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World Politics
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Geopolitical Order of the Modern World in the Context of Global Instability / Геополитическая картина современного мира в контексте глобальной нестабильности
Манойло Андрей Викторович

доктор политических наук

профессор, кафедра российской политики, факультет политологии, Московский государственный университет им. М.В. Ломоносова (МГУ)

199992, Россия, г. Москва, Ломоносовский проспект, 27, корп. 4, каб. Г-638

Manoilo Andrei Viktorovich

Doctor of Politics

Professor, the department of Russian Politics at the faculty of Political Science, Moscow State University
 

199992, Russia, Moscow, Lomonosovsky Prospekt 27, building #4, office #G-638

cyberhurricane@yandex.ru
Другие публикации этого автора
 

 

Аннотация.

Современный геополитическая картина мира характеризуется крайней неустойчивостью. Его главной особенностью является то, что геополитические границы, разделяющие современные государства и народы, существуют сейчас, не так много, как в географических границах вод (горные хребты) и береговых линий, но в сознании людей, которые научились делить общество на своих и чужих, на основе принадлежности к определенным национальным интересам, ценностям, идеологические концепции, доктрины и моделей политического поведения, континентальные и островные государства могут одинаково охотно следуют. Методологической основой исследования является системный, структурно-функциональный, сравнительно-политический подходы, методы анализа, синтеза, индукции, дедукции, наблюдения. Символы, имеющие характер маркеров используются для объединения этих границ в сознании населения, маркировка "самостоятельно" и позволяющий идентифицировать другие "самостоятельно", и отделен от "других". Часто, эти маркеры очень примитивны в характер. Это может быть цветы (розы в Грузии, тюльпаны в Кыргызстане, васильки в Беларуси, кактусы в Мексике, и жасмин в Тунисе) в руках членов цветных революций в СНГ, оранжевые тряпки ткани в Украине или белыми лентами в России, восходит в Тунисе, в Египте.

Ключевые слова: политика, общество, США, геополитика, гибридные войны, государство, демократия, международные конфликты, цветные революции, безопасность

DOI:

10.7256/2409-8671.2015.2.15309

Дата направления в редакцию:

18-05-2015


Дата рецензирования:

19-05-2015


Дата публикации:

21-05-2015


Abstract.

The modern geopolitical order of the world is characterized by an extreme instability. Its main peculiarity is that geopolitical borders, delimiting modern states and nations, exist now not so much within geographical boundaries of watersheds (mountain ranges) and coastlines, as in the minds of people who have learned to divide the society into "the same" and "the others" on the basis of belonging to certain national interests, values, ideological concepts, doctrines, and patterns of political behavior which can be followed by both continental and island states. The methodology of the research is based on the system, structural-functional, and comparative political approaches, the methods of analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, and observation.Symbols serving as markers are used to consolidate these boundaries in the minds of the population, marking "the same" and separating them from “the others.” Often these markers are of a primitive character, such as flowers (roses in Georgia, tulips in Kyrgyzstan, cornflowers in Belarus, cactuses in Mexico, and jasmine in Tunisia) in the hands of the participants of the color revolutions in the CIS, orange rags in Ukraine, or white ribbons in Russia, dates in Tunisia and Egypt, etc. 

Keywords:

international conflicts, democracy, state, hybrid war, geopolitics, the USA, society, politics, color revolutions, security

However, in some cases, more complex symbols and symbolic design are used to separate “their own” and “others,” such as democratization. The adherents of this democratization seek to implement the Western liberal values into the lives of traditional societies at all costs that revive the traditions of the Crusades, or technical devices, such as iPhones and iPads that allow the use of social networks to mobilize conflict society (the “Twitter revolution” in Egypt in 2011, and others).

These markers can combine large population masses, living in different parts of the globe, in different States, in areas with varied terrain and climate, on the islands and on the mainland, as well as mountaineers and the inhabitants of the plains. Thanks to modern means of transport and communication, geographical boundaries of today become transparent and manageable and do not serve as natural boundaries that hinder foreign expansion of the leading world powers that claim to have leadership in the modern world.

Belonging to a particular religious denomination or sect (as usually as a result of revisionism or modernization of traditional teachings and beliefs) is often chosen as a marker, which has a mystical mission to save the world, a certain part of humanity (consisting mainly of “their own”) and a certain part of the same human civilization and culture (not all). Extremists are especially fond of these markers and see no point in “reinventing the wheel.” They prefer to exploit the historical archetypes, rooted in the subconscious that are receiving a new sound in the modern world.

The crisis of modern society is a crisis of identification, finding a place in the existing set of civilizations in the world , cultures and values. Inconsistency and mutability of areas of influence of these cultures and values in modern conditions lead to their permanent drift, a displacement relative to the fixed geographical boundaries and guidelines that American constructivists have correctly noted. European culture is now retreating before the onslaught of Islamic culture. Old Europe is rapidly Islamized, which is impossible to ignore. Mosque of Notre Dame is a nightmare for all Europeans now, which is close to reality more than ever. The US which was founded by “white Anglo-Saxon Protestants,” by contrast, is rapidly catholicizing because the country’s percentage of the Hispanic population is rapidly growing. Simultaneously, there is an onslaught of Islamic culture, due not only to immigrants of Arab origin in the US, but also the rapidly growing black population that is willing to accept Islam, more simple than Catholic and Protestant Christianity, in their understanding.

Under these conditions, geographical boundaries and frontiers do not protect against the impact and penetration of foreign culture and do not guarantee the preservation of their own identity. On the contrary, the identity of the modern man needs constant support from the outside, which he seeks and finds in symbols and markers that reconstruct the borders of cultural community to which he belongs, in circumstances where these same geographical, linguistic and valuable boundaries continuously erode and disintegrate into fragments.

The geopolitical reality of the modern world today is formed basically on the nature of the spatial distribution of the centers of political instability that can grow quite quickly to international conflicts and small wars in the current environment, and not on terrain features or probable theater of operations. 29 Their appearance is usually not directly related to the geopolitics of modern states. The basis of most conflicts are causes that are specifically historical in character. Only a few conflicts are linked to the geographical factor that played a role in the conduct of state borders between the former colonies of the European countries or fragments of empires (e.g., Ottoman) that gained independence in the 20th century. Geopolitics in the zones of conflict is manifested in the fact that the great powers, such as the United States, aiming for world leadership, encounter the resistance of other powers on the way, who value their independence and seek to control the political instability on the scale of entire regions, plunging them into a state of “managed democracy” or a more “controlled chaos.” The boundaries of the regions that become subject to external control the Americans determine on the basis of their own geopolitical ideas and stratagems, which are markedly different from the classical concepts of the past (Mackinder, Haushofer, and others). Typical examples of such geopolitical designs are the new generation of the Greater Middle East, Greater Central Asia, and others.

As a result, the geopolitics of the modern state is forced to reckon with the centers and arcs of the political instability, which now significantly complement the geographical factor in politics, and even adjust it in a certain way. Landscape of the geopolitical picture of the world today forms an arc of political instability, elongated mainly along the geographical parallels.

Now, the Arab countries form the largest arc of instability, which experienced a wave of color revolutions of the “Arab Spring” in 2011 - 2012: in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria. Turkey can be added to this chain of countries, where today the second Kemalist revolution is actually unfolding, similar in scenario to the classic color revolutions in Eastern Europe and in the CIS. Iraq, Iran (balancing on the brink of armed conflict with the United States) and Afghanistan, that the US and its allies still retain in the interests of the military and political pressure on Iran and China, are also associated with this arc.

Afghanistan borders Pakistan, a nuclear power that in the last few years has been balancing on the verge of collapse, but is actively involved in Afghan affairs, as an ally of the United States and as an independent force. Israel becomes an important component of this arc, which often acts as a provocateur and initiator of conflict processes. Palestinian autonomous region, where the power belongs to the radical Hamas is easily provoked, giving a legitimate reason to start a large-scale war, which draws in other charming participants in the Middle East settlement, including the United States and Iran. India that has frozen conflict in Kashmir with Pakistan closes the arc of instability, as well as North Korea that make titanic efforts so that people would not forget about it completely.

Closer to the equator is the second arc of instability. It is made up of the African countries: Mali, Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia, where armed conflicts stably flare and fade, sometimes degenerating into a civil war. African countries have similar problems that destabilize the political situation, and one common trouble: most of them have large reserves of mineral resources and raw materials that are of interest to the great powers. Thus, the struggle of the great powers and of world leaders (USA, France, and China) for control of the uranium mines has become a major cause of conflict in Mali, where gunmen and mercenaries rushed being out of work after the war in Libya and after Gaddafi's death. The presence of huge oil reserves in the Sudanese province of Darfur has long been a cause of the civil war between rebels representing the indigenous people and the Sudanese Arabs, supported by the official authorities of Sudan. However, the rebel troops secretly receive significant military aid from the United States (weapons and mercenaries, who are moved from the neighboring Chad). China supports the Sudanese army in the conflict, for which Sudan is a major and strategically important energy suppliers. There is also the problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, where Somalia is making a significant contribution to the formation of an arc of political instability in the region.

North of the arc that was formed after the color revolutions of the “Arab Spring,” an arc of instability is formed that runs through the Muslim enclaves in the largest cities of the old Europe, such as London, Paris, and Rome. It has a strategically important site in the Balkans, in the Albanian Kosovo enclave that Western politicians usually call an “independent and sovereign state.” Kosovo is a geopolitical pole, where the interests of the two forces in the world have met in this historical perspective, developing its expansion in different directions and with different perspectives. They still, however, feel comfortable in a temporary state of political symbiosis of the Western Anglo-Saxon Protestants, represented by the United States and its NATO allies, and the Salafis represented by the radical Islamic organizations and by the warlords of Albanian separatists, that turned into the structure of transnational organized crime (just like in Afghanistan after the arrival of the US and NATO).

The line of the arc extends in the direction of the North and the South Caucasus, where there is also a strong separatist Islamist sentiments and active illegal armed groups, fueled by money, arms, mercenaries and means of ideological war on the part of the Salafi regimes of the Persian Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as a rapidly Islamized Turkey that includes the Caucasus (both South and North ) in the area of its national interests. At this level the arc of instability, Dagestan is the most difficult point, where today international terrorists and extremists are waging an undeclared war against the Russian Federal Government that, even with good intentions, cannot simply be called “the fight against remnants of the gangs” and crime. It is sad that in this war against Russia, even those countries that once thrived in a single state of the USSR [1] now support international terrorism. These countries include Georgia, which until recently was under the Saakashvili regime, who came to power with the support of the United States as a result of a color revolution. Today Saakashvili is announced as a wanted criminal by the new Georgian authorities (which does not prevent him to live peacefully in the US), but many of his associates or former colleagues (that came from one incubator of leaders of the color revolutions) retained their positions and power. In this arc of instability, Georgia is a major foothold for the Western (especially American) influence on political processes in the region today, and it also plays the role of the provocateur government that is even capable to enter an armed conflict with its neighbors, especially with Russia, in the interests of its Atlantic partner, as the events of August 2008 have shown.

Then the arc of instability passes through the states of Central Asia, which are kept in power by authoritarian secular regimes, similar in nature and methods of the exercise of power to the regimes fallen as a result of the Arab revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. The US policy in the region has led to a whole series of color revolutions, some of which failed, destroying the existing system of government in the republics (Kyrgyzstan, for example). Some were managed to be stopped by applying the army and special forces to suppress the rebellion (Andijan revolt in Uzbekistan).

