Putin announces his Eurasianist dream

October 4, 2011

Vladimir Putin is formally spelling out his vision for the future of Russian foreign policy.  Building upon the “common economic space” announced earlier this year with Kazakstan and Belarus, Putin has begun to spell out his plans for a Eurasian Union that would reunite the borders of the old Soviet Union under a different political structure.   Eurasianism has enjoyed a revival in recent years, and it has a long history among Russian geopolitical thinkers, and the ultimate goal would be to expend the cultural/political/economic space from Berlin to Beijing, with Russia dominating the region, both from its central geographic position and from its control over the vast Eurasian mineral resources and other natural riches.

Russia under Putin has been trying to reformulate classical geopolitics for half a decade.  Eurasianism is seen, by the Russians, as a rebuke to Atlanticism (manifested by the US dominated NATO) and as a direct challenge to the Globalization sponsored by the Atlanticist powers.   However, Russia has forever vacillated between its dual Western and Oriental outlooks.  A reformation of the Soviet Union under a looser confederation is not necessarily a geopolitical threat.  However, a sophisticated geopolitics (of which I believe Putin is eminently capable) would use Russia’s “energy weapon” to expand those old Soviet boundaries by drawing European states such as Germany into its orbit, and to forming a political condominium with China.   Such a formulation – combining the vast natural resources of the Eurasian Heartland with the immense populations of East Asia – is the nightmare scenario that has worried Anglo American strategists since MacKinder.   The need for energy already has the potential to drive Europe toward Moscow; a foolish currency war might provide more impetus for China to look that way, as well.   Let’s hope that calmer heads prevail – on the one front, avoiding the conflict with China, while on the other, moving to open up the tremendous North American energy reserves and thus to defuse the Russian energy weapon.   These are two clear policy goals that US leaders should coalesce around soon.

One comment

  1. […] to build a presence in both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; Russia retains a strong presence their, both economically and militarily, and the US remains engaged not only in Afghanistan but also in Kazakstan, Tajikistan […]

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