Grand Reversal

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy

GRAND REVERSAL RUSSIAN GLOBAL ASCENDANCY Portraying and analyzing the nearly-completed Geopolitical Grand Reversal of Russia Along with its strategic partners in Energy-based ascendancy Over the West

A graphical depiction with textual analyses and a forecast of near-future developments

By W. Joseph Stroupe August 31, 2006

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy

Copyright © 2006 by W. Joseph Stroupe All rights reserved First edition ISBN-13: 978-0-9789068-1-8 ISBN-10: 0-9789068-1-0

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(eBook) (eBook)

Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy

Grand Reversal Russian Global Ascendancy When the US presided over the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, leaving a severely weakened Russia to stand on the very precipice of a chaotic collapse, and the US took up the position of unquestioned global dominance few imagined the possibility of a grand geopolitical reversal, wherein Russia (acting in concert with an array of strategic partners) would rise to global energy-based ascendancy over a severely weakened US. However, just such a stunning Grand Reversal is currently underway. In fact, it is nearly completed. The implications for the current world order and for the West are gargantuan, to say the least. Both Europe and the US have already forfeited their independent economic and political might. Europe’s forfeiture comes principally as a result of its growing, irreversible dependency on foreign gas, and the US forfeiture comes principally as a result of its gross and irreversible (anytime soon) twin dependencies (1) upon foreign financing of its colossal debt and (2) upon foreign oil. The West’s loss of independent economic and political might translates to the geopolitical ascendancy of the multifarious East for the simple reason that it now firmly holds the key levers over the economies of the West. The multifarious East constitutes Russia as the nucleus, key oil and gas producers the world over, and the key rising powerhouse economies of the East such as China, India and others who have gathered around the Russian nucleus. A few key Western economies are being ushered, to varying degrees, into Russia’s new rising multifarious East. Germany is one example. How real and how imminent is the threat of an energy-based economic checkmate of the West? At the August 29, 2006 Purdue University Summit on Energy Security, keynote speaker US Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana expressed the acute fear that the US would act much too late to prevent what he called “the severe economic and national security consequences of our oil dependence”. Senator Lugar went on to note that the rapidly rising economies of the East, such as China and India, are creating a global situation wherein the oil and gas needs of the West are Page 3 of 26

Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy progressively taking a back seat to those of the rising economies of the East. That is occurring as those rising powers in the East search for and consolidate their grip on an ever greater portion of global supplies while simultaneously the West’s influence over and access to the world’s oilproducing states wanes. Senator Lugar concluded: “In the long run we will face the prospect that the world’s supply of oil may not be abundant and accessible enough to support continued economic growth in both the industrialized West and in large rapidly growing economies [in the East].” [Bold italics added] Senator Lugar then proceeded to make further significant points which he labeled as points three through six. He said: ¾

“Third, adversarial regimes from Venezuela, to Iran, to Russia are using

energy supplies as leverage against their neighbors. We are used to thinking in terms of conventional warfare between nations, but energy is becoming a weapon of choice for those who possess it.” ¾

“Fourth, the revenues flowing to authoritarian regimes often increase

corruption in those countries and allow them to insulate themselves from international pressure and the democratic aspirations of their own peoples. We are transferring hundreds of billions of dollars each year to some of the least accountable regimes in the world. Some are using this money to invest abroad in terrorism, instability, or demagogic appeals to populism.” ¾

“Fifth, the threat of climate change has been made worse by inefficient

and unclean use of non-renewable energy. In the long run this could bring drought, famine, disease, and mass migration, all of which could lead to conflict and instability.” ¾

“Sixth, much of the developing world is being hit hard by rising energy

costs, which often cancel the benefits of our foreign assistance.”

