Twilight of Statecraft: Carne Ross on Crisis, Climate Change, & War


“The nation state as we have known it in the 20th century, is in decline. Mainly because the sorts of issues that affect people are now out of the control of states, including economic forces, global political violence, global warming…people see less and less legitimacy in the state…so I think the question is what replaces that system?”

By all accounts, Carne Ross has led an interesting life. After serving for 15 years in government as a British Diplomat, in 2004, Ross left the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office after testifying against the United Kingdom in an inquiry about the war in Iraq. Up until that time, Ross had described himself as essentially a quintessential neoliberal, believing in government and neoliberal economics. By turning against his government, Ross walked out of his job as a diplomat but in doing so inspired a book by novelist John le Carré and thrust himself into the limelight, appearing on everything from The Colbert Report to Russell Brand’s podcast over the years.

But beyond just coming out against the war in Iraq and challenging the narrative of Western states, Ross also began to immerse himself in social movements, namely Occupy Wall Street when it kicked off in 2011. The same year, Ross published his second book, The Leaderless Revolution, which captured many of the themes of Occupy. In 2017, Ross also was at the center of the documentary, Accidental Anarchistwhich touched on everything from anarchists in the Spanish Revolution, to the current situation in Rojava, with Ross arguing that the form of the nation State was no longer able to address the problems humanity faced.

In this episode, we start off by discussing Ross’s history, but moreover we attempt to get inside the minds and psyches of people that operate within government and how they view not only the expanding crisis before them, but also everyday people. Ross also talks about both global warming and the rise of the far-Right, discussing at length the dangers of the American State in both arenas. Ross argues that the power and legitimacy of the nation state is entering into a period of twilight, as the global problems which face the world are unable to be addressed by governments. With examples like Rojava in mind, we discuss what might come after them in this exciting interview.

More Info: Carne Ross Twitter and homepage.

Music: Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

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