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Everything you have ever been told is a lie

The History of the “Money Changers”

By Andrew Hitchcock, 26 Feb 2006. He also wrote the Rothschild timeline
Here is an illustrated version of this timeline.

Economists continually try and sell the public the idea that recessions or depressions are a natural part of what they call the “business cycle”.

This timeline below will prove that is simply not the case.  Recessions and depressions only occur because the Central Bankers manipulate the money supply, to ensure more and more is in their hands and less and less is in the hands of the people.

Central Bankers developed out of money changers and it is with these people we pick the story up in 48 B.C. below.

48 B.C.

Julius Caesar took back from the money changers the power to coin money and then minted coins for the benefit of all. With this new, plentiful supply of money, he established many massive construction projects and built great public works. By making money plentiful, Caesar won the love of the common people.

But the money changers hated him for it and this is why Caesar was assassinated.  Immediately after his assassination came the demise of plentiful money in Rome, taxes increased, as did corruption.

Eventually the Roman money supply was reduced by 90 per cent, which resulted in the common people losing their lands and homes.

30 A.D.

Jesus Christ in the last year of his life uses physical force to throw the money changers out of the temple.  This was the only time during the the life of his ministry in which he used physical force against anyone.

When Jews came to Jerusalem to pay their Temple tax, they could only pay it with a special coin, the half-shekel. This was a half-ounce of pure silver, about the size of a quarter. It was the only coin at that time which was pure silver and of assured weight, without the image of a pagan Emperor, and therefore to the Jews it was the only coin acceptable to God.

Unfortunately these coins were not plentiful, the money changers had cornered the market on them, and so they raised the price of them to whatever the market could bear.  They used their monopoly they had on these coins to make exorbitant profits, forcing the Jews to pay whatever these money changers demanded.

Jesus threw the money changers out as their monopoly on these coins totally violated the sanctity of God's house.  These money changers called for his death days later.


The money changers had control of Medieval England's money supply and at this time were generally known as goldsmiths.  Paper money started out and this was simply a receipt you would get after depositing gold with a goldsmith, in their safe rooms or vaults.  This paper started being traded as it was far more convenient than carrying round a lot of heavy gold and silver coins.

Over time, to simplify the process, the receipts were made to the bearer, rather than to the individual depositor, making it readily transferable without the need for a signature. This, also, broke the tie to any identifiable deposit of gold.

Eventually the goldsmiths recognized that only a fraction of depositors ever came in and demanded their gold at any one time, so they found out how they could cheat on the system.  They started to issue more receipts than they had gold to back those receipts and no one would be any the wiser.  They would loan out these receipts which were not backed by the gold they had in their depositories and collect interest on them.

This was the birth of the system we know today as Fractional Reserve Banking, and like this system of today this meant the goldsmiths were able to make astronomical amounts of money by loaning out, what was essentially fraudulent receipts, as they were for gold the goldsmiths didn't even possess.  As they gradually got more confident they would loan out up to 10 times the amount they had in their deposits.

To simplify how they made money on this, let's give an example in which a goldsmith charges the same rate of interest to creditors and debtors.  In this example a goldsmith would pay interest of 6% on gold you had deposited with them, and then charge 6% interest on money, I mean fraudulent receipts, you borrowed from them.  As they would lend out ten times what you had deposited with them, whilst they're paying you 6% interest, they are making 60% interest.  This is on your gold.

The goldsmiths also discovered that their control of this fraudulent money supply gave them control over the economy and the assets of the people.  They exacted their control by rowing the economy between easy money and tight money.

The way they did this was to make money easy to borrow and therefore increase the amount of money in circulation, then suddenly tighten the money supply, taking it out of circulation by making loans more difficult to get or stopping offering them altogether.

Why did they do this?  Simple, because the result would be a certain percentage of the people being unable to repay their previous loans, and not having the facility to take out new ones, so they would go bankrupt and be forced to sell their assets to the goldsmiths for literally pennies on the dollar.

This is exactly what happens in the world economy of today, but is referred to with words like, "the business cycle," "boom and bust," "recession," and "depression," in order to confuse the population of the money changers scam.


King Henry I succeeds King William II to the throne of England.  During his reign he decided to take the power the money changers had over the people, and he did this by creating a completely new form of money that took the form of a stick!  This stick was called, a "talley stick," and ended up being the longest lasting form of currency, lasting 726 years until 1826 (even though other currencies came and went in that same period and ran alongside the talley sticks).

The talley stick was a stick of polished wood into which notches were cut along one side, to indicate the denomination of money the stick represented.  The stick was then split lengthwise through the notches, so that both pieces had a record of the notches.  The King kept one half to protect against counterfeiting and the other half was spent into the economy and circulated as money.

It was also one of the most successful money systems in history, as the King demanded that all the King's taxes had to be paid in, "talley sticks," so this increased their circulation and acceptance as a legitimate form of money.  This system would work well in keeping the power away from the money changers in England.


St. Thomas Aquinas is born, the leading theologian of the Catholic Church who argued that the charging of interest is wrong because it applies to "double charging," charging for both the money and the use of the money.

This concept followed the teachings of Aristotle that taught the purpose of money was to serve the members of society and to facilitate the exchange of goods needed to lead a virtuous life.  Interest was contrary to reason and justice because it put an unnecessary burden on the use of money.

Thus, Church law in Middle Ages Europe forbade the charging of interest on loans and even made it a crime called, "usury."


King Henry VIII succeeds King Henry VII to the throne in England.  During his reign he relaxed the laws regarding usury, and and the money changers did not waste any time in re-asserting themselves over the population.  They quickly made their gold and silver coin system plentiful again.  It is interesting to note that under King Henry VIII  the Church of England separated from Roman Catholicism, whose Church law prevented the charging of interest on money.


Queen Mary I succeeds Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign to the throne in England.  During her reign, Queen Mary I, a staunch Catholic, tightened the usury laws again.  The money changers were not amused and in revenge they tightened the money supply by hoarding gold and silver coins and causing the economy to plummet.


Queen Elizabeth I succeeds Queen Mary I, her half sister, to the throne in England.  During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I decided that in order to wrest control of the money supply she would have to issue her own gold and silver coins.  She did this through the public treasury and successfully took control of the money supply from the money changers.


The money changers in the Netherlands establish the the first central bank in history, in Amsterdam.


Oliver Cromwell is financed by the money changers for the purposes of fomenting a revolution in England, and allowing them to take control of the money system again.  After much bloodshed, Cromwell finally purges the parliament, overthrows King Charles I and puts him to death in 1649.

The money changers immediately consolidate their power and for the next few decades plunge Great Britain into a costly series of wars.  They also take over a square mile of property in the center of London which becomes known as the City of London.


The money changers in England following a series of squabbles with the Stuart Kings, Charles II (1660 - 1685) and James II (1685 - 1688), conspire with their far more successful money changing counterparts in the Netherlands, who had already set up a central bank there.

They decide to finance an invasion by William of Orange of Netherlands who they sound out and establish will be more favorable to them.  The invasion is successful and William of Orange ascends to the throne in England as King William III in 1689.


Following a costly series of wars over the last 50 years, English Government officials go, cap in hand, to the money changers for loans necessary to pursue their political purposes.  The money changers agree to solve this problem in exchange for a government sanctioned privately owned bank which could issue money created out of nothing.

This was deceptively named the, "Bank of England," for the sole purpose of duping the general public into believing it was part of the government, which it was not.

Like any other private corporation the Bank of England sold shares to get started.  The private investors, whose names were never revealed, were supposed to put up £1,250,000 in gold coins to buy their shares in the bank, but only £750,000 was ever received.  Despite that the bank was duly chartered and began loaning out several times the money it supposedly had in reserves, all at interest.

Although the Bank of England's private investors were never revealed, one of the Directors, William Paterson, stated,

"The Bank hath benefit of interest on all monies which it creates out of nothing.”

Furthermore the Bank of England would loan government officials as much of the new currency as they wanted, as long as they secured the debt by direct taxation of the British people.  The Bank of England amounted to nothing less than the legal counterfeiting of a national currency for private gain, and thus any country that would fall under the control of a private bank would amount to nothing more than a plutocracy.

Soon after the Bank of England was formed it attacked the talley stick system, as it was money outside of the power of the money changers, just as King Henry I had intended it to be.


Following four years of the Bank of England, their plan to control the money supply had come on in leaps and bounds.  They had flooded the country with so much money that the Government debt to the Bank had grown from the initial £1,250,000, to £16,000,000, in only four years.  That's an increase of 1,280%.

Why do they do it?  Simple, if the money in circulation in a country is £5,000,000, and a central bank is set up and prints another £15,000,000, stage one of the plan, sends it out into the economy through loans etc, than this will reduce the value of the initial £5,000,000 in circulation before the bank was formed. This is because the initial £5,000,000 is now only 25% of the economy.  It will also give the bank control of 75% of the money in circulation with the £15,000,000 they sent out into the economy.

This also causes inflation which is the reduction in worth of money borne by the common person, due to the economy being flooded with too much money, an economy which the Central Bank are responsible for. As the common person's money is worth less, he has to go to the bank to get a loan to help run his business etc, and when the Central Bank are satisfied there are enough people with debt out there, the bank will tighten the supply of money by not offering loans.  This is stage two of the plan.

Stage three, is sitting back and waiting for the debtors to them to go bankrupt, allowing the bank to then seize from them real wealth, businesses and property etc, for pennies on the dollar.  Inflation never effects a central bank in fact they are the only group who can benefit from it, as if they are ever short of money they can simply print more.


Benjamin Franklin travels to England and would spend the next 18 years of his life there until just before the start of the American Revolution.


Mayer Amschel Bauer changes him name to Mayer Amschel Rothschild and sets up the, House Of Rothschild, and soon learns that if he loans out money to Governments and Royalty then this is far more profitable than loaning to individuals.  This is because the loans made are bigger and backed by their nations' taxes.  He trains his five sons in the art of money creation.


Benjamin Franklin is asked by officials of the Bank of England to explain the prosperity of the colonies in America.  He replies,

"That is simple.  In the Colonies we issue our own money.  It is called Colonial Scrip.  We issue it in proper proportion to the demands of trade and industry to make the products pass easily from the producers to the consumers.  In this manner creating for ourselves our own paper money, we control its purchasing power, and we have no interest to pay no one."

As a result of Franklin's statement, the British Parliament hurriedly passed the Currency Act of 1764.  This prohibited colonial officials from issuing their own money and ordered them to pay all future taxes in gold or silver coins.  Referring to after this act was passed, Franklin would state the following in his autobiography,

"In one year, the conditions were so reversed that the era of prosperity ended, and a depression set in, to such an extent that the streets of the colonies were filled with the unemployed...The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money which created unemployment and dissatisfaction.

The viability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of King George III and the international bankers was the prime reason for the revolutionary war."

Control of America's money system will change hands 8 times since 1764.


April 19th, start of the revolutionary war in Lexington, Massachusetts.  By this time the colonies had been drained of silver and gold coins as a result of British taxation.  As a result of this, the continental government had no choice but to print money to finance the war.

At the start of the revolution the American money supply stood at $12,000,000.  By the end of the war it was nearly $500,000,000 and as a result the currency was virtually worthless.  An example of this is that a pair of shoes now sold for $5,000 dollars.  This also shows the danger of printing too much money.  The reason Colonial Scrip had worked was because just enough was used to facilitate trade.


Towards the end of the American Revolution the Continental Congress were desperate for money, so they allowed Robert Morris, their Financial Superintendent, to open a privately owned central bank, in the hope this would sort out the money problem.

Morris was a wealthy man who had  grown wealthier during the revolution by trading in war materials.  This first central bank in America was called the Bank of North America, which was set up with a four year charter, and was closely modeled after the Bank of England.  It was allowed to practice the fraudulent system of fractional reserve banking, so it could create money it didn't have, then charge interest on it.

The bank's charter called for private investors to put up $400,000 of initial capital, which Morris found himself unable to raise.  Nevertheless he unashamedly used his political influence to have gold deposited in the bank, which had been loaned to America by France.  Morris then loaned the money he needed to buy this bank from this deposit of gold that belonged to the government, or rather the American people.

This Bank of North America, again deceptively named so the common people would believe it was under the control of the government, was given a monopoly over the national currency.


Despite the promises of Robert Morris that his privately owned Bank of North America would solve the problem with the money supply, of course the economy continued to plummet, forcing the Continental Congress not to renew the bank's charter.  The leader of the effort to kill this bank was William Findlay of Pennsylvania, who stated,

"This institution, having no principle but that of avarice, will never be varied in its engross all the wealth, power and influence of the state."

Mayer Amschel Rothschild moves his family home to a five storey home in Frankfurt, Germany, which he shares with the Schiff family, (a descendant of both Rothschild and Schiff, Jacob Schiff, who would be born in this house, would, some 128 years later, be instrumental in the setting up of the Federal Reserve).


Colonial leaders assemble in Philadelphia to replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution.  Governor Morris headed the final draft of the Constitution and he knew the motivation of the bankers well as he had once worked for them.  Governor Morris along with his former boss Robert Morris, and Alexander Hamilton had presented the original plan for the Bank of North America to the Continental Congress, in the final year of the Revolution.

Fortunately Governor Morris by this time had discovered his conscience, defected from Robert Morris, and in a letter to James Madison dated July 2nd of this year he stated,

"The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest.  They always did.  They always will...They will have the same effect here as elsewhere, if we do not, by the power of government, keep them in their proper spheres."

James Madison was opposed to a privately owned central bank after seeing the exploitation of the people by the Bank of England.  Thomas Jefferson was also against it, and Jefferson later made the following statement,

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Sadly the words of wisdom of Governor Morris and Thomas Jefferson fell on deaf ears.  Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris and Thomas Wyling, convinced the the bulk of the delegates to this Constitutional convention, not to give Congress the power to issue paper money.

They were aware that most of these delegates were still reeling from the wild inflation of the paper money during the revolution.  These delegates also had short memories and didn't remember how well Colonial Scrip had worked before the war, or Benjamin Franklin's words of wisdom in 1764.

As a result the Constitution was silent on the issue of paper money by the Government for the citizens, leaving a wide open door for money changers in the future.