In Kyrgyzstan, the color revolution has succeeded twice (the first and second “Tulip Revolution”), resulting in the country's economy being completely destroyed, and all of the assets were brought abroad and sold. Another wave of color revolutions in the Central Asian states will not survive, so with the direct participation of Russia in the region an interstate structure to ensure safety are being established, such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization. They allow to combine the efforts of various Central Asian countries to counter external threats from both the “soft power” of the US and NATO, as well as from international terrorism, Islamism and crime. Nevertheless, in 2011, a repeat of the “Arab Spring” revolutions has become a very real threat to the states of Central Asia, which showed the ability of technology to break the traditional arrangement of Eastern societies, destroying their mechanism of security and internal control constructed for centuries and using the methods of “controlled chaos” to lead the country and the people to a new political reality. In reality, this will not be a place of secular institutions of government, and the road to power will be open only to radical Islam of various stripes.

The arc closes in Western Asia, in the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it is tied in a complicated knot, which proved to be too tough for the British Empire, for Soviet Union, for the United States and for NATO, that have spent more than a decade on a war with the phantom world of the terrorist threat and on construction of not less than the phantom state with an ideal democracy, that succeeded in a Muslim country. This knot wove together the problems of nation-state structure of Afghanistan, Islamism and terrorism, Pashtun separatism, the Taliban, drug trafficking, which has become almost the only sector of the national economy, and the fundamental problem of the inability of the peoples and tribes of Afghanistan to agree among themselves. For the ten years of the country's democratization, not only was the United States unsuccessful in solving their basic problems, but it also added a lot of new ones that are still getting its foreign policy development, and not in the best way for the Western world.

The arcs of political instability induce numerous hotbeds of conflict on its periphery, which, in terms of geography, have a point or a local character. As a rule, these conflicts generate contradictions between two or, at the most, three participants in world politics. An example of such conflicts is the conflict between China and Japan with respect to the disputed islands in the South China Sea (Sёnkaku), zones of frozen conflicts (Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Karabakh, Transnistria, the Uzbek-Tajik conflict, and Kashmir), etc. All of them are based on reasons not related to the causes of the conflicts, developing along the arc of instability, but the aggravation of some conflict exacerbates other hotbeds of conflict intensity to bouts of violence and political provocations, including armed provocations.

The presence of several arcs (or zones) of instability in the modern world leads to the fact that the states that are caught in the intervals between these arcs are forced to be closer political and defense plans for the sake of their safety with the states that are in the same relative stability zone, or cell, which is formed by an arc of instability. At the same time, the unity of basic needs, such as safety, peaceful development and coexistence, and protection against new threats and challenges are defined by the trajectory of rapprochement and partnership of different countries, regardless of their geographical location or their dividing into marine and continental power. This trend explains many contemporary alliances between countries and political forces that were previously considered irreconcilable antagonists. Thus, the network of arcs of political instability covering the globe in the form of a grid cell, thus becomes a geographical factor in modern conditions that determines the modern picture of geopolitical processes, determines the difference between the policy of some powers in relation to others, and to draws the line between geopolitical actors.

The arc of political instability in the world today plays the role of transport corridors to carry conflict and political tension from one point of geographical space to another. It is the routes along the arc of instability that fighters, weapons and funds move that support terrorists and separatists, as well as certain emotional states and moods, spreading among the masses of civilians through the mechanisms of “emotional contamination,” known in the psychology of mass political processes. An example of such transit movements is the conflict in Syria, where the global Islamist International is fighting against Assad, including the combat Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan or the conflict in Mali, where the Libyan fighters became one of the main driving forces that fought against Gaddafi.

So, in addition to the geopolitical zoning, the arcs of political instability define the network traffic arteries and corridors, which today carries political influence and cover vast geographic territories, including ones previously inaccessible to direct external control. Radical ideologies, propaganda, mass psycho-emotional state border use the same transit corridors, preparing the ground for new conflicts.

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