Multipolarity and India

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book…

Indian theories of multipolarity also deserve attentive study. The Indian political scientist Suryanarayana believes that multipolarity is conceivable as a stable principle of international relations only between states that have developed organically as “power houses.” Implicit in this notion is a criticism of colonialism, neocolonialism as well as the chimerical political culture vividly exemplified in the US which, with its strategic notion of the “Frontier” and historical statehood, cannot represent such an organic power house.

By engaging in economic reform,” it is assumed, “India will have the opportunity to develop and exploit its large population and economic opportunity to become a global power in an increasingly multi-polar system, thereby allowing for an ambitious foreign policy permitting India to protect its interests in South Asia and act as the preeminent power in the region.” It has also been noted that India has earned “high political credibility in most parts of the world on top of its growing economic stature, it seems reluctant to capitalize on this. Unwilling to break with the creeds that have guided its foreign policy since independence but, rather, trying to conserve them by adapting them to the emerging new multipolar order.” Upon attaining a new economic level, moreover, India will inevitably strengthen its military and political presence in the Indian Ocean.

University of Colorado Professor Peter Harris believes that multipolarity will be directly linked to a shift in the balance of forces in the Indian Ocean. Harris writes:

Today, centuries of relative unipolarity are giving way to noticeable multipolarity. India’s announcement of a base in the Seychelles is another important step in this direction—a sign that New Delhi is doubling down on its blue water navy and attendant power-projection capabilities.  From the Seychellois island of Assumption, which is already equipped with an airstrip, the Indian military—even if it is limited by geography to maintaining only a tiny military presence—will boast a central position in the Western Indian Ocean, close to the East African coastline and astride the important maritime trade route that runs from the Mozambique Channel to the Arabian Sea.

It is not just India that is beefing up its presence in the region, of course. Late last year, China announced the creation of its first permanent overseas base in Djibouti at the mouth of the Red Sea, and Beijing continues to expand its naval capabilities (most recently by announcing the construction of its first Chinese-made aircraft carrier). With the United States also present in Djibouti—as well as Bahrain, Diego Garcia and elsewhere—this means that at least three of the great powers are demonstrably seeking to expand their military reach in the Indian Ocean.  And middle powers such as Britain and France also boast considerable military assets in the wider region…

International Relations theory helps to delineate three scenarios that might play out. First, the great powers could cooperate to combat piracy, maintain geopolitical stability, and keep sea lanes open. This is the hope of liberal academicians, who see few conflicts of interest between the various powers in terms of their vision for the ocean’s future; on the contrary, a common stake in policing the commons should provide great impetus to maintaining regional stability. Second, however, the Indian Ocean could become the focus of great power competition and even outright conflict, as distrust and divergent interests push states to shun collaboration. This is the pessimistic prediction of most realist scholars.

But third, the Indian Ocean could become the scene of a new sort of world order—or, to put it more accurately, world orders—as rival great powers go about organizing their own spheres of influence that exist discretely and distinctly with one another’s. Such a world was outlined by Charles Kupchan in his book, No One’s World, in which the author argued that the coming international system will be characterized by decentralization, pluralism, and co-existence…

Whatever the form of international governance that emerges in the Indian Ocean, then, it will have to accommodate the reality that several great powers have vital interests in the region. Come conflict or cooperation, political order in the Indian Ocean will have to be multipolar in character — if, indeed, it is not already. The prospects for peace and harmonious cooperation under such circumstances are not altogether bleak, but they are not endlessly auspicious either.  In many ways, twenty-first century geopolitics begins here.

In their joint article, “The multipolar Asian century: Contestation or competition?”, Samir Saran, a senior research fellow and vice president of the Observer Research Foundation (India) and Ashok Malik, a senior research fellow at the Australian Lowy Institute for International Policy, also assign India an important place in the future world order and focus on the Asia-Pacific region as a possible source for the formation of a multipolar world. Saran and Malik suggest three possible scenarios:

Should the US choose to bequeath the liberal, international order to Asian forces, India will be the heir-apparent. India would not, under this circumstance, play the role of a great power — because Asia is too fractious and politically vibrant to be managed by one entity — but simply that of a ‘bridge power’. India is in a unique and catalytic position, with its ability to singularly span the geographic and ideological length of the continent. But two variables will need to be determined. Can the US find it within itself to incubate an order that may not afford it the pride of place like the trans-Atlantic system? And, can India get its act together and be alive to the opportunity it has to become the inheritor of a liberal Asia?

The second possibility for an Asian order is that it resembles the 19th century Concert of Europe, an unstable but necessary political coalition of major powers on the continent. The ‘big eight’ in Asia (China, India Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Australia, Russia and America) would all be locked in a marriage of convenience, bringing their disparate interests to heel for the greater cause of shared governance. Difficult as it would be to predict the contours of this system, it would likely be focused on preventing shocks to ‘core’ governance functions in Asia, such as the preservation of the financial system, territorial and political sovereignties and inter-dependent security arrangements. Given that each major player in this system would see this as an ad hoc mechanism, its chances of devolving into a debilitating bilateral or multi-front conflict for superiority would be high — very much like the Concert that gave way to the First World War.

A third possibility could see the emergence of an Asian political architecture that does not involve the US. This system — or more precisely, a universe of subsystems — would see the regional economic and security alliances take a prominent role in managing their areas of interest. As a consequence, institutions like ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the AIIB, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation will become the ‘hubs’ of governance. The US would remain distantly engaged with these sub-systems, but would be neither invested in their continuity, or affiliated to its membership.

There also exists the point of view that India will represent the third pole of a multipolar world (besides the US and China) by 2050. Given that the author of this model is Hindu, such a theory is of a clearly prejudiced character. On the other hand, a tripolar system a priori cannot be multipolar. What’s more, India’s leadership considers Russia to be one pole of the multipolar world, as was stated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Moscow in December 2015, who said that he sees in Russia a “significant partner in the economic transformation of India and the creation of a balanced, stable, inclusive, multipolar world.”

However, the Indian view of multipolarity implicitly harbors negative perceptions of China due to territorial disputes and, in a broader context, due to the civilizational competition between these two countries. Russia is also an often subject of criticism. For example, the retired Indian diplomat M. Bhadrakumar has remarked: “Russia and China give lip-service to their shared interests with developing countries and they profess ardor for a polycentric world order, ultimately they remain self-centered, comfortable in the knowledge of their assured veto power in the UN and their sequestered place within the discriminatory nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. Unsurprisingly, they are paramountly focused on perpetuating their privileged position as arbiters of regional problems.”

Nevertheless, the understanding that the window of opportunities could expand considerably under none other than multipolarity continues to push India in this direction. As Amee Patel has pointed out in the context of India-China dialogue: “While improved relations could alleviate each nation’s challenges, a further motivation is given by India’s shared resentment toward the international system.”

 

Multipolarity and Polycentricity

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book…

The very term “multipolarity” is of American (Anglo-Saxon) origin, and in the third chapter we examined similar concepts that have been developed in other countries. As various scholars have indicated, varying interpretations of multipolarity have provoked certain conceptual dilemmas. For instance, a report on long-term global trends prepared by the Zurich Center for Security Studies in 2012 noted that:

The advantage of ‘multipolarity’ is that it accounts for the ongoing diffusion of power that extends beyond uni-, bi-, or- tripolarity. But the problem with the term is that it suggests a degree of autonomy and separateness of each ‘pole’ that fails to do justice to the interconnections and complexities of a globalised world. The term also conceals that rising powers are still willing to work within the Westernshaped world economic system, at least to some extent. This is why the current state of play may be better described as ‘polycentric’. Unlike ‘multipolarity’, the notion of ‘polycentricism’ says nothing about how the different centres of power relate to each other. Just as importantly, it does not elicit connotations with the famous but ill-fated multipolar system in Europe prior to 1914 that initially provided for regular great power consultation, but eventually ended in all-out war. The prospects for stable order and effective global governance are not good today. Yet, military confrontation between the great powers is not a likely scenario either, as the emerging polycentric system is tied together in ways that render a degree of international cooperation all but indispensable.

The Swiss scholars involved in this summation approached the issue from the standpoint of reviewing security issues in a globalized world and tried to find an adequate expression for contemporary trends. However, there also exist purely technical approaches and ideological theories which employ the term “polycentric”.

The concept of “polycentricity” had been used before to describe the functioning of complex economic subjects. Accordingly, if management theories are springboards for geopolitical practice, then this model’s basic elaborations already exist. In a literal sense, the term “polycentric” suggests some kind of spatial unit with several centers. However, the term does not specify what kind of centers are in question, hence the obvious need to review various concepts and starting points before discussing polycentrism.

Four levels of this concept can be discussed in the context of political-administrative approaches. The analytical-descriptive level is needed for describing, measuring, and characterizing the current state of a spatial object by means of precisely determining how long a country or capital can be “polycentric.” Secondly, this concept can be understood in a normative sense which might help, for example, in reorganizing the spatial configuration of an object, i.e., either to promote/create polycentrism or support/utilize an existing polycentric structure. Thirdly, when it comes to spatial entities, it is necessary to specify their spatial scale, i.e., at the city level, city-region, mega-regional level, or even on the national or transnational levels. Upon closer examination, the concept of polycentrism thus challenges our understanding of centers in urban areas, since such can concern either their roles and functional ties (relations) or their concrete morphological forms (the structure of urban fabric). This differentiation between the functional and morphological understandings of polycentrism constitutes the fourth dimension.

In the contemporary situation which features the presence of city-states and megalopoli that can easily compete with some states in the classical understanding in the most varied criteria (number of residents and their ethnic identity, length of external borders, domestic GDP, taxes, industry, transport hubs, etc.), such an approach seems wholly appropriate for more articulated geopolitical analysis. Moreover, in the framework of federal models of state governance, polycentrism serves as a marker of complex relations between all administrative centers. Regional cooperation also fits into this model since it allows subjects to “escape” mandatory compliance with a single regulator, such as in the face of a political capital, and cooperate with other subjects (including foreign ones) within a certain space.

To some extent, the idea of polycentrism is reflected in offshore zones as well. While offshores can act as “black holes” for the economies of sovereign states, on the other hand, they  can also be free economic zones removing various trade barriers clearly within the framework of the operator’s economic sovereignty.

It should also be noted that the theory of polycentrism is also well known in the form of the ideological contribution of the Italian community Palmiro Togliatti as an understanding of the relative characteristics of the working conditions facing communist parties in different countries following the de-Stalinization process in the Soviet Union in 1956. What if one were to apply such an analysis to other parties and movements? For example, in comparing Eurosceptics in the EU and the conglomerate of movements in African and Asian countries associated with Islam? Another fruitful endeavor from this perspective could be evaluating illiberal democracies and populist regimes in various parties of the world as well as monarchical regimes, a great variety of which still exist ranging from the United Kingdom’s constitutional monarchy to the hereditary autocracy of Saudi Arabia which appeared relatively recently compared to other dynastic forms of rule. Let us also note that since Togliatti the term “polycentrism” has become popular in political science, urban planning, logistics, sociology, and as an expression for unity in diversity.

In 1969, international relations and globalization expert Howard V. Perlmutter proposed the conceptual model of EPG, or Ethnocentrism-Polycentrism-Geocentrism, which he subsequently expanded with his colleague David A Heenan to include Regionalism. This model, famously known by the acronym EPRG, remains essential in international management and human resources. This theory posits that polycentrism, unlike ethnocentrism, regionalism, and geocentrism, is based on political orientation, albeit through the prism of controlling commodity-monetary flows, human resources, and labor. In this case, polycentrism can be defined as a host country’s orientation reflecting goals and objectives in relation to various management strategies and planning procedures in international operations. In this approach, polycentrism is in one way or another connected to issues of management and control.

However, insofar as forms of political control can differ, this inevitably leads to the understanding of a multiplicity of political systems and automatically rejects the monopoly of liberal parliamentarism imposed by the West as the only acceptable political system. Extending this approach, we can see that the notion of polycentrism, in addition to connoting management, is contiguous to theories of law, state governance, and administration. Canada for instance has included polycentricity in its administrative law and specifically refers to a “polycentric issue” as “one which involves a large number of interlocking and interacting interests and considerations.” For example, one of Canada’s official documents reads: “While judicial procedure is premised on a bipolar opposition of parties, interests, and factual discovery, some problems require the consideration of numerous interests simultaneously, and the promulgation of solutions which concurrently balance benefits and costs for many different parties.  Where an administrative structure more closely resembles this model, courts will exercise restraint.”

Polycentric law became world-famous thanks to Professor Tom Bell who, as a student at the University of Chicago’s law faculty, wrote a book entitled Polycentric Law in which he noted that other authors use phrases such as “de-monopolized law” to describe polycentric alternatives.

Bell outlined traditional customary law (also known as consolamentum law) before the establishment of states and in accordance with the works of Friedrich A. Hayek, Bruce L. Benson, and David D. Friedman. Bell mentioned the customary law of the Anglo-Saxons, ecclesiastical law, guild law, and trade law as examples of polycentric law. On this note, he suggests that customary and statutory law have co-existed throughout history, an example being Roman law being applied to Romans throughout the Roman Empire at the same time as indigenous peoples’ legal systems remained permitted for non-Romans.

Polycentric theory has also attracted the interest of market researchers, especially public economists. Rather paradoxically, it is from none other than ideas of a polycentric market that a number of Western scholars came to the conclusion that “Polycentricity can be utilized as a conceptual framework for drawing inspiration not only from the market but also from democracy or any other complex system incorporating the simultaneous functioning of multiple centers of governance and decision making with different interests, perspectives, and values.” In our opinion, it is very important that namely these three categories – interests, perspectives, and values – were distinguished. “Interests” as a concept is related to the realist school and paradigm in international relations, while “perspectives” suggests some kind of teleology, i.e., a goal-setting actor, and “values” are associated with the core of strategic culture or what has commonly been called the “national idea,” “cultural-historical traditions”, or irrational motives in the collective behavior of a people. For a complex society inhabited by several ethnic groups and where citizens identify with several religious confessions, or where social class differences have been preserved (to some extent they continue to exist in all types of societies, including in both the US and North Korea, but are often portrayed as between professional specialization or peculiarities of local stratification), a polycentric system appears to be a natural necessity for genuinely democratic procedures. In this context, the ability of groups to resolve their own problems on the basis of options institutionally included in the mode of self-government is fundamental to the notion of polycentrism.