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“Each of these six threats from energy dependence is becoming more acute as time passes. Any of them could be a source of catastrophe for the United States and the world.” [Bold italics added] Under the subheading of “The Vulnerability of a Superpower” Senator Lugar said the following: “The vulnerability of the United States rests on some basic factors. With less than 5 percent of the world's population, our nation consumes 25 percent of its oil. World demand for oil and other forms of energy is rapidly increasing. Within 25 years, the world will need 50 percent more energy than it does now. If oil prices average $60 a barrel through 2006 -- a figure that we are currently well above -- we will spend about $320 billion on oil imports this year. This is roughly the same amount that the United States has spent on the war and reconstruction effort in Iraq during the first three years of conflict.” “These conditions might be negotiable in the short and medium terms if oil resided with responsible, secure producers who maximize production during periods of elevated demand. But just the opposite is true. According to PFC Energy, about 79 percent of the world's oil supply is controlled by state-run oil companies. These governments profoundly affect prices through politicized investment and production decisions. The vast majority of these oil assets are afflicted by at least one of three problems: lack of investment, political manipulation, or the threat of instability and terrorism.” “As recently as four years ago, spare production capacity exceeded world oil consumption by about 10 percent. As world demand for oil has rapidly increased in the last few years, spare capacity has declined to less than 2 percent. Thus, even minor disruptions of oil can drive up prices.”

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“Our current dependence on imported oil has put the United States in a position that no great power should tolerate. Our economic health is subject to forces far beyond our control, including the decisions of hostile countries. We maintain a massive military presence overseas, partly to preserve our oil lifeline. One conservative estimate puts U.S. oil-dedicated military expenditures in the Middle East at $50 billion per year. But there is no guarantee that even our unrivaled military forces can prevent an energy disaster. We have lost leverage on the international stage and are daily exacerbating the problem by participating in an enormous wealth transfer to authoritarian nations that happen to possess the commodity that our economy can least do without.” [Bold italics added] Based entirely on the irrefutable evidence at hand therefore, the warnings, analyses and forecasts regarding the current perilous economic and political position of the West carried within this document are, not sensationalism, but rather the dispassionate realism that must be faced, sooner rather than later. The current world order is undergoing fundamental geopolitical transition as the meteoric rise of the multifarious East alters the global energy security, economic and political landscapes. What kind of new configuration is arising for the world order?

The Transition to Which Configuration? To Multipolarity or to Asymm·Plexity (asymmetrical bipolar complexity)? “Multi-polarity” has increasingly been trumpeted by Russia, China and many others since the mid-1990’s as the most desirable and equitable configuration for the world order. Multipolarity is seen across much of the globe as the most attractive replacement for US-dominated unipolarity. Does it really matter? Are unipolarity and the US-centric world order really at risk? Indeed, yes. The fundamental configuration of the world order is rapidly undergoing transformation as US power and influence continue their progressive dilution in all spheres and those of rival

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy centers or poles such as Russia and China are becoming ever more concentrated, thanks in no small measure to their advancing control over strategic energy resources. Control over strategic resources has become the primary lever to increased global influence for those powers either rich in such resources or closely allied with those who are. Hence, in the insidious and perceptible rebalancing of global power, moving from inordinate concentration in one pole (the US) to distribution among rival poles (Russia, China and others) we are witnessing the arising of a new world order. However, what will its true configuration turn out to be? Fundamentally, multi-polarity simply means multiple poles, or centers of power, distributed widely and more equitably across the globe, with no single pole inordinately dominating the others. However, does the term “multi-polarity” accurately describe the configuration of the new world order that is now arising? Or is its real configuration developing into something quite different than mere generic “multi-polarity”? The concept of multi-polarity does not properly take into consideration a recent and ongoing development of fundamentally enormous significance – the re-division of most of the world order into two camps, East and West, with control over strategic energy resources as the primary dividing line between the two camps. Even the so-called Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) consisting of 116 developing nations, most of the world’s authoritarian governments and two-thirds

Centers of power (“poles”) are not truly discrete, nor do they become evenly distributed across the entire international

of UN membership, generally takes

system. Rather, lesser poles tend to align

stances independent of, or even against,

with or even to orbit greater ones, causing

the US pole, thus most often in de facto

power to coalesce principally around the

alliance with East rather than West.

two foremost poles, Anglo-America and

Notably, NAM has come down on Iran’s

Russia-China, thereby causing a reversion

side in the ongoing nuclear dispute,

to bipolarity. “Multi-polarity” is both a

reaffirming Iran’s right to domestic

misnomer and a delusion

enrichment activities, to the pointed chagrin of the US. Significantly, a large portion of the member nations of NAM possess great deposits of strategic energy and mineral resources of very high value.

