SPIRITUAL AND GEOPOLITICAL RIVALRY AT THE BRINK OF THE XXI CENTURY
The concrete foreign policy of states and their alliances have always been the closest structure, although not always the most evident, that is linked to profound phenomena in world history involving the state of rises and falls in spiritual, and not exclusively material, driving forces of the global process. In this sense, Russia is a brilliant example. Located at the junction of world civilizations on the global island of the Eurasian continent, it has fulfilled a unique geopolitical mission during the centuries in being the bearer of global balance between the Christian and non-Christian worlds.
It is purely materialistic and atheist philosophy that can induce someone to believe that the world — our Lords creation — moves to one civilization model. A concept of a civilization has much more of religious and ethic dimensions rather than technological ones. The present stage of our planet displays an extraordinary complexity of national interests and common responsibilities. The interdependence of the world does not allow anyone to pursue a policy of national egoism. But it is exactly the compactness of the geopolitical room that imposes strict compliance with the traditional laws of the balance of power, for a vacuum of force or even of political will (the Russian case) immediately provokes natural pressure of surrounding interests. There are still ever standing geopolitical realities veiled only for the naive by the bias interpretation of the «universal human values».
Damascus and the Baghdad have been rivals ever since the days of Umayyads and Abbasids, and if brothers — poets singing humanism — were to come to power there, nothing would change but the rhetoric. Seoul fears Tokyo while Warsaw, torn between its Slavism and Latinism, easily intrigues against Russia from which it is bound to seek protection against Teutonic spirit.
The policy of «first-class» powers — the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan — shows that many invariable components of the attitude and national interests of the state do not depend very heavily on the nature of the regime existing there. Geographic location — navigable rivers, access to sea, ice-free ports, a defensible configuration of frontiers — and more importantly, geopolitical position — surrounding countries and civilisations, traditional policy and tendency to enter into alliances, potential conflicts — were as important to 18th-century monarchies as they are to 20th-century republics and mean as much to tyrannical regimes as to the most advanced law-governed democratic state.
The only way to grasp Russias national strategy and foreign policy tasks in order to bring about national rebirth and a global balance is to review the philosophical and civilizational aspects of the perceived process and driving forces of history and, above all, to have a panorama look on the role which Russia has played through centuries and must yet play in this process. The Orthodox Russia has hardly been part of West European civilization, which rests on Cartesian rationalist philosophy, the ideological stock-in-trade of the French Revolution (laissez passer — laissez faire) and the Protestant ethic of incentives for labour and the attitude to wealth. Orthodoxy explicitly rejects usury — the foundation of the West European type of market economy as a sin. Whereas Hegelian philosophy was a product of West European thinking, Dostoevskys ethics, which shook the world, was and could not but be a product of Orthodox consciousness with its primacy of moral over rational and political categories. But this lends different contents to all moral and political categories — freedom (from what or to what end), the attitude to the balance between positive and natural law, power, statehood, etc.
Too many in the West and ironically not in the East tend to use now the same marxist and leninist cliches about «Russian imperialism» the bolsheviks once introduced. But let exactly Europeans imagine what the map of the world would be like had not Orthodox Russia developed Siberia and the Far East, saving a much less tolerant latin Europe all the complexity of establishing modus vivendi and relations with other religious systems? What would have become Europe, seeing that the Ottoman Empire had reached the outskirts of Vienna, had not Russia «collected itself» to retrieve its rights lost in the Crimean War?
The transformation of Rus into the Russian Empire, to which European criteria hardly apply, was not determined by its establishing its sovereignty over many peoples. Unlike West European countries, Rus had been developing from the outset as a multiethnic and tolerant state. Its imperial conduct was a response to a historical challenge, for it was surrounded not by states but by different civilisations represented by the Qin dynasty in China, the Ottoman Empire and the imperial spirit of a «Latin», or non-Orthodox, Europe invariably hostile to Russias distinctiveness.
The great Russian historian of the past Sergey Solovyev defined the main course of history as the rivalry of civilizations — «the fight of Asian and European spirit». Our Lord placed Russia in the centre of this battle, for it has always meant East for the West, and West for the East. By smoothly combining Europe and Asia in itself through a tolerant Orthodox core, Russia eased their historical confrontation. The balance found by it turned out to be a quantity of global significance. For on becoming a gigantic Eurasian power at the function of the world civilisations in the geopolitical «heartland», Russia had set out to maintain a balance between East and West.
But now Russia is tottering, the balance has been upset, civilizations as well as states and alliances representing them have begun to move
- Russia in the New Geopolitical Context (part II)
- Эволюция режима Путина. Внутренний круг и внешние преграды.
- Центральная Азия и Кавказ: новое поле боя ("The Washington Quarterly", США)
- Центральная Азия и Кавказ: новое поле боя («The Washington Quarterly», США)
- Russia in the New Geopolitical Context
- Истоки поведения России
- В Нью-Йорке состоялась презентация книги «Город из стали. Сталинградская битва глазами британских и американских газет»