Less than 3 years after the Constitution had been signed, the newly appointed First Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, proposed a bill to the Congress calling for a new privately owned central bank.  Interestingly, Alexander Hamilton's first job after graduating from law school in 1782 was as an aide to Robert Morris, a man who he had written to in 1781 stating, "a national debt if it is not excessive will be to us a national blessing."


The three main players behind the Bank Of North America were:  Robert Morris; Alexander Hamilton; and the Bank's President, Thomas Willing.  These men did not give up and Alexander Hamilton, now Secretary of the Treasury, a man who described Robert Morris as his, "mentor," managed to get a new privately owned central bank through the new Congress.

This new bank was called the, "First Bank of the United States," and was exactly the same as the Bank of North America.  Robert Morris controlled it, Thomas Willing was the Bank's President, only the name had changed.

This bank came into being after a year of intense debate and was given a 20 year charter.  It was given a monopoly on printing United States currency even though 80% of it's stock was held by private investors.  The other 20% was purchased by the United States government, but this was not to give it a piece if the action, but to provide the capital for the private investors to purchase the other 80%.

As with the Bank of England and the old Bank of North America, these private investors never paid the full agreed amount for their shares.  What happened was through the fraudulent system of fractional reserve banking, the government's 20% stake which was $2,000,000 in cash, was used to make loans to its private investors to purchase the other 80% stake, £8,000,000,  for this risk free investment.

Again like the Bank of England and the old Bank of North America, the name, "First Bank of the United States," was deliberately chosen to hide from the common people the fact that it was privately owned.  The names of the investors in this bank were never revealed, although it is now widely believed that the Rothschilds were behind it.

Interestingly in 1790 when Alexander Hamilton proposed this bank in Congress, Mayer Amschel Rothschild made the following statement from his bank in Frankfurt, Germany, "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws."


The First Bank of the United States has been controlling the American money supply for 5 years.  During this time the American Government has borrowed $8,200,000 from this Central Bank, and prices in the country have increased by 72%.  In relation to this, Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State stated,

"I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our constitution taking from the Federal Government their power of borrowing."


Mayer Amschel Rothschild sends his son, Nathan, at the age of 21, to England with a sum of money equivalent to £20,000, to set up a money changers there.


In France, the Bank of France was set up.  However Napoleon decided France had to break free of the debt and he therefore never trusted this bank.  He declared that when a government is dependent on bankers for money, it is the bankers and not the government leaders that are in control.  He stated,

"The hand that gives is among the hand that takes.  Money has no motherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency, their sole object is gain."


Now President Thomas Jefferson, President Jefferson struck a deal with Napoleon in France.  The United States would give Napoleon $3,000,000 of gold in exchange for a huge chunk of territory west of the Mississippi River.  This was called the Louisiana purchase.

Napoleon used this gold to put together an army.  He then used this army to set off across Europe where he began to conquer everything in his path.  The Bank of England quickly rose to oppose Napoleon and financed every nation in his path, as usual profiteering from war.  Prussia, Austria, and then finally Russia all went heavily into debt in a futile attempt to stop Napoleon.


30 year old Nathan Rothschild, head of the English branch of the family in London, personally takes charge of a plan to smuggle a much needed shipment of gold through France to Spain to finance an attack by the Duke Of Wellington on Napoleon, from there.


A bill was put before Congress to renew the charter of the First Bank of the United States.  The legislatures of both Pennsylvania and Virginia pass resolutions asking Congress to kill the bank.  The national press openly attack the bank calling it:  a great swindle; a vulture; a viper; and a cobra.

Nathan Rothschild gets in on the act and makes the following revealing statement as to who was really behind the First Bank of the United States,

“Either the application for renewal of the charter is granted, or the United States will find itself involved in a most disastrous war.”

When the smoke had cleared the renewal bill was cleared by a single vote in the house and was deadlocked in the Senate.  At this point America's fourth President, President James Madison was in the White House.  He was a staunch opponent of the bank and he sent his Vice-President, George Clinton, to break a tie in the Senate which killed the bank.


As promised by Nathan Rothschild, because the charter for the First Bank of the United States is not renewed, thousands have to die and the British attack America.  However, as the British are still busy fighting Napoleon, they are unable to mount much of an assault and the war ends in 1814 with America undefeated.


Wellington's attacks from the South and other defeats eventually forced Napoleon to abdicate and Louis XVIII is crowned King.  Napoleon is exiled to the tiny island of Elba, off the coast of Italy.


Napoleon escapes his exile and returns to Paris.  French troops were sent to capture him, but he uses his charisma to convince these soldiers to rally round him, and they subsequently hail him as their emperor once again.  In March, Napoleon assembles an army which England's Duke of Wellington defeated less than 90 days later at Waterloo.

Even though the outcome is predetermined, these bankers don't like to take any sort of risk, they're too used to a monopoly.  Therefore Nathan Rothschild sent a trusted courier named Rothworth to Waterloo where he stayed on the edge of the battlefield.  Once the battle was decided, Rothworth took off for the Channel, and delivered the news of Wellington's victory to Nathan Rothschild a full 24 hours before Wellington's own courier.

Nathan Rothschild hurried to the London Stock market and stood in his usual position.  All eyes were on him as Rothschild had a legendary communications network.  Rothschild stood there looking forlorn and suddenly started selling.  The other traders believed that this meant he had heard that Napoleon had won so they all started selling frantically.

The market subsequently plummeted, soon everyone was selling their consuls (British Government Bonds), but then Rothschild secretly started buying them all up through his agents on the floor, for a fraction of what they were worth only hours before.  A lot of these consuls were able to be converted to Bank of England stock, which is how Rothschild took over the control of the Bank of England and therefore the British money supply.

Interestingly, 100 years later, the New York Times ran a story stating that Nathan Rothschild's grandson had attempted to secure a court order to suppress a book with this, what we would call today, "insider trading," story in it.  The Rothschild family claimed the story was untrue and libelous, but the court denied the Rothschilds request and ordered the family to pay all court costs.

Nathan Rothschild openly brags that in his 17 years in England he had increased his initial £20,000 stake given to him by his father, 2500 times to £50,000,000.

Some people ask, why do bankers want war?  Simple, bankers finance both sides in a war.  They do this because war is the biggest debt generator of them all.  A nation will borrow any amount for victory, even though the banks have already predetermined the outcome.  The ultimate loser is loaned just enough money to hold out a vain hope of victory and the ultimate winner is given enough to ensure that he does win.

How do the banks ensure they will get all their money back?  Easy, such loans are given on the guarantee that the victor will honor the debts of the vanquished.  Never mind the thousands of troops that give their lives on the pretext it is for the honor of their respective nations, when it is actually for the profits of bankers.

In fact, during the period between the founding of the Bank of England in 1694 and Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo this year, England had been at war for 56 years, with much of the remaining time spent preparing for war.  If it's a good business for bankers' profits, then why change it.


The American Congress passes a bill permitting yet another privately owned central bank.  This bank was called the, "Second Bank of the United States," and it's charter was a carbon copy of that of its predecessor, the First Bank of the United States.  The United States government would once again supposedly own 20% of the shares of the bank.

Their share was again paid up front into the bank and thanks to fraudulent fractional reserve lending, this was transformed into loans to the private investors who once again purchased the remaining 80% of the shares.  Just as before the names of these investors was kept a secret.


The talley stick is taken out of circulation in England.


After 12 years during which the Second Bank of the United States, ruthlessly manipulated the American economy to the detriment of the people but to the benefit of their own money grabbing ends, the American people had unsurprisingly had enough.  Opponents of this bank nominated Senator Andrew Jackson of Tennessee to run for President.

To the dismay of the money changers, Jackson won the Presidency and made it quite clear he intended to kill this bank at his first opportunity.  He started out during his first term in office, to root out the banks many minions from government service.  To illustrate how deep this cancer was rooted in government, he fired 2,000 of the 11,000 employees of the Federal Government.


The Second Bank of the United States, ask Congress to pass a renewal of the bank's charter, four years early.  Congress complied and sent the bill to President Jackson for signing.  President Jackson vetoed this bill and in his veto message he stated the following,

"It is not our own citizens only who are to receive the bounty of our Government.  More than eight millions of the stock of the Bank are held by foreigners...Is there no danger to out liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country?

Controlling our currency, receiving our public moneys, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence ...would be more formidable and dangerous than a military power of the enemy.  If government would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower the favor alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.

In the act before me there seems to be wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles."

In July, Congress was unable to override President Jackson's veto.  President Jackson then stood for re-election and for the first time in American history he took his argument directly to the people by taking his re-election campaign on the road.  His campaign slogan was, "Jackson And No Bank!"

Even though the bankers poured over $3,000,000 into President Jackson's opponent, the Republican, Senator Henry Clays' campaign, President Jackson was re-elected by a landslide in November.  President Jackson knew the battle was only beginning however, and following his victory he stated,

"The hydra of corruption is only scotched, not dead!"


President Jackson appoints Roger B. Taney as Secretary of State for the Treasury, with instructions to start removing the government's deposits from the Second Bank of the United States.  President Jackson's previous two Secretaries of State for the Treasury, William J. Duane and Louis McLane had both refused to comply with President Jackson's request and were fired as a result.

However the head of the, Second Bank of the United States, Nicholas Biddle, used his influence to get the Senate to reject Roger B. Taney's nomination and even threatened to cause a depression if the Bank was not re-chartered.  Biddle stated,

"This worthy President thinks that because he has scalped Indians and imprisoned judges, he is to have his way with the Bank.  He is mistaken."

Biddle then went on to brazenly admit that the bank was intending to make money scarce in order to force the hand of Congress into re-chartering the bank.  He stated,

"Nothing but widespread suffering will produce any effect on Congress...Our only safety is pursuing a steady course of firm restriction - and I have no doubt that such a course will ultimately lead to restoration of the currency and re-charter of the Bank."

What Biddle has done with that statement is prove to the world what central banks were really about.  He made good on his word, and the Second Bank of the United States, sharply contracted the money supply by calling in old loans and refusing to issue new ones.  Naturally a financial panic ensued, followed by America being plunged into a deep depression.

Biddle then unashamedly blamed President Jackson for the crash, claiming that it was Jackson's withdrawal of federal funds that had caused it.  This crash plunged wages and prices, unemployment soared along with business bankruptcies.  The United States was in uproar and newspaper editors blasted the President in editorials.


Congress assembled what was called the, "Panic Session," and on 27 March President Jackson was officially censured by Congress for withdrawing funds from the Second Bank of the United States, in a vote which passed the Senate by 26 to 20.  It was the first time a President had ever been censured by Congress and Jackson stated of the Bank,

"You are a den of thieves vipers, and I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God, I will rout you out."

However, Pennsylvania Governor, George Wolf, came out in support of President Jackson and strongly criticized the Bank.  This, coupled with the fact that Nicholas Biddle had been caught boasting in public about the bank's plan to crash the American economy, caused a shift in opinion of President Jackson's action.

In a complete about turn on April 4, the House of Representatives voted 134 to 82 against re-chartering the bank.  This was followed by another strong vote which established a special committee to investigate whether the Bank had caused the crash.

However, when the investigating committee arrived at the bank's door in Philadelphia with a subpoena authorizing them to inspect the books, Nicholas Biddle refused to give them up, or allow inspection of correspondence with Congressmen relating to their personal loans and advancements he had made to them.  He also refused to testify before the committee back in Washington.


The Charter for the Second Bank of the United States expires, and the Bank ceases functioning as America's central bank.  Nicholas Biddle was later arrested and charged with fraud.  He was tried and acquitted but died in 1844 still battling civil suits.


On January 8th President Jackson pays off the final installment of the national debt, which had been necessitated by allowing the banks to issue currency for government bonds, rather than simply issuing treasury notes without such debt.  He was the only President to ever pay off the debt.

On January 30th an assassin called Richard Lawrence tried to shoot President Jackson, but both pistols misfired.  Lawrence was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.  However, after his release he openly bragged that powerful people in Europe had put him up to the task and promised to protect him if he were caught.

When asked what his most important accomplishment had been in life, President Jackson stated without hesitation,

"I killed the Bank!"

It would take the money changers 75 years to establish the next central bank, the Federal Reserve.  This time they would take no chances and use one of their own, Jacob Schiff, from the Rothschild bloodline, to undertake this.


Jacob (James) Rothschild in France is said to be worth 600 million francs, which at the time was 150 million francs more than all the other bankers in France put together.


Future British Prime Minister, William Gladstone, stated the following about when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer this year,

"From the time I took office as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I began to learn that the State held, in the face of the Bank and the City, an essentially false position as to finance. The Government itself was not to be a substantive power, but was to leave the Money Power supreme and unquestioned."


One month after the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War got underway at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, after South Carolina left the Union.  Slavery has always been cited as the cause of the war but this was simply not the case, as President Lincoln himself stated,

"I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the state where it now exists.  I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so...My paramount objective is to save the Union and it is not either to save or destroy slavery.  If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it."

The real reason for the war is that the Southern States were in an a dire economic situation due to the actions of the Northern States.  Northern industrialists had used trade tariffs to prevent the Southern States from buying cheaper European goods.  Europe subsequently retaliated by stopping cotton imports from the South.  Thus the South were being forced to pay more for goods whilst having their income slashed.

This is when the money changers saw the opportunity to divide and conquer America by plunging it into Civil War.  This is confirmed by Otto Von Bismarck when he was Chancellor of Germany (1871 - 1890), who stated,

"The division of the United States into federations of equal force was decided long before the Civil War by the high financial powers of Europe, these bankers were afraid that the United States if they remained as one block and as one nation, would attain economic and financial independence which would upset their financial domination over the world."

Only months after these first shots in South Carolina, the Central bankers loaned, Napoleon III of France (the Napoleon of the battle of Waterloo's nephew), 210 million francs to seize Mexico and then station troops along the Southern border of the United States, by taking advantage of the American Civil War to return Mexico to colonial rule.

This was in violation of the, "Monroe Doctrine," which was issued by President James Monroe during his seventh annual State of the Union address to Congress, in 1823.  This doctrine proclaimed the United States' opinion that European powers should no longer colonize the Americas or interfere with the affairs of sovereign nations located in the Americas, such as the United States, Mexico, and others.

In return, the United States planned to stay neutral in wars between European powers and in wars between a European power and its colonies. However, if these latter type of wars were to occur in the Americas, the U.S. would view such action as hostile toward itself.

