Political theory, history and “East” (this term is extremely reflexive and critical, and has nothing in common with the Orientalism concept) are the main topics of the 79th NZ issue. This release, from the formal point of view, is not “thematic” one, but, nevertheless, it is devoted, basically, to three areas of knowledge which overlap each other. The area of such overlapping could be called “a thematic core” of this issue.
It opens with a section connected with the sights of Michel Foucault on revolution, history of revolutions – and on that very “East”. “NZ” publishes a conversation of French journalists Claire Briere and Pierre Blanche with the philosopher right after the Iranian revolution of 1979. Here there is Michel Foucault’s answer to criticism in his address, articulated after the revolutionary regime of ayatollah Khomeini began to dispose of its opponents.
From Foucault, the post-war French thinker, to the classic of sociology Max Weber who has written his main works before and during the First World War. The first thematic section sounds as “Variants of Modern: Weber, Confucianism and the Spirit of Capitalism”. Here for the first time Weber’s text “Confucianism and Puritanism” is published in Russian, translated by the NZ columnist Alexander Kustarev, an essay by Kustarev himself “Capitalism in the XXI Century: Minus Protestant Ethics and Plus Confucianism”, as well as three articles by John Love, Marcel Granet and Christine Lebedeva devoted to the critical analysis of how the German sociologist used contemporary ideas about Confucianism and China for the elaboration of his own concept of a parity of religion and capitalism.
If in the sections devoted to Michel Foucault and Max Weber it is talked about a parity of political theory, history, and “East”, the second topic of NZ issue – “World Politics and International Law: War of Languages and the Language of War” –is the question of a parity of the theory of international law and political practice.
We will focus our attention on the two materials devoted to the recently published book “Pakistan: A Hard Country” by the British journalist and political expert Anatol Lieven. With regard to this book, it is often said that the author has tried to dispel “a black legend” about Pakistan created by the Western and Indian politicians and media. Whether it is true or not – it is possible to learn from Anna Aslanyan’s conversation with Lieven. In the expanded response to Lieven’s book NZ editor Kyrill Kobrin tries to show limitation of the Western attitude to a present condition of the former Western colonies; in his opinion, Lieven, if with reservations, managed to keep away from the template set two hundred years ago. We should also note the review by Max Dunbar on the memoirs of the known Britain-American journalist Christopher Hitchens – “Hitch-22”; its considerable part is about what, according to the author, has happened with the world after 9/11 – and why Hitchens has approved the Western invasion into Iraq.
The articles from another section (Events and Comments) have something in common with the texts devoted to the recent processes in the Arab world – ““Permanent Revolution”: The Arab World in Search of Stability” by Leonid Isaev and “Discharge of Mubarak and NewPerspectives of the Egypt” by Egyptian journalist Ashraf Al Sabbakh. The “Arab Spring”, intervention of the West in civil war in Libya, the irresolute position of the international community with respect to the cruelty of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, – all these raise the question on imperfection of the present international law, which has appeared at the crossroads between a heritage of a post-war peace arrangement and the “cold war”, on the one hand, and new challenges which arise in connection with terrorist threats and occurrence of the new states, on another. Two other texts of the second section by Bill Bowring, Darya Pushkina and Aleksandra Fedorova are about the same. This section opens with an essay by Yaroslav Shimov where he has tried to sum up the “ideological period” of the Western history.
At last, “East” and historical themes of this NZ issue are crossed with each other under a traditional heading Culture of Politics. Here, on an example of the old discussion about Mongol impact on Russia, the mechanism of “national consciousness” and “cultural nationalism” is presented (article of the well-known expert in Russian and Soviet history Richard Pipes). Russian historian Nikita Sokolov gives the critical comment to the text of the Harvard professor.
On the cross of politics and culture – there is the respective traditional section of the magazine. The known philosopher and culturologist Igor Smirnov argues on “spiritual revolution” of mankind and about return process, “depriving of intellectual experience”. Alek D. Epstein traces history of Russian art group “The War” and its political role in the context of absence of a public policy in the country. The German writer and translator from the Arab language Stephan Weidner discusses a translation role in formation of an image of these or those people in the opinion of neighbors or descendants.
As usually, in this NZ issue there are Alexey Levinson’s column, the Russian Intellectual Journals’ Review (by Vyacheslav Morozov) and the New Books section, in which we allocate polemics between historians Vladimir Ryzhkovsky and Andrey Portnov concerning the Portnov’s book “Exercises with History: Ukrainian Style”.