« Getting teach by the enemy is a duty and an honor »
- General Haushofer, German geopolitician
(father of the concept of « continental Bloc »).
We will reproduce from next week with courtesy of STRATFOR certain geopolitical and geostrategic analyses of the main group of US private intelligence and strategic analysis.
STRATFOR puts its work in the undisputed line of the « American neo-Machiavellian School » (1) (see the analyses of Raymond Aron), which began with James BURNHAM (author of « Machiavellians, defenders of freedom » and the US geopolitical manifesto « The Struggle for the World » in 1943, and continued by brilliant figures like Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski (and his book « The Grand Chessboard »).
That is to say, a rigorous geopolitical analysis, almost scientific, away from ideologies and vulgar political passions. The scientific method is also that of our geopolitical School (2). Although the Americanist messianic ideology, that of « Manifest Destiny », often goes back over it (3). At a time when Washington dictates the political and military agenda of the world, it is essential to know the analyses and reading grids of its elite. Not forgetting that they obviously meet the interests of the only USA and its vision of the world!
- I -
STRATFOR, a think-tank and a global intelligence company, provides journalists and producers with a fresh understanding of global events of geopolitical significance. STRATFOR asserts that “Our perspective combines intelligence and analysis to give a deeper understanding of what is behind these events, connect the dots between them, and forecast what is coming in the weeks ahead” and that “STRATFOR is the world’s leading online publisher of geopolitical intelligence. Our global team of intelligence professionals provides our Members with insights into political, economic, and military developments to reduce risks, to identify opportunities, and to stay aware of happenings around the globe”.
Strategic Forecasting Inc., more commonly known as STRATFOR, is a Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence for corporations and divisions of the U.S. and foreign governments. Due to its unrivaled analysis and accurate forecasts, STRATFOR frequently serves as a source for the media – and continues to provide daily intelligence updates and expert interviews for local, national and international media outlets and venues. STRATFOR “provides published intelligence and customized intelligence service for private individuals, global corporations, and divisions of the US and foreign governments around the world. STRATFOR’s client list is confidential, but “the company’s publicity list includes Fortune 500 companies and international government agencies”. STRATFOR intelligence professionals routinely appear at conferences and as subject-matter experts in mainstream media”.
STRATFOR has been cited by media such as CNN, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times and the BBC as “an authority on strategic and tactical issues”. STRATFOR has also been demonized by some « conspiracy theorists » and presented as a « shadow CIA »? This is obviously a fundamental misunderstanding of what is the intelligence work on open sources. STRATFOR was specially the subject of a cover-story article in BARRON’s entitled “The Shadow CIA” (Jonathan R. Laing. « The Shadow CIA ». Retrieved 2007-09-17).
Of Hungarian origin, George FRIEDMAN is the CEO and the founder in 1996 of the private intelligence agency STRATFOR and the author of “THE NEXT 100 YEARS.” (4) Remarkably, FRIEDMAN asserts that “the United States — far from being on the verge of decline — has actually just begun its ascent.” Perhaps anachronistically, FRIEDMAN argues that naval power remains pivotal, even in the 21st century. Because America controls both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it “is virtually assured of being the dominant global power.” (The New York Times; October 2009). In “THE NEXT 100 YEARS”, FRIEDMAN asserts also : “In due course, the geopolitical order will shift again, and the American epoch will end. Perhaps even sooner, the power of the US will wane. But not yet, and not in this century.” (New Statesman; August 2009).
- II -
The main focus of the worldview of FRIEDMAN and STRATFOR is that since 2008 the world has changed and entered a new geopolitical era: « This year has redefined the global geopolitical system, opening the door to a resurgence of Russian power and revealing the underlying fragmentation of Europe and weaknesses of NATO (…) After the summer of 2008, it is no longer appropriate to speak of Europe as a single entity nor NATO as an alliance in working fully nor a world in which the nation-state would be obsolete. In fact, the opposite is true: the nation state has proved to be the only institution in working …”, writes Friedman.