Only relatively recently has polycentrism come to be used as an anti-liberal or anti-capitalist platform. In 2006, following the summit of the World Social Forum in Caracas, Michael Blanding from The Nation illustrated a confrontation between “unicentrism” characterized by imperial, neo-liberal, and neo-conservative economic and political theories and institutions, and people searching for an alternative, or adherents of “polycentrism.” As a point of interest, the World Social Forum itself was held in a genuinely polycentric format as it was held not only in Venezuela, but in parallel also in Mali and Pakistan. Although the forum mainly involved left socialists, including a large Trotskyist lobby (which is characteristic of the anti-globalist movement as a whole), the overall critique of neoliberalism and transnational corporations voiced at the forum also relied on rhetoric on the rights of peoples, social responsibility, and the search for a political alternative. At the time, this was manifested in Latin America in the Bolivarian Revolution with its emphasis on indigenism, solidarity, and anti-Americanism.

It should be noted that Russia’s political establishment also not uncommonly uses the word “polycentricity” – sometimes as a synonym for multipolarity, but also as a special, more “peace-loving” trend in global politics insofar as “polarity presumes the confrontation of poles and their binary opposition.” Meanwhile, Russian scholars recognize that comparing the emerging polycentric world order to historical examples of polycentricity is difficult. Besides the aspect of deep interdependence, the polycentricity of the early 21st century possesses a number of different, important peculiarities. These differences include global asymmetry insofar as the US still boasts overwhelming superiority in a number of fields, and a multi-level character in which there exist: (1) a military-diplomatic dimension of global politics with the evolution of quickly developing giant states; (2) an economic dimension with the growing role of transnational actors; (3) global demographic shifts; (4) a specific space representing a domain of symbols, ideals, and cultural codes and their deconstructions; and (5) a geopolitical and geo-economic level.

Here it is necessary to note that the very term “polycentricity” in itself harbors some interesting connotations. Despite being translated to mean “many”, the first part (“poly-“) etymologically refers to both “pole” and “polis” (all three words are of Ancient Greek origin), and the second part presupposes the existence of centers in the context of international politics, i.e., states or a group of states which can influence the dynamic of international relations.

In his Parmenides, Martin Heidegger contributed an interesting remark in regards to the Greek term “polis”, which once again confirms the importance and necessity of serious etymological analysis. By virtue of its profundity, we shall reproduce this quote in full:

Πόλις is the πόλоς, the pole, the place around which everything appearing to the Greeks as a being turns in a peculiar way. The pole is the place around which all beings turn and precisely in such a way that in the domain of this place beings show their turning and their conditions. The pole, as this place, lets beings appear in their Being and show the totality of their condition. The pole does not produce and does not create beings in their Being, but as pole it is the abode of the unconsciousness of beings as a whole. The πόλις is the essence of the place [Ort], or, as we say, it is the settlement (Ort-schaft) of the historical dwelling of Greek humanity. Because the πόλις lets the totality of beings come in this or that way into the unconcealedness of its condition, the πόλις is therefore essentially related to the Being of beings. Between πόλις and “Being” there is a primordial relation.

Heidegger thus concludes that “polis” is not a city, state, nor a combination of the two, but the place of the history of the Greeks, the focus of their essence, and that there is a direct link between πόλις and ἀλήθεια (this Greek word is usually translated into Russian as “truth”) Thus, in order to capture polycentricity, one needs to search for the foci and distribution areas of the essence of the numerous peoples of our planet. Here we can once again mention strategic cultures and their cores.

Russia and Multipolarity

Author: Leonid Savin 

Translator: Jafe Arnold

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book…

Many ascribe the first steps in developing a strategy for multipolarity in international relations to Russia as well. Indeed, this claim has some merit. In Moscow on April 23rd, 1997, Russia and China signed the “Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order”, and on May 15th the declaration was registered in the UN.1 The document asserted that the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China will strive to promote the development of a multipolar world and new international order. The text also remarked that international relations had undergone profound changes at the end of the 20th century and affirmed a diversity of political, economic, and cultural paths of development for all countries and an increasing role for forces advocating peace and broad international cooperation. Furthermore, the document reads: “A growing number of countries are beginning to recognize the need for mutual respect, equality and mutual advantage – but not for hegemony and power politics – and for dialogue and cooperation – but not for confrontation and conflict. The establishment of a peaceful, stable, just and rational new international political and economic order is becoming a pressing need of the times and an imperative of historical development.

In addition, the declaration voiced the notion that every state has a right to, proceeding on the basis of its unique circumstances, independently and autonomously choose its own path of development without interference from other states. In the words of the statement: “Differences in their social systems, ideologies and value systems must not become an obstacle to the development of normal relations between States.” At the same time, it was emphasized that China and Russia are switching to a new form of mutual relations and that such is not directed against any other countries.

Hopes then arose that the UN would play an important role in establishing a new international order, and developing countries and the Non-Aligned Movement were named as important forces contributing to the formation of a multipolar world. The Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on the International Order of the 21st Century, which was signed in Moscow on July 1st, 2005 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and PRC President Xu Jintao, logically continued this line.2 This declaration was a response to the US invasion of Iraq, a reaction to this challenge which was intended to strengthen efforts to organize a new international order. One part in the new declaration read:

The main trend of the world today is not towards a “clash of civilizations”; rather, it underscores the imperative of engaging in global cooperation. The diversity of civilizations in the world and the diversification of development models should be respected and safeguarded. Differences in the historical backgrounds, cultural traditions, social and political systems, value concepts, and development paths of countries should not become an excuse for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Different civilizations should conduct dialogue, exchange experiences, draw on each other’s experiences, learn from each other’s strong points to make up for their own shortcomings, and seek common progress on the basis of mutual respect and tolerance. Cultural exchanges should be increased in order to establish relations of friendship and trust among countries.

Russia and China drew attention to the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the intensification of cooperation between BRIC countries and later BRICS, which is seen as an attempt at establishing individual rules for the game at least in each country’s zone of strategic interests.

In the sphere of its own strategic interests, as proclaimed by President Medvedev following Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia in August 2008, Russia uses the Eurasian Economic Community as an economic integration instrument and military cooperation within the CSTO. Directly introduced into Russia’s foreign policy doctrine in 2000 was the provision that “Russia will seek the creation of a multipolar system of international relations which genuinely reflects the diversity of the modern world with its diversity of interests.”3

It should be noted, however, that Russian politicians, diplomats, and scholars’ understanding of the need to develop a theory of multipolarity has its roots in a crisis situation. First, there was the collapse of the Soviet Union which was accompanied by ethnic conflicts. A similar collapse occurred in Yugoslavia and led to several foreign interventions and the transformation of the regional political map. NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia and the Albanian proclamation of Kosovo were a painful blow not only to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which at the time consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, but to the European geopolitical system as a whole. In addition, the collapse of Marxist doctrine and the negative experience of IMF and World Bank reforms in Russia led to an understanding of the need to develop a distinct foreign and domestic policy. Although the inertia of the Soviet era made itself felt, certain attempts were made at rethinking Russia’s role and place in the global political system.

September 11th, 2001 also affected perceptions of the global system in a new vein. It is no coincidence that in an article from September 2003, a Russian advocate of multipolarity and political heavyweight who served as prime minister in 1999, Yevgeny Primakov, noted that “what followed the events of September 11 showed more clearly than ever the confrontation between two trends. On the one hand, there was the preservation of the world order, save for some modernization, founded on such a mechanism for multilateral actions as the United Nations. On the other, there was ‘unilateralism’, or the bet that decisions that are vitally important for humanity can be taken by one country, the United States, on the grounds of Washington’s subjective perception of international reality.”4 Primakov pointed out that the EU was becoming a center of power comparable in its capacity to the US, while China, Russia, India, and Japan were also in no hurry to trail behind the wake of events set by Washington. Also highlighted in this regard is the UN’s role in the formation of multipolarity. Previously, Primakov had observed that “the uneven development of states will manifest itself primarily in antagonistic forms…historically, no dominant power can establish a unipolar world order.”5

Here it is important to note that Yevgeny Primakov had at the time already condemned the US leadership, pointing instead to rapidly expanding opportunities for other countries and alliances. “The fall of the USSR as a counterbalance to America does not give reason to believe that the US is an undisputed winner and, accordingly, that the world should be unipolar with only one center in Washington. This contradicts the very course of global development. For instance, China and India’s respective GDP’s are larger than that of the US. US leadership in scientific and technological progress as one of the main conditions of the unipolar world is also being actively contested today.”6 This is confirmed by statistical data: “By 2011 four major centers of scientific progress had formed – the USA (31% of global spending on scientific research in terms of purchasing power parity), the European Union (24%), China (14%), and Japan (11%).”7

Primakov argued against liberals and globalists, affirming that:

The transition to a multipolar system is a process, not a single change with a finished character. Therefore, great importance is attached to various trends, sometimes contradictory ones, manifesting themselves over the course of this transition. Some of them have their source in the unequal development of states and the successes or failures of integration associations. The fluctuating ratio between, relatively speaking, the course towards restarting relations and the inertial line of states’ conduct inherited from the Cold War and ingrained during the period of outright confrontation, is directly impacted. This relation between two tendencies manifests itself in the political, military, and economic fields as well. Therefore, the correct conclusion that a multipolar world order does not in itself in the conditions of globalization lead to conflict situations, or military clashes, does not exclude the altogether complex environment in which the process of the transition to such a system takes place.8

Being a supporter of the creation of the Russia-India-China triangle that could balance out the aggressive behavior of the US and other challenges, Primakov is rightfully considered to be one of the first Russian practicians of multipolarity.

Thanks to his official position and numerous foreign contacts, Russia’s position vis-a-vis the future world order was successfully conveyed to the widest range of decision-makers possible and consolidated in the foreign policy of the Russian Federation.9

Alexander Dugin’s doctrine of neo-Eurasianism was another ideological and intellectual platform which gave impetus to the development of multipolarity. The program of Eurasianist ideology asserts:

At the level of a planetary trend, Eurasianism is a global, revolutionary, civilizational concept which, in gradually refining itself, is to become a new ideological platform for mutual understanding and cooperation for a wide conglomerate of different forces, states, peoples, cultures, and confessions which reject Atlanticist globalization…Eurasianism is the sum of all the natural and artificial, objective and subjective obstacles along the path to unipolar globalization, at once elevated from the level of simple negation to being a positive project, a creative alternative.10

Although classical Eurasianism was concerned solely with the fate of Russia which it characterized as “Eurasia” by virtue of its uniqueness, vast territory, and central situation between “classical” Europe and Asia, Alexander Dugin’s concept has supplemented this ideology with new methodologies and scholarly concepts. Thus, Eurasianism has acquired a global dimension and moved beyond the borders of the Eurasian continent. In this new understanding, “Eurasianism is a philosophy of multipolar globalization designed to unite all the societies and peoples of the earth in the construction of a unique and authentic world, every component of which would be organically derived from historical traditions and local cultures.11

Rather close to this formula is the opinion of another Russian scholar, Boris Martynov, who noted that newly emergent multipolarity cannot be of any other dimension than civilizational. Martynov emphasizes:

Inter-civilizational communication is already a reality of the modern world in which different economic and financial institutions, non-state structures, and religious, business, and public associations and, finally, individuals as representatives of their civilizational archetypes are increasingly active apart from states and alongside their lasting multi-profile and multilevel international contacts of various kinds…In addition, the advantage of a system of multipolar world order in view of the unipolar and bipolar ones lies in that it must be based on law to function. The correctness of this observation is obvious in the case of the unipolar world which operates on the basis of the ‘understandings’ of the main player in the global system. This is true for bipolarity as well, where each of the two ‘equally-responsible’ subjects strive to ensure themselves a ‘free hand’ in their zones of influence regardless of international law. However, law is needed for interaction between several major players wielding approximately comparable might and influence in order to guarantee a reasonable modus vivendi between them. This is especially true for such a complex system as civilizational multipolarity.12

However, far from all Russian scholars and diplomats have assigned a positive nature to emerging multipolarity. For example, the director of the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute for US and Canadian Studies, S.N. Rogov, has claimed that “the new polycentric system lacks common ‘rules of the game’, norms, and institutions which could effectively regulate interaction between centers of power, including both cooperation and rivalry.” Thus, in this view, the trend towards multipolarity generates “instability and unpredictability as to the evolution of the modern system of international relations and threatens to send the situation spinning out of control.”13 This claim is clearly based on the mondialist paradigm which insists on a strictly limited ideological standard.

Nonetheless, Russian efforts seem to generally be strong attempts at re-building a world order which respects all nations, states, peoples, and cultural-religious traditions.

____________
 

1 Russian-Chinese Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order, adopted in Moscow on 23 April 1997. Letter dated 15 May 1997 from the Permanent Representatives of China and the Russian Federation to the United Nations  addressed to the Secretary-General, Distr. GENERAL A/52/153, S/1997/384, 20 May 1997

3 Концепция внешней политики Российской Федерации. Москва. 28 июня 2000 г. // Системная история международных отношений в четырех томах 1918–2003 / Под редакцией А.Д. Богатурова. Т. 4. Документы. М., 2004. С. 538-539.

4 Евгений Примаков, Мир без сверхдержав, 2 сентября 2003 http://www.globalaffairs.ru/number/n_1560

5 Примаков Е. М. Мир после 11 сентября. М., 2002. С. 155.

6 Александр Бондарь. Евгений Примаков: «Мир будет многополярным», Столетие, 28.03.2008http://www.stoletie.ru/ekskliuziv/evgeni_primakov_mir_budet_mnogopolyarnim.htm

7 Никонов Я. И. Компаративный анализ подходов к организации финансирования стратегии инновационного развития национальных экономик за рубежом // Вестник Томского государственного университета. № 392, 2015. С. 145.

8 Примаков Е. М. Мысли вслух. — М.: Российская газета, 2011. С. 159–160.

9 Е.М. Примаков. Вызовы и альтернативы многополярного мира: роль России. М.: Издательство Московского университета, 2014.

10 Дугин А. Г. Евразийская миссия. Международное евразийское движение, М., 2005. С. 11.

11 Ibid, 33.

12 Мартынов, Борис. Многополярный или многоцивилизационный мир?// Международные процессы. Том 7. Номер 3 (21). Сентябрь–декабрь 2009. http://www.intertrends.ru/twenty-first.htm

13 Рогов С.М, Россия и США: Уроки истории и выводы на будущее // Россия и Америка в XXI веке, № 1, 2006 http://www.rusus.ru/?act=read&id=15

Carl Schmitt’s 5 Lessons for Russia

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

From The Conservative Revolution (Moscow, Arktogeya: 1994), The Russian Thing Vol. 1 (2001), and The Philosophy of War (2004) – Article written in 1991, first published in the journal Nash Sovremennik in 1992

The famous German jurist Carl Schmitt is considered to be a classic of modern law. Some call him the “modern Machiavelli” for his lack of sentimental moralism and humanist rhetoric in his analysis of political reality. Carl Schmitt believed that, in determining legal issues, it is first and foremost important to give a clear and realistic outline of political and social processes and refrain from utopianism, well-wishing, and a priori imperatives and dogma. Today, the scholarly and juridical legacy of Carl Schmitt make up a necessary element of juridical education at Western universities. For Russia as well, Schmitt’s creativity is of special interest and particular importance since he took interest in the critical situations of modern political life. Undoubtedly, his analysis of law and the political context of jurisprudence can help us to understand more clearly and deeply what exactly is happening in our society and Russia.