Whilst the French were breaching the, Monroe Doctrine in Mexico, the British followed suit by moving 11,000 troops into Canada and positioning them along America's Northern border.  President Lincoln knew he was in trouble, so he went with his Secretary To The Treasury, Salomon P. Chase, to New York to apply for the loans necessary to fund America's defense.

The money changers had engineered the war to make the Union fail, and were not about to save it now, so they offered loans at 24% to 36% interest.  President Lincoln declined this as they knew he would and returned to Washington, where he sent for Colonel Dick Taylor of Chicago, who he put in charge of the problem of how he should finance the war.

During one meeting President Lincoln asked Colonel Taylor what proposals he had come up with to finance the war.  Colonel Taylor stated,

"Why Lincoln, that is easy, just get Congress to pass a bill authorizing the printing of full legal tender treasury notes...and pay your soldiers with them and go ahead and win your war with them also."

President Lincoln asked Colonel Taylor if the people of the United States would accept the notes, Colonel Taylor said,

"The people or anyone else will not have any choice in the matter, if you make them full legal tender.  They will have the full sanction of the government and be just as good as any money, as Congress is given that express right by the Constitution."


President Lincoln began the printing of $450,000,000 worth of new bills.  These bills were printed in green ink on the reverse side, in order to distinguish them from other bills in circulation, and were called, "Greenbacks."  These were printed at no interest to the Federal Government and were used to pay the troops and purchase their supplies.  President Lincoln would be the last President to issue debt free United States notes, and on this subject he stated,

"The Government should create, issue and circulate all the currency and credit needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers.  The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but it is in the Government's greatest creative opportunity.  By the adoption of these principles...the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest.  Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity."

In response to this statement, The Times of London publishes a propaganda piece obviously put out by the bankers, containing the following statement,

"If that mischievous financial policy, which had its origin in the North American Republic, should become indurated down to a fixture, then that government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without a debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce.

It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of civilized governments of the world. The brains and the wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe."


The bankers struck back.  With President Lincoln needing further congressional authority to issue more Greenbacks, Lincoln was forced into allowing the bankers to push their, "National Banking Act," through Congress.

The most important part of this Act was that from now on, the entire United States money supply would be created out of debt by the National Banks buying United States Government Bonds and issuing them for reserves for banknotes.  On top of this monopoly, the National Banks were allowed to operate under a virtual tax free status.  This banking scam is best explained by historian, John Kenneth Galbraith, who stated,

"In numerous years following the war, the Federal Government ran a heavy surplus.  It could not however pay off its debt, retire its securities, because to do so meant there would be no bonds to back the national bank notes.  To pay off the debt was to destroy the money supply."

Later this year, Tsar Alexander II gave President Lincoln some unexpected help.  The Tsar issued orders that if either England or France actively intervened in the American Civil War, and help the South, Russia would consider such action a declaration of war.  To show that he wasn't messing about, he sent part of his Pacific Fleet to port in San Francisco.

This wasn't because the Tsar was benevolent towards America, instead he was very clever.  He, like Otto Von Bismarck in Germany, could clearly see what the money changers were up to, indeed he had already refused to let them set up a Central Bank in Russia.  He understood if America was to come under the control of Britain or France, then America would be under the control of Central Bankers once again, and such an expansion of the bankers empire, would mean they would eventually threaten Russia.


President Lincoln is re-elected on November 8th and on November 21 he wrote a friend the following,

"The money power preys upon the nations in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity.  It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy."

Salomon P Chase, now President Lincoln's Former Secretary To The Treasury, stated,

"My agency in promoting the passage of the National Banking Act was the greatest financial mistake in my life.  It has built up a monopoly which affects every interest in the country."


On April 14th, 41 days after his second inauguration, and just 5 days after General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox, President Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth, at Ford's Theater.  He would later die of his injuries.  Subsequent allegations that international bankers were responsible for President Lincoln's assassination, would be made in the Canadian House of Commons, nearly 70 years later in 1934.

The person who revealed this was a Canadian Attorney, Gerald G. McGeer.  He had obtained evidence deleted from the public record provided to him by Secret Service Agents at the trial of John Wilkes Booth, after Booth's death.  McGeer stated that it showed that John Wilkes Booth was a mercenary working for the international bankers.  His speech would be reported in an article in the Vancouver Sun, dated, 2nd May 1934, which stated,

"Abraham Lincoln, the murdered emancipator of the slaves, was assassinated through the machinations of a group representative of the International Bankers, who feared the United States President's National Credit ambitions.  There was only one group in the world at that time who had any reason to desire the death of Lincoln. They were the men opposed to his national currency program and who had fought him throughout the whole Civil War on his policy of Greenback currency."

Gerald G. McGeer also stated that Lincoln's assassination was not purely because the International Bankers wanted to re-establish a central bank in America, but also because they wanted to base America's currency on gold, which they of course controlled.  They wanted to put America on a Gold Standard.  This was in direct opposition to President Lincoln's policy of issuing Greenbacks, based solely on the good faith and credit of the United States.

The Vancouver Sun article also quoted Gerald G. McGeer with the following statement,

"They were the men interested in the establishment of the Gold Standard and the right of the bankers to manage the currency and credit of every nation in the world.  With Lincoln out of the way they were able to proceed with that plan and did proceed with it in the United States.  Within 8 years after Lincoln's assassination, silver was demonetized and the Gold Standard system set up in the United States."


The European central bankers wanted the re-institution of a central bank under their control and an American currency backed by gold.  They chose gold as gold has always been relatively scarce and therefore a lot easier to monopolize, than, for example, silver, which was plentiful in the United States, and had been found in huge quantities with the opening of the American West.

So, on April 12th, Congress went back to work at the bidding of the European central bankers.  It passed the, "Contraction Act," which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to contract the money supply by retiring some of the Greenbacks in circulation.

This money contraction and it's disastrous results is explained by Theodore R. Thoren and Richard F. Walker, in their book, "The Truth In Money Book," in which they state the following,

"The hard times which occurred after the Civil War could have been avoided if the Greenback legislation had continued as President Lincoln had intended.  Instead there were a series of money panics, what we call recessions, which put pressure on Congress to enact legislation to place the banking system under centralized control.  Eventually the Federal Reserve Act was passed on December 23rd 1913."

This is how the, "Contraction Act," passed by Congress affected America (the money supply goes down purely because currency in circulation is being withdrawn):


In circulation

Approximately per capita













Therefore in the twenty years since 1866 two thirds of the American money supply had been called in by the bankers, representing a 760% loss in buying power over this twenty years.  The money became scarce simply because bank loans were called in and no new ones were given.


Ernest Seyd is sent to America on a mission from the Rothschild owned Bank of England.  He is given $100,000 which he is to use to bribe as many Congressmen as necessary, for the purposes of getting silver demonetized, as it had been found in huge quantities in the American West, which would eat into Rothschild's profits.


Ernest Seyd obviously spent his money wisely, as Congress pass the, "Coinage Act," which results in the minting of silver dollars being abruptly stopped.  Furthermore, Representative Samuel Hooper, who introduced the bill in the house, even admitted that Ernest Seyd had actually drafted the legislation.


Ernest Seyd himself admitted who was behind the demonetizing of silver in America, when he makes the following statement,

"I went to America in the winter of 1872 - 1873, authorized to secure, if I could, the passage of a bill demonetizing silver.  It was in the interests of those I represented, the governors of the Bank Of England, to have it done.  By 1873, gold coins were the only form of coin money."


Due to the manipulation of the money supply in America, one third of the workforce is unemployed and unrest is growing.  There are even calls for a return to Greenback money or silver money.  As a result, Congress creates the, "United States Silver Commission," to investigate the problem.

This commission clearly understood that the national bankers were the cause of the problem, with their deliberate contraction of the money supply.  An excerpt of their report reads as follows,

"The disaster of the Dark Ages was caused by decreasing money and falling prices ...Without money, civilization could not have had a beginning, and with a diminishing supply, it must languish, and unless relieved, finally perish.  At the Christian era the metallic money of the Roman Empire amounted to $1,800,000,000.  By the end of the 15th century it had shrunk to less than $200,000,000...History records no other such disastrous transition as that from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages..."

Despite this damning report from the commission, Congress took no action.


Rioting breaks out from Pittsburgh to Chicago.  The bankers get together to decide what to do and they decided to hang on, as they knew that despite the violence, they were now firmly back in control.  At the meeting of the American Bankers Association, they urged their membership to do everything in their power, to put down any notion of a return to Greenbacks.

The American Bankers Association secretary, James Buel, even wrote a letter to the members in which he blatantly called on the banks to subvert both Congress and the press.  In this letter he stated,

"It is advisable to do all in your power to sustain such prominent daily and weekly newspapers, especially the Agricultural and Religious Press, as well as oppose the Greenback issue of paper money and that you will also withhold patronage from all applicants who are not willing to oppose the government issue of money....

...To repeal the Act creating bank notes, or to restore to circulation issue of money will be to provide the people with money and will therefore seriously affect our individual profits as bankers and lenders.  See your Congressman at once and engage him to support our interests that we may control legislation."


James Buel's letter clearly had some effect, as although pressure mounted in Congress for change, the press tried to turn the general public away from the truth.  An example of this is from the New York Tribune in their 10th January edition in which is stated in a bankers propaganda piece,

"The capital of the country is organized at last and we will see whether Congress will dare to fly in its face."

This early control of the media didn't work entirely nevertheless, as on February 28th Congress passed the, "Sherman Law."  This law allowed the minting of a limited number of silver dollars, ending the 5 year hiatus.  However this did not mean that anyone who brought silver to the United States Mint could have it struck into silver dollars, free of charge, as in the period prior to Ernest Seyd's Coinage Act, in 1873.  Gold backing of the American currency also remained.

However, this Sherman Law did ensure that some money began to flow into the economy again, and coupled with the fact that the bankers now realized that they were still firmly in control, they started issuing loans again and the post Civil War depression was finally over.


The American people elect the Republican, James Garfield as the 20th President of the United States.  This was a worry to the money changers, because as a Congressman, he had been Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and was a member of Banking and Currency.  The money changers were therefore aware that President Garfield was in full knowledge of their scam on the American people.  Indeed following his inauguration, President Garfield stated,

"Whosoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce...And when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate."

Strangely enough within a few weeks of making that statement, President Garfield was assassinated on 2nd July.


The money changers spent the last decade creating economic booms followed by depressions, so that they could buy up thousands of homes and farms for pennies on the dollar.  They were preparing to take the economy down again in the near future, and in a shocking memo sent out by the American Bankers Association, which would come out in the Congressional Record more than twenty years later, the following is stated,

"On September 1st 1894 we will not renew our loans under any consideration.  On September 1st we will demand our money.

We will foreclose and become mortgages in possession.  We can take two-thirds of the farms west of the Mississippi, and thousands of them east of the Mississippi as well, at our own price...Then the farmers will become tenants as in England...,"

1891 American Bankers Association, as printed in the Congressional Record of April 29, 1913.


The central issue in the Presidential campaign is the issue of more silver money.  Senator William Jennings Bryan from Nebraska, a Democrat aged only 36, makes an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, entitled, "Crown Of Thorns And Cross Of Gold."  Senator Bryan stated,

"We will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

The bankers naturally supported the Republican candidate, William McKinley who in return favored the gold standard.  Furthermore those in the McKinley campaign, got manufacturers and industrialists to inform their employees that if Bryan were elected, all factories and plants would close and there would be no work.

This tactic succeeded, McKinley beat Bryan, albeit by a small margin.


Pope Leo XIII stated the following on the subject of usury,

"On the one hand there is the party which holds the power because it holds the wealth, which has in its grasp all labor and all trade, which manipulates for its own benefit and its own purposes all the sources of supply, and which is powerfully represented in the councils of State itself.  On the other side there is the needy and powerless multitude, sore and suffering.

Rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless under a different form but with the same guilt, still practiced by avaricious and grasping that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the masses of the poor a yoke little better than slavery itself."


During the early 1900's, the money changers were anxious to advance their business of setting up another private Central Bank for America.  Rothschild, Jacob Schiff, the head of Kuhn, Loeb and Co., in a speech to the New York Chamber of Commerce, stated, or rather threatened,

“Unless we have a Central Bank with adequate control of credit resources, this country is going to undergo the most severe and far reaching money panic in its history.”

They put Rothschild agent, J. P. Morgan at the forefront of their charge.  Interestingly J. P. Morgan's father, Julius Morgan, had been America's financial agent to the British, and after Julius' death, J. P. Morgan took on a British partner, Edward Grenville, who was a long time director of the Bank Of England.

This year was the year of the money changers attack.  J. P. Morgan and his cohorts secretly crashed the stock market.  They were aware that thousands of small banks were so vastly over extended, some only had reserves of 1% under the fraudulent fractional reserve principle.  Within only a few days, bank runs became commonplace across the nation.

Morgan then stepped up and publicly announced that he would support these failing banks.  What he failed to mention is that he would do this by manufacturing money out of nothing.  And then what happened, surprise, surprise, Congress let him do it!  So, Morgan manufactured $200,000,000 of this completely reserveless private money, purchased goods and services with it, and sent some of it to his branch banks to lend out at interest.

As a result, the general public regained confidence in money, but most importantly it meant the banking power was now further consolidated into the hands of a few large banks.


With the widespread financial panic over, J. P. Morgan was hailed as a hero by the then President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, who even crassly or arrogantly stated,

"All this trouble could be averted if we appointed a committee of six or seven public spirited men like J. P. Morgan, to handle the affairs of our country."

President Theodore Roosevelt had also signed into law, following the financial panic, a bill creating the, "National Monetary Commission."

This commission was supposed to study the banking problem and make recommendations to Congress.  Naturally, the commission was packed with J. P. Morgan's friends and cronies.

The chairman was Senator Nelson Aldrich from Rhode Island, and he represented the Newport Rhode Island homes of America's richest banking families.  His daughter married John D. Rockefeller Jr., and together they had five sons (including Nelson who would become Vice President in 1974 and David who would become Head of the Council on Foreign Relations).

Following the setting up of this National Monetary Commission, Senator Aldrich immediately embarked on a 2 year fact finding tour of Europe, where he consulted at length with the private central bankers in England, France, and Germany, or rather Rothschild, Rothschild, and Rothschild.

