An interview with Sergey Karaganov, a former advisor to Vladimir Putin, on a variety of important geopolitical subjects.
BM You talked about demilitarisation of Ukraine, but it seems that such a goal would not be achieved if the West continues to provide Ukraine with weapons. Do you think Russia will be tempted to stop that flow of arms, and does this risk a direct clash between Nato and Russia?
SK Absolutely! There is a growing probability of a direct clash. And we don’t know what the outcome of this would be. Maybe the Poles would fight; they are always willing. I know as a historian that Article 5 of the Nato treaty is worthless. Under Article 5 – which allows a state to call for support from other members of the alliance – nobody is obliged to actually fight on behalf of others, but nobody can be absolutely sure that there would be no such escalation. I also know from the history of American nuclear strategy that the US is unlikely to defend Europe with nuclear weapons. But there is still a chance of escalation here, so it is an abysmal scenario and I hope that some kind of a peace agreement between us and the US, and between us and Ukraine, can be reached before we go further into this unbelievably dangerous world.
He’s correct. Britain and France both guaranteed Polish security prior to WWII, and both refused to defend Poland against Germany or to declare war against the Soviet Union when it invaded Poland. Article 5 of the NATO treaty doesn’t oblige any nation to do anything, although since the neocons who run US foreign policy want a war with Russia, it is likely that most nations would submit to US pressure to declare war on Russia in the event of an escalation of the Ukrainian conflict.
BM One argument is that Russia will fall under Chinese control, and this war does not help – because by isolating Russia from the West, it turns Russia into easy prey for Chinese economic influence. Are you worried that this could be the beginning of a “Chinese century” for Russia?
SK There are two answers to your question. One is that China’s economic influence in Russia and over Russia will grow. China has most of the technologies we need, and it has a lot of capital, so there is no question about that. Whether Russia would become a kind of a satellite country, according to the Chinese tradition of their Middle Kingdom, I doubt it.
If you asked me how I would describe Russia in one word, it is “sovereignty”. We defeated those who sought to rule us, starting with the Mongols, and then Carl [Charles XII] of Sweden, then Napoleon and Hitler. Also, recently, we had years of Western domination here. It was almost overwhelming. And nevertheless, you see what has happened: Russia revolted against all that. So I am not afraid of Russia becoming a part of a great China. The other reason I’m not afraid is because Chinese civilisation is very different. We have our Asian traits in our genes, and we are in part an Asian country because of this. And Siberia is at the core of the Russian empire: without Siberia, Russia wouldn’t have become a great country. And the Tatar and Mongol yoke left many traits in our society. But culturally, we are different, so I don’t think it is possible that we will become a subsidiary country.
But I am very concerned about the overwhelming economic predominance of China over the next decade. People like me have been saying precisely [that] we have to solve the Ukraine problem, we have to solve the Nato problem, so that we can be in a strong position vis-à-vis China. Now it will be much more difficult for Russia to resist Chinese power.
Better China than the global satanists. China is an ancient and stable civilization. Global satanry has repeatedly proven that it is even capable of sustaining a functional society for three generations. And while Chinese civilization is not Western civilization, it definitely works for most of its inhabitants in a way that the insane wickedness of globohomo never can.
SK We all feel like we are part of a huge event in history, and it’s not just about war in Ukraine; it’s about the final crash of the international system that was created after the Second World War and then, in a different way, was recreated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, we are witnessing the collapse of an economic system – of the world economic system – globalisation in this form is finished. Whatever we have had in the past is gone. And out of this we have a build-up of many crises that, because of Covid-19, we pretended did not exist. For two years, the pandemic replaced decision-making. Covid was bad enough, but now everybody has forgotten about Covid and we can see that everything is collapsing. Personally, I’m tremendously saddened. I worked for the creation of a viable and fair system. But I am part of Russia, so I only wish that we win, whatever that means.
BM Do you sometimes fear this could be the rebirth of Western power and American power; that the Ukraine war could be a moment of renewal for the American empire?
SK I don’t think so. The problem is that during the last 500 years the foundation of Western power was the military preponderance of Europeans. This foundation started eroding from the 1950s and 1960s. Then the collapse of the Soviet Union made it seem for a while that Western predominance was back, but now it is done away with, because Russia will continue to be a major military power and China is becoming a first-class military power.
So the West will never recuperate, but it doesn’t matter if it dies: Western civilisation has brought all of us great benefits, but now people like myself and others are questioning the moral foundation of Western civilisation. I think geopolitically the West will experience ups and downs. Maybe the shocks we are experiencing could bring back the better qualities of Western civilisation, and we will again see people like Roosevelt, Churchill, Adenauer, de Gaulle and Brandt back in office. But continuous shocks will of course also mean that democracy in its present form in most European countries will not survive, because under circumstances of great tension, democracies always wither away or become autocratic. These changes are inevitable.
No national empire ever recovers its former greatness. America has been invaded, overthrown, and occupied. It is a nation ruled by foreigners, women, and devil-worshippers. It will survive, but Americans will never again tower over the world the way they did after WWII.
To the extent that “the West” now means “the Enlightenment”, one must question the moral foundation of Western civilization. The focus must be on return to Christendom and the nations, not on what has proven to be an insidious anti-Christian philosophy of materialism.
UPDATE: And the next phase begins.
Russian gas giant Gazprom has officially halted all deliveries to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, a critical artery for European energy supplies.