Lesson #1: Politics above all else

The main principle of Carl Schmitt’s philosophy of law was the idea of the unconditional primacy of political principles over criteria of social existence. It is politics that organized and predetermined the strategy of internal economic factors and their increasing pressure in the modern world. Schmitt explains this in the following way: “The fact that economic contradictions have now become political contradictions…only shows that, like every other human activity, economics travels a path that inevitably leads to political expression” [1]. The meaning of such an allegation employed by Schmitt, understood as a solid historical and sociological argument, ultimately boils down to what can be defined as the theory of “collective historical idealism.” In this theory, the subject is not the individual or economic laws developing substance, but a concrete, historically and socially distinguished people which maintains, with its special, dynamic will – endowed with its own law – its socio-economic existence, qualitative unity, and the organic and spiritual continuity of its traditions in different forms and at different stages. In Schmitt’s understanding, the political sphere represents the embodiment of the will of the people expressed in various forms related to both the legal, economic, and socio-political levels.

Such a definition of politics stands at odds with the mechanistic, universalist models of societal structure which have predominated Western jurisprudence and legal philosophy since the era of the Enlightenment. Schmitt’s political sphere is directly associated with two factors which the mechanistic doctrines are inclined to ignore: the historical specificities of a people endowed with a special quality of will, and the historical particularity of a given society, state, tradition, and past which, in Schmitt’s opinion, finds concentration in its political manifestation. Thus, Schmitt’s assertion of the primacy of politics introduced qualitative, organic characteristics into legal philosophy and political science which are obviously not included in the one-dimensional schemes of “progressives”, whether of the liberal-capitalist or Marxist-socialist persuasion.

Schmitt’s theory thus considered politics to be an “organic” phenomenon “rooted” in “soil.”

Russia and the Russian people need such an understanding of politics in order to sufficiently govern their own destiny and refrain from once again, like seven decades ago, becoming a hostage of an anti-national, reductionist ideology that ignores the will of the people, its past, its qualitative unity, and the spiritual meaning of its historical path.

Lesson #2: Let there always be enemies; let there always be friends

In his book The Concept of the Political, Carl Schmitt expresses an extraordinarily important truth: “A people exists politically only if it forms an independent political community and contrasts itself to other political communities for the sake of preserving its own understanding of its specific community.” Although this point of view completely disagrees with the humanistic demagogy characteristic of Marxism and liberal-democratic theories, all of world history, including the real history (not the official one) of Marxist and liberal-democratic states, shows that such a fact is indeed true in practice, even if the utopian, post-Enlightenment conscience is incapable of recognizing it. In reality, the political division between “ours” and “not ours” exists in all political regimes and in all nations. Without this distinction, not a single state, people, or nation would be able to preserve its own face, follow its own path, and have its own history.

Soberly analyzing the demagogic assertion of anti-humanism, the “inhumanity” of such an opposition, and the division into “ours” and “not ours”, Carl Schmitt notes: “If one begins to act in the name of all humanity, on behalf of abstract humanism, in practice this means that this actor denies all possible opponents the claim to having human qualities at all, thus declaring himself to be beyond humanity and beyond law, and therefore potentially threatens a war which would be waged to the most terrifying and inhumane limits.” Strikingly enough, these lines were written in 1934, long before the Americans’ terroristic invasion of Panama or bombardment of Iraq. In addition, the GULAG and its victims were still not quite known in the West. In this view, it is not the realistic recognition of the qualitative specifics of a people’s political existence, which always presupposes the division into “ours” and “not ours”, that leads to the most terrifying consequences, but rather the striving for total universalization and the cramming of nations and states into the cells of the utopian ideas of a “united and uniform humanity” devoid of any organic or historical differences.

Beginning with these prerequisites, Carl Schmitt developed the theory of “total war” and “restricted war,” so-called “wars of form” in which total war is the consequence of universalist, utopian ideology which denies the natural cultural, historical, state, and national differences between peoples. Such a war actually threatens the destruction of humanity. As Carl Schmitt believed, extremist humanism is the direct path towards such a war which implies the involvement not only of militaries, but also civilian populations in a conflict. This, in the end, is the most terrible evil. “Wars of form,” on the other hand, are inevitable because of the differences between peoples and their indestructible cultures. “Wars of form” involve the participation of professional soldiers, and can be regulated by the defined legal rules of Europe that once bore the name Jus Publicum Europeum (European Common Law). Such wars, accordingly, represent a lesser evil whose inevitability’s theoretical recognition can protect peoples in advance from a “totalized” conflict and “total war.” On this note, it would be appropriate to quote the famous paradox posed by Shigalev in Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, who says “Proceeding from absolute freedom, I arrive at absolute slavery.” Paraphrasing this truth and applying it to the ideas of Carl Schmitt, it can be said that the supporters of radical humanism “proceeding from total peace, arrive at total war.” With all due consideration, we have the opportunity to see Shigalev’s remarks’ in all of Soviet history. If Carl Schmitt’s precautions are not taken into account, it will be significantly more difficult to realize their truth, since there will be no one left to testify that he was right – there will be nothing left of mankind.

Now on to the final important point in the distinction between “ours” and “not ours”, that of “enemies” and “friends.” Schmitt believed that the centrality of this pair for the political being of a nation is valuable as within this choice is decided a deep existential problem. Julien Freud, a disciple of Schmitt, formulated this thesis in the following way: “The enemy-friend duality lends politics an existential dimension since the theoretically implied possibility of war raises the problem and choice of life and death in this framework” [2].

The jurist and politician, judging in terms of “enemy” and “friend” with a clear consciousness of the meaning of this choice, thus operate with the same existential categories which lend decisions, actions, and statements the qualities of reality, responsibility, and seriousness that all utopian humanist abstractions lack in transforming the drama of life and death into a war in one-dimensional chimerical decor. A terrible illustration of this was the coverage of the Iraqi conflict by Western mass media. Americans followed the deaths of Iraqi women, children, and the elderly on television as if they were watching Star Wars computer games. The ideas of the New World Order, the foundations of which were laid during this war, are supreme manifestations of how terrible and dramatic events are when deprived of any existential content.

The “enemy” – “friend” pair is both an external and internal political necessity for the existence of a politically complete society, and should be coldly accepted and conscious. Otherwise, everyone becomes an “enemy” and no one is a “friend.” This is the political imperative of history.

Lesson #3: The politics of “exceptional circumstances” and the Decision

One of the most brilliant aspects of Carl Schmitt’s ideas was the principle of “exceptional circumstances” (in German Ernstfall, literally “serious case”) elevated to the rank of a political-legal category. According to Schmitt, legal norms describe only normal socio-political reality flowing uniformly and continuously without interruptions. Only in such purely normal situations does the concept of “law” as understood by jurists apply to a full extent. There exist, of course, regulations of “extraordinary situations,” but these regulations are most often of all determined on the basis of criteria derived from a normal political situation. Classical jurisprudence, in Schmitt’s opinion, tends to absolutize the criteria of a normal station when considering the history of society as a legally constituted uniform process. The most complete expression of this point of view is Kelsen’s “pure theory of law.” Carl Schmitt, however, sees this absolutization of a “legal approach” and “rule of law” as an equally utopian mechanism and naive universalism produced by the Enlightenment with its rationalist myths. Behind the absolutization of law hides an attempt to “close history” and deprive it of its creative, passionate pattern, its political content, and historical peoples. On the basis of this analysis, Carl Schmitt posits a particular theory of “exceptional circumstances,” or Ernstfall.

Ernstfall is the point at which a political decision is made in a situation which can no longer be regulated by conventional legal norms. Decision-making in exceptional circumstances involves the convergence of a number of diverse, organic factors relating both to tradition, the historical past, cultural constants, as well as spontaneous expressions, heroic overcoming, passionate impulses, and the sudden manifestation of deep existential energies. The True Decision (the very term “decision” was a key concept of Schmitt’s juridical doctrine) is made in precisely such a circumstance where legal and social norms are “disrupted” and those that describe the natural course of political processes and which begin to act in the case of an “emergency citation” or “socio-political catastrophe” are no longer applicable. “Exceptional circumstances” means not merely a catastrophe, but the positioning of a people and its political organism in front of a problem, appealing to a people’s historical essence, its core, and its secret nature which makes this people what it is. Therefore, the Decision politically taken in such a situation is a spontaneous expression of the deep will of the people responding to a global, existential, or historic challenge (here one can compare the views of Schmitt to those of Spengler, Toynbee, and other conservative revolutionaries with whom Carl Schmitt had close personal ties).

In the French school of law, Carl Schmitt’s followers have developed the special term “décisionisme” from the French décision (German Entscheidung). Decisionism puts the main emphasis on “exceptional circumstances” since it is in this instance that the nation, the people, actualizes its past and determines its future in a dramatic concentration of the present moment in which three qualitative characteristics of time merge, i.e., the power of the source from which the people came forth in history, the people’s will facing the future and affirming the here and now where the timeless “I” is revealed and the people takes responsibility into its own hands to the greatest extent, and self-identity.

Developing his theory of Ernstfall and Entscheidung, Carl Schmitt also showed that the affirmation of all judicial and social norms happens during precisely such periods of “exceptional circumstances” and is primordially based on the both spontaneous and predetermined decision. The intermittent moment of the singular expression of will bears later on the basis of the constant norms which exist up until the emergence of new “exceptional circumstances.” This in fact perfectly illustrates the contradiction inherent to the ideas of those radical supporters of the “rule of law”: they knowingly or unknowingly ignore the fact that the appeal to the necessity of establishing the “rule of law” itself is a decision based on none other than the political will of a given group. In some sense, this imperative is put forth arbitrarily and not as some kind of inevitable, fatal necessity. Therefore, the acceptance or denial of the “rule of law” and in general the acceptance or denial of this or that legal model must concur with the will of the particular people or state to whom the proposal or expression of will is addressed. Supporters of the “rule of law” implicitly strive to create or utilize “exceptional circumstances” for the implementation of their concept, but the insidiousness of such an approach and hypocrisy and inconsistency in method can quite naturally draw a popular reaction, the result of which could very well appear as another, alternative decision. Moreover, it is all the more likely that this decision would lead to the establishment of a different legal reality than the one sought after by universalists.

The concept of the Decision in the super-legal sense as well as very nature of the Decision itself accords with the theory of “direct power” and “indirect power” (potestas directa and potestas indirecta). In Schmitt’s specific context, the Decision is made not only in instances of “direct power” (the power of kings, emperors, presidents, etc.) but also under the conditions of “indirect power”, examples of which can be religious, cultural, or ideological organizations which influence the history of a people and state not so clearly as the decisions of rulers, but which, nevertheless, are much deeper and formidable in operation. Schmitt believes that “indirect power” is thus not always negative, but, on the other hand, he merely implicitly alludes to the fact that a decision contrary to the will of the people is most often adopted and implemented by such means of “indirect power.” In his book Political Theology and its later addition Political Theology II, he examines the logic of the functioning of these two types of authority in states and nations.

The theory of “exceptional circumstances” and the theme of the Decision (Entscheidung) tied to it are of paramount importance for us today, as it is precisely at such a point in the history of our people and state that we now find ourselves, where “exceptional circumstances” have become the natural state of the nation and not only the political future of our people, but also the comprehension and essential confirmation of our past, now depend on the Decision. If the will of the people affirms itself and the people’s national choice in this dramatic moment, can clearly define “ours” and “others”, identify friends and enemies, and wrest political self-assertion from history, then the Decision of the Russian state and Russian people will be its own, historic, existential decision that will put a stamp of loyalty on millennia of spiritual “people-building” and “empire-building”. This means that our future will be Russian. If others make the decision, i.e., the supporters of the “common human approach,” “universalism,” and “egalitarianism,” which since the death of Marxism represent the only direct heirs to the utopian and mechanistic ideology of the Enlightenment, then not only will the future be “not Russian”, it will be “all-human” and thus be “no future” (from the standpoint of the being of the people, state, and nation). Our past will lose its meaning and the drama of great Russian history will turn into a silly farce on the way to Mondialism and complete cultural leveling into “universal humanity,” i.e., the “hell of absolute legal reality.”

Lesson #4: The imperatives of a Great Space

Carl Schmitt also touched on the geopolitical aspect of social issues. The most important of his ideas in this sphere is the notion of “Great Space” (Grossraum) which would later come to be considered by numerous European economists, jurists, geopoliticians, and strategists. The conceptual meaning of “Great Space” in Carl Schmitt’s analytical perspective lies in the delineation of geographical regions within which the variations of the political self-manifestation of specific peoples and states included in this region can be conjoined to achieve harmonious and consistent generalization expressed in a “Great Geopolitical Union.” Schmitt’s point of departure was the question of the American Monroe Doctrine encompassing the economic and strategic integration of American powers within the natural borders of the New World. Given that Eurasia represents a much more diverse conglomerate of ethni, states, and cultures, Schmitt posited that it was thus worth speaking of not so much total continental integration as the establishment of several large geopolitical entities, each of which should be governed by a flexible super-state. This is in principle analogous to Jus Publicum Europeaum or the Holly Alliance proposed to Europe by Russian Emperor Alexander I.

In Carl Schmitt’s opinion, a “Great Space” organized into a flexible political structure of the federal imperial type would compensate for various national, ethnic and state wills and serve as a kind of impartial arbiter or regulator of possible local conflicts, “wars of form.” Schmitt emphasized that “Great Spaces”, in order to be organic and natural formations, would necessarily have to represent land territories, i.e., tellurocratic entities, continental masses. In his famous book The Nomos of the Earth, he traced the history of continental, political macro-entities, the path of their integration, and the logic of their gradual establishment as empires. Carl Schmitt noticed that parallel to the existence of spiritual constants in the fate of a people, i.e., constants embodying the spiritual essence of a people, there also exist geopolitical constants of “Large Spaces” which gravitate towards new restoration with intervals of several centuries or even millennia. In this sense, geopolitical macro-entities are stabile when their integrating principle is not rigid and abstractly recreated, but flexible, organic, and according with the Decision of the peoples, their will, and their passionate energy capable of involving them in a unified tellurocratic bloc with their cultural, geopolitical, or state neighbors.

The doctrine of “Great Spaces” (Grossraum) was established by Carl Schmiit not only as an analysis of historical trends in the continent’s history, but also as a project for future unification which Schmitt considered not only possible, but desirable and even necessary in a certain sense. Julien Freund summarized Schmitt’s ideas on future Grossraum in the following terms: “The organization of this new space will not require any scientific competence, or cultural or technical preparation insofar as it arises as a result of political will, the ethos of which transforms the guise of international law. Once this ‘Great Space’ is unified, then the most important thing of all will be the strength of its ‘radiation’” [3].

