt, with his theory of "rights of peoples", was sharply criticized, especially by the ideologists of the SS (in 1936, an aggressively threatening article was published in the SS "Schwarze Korps").

Schmitt’s ideological formation took place in the same atmosphere of ideas of “organic sociology” as Ratzel and Chellen had, but he was also influenced by the romantic theories of the “ Light of the North ” (Nordlicht), according to which socio-political forms and state formations are not rooted in mechanical the functioning of atomic personalities united in mathematical conglomerates, but in mythology, in the sacred world of "elements and spirits" (39). In Schmitt's theories, there is a paradoxical combination of "political romanticism" and "strict rationalism." A refined mental apparatus serves as an expression of spiritual mythologies.

At the Nuremberg trials, an attempt was made to classify Karl Schmitt as "war criminals" on the basis of his cooperation with the Hitler regime. In particular, he was charged with "theoretical justification of the legitimacy of military aggression." After a detailed acquaintance of the judges with the essence of the case, the charge was dropped. Nevertheless, Schmitt, like Heidegger, Junger and other "conservative revolutionaries" became a persona non grata in the world scientific community, and his works were completely ignored.

Only in the 70s, thanks to the enormous influence on the legal thought of some leftist, socialist thinkers, did Schmitt's works begin to gradually rehabilitate.

Currently, he is recognized as a classic of political science and jurisprudence.

8.2 Nomos of the earth

Schmitt, completely in the spirit of the geopolitical approach, asserted the initial connection of political culture with space. Not only the State, but all social reality and especially law derive from the quality organization of space.

From here, Schmitt derived the concept of "nomos ." This Greek term "nomos" means "something taken, formalized, ordered, organized" in the sense of space. This term is close to the concepts of "relief" in Ratzel and "location" among Russian Eurasians (Savitsky). Schmitt shows that “nomos” is such a form of organization of being that establishes the most harmonious relationships both within a social ensemble and between these ensembles. "Nomos" is an expression of a special synthetic combination of subjective and objective factors, organically manifested in the creation of political and legal systems. In "Nomos" the natural and cultural characteristics of the human collective in combination with the environment are manifested.

In the book "Nomos of the Earth" Schmitt shows how the specificity of a particular earthly space influenced the cultures and states that developed in it. He compares various historical “nomoses” among themselves, especially emphasizing the fundamental dualism between the attitude of nomads and settled peoples to the space.

But the most important conclusion from the analysis of "land nomos" was that Schmitt came close to the concept of global historical and civilizational confrontation between civilizations of land and civilizations of the Sea. Exploring the "nomos" of the Earth, he was faced with its qualitative, essential opposite of the "nomos" of the Sea. This led him to create a special geopolitical methodology for understanding the political history of the world.

8.3 Land and Sea

In 1942, Schmitt published the most important work, Earth and Sea (40). Together with the later text “Planetary tension between the East and the West and the confrontation of land and the Sea” (41) this constitutes the most important document of geopolitical science.

The meaning of opposing land and the Sea in Schmitt comes down to the fact that we are talking about two completely different, irreducible and hostile civilizations, and not about variants of a single civilization complex. This division almost exactly coincides with the picture drawn by Mackinder, but Schmitt gives its main elements of thalassocracy (Sea Force) and tellurocracy (Ground Force) an in-depth philosophical interpretation related to basic legal and ethical systems. It is curious that Schmitt uses the name “ Behemoth ” for “land forces,” and “Leviathan” for “forces of the Sea,” as a reminder of two Old Testament monsters, one of which embodies all land creatures, and the other all water, sea .

The "Nomos" of the Earth exists without alternative for most of human history. All varieties of this “nomos” are characterized by the presence of a strict and stable legalizing (and ethical) form, which reflects the immobility and fixity of the land, the Earth. This connection with the Earth, the space in which is easily amenable to structuralization (fixed borders, constancy of communication paths, invariable geographical and relief features), gives rise to essential conservatism in the social, cultural and technical spheres. The totality of the Earth’s “nomos” constitutes what is commonly called the history of the “traditional society”.

In such a situation, Sea, Water are only peripheral civilizational phenomena, without intruding on the “ethical” sphere (or intruding sporadically). Only with the discovery of the World Ocean at the end of the 16th century does the situation change radically. Mankind (and first of all, the island of England) begins to get used to the "marine existence", begins to realize itself as an Island in the middle of the waters, a Ship .

But the water area is very different from the land. It is impermanent, hostile, alienated, subject to constant change. The paths are not fixed in it, the differences in orientations are not obvious. The "Nomos" of the sea entails a global transformation of consciousness. Social, legal, and ethical standards are becoming fluid . A new civilization is born. Schmitt believes that the New Time and the technical breakthrough that opened the era of industrialization owe their existence to the geopolitical phenomenon of the transition of mankind to the "nomos" of the sea.

Thus, the geopolitical confrontation of the Anglo-Saxon world of the “external crescent” acquires a sociopolitical definition from Schmitt. The "Nomos" of the sea is a reality hostile to traditional society. The geopolitical confrontation between land and sea powers acquires the most important historical, ideological and philosophical meaning.

