How did it come to this? Hop in for some essential time travel...
For centuries the
Silk Road, run by mobile nomads, established the competitiveness
standard for land-based trade connectivity; a web of trade routes
linking Eurasia to the - dominant - Chinese market.
Yet it didn't take much for imperial Beijing to conclude
that China was self-sufficient enough - and that emphasis should be
placed on land-based operations.
Until quite recently the latest chapters of this
Brave New World
were conceptualized by the Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman trio.
When you don't need to
maintain a large Eurasia land-based army, you exercise control by
dominating trade routes along the Eurasian periphery.
(Note: the Trump administration's attempt at
revival via the Quad - U.S., Japan, Australia and India).
Referring to U.S. competitors as having a shot at dominating the Eurasian landmass, Reagan gave away the plot:
Eurasia integration and connectivity is taking on many forms:
...and myriad other mechanisms, are
now leading us to a whole new game.
Both the western and eastern peripheries of Eurasia were
under tight Western control - in Germany and Japan, the two critical
nodes in Europe and East Asia. There was also that extra node in the
southern periphery of Eurasia, namely the energy-wealthy Middle
The primary aim, once again, was to prevent any possible convergence
of European and East Asian powers as rivals to the US.
That features the Russia-China strategic partnership, from energy to trade:
As Glenn Diesen formulates in his brilliant book, Russia's Geo-economic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia,
If the complex, long-term, multi-vector process of Eurasia integration could be resumed by just one formula, it would be something like this:
It's not enough.
Before the Trump inauguration, there was much debate in Washington about how Kissinger might engineer - for Trump - a "pivot to Russia" that he had envisioned 45 years ago.
This is how I framed the shadow play at the time.
In the end, it's always about variations of Divide and Rule - as in splitting Russia from China and vice-versa.
In theory, Kissinger advised Trump to "rebalance" towards Russia to oppose the irresistible Chinese ascension. It won't happen, not only because of the strength of the Russia-China strategic partnership, but because across the Beltway, neocons and humanitarian imperialists ganged up to veto it.
Brzezinski's perpetual Cold War mindset still lords over a fuzzy mix of the Wolfowitz Doctrine and the Clash of Civilizations.
The Russophobic Wolfowitz Doctrine - still fully classified - is code for Russia as the perennial top existential threat to the U.S.
The Clash, for its part, codifies another variant of Cold War 2.0:
Kissinger is trying some rebalancing/hedging himself, noting that the mistake the West (and NATO) is making,
Both Eurasianist Russia and civilization-state China are already on post-Westphalian mode.
The redesign goes deep. It includes a key treaty signed in 2001, only a few weeks before 9/11, stressing that both nations renounce any territorial designs on one another's territory. This happens to concern, crucially, the Primorsky Territory in the Russian Far East along the Amur River, which was ruled by the Ming and Qing empires.
Moreover, Russia and China commit never to do deals with any third party, or allow a third country to use its territory to harm the other's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
So much for turning Russia against China.
Instead, what will develop 24/7 are variations of U.S. military and economic containment against Russia, China and Iran - the key nodes of Eurasia integration - in a geo-strategic spectrum. It will include intersections of heartland and rimland across Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the South China Sea.
Heraclitus Defies Voltaire
Alastair Crooke took a great shot at deconstructing why Western global elites are terrified of the Russian conceptualization of Eurasia.
So it's Heraclitus versus Voltaire - even as "humanism" as we inherited it from the Enlightenment, is de facto over.
Whatever is left roaming our wilderness of mirrors depends on the irascible mood swings of the Goddess of the Market. No wonder one of the side effects of progressive Eurasia integration will be not only a death blow to Bretton Woods but also to "democratic" neoliberalism.
What we have now is also a remastered version of sea power versus land powers.
Relentless Russophobia is paired with supreme fear of a Russia-Germany rapprochement - as Bismarck wanted, and as Putin and Merkel recently hinted at. The supreme nightmare for the U.S. is in fact a truly Eurasian Beijing-Berlin-Moscow partnership.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has not even begun; according to the official Beijing timetable, we're still in the planning phase. Implementation starts next year. The horizon is 2039.
(Wellcome Library, London.)
This is China playing a long-distance game of go on steroids, incrementally making the best strategic decisions (allowing for margins of error, of course) to render the opponent powerless as he does not even realize he is under attack.
The New Silk Roads were launched by Xi Jinping five years ago,
It took Washington almost half a decade to come up with a response. And that amounts to an avalanche of sanctions and tariffs. Not good enough...
Russia for its part was forced to publicly announce a show of mesmerizing weaponry to dissuade the proverbial War Party adventurers probably for good - while heralding Moscow's role as co-driver of a brand new game.
On sprawling, superimposed levels, the Russia-China partnership is on a roll; recent examples include summits,
Were the European peninsula of Asia to fully integrate before mid-century - via high-speed rail, fiber optics, pipelines - into the heart of massive, sprawling Eurasia, it's game over.
No wonder Exceptionalistan elites are starting to get the feeling of a silk rope drawn ever so softly, squeezing their gentle throats...