Thus, Carl Schmitt’s idea of “Great Space” also possesses a spontaneous, existential, and volitional dimension as does the fundamental subject of history in its understanding, i.e., the people as a political unit. Following the geopoliticians Mackinder and Kjellen, Schmitt juxtaposed thalassocratic empires (Phoenicia, England, the US, etc.) to the tellurocratic empires (the Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburgs, the Russian Empire, etc.). In his point of view, the harmonious and organic organization of a space is possible only in the case of tellurocratic empires, and Continental Law can only be applied to them. Thalassocracy, moving beyond the borders of its Island and initiating naval expansion, enters into conflict with tellurocracies and, according to geopolitical logic, begins to diplomatically, economically, and militaristically undermine the foundations of the continental “Great Spaces.” Thus, in the perspective of continental “Great Spaces,” Schmitt once again returns to the concepts of the “enemy-friend” and “ours-not ours” pairs, only this time on a planetary macro-level. The will of the continental empires, the “Great Spaces”, is revealed in the confrontation between continental macro-interests and the macro-interests from overseas. “Sea” thus challenges “Land,” and by way of responding to this challenge, “Land” most often returns to its deep continental self-consciousness.

As a side note, we will illustrate the theory of Grassraum with two examples. In the late 18th – early 19th century, the US’ territory was divided between several Old World countries. The Far West, Louisiana, belonged to the Spanish and later the French; the South belonged to Mexico; the North to England, and so on. In this situation, Europe represented a tellurocratic power for the US preventing the geopolitical and strategic unification of the New World on the military, economic, and diplomatic levels. After the US obtained independence, it gradually began to more and more aggressively impose its geopolitical will upon the Old World, which logically led to the weakening of continental unity of the European “Great Space.” Therefore, in the geopolitical history of “Great Spaces,” there are no absolute tellurocratic or absolute thalassocratic powers. Roles can changes, but continental logic remains constant.

Summarizing Carl Schmitt’s theory of “Great Spaces” with regards to the situation in today’s Russia, we can say that the separation and disintegration of the “Great Space” once called the USSR contradicts the continental logic of Eurasia, since the peoples inhabiting our lands lost the opportunity  to appeal to the [Soviet] superpower arbiter capable of regulating or containing potential and actual conflicts. But, on the other hand, the rejection of the overly rigid and inflexible Marxist demagogy raised to the level of state ideology can lead and will lead if allowed to a spontaneous, passionate restoration of the Eastern Eurasian Bloc, since such a reconstruction accords with all the organic, native ethni of the Russian imperial space. Moreover, it is most likely that the restoration of a Federal Empire, a “Great Space” encompassing the Eastern part of the mainland, would seize by means of its “radiation of power” those additional territories which are rapidly losing their ethno-state identities in the critical and unnatural geopolitical situation prevailing since the collapse of the USSR. On the other hand, the continental thinking of the genius German jurist allows us to distinguish between “ours” and “not ours” on the  continental level.

Awareness of the natural and to a certain extent inevitable confrontation between tellurocratic and thalassocratic powers offers the harbingers and creators of a new Great Space a clear understanding of the “enemy” facing Europe, Russia, and Asia that is the United States of America along with its thalassocratic island ally, England. Once again returning from the macro-level of the planet to the level of the social structure of the Russian state, it thus follows that the question should be posed: does a hidden thalassocratic lobby not stand behind the desire to influence the Russian Decision of problems in a “universalist” vein which can exert its influence through both “direct” and “indirect” power?

Lesson #5: “Militant peace” and the teleology of the partisan

At the end of his life (he died on April 7th, 1985), Carl Schmitt devoted special attention to the negative outcome of history which, indeed, is quite possible if the unrealistic doctrines of radical humanists, universalists, utopians, and the supporters of “common human values”, centered around the gigantic symbolic potential of the thalassocratic power that is the USA, achieve global predominance and become the ideological foundation of a new world dictatorship – the dictatorship of a “mechanistic utopia.” Schmitt believed that the modern course of history is inevitably moving towards what he called “total war.”

According to Schmitt, the logic of the “totalitarianization” of planetary relations on the strategic, military, and diplomatic levels is based on the following key points. Beginning with a certain point in history, or more precisely the epoch of the French Revolution and the independence of the United States of America, a maximal withdrawal from the historical, judicial, national, and geopolitical constants which previously guaranteed organic harmony on the planet and served the “Nomos of the Earth” was initiated.

On a legal level, an artificial and atomizing, quantitative concept of “individual rights” (which later became the famous theory of “human rights”) began to develop which replaced the organic concept of “rights of the people”, “rights of the state,” etc. In Schmitt’s opinion, the employment of the individual and the individual factor in isolation from the nation, tradition, culture, profession, family, etc. as an autonomous judicial category meant the onset of the “decay of law” and its transformation into a utopian, egalitarian chimera contrary to the organic laws from the history of peoples and states, regimes, territories, and unions.

On the national level, organic federal imperial principles came to be replaced with two opposing yet equally artificial conceptions: the Jacobin idea of the “nation-state” and the Communist theory of the complete withering away of the state and the onset of total internationalism. Those empires which preserved remnants of traditional, organic structures, such as Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, etc., rapidly began to be destroyed under the influence of both external and internal factors. Finally, on the geopolitical level, the thalassocratic factor intensified to such a degree that a profound destabilization of legal relationships in the sphere of “Great Spaces” took place. Let us note that Schmitt considered “Sea” as a space to be much less amenable to legal delineation and arrangement than “Land.”

The global spread of legal and geopolitical disharmony was accompanied by the progressive deviation of dominant political and ideological conceptions from reality and their becoming increasingly chimerical, illusory and ultimately hypocritical. The more that the “universal world” was spoken off, the more worse became wars and conflicts. The more “humane” that slogans became, the more inhuman became social reality. It is this process that Carl Schmitt called the beginning of the “militant peace,” i.e., a state in which there is neither war nor peace in the traditional sense. Today’s looming “totality” which Carl Schmitt warned of has come to be called Mondialism. “Militant peace” has received its complete expression in the theory of the American New World Order which in its movement towards “total peace” is clearly leading the planet towards a new “total war.”

Carl Schmitt considered the development of cosmic space to be the most important geopolitical event symbolizing a further degree of departure from the legitimate ordering of space, as the cosmos is even less amenable to “organization” then maritime space. The development of aviation was also a step towards the “totalization” of war according to Schmitt, with space exploration beginning the process of final illegitimate “totalitarianization.”

Parallel to pushing the planet to such maritime, aerial, and even cosmic monstrosity, Carl Schmitt, who was always interested in more global categories, the smallest of which was the “political unity of the people,” came to be drawn to a new figure in history, the figure of the “partisan,” the study of whom Schmitt devoted his final book to, The Theory of the Partisan. Schmitt saw in this small fighter against larger forces some kind of symbol of the last resistance of tellurocracy on the part of its last defenders. The partisan is, undoubtedly, a modern figure. He, as other modern political types, is divorced from tradition and lives beyond the Jus Publicum. The Partisan breaks all rules of warfare in his struggle. He is not a soldier, but a civilian using terrorist methods which would, in a non-wartime situation, be equated with hard-core criminal offenses akin to terrorism. Nevertheless, it is the Partisan who, according to Carl Schmitt, embodies “faithfulness to Land.” The Partisan is, put simply, an illegitimate response to the masked, illegitimate challenge of modern “law.” The extraordinariness of the situation and the constant thickening of “militant peace” (or “pacifist war,” which is one and the same) draw the small defender of soil, history, people, nation, and the ideas of the source of his paradoxical justification. The strategic efficiency of the Partisan and his methods are, according to Schmitt, the paradoxical compensation of the begun or beginning “total war” against a “total enemy.”

It is perhaps this lesson of Carl Schmitt, who himself drew much from Russian history, Russian military strategy, and Russian political doctrine including analyses of the works of Lenin and Stalin, that is most intimately understandable for Russians. The Partisan is an integral character in Russian history who always appears when the will of the Russian political establishment and deep will of the Russian people itself is deviated from to a maximum extent. Turmoil and guerrilla warfare in Russian history have always had a purely political, compensatory character aimed at correcting the nation’s course when its political leadership is increasingly alienated from the people. In Russia, partisans won the wars that the government lost, overthrew the non-Russian traditions of economic systems, and corrected the geopolitical mistakes of its leaders. Russians have always possessed a fine sense of when illegitimacy or organic injustice is inherent to this or that doctrine emerging through this or that character. In some sense, Russia is a gigantic Partisan Empire operating outside the law and driven by the great intuition of Earth, the Continent, that “Great, Very Great Space” that is the historical territory of our people.

At the present time, as the gap between the will of the nation and the will of the establishment in Russia (which represents exclusively the “rule of law” according to the universalist model) is threateningly large and as the wind of thalassocracy is intensifying the ordering of “militant peace” in the country and gradually becoming an extreme form of “total war,” perhaps this figure of the Russian Partisan will show us the path to the Russian Future through the extreme form of resistance, the stepping over of artificial boundaries and legal norms which do not accord with the true canons of Russian Law.

A more detailed assimilation of Carl Schmitt’s fifth lesson means taking up the Sacred Practice of defending Land.

Final remarks

Finally, the sixth, unscheduled lesson of Carl Schmitt can be called an example of what the leader of the European New Right, Alain de Benoist, calls “political imagination” or “ideological creativity.” The geniality of the German jurist lies in that he not only felt the “field lines” of history but also heeded the mysterious voice of essence, even though it is often hidden behind the bland, empty phenomena of the complex and dynamic modern world. We Russians should learn from Teutonic stiffness in setting our bottomless and overvalued institutions into clear intellectual formulas, clear ideological projects, and convincing and compelling theories.

This is necessary especially today because we live in “exceptional circumstances” on the threshold of a Decision so important that our nation has perhaps never seen the likes of it. The true national elite has no right to leave its people without an ideology which would explain not only what it feels and thinks, but what it doesn’t feel and think, and what has even been kept secret from itself and devoutly worshipped for thousands of years. If we do not ideologically arm the state, which “not ours” could temporarily snatch from us, then we must necessarily, without fail ideologically arm the Russian Partisan who is awakening today to fulfill his continental mission in what are now “Anglicizing” Riga and Vilnius, the “blackening” Caucasus, “yellowing” Central Asia, “Polonizing” Ukraine, and “black-eyed” Tartary.

Russia is a Great Space whose Great Idea is carried by her people in its gigantic, continental Eurasian soil. If a German genius serves our Awakening, then in doing so the Teutons have earned themselves a privileged place among the “friends of Great Russia” and will become “ours”, “Asians,” “Huns,” and “Scythians” like us – the natives of the Great Forest and Great Steppes.

Footnotes:

[1] Carl Schmitt, Der Begriff des Politischen, p.127

[2] Julien Freund, “Les lignes de force de la pensée politique de Carl Schmitt”, Nouvelle Ecole  No. 44

[3] Ibid.

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

The Geographical and Geopolitical Foundations of Eurasianism

Author: Petr Savitsky

Translators: Jafe Arnold and John Stachelski 

Article authored in Prague, Czechoslovakia in late 1933 – early 1934, first published in the German theological journal Orient und Occident No. 17 (Leipzig: 1934). Republished in and translated from the collection Osnovy evraziistva [Foundations of Eurasianism] (Moscow: Arktogeia, 2002). 

Featured in Foundations of Eurasianism – Volume I 

***

There are significantly more grounds for calling Russia the “middle state” (Zhongguo in Chinese) rather than China. The more time that passes, the more these grounds will make themselves evident. For Russia, Europe is nothing more than a peninsula of the Old Continent that lies to the West of its borders. On this continent, Russia itself occupies the main space, its torso. The total area of European states, taken together, is close to five million kilometers squared. The area of Russia within the borders of the contemporary USSR is significantly larger than 20 million kilometers squared (especially if one includes the space of the Mongolian and Tuva national republics of former “Outer Mongolia” and the “Uryankhay land” which at the current moment are parts of the Soviet Union).

With rare exception, the Russian people of the late 19th and early 20th centuries forgot about the spaces beyond the Urals (one of those who remembered them was the genius Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev). Now, another time has come. The whole “Ural-Kuznetsk combine,” with its blast furnaces, coal mines, and new cities with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants each, is being built behind the Urals. The Turkestan-Siberian Railway (“Turksib”) is being laid. Nowhere else is the expansion of Russian culture so wide and spontaneous as in another region beyond the Urals, in the so-called “Central Asian republics” (Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan). The whole torso of Russian lands, the “shot from Negoreloe to Suchan station”, is coming to life.

The Eurasianists have their share of merit in this turn of events. At the same time, the nature of the Russian world is being lucidly revealed as the central world of the Old Continent. There were moments when it seemed that between the periphery of Western Europe to which the Russian lands up to the Urals belong (the “European Russia” of the old geographers) and Asia (China, India, Iran), there lay only a void. The Eurasianist arrangement of the Russian present is filling this void with the pulse of animate life. Since the end of the 19th century, a direct path from Europe to China and Japan has been laid through Russia – the Great Siberian Railway. Geography points out with absolute certainty that there is no other way to run roads from Europe (at least from its northern part) to Persia, India, and Indochina. Even today, such opportunities have not yet been fully realized. The Trans-Persian railway, cutting through Persia from the direction of the Northwest toward the Southeast and connected with the same route network as British India and Europe (through the Caucasus, Crimea, and Ukraine), was close to fruition on the eve of the world war. Currently, however, it has receded into the realm of unestablished projects due to political circumstances. There is no connection between the railways of Russian Turkestan (the “Central Asian republics”) and India, and Russian railway networks are not oriented toward Europe-India transit. But sooner or later, this movement will become a fact, whether in the form of railway paths, automobile lines, or air traffic. For the latter, the shortest distances are, let us say, of especially large importance for Russia. The greater the weight that will be procured by air traffic with its propensity and desire to fly in straight lines, the clearer the role of Russia-Eurasia as the “middle world” will become. The establishment of transpolar lines can still further enhance this role. In the Far North, Russia is a neighbor of America over a vast expanse. With the opening of a route through the pole, or rather over the pole, Russia will become the connecting link between Asia and North America.

Successive articles will discuss the Eurasianists’ aspiration to offer a spiritual synthesis of Eastern and Western elements. Here, however, it is important to point out the correspondences of this aspiration which are found in the field of geopolitics. Russia-Eurasia is the center of the Old World. If one eliminates this center, then all of the other parts of the Old World, this whole system of continental margins (Europe, Western Asia, Iran, India, Indochina, China, and Japan) becomes but a mere “scattered temple.” This world which lies to the East of Europe’s borders and to the North of “classical” Asia is the link that binds together the unity of all of these pieces. This is obvious in the present, and it will only become clearer in the future.

