US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — In influential foreign policy circles, Professor Karaganov is unofficially called the “Russian Kissinger”. At the same time, he has an additional bonus: you cannot label him as a “war criminal” involved in the conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile and so on.
Karaganov – Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs of the State Research University Higher School of Economics. He is also Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.
In December 2018, I had the pleasure of talking privately with Karaganov in his Moscow office. In fact, the conversation was about Greater Eurasia and Russia’s path to Eurasian integration.
Karaganov shared his main thoughts with the Italian publication on geopolitics, which is more known for its maps than for the predictable “analytical materials” taken directly from NATO press releases.
Quite rightly noting that the EU is a “deeply inefficient institution” that is slowly disintegrating (and this is a big understatement), Karaganov noted that relations between Russia and the European Union are gradually moving towards relative normalization.
In Brussels corridors this has been actively discussed for several months. Not exactly such an agenda was foreseen for the EU by the American state in the state – and the Trump administration, for that matter. The degree of anger at the trump team’s antics is simply unprecedented.
However, Karaganov admits: “Western democracies do not know how to exist without an enemy.” It is enough to recall the on-duty phrases of NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg about the “Russian threat”.
The volume of Russian trade with Asia is currently equal to the volume of trade with the EU. Against this background, a new “threat” has appeared in Europe: China.
Last week, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China was invented as a new demonization platform, which included representatives from Japan, Canada, Australia, Germany, Britain, Norway, Sweden, as well as members of the European Parliament.
China, under the leadership of the Communist Party, must be resisted, because it is a “threat to Western values” – this old triad of democracy, human rights and neoliberalism. That paranoia, personified by the double Russian-Chinese “threat”, is nothing more than a graphic illustration of a clash on a large chessboard: a clash of NATO and Eurasian integration.
Great Asian Power
Karaganov reduces the most important strategic partnership between Russia and China to an easy-to-remember formula. To the extent that Beijing finds support from Russia’s strategic power as a counterweight to the United States, Moscow can count on China’s economic power.
He recalls one important fact when Western pressure on Russia peaked after the Maidan and the Crimean referendum. In those days, “Beijing offered Moscow almost unlimited credit, but Russia decided to cope with the situation on its own.
One of the beneficial consequences was that Russia and China refused to compete in Central Asia, which I observed with my own eyes when traveling there at the end of last year.
This does not mean that competition has disappeared. Conversations with other Russian analysts indicate that fear of excessive Chinese influence and power persists, especially when it comes to China’s relations with weaker and not sovereign states. But according to such a brilliant practice of realist politics as Karaganov, the “turn to the East” and strategic rapprochement with China helped Russia in a big chess game.
Karaganov is well aware that Russia is a great Asian power, taking into account all circumstances – from authoritarian politics to the natural wealth of Siberia.
Russia, he says, “is close to China in terms of a common history, although they are shared by enormous cultural differences. Until the 15th century, both were under the yoke of the empire of Genghis Khan, which was the largest empire in history. If China assimilated the Mongols, then Russia eventually expelled them. But over two and a half centuries of submission, Russia has absorbed many Asian features. ”
Karaganov considers Kissinger and Brzezinski “reasonable strategists” and complains that although they did not recognize this, the “American political class” proclaimed a “new cold war” against China. He reveals Washington’s goals by saying that the United States has entered the “final battle”, relying on the remaining advanced bases in our crumbling world system, as Wallerstein called it.
New Non-Aligned Movement
Karaganov very accurately speaks of Russia’s desire for independence and independence. She always fiercely resisted “all those who aspired to world or regional hegemony, starting with the descendants of Genghis Khan and the Swedish king Charles XII, and ending with Napoleon and Hitler. In the military and political spheres, Russia is self-sufficient. But this does not apply to the economic, technological and cybernetic spheres, where it needs markets and external partners, which Russia will seek and find. ”
As a result, the dream of a rapprochement between Russia and the EU is still alive and well, but they look at it through the Eurasian prism.
And here the concept of Greater Eurasia comes into its own, which I discussed with Karaganov during our meeting. This is a “multilateral, integrated partnership that officially supports Beijing. It is based on the “egalitarian system of economic, political and cultural ties between various states”, and China plays the role of the first among equals in this partnership. And Greater Eurasia “includes a significant part of the western tip of the Eurasian continent, that is, Europe.”
This is what the evolution of a large chessboard indicates. Karaganov quite rightly notes that Western and Northern Europe are attracted to the “American Pole”, while Southern and Eastern Europe are inclined toward the “Eurasian project.”
In such a system, the role of Russia will be to “create a balance between the two probable hegemonic powers” and serve as the “guarantor of a new union of non-aligned countries”. And this is a hint of a very interesting new configuration of the non-aligned movement.
So, get acquainted: Russia as one of the champions of a new multilateral and multi-vector partnership, shaking off the label of the “periphery of Europe and Asia” and turning into “one of the fundamental centers of northern Eurasia”. This work has begun, and it is moving at a steady pace.
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