* The inevitability of a Eurasian alliance *


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

The inevitability of a Eurasian alliance
written by: W Joseph Stroupe, 18-Aug-04

On this planet, there exists only one nation that is truly Eurasian, and that 
nation is Russia. Covering 11 time zones, Russia extends from Europe on the west
to the Asian Kuril Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk on the east. Western Russia is 
without a doubt European Russia. Central Russia is Central Asian Russia. And 
Eastern Russia is East Asian Russia. As such, geographically, culturally and 
economically, Russia exists as both the eastern half of Europe to make Europe 
complete, and as the top half of Asia, to make Asia complete. No other nation 
can lay claim to being thus truly Eurasian in nature. Hence, in the formation of
any Eurasian alliance, only Russia can play the key role to bring such alliance 
together into a reality. And only Russia can serve as the core of the alliance, 
around which the other members must revolve.

Russia possesses truly unique attributes, assets and abilities that, combined 
with recent global and regional developments and trends, place the country in an
exceptional position of opportunity, namely, to serve as the key player to give 
impetus to the formation of a Eurasian alliance. Russia's geography, as noted 
above, places it literally in a unique position to draw its European, Central 
Asian and East Asian neighbors together into an alliance. In the spheres of 
transportation and communication logistics and infrastructure, Russia's 
geography lends itself exceptionally well to the progressive tying together of 
the Eurasian landmass. That geography opens many realistic and practical 
possibilities for much deeper and profitable economic trade among all the 
potential partners across the Eurasian landmass. The much-desired creation of 
the so-called Silk Road, employing roads, railways and other infrastructure to 
make diverse connections among all the nations from China clear to Western 
Europe, is already well under way. Cooperation among the European Union, Russia,
the Central Asian states, India, China, Southeast Asia, Japan and the Koreas in 
the economic, diplomatic and even military spheres is continually deepening. For
all the players on the Eurasian landmass, the possibilities are many, great and 
very exciting.

The forces at work

There exist forces of mutual attraction drawing Europe and Asia together, as 
well as external forces driving them together. Additionally, a growing power 
vacuum left in the wake of the United States' economic, diplomatic and military 
decline, coupled with intensifying opposition to its increasingly militarized 
and unilateral foreign policy, is fueling a widespread and accelerating 
realignment of states on the Eurasian landmass, where such states increasingly 
pursue a course of greater independence from the US and a closer alignment with 
their Eurasian partners.

With regard to the decline of US military power, and the resulting power vacuum 
that currently exists and is growing, it is becoming clear that the United 
States, the last superpower, can no longer dictate and control global and 
regional events as it once did. In spite of America's exceedingly powerful 
high-tech military, it cannot control events in Iraq or Afghanistan to bring 
stability and peace. Matters are actually moving toward greater instability and 
even chaos in those two countries. This fact has regionwide, and even global, 
implications and repercussions. The aura of America's virtual omnipotence, 
backed by its unequaled military, has been severely tainted, and is collapsing. 
On display to the entire world at large is the inability of the military of the 
last superpower effectively to subdue and control, post-invasion, two small and 
relatively insignificant powers, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The past two years have demonstrated the very real limits of military power in 
general, and of the United States' military power in particular. Hence, the 
decline in America's military power is both real and perceived. It is real 
because the US lacks the sizable forces it once had, is seriously overdeployed 
and overstretched in its military commitments, and in various ways has shown it 
has pointed vulnerabilities to asymmetrical methods of attack. Its decline is 
perceived because that former aura of invincibility it once had has been 
removed. Both the perception and the reality of America's military decline is 
immensely important, for it gives various nations deep second thoughts about 
forming, or continuing, military agreements and alliances with the US. It also 
encourages certain other nations to purchase weapons systems and adopt 
strategies (including the making of alliances) designed to blunt, and even to 
cut short, America's military influence in their particular part of the world.

Additionally, the decline of the United States' diplomatic power is working in 
conjunction with the aforementioned decline in military power to cause a 
contraction of US influence throughout the Eurasian landmass, in spite of the 
proliferation of its military bases there. In only a few short years, the US has
been changed from the unquestioned global diplomatic leader into a supplicant 
that pleads and demands, but mostly does not receive, the tangible support of 
the international community, and has even been forced repeatedly to plead 
(unsuccessfully) of its own (previously) pet alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO).

The US, by all standards of measure, has been ravaged of its once-great 
diplomatic power, largely as a result of its own foolish squandering of such 
once-great power. And as that power and influence do rapidly contract, a 
diplomatic realignment of individual states and of existing alliances is 
occurring, as well as the significant formation of new alliances. This is 
manifesting itself as states and alliances (such as the European Union and NATO)
pursue a course of increasing independence from the US, and as some even pursue 
a course of direct opposition to the last superpower. The scale and depth of 
such independence from, and even direct opposition to, the US was unthinkable 
only a few years ago, but it is continuing to grow and even to accelerate.