The linking and unifying role of this “middle world” has made itself felt throughout history. For several millennia, political dominance in the Eurasian world belonged to nomads. Occupying the space stretching from Europe to China, while simultaneously reaching toward Western Asia, Iran, and India, the nomads served as intermediaries between the  disparate worlds of settled cultures in their original states. Let us recall that historical interaction between Iran and China was never so close as in the era of Mongol rule (from the 13th to 14th centuries). And thirteen to fourteen centuries earlier, only through the nomadic Eurasian world did the paths of the Hellenic and Chinese cultures cross, as is shown by the latest excavations in Mongolia. It is an irremovable fact that the Russian world has been called to play a unifying role within the confines of the Old World. Only to the extent that Russia-Eurasia fulfills this vocation can it turn into an organic whole combining all of the diverse cultures of the Old Continent and remove the confrontation between East and West. This fact is not yet sufficiently recognized in our time, but the correlations expressed by it lie in the very nature of things. The tasks of unification first and foremost boil down to tasks of cultural creativity. A new and independent historical force, Russian culture, has emerged at the center of the Old World to fulfill a unifying and conciliatory role. Russian culture can fulfill this task only by cooperating with the cultures of all the surrounding peoples. In this regard, the cultures of the East are just as important for Russia-Eurasia as the cultures of the West. The particularity of Russian culture and geopolitics lies precisely in such a simultaneous and even-footed approach to both East and West. For Russia, there are two equal fronts – Western and South-Eastern. The Russian field of view can and should become one which first and foremost covers the entire Old World to an equal and full extent.

Let us return, however, to phenomena of a purely geographical nature. In comparison to the Russian “torso,” Europe and Asia both represent the outskirts of the Old World. Moreover, from a Russian-Eurasian point of view, Europe is, as has been said, everything that lies to the West of the Russian border, while Asia is everything that lies to the South and Southeast of it. Russia itself is neither Asia nor Europe. Such is the fundamental geopolitical thesis of the Eurasianists. In this view, there is no “European” or “Asiatic” Russia, but merely parts of Russia which lie to the West or East of the Urals, just as there are parts of it lying to the West and East of the Yenisei River, and so on. The Eurasianists continue: Russia is neither Asia nor Europe, but instead represents its own special geographical world. How does this world differ from Europe and Asia? The Western, Southern, and South-Eastern outskirts of the continent differ to a significant extent in their coasts and topographical diversity. This cannot be said of the main “torso” which constitutes Russia-Eurasia. This torso consists first and foremost of three plains (the White Sea Plain, the West Siberian Plain, and the Turkestan Plain), and the regions lying to the east of them (including the low, mountainous countries to the east of the Yenisei river). The zonal composition of the Western and Southern outskirts of the continent are marked by “mosaic-fractional” and far from simple contours. Forested areas, in their natural state, are replaced here in a bizarre sequence by, on the one hand, steppe and desert regions, and on the other side by tundra areas in (the high mountains). This “mosaic” is contrasted on the central plains of the Old World by relatively simple, “flagged” distribution of zones. With the latter designation we point to the fact that, when applied to a map, this distribution resembles the contours of the horizontal stripes of a flag.  Going from South to North, deserts, steppes, forests, and tundra follow each other successively. Each of these zones forms a continuous latitudinal band. The broad latitudinal division of the Russian world is further emphasized by the latitudinal stretch of mountain ranges framing the plains from the South: the Crimean ridge, the Caucasus, the Kopet Dag, the Parapamiz, the Hindu Kush, the main mountain ranges of the Tien Shan, the ranges in the North of Tibet, and the Ying Shan in the area of the Great Wall of China. The latter of these ranges lies on the same line bordering the southern, elevated plain occupied by the Gobi desert. This is linked to the Turkestan plain via the Dzhungarian gates.

In the zonal structure of the Old World’s mainland, one can also note features of a peculiar East-West symmetry which render the character of phenomena in its eastern outskirts analogous to those in its western edges and which differ from the character of phenomena in the middle part of the continent. Both the eastern and western margins of the continent (the Far East and Europe) are located at latitudes between 35 and 60 degrees North which are naturally covered by forested regions. Here the boreal forests directly touch and gradually transition into the forests of southern flora. Nothing of the sort can be observed in the middle world, where forests of southern flora exist only in the regions of its mountainous peripheries (Crimea, the Caucasus, and Turkestan) and never meet forests of northern flora or boreal ones, being separated from such by a continuum of steppe-desert strips. The middle world of the Old World can thus be identified as the region of the steppe and desert band stretching in a continuous line from the Carpathians to the Khingan taken together with its mountain frame (in the South) and those regions lying to the North of it (forest and tundra zones). It is this world that the Eurasianists call Eurasia in the exact sense of this word (Eurasia sensu stricto). This must be distinguished from the old “Eurasia” of Alexander von Humboldt which encompassed the whole of the Old Continent (Eurasia sensu latiore).

The Western border of Eurasia runs along the Black Sea-Baltic bridge, i.e. the region where the continent narrows between the Baltic and Black Seas. Along this bridge and in general in the direction from Northwest to Southeast run a number of indicative botanical-geographical borders such as, for example, the Eastern borders of yew, beech, and ivy. Starting on the shores of the Baltic Sea, each of these tree types then extends all the way to the Black Sea. West of these borders, i.e. where the aforementioned species still grow, the stretch of the forest zone is continuous along the entire length from North to South. To the East begins the division into the forest zone in the North and the steppe zone in the South. This boundary can be considered the Western border of Eurasia. Eurasia’s border with Asia in the Far East runs along the longitudes at which the continuous strip of steppes dips in its nearing the Pacific Ocean, i.e., at the longitude of the Khingan.

The Eurasian world is a world of “both periodic and symmetric zone systems.” The boundaries of the main Eurasian zones conform with significant accuracy to the spanning of certain climatic boundaries. For example, the Southern border of the tundra matches the line joining the point of average annual relative humidity of 79.5% at 1 P.M. (The relative humidity in the afternoon is of particularly great importance for the life of vegetation and soils). The Southern border of the forest zone lies along the line connecting points with the same relative humidity of 67.5%. The Southern border of the steppe (with its tip into the desert) is matched by the uniform relative humidity at 1 P.M. of 55.5%. In the desert, it is always lower than this value. Attention should be drawn here to the equality of intervals covering the forest and steppe zones. These coincidences and this rhythmic distribution of intervals can be established in accordance with different indices (see our book The Geographical Particularities of Russia – Part 1, Prague: 1927). This gives grounds to speak of a “periodic table of the zone systems of Russia-Eurasia.” Russia-Eurasia is a symmetric system, not in the sense of the East-West symmetry which we discussed in the preceding, but in a South-North symmetry. The treeless tundra of the North is matched by the treeless steppes of the South. Moreover, the calcium content and percentage of humus in soil from the middle parts of the black soil zone symmetrically decrease when moving in the directions of North and South. This symmetric distribution of phenomena can also be noted in terms of soil colors, which reaches its greatest intensity in the very same middle portions of the horizontal zone. Moving both Northward and Southward, the soil color weakens (passing through shades of brown to whitish ones). In terms of sand and rock substrates, there is also a symmetrical divergence from the border between the forest and steppe zones: between the steppe islands to the North and the “islands” of forests in the South. Russian science defines this phenomenon as “extrazonal.” The steppe sectors in the forest zone can be characterized as a “southward-bearing” phenomenon, while the forest islands in the steppes are essentially a “northward-bearing” phenomenon. The southward-bearing formations of the forest zone match the northward-bearing formations of the steppes.

Nowhere else in the Old World is such a gradual transition in zonal systems, with both its “frequency” and simultaneous “symmetry”, displayed so clearly as on the plains of Russia-Eurasia.

The Russian world thus possesses an exceedingly clear geographic structure. The Urals do not play the defining and divisive role in this structure which they have been attributed (and still are) by geographical “clichés.” By virtue of their orographic and geological specificities, the Urals not only do not divide but, on the contrary, rather closely tie together “pre-Ural” and “post-Ural” Russia, thereby once again demonstrating that, taken together, both geographically constitute the “single undivided continent of Eurasia.” The tundra, as a horizontal zone, lies both to the West and to the East of the Urals just as forest extends beyond one side and the other. The same is the case regarding the steppes and desert (the latter borders the southern continuation of the Ural-Mugodzhary from both the East and West). We can observe no significant changes in geographical environment signified by the “border” of the Urals. More substantial is the geographical border of the “Intermarium”, i.e. the space between the Black and Baltic Seas on the one hand, and the Baltic Sea and the coast of Northern Norway on the other.

This distinctive, lucid, and at the same time simple geographical structure of Russia-Eurasia is tied to a number of important geopolitical circumstances. The nature of the Eurasian world is minimally favorable to any sort of “separatisms,” be they political, cultural, or economic. The specific “mosaic-fractional” structure of Europe and Asia facilitates the appearance of small, confined, and isolated worlds offering the material preconditions for the existence of small states, cultural modes specific to a city or province, and economic regions possessing large economic diversity within a narrow space. But Eurasia is quite another case. The wide-cut sphere of “flag-like” zonal distribution is not conducive to anything of this sort. Endless plains habituate horizontal breadth and the spread of geopolitical combinations. Within the steppes, moving across land along the forests and numerous bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes, man found himself in constant migration, continuously changing his place of inhabitance. Ethnic and cultural elements are drawn into intensive interaction, cross-fertilizing, and mixing. In Europe and Asia, it sometimes happened that one could live only by the interests of his own “belfry.” 

But in Eurasia, if this happened at all, then in an historical sense this lasted only an extremely brief period of time. In Northern Eurasia there are hundreds of thousands of kilometers of forests among which there is not a single hectare of arable land. How can the inhabitants of this space survive without contact with the more Southern regions? In the South, on no less vastly spread steppes suitable for livestock and partly for agriculture, there is not a single tree across many thousands of kilometers. How can the population of these regions live without economic interaction with the North? The nature of Eurasia prompts people to the necessity of political, cultural, and economic association to a significantly greater extent than is observed in Europe and Asia. It is thus no wonder that what was in many respects a “unified” way of life, such as that of the nomads, existed across the whole space of the Eurasian steppes from Hungary to Manchuria, and throughout history from the Scythians to the modern Mongols.  It is similarly no wonder that such great attempts at political unification were born on the expanses of Eurasia, such as those of the Scythians, Huns, and Mongols (in the 13th-14th centuries), and others. These attempts included not only the steppes and desert, but also the northern forest zone and the southernmost “mountain hem” of Eurasia. It is no coincidence that the spirit of a sort of “brotherhood of peoples” is blowing over Eurasia, having its roots in the centuries-old contact and cultural mergers of peoples of the most diverse races, ranging from Germanic peoples (the Crimean Goths) and Slavs to the Tungus-Manchurians with links via the Finnish, Turkic, and Mongolian peoples. This “brotherhood of peoples” is reflected in the fact that there is no opposition between “higher” and “lower” races, but rather a mutual attraction, much stronger than any repulsion, which easily awakens a “will for a common cause.” The history of Eurasia from its first chapters to its latest is solid proof of this. These traditions were embraced by Russia in her foundational, historic cause. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were at times clouded by deliberate “Westernism”, which demanded that Russians feel themselves to be “Europeans” (which they in fact weren’t) and treat the other Eurasian peoples as “Asians” or an “inferior race.” Such an interpretation led Russia to nothing other than disaster (such as Russia’s Far Eastern adventure at the beginning of the 20th century). It should be hoped that this concept has been completely overcome by now in the Russian consciousness and that the remnants of Russian “Europeanism” still hiding in emigration are void of any historical significance. Only by overcoming deliberate “Westernism” can the path be opened to real brotherhood between the Eurasian peoples – the Slavic, the Finnic, the Turkic, Mongolian, and others. 

Eurasia has previously played a unifying role in the Old World. Contemporary Russia, absorbing this tradition, must resolutely and irrevocably abandon the old methods of unification belonging to an outlived and overcome era, such as those of violence and war. In the modern period, the cause is one of cultural creativity, inspiration, insight, and cooperation. This is what the Eurasianists say. Despite all the modern means of communication, the peoples of Europe and Asia are still, to a large extent, sitting in their own quarters, living by the interests of their own belfries. Eurasian “place-development” propels this common cause by virtue of its fundamental qualities. The Eurasian peoples have been appointed to draw other peoples of the world along these paths by example. And then the relations of ethnographic kinship by which a number of Eurasian peoples are connected with various non-Eurasian nations, such as the Indo-European ties of the Russians, the Near-Asian and Iranian relations of the Eurasian Turks, and those points of contact that exist between the Eurasian Mongols and the peoples of East Asia, will become useful for the ecumenical cause. All of these relations can be beneficial to the construction of a new, organic culture for the “Old” World, which is (we believe) still young, carrying in its womb a grand future.

Eurasianism in the Context of the 21st Century

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Eurasianist ideology has undergone a series of changes over the last 20 years. After Nursultan Nazarbayev, based on a Eurasianist approach, proposed forming a new union in the place of the USSR founded on a new principle, a few years passed before these ideas began to be implemented in state practice. If major milestones associated with intergovernmental projects are considered, then January 1, 2010 can be noted as the date when the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan began to function along with January 1, 2015 when the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) officially began to function. However, in addition to problems of unifying legal frameworks and defending the interests of the citizens of each country entering the EEU, there exists a trajectory of political philosophy which, although it remains outside of official political activities, nonetheless influences decision-making and the progress of scholarly and public debates in one way or another.

For the most part we are dealing with conceptions of Eurasianism developed by Russian emigrants in the 1920’s, the theory of which later began to be implemented in political practice by a number of scholars and politicians in Russia and Kazakhstan. As is characteristic for the pragmatism of Realpolitik and changes to the international situation, the exact ideas which are outlined in the works of eminent thinkers are not always realized.

The issues of new challenges and threats, from obvious geopolitical confrontation to shadowy and disruptive technologies, many of which are being indirectly or indirectly aimed against the Eurasian Union project, have become particularly relevant.

In this article we will try to delineate some of the possible future trajectories of the future development of the Eurasian Union project while focusing on a number of aspects necessary as a minimum for the functioning of a large state or intergovernmental association. These include questions ranging from political theory and economics to rethinking the world order and defensive strategy.

