Europe – Russia Dialogue in the Frame of the Uni-Multipolar Geopolitical Transition

Tiberio Graziani

A Speech by Tiberio Graziani, President of IsAG – Institute for Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences, director of Geopolitica, Journal of IsAG, held on May 24, 2012 at the headquarters of the European Commission Representation in Rome at the conference "Russia and Europe: prospects for a dialogue"

…we can say that the dialogue between political players - who express different views and generally are carriers of different interests – has meaning only if it is based on long term and common strategic interests.

This is even more true if the players involved are so much important for the whole Planet, as undoubtedly Russia and European Nations, clustered within the European Union, are.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Participants,

Good morning.

For me personally and above all for IsAG, the Institute that I represent here, it is an honor to participate to the Round Table on Euro-Russian Dialogue with outstanding personalities of the Russian and Italian academia.

First of all, I would like to thank the organizers. This Round Table has been realized thanks to the cooperation among the University La Sapienza of Rome, especially prof. Antonello F. Biagini, the Russkij Mir Foundation represented by prof. Natalia Fefelova, the Centre for social, economic and poltical studies, Eurispes, directed by prof. Marco Ricceri, the Istitute pour la Democratie et la Cooperation, directed by dr. John Laughland, the Foundation for the Historical Perspective whose president is prof. Natalia Narochnitskaja, the Department for Europe and America of the Russian Academy of Sciences, directed by prof. Yekaterina Narochnitskaja, the IsAG and the Delegation in Italy of the European Commission lead by dr. Lucio Battistotti, whom I thank for hosting us in this beautiful Conference Room.

We can say that this Round Table is a result of the dialogue that - different Italian entities such as our organizations - separately are carrying on with Russian bodies.

After listening with great attention and curiosity to the speakers who have preceded me, I would like to introduce into our conversation some geopolitical elements about the meaning of the current Euro-Russian Dialogue.

In my opinion, when we speak about co-operation, dialogue or, in a wider sense, about the relations between States, it is important ( if not right and proper ) to consider the geopolitical point of view – that's the viewpoint arising from the geopolitical analysis of the historical period during which such a dialogue occurs.

We need this geopolitical interpretation of the dialogue, particularly, in order to put in action the results of the dialogue itself with mutual benefit for the players involved and, above all, to better understand if and how the conduct and the results of the dialogue are able to have an effect – in the medium and long term – on the evolution of the international relations among the involved States and Organizations.

Dialogue among Nations, Organizations and People is always to be hoped, it is obvious to say and underline that.

Nevertheless, we can say that the dialogue between political players - who express different views and generally are carriers of different interests – has meaning only if it is based on long term and common strategic interests.

This is even more true if the players involved are so much important for the whole Planet, as undoubtedly Russia and European Nations, clustered within the European Union, are.

On the contrary, if converging strategic interests don't exist, the dialogue is pure and mere political rhetoric (rhetoric concealing, moreover, conflicting geopolitical projects and, let me pass the expression, politically uncorrected), or, the dialogue is based on interests that coincidentally converge and encompassed in the short term context, to be better analyzed in the frame of the International Relations studies.

Regarding the Dialogue between Europe and Russia, we must first of all define – at least synthetically – today’s geopolitical scenario.

We are crossing thorough – for several reasons – a geopolitical change. The analysis of our historical momentum shows us that we are within a geopolitical transition phase. We can define this phase as one of the uni-multipolar transition. During this phase, the Western System, lead by the USA (in which Europe and Japan are unnaturally enclosed, not for an objective community of interests, but owing to events of many decades ago), appears to be in constant decline.

I will sum up briefly some elements indicating the decline of the Western System:

-the elephantiasis (a type of the so called geopolitical giantism ) of the System which encircle the whole western hemisphere (the “two” Americas) and, for geo-strategic reasons, Europe and Japan;

-the cyclical economical and financial crises (every 30/40 years – the Western System faces a huge crisis – during the Thirties , the Seventies, and now 2008-2012);

-the difficulty to manage military crises, and even political and diplomatic ones;

-the increasing militarization of the geopolitical praxis adopted by the lead Nation of the Western System (neglecting the normal diplomatic roads );

At the same time we see, day after day, the rise of new geo-economic and geopolitical players.

The new players begin to organize themselves, starting from their geopolitical atouts, on the basis of common needs in a long term perspective; moreover, we note, the new players show more and more their interest to assume responsibilities at global level.

The common actions of the new players prefigure a new world order which we can – reasonably- define as Multipolar.

We are, hence, on the geopolitical plane, facing a transition between the old unipolar system (western-dominated system) and the new multipolar order.

Different Nations such as Russia, India, China, within the Eurasian Continental Landmass, and Brazil in the southwestern hemisphere more and more are connecting each others; and more and more they insert typically geopolitical topics in the agendas of their Summits.

After this short excursus, useful because it provides us the (geopolitical) coordinates within which we move, we can pass to the Dialogue between Russia and Europe.

Russia (the Russian Federation) is a wide sovereign State –a State free to choose the alliances to the end to strengthen its role as global player; moreover Russia is a State which - for reasons related to:

-its geographical position;

-the large extension;

-the important basin of natural resources;

constitutes the pivot area of the whole Eurasian landmass.

Europe, fragmented into more National States, has tried – since the end of the WWII- to realize unsuccessfully its political unity, without any chance.

This is due – and it is a result of the geopolitical analysis – to the basic reason: nowadays Europe (the European Union ) is not a real geopolitical player.

On the geo-strategic level, Europe constitutes, in fact, the bridgehead of the USA launched on the Eurasian continental mass.

(In particular, Italy and the Balkans (Kosovo Camp Bonsteel) are respectively the bridgehead of the NATO - USA System on North Africa, Near - Middle East and Russia.)

This is a condition that limits the degrees of freedom and decision-making of Europe: Europe, in fact, meaning European Union, does not have a clear autonomous common foreign policy, nor an autonomous cohesive and self-defense system.

The EU's strategic decisions are subordinate to U.S. interests, encompassed only in the rigid transatlantic framework.

This is a clear contradiction with the geopolitical interests of Europe which, I would like to underline, is a part of Eurasia, the Western one, whereas USA are in another continent; USA agenda in Eurasia aims to maintain divided our landmass and neutralized its potential.

From here emerges the difficulty for the construction of a balanced dialogue between the EU and Russia (we see it, however, in these days – in the context of the NATO summit – regarding the ABM dossier)

As long as Europe will not define clearly its geopolitical posture, taking into account factors such as:

-geographical proximity and continuity with the pivot-state of Eurasian landmass, namely Russia;

-autonomy from the USA ally;

-strategic convenience of an agreement with Moscow;

-identification of own strategic interest in the context of the new multipolar World Order

the dialogue is pure rhetoric, which conceals a false dialogue on long term strategic interests of the U.S. government and Pentagon with respect to World supremacy.

Within the context of international relations, the primary task of the Europeans is to escape from this impasse.

The European nations should catch the historic opportunity offered by the current geopolitical transition, pursuing, at the same time - for the purpose of increasing their levels of geopolitical action - two main routes:

a) the path of implementation and consolidation of cooperative relations with Moscow;

b) the path of emancipation from the alliance (protection of) with Washington.

A better balance of international posture of the EU will be beneficial to the Euro-Russian relations and the construction of Europe as an autonomous geopolitical unit.