The total cost of this 2 year trip to the American taxpayer?  $300,000.  Yes, three hundred thousand dollars, that is not a misprint!


Senator Aldrich returns from his two year European fact finding mission on 22nd November.  Shortly afterwards some of America's most wealthy and powerful men boarded Senator Aldrich's private railcar in the strictest secrecy.  They journeyed to Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia.

In this group were Paul Warburg, who was earning a $500,000 a year salary from Rothschild owned firm, Kuhn, Loeb & Company.  This salary was for him to lobby for a privately owned central bank in America.  Also present was Jacob Schiff, a Rothschild who had purchased Kuhn, Loeb and Company shortly after he arrived in America from England.

The Rothschilds, Warburgs and Schiffs, interconnected by marriage, were essentially the same family.

Secrecy at this meeting was so tight that all the participants were cautioned to use only first names, to prevent servants from learning their identities.  Years later, one participant, Frank Vanderlip, President of National Citibank and a representative of the Rockefeller family, confirmed the Jekyll Island trip in a 9th February 1935 edition of the Saturday Evening Post in which he stated,

"I was as secretive indeed, as furtive as any conspirator ...Discovery we knew, simply must not happen, or else all our time and effort would be wasted.  If it were to be exposed that our particular group had got together and written a banking bill, that bill would have no chance whatever of passage by Congress."

It was not just the setting up of a Central Bank that was on the agenda.  Other problems for these bankers were that the market share of these big national banks was shrinking fast.  In the first ten years of the century the number of United States banks had more than doubled to over 20,000.  By 1913 only 29% of all banks were national banks and they held only 57% of all deposits.  As John D. Rockefeller put it,

"Competition is Sin!"

Senator Aldrich later admitted in a magazine article,

"Before passage of this Act, the New York Bankers could only dominate the reserves of New York.  Now we are able to dominate bank reserves of the entire country."

So one of the aims of these conspirators was to bring these new banks under their control.  Secondly the nations economy was so strong that corporations were starting to finance their own expansions out of profits instead of taking out huge loans from large banks.  Indeed, in the first ten years of the century, 70% of corporate funding came from profits.

Basically, American Industry was becoming independent of the money changers, and the money changers were not about to let that happen.

There was also much discussion regarding the name of the new bank, which took place in a conference room in the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.  Aldrich believed the word, "bank," should not even appear in the name.  Warburg wanted to call the legislation, the, "National Reserve Bill," or the, "Federal Reserve Bill."  The idea was not only to give the impression that the purpose of the new central bank was to stop bank runs, but also to conceal its monopoly character.

However it was Senator Aldrich, the egomaniac, who insisted it be called the, "Aldrich Bill."  So, after nine days at Jekyll Island, the group dispersed.  This group of conspirators immediately set up an educational fund of $5,000,000 to finance Professors at top universities to endorse the new bank.

The new central bank would be very similar to the old Bank Of The United States, in that it would be given a monopoly over United States currency and create that money out of nothing.  Also in order to make the public think it was under control of the Government, the plan called for the central bank to be run by a board of governors appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

This would not cause any undue problems for the bankers, as they knew they could use their money to buy influence over the politicians, in order to ensure the men they wanted got appointed to the board of governors.


The Aldrich bill is presented to Congress for debate.  This was very quickly identified as a bill to benefit the bankers, or an expression for them which was coined at the time, "The Money Trust."  During the debate, the Republican, Charles A. Lindbergh stated,

"The Aldrich plan is the Wall Street Plan.  It means another panic, if necessary, to intimidate the people.  Aldrich, paid by the government to represent the people, proposes a plan for the trusts instead."

As this debate continued on, the bankers realized they didn't have enough support, so the Republican leadership never brought the Aldrich bill to a vote.  Instead the bankers decided to switch their attention to the Democrats and started heavily financing Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic Presidential nominee.  The Wall Street banker, Bernard Baruch, was put in charge of the Wilson project, and as historian, James Perloff, stated,

"Baruch brought Wilson to the Democratic Party headquarters in New York in 1912, 'leading him like one wood a poodle on a string.' Wilson received an, 'indoctrination course,' from the leaders convened there...."

During the Democratic Presidential campaign, Wilson and the rulers of the Democratic Party pretended to oppose the Aldrich bill.  As Republican representative, Louis T. McFadden, explained twenty years later, when he was was Chairman Of The House Banking And Currency Committee,

"The Aldrich Bill was condemned in the platform...when Woodrow Wilson was nominated...The men who ruled the Democratic Party promised the people that if they were returned to power there would be no central bank established here while they held the reins of government.

Thirteen months later that promise was broken, and the Wilson administration, under the tutelage of those sinister Wall Street figures who stood behind Colonel House, established here in our free country the worm-eaten monarchical institution of the, 'King's Bank,' to control us from the top downward, and to shackle us from the cradle to the grave."

On November 5th, Woodrow Wilson was elected, and J. P. Morgan, Paul Warburg, Bernard Baruch et al, advanced a new plan which Warburg called the Federal Reserve System.  The leadership of the Democratic Party hailed this new bill called the, "Glass-Owen Bill," as totally different to the Aldrich bill, when in fact it was virtually identical.

Funnily enough the Democrats were so vehement in their denial of the similarity of the, "Glass-Owen Bill," to the, "Aldrich Bill," that Paul Warburg, the creator of both bill, had to inform his paid friends in Congress, that the two bills were virtually identical and therefore they must vote to pass it.  Warburg stated,

"Brushing aside the external differences affecting the, 'shells,' we find the, 'kernels,' of the two systems very closely resembling and related to one another."

However this admission by Warburg was not made public.  Instead, Senator Aldrich, and Frank Vanderlip, the President of Rockefeller's National Citibank of New York, were to publicly state their opposition to the bill in order to make people think that the bill proposed was radically different to the Aldrich bill.  Indeed, Frank Vanderlip stated years later in the Saturday Evening Post,

"Although the Aldrich Federal Reserve Plan was defeated when it bore the name Aldrich, nevertheless its essential points were all contained in the plan that finally was adopted."


With Congress nearing a vote on the Glass-Owen Bill, they called Ohio Attorney, Alfred Crozier, to testify.  However, Crozier noticed the similarities between the Aldrich Bill and the Glass-Owen Bill, and subsequently stated,

"The...bill grants just what Wall Street and the big banks for twenty-five years have been striving for - private instead of public control of currency.  It (the Glass-Owen bill) does this as completely as the Aldrich bill.  Both measures rob the government and the people of all effective control over the public's money, and vest in the banks exclusively the dangerous power to make money among the people scarce or plenty."

The debate on this bill was not going well for the banks, with many Senators intimating the bill was corrupt and deceitful, however the bill was approved through the Senate on December 22nd.  How did this happen? Because most of the Senators had left town to return home for the Christmas holidays. Furthermore, these Senators had been assured by the leadership, that nothing would be done regarding this bill until long after the Christmas recess.

Representative Charles A Lindbergh Sr. stated,

"This Act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth.  When the President signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized.  The people may not know it immediately, but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed...The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill."

Interestingly, only a few weeks earlier, in October, Congress finally passed a bill legalizing direct income tax of the people.  This was in the form of a bill pushed through by Senator Aldrich, which is now commonly known as the 16th amendment.  The income tax law was fundamental to the Federal Reserve.  This is because the Federal Reserve was a system which would run up, essentially, an unlimited Federal debt.

The only way to guarantee the payment of interest on this debt was to directly tax the people, as they had done with the Bank Of England.  If the Federal Reserve had to rely on contributions from the States, they would be dealing with bigger entities, who could revolt and refuse to pay the interest on their own money, or at least bring political pressure to bear in order to keep the debt small.

Actually, this 16th amendment was never ratified, and therefore many American citizens do not pay their income tax and there is nothing the United States Government can do about it.  For further information on this go to .  Also, back in 1895, the Supreme Court had also found an income tax law similar to the 16th amendment, as unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court also found a Corporate Tax Law unconstitutional in 1909.

Another important amendment that was put through this year is the 17th amendment.  This provided for the direct election by the people of two Senators from each state as oppose to the original system of having state legislatures elect United States Senators.  More democratic, you would think, until you realize these bankers could now provide the funds for their hand picked people to run for the Senate, and thus avoid future problems like getting the Federal Reserve through the Senate.

Anyway, back to the Federal Reserve, if you are in any doubt as to whether the Federal Reserve is a private company, a basic check the public can carry out is in their phone book.  Look under the government pages and it is not listed, but you will find it listed within the business pages.

Actually some recent evidence has come forward as to who really owns the Federal Reserve, and they are the following banks:

  • Rothschild Bank of London
  • Warburg Bank of Hamburg
  • Rothschild Bank of Berlin
  • Lehman Brothers of New York
  • Lazard Brothers of Paris
  • Kuhn Loeb Bank of New York
  • Israel Moses Seif Banks of Italy
  • Goldman, Sachs of New York
  • Warburg Bank of Amsterdam
  • Chase Manhattan Bank of New York

Also some argue that the Federal Reserve is a quasi-governmental agency, yet the President appoints only 2 of the 7 members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, every four years, and he appoints them to 14 year terms, which is far longer than any term he could possibly serve as President.  The Senate confirms these appointments, but as we have seen, that is the idea, because these are the very people hand picked by the bankers who also finance their campaigns, ensuring loyalty to them, not the people.

Let's summarize how the Federal Reserve creates money out of nothing.  It is a four step process:

  1. The Federal Open Market Committee approves the purchase of United States Bonds*.
  2. The bonds are purchased by the Federal Reserve.
  3. The Federal Reserve pays for these bonds with electronic credits to the seller's bank, these credits are based on nothing.
  4. The banks use these deposits as reserves.  They can loan out over ten times the amount of their reserves to new borrowers, all at interest.

* Bonds are simply promises to pay or Government IOU's.  People purchase bonds in order to get a secure rate of interest.  At the end of the term of the bond, the government repays the bond, plus interest and the bond is destroyed.

Let's look at an example of how this works with a Federal Reserve purchase of $1,000,000 of bonds.  This then gets turned into over $10,000,000 in bank accounts.  The Federal Reserve in effect creates 10% of this totally new $10,000,000 and the banks create the other 90%.

To reduce the amount of money in circulation this process is simply reversed.  The Federal Reserve sells these bonds to the public and the money flows out of the purchaser's local bank.  Loans must be reduced by ten times the amount of the sale, so a Federal Reserve sale of $1,000,000 in bonds, results in $10,000,000 less money in the economy.  How does this benefit the bankers, whose representatives met at Jekyll Island?

  1. It prevented any future banking reform efforts, as the Federal Reserve was to be the only producer of money.
  2. This in turn prevented a proper debt free system of government finance, like President Lincoln's Greenbacks, from making a comeback.  Instead, the bond based system of government finance, forced on Lincoln after he created Greenbacks, was now cast in stone.
  3. It delegated to the bankers the right to create 90% of our money supply based on a fraudulent system of fractional reserve banking and allowed them to loan out that 90% at interest.
  4. It centralized overall control of our nations money supply in the hands of and for the profits of a few men.
  5. It established a private central bank with a high degree of independence from effective political control.


The start of World War I.  In this war, the German Rothschilds loaned money to the Germans, the British Rothschilds loaned money to the British, and the French Rothschilds loaned money to the French.

One year after the passage of the Federal Reserve Bill, Representative Charles A Lindbergh Sr., outlined how The Federal Reserve created the, "business cycle," and how they manipulated that to their own advantage.  He stated,

"To cause high prices, all the Federal Reserve Board will do will be to lower the rediscount rate..., producing an expansion of credit and a rising stock market, then when men are adjusted to these conditions, it can check... prosperity in mid-career by arbitrarily raising the rate of interest.

It can cause the pendulum of a rising and falling market to swing gently back and forth by slight changes in the discount rate, or cause violent fluctuations by a greater rate variation, and in either case it will possess inside information as to financial conditions and advance knowledge of the coming change, either up or down.  This is the strongest, most dangerous advantage ever placed in the hands of a special privilege class by any Government that ever existed.

The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money.  They know in advance when to create panics to their advantage.  They also know when to stop panic.  Inflation and deflation work equally well for them when they control finance."


J. P. Morgan became the sales agent for the, "War Materials Board," to both the British and the French engaged in World War I, and becomes the biggest consumer on the planet, spending 10 million dollars a day.  Furthermore, President Woodrow Wilson appointed banker, Bernard Baruch, to head the, "War Industries Board."

According to historian, James Perloff, both Bernard Baruch and the Rockefellers profited by approximately 200 million dollars during World War I.

A lot of people believe the key to an effective money supply is to ensure it is backed by something of worth such as gold.  However, who do you think would control that gold?  As Republican, Charles A. Lindbergh stated this year,

"Already the Federal Reserve Banks have cornered the gold and gold certificates."


President Wilson began to realize the gravity of the damage he had done to America, by unleashing the Federal Reserve on the American people.  He stated,

"We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled governments in the civilized world - no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by ...a vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and  duress of a small group of dominant men.

Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something.  They know there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."


The money changers never forgave the Tsars of Russia for both continually opposing their request to set up a central bank in Russia, as well as their support of President Lincoln during the Civil War.  Therefore, Jacob Schiff, a Rothschild, spent 20 million dollars through his firm, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., in financing the Russian Revolution.

It is commonly believed that Communism is the opposite of Capitalism, so why would these capitalists support it?  Respected researcher, Gary Allen, explains it as follows,

"If one understands that socialism is not a share-the-wealth program, but it is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth, then the seeming paradox of super-rich men promoting socialism becomes no paradox at all.  Instead it becomes logical, even the perfect tool of power seeking megalomaniacs.  Communism, or more accurately socialism, is not a movement of the downtrodden masses, but of the economic elite."


In January the Paris Peace Conference takes place following the end of World War I.  The bankers put World Government at the top of their agenda, and Paul Warburg and Bernard Baruch attend this conference with President Wilson.  To the bankers dismay, the world was not yet ready to dissolve national boundaries and accept World Government, so that part of their plan had failed.

The plan for World Government was called the, "League Of Nations," and although many nations accepted this proposal, the United States Congress would not support it, and thus without the support of money from the United States Treasury, the bankers had failed and the League Of Nations died.