America's economic decline both creates a power vacuum to disrupt the former 
pro-US alignment and stance of many states on the Eurasian landmass and exerts 
energetic influence to cause economic realignment along lines of independence 
from the US. The former comfort of having one's economic wagon hitched firmly to
the US economy as the sole leading global economic engine has rapidly turned to 
deep discomfort in the face of America's economic decline, the current US 
economic "recovery" notwithstanding.

Growing fear of US economic instability in the face of mushrooming debt and the 
bad, shortsighted economic policies coming out of Washington are motivating 
Europe and Asia to strengthen and deepen their own economic ties on many 
different levels. They are having to consider seriously what they would do if 
the US dollar collapsed, catching them in an unprepared state. They cannot 
afford the risk of seeing their own economies crash in the event that 
instability in the US economy becomes too great. Along those lines, as the 
global price of crude oil continues to climb, Eurasian observers note how the 
formerly renowned US economic stability and strength, as symbolized by the 
dollar, is becoming significantly unhinged, as the deep imbalances produced by 
massive US debt forcefully manifest themselves. Hence, in the atmosphere created
by US economic decline, Europe and Asia seek to solidify their own economic 
strength, significantly and intentionally independent of the US economy. Failure
to do so is not an option for Eurasia. Hence a number of positions have been 
recently taken which demonstrate these facts. The EU and Russia continue to 
pursue strategic economic cooperation even with those states labeled as "evil" 
by the US strategic economic ties between Europe, Russia, and Asia are quickly 
becoming very extensive.

Terrorism unites Europe and Asia

Europe and Asia are being drawn together in common interest to fight the plague 
of terrorism with a united effort. And their common philosophy and views of how 
to fight terrorism sharply differ from those of the US. They are less and less 
interested in cooperation with the US in militaristic efforts widely seen as 
destabilizing and which instigate more terrorism. Rather, they are progressively
coming to the conclusion that deeper and closer cooperation among themselves is 
the key to fighting terrorism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian 
Nations are two primary examples of cooperative organizations that address 
regional security and economic issues, and which cooperate on many levels with 
the EU. In the face of the threat of international terrorism, such cooperation 
between Europe and Asia is rapidly deepening, and will continue to develop. Each
terrorist attack of any proportions on the Eurasian landmass significantly 
increases the drive toward Eurasian unity in facing the terrorist threat. This 
is becoming a very powerful force to unite the states occupying the Eurasian 

The quest for energy security

As Asia accelerates down the path of industrialization, its quest for energy 
security has taken a leading role in governing politics, economics and 
diplomacy, bringing about an ever closer relationship with oil-rich Russia and 
with the energy-rich Central Asian states, which all have vast reserves of oil, 
gas, and strategic minerals. As US-instigated instability in the Middle East 
steadily increases, both Europe and Asia have focused much more attention on 
energy-related strategic cooperation agreements with Russia and the Central 
Asian states. This trend is set to continue and accelerate.

This is an extremely potent force drawing the EU and all of Asia toward Russia. 
Since Europe and Asia have no other viable and secure source of energy besides 
Russia (and the former Soviet Central Asian states), and the prospects for 
increased instability and uncertainty in the Middle East are great, then Russia 
will continue to be the focus of European and Asian efforts at creating energy 
security alliances and agreements. For example, both India and China are forming
such agreements with Russia and with the oil-rich Central Asian states. Thus 
crude oil will greatly "lubricate" the pathways of all Eurasian nations toward 
the creation of a Eurasian alliance. In the shared view of Europe, Russia and 
Asia, the unipolar world order of the last superpower is inequitable and 
unstable. As lesser powers, it is naturally in their interest to see the 
creation of a multipolar world order where their own power and influence are 
enhanced at the expense of the global hegemon, the US. Since the collapse of the
Soviet Union in 1991, the US has mostly acted so as to validate and justify 
their fears of unrestrained US global dominance. Hence the common world vision 
shared by Europe, Russia and Asia powerfully unites them, while it also greatly 
weakens remaining ties to the US itself. Geopolitically, movement in the 
international system is significantly away from the US, or at least along lines 
of significant independence from the US. Nations have embarked upon such a 
course and have benefited in various ways as a result.

