Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Concept of Eurasia - Part III

Ideally, geopolitical concepts such as “Eurasia” should consider the divergence that exists between the interests of the state and the interests of the people. Both from the point of view of Europe and Russia, “Eurasia” represents a geopolitical interest of a higher order. As can be expected, the people's interest in the realisation of Eurasia, both for a Russian citizen and for a European citizen, is therefore doubtful at best. The people has an interest in the lower order activities of the state that concern the defence and the security of the nation. Abstract geopolitical concepts like “Eurasia” mean almost nothing to the common man. 

Indeed, it is difficult to understand how the average Russian citizen might be more secure if Russia establishes the Eurasian Economic Union with other nations. The basic security of Russian citizens is still far from guaranteed today; the Russian state therefore ought to deal with other more important internal priorities - the real interests of the Russian people

It is also difficult to understand how the average European citizen might be safer and more secure if the EU somehow managed to integrate economically and politically with Russia. And it is highly dubious, to say the least, whether the peoples of Europe would have much to gain by bringing Ukraine into the European economic and political sphere. On the contrary, before potentially bearing fruits, any rapprochement with Ukraine would have substantial costs for Europe, which hitherto have been born by Russia.

The publics of all nations should therefore make efforts to inform themselves about their nation's” geopolitical plans, and ask themselves whether the realisation of the state's geopolitical interests can be advantageous to them. In the case of “Eurasia,” the people should at least request from their elected representatives, the answer to the following questions: Will the realisation of this geopolitical interest make the public safer? If yes, then in what way? If yes, then what public resources would be spent in order to do so?[1] 

Unfortunately, both these questions and their answers are usually absent from public debate. Clearly, this would not be the case in any reasonably democratic political system, where the interests of the state are interests of the people.


[1] For instance, the cost of the Iraq war was only disclosed years later to the public and the cost was estimated to be much higher than initially declared. See, for instance, Stiglitz and Blimes, Vanity Fair, April 2008.

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