Russia, Europe, USA and fundamental geopolitics

Published on Online Journal, by F. William Engdahl, Sep 5, 2008.

As details of the larger strategic picture emerge over what is at stake in the Georgia and larger Caucasus crisis it is becoming clearer that Moscow is determined to roll back not to the borders of Stalin and the Cold War of 1948. What Putin and now Medvedev have begun is a process of defusing the highly dangerous NATO expansion, led by the Washington warhawks since the end of the Cold War in 1990 …

… Eurasian geopolitics post 8-8-8:

This all leads us back to the consequences of the Russian response in Georgia after 8.8.08. What Russia has done by swiftly responding with military force, followed by the announcement by President Medvedev of Russia’s Five Points of Russian foreign policy, which some western commentators have dubbed the Medvedev Doctrine. The five points include, in addition to Russia’s reaffirmation of its commitment to the principles of international law, a simple statement that ‘the world should be multipolar.’


Medvedev notes, ‘A single-pole world is unacceptable. Domination is something we cannot allow. We cannot accept a world order in which one country makes all the decisions, even as serious and influential a country as the United States of America. Such a world is unstable and threatened by conflict.’ Then after stating its wish to have peaceful friendly relations with Europe the USA and others, and its intent to protect its citizens ‘wherever they may be,’ Medvedev comes to the decisive fifth point: ‘as is the case of other countries, there are regions in which Russia has privileged interests. These regions are home to countries with which we share special historical relations and are bound together as friends and good neighbors. We will pay particular attention to our work in these regions and build friendly ties with these countries, our close neighbors.’ [8]

If we follow the latest Russian foreign policy moves with the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as sovereign independent states, Russia’s August 29 agreement with Tajikistan that allows Russia to expand its presence at Tajikstan’s Gissar Airport. The fact of that agreement was a potentially devastating blow to Washington’s Eurasia geopolitical strategy. Tajikistan, a remote central Asian country with dependence on Russia for export of its uranium and dependent on heroin for much of its income, was drawing closer to a strategic link with Washington after 2005. In the wake of the Russian reaction in Georgia, Tajikistan’s dictator, President Emomali Rakhmon, clearly decided his best security guarantee lay in closer ties with Moscow not Washington.

The government of pro-NATO ‘Orange Revolution’ President Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine collapsed on September 3, when Yushchenko pulled out of the ruling coalition over the refusal of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to back the president in his support for Georgia and condemnation of Russia in the recent conflict over South Ossetia. Yushchenko accused Tymoshenko of ‘treason and political corruption,’ over her failure to back a pro-US stand. He also withdrew over new laws passed by Tymoshenko’s party in de facto coalition, stripping the president of his veto on prime ministerial candidates, and facilitating a procedure for impeaching the president. According to Russia’s RAI Novosti, Ukraine’s pro-Russian former prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, who heads the Party of Regions, has said that he does not rule out the possibility of forming a parliamentary majority with the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc. Such a move would likely remove from the discussion the entire issue of a Ukrainian application to join NATO.

American global strategy is in crisis, and this is clearly what Moscow has sensed. The United States has insufficient power to cope with the war in Iraq and increasingly in Afghanistan. Both were to have been an essential part of a US policy to militarily control Eurasian rivals, especially Russia and China. However, to act militarily beyond sabre rattling against Russia in Georgia has now been exposed for all Georgia’s neighbor states as essentially a US bluff.

Continuing the current US strategy means dealing with the war on Islam rather than the Russian one. The confluence of US presidential political posturing, a devastating US economic and financial crisis that is worsening by the day and the loss of credibility for US foreign policy around the world since the Bush administration came to Washington in 2001 have created the opening for other powers to begin to act on what would be Halford Mackinder’s worst nightmare: A Russian Heartland that is vital and that is able to forge strategic relationships, primarily not through guns as during the Cold War, but through economic and trade cooperation, with China, Kazakhstan and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Washington has made devastating strategic miscalculations, but not merely in Georgia. They began back in 1990 when there had been a beautiful opportunity to build bridges of peaceful economic cooperation between the OECD and Russia. Instead, George Bush senior and the US sent NATO and the IMF east to create economic chaos, looting and instability, evidently thinking that a better option. The next president will bear the consequences of having lost that opportunity. (full long text).

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