Warren G. Harding is elected President of the United States, and succeeds Woodrow Wilson in 1921.  This will be the start of a period which became known as the, "roaring twenties."  Despite the fact that World War I had saddled America with a debt that was ten times larger than its civil war debt, the United States economy grew in abundance.  Also, gold had poured into America during the war and continued during the 1920's.

The reason for this growth is that President Harding reduced taxes domestically, and increased tariffs on imports to record levels.


The Inventor of the electric light, Thomas Edison, said in an article published in the New York Times, on December 6,

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill.  The element that makes the bond good, makes the bill good, also...It is absurd to say that our country can issue 30 million dollars in bonds and not 30 million dollars in currency.  Both are promises to pay, but one promise fattens the usurers and the other helps the people."


President Theodore Roosevelt who died in 1919 was quoted in the March 27th edition of the New York Times with the following statement,

"These International bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of newspapers and the columns of these newspapers to club into submission or drive out of public office officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government."

The reason the New York Times ran this article, was due to the Mayor of New York, John Hylan, who had been reported in the same paper the previous day, March 26th, with the following statement,

"The warning of Theodore Roosevelt has much timeliness today, for the real menace of our republic is this invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy length over city, state, and nation...It seizes in its long and powerful tentacles our executive officers, our legislative bodies, our schools, our courts, our newspapers, and every agency created for the public protection...

To depart from mere generalizations, let me say that at the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller-Standard Oil interest and a small group of powerful banking houses generally referred to as international bankers.  This little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States Government for their own selfish purposes.

They practically control both parties, write political platforms, make cats paws of party leaders, use the leading men of private organizations, and resort to every device to place in nomination for high public office only such candidates as will be amenable to the dictates of corrupt big business ...these International Bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of newspapers and magazines in this country."


On August 2nd, President Warren Harding died on a train in mysterious circumstances.  The cause was given as either food poisoning or a stroke although no autopsy was performed.  He was succeeded by his Vice-President Calvin Coolidge.  President Coolidge continued Harding's tax cutting and tariff raising policies.

This policy was so successful that the economy still continued to grow, and the huge Federal Debt built up during World War I, under Harding and Coolidge was reduced by 38% down to 16 billion dollars.  This was when the Federal Reserve started flooding the country with money, increasing the money supply by 62%.

Representative Charles A Lindbergh Sr. stated,

"The financial system...has been turned over to...the Federal Reserve Board.  That board administers the finance system by authority of ...a purely profiteering group.  The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits, from the use of other people's money."


Shortly before his death this year, President Woodrow Wilson made the following statement in relation to his support for the Federal Reserve,

"I have unwittingly ruined my country."


In July, in Europe, Bank of England Governor Montagu Norman, Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank, and Dr. Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, met in conference. No public reports were ever made of these conferences, which happened on numerous occasions and were wholly informal, but which covered many important questions of gold movements, the stability of world trade, and world economy.

Montagu Norman was obsessed with getting back the gold that England had lost to America during World War I and returning the Bank of England to its former position of dominance in world finance.  Republican Congressman, Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee, from 1920 to 1931, would comment on this Bank of England plan in the midst of the Great Depression in February 1931 when he stated,

"I think it can hardly be disputed that the statesmen and financiers of Europe are ready to take almost any means to reacquire rapidly the gold stock which Europe lost to America as a result of World War I."


In April, Paul Warburg sent out a secret warning to his friends that a collapse and nationwide depression had been planned for later that year.  It is certainly no coincidence that the biographies of all the Wall Street giants of that era:  John D. Rockefeller; J. P. Morgan; Joseph Kennedy; Bernard Baruch; et al, all marveled at the fact these people got out of the stock market completely just before the crash and put their assets into cash or gold.

So, as all the bankers and their friends already knew, in August the Federal Reserve began to tighten the money supply.  Then on 24th October the big New York bankers called in their 24 hour broker call loans.  This meant that both the stockbrokers and their customers had to dump their stocks on the stock market to cover their loans, irrespective of what price they had to sell them for.

As a result of this the stock market crashed on a day that would go down in history as, "Black Thursday."  In his book, The Great Crash 1929, John Kenneth Gailbraith makes the following shocking statement,

"At the height of the selling frenzy Bernard Baruch brought Winston Churchill into the visitors gallery of the New York Stock Exchange to witness the panic and impress him with his power over the wild events on the floor."

Republican Congressman, Louis T McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee, from 1920 to 1931, was as usual quite candid as to who was responsible.  He stated of this crash,

"It was not accidental.  It was a carefully contrived occurrence...The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so that they might emerge as rulers of us all."

Curtis B. Dall, the son-in-law of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was working for Lehmann Brothers as a broker, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, on the day of the crash, stated in his 1967 book, F. D. R. My Exploited Father-In-Law,

"Actually, it was the calculated 'shearing' of the public by the World-Money powers triggered by the planned sudden shortage of call money in the New York Money Market."

Despite the claims of how the Federal Reserve would protect the country against depressions and inflation, they continued to further contract the money supply.  Between 1929 and 1933, they reduced the money supply by an additional 33%.  Even, Milton Friedman, the Nobel Peace Prize winning economist stated the following in a radio interview in January 1996,

"The Federal Reserve definitely caused the Great Depression by contracting the amount of currency in circulation by one-third from 1929 to 1933."

In only a few weeks from the day of the crash, 3 billion dollars of wealth vanished.  Within a year, 40 billion dollars of wealth vanished.  However, it did not simply disappear, it just ended up consolidated in fewer and fewer hands, as was planned.  An example of this is Joseph P. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy's father.  In 1929 he was worth 4 million dollars, in 1935 that had increased to over 100 million dollars.

This is why depressions are caused.  As stated previously the top bankers and their friends got out of the stock market and purchased gold just before the crash, which they shipped over to London.  This meant that the money lost by most Americans during the crash didn't just vanish, it just ended up in these people's hands.

It also was spent overseas, as whilst the Great Depression was occurring, millions of American dollars was being spent on rebuilding Germany from damage sustained during World War I, in preparation for the bankers World War II. Republican Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee from 1920 to 1931, stated the following in relation to this,

"After World War I, Germany fell into the hands of the German International Bankers.  Those bankers bought her and now they own her, lock, stock, and barrel.  They have purchased her industries, they have mortgages on her soil, they control her production, they control all her public utilities.

The international German bankers have subsidized the present Government of Germany and they have also supplied every dollar of the money Adolph Hitler has used in his lavish campaign to build up a threat to the government of Bruening.  When Bruening fails to obey the orders of the German International Bankers, Hitler is brought forth to scare the Germans into submission...

Through the Federal Reserve Board over 30 billion of dollars of American money...has been pumped into Germany...You have all heard of the spending that has taken place in Germany ...modernistic dwellings, her great planetariums, her gymnasiums, her swimming pools, her fine public highways, her perfect factories.

All this was done on our money.  All this was given to Germany through the Federal Reserve Board.  The Federal Reserve Board...has pumped so many billions of dollars into Germany that they dare not name the total."

The money pumped in to Germany to build her up in preparation for World War II, was into the German Thyssen banks which were affiliated with the Harriman interest in New York.


The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was established by Charles G. Dawes (Rothschild agent and Vice President under President Calvin Coolidge from 1925-1929), Owen D. Young (Rothschild agent, founder of RCA and Chairman of General Electric from 1922 until 1939), and Hjalmar Schacht of Germany (President of the Reichsbank).

The BIS is referred to the bankers as the, "Central bank for the central banks."  Whereas the IMF and the World Bank deal with governments, the BIS deals only with other central banks.  All its meetings are held in secret and involve the top central bankers from around the world.  For example the former head of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, would go to the BIS headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, ten times a year for these private meetings.

The BIS also has the status of a sovereign power and is immune from governmental control.  A summary of this immunity is listed below:

  1. Diplomatic immunity for persons and what they carry with them (i.e., diplomatic pouches).
  2. No taxation on any transactions, including salaries paid to employees.
  3. Embassy-type immunity for all buildings and/or offices operated by the BIS worldwide including China and Mexico.
  4. No oversight or knowledge of operations by any government authority, they are not audited.
  5. Freedom from immigration restrictions.
  6. Freedom to encrypt any and all communications of any sort.
  7. Freedom from any legal jurisdiction, they even have their own police force.

BIS' current board of directors, only five of which are elected and the rest of which are permanent, are:

  • Nout H E M Wellink, Amsterdam (Chairman of the Board of Directors)
  • Hans Tietmeyer, Frankfurt am Main (Vice-Chairman)
  • Axel Weber, Frankfurt am Main
  • Vincenzo Desario, Rome
  • Antonio Fazio, Rome
  • David Dodge, Ottawa
  • Toshihiko Fukui, Tokyo
  • Timothy F Geithner, New York
  • Alan Greenspan, Washington
  • Lord George, London
  • Hervé Hannoun, Paris
  • Christian Noyer, Paris
  • Lars Heikensten, Stockholm
  • Mervyn  King, London
  • Guy Quaden, Brussels
  • Jean-Pierre Roth, Zürich
  • Alfons Vicomte Verplaetse, Brussels

Georgetown Professor and historian, Carroll Quigley, commented on the creation of this central bank in his 1975 book, Tragedy And Hope, as follows,

"The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far reaching (plan), nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.  This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences.

The apex of the system was to be the Bank For International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland (*), a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations.

Each central bank ...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the Country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

Home of first World Zionist Congress, chaired by Theodor Herzl in 1897

A handful of United States Senators led by Henry Cabot Lodge, fought to keep the United States out of the Bank for International Settlements.  However, even thought the United States rejected this World Central Bank, the Federal Reserve still sent members to participate in its meetings in Switzerland, right up until 1994 when the United States was, "officially," dragged into it.


Republican Representative Louis T. McFadden of Pennsylvania, the Former Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Commission during the great depression, states,

"We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.  I refer to the Federal Reserve Board...This evil institution has impoverished...the people of the United States...and has practically bankrupted our government.  It has done this through...the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it."

In his final year in office, President Herbert Hoover puts forward a plan to bail out the failing banks, he seemed to feel that they took priority over millions of starving Americans, however this plan did not receive support from the Democratic Congress.  Hoover's Presidency failing, Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President later this year.


On March 4th, during his inaugural address, President Roosevelt made the following statement,

"Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men...The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization."

However, later that year, President Roosevelt outlawed private ownership of all gold bullion and all gold coins with the exception of rare coins.  Most of the gold in the hands of the average American was in the form of gold coins and this decree by Roosevelt was effectively a confiscation.

In small town America, the people did not trust Roosevelt.  However, the people were given a simple choice.  Either turn in your gold and be paid the official price for it of, $20-66 an ounce, or you will be liable for a $10,000 fine and a ten year prison sentence.

This confiscation order was so unpopular, it's author has never been discovered.  No Congressman ever claimed having written it, President Roosevelt stated he had not written it, nor had he even read it.  Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Woodin, claimed he'd never read it either, but that it was, he stated,

"What the experts wanted."

I wonder to what, "experts," he refers!


In its 20th June issue, New Britain magazine of London published a statement made by former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George that,

"Britain is the slave of an international financial bloc."

Also in the article was the following words written by Lord Bryce,

"Democracy has no more persistent and insidious foe than money power ...questions regarding Bank of England, its conduct and its objects, are not allowed by the Speaker (of the House of Commons)."

Louis T. McFadden, Republican Congressman and Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee from 1920 to 1931 stated,

"Through the Fed the people are losing their rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution ...common decency requires us to examine the public accounts of the government and see what kind of crimes against the public welfare have been committed...the people of these United States are being greatly wronged...

Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers-but truth is-the Fed has usurped the Government...the sack of these United States by the Fed is the greatest crime in history...what King ever robbed his subject to such an extent as the Fed has robbed is a monstrous thing for this great nation of people to have its destinies presided over by a traitorous government board acting in secret concert with international usurer.

When the Fed was passed, the people of these United States did not perceive that a world system was being set up here ...a super state controlled by international bankers, and international industrialists acting together to enslave the world for their own pleasure."


All the gold held by American citizens had finally been turned in under President Roosevelt's 1933 confiscation order at the price of $20-66 an ounce.  Without explanation the official price of gold was then raised to $35 per ounce.  The only catch was that only foreigners could sell their gold at the new higher price.  Where is the world price of gold set?  Since 1919, in the same room of private bank N. M. Rothschild & Sons in London, at 11:00 a.m., on a daily basis.

Therefore Warburg and his banking friends who put their money into gold at $20-66 before the stock market crash and shipped it to London, could now ship it back and sell it to the United States Government for the new higher price.  The money changers have a golden rule,

"He who has the gold, makes the rules."

President Roosevelt orders the building of a new gold bullion depository to hold the vast amount of gold the United States government had illegally confiscated. That depository was Fort Knox.


On October 3, Republican Congressman, Louis T McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee, from 1920 to 1931, is poisoned to death.  This was the third assassination attempt on his life, he had suffered an earlier poisoning and had had shots fired at him.

He had been trying for years to get the Federal Reserve, and as you will have read thus far, had made very revealing statements about the Federal Reserve.  He had been warned to back off, but this great American Patriot, put the people he represented before himself, as all elected officials are supposed to do, and was killed by the bankers as a result.


With Fort Knox having been completed only the previous year, the gold now began to flow into it.


With the Federal Reserve having been in control of the United States economy for 25 years under the pretext of promoting monetary stability, it has caused three major economic downturns including the Great Depression.  As Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman put it,

"The stock of money, prices and output was decidedly more unstable after the establishment of the Reserve System than before.  The most dramatic period of instability in output was, of course, the period between the two wars, which includes the severe (monetary) contractions of 1920-21, 1929-33, and 1937-38.  No other 20 year period in American history contains as many as three such severe contractions.

This evidence persuades me that at least a third of the price rise during and just after World War I is attributable to the establishment of the Federal Reserve System...and that the severity of each of the major contractions - 1920-21, 1929-33, and 1937-38 - is directly attributable to acts of commission and omission by the Reserve authorities...

Any system which gives so much power and so much discretion to a few men, (so) that mistakes - excusable or not - can have such far reaching effects is a bad system.  It is a bad system to believers in freedom just because it gives a few men such power without any effective check by the body politic - this is the key political argument against an independent central bank...To paraphrase Clemenceau money is much too serious a matter to be left to the central bankers."

Milton Friedman would also state,

"I know of no severe depression, in any country or any time that was not accompanied by a sharp decline in the stock of money, and equally of no sharp decline in the stock of money that was not accompanied by a severe depression."