This new geopolitical era due to two main factors:
* Firstly the economic crisis of 2008, which gave a first stop to globalization and marks the return of the role of nation states (prematurely declared obsolete, « The nation-state roared back to life after having seemed to sink into insignificance … « ),
* Secondly the return of Russia as a great world power (the lesson given to Georgia and NATO in the war of Summer 2008 marking the resurrection of the Russian state, which began with the arrival of Putin in power).
« As for the tipping of 2008, it is double, and it revolves around two dates: August 7 and October 11 …, analyzes George Friedman (The return of the nation-state, Stratfor Geopolitical Intelligence Report, 27 October 2008). On August 7, the Georgian army attacked ‘its’ breakaway region of South Ossetia. On 8, Russian troops retorted, invading Georgia. The Western response, in turn, was largely rhetorical. During the weekend of October 11, the G-7 countries met in Washington to plan a joint response to the global financial crisis. Rather than defining a joint plan, the decision – by default – consisted of what each country would act so as to save its own financial system, through a series of agreed guidelines, roughly (but not in the detail), by mutual agreement. The events of 7 August and 11 October are linked only by their consequences. The one and the other showed the weakness of international institutions and confirmed the primacy of the nation-state, or more precisely, the nation and the state (…) Together, the two events have represented challenges that exceeded by far the significance of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ».
This new geopolitical era is marked by the NATO divide between the US and the European countries, and among Europeans themselves. And the Ukrainian crisis since January 2014 confirms this analysis
A division that obliterates the future of the Atlantic Alliance and also that of the European Union: « The Russian-Georgian war raised profound questions about the future of the multilateral military alliance (what is NATO ). Each member country consulted its own national interests, and led its own foreign policy. Therefore, the cutoff between Europeans and Americans is guaranteed but the division between Europeans is as profound. If one could not say that NATO functioned effectively, one did not know either very well, after 8 August, in what sense the Europeans existed actually, if as individual nations-State (…) Which was demonstrated in politico-military terms by the war in Georgia, was, then, in economic terms, by the financial crisis. The entire multinational system created after the Second World War collapsed during the crisis – or, more precisely, the crisis has far exceeded their expectations and resources. No financial systems were able to cope, and many have collapsed (…) On 12 (October 2009), when holding their eurozone summit by Europeans, it became clear that they would act in as nations, individually. «
- III -
It is in Eurasia that the new era marks the greatest upheaval, the announced failure of the European Union – that previously only Jean THIRIART (5) (the father of the concept of « Greater Europe ») had considered since the middle 60s – and the return of Russia as a great power with the Putin regime in addition to the consequences of the crisis and changing the balance of the continent. « This year has redefined the global geopolitical system, opening the door to a resurgence of Russian power and revealing the underlying fragmentation of Europe and weaknesses of NATO. The most important manifestation of this phenomenon is Europe. Faced with the Russian power, there is no unified European position. Faced with the financial crisis, Europeans coordinate among themselves, but they do not act in a united way. After the summer of 2008, it is no longer appropriate to speak of Europe as a single entity, nor NATO as an alliance in working fully nor a world in which the nation-state would be obsolete. «
FRIEDMAN recalls the central geopolitical role of Russia in Europe and Eurasia, key to world domination: « We must emphasize the importance of Russian power is this: when Russia dominates the center of the Eurasian continent, force intrudes in Europe. Russia, united with the rest of Europe is an overwhelming global force. Europe resisting Russia – and here we are in the problem initiated by our « Euro-Soviet » geopolitical School at the start of the 80s (6) – defines the entire global system. A fragmented Russia opens the door to other geopolitical issues. A united and powerful Russia monopolizes the world stage. «
Finally, FRIEDMAN announces the predictable failure of the European Union, far from the optimistic visions of Eurocrats for whom the EU success is an inevitable and unsurpassable horizon. He evokes an EU reduced to « an arrangement dedicated to manage the European economy ». And in his book « The next hundred years, » the EU over, out of history as a small set reduced to the ten founders, under the domination of Germany, which too, gave up power .