Etymology as a political construct

First and foremost, it is necessary to define a terminological apparatus associated with the prospects of creating the Eurasian Union. It is impossible to miss the opportunity to expand the already existing terminological base by bringing distinctive innovations to political discourse which reflect deep structures of understanding. As Martin Heidegger said, language is the house of being. In formulating (and reproducing) a corresponding etymology, we participate in the process of not only creating new thoughts, but also new processes related to reorganizing the Eurasian region. In addition, it is necessary to overcome the positivist approach in which Latin and, consequently, Western-centric terminology imposes itself upon the subject. Moreover, it is necessary to work out a lexicon, mechanism, and culture of international relations which are appropriate to the third millennium not only for the region under consideration, but for other corners of the planet.[1]

The name “union” in Russian means bond, or a connection, in referring to a certain community. This is essentially a loan word from the Latin conjūnctiō (connection, contingency, agreement) or the Greek word Σύνδεσμος (connection, link). In considering the paths of development of these terms, we see a significant difference. The widespread English term “union” comes from the same Latin term, but only in truncated form, as the word junction has less meaning and does not reflect the idea of community. Moreover, in a political lexicon this can mean an unstable association, including certain contracts or “unions.” There are more negative interpretations of this concept, such as “junta,” which refer to the numerous coups in Latin American countries carried out by militaries. The accepted interpretation is nominally suitable for a future union, but there are also plenty of other synonyms. However, this will be only a label for forms of intergovernmental structures. What will its content be?

The question of forms of governance (or co-governance) and mechanisms for decision-making immediately arises. Will a Eurasian parliament be created or will legislative power be delegated to an inter-parliamentary assembly of the Eurasian Union? Is the form of delegation of authority according to the European parliamentary example adequate in this situation or is there the possibility of creating a structure more flexible and responsive to the interests of the peoples of the Eurasian Union? Will polycentric law or consociationalism be accepted as tools for resolving socio-political and economic issues? Will economics remain the driving force of the Eurasian locomotive or will there be deeper reasons (albeit difficult for politicians to describe in words) for geopolitical consolidation (as Aristotle said – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts)?

At the current moment, the Eurasian Economic Union practically functions in the format of the Customs Union. New elements, especially the defense factor, personnel capacity, as well as a unifying ideology, have not entered the interests of opposing national elites for subjective and objective reasons.

Ancient philosophers believed that the state is the highest form of human creativity. If this is so, then such a unification of states into a unified force with carefully selected internal and external policies, and a system of balances and counters against external threats, would be the highest form of all. But a spiritual component, an ideology, must exist above everyday political constructions. In our opinion, Ideocracy, which is characterized by a common world view and the willingness of ruling elites to serve one common idea and a regent representing “the benefit of all peoples inhabiting this special autarchical world”[2] should become the political system of governance of the Eurasian Union. Unfortunately, this thesis remains only in theory under the current nomenclature. Preparing a new elite is a relevant task today.

Fateful geography

What is Eurasia? Although Eduard Suess used this word in his fundamental work “The Face of the Earth” [3] in pointing to the arbitrariness of the boundaries between Europe and Asia, it is undoubtedly necessary to take into account first and foremost the school of classical Eurasianist thought from Petr Savitsky to Lev Gumilev, as we cannot construct the theoretical foundations for a solid political reality in a purely geographical context [4]. Taking this as a foundation, we discover that the Eurasianists used this term in an exclusionary sense. Eurasia is a special world, not the mere totality of Europe and Asia. It is worth noting that “in this they followed the Slavophile views of the linguist, ethnologist, and geographer Vladimir Lamansky, who was the first to suggest that the Old World was divided not into two but into three continents – Europe, Asia, and Russia, or the “Middle World” of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia – on the basis of geographical and linguistic data.”[5] In this case we are dealing with a melding of cultures and peoples inhabiting this space who do not “fit” into the European and Asian margins of Eurasia [6]. A similar method of apophatic geopolitics can be used to model our possible future of the Eurasian Union.

The new political configuration will not be a recreation of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire. It will also not be in the likeness of the European Union, where countries are divided according to linguistic, administrative and, in some cases, currency differences, but rather will be united on the basis of political-economic administration. Due to the fact that a number of the states of our future union have their own languages, it will not be similar to Latin-American integration projects [7]. On the other hand, in this process there is not only a continuation of a common past, but also common cultural and linguistic roots which allowed the Eurasianists to speak of a linguistic union. For example, Roman Jakobson’s designation of the common space of soft correlation practically coincided with the borders of the USSR, with the exception of the Far East, where the border ran roughly along the Omolon river separating Chukotka and Kamchatka (this zone was covered by Mongolia and the northern regions of China). And Lev Gumilev pointed out the complementarity of the Turkic, Slavic, and Finno-Urgic peoples inhabiting Eurasia over the mountain ranges ranging from Hindu Kush to Tian-Shan.

In addition, the formation of the Eurasian Union entails the the opportunity to assess all the insufficiencies of previous projects, from the level of the governing system to the interests of local communities.

But, first and foremost, we should look at the Eurasian mass from a global perspective.

In their imperialist ambitions, Anglo-Saxon geopoliticians speak of the Old World and the continuity of Western European political culture while forgetting the holistic picture of the world. The geographical axis of history, as well as Middle Earth (Heartland), are located in Russia [8]. Hence the famous formula of world domination which was corrected by Nicholas Spykman, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Henry Kissinger and which, despite modification, has not lost its essence. But, as with any geographical organism, this Heartland would be incomplete without other vital elements. Thus, Kazakhstan is the soft underbelly of Eurasia offering access to the other countries of Central Asia, as to China and Russia [9], which represent Innerland, or the Inner Earth of Eurasia remote from the coastal zone (Rimland) as well as Middle Earth. In the West, Belarus and Ukraine are the logical extremity of the cultural-geographical Eurasian space ending at the border of the Carpathian mountains and the isotherm of January (according to Savitsky).It follows that Ukraine is an important link for the Eurasian Union and the bitter struggle of the US and West for this republic possesses geopolitical implications as the Eurasian Union would be incomplete without Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Eurasian Union is a bridge between West and East. Economically speaking, this is an important communication line between such political giants as the European Union and China. In connection with the expansion of the unified customs zone from the Masurian marshes in the North and the Caspian-Black Sea basin in the South on the one side to Dzungaria on the other, the possibility of creating a powerful transport corridor is already of great interest to Beijing. Thus, Petr Savitsky’s concept of the Eurasian land-sea finds its realization in the third millennium.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa in 2015, the leaders of Russia and China discussed a possible synthesis of the EEU and Silk Road Economic Belt project which China began to implement in the 2013.

“The integration of these two large-scale continental, integration, transport, and logistical projects is capable of offering not only significant economic benefits, but also, without exaggerating, creating a new geopolitical reality in the space of Eurasia and generating new, maximally favorable conditions for the economic and socio-political lives and interests of the countries of the continent, thereby reducing any possible pressure on Russia and China.”[10]

Although China, as a self-sufficient civilizational actor, lies outside the classical scheme of Eurasianism (India and Pacific Asia are also “outsiders”), such cooperation is acceptable and in some cases even necessary from the perspective of neo-Eurasianism.

Beyond the framework of classical Eurasianism

The main theses for rethinking classical Eurasianism were laid after the collapse of the USSR by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, and the Russian scholar and geopolitician Alexander Dugin. They approached this issue from different sides, but their conceptions can be adequately combined and complement each other. N. Nazarbayev advocated Eurasianism from the perspective of a statist and for preserving the continuity of the Union. According to his plan, a new association was to overcome the discord inherent to the doctrines of Bolshevism, Marxism-Leninism, and the Soviet system, while simultaneously maintaining the economic ties between republics. His proposal remained unattended for many years due to a number of reasons ranging from conflicts in different republics to the erroneous orientation of the liberal-capitalist establishment imposed by the state and non-state actors such as the IMF and the World Bank. Alexander Dugin’s project of neo-Eurasianism appeared as a large-scale geopolitical doctrine reaching beyond the scope of conventional geographical borders. Carl Schmitt’s classic dichotomy of Land and Sea and division of enemies and friends automatically extended Eurasianism onto a planetary scale. [11]

Dugin noted that “Eurasianists are not only representatives of the peoples inhabiting the continent of Eurasia. Eurasianists are all those free and creative personalities who recognize the value of tradition, including the representatives of those regions which objectively remain bases of Atlanticism.”[12]

The Chinese researcher Tao Xu recently correctly noted that “the rapprochement between China and Russia is an inevitable result of the strategic pressure of the United States as well as the choice which the parties have made for the purpose of their own survival” [13]. In his publication, Xu noted that “the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are the most durable political entities on the Eurasian continent possessing a historically long-lasting civilization and sophisticated industrial and agricultural base. Interaction between China and Russia not only promotes the security and development of these two states, but also might attract the attention of other countries on the territory of Eurasia, including Iran and Pakistan, in order to disrupt the strategic plans of the USA in the region” [14]. Further continuing a regional analysis through the prism of geopolitical imperatives, Xu quite logically points out that Latin America represents an external force of the Eurasian community, while Africa represents a friendly force. He also points out that there are many supporters of Russia and China in Asia.

Thus, the formation of the Eurasian Union along with other integration processes in other parts of the world would represent a movement towards creating a multipolar (polycentric) world. The sooner that the Eurasian Union is created, the faster the states comprising it, as well as other countries contributing to shaping the new world order, will be able to get out from underneath the influence of the US by direct (hard power) or indirect (soft power) means.

It is particularly important that the creation of a synergy of Eurasian power would render it sufficiently difficult for foreign forces, and first and foremost the USA, to establish pockets of control in the form of military bases or satellite states. While the presence of Washington’s influence can still be observed in Central Asia, especially in Afghanistan, it is quite feasible in the near future that proper cooperation between the countries of the region will fully squeeze out the US.

It should be noted that there are two more projects associated with Russia and China: the Arctic sea route and the “Pearl necklaces” strategy. The first is a geo-economic project being realized by Russia, since a major part of the Arctic is located within its sovereign economic zone.

China successfully realized its project somewhat earlier. This “necklace” represents a kind of sequence (or chain) of codes where each “pearl” is a nexus of Chinese military presence or geopolitical influence through which Beijing is building strategic relationships and developing opportunities for establishing a presence along the lines of sea communication that connect China and the Middle East [15].

These two belts are by and large actually closing Eurasia from the North and South and, if necessary, could be integrated into a logistical naval ring.

Economy

Should we follow the German idea of autarchy (self-sufficiency) as described in the books of Johann Fichte (“closed trading space”) and Friedrich List (“national system of political economy”) in overcoming various nationalisms (Russian, Kazakh, etc.) and advancing to the level of collective economic sovereignty? Or should we stick to the concepts of Nikolai Trubetskoy and Petr Savitsky, who spoke not only of economic decisions favorable for Eurasia, but also of a universal human ideal which might be embodied in the special world of a Eurasian supranationalism? [16]

The Gesellian system of free money, or the ethical economy, which would be based on various functionals depending on regional specifics, in one way or another needs to overcome the logic of neoliberal capitalism. Recent discussion on the possibility of establishing a BRICS bank is a good start for emerging out of dependence on the speculative assets of the West.

Overall, as noted by Gregory Gleason, a doctor of political science from the US, “the creation of a single economic space throughout the territory of Eurasia is long overdue” [177].

But if this “official formula of the current integration project in the framework of the Eurasian Union means economic integration while maintaining political sovereignty and guaranteeing  collective security”[18], then in the future this should be extended to include political and social unification processes, including those on the level of public diplomacy. This would allow reaching the level of system integration and developing its own rules of the game.

As a response to the challenge of globalization, it is also necessary to: (1) stimulate production for domestic markets, (2) utilize the principle of subsidiarity, (3) defend local trade from the ravages of transnational corporations and low tariffs, (4) encourage the introduction of ecological technologies, and (5) form a type of mixed economy [19].

No matter what might be said about the smart economy and information technologies, the two pillars of production will always be food and energy. Without food, the proper functioning of any workforce is impossible, and without the energy components of a factory, plants and transport will stop. Russia and Kazakhstan are the world’s largest producers and exporters of wheat. In addition, Russia and Kazakhstan possess vast stocks of hydrocarbons and radioactive materials and have the appropriate infrastructure for processing them. The raw material component has an ambivalent character since Russia and Kazakhstan are regarded by the West as its own oil and gas appendages. But nuclear energy, despite the incident in Japan [20], will remain promising and relatively cheap for a long time to come and, in connection with this, the future creation of alternative grain (and, more broadly, agricultural) and energy exchanges will mean a new role and new status for the Eurasian Union. In this context, the accession of Russia to the WTO is assessed by many Russian politicians and experts as an error.

If we return to the post-Soviet space, we see that Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan are undergoing the transition from the framework of the Customs Union to the Eurasian Economic Union.

Although a decline in trade and economic relations can be seen between these countries due to the ongoing global financial crisis, alternative models are actively being developed which fit within the overall package of EEU documents and do not conflict with the norms of nation states and international law. Special attention is paid to services or, more precisely, the formation of a single market for services as a complex and multifaceted process [21]

Ethnic groups in the political processes of the Eurasian Union

What kind of approach will be developed in resolving ethnic and traditional cultural issues between the future union’s peoples will affect its success to a large extent. Based on the theory of Lev Gumilev, we will most likely be able to avoid conflicts of the Huntington type, although attempts at stirring ethnic conflicts and destabilization from without can never be excluded.

The following can be designating among non-violent methods for managing ethnic differences: (1) integration and/or assimilation, (2) hegemonic control, (3) arbitration (including a third party in the process), (4) Cantonization and/or federalization, (5) consociationalism or the separation of powers [22]. The first option was tested in Western Europe in a “humanized” version and is known under the name of multiculturalism. Its failure was recognized in 2010 by the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Germany’s Angela Merkel. The second and third variants are absolutely unsuitable in our case. The fourth has been sufficiently studied in the example of the countries of Western Europe, and is not at all adequate for the realities of the Eurasian space. Consociationalism, which is often associated with corporatism, is more interesting since it is not based on economic principles that help to regulate class conflicts, but “on the basis of harmonizing social fragmentation along ethnic and religions lines” [23] which already exist, even in Russia. As some specialists on international law have noted, there exists a number of conditions which could render consociationalism effective. These are:

  • The segmental isolation of ethnic communities
  • A pluralistic balance of power
  • The presence of external threats common to all communities
  • Common loyalty to the state
  • The tradition of accommodating elites
  • Socio-economic equality
  • Small population size, the reduction of political pressures
  • A moderate multi-party system with segmental parties [24]

There is yet another important aspect: the crossing of boundaries which do not represent administrative lines, but rather social spaces with particular specificities. For example, if such a phenomenon is harmonized by common the Slavic ethnic particularities and Orthodox religious culture shared between Belarus and Russia, then between Russia and Kazakhstan there exist more differences not only along the line of Slavs vs. Turks or Orthodox vs. Muslims, but, for example, the presence of the Cossack element and the sharing of a common Turkic super-ethnos comprised of different parts. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of hybrid borders might turn out to have a positive effect. Historical experience shows that the intermixing of cultures contributes to the establishment of a polylogue of peoples despite their specific domestic, cultural, and ritual differences and different world views.