Sir Josiah Stamp, director of the Bank of England during the years 1928-1941, made the following statement with regard to banking,

"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing.  The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented.  Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin.  Bankers own the Earth.  Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough money to buy it back again...

Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be slaves of the banks and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit."


The United States income is running at 183 billion dollars, yet 103 billion dollars is being spent on World War II.  This was thirty times the spending rate during World War I.  Actually, it was the American taxpayer that picked up 55% of the total allied cost of the war.

In Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (initially called the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or IBRD - the name, "World Bank," was not actually adopted until 1975), were approved with full United States participation.

The principal architects of the Bretton Woods system, and hence the IMF, were Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes.  Interestingly Harry Dexter White who died in 1946, was identified as a Soviet spy whose code name was, "Jurist," on October 16, 1950, in an FBI memo.  Also, John Maynard Keynes was a British citizen.

What these two bodies essentially did, was repeat on a world scale what the National Banking Act of 1864, and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 had established in the United States.  They created a banking cartel comprising the world's privately owned central banks, which gradually assumed the power to dictate credit policies to the banks of all nations.

In the same way the Federal Reserve Act authorized the creation of a new national fiat currency called, Federal Reserve Notes, the IMF has been given the authority to issue a world fiat money called, "Special Drawing Rights," or SDR's.  Member nations were subsequently pressured into making their currencies fully exchangeable for SDR's.

The IMF is controlled by its board of governors, which are either the heads of different central banks, or the heads of the various national treasury departments who are dominated by their central banks.  Also, the voting power in the IMF gives the United States and the United Kingdom (the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England), effective control of it.


The second, "League Of Nations," now renamed the, "United Nations," was approved.  The bankers, World War II, had been a success this time as a result of the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion the world had felt after yet another World War.  This blueprint for world government would soon have its own international court system as well.


The Bank of England was nationalized, which might seem at first sight to be a far reaching measure, but actually made little difference in practice.  Yes, the state did acquire all the shares in the Bank of England, they now belong to the Treasury and are held in trust by the Treasury Solicitor.

However, the government had no money to pay for the shares, so instead of receiving money for their shares, the shareholders were issued with government stocks.  Although the state now received the operating profits of the bank, this was offset by the fact that the government now had to pay interest on the new stocks it had issued to pay for the shares.

So, although the Bank of England is now state-owned, the fact is that the British money supply is once again almost entirely in private hands, with 97% of it being in the form of interest bearing loans of one sort or another, created by private commercial banks.

As a result of this, the bank is largely controlled and run by those from the world of commercial banking and conventional economics. The members of the Court of Directors, who set policy and oversee its functions, are drawn almost entirely from the world of banks, insurance, economists and big business.

Although the Bank of England is called a central bank it is now essentially a regulatory body that supports and oversees the existing system.  It is sometimes referred to as "the lender of last resort," in so far as one of its functions as the bankers' bank is to support any bank or financial institution that gets into difficulties and suffers a run on its liquid assets.

Interestingly, in these circumstances, it is not obliged to disclose details of any such measures, the reason being so as to avoid a crisis in confidence.


Every nation involved in World War II greatly multiplied their debt.  Between 1940 and 1950, United States Federal Debt went from 43 billion dollars to 257 billion dollars, a 598% increase.  During that same period Japanese debt increased by 1,348%, French debt increased by 583%, and Canadian debt increased by 417%.

James Paul Warburg appearing before the Senate on 7th February states,

"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent."

This is when the central bankers got to work on their plan for global government which started with a three step plan to centralize the economic systems of the entire world.  These steps were:

  1. Central Bank domination of national economies worldwide.
  2. Centralized regional economies through super states such as the European Union, and regional trade unions such as NAFTA.
  3. Centralize the World Economy through a World Central Bank, a world money, and ending national independence through the abolition of all tariffs by treaties like GATT.


President Eisenhower orders an audit of Fort Knox.  Fort Knox is found to contain over 700 million ounces of gold, 70% of all the gold in the world.  Although Federal Law requires an annual physical audit of Fort Knox's gold, it is under Eisenhower's presidency that the last audit is carried out, for reasons that will soon become clear.


President Kennedy issues dollar bills carrying a red seal, and called United States Note.  A lot of people believe he was already printing his own debt free money and that is why he was killed, in much the same way as President Lincoln.  However, these United States Notes carrying the red seal were merely a reissue of the Greenbacks introduced by President Lincoln.

What could have been motive though, is that on June 4, President Kennedy signed Executive Order No. 11110 that returned to the United States government the power to issue currency, without going through the Federal Reserve. This order gave the Treasury the power to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury.  This meant that for every ounce of silver in the United States Treasury's vault, the government could introduce new debt free money into circulation.


Congressman Wright Patman, then the Chairman Of The House Banking And Currency Committee, stated in Congress,

"In the United States today, we have in effect two governments...We have the duly constituted government...Then we have an independent, uncontrolled and uncoordinated government in the Federal Reserve System, operating the money powers which are reserved to Congress by the Constitution."


Congress approves laws authorizing the Federal Reserve to accept the IMF's, "SDR's," as reserves in the United States and to issue Federal Reserve Notes in exchange for SDR's.


All the pure gold had been secretly moved from Fort Knox, sold to international money changers for the $35 per ounce price, and is believed to now be kept in London.  This is also when President Nixon repeals Roosevelt's Gold Reserve Act of 1934, allowing Americans to once again buy gold.  As a result of this gold prices began to soar.  In fact, 9 years later, in 1980, gold sold for $880 per ounce, a staggering 25 times what the gold in Fort Knox was sold to the international bankers for.


A New York periodical publishes an article claiming that the Rockefeller family were manipulating the Federal Reserve for the purpose of selling off Fort Knox gold at bargain basement prices to anonymous European speculators.  3 days after the publication of this story, its anonymous source, long time secretary to Nelson Rockefeller, Louise Auchincloss Boyer, mysteriously fell to her death from the window of her ten storey apartment block in New York.


Edith Roosevelt, the grand-daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt questioned the actions of the government in a March 1975 edition of the New Hampshire Sunday News, in which she stated,

"Allegations of missing gold from our Fort Knox vaults are being widely discussed in European financial circles.  But what is puzzling is that the Administration is not hastening to demonstrate conclusively that there is no cause for concern over our gold treasure, if indeed it is in a position to do so."

The United States government still did not undertake an audit of the gold in Fort Knox to quell this speculation.


When President Ronald Reagan took office, his conservative friends suggested to him that he return to a gold standard, as a means to curbing government spending.  President Reagan was on board with this idea and so he appointed a group of men called the, "Gold Commission," to undertake a feasibility study and report their findings back to Congress.


President Reagan's, "Gold Commission," reports back to Congress and makes the following shocking statement concerning gold,

"The U. S. Treasury owned no gold at all.  All the gold that was left in Fort Knox was now owned by the Federal Reserve, a group of private bankers, as collateral against the National Debt."


In order that Ecuador's government be allowed a loan of 1.5 billion dollars from the IMF, they were forced to take over the unpaid private debts Ecuador's elite owed to private banks.  Furthermore in order to ensure Ecuador could pay back this loan, the IMF dictated price hikes in electricity and other utilities.  When that didn't give the IMF enough cash they ordered Ecuador to sack 120,000 workers.

Ecuador were required to do a variety of things under a timetable imposed by the IMF.  These included:  raising the price of cooking gas by 80% by November 1 2000; transferring the ownership of its biggest water system to foreign operators; granting British Petroleum the rights to build and own an oil pipeline over the Andes; and eliminating the jobs of more workers and reducing the wages of those remaining by 50%.


In order to illustrate that the great majority of money is not even printed these days, please see the following speech by the late Lord Beswick which appeared in HANSARD, 27th November 1985, vol. 468, columns 935-939, under the title,  "Money Supply and the Private Banking System," which states,

"Lord Beswick rose to call attention to the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23rd July 1985 that the 96.9 per cent increase in money supply over a five-year period has been created by the private banking system and without Government authority….

The noble Lord said, 'My Lords, on 10th June this year I asked Her Majesty’s Government by what amount the money supply had increased in the five-year period to mid-April 1985.  Interestingly, they gave me the answer in percentages and not in pounds. Having given him prior notice, perhaps the Minister would be good enough later to give me the answer in money terms.

The Government reply on 10th June was that the increase had been by 101.9 per cent, and that of that very large amount only 5 per cent was accounted for by the state minting of more coins and the printing of more notes. That 96.9 per cent increase represented not only an enormous sum of money but also a crucially important factor in our economy.

I wanted to know by whom it had been created, and on 23rd July I again asked Her Majesty’s Government to what extent this increase had Government approval. I was told by the Chancellor of the Duchy, speaking for the Government, 'The 96.9 per cent represented new bank deposits created in the normal course of banking business and no Government authority is necessary for this.'

Had he said that some counterfeiter of coins or forger of notes had been at work there would of course have been an immediate and indignant outcry, yet here we have a government statement that private institutions have created this enormous amount of extra purchasing power and we are expected to accept that it is normal practice and that the government authority does not come into it.

When I asked whether we ought not to consider more deeply who was benefiting from this money-creating power, the Minister said that the implications, though interesting, were maybe too far reaching for Question Time, and so I raise the matter again in debate and hope to get more enlightenment.

The issues are important, they are certainly under-discussed, perhaps not adequately understood, and I hope that I am not being unduly unfair if I say that those who understand the mechanisms often do very well out of them. I make no party point; it is all much bigger and wider than that."

Notice how the Chancellor of the Duchy gave the game away when he said that no government authority was needed for this present system of credit creating.


Edmond de Rothschild creates the World Conservation Bank which is designed to transfer debts from third world countries to this bank and in return those countries would give land to this bank. This is designed so the Rothschilds can gain control of the third world which represents 30% of the land surface of the Earth.


The three arms of the World Central Bank, the World Bank, the BIS and the IMF, now generally referred to as the World Central Bank, through their BIS arm, require the world's bankers to raise their capital and reserves to 8% of their liabilities by 1992.  This increased capital requirement put an upper limit on fractional reserve lending.

To raise the money, the world's bankers had to sell stocks which depressed their individual stock markets and began depressions in those countries.  For example in Japan, one of the countries with the lowest capital in reserve, the value of its stock market crashed by 50%, and its commercial real estate crashed by 60%, within two years.

The idea is for the IMF to create more and more SDR's backed by nothing, in order for struggling nations to borrow them.  These nations will then gradually come under the control of the IMF as they struggle to pay the interest, and have to borrow more and more.  The IMF will then decide which nations can borrow more and which will starve.  They can also use this as leverage to take state owned assets like utilities as payment against the debt until they eventually own the nation states.


At the Bilderberg Conference on June 6 to 9, in Baden-Baden, Germany, David Rockefeller made the following statement,

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years.  It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world, if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years.

But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government.  The super-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."

Note: Click here for a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with a list of people at the Bilderberg Conferences.


The third world debtor nations who had borrowed from the World Bank, pay 198 million dollars more to the central banks of the developed nations for World Bank funded purposes than they receive from the World Bank.  This only goes to increase their permanent debt in exchange for temporary relief from poverty which is caused by the payments on prior loans, the repayments of which already exceed the amount of the new loans.

This year Africa's external debt had reached 290 billion dollars, which is two and a half times greater than its level in 1980, which has resulted in deterioration of schools, deterioration of housing, sky-rocketing infant mortality rates, a drastic downturn in the general health of the people, and mass unemployment.

The Washington Times reports that Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, was upset that most of the incoming foreign aid was being siphoned off, and he stated,

"Straight back into the coffers of Western Banks in debt service."

This year American taxpayers pay the Federal Reserve 286 billion dollars in interest on debt the Federal Reserve purchased by printing money virtually cost free.


The Regal Act is introduced in the United States to authorize the replacement of President Lincoln's Greenbacks with debt based notes.  They had lasted for 132 years.


Ever wondered why all the world's production seems to be moving to China?  In a report entitled, "China's Economy Toward the 21st Century," released this year, it predicts that the per capita income in China in 2010, will be approximately 735 dollars.  This is less than 30 dollars higher than the World Bank definition of a low income country.


Less than two months before Tony Blair came to power in England, another interesting entry can be found in HANSARD, 5th March 1997, volume 578, No. 68, columns 1869-1871, in which the Earl of Caithness is recorded as having stated,

"The next government must grasp the nettle, accept their responsibility for controlling the money supply and change from our debt-based monetary system.  My Lords, will they?  If they do not, our monetary system will break us and the sorry legacy we are already leaving our children will be a disaster."

On 6 May, only four days after Tony Blair's election as Prime Minister, his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, announces he is going to give full independence from political control to the Bank of England.

In his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brzezinski reveals that Germany is the largest shareholder in the World Bank.  When you bear in mind that bankers of the Rothschild bloodline were said to own Germany, "lock, stock and barrel," at the end of World War I, it is not difficult to see who controls the World Bank now.


The IMF eliminate food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia.  At the same time the IMF soaked up tens of billions of dollars to save Indonesia's financiers or rather the international banks from whom they had borrowed.

A document leaks out of the World Bank, called, "Master Plan for Brazil."  In it it spells out five requirements to ensure a flexible public sector workforce.  These are as follows:

  • Reduce Salary/Benefits
  • Reduce Pensions
  • Increase Work Hours
  • Reduce Job Stability
  • Reduce Employment


In Brazil, Rio's privatized electric company named, "Rio Light," is responsible for repeated blackouts in neighborhoods.  The company blames the weather in the Pacific Ocean for the blackouts, when Rio is on the Atlantic.  The blackouts wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that after privatization Rio Light axed 40% of the company's workforce would it?  No problem for Rio Light, as a result of that their share price went up 33%.


The IMF require Argentina to cut the government budget deficit from its current $5.3 billion to $4.1 billion the following year, 2001.  At that point unemployment was running at 20% of the working population.  They then upped the ante and demanded an elimination of the deficit.  The IMF had some ideas of how this could be achieved.  Cut the government's emergency employment program from $200 a month to $160 a month.

They also asked for an across the board 12 - 15% cut in salaries for civil servants and the cutting of pensions to the elderly by 13%.  By December of 2001, middle class Argentineans sick of literally hunting the streets for garbage to eat, started burning down Buenos Aires.  In January Argentina devalued the Peso wiping out the value of many common people's savings accounts.  Dismayed that they can't rape that country further, James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, states,

"Almost all major utilities have been privatized."

