New Cold War
The New Great Game
Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.
Putin's plan is for the Eurasian Union to grow into a "powerful, supra-national union" of sovereign states like the European Union, uniting economies, legal systems, customs services, and military capabilities to form a bridge between Europe and Asia and rival the EU, the US, China, and India by 2015.
The strategy underlines China's push to take a larger role in global affairs, and the desire to coordinate manufacturing capacity with other countries in areas such as steel manufacturing.
One of China's key objectives for supply security in recent years has been to develop closer ties with Russia and Central Asian energy producing countries, such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Chinese national oil companies (NOCs) have invested heavily in Central Asian energy producing states, and built multiple oil and gas pipelines to the western part of China.
British cavalry charging against Russian forces at Balaclava in 1854
The vital question was how to secure control for the Heartland. This question may seem pointless, since in 1904 the Russian Empire had ruled most of the area from the Volga to Eastern Siberia for centuries. But throughout the nineteenth century: The West European powers had combined, usually successfully, in the Great Game to prevent Russian expansion.
While few have noticed, Central Asia has again emerged as a murky battleground among big powers engaged in an old and rough geopolitical game. Western experts believe that the largely untapped oil and natural gas riches of the Caspian Sea countries could make that region the Persian Gulf of the next century. The object of the revived game is to befriend leaders of the former Soviet republics controlling the oil, while neutralizing Russian suspicions and devising secure alternative pipeline routes to world markets.
Regarding the landmass of Eurasia as the center of global power, Brzezinski sets out to formulate a Eurasian geostrategy for the United States. In particular, he writes, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger should emerge capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America's global pre-eminence.
How America "manages" Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates "Eurasia" would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over "Eurasia" would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in "Eurasia", and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. "Eurasia" accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.
Well after the Cold War, Brzezinski opened his Grand Chessboard (1997) with the attribution to Eurasia of crucial geostrategic significance: "The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book" (xiv). In that book Brzezinski, in classical Spykman terms, formulized his geostrategic "chessboard" doctrine of Eurasia, which aims to prevent the unification of this megacontinent: Europe and Asia are politically and economically powerful... It follows that... American foreign policy must ... employ its influence in Eurasia in a manner that creates a stable continental equilibrium, with the United States as the political arbiter... Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played, and that struggle involves geo-strategy — the strategic management of geopolitical interests... But in the meantime it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America... For America the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia ... and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.
In 2012, the EU accounted for 52% of Russia's exports, 68% of which consisted of fuel and energy. Until the 2006 Russia-Ukraine energy crisis, stable interdependence was an article of faith that eased political tensions. On this positive basis, negotiations on a successor to the 1994 EU-Russia Co-operation Agreement began in 2008, and a Partnership for Modernisation was concluded in 2010.
Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas to Europe. A disruption of gas supply from Russia can cause huge damage to the European economy. ... The Russian gas industry depends on the European gas market because it is a main source of cash for Gazprom and correspondingly for investments in the Russian gas industry.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sharply criticized Russia Thursday, saying it is trying to "re-Sovietize" Eastern Europe and Central Asia. ... Secretary Clinton criticized Russian efforts to create a Eurasian Union, saying it is really an effort to re-assert Soviet-era controls on the region. She said the United States is working "to slow down or prevent it."
The transition of Afghanistan from a barrier separating rival empires to a bridgehead from which to further advance economic liberalization is key to maintaining US power. As Brzezinski indicated, 'the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy' (1997a, p. 51). This 'distribution of power' will favor those who dominate trade on the supercontinent. Striving to achieve US dominance over the process reconnecting Eurasia through Afghanistan and the Greater Central Asia region is a central component of this quest for power. The material reality is that the shortest routes between China and Europe, as well as between India and Russia, are via Afghanistan. As in previous imperial ages, the empire that achieves primacy is the one that, among other aspects of power, establishes itself as arbiter, builder, and protector of trade routes.
Russia will not tolerate any external interference in its domestic affairs, the Kremlin spokesman underscored.