The “Great Game” and the Conquest of Eurasia: Towards a World War III Scenario?

Mackinder's Geo-Strategic Nightmare

The "Great Game" and the Conquest of Eurasia: Towards a World War III Scenario?

“The great wars of history — we have had a world-war about every hundred years for the last four centuries — are the outcome, direct or indirect, of the unequal growth of nations, and that unequal growth is not wholly due to the greater genius and energy of some nations as compared with others; in large measure it is the result of the uneven distribution of fertility and strategical opportunity upon the face of our Globe. In other words, there is in nature no such thing as equality of opportunity for the nations. Unless I wholly misread the facts of geography, I would go further, and say that the grouping of lands and seas, and of fertility and natural pathways, is such as to lead itself to the growth of empires, and in the end of a single World Empire. If we are to realise our ideal of a League of Nations which shall prevent war in the future, we must recognize these geographical realities and take steps to counter their influence.”

 -Halford J. Mackinder (Democratic Ideals and Reality, 1919)

On September 17, 2009 there were public breaths of relief from citizens across the globe and the people of Eastern Europe as President Barack H. Obama declared that the U.S. missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic was being put aside. It seemed like the planet was headed towards peace. Conrad Black, in a Canadian editorial, has even gone so far as suggesting creating new spheres of influence in Eurasia with Moscow:

[W]e should then return to a benign version of the time-honoured art of partitioning Eurasia (but not Poland) with Russia. We should collaborate with Russia in suppressing extremism in the former Asian Soviet Republics, including Chechnya, and let them have the two provinces of Georgia they effectively seized in 2008, and the eastern, Russian-speaking half of the Ukraine and Belarus, if that is what those peoples want, and bring the rest definitively into NATO and the EU. [1]

Yet, the missile shield project near the Russian border is not being abandoned.[2] The American military project is being expanded just as it was originally planned in the 1990s. It will involve a naval armada of ships that will surround Eurasia from the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, South China Sea, and the Yellow Sea.

Land components of the missile shield will also be kept and expanded in the Balkans, Israel, South Korea, and Japan.

The chess pieces for a colossal geo-strategic project are being put into place and coming together. The ultimate goal of this project is the encirclement and control of Eurasia through the jackboots of an ever expanding military machine. While these developments are barely covered by the media, the fate of humanity literally hangs in the balance.

It is because of this project to conquer Eurasia that Russia, China, and Iran have moved closer towards one another and pushed for a united Eurasian front against America and its cohorts. All three Eurasian nations are encircled by a ring of U.S. military bases, military alliances dominated by the U.S. and NATO, and hostile governments supported and armed by both the U.S. government and military.

The war between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia, the terrorist attacks targeting Iranian border provinces, the tensions between North Korea and South Korea, the revolts in Western China, and the waves of so-called “coloured revolutions” from Lebanon and Moldova to Central Asia and Southeast Asia are an integral part of this geo-political confrontation. The global dimensions of this militarization process are not limited to Eurasia. From Central and South America to Africa, the Arctic Circle, and the Indian Ocean, the main ingredients for World War III are being assembled.

The Struggle between “Eurasianist” and “Westernist” Circles in the Kremlin

The narrative for lordship over Eurasia starts in many different places and times, but for all intents and purposes the halls of political power in post-Soviet Russia, in the Kremlin, after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the end of the Cold War have played a crucial role.

Russia from its re-emergence on December 26, 1991 was swamped with uncertainty. Its elites were faced with the question of succumbing even further to the U.S. and E.U. powers and either becoming their junior partner or a dependent state. The newly re-emergent Russia also faced all the conditions of economic and social collapse of the so-called “failed states.”

After the disintegration of the U.S.S.R., Western-oriented or Atlanticist policy and Eurasian-oriented policy were in conflict in Russia and other former Soviet republics as their leaders began to search for their places in the post-Cold War international order.

“Westernist” circles in the post-Soviet space were pushing for a strategic alignment with the West. They favoured a European-oriented policy, including some form of integration with the E.U., as well as a push towards the polity of Europe. On the other hand, “Eurasianist” circles were fostering a strategic cooperation with Asian powers as well as cooperation with Europe. This focus was motivated by the dual European and Asian character of the Russian Federation and post-Soviet space.

The Eurasianists also knew that the next century was to see the rise of China as a global superpower and that the Asia-Pacific region would be the centre of the global economy and international affairs.

Russia faced both Europe and Asia and both the Westernists and the Eurasianists where contending against one another in Russia’s policy circles and in the Kremlin.

With NATO expansion and the realization that the Russian Federation was being targeted by the U.S. the scales began to tilt in favour of the Eurasianists. The Eurasianist view and what would eventually be called the Primakov Doctrine would prevail over the “Europeanist” and “Westernist” policy cliques in Moscow.

The architect of the Primakov Doctrine was Yevgeny Primakov. Primakov was the Russian foreign minister from 1996 to 1998, and later would become the prime minister of Russia in 1998. Primakov put all his efforts into having Russia adopt a strategic policy of global multilateralism and for his idea of formulating a Eurasianist strategy as official Kremlin policy.

The Primakov Doctrine and the Eurasian Triple Entente

“Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.”

-Edward Wadie Saïd (Culture and Imperialism, 1993)

If the prospects of China becoming a global superpower are real, then the materialization of any solid Eurasian alliance comprised of Russia, Iran, India, and China would certainly give rise to a Eurasian “mega power.”