How do they control the unrest within the population?  Let me see, an Argentinean bus driver, a thirty seven year old father of five, lost his job as a bus driver from a company that owed him 9 months pay.  During a demonstration against this and other injustices perpetrated upon him and the population, the military police shot him dead with a bullet through the head.

In Tanzania with approximately 1.3 million people dying of AIDS, the World Bank and the IMF decided to require Tanzania to charge for what were previously free hospital appointments.  They also ordered Tanzania to charge school fees for their previously free education system then expressed surprise when school enrolment dropped from 80% to 66%.

The IMF and World Bank have been in charge of Tanzania's economy since 1985 during which time Tanzania's GDP dropped from $309 to $210 per capita, standards of literacy fell and the rate of abject poverty increased to envelop 51% of the population.When the IMF and World Bank took charge in 1985, Tanzania was a socialist nation.  In June 2000 the World Bank reported arrogantly,

"One legacy of socialism is that most people continue to believe the State has a fundamental role in promoting development and providing social services."

There is rioting in Bolivia after the World Bank drastically increase the price of water.  The World Bank claim this is necessary to provide for desperately needed repairs and expansion.  This is poppycock, my own water supplier is Wessex Water, a privatized water company that was actually owned by Enron!  Since privatization (England was the first country to privatize the public water supply), the quality dropped and the prices exploded.

Almost all privatized water companies in Britain have consistently failed to meet government targets on leakages.


Professor Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, and former Chairman of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, goes public over the World Bank's, "Four Step Strategy," which is designed to enslave nations to the bankers.  I summarize this below,

Step One:  Privatization. 
This is actually where national leaders are offered 10% commissions to their secret Swiss bank accounts in exchange for them trimming a few billion dollars off the sale price of national assets.  Bribery and corruption, pure and simple.

Step Two:  Capital Market Liberalization.  
This is the repealing any laws that taxes money going over its borders.  Stiglitz calls this the, "hot money," cycle.  Initially cash comes in from abroad to speculate in real estate and currency, then when the economy in that country starts to look promising, this outside wealth is pulled straight out again, causing the economy to collapse.

The nation then requires IMF help and the IMF provides it under the pretext that they raise interest rates anywhere from 30% to 80%.  This happened in Indonesia and Brazil, also in other Asian and Latin American nations.  These higher interest rates consequently impoverish a country, demolishing property values, savaging industrial production and draining national treasuries.

Step Three:  Market Based Pricing.  
This is where the prices of food, water and domestic gas are raised which predictably leads to social unrest in the respective nation, now more commonly referred to as, "IMF Riots."  These riots cause the flight of capital and government bankruptcies.  This benefits the foreign corporations as the nations remaining assets can be purchased at rock bottom prices.

Step Four:  Free Trade.  
This is where international corporations burst into Asia, Latin America and Africa, whilst at the same time Europe and America barricade their own markets against third world agriculture.  They also impose extortionate tariffs which these countries have to pay for branded pharmaceuticals, causing soaring rates in death and disease

There are a lot of losers in this system, but a few winners - bankers.  In fact the IMF and World Bank have made the sale of electricity, water, telephone and gas systems a condition of loans to every developing nation.  This is estimated at 4 trillion dollars of publicly owned assets.

In September of this year, Professor Joseph Stiglitz is awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.


On April 12th every major paper in the USA runs a story that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had resigned as he was, "unpopular and dictatorial."  In fact he had been kidnapped under a coup, where he was imprisoned on an army base.  Following sympathy from the guards, the coup falls apart and President Chavez is back in his office one day later.  Interestingly he has video evidence that whilst he was imprisoned on that base a United States military attaché entered the base.

President Chavez, demonized by the controlled western media, gives milk and housing to the poor, and gives land not used for production by big plantation owners for more than two years, to those without land.  His big crime however, was in passing a petroleum law that doubled the royalty taxes from 16% to 30% on new oil discoveries, which affected Exxon Mobil and other international oil operators.

He also took full control of the state oil company, PDVSA, which before was nominally owned by the government, but in actual fact was in thrall to these international oil operators.  Not only that but President Chavez is also the President of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).  The main reason is, however, that President Chavez fully rejects the World Bank's, "Four Step Strategy," and plan to reduce wages of the people for the benefit of the bankers.

Indeed President Chavez has increased the minimum wage by 20%, which has increased the purchasing power of the lower paid workers and strengthened the economy.  His minister, Miguel Bustamante Madriz, fully aware of the danger Venezuela poses to the bankers when people contrast the fact it wouldn't let them in, for example, with Argentina who did, stated,

"America can't let us stay in power.  We are an exception to the new globalization order.  If we succeed, we are an example to all the Americas."


America and Britain is now at war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and looking toward an invasion of Iran.  As I mentioned before the greatest debt generator of them all is war.  This has pushed America to the brink of financial collapse.  This timeline is intended as a record of the past, but before you look at the conclusions, you may like to look at one person's prediction for the near future in this mind-blowing article


In my research, I have discovered those critics who currently condemn the monetary system almost universally suggest that the only solution is to restore a gold backed currency.  I don't think any readers of this timeline can be in any doubt, that such a system will be open to abuse by those very people who abuse it today.  Indeed if we introduced a currency backed by chairs, I believe we would find ourselves with nothing to sit on!

The only monetary system that seems to have worked in history is one which is backed by the goodwill of a government and is debt free, such as President Lincoln's, "Greenbacks."  Fortunately, the Nobel Peace Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman came up with an ingenious solution of wresting back control of the money supply from the bankers, paying off all outstanding debt, and preventing inflation or deflation whilst this process is completed.  I summarize this below.

Using America as the example here, Friedman suggests that debt free United States notes be issued to pay off the United States Bonds (debts) on the open market.  In conjunction with this, the reserve requirements of the day to day bank the regular person banks with, be proportionally raised so the mount of money in circulation remains constant.

As those people holding bonds are paid off in United States notes, they will deposit the money in the bank they bank with, thus making available the currency then needed by these banks to increase their reserves.  Once all these United States bonds are paid off with United States notes, the banks will be at 100% reserve banking instead of the fractional reserve system and then fractional reserve banking can be outlawed.

If necessary, the remaining liabilities of financial institutions could be assumed or acquired by the United States government in a one-off operation.  Therefore these institutions would eventually be paid off with United States notes for the purpose of keeping the total money supply stable.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the National Banking Act of 1864 must also be repealed and all monetary power transferred back to the Treasury Department.  The effects of this will be seen very soon by the average person as their taxes would start to go down as they would no longer be paying interest on debt based money to a handful of central bankers.

A law must be passed to ensure that no banker or any person in any way affiliated with financial institutions, be allowed to regulate banking.  Also the United States must withdraw from all international debt based central banking operations ie. the IMF; the BIS; and the World Bank.

If all the countries of the world adopted the conclusions above, then humanity will at last be free of these central bankers and their debt based currency.  It's a lovely idea, but first we have to get it past our corrupt politicians many of whom are quite aware of the scam that plays us on a daily basis, however rather than do the job we have elected them to do, they keep their mouths shut and instead look after themselves and their families, whilst the rest of us continue to be exploited.

"For what will it profit men that a more prudent distribution and use of riches make it possible for them to gain even the whole world, if thereby they suffer the loss of their own souls?  What will it profit to teach them sound principles in economics, if they permit themselves to be so swept away by selfishness, by unbridled and sordid greed, that, 'hearing the Commandments of the Lord, they do all things contrary."

Pope Pius XI


The Life Of William Ewart Gladstone

John Morley


Secrets Of The Federal Reserve

Eustace Mullins


The Great Crash 1929

John Kenneth Gailbraith


F. D. R. My Exploited Father-In-Law

Curtis B. Dall


Collective speeches of Congressman Louis T. McFadden

Louis T. McFadden


A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960

Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz


None Dare Call It Conspiracy

Gary Allen


Tragedy & Hope:  A History of the World in Our Time

Carroll Quigley


The Truth in Money Book

Theodore R. Thoren and Richard F. Warner


The Grand Chessboard

Zbigniew Brzezinski


The Creature from Jekyll Island:  A Second Look at the Federal Reserve - 3rd Edition

G. Edward Griffin


The Money Changers

Patrick S. J. Carmack


The Shadows of Power:  The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline - 2002 Edition

James Perloff


Globalization and Its Discontents

Joseph E. Stiglitz


EU Membership: Application to Accession
A European country submits an application for membership to
the Council of the European Union (the Council).
The Council asks the Commission to deliver an opinion
about the application.
The Commission delivers an opinion about
the application to the Council.
The Council decides unanimously to open
negotiations for accession.
The Commission proposes, and the Council adopts
unanimously, positions to be taken by the Union
vis-a-vis the Applicants in accession negotiations.
The Union, represented by the Council President,
conducts negotiations with the Applicant.
Agreement reached between Union and Applicant
on a Draft Treaty of Accession.
Accession Treaty submitted to the Council
and the European Parliament.
European Parliament delivers its assent to the
Accession Treaty by an absolute majority.
The Council approves the Accession Treaty unanimously.
Member States and Applicants formally sign
the Accession Treaty.
Member States and Applicants ratify the Accession TreatyAfter
ratification, the Accession Agreement goes into effect.
Prepared by C.S.I.S. US-EU-Poland Action Commission

"Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington is right in boldly

'A world without U.S. primacy will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than a world where the United States continues to have more influence than any other country in shaping global affairs. The sustained international primacy of the United States is central to the welfare and security of Americans and to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world.'

American Primacy and Its - Geostrategic Imperatives

For my students—to help them shape tomorrow's world

List of Maps ix
List of Charts and Tables xi
Introduction: Superpower Politics xiii
1 Hegemony of a New Type 3
The Short Road to Global Supremacy 3
The First Global Power 10
The American Global System 24
2 The Eurasian Chessboard 30
Geopolitics and Geostrategy 37
Geostrategic Players and Geopolitical Pivots 40
Critical Choices and Potential Challenges 48
3 The Democratic Bridgehead 57
Grandeur and Redemption 61
America's Central Objective 71
Europe's Historic Timetable 81
4 The Black Hole 87
Russia's New Geopolitical Setting 87
Geostrategic Phantasmagoria 96
The Dilemma of the One Alternative 118
5 The Eurasian Balkans 123
The Ethnic Cauldron 125
The Multiple Contest 135
Neither Dominion Nor Exclusion1
6 The Far Eastern Anchor 151
China: Not Global but Regional 158
Japan: Not Regional but International 173
America's Geostrategic Adjustment 185
7 Conclusion 194
A Geostrategy for Eurasia 197
A Trans-Eurasian Security System 208
Beyond the Last Global Superpower 209
Index 217


The Sino-Soviet Bloc and Three Central
Strategic Fronts 7
The Roman Empire at Its Height 11
The Manchu Empire at Its Height 14
Approximate Scope of Mongol Imperial Control, 1280 16
European Global Supremacy, 1900 18
British Paramountcy, 1860-1914 20
American Global Supremacy 22
The World's Geopolitically Central Continent
and Its Vital Peripheries 32
The Eurasian Chessboard 34
The Global Zone of Percolating Violence 53
France's and Germany's Geopolitical Orbits
of Special Interest 64
Is This Really "Europe"? 82
Beyond 2010: The Critical Core of Europe's Security 85

Loss of Ideological Control
and Imperial Retrenchment 94
Russian Military Bases in the Former Soviet Space 108
The Eurasian Balkans 124
Major Ethnic Groups in Central Asia 126
The Turkic Ethnolinguistic Zone 137
The Competitive Interests of Russia, Turkey, and Iran 138
Caspian-Mediterranean Oil Export Pipelines 146
Boundary and Territorial Disputes in East Asia 155
Potential Scope of China's Sphere of Influence
and Collision Points 167
Overlap Between a Greater China and an
American-Japanese Anti-China Coalition 184

The Continents: Area 33
The Continents: Population 33
The Continents: GNP 33
European Organizations 58
EU Membership: Application to Accession 83
Demographic Data for the Eurasian Balkans 127
Asian Armed Forces 156

Cultural domination has been an underappreciated facet of American global power. Whatever one may think of its aesthetic values, America's mass culture exercises a magnetic appeal, especially on the world's youth. Its attraction may be derived from the hedonistic quality of the lifestyle it projects, but its global appeal is undeniable. American television programs and films account for
about three-fourths of the global market. American popular music is equally dominant, while American fads, eating habits, and even clothing are increasingly imitated worldwide.
 The language of the Internet is English, and an overwhelming proportion of the global computer chatter also originates from America, influencing the content of global conversation. 
Lastly, America has become a Mecca for those seeking advanced education, with approximately half a million foreign students flocking to the United States, with many of the ablest never returning home. Graduates from American universities are to be found in almost every Cabinet on every continent.The style of many foreign democratic politicians also increasingly emulates the American. Not only did John F. Kennedy find eager imitators abroad, but even more recent (and less glorified) American political leaders have become the object of careful study and political imitation. Politicians from cultures as disparate as the Japanese and the British (for example, the Japanese prime minister of the mid-1990s, Ryutaro Hashimoto, and the British prime minister, Tony Blair—and note the "Tony," imitative of "Jimmy" Carter, "Bill" Clinton, or "Bob" Dole) find it perfectly appropriate to copy Bill Clinton's homey mannerisms, populist common touch, and public relations techniques.
Democratic ideals, associated with the American political tradition, further reinforce what some perceive as America's "cultural imperialism." In the age of the most massive spread of the democratic form of government, the American political experience tends to serve as a standard for emulation. The spreading
emphasis worldwide on the centrality of a written constitution and on the supremacy of law over political expediency, no matter how short-changed in practice, has drawn upon the strength of American constitutionalism.

 In recent times, the adoption by the former Communist countries of civilian supremacy over the military (especially as a precondition for NATO membership) has also been very heavily influenced by the U.S. system of civilmilitary
The appeal and impact of the democratic American political system has also been accompanied by the growing attraction of the American entrepreneurial economic model, which stresses global free trade and uninhibited competition. As the Western welfare state, including its German emphasis on "codetermination"
between entrepreneurs and trade unions, begins to lose its economic momentum, more Europeans are voicing the opinion that the more competitive and even ruthless American economic culture has to be emulated if Europe is not to fall further behind. Even in Japan, greater individualism in economic behavior is becoming recognized as a necessary concomitant of economic success.

