Originally appeared at Novotopoznanie, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront
We live in difficult and complex times, full of political twists and betrayals. Yesterday’s allies become enemies, and enemies become friends. The colossal division of the world is felt within the social benefits, that are disappearing one by one from the wallet of the average person. Our country is at a crossroads. Some see this as a plus, others do not. What moves can we expect on the chessboard of the political elite? We will talk to Associate Professor Ivo Hristov about these and other issues.
Stoycho Kerev: What is Bulgaria’s role in these times of continuous dynamics, both in terms of regional and global processes?
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: I’ll be direct. Bulgaria plays no role in this situation. A role plays Bulgarian territory, which for better or worse has created too many problems as an area between the Orient and the West, and between the North and the South. If by Bulgaria you understand a geopolitical or state subjectivity, Bulgaria has lost it a long time ago. It does not exist on the political map. But since the territory of Bulgaria is an important stage for the actions of the big geopolitical players that you mentioned, namely the clash between Turkey and Europe, and Russia and the United States, some of these events are assigned a role in our region. And for that reason Bulgaria is forced to be involved in the geopolitical puzzle literally “by force”. So if you ask me what role Bulgaria plays, she plays the role of a terrain, of an object, on which historical events play out, but she is not a participant in them.
Stoycho Kerev: What kind of Bulgaria we would like to see is one thing, but what Bulgaria we actually observe – quite another. Are people disappointed?
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: To quote the famous dictum of Stalin, there is logic of the desire and logic of the situation. And not always does the logic of desires coincide with the logic of the situation. I am repeatedly accused by the Bulgarian media, for which I have zero respect, to be misanthrope number 1 of the republic. I have no respect for them because of their extremely low professionalism, combined with a dose of servitude. These are deeply incompetent people. Even a servant requires a certain amount of professionalism. I’m accused of being a pessimist because I do not offer a happy picture to the stupefied Bulgarian population. There are enough sycophants for this purpose.
Stoycho Kerev: And yet …
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: When talking about Bulgaria, let’s not replace the actual, with the desired. Bulgaria is in a very difficult situation and that is not an accusation, just a conclusion. She has an exhausted demographic and economic potential, and is a peripheral area, a buffer zone between Europe and the Orient, and between Europe and Russia. Bulgarians have lost their social and civilizational character, the culture has a low political horizon and a dodgy political class, which has always played the role of the fifth column, of the corresponding ruler of this territory. This is unfortunate. It does not sound nice, but it is true.
Stoycho Kerev: Do you think that the Turkish head of state will be completely honest with his European partners, or will he mislead them?
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: I’ve written about this 5 years ago. Turkey is slowly but surely separating from the western geopolitical ship. Some back then thought that this is a representation of another reality, but it’s not. The result of this extremely risky operation could be either that the ship sinks, i.e. Turkey is torn apart from the inside with the help of the enormous amount of internal systemic contradictions, or the opposite – Turkey will enter a completely different geopolitical orbit and will play the role of an independent geopolitical player. Currently we are at the point of dislocation, i.e. it will go in one, another, or a third direction. An extremely dangerous situation from a historical perspective, as this can lead to side effects which can affect adjacent areas, in this case Bulgaria. If Turkey walks into the swamp of violent internal civil conflict, ethnic and religious, the situation with the refugees will look like an operetta amid all that can unfold.
Stoycho Kerev: How would you rate Ankara’s political behavior?
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: In terms of whether Erdogan is sincere or insincere, he is sincere about the interests of the new Anatolian elite that he represents. Behind Erdogan stands a significant part of the Anatolian Turkish society, to which he gave a chance, work, bread and development, in the Islamic form of the Turkish civilization. In this sense, beyond the politically correct cavort, Erdogan represents an authentic Turkey which no longer wishes to participate in the schizophrenic role of being the Orient’s West, or the West’s East. That is the role that Kemal Ataturk gave it in terms of modernization and the establishment of Turkey as a country. In this respect Turkey’s interests and those of Europe are diametrically opposite. And from here on out, we will only be present in the drama of the situation.
Stoycho Kerev: But in this drama we have protection in the face of NATO. Or not?
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: Give me one good reason why NATO should defend Bulgarian territory? First, it’s an entirely different matter that the Bulgarian territory was indispensable because of it’s geopolitical and strategic location. Second, when we talk about NATO, there is no such thing as NATO. There is an American protectorate on European territory, nothing more.
Bulgaria has no armed forces because our geopolitical masters rightly believe that we will not be loyal. Here they rightly suspect a long Russian connection, even just on a mental level, and therefore they disarmed our already not very strong state, so they have no problems with it. If anything happens on our territory, people always refer to a Turkish occupation. There is no need to occupy, for the simple reason that we are being eroded from within. We are now only a hollow form that is devoid of content. There is no NATO to defend Bulgaria, NATO will protect its own interests. If these interests call for the dismantling of Bulgarian statehood and sovereignty (which we don’t have anyway), be sure that’s exactly what would happen.
Stoycho Kerev: In Bulgaria everyone fights for the sympathy of Russia, the USA, or Turkey … About some kind of close connection.
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: Exactly. If the important social and political divisions are “philia” or “phobia” to a foreign force, be it Russia, USA, Turkey or the West, this shows something cruel and extremely unpleasant about our Bulgarian subjectivity. This means that we do not structure our geopolitical orientation towards authentic Bulgarian interest for a very simple reason – this interest is simply absent. There is no definition of that which is Bulgarian. It has always been a function and reflection of an external force. This is extremely unpleasant and much of what calls itself the Bulgarian expert community, has no senses for it, let alone to define it.
Stoycho Kerev: At the end of this conversation let’s go back to Britain’s breakup with the European Union. What can we expect?
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Hristov: I define Brexit as the British ship saving itself from the sinking Europe. The British elites who are also part of global elite, are very familiar with the processes that will be occur in the near future and raised the anchor in time. If I use the old terminology of Carl Schmitt, metaphorically the Anglo-Saxon civilization is the ship, while Europe is the home. The ship is plodding and always traveling somewhere, it is not anchored in time and space with allies. It has only its own interests, the interest of the survival of the ship and its crew. While a land or a home, is a completely different thing. It is far more difficult for it to move. In this sense, the British lifted anchor and separated. We should consider it.