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy Thus, simple multi-polarity allows for the fundamentally erroneous assumption that all the poles or centers of power are discrete, that each pole is virtually isolated from the gravitational effects of other poles. In the real world such is certainly not the case. Any pole or center of power that achieves a noteworthy degree of power and influence tends to pull or attract other centers of power toward itself – especially those in proximity to it, whether geographically or geopolitically speaking. Furthermore, that rising pole tends to draw additional power from the poles that begin to lean inward, as it were, toward it, thus fueling an accelerated rise of the more prominent pole. The result is a new center of power that is complex in nature, with many lesser poles in array around one or two greater poles in the core of the newly arising center of power. A prime example of the above is the Russia-China axis that is rapidly attracting into array around itself many lesser but significant poles. Another example is the US-British pole that also still retains, to varying degrees, some lesser poles in array around itself. As noted above, these two poles (Russia-China and America-Britain) each possess a gravitational pull of such force that no other on the globe can lay claim to, and the dividing line between the two poles has become control over strategic energy resources. Consequently, the new configuration of the arising world order is fundamentally bi-polar in nature. Just two rival primary poles increasingly dictate, by their gravitational influence, developments across the globe. Stated another way, major global developments increasingly fit into the framework of the competition and rivalry between the two primary poles. Generic multi-polarity ultimately fails to describe properly these real-world phenomena, those of a global reversion to bi-polarity along with the inherent complexity found within each pole, especially the new pole arising in the East. But that is not all with respect to the failings of the multi-polar model in describing accurately where the world order is actually heading. Multi-polarity insinuates that no single pole is inordinately dominant over the others. But contrary to that insinuation, the bi-polar configuration that is even now arising will definitely facilitate a meaningful degree of control by one pole, the one now arising in the East. Yet, the configuration will still correctly be described as bi-polar (not unipolar) because the pole in the West, though it is even now moving into a situation where a significant measure of control by the East is inevitable, will not be absolutely dominated in all spheres, nor will it be made to utterly collapse as did the Soviet Union.

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy How will the West fall under the significant control of the multifarious East? By means of consolidation of its control over global energy the East will take a significant measure of political, economic and even military independence away from the West, including the US itself, which has become hopelessly dependent upon foreign sources of financial capital, energy and minerals. In fact, the processes of Eastern consolidation over global energy resources and the resultant Western loss of independence are already underway and they are accelerating. The Russia-China axis is busily constructing a global oil and gas axis that includes most of the vital exporting states around the globe. Both Russia and China are spreading their wings (or tentacles as the case may be) far and wide to encompass key oil and gas exporting states, ushering the world’s important producers into cooperative agreements that expand far beyond energy-related matters to include the military sphere as well. Venezuela and Algeria are only two recent examples. A clear global strategy is evident, one that is compelling and brilliant. It is also unstoppable by the West. And while it is here called an axis of global producers, there is much more involved in discerning the real global structure of what Russia is constructing, and that additional insight is revealed in the new book RUSSIAN RUBICON. In the military and energy spheres, the uniting of Russia’s technical expertise and strategic resources with China’s enormous financing and manpower capabilities, and the extension world-wide of their joint influence to gather into orbit about themselves the key global exporters of minerals, oil and gas, is a development of enormous consequence for the current world order. That axis, when soon completed, will form a global energy monopoly whose strings are virtually pulled from Moscow and Beijing. Increasingly, key members of the axis speak about dispensing with the US dollar in their international energy transactions. The eventual consolidation of the new global energy axis will result in loss to the West in various important ways, and in a grand reversal, will place multifarious East in ascendancy over West. Russia and China, the foremost promoters of what they have called the multi-polar world order, insist that such is not aimed at any single power such as the US. However, that is mere indirection on their part as they work smart and energetically to construct the foundation, namely global control of strategic resources, that facilitates the rise of their new world order, an order aimed directly at undermining the US global position.