Such a Eurasian “mega power” would dwarf the U.S., hereto the soul global superpower. At best, America would become a secondary power like France, Britain, Germany, and Japan in present comparison to America. Within this context, the materialization of a strong Eurasian entity has historically been sabotaged, obstructed, and opposed by both British and American strategists in what is best described as an “Anglo-American” strategy in Eurasia.

Historically, London has always worked at pre-empting the rise of any strong rival power on the Continent (Eurasia). Halford Mackinder the so-called “father of geo-politics” was not the man who contrived or imagined these ideas, but he did articulate these characteristics of British policy. America has merely inherited this strategy.

An authentic Eurasian “mega power” would be a geo-strategic nightmare for the Anglo-American elites and their interests. In this context the deepening cooperation between Russia, China, and Iran can be called “Halford Mackinder’s geo-strategic nightmare.” The Primakov Doctrine in this sense is a Eurasian rebuttal to Mackinder’s admonition about the strategic threat to Britain and to similar players, like America, from a strong Continental actor.

In 1996, Russian decision makers realized that the Russian Federation was viewed more like a colonial territory to be divided into spheres than as an equal partner by the U.S. and Western Europe. Since then the Primakov Doctrine began gaining currency and establishing itself in Moscow. Under the Primakov Doctrine the leaders of the Kremlin were primed to establish a strategic alliance between Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi. Tehran was also looked at favourably as an additional fourth member to the Eurasian entente that Russia sought.

Primakov put emphasis on strategic coordination with Iran. Tehran, by extension of its geo-strategic importance and strength as the regional power of the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region, was eventually added into the framework of the Primakov Doctrine by the Kremlin’s Eurasianist foreign policy planners. From the seeds of the Primakov Doctrine, a reluctant coalition started to form between China and Russia that would later incorporate Tehran, while New Delhi cordially kept its distance.

The Shifting Global Balance: From “Coalition of the Reluctant” to “Global Counter-Alliance”

“We have a duty to remember that the causes of any war lie above all in the mistakes and miscalculations of peacetime, and that these causes have their roots in an ideology of confrontation and extremism. It is all the more important that we remember this today, because these threats are not becoming fewer but are only transforming and changing their appearance. These new threats, just as under the Third Reich, show the same contempt for human life and the same aspiration to establish an exclusive diktat over the world.”

-Vladimir Putin, 62nd Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (May 9, 2007)

The divisions that were perceived to have existed during the Cold War have not disappeared, they have been modified and transformed.  In Eurasia and beyond a “Coalition of the Reluctant” has evolved, from what was put together by mutual concerns, into a global counter-alliance. Russia, China, and Iran lead this coalition in Eurasia and the Middle East. In Latin America and the Caribbean it is Venezuela and Cuba that hold the banners of resistance to U.S. geo-political hegemony.

Within Eurasia the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (re-grouping Russia and several former Soviet republics)  have also been edging towards an eventual merger to counter-balance NATO. A group in the Western Hemisphere led by Venezuela, which can be called the Bolivarian Bloc, that was originally called the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas or ALBA (Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas) is also expanding in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Venezuela has joined the Eurasian coalition of Tehran, Moscow, and Beijing to form a “Global Quadrilateral” that includes Caracas and Latin America. The recent international tour of Hugo Chávez that saw him visit Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, Russia, Syria, Libya, and Portugal is part of this alliance. [3] While in Tehran, Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that Venezuela and Iran were working for a new and alternative global order.[4] Venezuela and Libya have also repeatedly called for the creation of a South Atlantic Treaty Organization amongst African and South American countries to counter NATO.[5]

The alliance between Venezuela and the Bolivarians in the Americas and the Eurasians is one that is formed by mutual resistance against America. According to the rhetoric of Senior Chávez and his Bolivarian allies their alliance is one that is against the “North American Empire” and its vassals. For over a decade Venezuela and the Bolivarian Bloc have been busy cementing what they call a “strings of steel” policy to solidify their links with their allies and partners in Eurasia and Africa.

Part II of this Text

The second part of this text will provide an overview of the multiple fronts of the current “Great Game” which constitutes the basis of the march towards a global war. It will examine the fronts in various geographic/geopolitical regions.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

NOTES

[1] Conrad Black, “Conrad Black: Israel’s morally inferior critics”, The National Post (Canada), June 5, 2010.
[2] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, “Did The Cold War End?” The Caucus, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Fall 2009): pp. 20-22.
[3] Sara Miller Llana, “Hugo Chávez embraces Iran and Syria, wins Russian support for nuclear program”, Christian Science Monitor, October 22, 2010.
[4] Robin Pomeroy, “Chavez and Ahmadinejad say united to change world order”, Reuters, October 21, 2010; Ian James , “Iran, Venezuela leaders seek ‘new world order’”, Associated Press (AP), October 20, 2010.
[5] “Venezuela summit criticises West”, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News, September 27, 2009; Steven Bodzin and Daniel Cancel,  “Chavez, Qaddafi Seek Africa-South America NATO, Bank”, Bloomberg, September 27, 2009; “President Chávez is Due in Libya this Saturday”, Tripoli Post, October 24, 2010.

About the author:

An award-winning author and geopolitical analyst, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy.

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