The US’s Ukraine Fiasco: End Of Empire?
S.J. Kowalski, March 11, 2014
The current Ukraine crisis can be best understood, in my opinion, by understanding the geo-strategy of the United States. In my opinion, the script can be found in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. We must remember that Brzezinski is the foreign policy eminence grise for the Obama administration.
The developing New Cold (Hot?) War between the United States and Russia over the US-engineered Ukraine regime change can best be understood if one understands that Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives provides the fabric and context for the America’s Eurasian geopolitical strategy. The following quotes from the Introduction clearly demonstrates what Zbigniew wishes to accomplish:
- “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power,”
- “The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power [the United States] has emerged not only as the key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world’s paramount power.”
- “Eurasia [after the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union – Zbigniew’s words], however, retains its geopolitical importance. Not only is its western periphery – Europe – still the location of much of the world’s political and economic power, but also its eastern region – Asia – has lately become a vital center of economic growth and rising political influence. Hence the issue of how a globally engaged America copes with the complex Eurasian power relationships – and particularly whether it prevents the emergence of a dominant and antagonistic Eurasian power – remains central to America’s capacity to exercise global primacy.”
- “Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played, and that struggle involves geostrategy – the strategic management of geopolitical interests.” “A half century later, the issue has been redefined: will America’s primacy in Eurasia endure, and to what ends might it be applies?”
- “The ultimate objective of America’s policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community, in keeping with the fundamental interests in humankind. But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging
- America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.
Brzezinski’s geo-strategy has the following key points:
- The over-arching objective of his strategy is the control of the world by the United States. [Tausendjähriges Reich]
- Brzezinski is a follower of Harold Mackinder who in 1904 in his The Geographical Pivot of History propounded: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; Who rules the World-Island commands the world.
- “The key players are located on the chessboard’s west [Western, Central, and Eastern Europe], east [China. Japan, South Korea], center [Russia], and south [India, Iran, and Turkey].” [Does the list have any surprises?]
A reasonable question to ask: Why does the US need such a geo-political strategy? Here are some additional quotes from The Grand Chessboard:
- “Eurasia is also the location of most of the world’s politically assertive and dynamic states. After the United States, the next six largest economies and the next six biggest spenders on military weaponry are located in Eurasia.”
- “Cumulatively, Eurasia’s power vastly overshadows America’s. Fortunately for America, Eurasia is too big to be politically one.” [This was true in 1997, but is not true in 2014.]
- “Compounding the dilemmas facing the American leadership are the changes in character of the global situation itself: the direct use of power now tends to be more constrained than was the case in the past. Nuclear weapons have dramatically reduced the utility of war as a tool of policy or even as a threat. The growing economic interdependence among nations is making the political exploitation of economic blackmail less compelling. Thus maneuver, diplomacy, coalition building, co-optation, and the very deliberate deployment of one’s political assets have become the key ingredients of the successful exercise of geostrategic power on the Eurasian chessboard.
- “A geostrategic issue of crucial importance is posed by China’s emergence as a major power.”
- “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario [working against US hegemony] would be a grand coalition of China, Russia and perhaps Iran, an “antihegemonic” coalition united not by ideology but complementary grievances.” [While in 1997, an alliance of Russia, China, and Iran was not even a glitter in one’s eye, today, there is some such alliance of the three probably through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).”
- “However, a coalition allying Russia with both China and Iran can develop only if the United States is shortsigthed enough to antagonize China and Iran simultaneously.” [Guess what Mr. Brzezinski. The collective group of succesive American president’s have smilingly did just that.]
- “But the long-range task remains: how to encourage Russia’s democratic transformation and economic recovery while avoiding the reemergence of a Eurasian empire that could obstruct the American geostrategic goal of shaping alarger Euro-Atlantic system to which Russia can then be stably and safely related.” [Russia was an American “poodle” during the Yeltsin years, and, somewhat, during the Medvedev presidency. Under Putin, and especcially after his re-election to the presidency, Brzezinki’s fanciful fantasy has been dashed. Currently, we can see Brzezinski’s hysterical responses relative to the Ukraine fiasco in various news media.]
- “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia.”
Emmanuel Todd’s AFTER THE EMPIRE: The Breakdown of the American Order is a must read for a superb analysis of all of America’s strategy of hegemony and why it will fail. Regarding Brzezinski’s The Grand Chessboard, Mr. Todd comments as follows:
“Brzezinski’s plan is clear and concise even if he suggests that wiping out Russia is for its own good. He proposes bringing Ukraine into the occidental fold and using Uzbekistan to pry Central Asia out of Russia’s control. He does not say that encircling Russia need necessarily lead to a breakup of the heart of the country. His high strategy does not forego a minimum of diplomatic caution. But there are things even more unspeakable. Brzezinski does not broach the subject of America’s economic inefficiency and the necessity for the United States to insure control over the world’s wealth through political and military means. However, his geopolitical experience does lead him to formulate this vital matter indirectly, first by underlining the fact that the bulk of the world’s population is in Eurasia, and second by pointing out that the United States is a long way from Eurasia. Read: Eurasia supplies the influx of goods and capital that are indispensable for maintaining the standard of living of all Americans, from the overclass to the plebeians.”
Mr. Brzezinski provided the United States with a strategy that would, if successful, insure the country’s long-term economic viability. But, only a fool would not recognize that, at best, his strategy was a desperate gamble with questionable odds. Mr. Brzezinski’s intricate strategy has been followed since the break-up of the Soviet Union. What Mr. Brzezinski has not articulated was the need for a competent leader who would execute this complex strategy from the time of Soviet Union break-up until the US has complete hegemony over Eurasia. In my opinion, the only world leader who could accomplish the above was the 19th century Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck was an exceptionally outstanding leader and a very astute practitioner of realpolitik. I have a feeling that Henry Kissinger would agree with me. Alas, the US does not have an Otto von Bismarck.
The above summary must be recognized as an abbreviated look at Brzezinski’s geo- strategy. A reading of his well-written The Grand Chessboard will be both illuminating and educational.
The recent coup of the Ukrainian government by the US and its shady accomplices looks to me as being incompetently developed, and, certainly, must have assumed that Russia would sit by as an American “poodle”. Obviously, the US was mistaken. It crossed Putin’s “red-line”, and now Russia is strongly ensconced in the Crimea. Vladimir Putin
is an outstanding leader, arguably, the best in the contemporary world. If the US masterminds had a fraction of his leadership ability, they would have easily recognized that Putin would not gratuitously give up the Crimea to the United States. Now, the United States is backed into a corner. If the US is not successful with its Ukrainian gambit, the world will see it as a decaying superpower. The US has no means, even conventional war, which will give it success in the Ukrainian fiasco. Will it, as a “cornered-rat”, do something as irrational as start a nuclear war? In my opinion, this risk is not zero.