He added about the EU from 2008 that « Its bureaucracy based in Brussels has increased its authority and effectiveness throughout the last decade. The problem with the EU is that it was an institution designed to manage prosperity. When faced with a serious adversity, however, this institution has been frozen, handing over power to the Member States (…) In the end, this is not the « Europe » entity that has the power, but instead, individual member countries. It is not Brussels that put to music the decisions taken in Strasbourg; power centers (plural) were in Paris, London, Rome, Berlin and other capitals of Europe and the world. Power was up to States that governed nations. Or, to be more precise, the twin crises revealed that power had never left these historic capitals « . And he concludes on « the underlying fragmentation of Europe » and the fact that « After the summer of 2008, it is no longer appropriate to speak of Europe as a single entity ».
Seven years later, the prediction of FRIEDMAN, that we shared, is under way …
# NOTES AND REFERENCES:
(1) Machiavelli’s thought is rightly seen as the foundation of modern political philosophy. A political thought rid of moralizing theology and morality to stick to the actual reality. The influence of Machiavelli is evident on sociologists and philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who have dedicated themselves to understanding the political role of the elite: Roberto Michels, Benedetto Croce, Vilfredo Pareto … or the American James Burnham.
The Prince must be taken in a general sense: Machiavelli gives us a general theory of the ruling class: how to train it, how to recruit it, how to distinguish between those who are able to take part.
(2) Cfr. Karel HUYBRECHTS, « To the confluence of two major currents, the neo-Machiavellian School (including Machiavelli’s political science and sociology of Pareto, Roberto Michels, etc.) and Marxism-Leninism, Luc MICHEL leads a cold analysis without unnecessary passion, without falling into the traps of ideology, propaganda or partisan history »
in ANTICIPATING THE EVENT : LUC MICHEL AND GEOPOLITICAL PROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS,
(4) Georges FRIEDMAN, THE NEXT 100 YEARS: A FORECAST FOR THE 21ST CENTURY (2009). Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-51705-X.
(5) Cfr. Luc MICHEL, « GEOPOLITICAL DESIGNS BY JEAN THIRIART: THE THEORIST OF THE NEW ROME » (in French),
CYCLE OF CONFERENCES « JEAN THIRIART: THE MAN, THE MILITANT AND THE WORK », organized by the « Institut d’Etudes Jean Thiriart » and the « Ecole des Cadres Jean Thiriart » (Departments of Asbl « Transnational Association of the Friends of Jean Thiriart « )
(6) In the early 80′s, THIRIART founded with José QUADRADO COSTA and myself the « School of Euro-Soviet geopolitics » where he advocates a continental unification from Vladivostok to Reykjavik on the theme of the « Euro-Soviet Empire » and based on geopolitical criteria.
Theorist of the unitary Europe, THIRIART has been extensively studied in the United States, where academic institutions as the « Hoover Institute » or the « Ambassador College » (Pasadena) have archives concerning him. These are his anti-American theses « turned over » that BRZEZINSKI largely takes up, defining for the benefit of the USA what THIRIART conceived for the Eurasian continental unity.
On the School of Euro-Soviet geopolitics, cfr. :
José CUADRADO COSTA, Luc MICHEL et Jean THIRIART, TEXTES EURO-SOVIETIQUES, Ed. MACHIAVEL, 2 vol. Charleroi, 1984 ;
Version russe : Жозе КУАДРАДО КОСТА, Люк МИШЕЛЬ и Жан ТИРИАР, ЕВРО-СОВЕТСКИЕ ТЕКСТЫ, Ed. MACHIAVEL, 2 vol., Charleroi, 1984.
This collection of essays was published in French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, English and Russian.