Critics and opponents

As regards current criticism of the idea of the Eurasian Union, there are a number of politicians and experts, mainly from the US and Western Europe, who have already called the initiative an attempt at reviving the Soviet Empire with a principal role for Moscow as the main decision-making center.

More astute analysts consider this initiative in the context of the international situation, the growing power of a number of states, and regional geopolitics. Lauren Goodrich of the Stratfor intelligence-analytical center called the plan for creating a Eurasian Union a restoration of the Russian Empire “as much as possible.” He believes that, due to unique geographical circumstances, Russia has unprotected borders and therefore has to maximize its territory and create strategic depth on its “outskirts.” Goodrich writes that “the final plan of Russia is regaining control over much of its former territories…Russia will begin this new integration of the Russian Empire by creating a union with former Soviet republics on the basis of Moscow’s current associations such as the Customs Union, the Union State, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This will allow the Eurasian Union to strategically encompass both the economic and security spheres” [26]. Nevertheless, the American expert recognized that the Eurasian Union will not be a new copy of the USSR as Moscow has taken all errors associated with control into account. Therefore. “Moscow will influence foreign policy and security, but will not be held responsible for a large proportion of the domestic affairs of each country.”

The coup in Ukraine must be assessed as an attempt not only at controlling the country, but also at weakening Eurasian integration, as the events in Ukraine provoked actions by Moscow which evoked mixed appraisals. For example, the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has recognized the Kiev regime and even provided logistical support to Ukraine for conducting the military-punitive operation in Donbass. This caused a negative reaction on the part of Moscow.

The agenda of the day also includes the accession of Central Asian states, a prospect which has not escaped the attention of political scientists. Tajikistan is interested in joining the EEU and Uzbekistan is considered to be no less of an important figure on the Eurasian chessboard in geopolitical plans. But, there are tensions over water resources between these countries. The activity of militants in Afghanistan partially contributed to the strengthening of the role of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (there is a Russian military presence in Tajikistan which was recently strengthened by military transport and attack helicopters), but, nevertheless, an adequate integration of these two countries demands developing a detailed “road map.”

Be that as it may, any criticism should be thoroughly assessed. The picture is less clear when arguments “against” are sounded from US or Western European neoliberal think-tanks for whom, based on a neocolonial logic, the unifying process of Eurasia is not in their interests. If there is a rational kernel in the objections of opponents, then it is necessary to take into account these points and hold an extensive discussion. It is necessary to understand that the Eurasian Union is not a project of ruling elites, but the materialization of the aspirations of our continent’s peoples.

Strategy or strategies?

Each state has its own strategy of foreign political activity connected with national interests and values. In the example of the NATO bloc countries, we see that arguments arise often on issues of foreign policy which are connected with principles of strategic culture. The same could happen in the Eurasian Union if are attempts at synchronizing national strategies, including questions of security, are not made now.

The very project of the Eurasian Union will require a long-term strategy demanding ideological content as well as the institutionalization of a new strategic culture which should overcome ethnic, national, civill, and regional contradictions that, in previous historical stages, were causes for the escalation of conflict. Given the new international situation, they may take on new forms associated with the tactical priorities of ruling elites and external influence.

This strategy must necessarily be a Grand Strategy, since it implies not only a grand geographical scale and economic reforms in the states entering the future union, but also a strong reaction from rival countries or state blocs [27].

Although this term [Grand Strategy] originally applied to the art of war and pointed to the need for a state to make large-scale efforts in various spheres of activity during a war [28], it was reconsidered later by geopoliticians and began to be used in delineating the consolidating activities of a state and alliances with the aim of achieving certain strategic goals.

For this purpose it is necessary to tap into the syncretic potential of already existing doctrines and collective agreements. The academic pool, questions of natural determinism, the thinking of senior officials, tactical questions, and regional and intergovernmental spheres should culminate in a united, common Eurasian paradigm. It is necessary to study the general geopolitical context. As the prominent geopolitician Colin Gray said, context (from the Latin contextere) has two meanings. It can refer to that which “surrounds,” or that which now has daily relevance. At the same time, it can mean “that which weaves together” [29]. Unity is the context of the national security of the countries of the Eurasian Union and the foundations of future development. And if tactical errors in the realization of various programs can still be corrected, then a strategic error cannot be corrected. In our case, we have no right to make such a mistake as this means a loss of many future decades. So that this does not happen, the actors and founders of the Eurasian Union need to formulate the geopolitical context themselves, not under its influence.

Footnotes

[1] The very term “international relations” is not quite adequate as all existing schools – realism, liberalism, and constructivism – describe first and foremost relations between states, and not peoples who could be divided by state boundaries or, on the contrary, remain on the territory of one country.

[2] Trzubetzkoy, N.S. Об идее-правительнице идеократического государства.// Евразийская хроника. Выпуск XI. Paris, 1935. С. 29-37.

[3] Suess, Eduard. Hotel Das Antlitz der Erde. Vienna, 1885.

[4] Similar contractions can be observed in contemporary geopolitical debates taking place in Latin America, where representatives of the integration school of South and Central America criticize the contemporary political thought of North America on the level of terms, calling its region “Our America” (“Nuestra America”) and condemning the colonization processes of former European powers.

[5] Серио П. Структура и целостность. Об интеллектуальных истоках структурализма в Центральной и Восточной Европе. 1920-30 гг. – Мoscow: Языки славянской культуры, 2001. С. 89.

[6] However, a further and broader perspective of unification is fully possible. At the time, a number of European geopoliticians (Karl Haushofer, Jean Thiriart, Hordes von Lohausen) already proposed the project of a continental “Eurasian Empire from Dublin to Vladivostok,” and indicated the need for integrating the countries of Western Europe and the Soviet Union. More recently, the Chinese researcher Tao Zu proposed creating a Eurasian alliance of Russia and China for the joint defense of interests in opposition to the hegemonic ambitions of the US.

[7] The residents of  all countries of this continent, except Brazil, speak Spanish (in addition to native Indian Guarani, Aymara, etc.).

[8] Makkinder, H. “The Geographical Pivot of History”. Geographical Journal, 1904.

[9] Such a formulation was proposed by Z. Brzezinski in his book The Grand Chessboard.

[10] Grozin, А.V. Интеграционные проекты Пекина и Москвы для Евразии: перспективы взаимодействия // Постсоветский материк № 2 (6)/2015, С. 91.

[11] See Наш путь. Стратегические перспективы развития России в XXI веке. М.: Арктогея, 1999; Дугин А.Г. Проект «Евразия». – Moscow: Эксмо, Яуза, 2004; Дугин А.Г. Евразийский путь как национальная идея. – М.:Арктогея, 2002; Дугин А.Г. Основы геополитики. Геополитическое будущее России. – Мoscow: Арктогея, 1999.

[12] Dugin, A.G. Евразийский взгляд.// Геополитика № XIII, С. 5.

[13] Xu. Китаю и России следует создать Евразийский альянс.// Жэньминь жибао онлайн. 30/01/2012. http://russian.people.com.cn/95181/7714612.html

[14] ibid.

[15] Savin, L.V. Новая волна американской геополитики: взгляд на Китай // Институт высокого коммунитаризма, http://communitarian.ru/publikacii/aziaokeania/novaya_volna_amerikanskoy_geopolitiki_vzglyad_na_kitay/?sphrase_id=29940163

[16] Trubetzkoy, N.S. Мысли об автаркии.//Новая эпоха. Narva, 1933. С.25-26.

[17] Paramanov, V.. Евразийская интеграция и Китай: виртуальный экспертный форум. Часть 5.// Информационно-аналитический центр. 04.12.2011. http://www.ia-centr.ru/expert/12185/

[18] Solozobov, Y.M. Евразийский Союз: от идеи к практике.// Геополитика № XIII, С. 15-16.

[19] Savin, L.V. Глобализация во благо народов. Перспективы четвертой политической теории. Текст доклада на международной конференции «Земля, живи! От вражды к сотрудничеству цивилизаций». Moscow, 04.12.2009.

[20] It should be noted that Fukushima station is an American model. Modern Russian nuclear power stations have a high security level including in the case of natural disasters.

[21] Oshakbaev, R.S. Новые подходы к регулированию сферы торговли услугами в рамках Евразийского экономиеского союза // Союз Евразия, № 3, 2014. С. 64.

[22] John McGarry and Brendan O’leary. “The Marco-Political Regulation of Ethnic Conflicts” from The Politics of Regulating Interethnic Conflicts: Case Studies of Protracted Ethnic Conflicts (London, Routledge: 1993) pp. 1- 40.

[23] A Hassel. Salaries, Social Pacts, and the Euro: A new role for the state (Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press: 2006) pp. 281.

[24] Michael, K. Imposing Power-Sharing: Conflict and Coexistence in Northern Ireland and Lebanon (Dublin, Irish Academic Press: 2006) pp 27-28.

[25] In contrast to dialogue (Greek: Διάλογος) in which the participants of an interaction are two subjects, th term “polylogue” (or “multilogue”) is used for multilateral relations.

[26] Goodrich, L. “Россия: восстановление империи по возможности”.// Геополитика № XIII, С. 35-40.

[27] Савин Л.В. Великая Стратегия для Евразийского Союза.// Геополитика № XIII, С. 26-30.

[28] See Гарт Б.Л. Стратегия непрямых действий. – Мoscow: Эксмо, 2008.

[29] Gray, Colin. Modern Strategies Chapter 5 “Strategic Culture as Context” (Oxford, Oxford University Press: 1999).

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

The Geopolitics of the European New Right

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 5 from Book 1, Part 2 of Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia (Arktogeya, Moscow: 2000) 

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1. Alain de Benoist’s Europe of a Hundred Flags

One of the few European geopolitical schools which has preserved an uninterrupted link with the ideas of the pre-war German continentalist geopoliticians is that of the “New Right.” This trend appeared in France in the late ’60’s and is associated with the philosopher and publicist Alain de Benoist, the leading figure of the movement. 

The “New Right” sharply differs on practically all matters from the traditional French right consisting of monarchists, Catholics, Germanophobes, chauvinists, anti-communists, conservatives, etc. The “New Right” includes those who support “organic democracy,” pagans, Germanophiles, socialists, modernists, etc. At the beginning, the “left camp” so conventionally, extremely influential in France considered such to be a “tactical maneuver” by typical rightists, but with time the gravity of this evolution was proven and came to be recognized by all. 

One of the fundamental principles of the “New Right’s” ideology, analogues of which soon appeared in other European countries, is the principal of “continental geopolitics.” In contrast to the “old right” and classical nationalists, de Benoist believed that the principle of the centralized Nation-State has been historically exhausted and that the future belongs only to “Great Spaces.” The basis of such “Large Spaces” are to be not so much associations of various states in a pragmatic political bloc, but the equal-footed conglomeration of ethnic groups of different scales into a “Federal Empire.” Such a “Federal Empire”  is supposed to be strategically unified, yet ethnically differentiated. Moreover, such strategic unity is to be underpinned by the unity of primordial culture.

The “Large Space” which interested de Benoist most of all was Europe. The New Right believed that the peoples of Europe possess a common Indo-European heritage, a single origin, and the principle of a “common past.” The conditions of the modern epoch, in which tendencies of strategic and economic integration are actively essential for the possession of any real geopolitical sovereignty, dictate the necessity of uniting in even a purely pragmatic sense. Thus, the peoples of Europe are destined for a “common future,” and therein de Benoist draws the conclusion that the thesis of a “United Europe of a hundred flags” [16] must become Europeans’ fundamental geopolitical standard. In such a perspective, as in all the concepts of the New Right, a striving to combine “conservative” and “modernist” elements,i.e., “right” and “left” principles, is clearly visible. In recent years, the New Right has rejected such a label insofar as it considers itself to be “right” to the same extent that it is “left.” 

De Benoist’s geopolitical theses are based on an affirmation of the “continental fate of Europe.” In this regard, he fully adheres to the conceptions of Haushofer’s school. From this follows the New Right’s characteristic juxtaposition of “Europe” and the “West.” For them, Europe is a continental, geopolitical formation founded on an ensemble of ethnicities with a common Indo-European origin and possessing common cultural roots. This concept is a traditional one. The “West,” on the contrary, is a geopolitical and historical concept of the modern world which denies ethnic and spiritual traditions, instead putting forth purely material and quantitative criteria of existence, i.e., an essentially utilitarian and rationalist, mechanistic bourgeois civilization. Accordingly, the USA is understood as the most complete incarnation of the West and its “civilization.” 

The concrete project of the New Right unfolds along this plane. Europe is to integrate into a “Federal Empire” in opposition to the West and the US. Moreover, regionalist tendencies are to be particularly encouraged, as regions and ethnic minorities retain more traditional features than the metropolises and cultural centers affected by the “Spirit of the West.” On this note, France is supposed to orient itself towards Germany and Middle Europa – hence the interest of the New Right in De Gaulle and Friedrich Naumann. On the level of practical politics, since the ‘70’s the New Right has acted in favor of Europe’s strict strategic neutrality, its withdrawal from NATO, and the development of independent, European nuclear potential. 

In regards to the USSR (and later Russia), the position of the New Right has evolved. Starting with the classical thesis of “Neither West nor East, but Europe”, the New Right has since gradually developed the thesis of “Europe above all, but better with the East than with the West.” On a practical level, the original interest in China and the project of a strategic alliance between Europe and China for the purpose of opposing both “American and Soviet imperialism” came to be replaced with a moderate “Sovietophilia” and ideas of a European-Russian alliance. 

The New Right’s geopolitics are radically anti-Atlanticist and anti-Mondialist in orientation. They see the fate of Europe as the antithesis of the Atlanticist and Mondialist projects and are thus opponents of “thalassocracy” and the “One World” concept. 

It should be noted that in the conditions of the total strategic and political domination of Atlanticism in Europe during the Cold War, de Benoist’s geopolitical position (theoretically and logically flawless), being contrasted to the “norms of political thought,” had no chance of becoming widespread. It was in its own way a kind of “dissidence”, and like any “dissidence” or “non-conformism,” it had a marginal character. To this day, the intellectual level of the New Right, the high quality of its publications, and even the number of its followers among European academia have been ignored by authorities and the analytical institutions which delegate authority to geopolitical projects. 

2. Jean Thiriart – Europe from Vladivostok to Dublin 

Yet another excellent variety of continentalist geopolitics was developed by another European “dissident,” the Belgian Jean Thiriart (1922-1992). From the early ’60’s onwards, he was the leader of the pan-European radical movement “Young Europe.”

Thiriart considered geopolitics to be the foremost discipline of political science without which it is impossible to construct a rational and farsighted political or state strategy. As a follower of Haushofer and Niekisch, he considered himself to be a “European National Bolshevik” and a builder of the “European Empire.” It was his ideas which anticipated the further developed and more sophisticated projects of the New Right. 

