The European peninsula will be drawn into the embrace of the Heartland as Russia and China work out their natural destiny as Eurasia
The author is an Italian industrialist and Honorary member of the Academy of Science of the Institut de France with long experience in the Middle East. He wrote this article especially for RI.
In a now famous speech delivered at the 2007 Munich Conference on Security, Vladimir Putin outlined his foreign policy in no uncertain terms: Russia would not tolerate being encircled by the Atlantic Alliance, and there is no disputing his claim that the network of sensors, radars, and missiles installed around the Federation is not there to manage "instability in the greater Middle East”. He believed then, and still does now, that the international system should be based on laws endorsed by the United Nations and other global agencies, rather than on NATO and the EU, as he stated to the Italian Minister of Defense at the time.
The coalitions of the willing that supported US and Saudi actions in the First and Second Gulf Wars, wiping out a traditional Russian ally, Iraq, resulted in unexpected blowback, turning the oil region into a "no man's land".
For the Russian President, American unipolarity signals a strategic void at the edge of the empire, with incalculable consequences for future strategists, even the United States.
In Munich, Putin made clear his desire to achieve a reduction of missile systems, to be later extended to other players. Bilateral negotiations would be carried out under UN auspices, not delegated to regional alliances. The "conventionalization" of confrontation would lessen the nuclear threat and allow for significant reductions in military spending, ending the post-cold war confrontation and reducing clashes between the peripheries - or Rimland - of the former opposing blocs.
Emphasizing the destructive effects of a unipolar world, Russia maintains that no one power can control the world, but can only generate polarizations leading to a terrible war. For Russia, the future must be multipolar, all the more so that the US has lost its geo-economic primacy.
Globalizing must end. But what about Europe? Will it wait for the crumbs of the TTIP, hoping a still secret treaty with the United States will allow it to grow its economy, or will it finally begin to think big?
After harsh comments on US behavior, in Munich Putin said that pressure to adopt “democracy”, including by NGOs, constituted interference and produced the opposite effect, putting weak States at the mercy of expensive international aid, but also of multinational companies that increase social tensions and in some cases, encourage Islamist terrorism.
In Munich, as currently, it took political courage to link global economic disasters, globalization, unipolar policies and social and political destabilization to jihadist terrorism. For Vladimir Putin, the unipolar world ended when globalization was countered by Chinese expansion, the BRICS and other new centers of economic and political development. The United States is now in a financial crisis provoked by its own geopolitical and financial overreach.
Several of the Russian President’s prophecies have come true: China is expanding geo-economically, both with the One Road, One Belt initiative, which will unify the entire Asian Heartland economically, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will evolve from an "Asian EEC" into an "Eastern NATO".
The traditional American pendulum swings between exercising "necessary power" abroad and the "city on the hill”; between Teddy Roosevelt and the Monroe doctrine. Even Israel’s Prime Minister turned down a March 18 meeting with Obama, while strengthening ties with Russia, members of the Knesset paying a visit to Crimea in early February. Israel’s own global strategy is to continue a divide and rule strategy vis a vis its Arab neighbors, seeking to become a regional power as the Islamic world finds itself increasingly at war. Israel monitors its defenses along the Syrian border, and although when hostilities began it saw Bashar al-Assad as the weak link of the pro-Iranian axis, it will longer plan support the so-called "moderate rebels" alongside the
The US and NATO expected Russian support for the Arab Syrian Army to be technologically and strategically irrelevant, but with Baathist covert networks operating in Raqqa, the “Caliphate’s" capital city, and Assad’s forces a few miles away encircling Aleppo, ISIS/Turkey cooperation looks very different. The Russian Federation has proved a credible opponent of the Atlantic Alliance, preventing NATO from going beyond its old peacekeeping rhetoric in the Middle East and North
Russia and China are investing in Israel’s hi-tech sector, the most advanced in the world, filling the gaps left by the end of US hegemony and forcing Washington to pressure China to limit its land and sea power as it tries to encircle the Russian Federation in a useless resurgence of the Cold War. The Philippines offered the US six new bases for America’s Special Forces global network. But as John Maynard Keynes’ once said, "the difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping old
The US attempt to encircle Eurasia is met by Russian and Chinese expansion across the Eurasian Heartland. Today Putin is a careful follower of the American geopolitician Spykman, who was involved in Soviet containment and prioritized the “edges”, or “rim” of the world's continental land masses. Today, both China and Russia are expanding into their “near abroad”, in order to oppose the US economically, as China gradually relinquishes its role as foremost buyer of US Treasury bonds.
Both new powers aiming for a multipolar world are shedding dollars and buying gold, while the current imbalance in world markets enables China to sign contracts in renminmbi with emerging countries, and Russia to sell oil and gas to small nations as well as China, offsetting the US embargo.
A new distribution of the world’s strategic polarities can be imagined in the near future, going from Russia, the Western hinge of the new Chinese Silk Road towards the Middle East and the European Union, and countering the pro-US Sunni axis in Syria with a new independent role for Israel.
Russia still fears America’s global strike capability, with or without NATO support. Already at the 2007 Munich Conference, it stressed the importance of decoupling Europe from the Atlantic Alliance, which Putin sees as part of the US’s global strategy to protect power.
The Russian Federation will be stably connected to India, and later to the EU, as it separates strategically from the US and forges an independent foreign policy. It will also turn its attention to the Arctic and the Russian share of the Antarctic.
The primary aim of Russia’s maritime doctrine to 2020 is to protect its “near abroad” from destabilization by US-sponsored "color revolutions”, and NATO’s expansion is seen as the main threat to its strategic interests. Is the European Union really interested in destabilizing the Rimland to strike Russia or China? I think not.
The cultural and symbolic aspect.of Eurasianism is fundamental for Russia. The Soviet world saw a cultural continuity between Europe and the "Third Rome”, seeking to equalize, if need be violently, old Russia with the West. Today, Eurasia represents the cultural and strategic autonomy of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, an attempt to connect Eurasia’s European peninsula with the Slavic Heartland, bridging nations and traditional geopolitical boundaries.
Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons.