Posts Tagged ‘Dugin’

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Putin’s Eurasianism

March 3, 2014

I have posted several times on Eurasianism and Russian geopolitical thinker Aleksander Dugin.  Students of either are unsurprised by Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.  Dugin has always seen the world as a contest between land and maritime powers, and the contemporary world as a contest between Russian-led Eurasianism and Anglo-American Atlanticism.  Ukraine is and always has been a core geopolitical interest for Russia, and she was never going to meekly allow that nation to simply walk away from Russia and become a member of The Atlantic Alliance.  The current crisis, or something like it, would be fully anticipated by Long Cycle Theory as a part of the Coalitioning phase.

Writing at National Review, Bob Zubrin has a brief but acceptable review of Dugin’s theories.  Read it, and the various posts I have made on Dugin and Eurasianism, to get a handle on the deeper geopolitical meanings of the current situation.

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Classical geopolitics and energy geopolitics: a state of play

February 2, 2012

One of the earliest theoretical disputes in classical geopolitics was the relative value of sea power vs. land power.  Alfred T. Mahan was a proponent of the primacy of sea power, while Halford MacKinder believed that if any nation was able to obtain primacy in the Eurasion heartland, then the corresponding landpower would overwhelm the advantages of seapower.

From the perspective of Long Cycle Theory, the conflicts of the modern world system have always been between a sea power and a land power – and the dominant power has always been the nation that can rule the waves.

Nor is this dichotomy is not limited to Anglo American perspectives on geopolitics and hegemonic power.   Russian geopolitical theorist Aleksander Dugin argues that it is the core of international conflict (he uses the terms “thalassocracy” for sea power and “telluocracy” for land power) and, in a geographically deterministic conclusion, contends that the two different positions create profound cultural differences that will always be in conflict.

In the original dispute between Mahan and MacKinder, the latter feared that the connecting of the Eurasion Heartland via a network of railroads would give the land power a mobility equal to or surpassing that of the naval powers; that a land power would be able to project power as efficiently as formerly only sea power could, and that would allow a nation to dominate all of Asia and bring its vast resources to bear in creating an inexorable global empire.

Today, the Eurasian Heartland and its vast resources are once again the field of contest among great powers.  The technology brought to bear has changed, however.  Whereas a century ago, it was railroads pitted against battleships, today it is pipelines vs. super tankers.  The resource of primary interest in Central Asia is energy – oil and natural gas resources that the energy-dependent economies of the world hunger and thirst for.  The pipelines would seem to have the upper hand, as described in the purple prose of Pepe Escobar, who foresees a MacKinderian nightmare of an Asia integrated on energy trading that he dubs “Pipelineistan.”

Escobar’s vision would be a nightmare development for the West.  Europe would be dependent on Russia for energy and the United States would be marginalized.  It is through this lens that Escobar understands US military and foreign policy, and he may be correct.  But, the shale revolution may completely reshuffle the deck.  The gas bonanza that hydraulic fracturing promises would collapse the price structure on which the intricate network of pipelines depends; it is conceivable that, within 25 years, the United States could at once become the world’s greatest consumer, producer and exporter of energy.  The Pipelineistan behemoth would be stillborne, and the US would remain the world’s greatest power.  All that such an outcome requires are the proper policy decisions in Washington, DC over the next decade.