maandag, augustus 14, 2006

Geopolitics:"The Great Game" - Struggle For The Heartland Of Eurasia in La Nation Européenne, 2005.

Zbigniew Brzezinski :“America's emergence as the sole global superpower now makes an integrated and comprehensive strategy for Eurasia imperative.” “After the United States,” Brzezinski writes, “the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers, and all but one
of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential power overshadows even America's.
“Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world's three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests
that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. “With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and historical legacy.”


“The Great Game” is a term, usually attributed to Arthur Connolly, used to describe
the rivalry and strategic conflict between the British Empire and the Tsarist
Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia. The term was later popularized by
British novelist Rudyard Kipling in his work, KIM.
In Russia the same rivalry and strategic conflict was known as the “Tournament of
Shadows” (Òóðíèðû òåíåé). The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as
running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Following
the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 a second less intensive phase followed.
In all the 19th century, Britain, China and Russia were rivals in the theatre of Central and Western Asia. In the late 19th century, Russia took control of large areas of Central Asia, leading to a brief crisis with Britain over Afghanistan in 1885. In Persia (now Iran), both nations set up banks to extend their economic influence. Britain went so far as to invade Tibet, a land under nominal Chinese suzerainty, in 1904, withdrawing when it emerged that Russian influence was insignificant and after a military defeat by one of China's modernized New Armies.
The British became the major power in the Indian sub-continent after the Treaty
of Paris (1763) and had begun to show interest in Afghanistan as early as their 1809
treaty with Shah Shuja. It was the threat of the expanding Russian Empire beginning
to push for an advantage in the Afghanistan region that placed pressure on British
India, in what became known as the "Great Game". The Great Game set in motion the
confrontation of the British and Russian empires — whose spheres of influence
moved steadily closer to one another until they met in Afghanistan. It also involved
Britain's repeated attempts to impose a puppet government in Kabul. The remainder
of the nineteenth century saw greater European involvement in Afghanistan and her
surrounding territories and heightened conflict among the ambitious local rulers as
Afghanistan's fate played out globally.
By the Anglo–Russian Entente of 1907, Russia gave up claims to Afghanistan.
Chinese suzerainty over Tibet also was recognized by both Russia and Britain, since nominal control by a weak China was preferable to control by either power.
Persia was divided into Russian and British spheres of influence and an intervening neutral (free or common) zone. Britain permitted subsequent Russian action (1911) against Persia's nationalist government. After the Russian Revolution, Russia gave up her claim to a sphere of influence, though Soviet involvement persisted alongside Britain's until the 1940s. In the Middle East, a German company built a railroad
from Constantinople to Baghdad and the Persian Gulf. Germany wanted to gain economic control of the region and then move on to Iran and India. This was met with bitter resistance by Britain, Russia, and France who divided the region among themselves.