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy Additionally, they now know full well that what is arising will not be merely “multipolar” in nature, that is, an even distribution of power centers across the globe. Instead, they fully realize their potential to achieve an energy-based checkmate of the West by means of the global energy axis they are now constructing. Consequently, the move toward global equilibrium (from unipolar to “multi-polar”) will overshoot the mark of equilibrium and hand an energy-based checkmate to the now rising multifarious pole of the East. Along the path toward this eventuality there will undoubtedly be more oil wars such as the one waged in Iraq in 2003, and ideological “wars” such as the Orange Revolution of 2004, but the West cannot prevent the eventuality described here being realized, most likely within only a very few years at most, gauging by the rapidity at which developments are proceeding. Hence, the bipolar world order now arising will not, in fact, be balanced or symmetrical, with both poles roughly canceling each other out. Instead, it will be asymmetrical, with the East in

Asymm·Plexity is the concept of lopsided bipolarity, where one side can checkmate (but not collapse or

ascendancy over the West. From the preceding

destroy) the other side and where

fundamental analysis of the geopolitical system

one pole (the East) is multifarious

we can now construct a new and more accurate

or complex in its makeup

term to describe where the world order is actually heading: Asymmetrical Bipolar Complexity refers to the uneven bipolar world order that is now arising, one in which especially the East pole is complex in nature, consisting of many lesser poles in array around the core that consists of the Russia-China axis. To coin a new word, the phrase is shortened to Asymm·Plexity, dropping the “bi-polar” part for the reason that in its most fundamental sense the word “asymmetrical” already strongly insinuates two parts (bi-polar) of unequal size or power. Multi-polarity fails to meet the requirement of accurately describing where the world order is actually heading. Asymm·Plexity (or asymmetrical bi-polar complexity) does accurately describe the new lopsided bi-polar world order that is now arising. The concept of Asymmetrical Bi-Polar Complexity, or Asymm·Plexity is discussed in much greater detail in the new book RUSSIAN RUBICON. Therein, a wealth of additional evidence is brought to bear on the subject to

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy establish beyond any reasonable doubt that the term does accurately describe the nature of the new world order that is now looming.

The Astronomical Analogy Depicting Geopolitical Developments Since 1991, our world order has been the unipolar one, dominated by the last superpower which exists at its very core. As discussed in the previous sections, you cannot see the power and dominance of the last superpower being significantly affected without also seeing the very nature of the current world order also massively affected at the same time. The two (the last superpower and the old world order constructed around it as the core) are inseparable. Not only have both the power and consequently the degree of global dominance of the last superpower gone into steep decline, but another immensely important geopolitical development has also been occurring. The term "multipolar" is generally, if not technically and specifically, a widely accepted term used to describe geopolitical developments within the international system. However, very notably, that term "multipolar" strongly insinuates that an international system without a true center, or a core, is what will develop. However, the old unipolar world order which we now see dissolving has possessed a real core, or a center of power - namely, the U.S. itself. Hence, contrary to what many believe, the new so-called "multipolar" world order (more accurately the new order characterized by Asymm·Plexity (or asymmetrical bi-polar complexity), which is currently coalescing, will not be one which lacks a true core, a true center of global power. It is rather a world order, the core of which is made up of multiple powers rather than one power (or perhaps two superpowers, as was the case before 1991). While geopolitical power will be distributed across many poles in the fabric of the international system, and no one nation will possess an inordinate amount of power, still there is even now present the developing core or center of power of that new order, characterized by Asymm·Plexity. An analogy helps us to visualize and to more clearly understand what has already happened since long before 1991, what has happened since then and what is about to happen, in our international system. The detailed analogy goes like this:

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy About 5 decades ago astronomers discovered in our galaxy what is called a binary star system, in which two massive stars were orbiting each other at the center of the system, while at much greater distances, outside the center, many other smaller stars and planets orbited that center. In the center itself, the extremely powerful forces which the two massive stars exerted upon each other, and the very close proximity of the two stars, exercised powerful constraints on the movements of each. The system was almost perfectly balanced - the two massive stars neither crashed into each other nor spun apart. Then, in 1989, as astronomers watched in amazement, one of the two massive stars within the center began to be torn apart, as material from its own outer regions began to spin off away from the star's own core, and to be thrown outside the center of the star system. By 1991 all the outer regions of that massive star had been torn away and thrown outside the center, and the inner core itself of that star became extremely unstable as it too was hurled outside the center of the star system, leaving only one massive star at the center. That binary system had been massively reordered into a unary system. Astronomers, observing clearly the pointed instability of the remaining core of the star which had been stripped of its outer material and thrown outside the center, unanimously concluded that it would be torn apart at any moment. However, that destruction never occurred. The core of that star began to significantly stabilize in 1999, and has continued to become more stable and even more powerful right up until today. The material which used to comprise its outer layers and which was torn away and hurled outside the very center of the star system has condensed into a number of smaller stars, and those smaller stars have begun to come back into proximity to the original star they came from, and to orbit around the stabilized core of that star. Other stars in the system whose importance was underestimated have also begun to orbit ever more closely around that new group of stars to form a complex subsystem made up of a number of stars of varying sizes and brightness. In the environment of very powerful forces and very close proximities within that new grouping of stars, entirely new and profoundly powerful forces were born, which forces governed the behavior and movements of the stars and prevented the grouping from either spinning apart or crashing inward.

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy These new and profound forces acted as the special instrumentality to facilitate the ongoing formation of that grouping, and to facilitate the significant extension of its power outside of itself. So what astronomers were able to observe was the ongoing existence of the massive star which is still located at the center of the system, and a new, complex grouping of stars forming outside the center, growing in power and influence, and moving closer to the center of the entire star system. As for the one massive star that was left alone in the center after 1991, without its former complement to constrain its movement and behavior, that star began to move in a very erratic fashion and began to progressively tear itself apart, so that in March of 2003 dramatic new instability, which has severely worsened since then, began to be observed by astronomers. About the same time, the course of movement of the new and complex grouping of stars spoken of above was carefully plotted, and astronomers began to realize that grouping of stars had actually moved to re-enter the center of the star system. As such, astronomers observed that the powerful and profound forces (serving as a special instrumentality) acting between the members of that complex grouping of stars was actually extending beyond that grouping to significantly affect the one massive star at the center of the entire system, once again putting constraints upon the behavior and motion of that star, and also making it pay a heavy price where it refused to be constrained, tearing away at its ability to dominate events at the center. Astronomers can now get a clear sense of what is actually happening to the center of that star system. It once existed as a binary system. In 1991 it was temporarily reordered into a very unstable unary system which could not remain for long. By 2003 it had gone a long way toward becoming a system with a multi-star, complex center. The consensus of astronomers now is that when the transition period is complete, the center will consist of the formerly lone, remaining star orbiting around the new complex grouping of stars, so that from a distance, the center will look roughly bipolar (and will therefore be much more stable) once again. However, from a closer view, the inner complexity of the new grouping of stars can be clearly seen. Hence, the massive star which was left alone in the center for a time since 1991 will not be thrown outside the center or be torn literally apart. But it will be mostly governed and constrained by the counterbalancing, complex grouping of stars. And it will be the profound and powerful