8.4 Grossraum

Schmitt developed yet another important geopolitical theory, the theory of "large space " (Grossraum). This concept considers the process of development of states as a desire to gain the greatest territorial volume. The principle of imperial integration is an expression of the logical and natural human desire for synthesis. The stages of the territorial expansion of the state, thus, correspond to the stages of the movement of the human spirit towards universalism.

This geopolitical law applies to both the technical and economic spheres. Schmitt shows that starting at some point, the technical and economic development of a state requires a quantitative and qualitative increase in its territories. At the same time, this does not necessarily mean colonization, annexation, or military invasion. The formation of Grossraum can take place according to other laws on the basis of the adoption by several states or peoples of a single religious or cultural form.

According to Schmitt, the development of the "nomos" of the Earth should lead to the emergence of a State-continent. The stages of movement to the State-continent pass from city-states through the state of the territory. The emergence of a land-based Continent State, a mainland grossraum, is a historical and geopolitical necessity.

In a 1940 text, “Space and Great Space in the Law of Peoples” (42), Schmitt defined the “Great Space ” as follows: “The sphere of planning, organization and human activity, rooted in the current and voluminous tendency of future development ” (43). Clarifying this somewhat vague wording, Schmitt pointed to the implementation of the Monroe American Doctrine as an example of the volitional creation of "Great Space."

Although the Grossraum can, in a certain sense, be identified with the State, or rather, with the Empire (das Reich), this concept goes beyond the scope of an ordinary state. This is a new form of supranational unification based on a strategic, geopolitical and ideological factor.

In contrast to Hitler’s unification pan-Germanist model and Soviet internationalism, Schmitt’s Grossraum is based on cultural and ethnic pluralism, broad autonomy, limited only by strategic centralism and total loyalty to the highest authority. At the same time, Schmitt emphasized that the creation of a new "Great Space" does not depend on the scientific value of the doctrine itself, nor on cultural competence, nor on the economic development of the constituent parts or even the territorial and ethnic center, which gave impetus to integration. It all depends on the political will that recognizes the historical necessity of such a geopolitical step.

Schmitt in this doctrine anticipated the main lines of modern integration policy.

8.5 Total war and the figure of the "partisan"

Schmitt's geopolitical motives are distinguishable in almost all the topics that he considers. In particular, he investigated the connection between the three concepts of “ total enemy, total war, total state ”. From his point of view, a “total state” is the most perfect form of a state of a traditional type, i.e. the peak of the development of the land "nomos". Despite the possibilities of the historical evolution of such a state up to the scale of the Grossraum, its essential quality remains unchanged. The "total state" excludes the principle of "total enemy" and "total war", since the idea of ​​the enemy, the "enemy" (and Schmitt attached great importance to the formulation of the concepts of "friend" / "enemy ", amicus / hostis) it builds on the basis of itself, and therefore puts forward the concept of a" war of forms "in which Jus bellum operates and only limited contingents of professional military participate. Civilians and private property, in turn, are protected by law and eliminated (at least theoretically) from the course of hostilities.

The liberal doctrine, which Schmitt unequivocally associated with the New Time and, accordingly, with the “marine civilization”, with the “nomos” of the sea, denying the “total state”, opens the way to the “total war” and the concept of “total enemy”. In 1941, in an article entitled “State sovereignty and the open sea,” he wrote:

The land war was subject to legal norms, since it was a war between states, that is, between the armed forces of warring states. Its rationalization was manifested in its limitation and in the desire to move civilians and private property beyond its borders. War at sea on the contrary, it is not a war between opponents who are strictly defined and subordinate to legal standards, as it is based on the concept of a total enemy . (44)

The general geopolitical picture described by Schmitt came down to intense civilizational dualism, to the confrontation between the two Grossraums of the Anglo-Saxon (England + America) and the continental-European, Eurasian. These two “Great Spaces”, the thalassocratic and tellurocratic, are fighting a planetary battle among themselves in order to take the last step towards universalization and move from continental domination to world domination. At the same time, Schmitt was pessimistic about the possibility of reducing this conflict to some kind of strict legal basis, since civilizational macroconcepts of both “Big Spaces” are based on mutually exclusive “nomos” “nomos of the Earth” and “nomos of the Sea”. The last destructive element is introduced by the development of aeronautics, as "airspace"even less amenable to ethical and legal structuralization than marine.

At the end of his life, Schmitt focused on the partisan figure. This figure, according to Schmitt, is the last representative of the Earth's "nomos", remaining true to his original vocation despite the "thinning of civilization" and the dissolution of its legal and cultural foundations. "Partizan" is connected with the native land by informal ties, and the historical nature of this connection dictates to him the foundations of a war ethic, sharply different from more general and abstract standards. With the universalization of the "maritime model" and "trade ethics", which naturally encompass the sphere of military operations, the figure of the "partisan" acquires, according to Schmitt, more and more civilizational significance, since "partisans" remain the last protagonist of history, which defends (by all means) the "land order" in the face of the total offensive of thalasso kraratiya. From here follows its almost "soteriological" historical function.