Jean Thiriart built his political theory on the principle of the “autarchy of large spaces.” Developed in the middle of the 19th century by the German economist Friedrich List, this theory asserts that the potential strategic and economic development of a state is possible only if it possesses sufficient geopolitical scale and larger territorial advantages. Thiriart applied this concept to the actual situation in Europe and came to the conclusion that the global value of Europe’s states would ultimately be lost if they did not unite into a unified Empire in opposition to the USA. Moreover, Thiriart believed that such an “Empire” would not be “federal” and “regional-oriented”, but ultimately unitary, centralized, and would become a powerful, single continental Nation-State in accordance with the Jacobin model. Here lies the fundamental difference between the views of de Benoist and Thiriart. 

In the late ’70’s Thiriart’s views underwent some modification. An analysis of the prevailing geopolitical situation led him to the conclusion that Europe’s scale was insufficient to liberate it from American thalassocracy. Consequently, the main condition for “European liberation” was the unification of Europe and the USSR. He moved from a geopolitical scheme involving three main zones – the West, Europe, and Russia (USSR) – to one with only two components, i.e., the West and the Eurasian continent. Moreover, Thiriart came to the radical conclusion that Europe would have to choose Soviet socialism over Anglo-Saxon capitalism. 

Thus appeared the project of the “Euro-Soviet Empire from Vladivostok to Dublin” [17]. This proposition nearly prophetically described the reasons which would lead to the collapse of the USSR if it did not commit to new geopolitical moves in Europe and the South in the near future. Thiriart believed that the ideas of Haushofer concerning a “continental bloc of Berlin-Moscow-Tokyo” were relevant to a large extent even now. It is important that these theses of Thiriart were presented 15 years before the collapse of the USSR and absolutely accurately predicted the logic and reasons behind this disaster. Thiriart unsuccessfully attempted to present his views to Soviet leaders, but he did personally meet with Nasser, Zhou Enlai, and senior Yugoslav officials in the ’60’s. It is significant that Moscow rejected his proposed organization of clandestine “European liberation brigades” tasked with waging a terroristic struggle against “Atlanticist agents” in Europe.

Jean Thiriart’s views currently underpin the active, non-conformist movement of the European National-Bolsheviks, such as the European Liberation Front, and are thoroughly in line with the projects of contemporary Russian Neo-Eurasianism. 

3. Thinking in Continents – Jordis von Lohausen

Thiriart himself was very close to the Austrian general Jordis von Lohausen who, unlike Thiriart and de Benoist, did not participate in direct political activism or build concrete social projects. Instead, Lohausen adhered to a strictly scientific approach and restricted himself to pure geopolitical analysis, although his original position as a continentalist and follower of Haushofer was one and the same with that of the National-Bolsheviks and New Right.

Lohausen believed that political power can only become durable and sustainable when rulers think in terms of “millennia and continents” rather than in immediate or local categories. His main work, accordingly, is titled The Strength to Conquer – Thinking in Continents [18].

Lohausen was of the opinion that global territorial, civilizational, and cultural as well as social process are only understandable if they are examined from a “farsighted” perspective as opposed to what he termed historical “short-sightedness.” In human society, authority, upon which the choice of historical path and the most important decisions depend, should be guided by the most general schemes which allow this or that state or people to find their place in a vast historical perspective. Therefore, the basic discipline necessary for the determination of power strategies is geopolitics in its traditional sense of operating with global categories while remaining aloof of analytical particularities (like Lacoste’s “internal” school of applied geopolitics). Modern ideologies and the latest technological and civilizational shifts undoubtedly change the topography of the world, but they cannot cancel the basic laws linked to natural and cultural cycles that are measured in millennia. 

Such global categories include space, language, ethnos, and resources, etc. Lohausen thus proposes the following formula of power: “strength = force x location.” 

Lohausen elaborates:

“Insofar as Strength is Power multiplied by location, only a favorable geographical position offers the opportunity of fully developing internal forces.” [19]

Thus, power (political, intellectual, etc.) is directly linked with space. 

Lohausen separated the fate of Europe from the fate of the West as he considered Europe to be a continental formation only temporarily under the control of thalassocracy. Accordingly, the geopolitical liberation of Europe requires a spatial (positional) minimum which can be achieved only through the unification of Germany, integration processes in Central Europe, the restoration of Prussia’s territorial integrity (torn between Poland, the USSR, and the GDR), and the further gathering of European states into a new, autonomous bloc independent of Atlanticism. In this scheme, it is important to note the role of Prussia which Lohausen (following Niekisch and Spengler) considered to be the most continental, “Eurasian” part of Germany. If Koenigsberg was the capital of Germany instead of Berlin, then European history would have gone in a different, more “correct” direction with an emphasis on a European-Russian alliance against Anglo-Saxon thalassocracy. 

Lohausen considered the future of Europe to be unthinkable from a strategic perspective without Russia and, vice versa, Russia (the USSR) needed Europe. Without it, Russia would be geopolitically “incomplete” and vulnerable to America, whose location is so much more advantageous that, consequently, its strength could sooner or later outstrip the USSR. Lohausen stressed that the USSR could have four different Europes to its West – a “hostile Europe,” a “subordinated Europe,” a “devastated Europe,” or a “European ally.” The first three variants would be inevitable if the USSR continued its European policy which, indeed, ultimately brought the Soviet Union to defeat in the Cold War. Only striving to make Europe “allied and friendly” at any cost could have redeemed the fatal geopolitical situation of the USSR and signaled a new stage in geopolitical history – a Eurasian stage. 

Lohausen purposefully confined his position to pure geopolitical observations, and he ignored any ideological issues. For example, to him him Boyar Rus, Tsarist Russia, and the Soviet Union were all parts of a single continuous process independent of changes in the ruling system or ideology. Geopolitically, Russia was heartland and its fate was predetermined by its lands no matter what regime ruled it. 

Like Thiriart, Lohausen foresaw the geopolitical collapse of the USSR as an inevitability if it continued to follow its usual course. However, what Atlanticist geopoliticians considered to be a victory, Lohausen saw above all as a defeat for continental forces. With this, however, there was a nuance. The collapse of the Soviet system could open new opportunities for creating a positive point of reference for the establishment of a future Eurasian bloc, a continental Empire, insofar as certain restrictions such as the ones imposed by Marxist ideology would be removed. 

4. Jean Parvulesco’s Eurasian Empire of the End

A more romantic version of geopolitics was put forth by the famous French writer Jean Parvulesco. Earlier geopolitical themes in literature had arisen in George Orwell’s dystopian1984 which futuristically described the division of the world into three enormous continental blocs: Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania. Similar themes can be encountered in the works of Arthur Kestler, Aldous Huxley, Raymond Abellio, etc. 

Jean Parvulesco made geopolitical themes central in all of his publications, thereby opening a new genre of “geopolitical fiction.” 

Parvulesco’s concepts can be summarized briefly by the following [20]: the history of mankind is the history of Power and authority. Various semi-secret organizations strive to access central positions in civilization, i.e., Power, the cycles of existence of which far exceed the duration of conventional political ideologies, ruling dynasties, religious institutions, or states and nations. The two organizations that have acted throughout history, albeit under different names, are distinguished by Parvulesco as the “Order of Atlanticists” and the “Order of Eurasianists.” Between these two forces rages a centuries-old struggle participated in by such disparate figures as the Pope, patriarchs, kings, diplomats, financiers, revolutionaries, mystics, generals, scientists, artists, etc. All socio-cultural manifestations, accordingly, boil down to primordial, albeit extremely complex, geopolitical archetypes. 

This is a geopolitical line pushed to the logical limit, the roots of which were even clearly traced by the rather rationalistic founders of geopolitics as such who were “foreign” to such “mysticism.” 

In Parvulesco’s plots, General De Gaulle and the geopolitics structures founded by him, which remained in the shadows after his presidency, play a central role. Parvulesco terms this “geopolitical holism.” Such “geopolitical holism” is the French analogue of the Haushofer school’s continentalism. 

The main task of the supporters of this line was the organization of the European continental bloc “Paris-Berlin-Moscow” and in this aspect Parvulesco’s theories interlock with the theses of the New Right and the National-Bolsheviks. 

Parvulesco maintained that the current historical stage is one of the culmination of centuries of geopolitical confrontation in which the dramatic history of the continental-civilizational duel will come to a head. He predicted the imminent emergence of the giant continental-scale construction of the “Eurasian Empire of the End” and the final showdown with the “Empire of the Atlantic.” He described this eschatological encounter in an apocalyptic tone as the “Endkampf” (“Final Battle”). Interestingly enough, the fictional characters of Parvulesco’s texts act side by side with real historical personalities, many of which the author maintained (and to this day still does) friendly relationships with. Among them are politicians from De Gaulle’s inner circle, English and American diplomats, the poet Ezra Pound, the philosopher Julius Evola, the politician and writer Raymond Abellio, the sculptor Arno Breker, various members of occult organizations, etc. 

Despite the fictional character of Parvulesco’s texts, they in fact possess relatively enormous geopolitical value, as a number of his articles published in the late ’70’s strangely enough accurately described the situation which prevailed in the world in the mid ‘90s. 

5. The Indian ocean as a path to world domination – Robert Steuckers 

The total opposite of the “geopolitical visionary” that was Parvulesco is the Belgian geopolitician and publicist Robert Steuckers, the publisher of the two prestigious journals Orientations and Vouloir. Steuckers approached geopolitics from a purely scientific, rationalist position and strove to liberate the discipline from what he deemed all of its “random” eccentricities. Following the logic of the New Right in an academic orientation, he nonetheless came to conclusions strikingly close to the “prophecies” of Parvulesco. 

Steuckers also believed that the socio-political and diplomatic projects of different states and blocs, no matter in whatever ideological form they are clothed in, represent veiled and temporarily indirect expressions of global geopolitical projects. In this phenomenon he saw the influence of the “Land” factor on human history, as man is a creature of the earth (created from earth). As follows, earth and space predetermine man in the most significant of his manifestations. This theory was the precursor of “geohistory.” 

For Steuckers, a continentalist orientation was a priority as he considered Atlanticism to be hostile to Europe and believed the fate of European prosperity to be connected with Germany and  [21]. Steuckers was an active proponent of Europe’s cooperation with Third World countries and the Arab world in particular. 

Along with this, he stressed the enormous importance of the Indian Ocean to the future geopolitical structure of the planet. He defined the Indian Ocean as the “Middle Ocean” located between the Atlantic and Pacific, strictly in the middle between the eastern coast of Africa and the Pacific zone home to New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Indochina. Maritime control over the Indian Ocean was considered to be a key position for geopolitically influencing three of the most important “large spaces,” i.e., Africa, southern-Eurasian Rimland, and the Pacific region. Hence the strategic priority attached to various small islands in the Indian Ocean, especially Diego Garcia which is equidistant from all coastal areas. 

Steuckers asserted that the Indian Ocean was the territory on which all of European strategy should be focused insofar as it is through this zone that Europe could influence the USA, Eurasia, and Japan all at once. From his point of view, the decisive geopolitical confrontation which would determine the future 21st century would unfold in precisely this space. 

Steuckers actively busied himself with the history of geopolitics and is the author of the article on geopolitics in the new edition of the Brussels Encyclopedia

6. Carlo Terracciano: Russia + Islam = the salvation of Europe 

A particularly active center of continentally-oriented geopolitics can be found in Italy. After the Second World War, the ideas of Carl Schmitt were more widespread in Italy than in any other European country, and thanks to this the geopolitical mindset is very common there. In addition, it was precisely in Italy that Jean Thiriart’s “Young Europe” movement and the ideas of continental National-Bolshevism were most developed of all. 

Of all the numerous political and sociological journals and centers of the New Right dealing with geopolitics, the Milanese “Orion” magazine, in which the geopolitical analyses of Dr. Carlo Terracciano were published regularly over the course of 10 years, is of particular interest. Terracciano professed the most extreme version of European continentalism most immediately congruent to Eurasianism. 

Terracciano fully accepted the map of Mackinder and Mahan and concurs with the rigorous civilizational and geopolitical dualism distinguished by them. Moreover, believing that the fate of Europe as a whole totally depends on the fate of Russia, Eurasia, and the East, he clearly stands on the side of heartland. For him, the continental East is a positive and the Atlanticist West is a negative. Radical approaches are exceptions among Europeans, even among continentally-oriented geopoliticians, and Terracciano does not put any accent on the special status of Europe, instead believing that it is a mere secondary point in view of the planetary confrontation of thalassocracy and tellurocracy. He fully subscribed to the idea of a united Eurasian State, a “Euro-Soviet Empire from Vladivostok to Dublin,” which brings him close to Thiriart. However, he does not share the “Jacobinism” and “universalism” inherent to Thiriart, instead insisting on ethno-cultural differentiation and regionalism which, in turn, brings him close to Alain de Benoist.

Terracciano underlines the centrality of the Russian factor which he combines with another interesting point – he believes that the most important role in the fight with Atlanticism belongs to the Islamic world, especially the anti-American regimes of Iran, Libya, Iraq, etc. This leads him to the conclusion that the Islamic world is, to a large extent, a proponent of continental geopolitical interests. He even considered “fundamentalist” versions of Islam to be positive in this regard. 

The ultimate formula which summarizes the geopolitical views of Dr. Terracciano is the following: Russia (heartland) + Islam vs. USA (Atlanticism, Mondialism) [22].

Terracciano saw Europe as the bridgehead of a Russo-Islamic anti-Mondialist bloc. In his opinion, only such a radical approach can objectively result in a genuine European renaissance. 

Terracciano’s views are shared by other associates of Orion and the intellectual center working at its base (including professor Claudio Mutti, Maurizio Murelli, the sociologist Alessandra Colla, Marko Battarra, etc.). A number of leftist, social-democratic, communist, and anarchist circles in Italy, the newspaper Umanità, and the journal Nuovo Angolazione have gravitated in this National-Bolshevik direction [represented by Terracciano].

Footnotes:

[16] Alain de Benoist “Les idess a l’endroit”, Paris, 1979

[17] Jean Thiriart “L’Empire Eurosovietique de Vladivistok jusque Dublin”, Brussell, 1988 

[18] Jordis von Lohausen “Mut zur Macht. Denken in Kontinenten”, Berg, 1978 

[19] Ibid

[20] Jean Parvulesco “Galaxie GRU”, Paris, 1991 

[21] Robert Steukers “La Russie, L’Europe et L’Occident” dans “Orientation” № 4 nov.-dec. 1983 

[22] Carlo Terracciano “Nel Fiume della Storia” in “Orion”, Milano, №№ 22 — 30, 1986 — 1987

 

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