Formerly, the predominant global view was that independence from, or even direct
opposition to, the US was virtual suicide. However, that fear-based view has 
recently been mostly discredited in favor of one that admonishes and encourages 
independence from the US in the diplomatic, economic and military spheres. The 
new philosophy is working quite nicely for those who have adopted it, and is 
progressively drawing power away from the US and placing it in the hands of 
weaker powers, which are learning to act collectively, to form meaningful and 
mutually beneficial alliances, in order to counterbalance, and even roll back, 
US global dominance.

America's global dominance is certainly at fundamental risk in the multitude of 
spheres detailed above, and powerful but more or less gradual forces at work at 
the elemental levels of the international system are steadily building pressure 
for fundamental reordering. At the present time there exists enormous pent-up 
pressure for such fundamental reordering. Additionally, the elemental and 
powerful, but gradual, forces identified here are unlikely to produce, all by 
themselves and gradually, the noted massive tectonic-plate shift in the 
geopolitical system, which plate shift we are identifying here as the formation 
and solidifying of a true Eurasian alliance.

However, at the fundamental level, the international system is actually being 
reordered in such a way as to facilitate such future massive plate shifts. As 
noted above, the existing elemental interconnections between figurative tectonic
plates are being both weakened and reoriented, and enormous pressures for 
massive change are steadily building beneath the surface. But until a pointed 
catalyst event, or a series of catalyst events, occurs that sufficiently 
disrupts those remaining elemental interconnections, then the massive shifting 
and reordering cannot occur; pressure will continue to build beneath the 
surface, however.

It will require a true earthquake in the geopolitical system to release the 
pent-up, steadily intensifying sub-surface pressures that have been building, to
cause the kind of upheaval and geopolitical reordering required to bring into 
existence a true Eurasian alliance. What kind of earthquake would be required? 
What are the chances that such an earthquake will occur? If it should occur, 
when is the likely time for its occurrence?

A geopolitical and/or global economic earthquake that further stresses the 
already strained global dominance of the US, and does so to a significant 
degree, would be required before the noted tectonic-plate shifts occur. And this
earthquake must also put at significant risk the economic and geopolitical 
security and well-being of the nations on the Eurasian landmass, such that the 
rapid solidifying of a new Eurasian alliance will be seen by Europe, Russia and 
Asia as absolutely vital, and as the only answer to the uncertainty and upheaval
caused by such an earthquake.

The potential already exists for such an earthquake, in that any number of 
crises in the making could erupt to trigger very significant global reordering. 
The Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, Iraq, Iran and the rest of the Middle 
East are all hotspots, any one of which definitely has the potential to create 
an earthquake of sufficient proportions to release all the pent-up sub-surface 
pressures for enormous change. There is even the distinct possibility that one 
region may explode into crisis, and thereby rapidly pull the other regions one 
by one into a vortex of crisis and upheaval.

What is very disconcerting for the US at the present time is the fact that, 
because of its already weakened influence, it manifests very little ability to 
control events, to marshal them in directions in which it wishes them to 
proceed. In Iraq for example, the US has clearly lost the political, diplomatic 
and military initiative, and is mostly floundering in the wake of its own 
ill-advised policies and actions there. Under the circumstances, the chance for 
a very significant explosion into a full-blown crisis is very great. If one 
merely stands back to observe the events and trends in all the hotspots 
mentioned above, a clear movement toward crisis, or at least toward significant 
loss of US influence and control of the respective situations, is evident. 
Movement in that troubling direction shows every sign of accelerating as well.

Sooner or later, a catalyst event, or series of events, will occur that sets 
loose the enormous pent-up forces to produce the tectonic-plate shifts noted 
here. That is when the Eurasian alliance, which is currently being prepared and 
is, in effect, waiting in the wings, will be definitely solidified. Massive 
geopolitical and global economic tectonic plates are currently moving against 
each other, with enormous sub-surface pressures building as a result. The 
movement of those plates cannot be stopped. Neither can their direction be 
changed. In the current enormously important transition period from a unipolar 
world order to a multipolar one, the forces for change can only intensify until,
at some point very soon, massive shifting and reordering is triggered by some 
crisis, or series of crises.

How do we know that trigger is most likely to occur soon, in mere months, 
perhaps even this autumn near the US presidential elections, for example? 
Because we can measure the intensity of the forces and the rapidity of the 
movement of events currently placing a terrific and increasing strain on the 
international order, and we can measure the intensity of those forces against 
the history of past tectonic-plate shifts to see that the current form of the 
international order cannot endure such strains for long. The interval of time 
until the massive plate shifts occur must be measured in months, and not in 
years. In the resulting geopolitical and global economic reordering of things, 
as a center of power, the approaching Eurasian alliance will be quite formidable

W Joseph Stroupe is editor in chief of GeoStrategyMap.com, an online 
geopolitical magazine specializing in strategic analysis and forecasting. He may
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