The retired brigadier general of the Pakistani army, who served there for 33 years, very peculiarly assesses the prospects of Eurasia, justifying his theory of the geostrategic structure, which he calls the ‘devil’s triangle’. There are Russia, Europe, China, and, of course, Pakistan. But in a strange way, the United States, about which the author writes no less, is not present in this “triangle” …
From a political point of view, if ever there was a supercontinent, then this is Eurasia. This fact was recognized over a century ago, when it was called the Heart of the World. Throughout history, she has witnessed the rise of global forces such as the Mongols, Ottomans, Russian tsars, and the communist Soviet Union. When the European powers were engaged in the colonial conquests of Asia and Africa, the strategy was determined precisely by the fear of imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. The collapse of the USSR is in many respects conditional, as the peoples of Central Asia are still subject to Russian influence through centuries-old trade, a mixture of nationalities, a common language and an imperial control system.
But Eurasia is split too. After the collapse of the USSR, most of the republics of Eastern Europe chose Western Europe. The main reason was the quality of life. Although Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia disintegrated themselves, the leitmotif never changed. Not a single former Soviet republic wanted to enter into an alliance with the imperial power, which held back the development of its human resources and political economy. Ultimately, even Russia adopted the capitalist economy.
Between Europe and the United States, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, a kind of tug of war began, when Ukraine, which became that rope, came into motion. The Western-imposed revolution of pogroms in Ukraine was repulsed in Russia when it occupied the Crimea. The vacuum formed in Eastern Europe due to Russia’s neglect gradually fills Turkey under the banner of religion and past heritage. There are significant groups of ethnically Türkic Europeans, rallied by Ottoman / Türkic identity.
In the work of Zbigniew Brzezinski, A Geostrategy for Eurasia (“Geostrategy for Eurasia”) the region is described as the “axial Eurasia”. Back in 1997, the world was unipolar, and he stressed that the time had come for the United States to develop a comprehensive and comprehensive strategy for Eurasia. The message was well received on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon and in Western Europe. Former Eastern European countries were integrated into the European Union, and some also became part of NATO. The expansion of the West to the East began, in the direction of the soft underbelly of the Russians. The countries that were captives of the Warsaw Pact and authoritarian communist regimes were more than happy to do so. And finally, Russia has set the checkmate and mate of this expansion, taking control of the Crimea. This is the European pillar of the intricate geostrategic design, which I call the devil’s triangle.
But the Central Asian republics are deprived of the luxury of Eastern Europe. They are squeezed between a resurgent Russia, a growing China, whose main concern is trade power, a rising Turkey, which again cherishes Ottoman dreams, a politically torn Iran and an unstable Afghanistan. They are landlocked geographically, isolated politically, are pawns strategically and economically poor. By Brzezinski’s own admission, Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world’s population, 60 percent of GNP and 75 percent of energy resources. His assessment is exaggerated because he represented the situation in the fight against the growing dominance of China, Russia and India. The central part of Eurasia, although rich in resources, is economically backward and geographically isolated.
In the Middle East, the selection matrix is simple. The entire Middle East is either under the influence of the United States, or mired in turmoil. This is containment through brute force and hybrid conflicts. The rich Arab world, instead of spreading the fruits of its wealth among the poorer Arab countries, more often sponsored non-state actors (read, their proxies – author’s note) to destabilize the countries that oppose them. Perhaps most of all from the Middle East exodus Germany won. It absorbed the rich social capital of migrants. Following the example of the Turks, they will return to produce a quiet Syrian revolution.
Taking advantage of this iniquity, the three former empires raised their stakes. This is Russia, Turkey and Iran. This strategic front, so beloved by Admiral Mahan and Brzezinski, is the second vertex of the devil’s triangle.
This aspect ensures the formation of a new Middle East, bordering Iran
and Turkey with the Central Asian republics, as well as some of the old
Ottoman colonies in Eastern Europe. In Asia, the struggle between
peoples under the influence of the Turks, Persians and Russians is in
full swing. To revive the former glory of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has
already become a regional economic and political power. In 2013,
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu developed this vision, saying:
“The past century was for us just a bracket. We will close this bracket.
We will do this without entering into a war and without calling anyone
an enemy, without disrespecting any boundaries; We will again connect
Sarajevo with Damascus, Benghazi with Erzurum and Batumi. This is the
core of our strength. It may look like different countries to you, but
110 years ago, Yemen and Skopje were part of the same country, as well
as Erzurum and Benghazi. ” It seems likely that Turkey may move closer
to Russia in order to eventually balance American-European domination in
the Middle East and Eastern Europe. While the Arabs, despite the rich
history, gave way to the leadership of the United States, Turkey is
becoming the new center.
Opinions in the US and Europe are divided. President Trump criticized the contribution of European countries to NATO. He withdraws from Syria two thousand experts on terrorism. American strategists fear that it may upset the system, painstakingly and reasonably built over the last century. It is almost impossible for them to allow the president to do this. In pursuing the same goals, he will try to do everything in his own way.
The third vertex of the triangle – Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan has survived almost four decades of civil war. After the September 11 attacks, the country became the outpost of US-European structures. NATO gradually retired, leaving the United States alone with his dream. Pakistan, searching for a new identity, refused to become a launching pad for American interests if its own interests and concerns about India were not satisfied. India with the consent of the United States quickly moved to Afghanistan. The punishment came in the form of a decade of terrorism. Pakistan’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies have prevented this threat. However, this violence, which has lost its goals, has become a hybrid conflict. In this conflict it is necessary to fight the whole country. But the main problem is that the government lacks management skills. Pakistan lacks independent influence to play a role similar to that of Turkey. The house is a mess and there is no clear political vision.
But this instability is suitable for international projects. As long as Afghanistan remains unstable and Pakistan is busy resolving the problems created by its own hands, both Russia and China can be under control.
So what is the Afghan peace process? 100 years ago, the United States was an isolated country. The two wars and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan created opportunities for asserting their global role. The basis of the Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation was an alliance with the Americans. Then the United States abandoned them. After September 11, they became enemies, but continued to resist. The United States now wants to once again attract old acquaintances to its side. But historical memories are clouded by decades of bloodshed. Can this be done? Some clues may appear during the announcement of an eagerly anticipated message from President Trump to Congress.
At the same time, such a thing as strategic planning has a strange feature. The more you try to change something, the more pieces remain in their places.
But, of course, Russia, China and Turkey are seriously determined to make the world multipolar. The Doctrine “One Belt, One Way” is the spear tip of non-military means of combat. President Trump’s trump card can be right here.