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy new forces, collectively the special instrumentality, which will facilitate the keeping of order in the center. Hence, the multi-star nature itself does not preclude the existence of a real center of forces in the entire star system. In fact, without such a powerful center, the system itself could not exist. Additionally, within the very center, two main gravitational entities or powers exist. One is simple – the massive star that for a time occupied the center alone after 1991. The other is complex, or multifarious, consisting of the core of the star that disintegrated in the period of 1989-1991 along with a constellation of lesser but powerful stars around it. From a distance the center of the system looks bipolar, therefore. How does that analogy apply in real terms to the international system at large? The U.S. and the Soviet Union are the two original stars which made up the binary star system. In 1989 the Soviet Union began to be torn apart with the coming down of the Berlin Wall. By 1991, everything but the very inner core (Russia) of the Soviet Union had been torn away, and for a time that core (Russia) was very unstable. However, by late 1999 stability began to return to Russia. Thereafter, progressively, many of those oil-rich nations which formed parts of the Soviet Union, and which since 1991 had formed into independent "stars" themselves, began to form a closer relationship with Russia, and this process continues. Other nations which have been underestimated by some have also come into much closer association with Russia. Some of these are Germany, China and India and a majority of the globe’s oil and gas exporters as well. This complex grouping of nations is like the complex grouping of stars in the analogy. It has formed outside the geopolitical center, but has clearly already moved into the center. Its power over the remaining "star", the U.S., has already been demonstrated in the Iraq crisis. As in the analogy, the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving just one "star" at the center, removed most restraints on U.S. movement and actions. Increasing instability resulted as the unipolar world order was born. By mid-2003 it had become evident to most observers that the U.S. "star" was acting in a way to tear apart its own power and influence. What is the special instrumentality which facilitates the formation of the complex grouping of "stars" and which keeps order, and which is already extending outside that complex

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy grouping, to exercise power across the geopolitical center and beyond? It has two components, one diplomatic and the other economic. Its diplomatic component is none other than the Security Council of the United Nations, whose influence has already been demonstrated since 2003, in spite of that period being very rocky indeed for that Council. U.S. power and global dominance has been, not so much by means of the Security Council, but really in spite of it. However, the complex grouping of nations has come together into a system with the Security Council at its very core, and its diplomatic power is exercised by means of the Security Council as its chosen instrumentality. Not even the last superpower can ignore such power exercised by means of that instrumentality. And just as in the analogy, as the environment of very powerful forces within the complex grouping of stars brings about new and modified instrumentalities, the very powerful forces which are even now focusing at the Security Council will produce modifications to the structure of that Council in order to facilitate greater orderliness and influence across the international system. Enlarging the Security Council to include certain important new members, making that council more democratic by limiting or even abolishing the veto and ending voluntary contributions in favor of a Tobin Tax are significant structural modifications in the offing as global crises continue to mount. It is not wise to simply dismiss the possibilities of such developments actually coming to pass in our very near future. It is also not wise to assume that the last superpower will remain obstructionist to such UN modifications. The arising of a crisis, or series of crises which puts the last superpower significantly at the mercy of the international community at large, that is, which absolutely necessitates international cooperation so as to find a resolution, has every possibility of turning the last superpower from obstructionist to activist with respect to such Security Council modifications. And in view of the current Iraq situation and also in view of certain frightening but realistic scenarios involving WMD terrorist attacks, such a crisis is significantly easier to envision than it was only a few years ago. There is every likelihood that during the current period of immensely important geopolitical transition from the old world order to the new, whatever is required in the way of forces and developments to complete the transition, will be forthcoming. What is the second, economic component, of the special instrumentality used by the new complex grouping to exercise influence beyond itself? It is the group’s mounting global control

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Grand Reversal: Russian Global Ascendancy and dominance over strategic resources. That economic component provides the new complex grouping irresistible leverage over the West, including over the US itself.

All these foregoing, rather complex geopolitical developments are depicted graphically in the charts that follow.

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