The American emphasis on political democracy and economic development thus combines to convey a simple ideological message that appeals to many: the quest for individual success enhances freedom while generating wealth.
The resulting blend of idealism and egoism is a potent combination. 
Individual self-fulfillment is said to be a God-given right that at the same time can benefit others by setting an example and by generating wealth. It is a doctrine that attracts the energetic, the ambitious, and the highly competitive.
As the imitation of American ways gradually pervades the
world, it creates a more congenial setting for the exercise of the indirect
and seemingly consensual American hegemony. And as in
the case of the domestic American system, that hegemony involves
a complex structure of interlocking institutions and procedures,
designed to generate consensus and obscure asymmetries
in power and influence. American global supremacy is thus buttressed
by an elaborate system of alliances and coalitions that literally
span the globe.
The Atlantic alliance, epitomized institutionally by NATO, links
the most productive and influential states of Europe to America,
making the United States a key participant even in intra-European
affairs. The bilateral political and military ties with Japan bind the
most powerful Asian economy to the United States, with Japan remaining
(at least for the time being) essentially an American protectorate.
America also participates in such nascent trans-Pacific
multilateral organizations as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Forum (APEC), making itself a key participant in that region's
affairs. The Western Hemisphere is generally shielded from outside
influences, enabling America to play the central role in existing
hemispheric multilateral organizations. Special security arrangements
in the Persian Gulf, especially after the brief punitive mission
in 1991 against Iraq, have made that economically vital region
into an American military preserve. Even the former Soviet space
is permeated by various American-sponsored arrangements for
closer cooperation with NATO, such as the Partnership for Peace.
In addition, one must consider as part of the American system
the global web of specialized organizations, especially the "international"
financial institutions. The International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank can be said to represent "global" interests,
and their constituency may be construed as the world. In reality,
however, they are heavily American dominated and their
origins are traceable to American initiative, particularly the Bretton
Woods Conference of 1944.

Superpower Politics

VER SINCE THE CONTINENTS started interacting politically,
some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of
world power. In different ways, at different times, the peoples
Inhabiting Eurasia—though mostly those from its Western European
periphery—penetrated and dominated the world's other
regions as individual Eurasian states attained the special status
and enjoyed the privileges of being the world's premier powers.
The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic
shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian
power has emerged not only as the key arbiter of Eurasian power
relations but also as the world's paramount power. The defeat and
collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance
of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the
sole and, indeed, the first truly global power.
Eurasia, however, retains Its geopolitical importance. Not only
is its western periphery—Europe—still the location of much of the
world's political and economic power, but its eastern region—
Asia—has lately become a vital center of economic growth and rising
political influence. Hence, the issue of how a globally engaged
America copes with the complex Eurasian power relationships—
and particularly whether it prevents the emergence of a dominant
and antagonistic Eurasian power—remains central to America's
capacity to exercise global primacy.
It follows that—in addition to cultivating the various novel dimensions
of power (technology, communications, information, as
well as trade and finance)—American foreign policy must remain
concerned with the geopolitical dimension and must employ its influence
in Eurasia in a manner that creates a stable continental
equilibrium, with the United States as the political arbiter.
Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global
primacy continues to be played, and that struggle involves
geostrategy—the strategic management of geopolitical interests. It
is noteworthy that as recently as 1940 two aspirants to global
power, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, agreed explicitly (in the secret
negotiations of November of that year) that America should
be excluded from Eurasia. Each realized that the injection of American
power into Eurasia would preclude his ambitions regarding
global domination. Each shared the assumption that Eurasia is the
center of the world and that he who controls Eurasia controls the
world. A half century later, the issue has been redefined: will America's
primacy in Eurasia endure, and to what ends might it be applied?
The ultimate objective of American policy should be benign
and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community, in
keeping with long-range trends and with the fundamental interests
of humankind. But in the meantime, it is imperative that no
Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and
thus also of challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive
and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of
this book.
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Washington, DC.
April 1997


Hegemony of a New Type

HEGEMONY is AS OLD AS MANKIND. But America's current global supremacy is distinctive in the rapidity of its emergence, in its global scope, and in the manner of its exercise. In the course of a single century, America has transformed itself—and has also been transformed by international dynamics—from a country relatively isolated in the Western Hemisphere into a power of unprecedented worldwide reach and grasp.
The Spanish-American War in 1898 was America's first overseas
war of conquest. It thrust American power far into the Pacific, beyond
Hawaii to the Philippines. By the turn of the century, American
strategists were already busy developing doctrines for a two-ocean
naval supremacy, and the American navy had begun to challenge
the notion that Britain "rules the waves." American claims of a special
status as the sole guardian of the Western Hemisphere's security—proclaimed
earlier in the century by the Monroe Doctrine and subsequently justified by America's alleged "manifest destiny"—were
even further enhanced by the construction of the
Panama Canal, which facilitated naval domination over both the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The basis for America's expanding geopolitical ambitions was
provided by the rapid industrialization of the country's economy. By
the outbreak of World War I, America's growing economic might already
accounted for about 33 percent of global GNP, which displaced
Great Britain as the world's leading industrial power. This remarkable
economic dynamism was fostered by a culture that favored experimentation
and innovation. America's political institutions and
free market economy created unprecedented opportunities for ambitious
and iconoclastic inventors, who were not inhibited from pursuing
their personal dreams by archaic privileges or rigid social
hierarchies. In brief, national culture was uniquely congenial to economic
growth, and by attracting and quickly assimilating the most
talented individuals from abroad, the culture also facilitated the expansion
of national power.
World War I provided the first occasion for the massive projection
of American military force into Europe. A heretofore relatively
isolated power promptly transported several hundred thousand of
its troops across the Atlantic—a transoceanic military expedition
unprecedented in its size and scope, which signaled the emergence
of a new major player in the international arena. Just as important,
the war also prompted the first major American
diplomatic effort to apply American principles in seeking a solution
to Europe's international problems. Woodrow Wilson's famous
Fourteen Points represented the injection into European geopolitics
of American idealism, reinforced by American might. (A
decade and a half earlier, the United States had played a leading
role in settling a Far Eastern conflict between Russia and Japan,
thereby also asserting its growing international stature.) The fusion
of American idealism and American power thus made itself
fully felt on the world scene.
Strictly speaking, however, World War I was still predominantly
a European war, not a global one. But its self-destructive character
marked the beginning of the end of Europe's political, economic,
and cultural preponderance over the rest of the world. In the
course of the war, no single European power was able to prevail decisively—and the war's outcome was heavily influenced by the
entrance into the conflict of the rising non-European power, America.
Thereafter, Europe would become increasingly the object,
rather than the subject, of global power politics.
However, this brief burst of American global leadership did not
produce a continuing American engagement in world affairs. Instead,
America quickly retreated into a self-gratifying combination
of isolationism and idealism. Although by the mid-twenties and
early thirties totalitarianism was gathering strength on the European
continent, American power—by then including a powerful
two-ocean fleet that clearly outmatched the British navy—remained
disengaged. Americans preferred to be bystanders to
global politics.
Consistent with that predisposition was the American concept
of security, based on a view of America as a continental island.
American strategy focused on sheltering its shores and was thus
narrowly national in scope, with little thought given to international
or global considerations. The critical international players
were still the European powers and, increasingly, Japan.
The European era in world politics came to a final end in the
course of World War II, the first truly global war. Fought on three
continents simultaneously, with the Atlantic and the Pacific
Oceans also heavily contested, its global dimension was symbolically
demonstrated when British and Japanese soldiers—representing,
respectively, a remote Western European island and a
similarly remote East Asian island—collided thousands of miles
from their homes on the Indian-Burmese frontier. Europe and Asia
had become a single battlefield.
Had the war's outcome been a clear-cut victory for Nazi Germany,
a single European power might then have emerged as globally
preponderant. (Japan's victory in the Pacific would have
gained for that nation the dominant Far Eastern role, but in all
probability, Japan would still have remained only a regional hegemon.)
Instead, Germany's defeat was sealed largely by the two extra-European
victors, the United States and the Soviet Union,
which became the successors to Europe's unfulfilled quest for
global supremacy.
The next fifty years were dominated by the bipolar AmericanSoviet
contest for global supremacy. In some respects, the contest between the United States and the Soviet Union represented the
fulfillment of the geopoliticians' fondest theories: it pitted the
world's leading maritime power, dominant over both the Atlantic
and the Pacific Oceans, against the world's leading land power,
paramount on the Eurasian heartland (with the Sino-Soviet bloc
encompassing a space remarkably reminiscent of the scope of the
Mongol Empire). The geopolitical dimension could not have been
clearer: North America versus Eurasia, with the world at stake.
The winner would truly dominate the globe. There was no one else
to stand in the way, once victory was finally grasped.
Each rival projected worldwide an ideological appeal that was
infused with historical optimism, that justified for each the necessary
exertions while reinforcing its conviction in inevitable victory.
Each rival was clearly dominant within its own space—unlike
the imperial European aspirants to global hegemony, none of
which ever quite succeeded in asserting decisive preponderance
within Europe itself. And each used its ideology to reinforce its
hold over its respective vassals and tributaries, in a manner somewhat
reminiscent of the age of religious warfare.
The combination of global geopolitical scope and the proclaimed
universality of the competing dogmas gave the contest unprecedented
intensity. But an additional factor—also imbued with
global implications—made the contest truly unique. The advent of
nuclear weapons meant that a head-on war, of a classical type, between
the two principal contestants would not only spell their mutual
destruction but could unleash lethal consequences for a
significant portion of humanity. The intensity of the conflict was
thus simultaneously subjected to extraordinary self-restraint on
the part of both rivals.
In the geopolitical realm, the conflict was waged largely on the
peripheries of Eurasia itself. The Sino-Soviet bloc dominated most
of Eurasia but did not control its peripheries. North America succeeded
in entrenching itself on both the extreme western and extreme
eastern shores of the great Eurasian continent. The defense
of these continental bridgeheads (epitomized on the western
"front" by the Berlin blockade and on the eastern by the Korean
War) was thus the first strategic test of what came to be known as
the Cold War.
In the Cold War's final phase, a third defensive "front"—the
southern—appeared on Eurasia's map (see map above). The Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan precipitated a two-pronged American response:
direct U.S. assistance to the native resistance in Afghanistan
in order to bog down the Soviet army; and a large-scale buildup
of the U.S. military presence In the Persian Gulf as a deterrent to
any further southward projection of Soviet political or military
power. The United States committed itself to the defense of the Persian
Gulf region, on a par with its western and eastern Eurasian security
The successful containment by North America of the Eurasian
bloc's efforts to gain effective sway over all of Eurasia—with both
sides deterred until the very end from a direct military collision for
fear of a nuclear war—meant that the outcome of the contest was
eventually decided by nonmilitary means. Political vitality, ideological
flexibility, economic dynamism, and cultural appeal became
the decisive dimensions.
The American-led coalition retained its unity, whereas the
Sino-Soviet bloc split within less than two decades. In part, this was due to the democratic coalition's greater flexibility, in contrast
to the hierarchical and dogmatic—but also brittle—character
of the Communist camp. The former involved shared values,
but without a formal doctrinal format. The latter emphasized dogmatic
orthodoxy, with only one valid interpretative center. America's
principal vassals were also significantly weaker than
America, whereas the Soviet Union could not indefinitely treat
China as a subordinate. The outcome was also due to the fact that
the American side proved to be economically and technologically
much more dynamic, whereas the Soviet Union gradually stagnated
and could not effectively compete either in economic
growth or in military technology. Economic decay in turn fostered
ideological demoralization.
In fact, Soviet military power—and the fear it inspired among
westerners—for a long time obscured the essential asymmetry
between the two contestants. America was simply much richer,
technologically much more advanced, militarily more resilient
and innovative, socially more creative and appealing. Ideological
constraints also sapped the creative potential of the Soviet
Union, making its system increasingly rigid and its economy increasingly
wasteful and technologically less competitive. As
long as a mutually destructive war did not break out, in a protracted
competition the scales had to tip eventually in America's
The final outcome was also significantly influenced by cultural
considerations. The American-led coalition, by and large, accepted
as positive many attributes of America's political and social culture.
America's two most important allies on the western and eastem
peripheries of the Eurasian continent, Germany and Japan,
both recovered their economic health in the context of almost unbridled
admiration for all things American. America was widely
perceived as representing the future, as a society worthy of admiration
and deserving of emulation.
In contrast, Russia was held in cultural contempt by most of its
Central European vassals and even more so by its principal and increasingly
assertive eastern ally, China. For the Central Europeans,
Russian domination meant isolation from what the Central Europeans
considered their philosophical and cultural home: Western Europe and its Christian religious traditions. Worse than that, it
meant domination by a people whom the Central Europeans, often
unjustly, considered their cultural inferior.
The Chinese, for whom the word "Russia" means "the hungry
land," were even more openly contemptuous. Although initially
the Chinese had only quietly contested Moscow's claims of universality
for the Soviet model, within a decade following the Chinese
Communist revolution they mounted an assertive challenge to
Moscow's ideological primacy and even began to express openly
their traditional contempt for the neighboring northern barbarians.
Finally, within the Soviet Union itself, the 50 percent of the population
that was non-Russian eventually also rejected Moscow's
domination. The gradual political awakening of the non-Russians
meant that the Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and Azeris began
to view Soviet power as a form of alien imperial domination by
a people to whom they did not feel culturally inferior. In Central
Asia, national aspirations may have been weaker, but here these
peoples were fueled in addition by a gradually rising sense of Islamic
identity, intensified by the knowledge of the ongoing decolonization
Like so many empires before it, the Soviet Union eventually imploded
and fragmented, falling victim not so much to a direct military
defeat as to disintegration accelerated by economic and
social strains. Its fate confirmed a scholar's apt observation that
[ejmpires are inherently politically unstable because subordinate
units almost always prefer greater autonomy, and
counter-elites in such units almost always act, upon opportunity,
to obtain greater autonomy. In this sense, empires do not
fall; rather, they fall apart, usually very slowly, though sometimes
remarkably quickly.'

'Donald Puchala. "The History of the Future of International Relations,"
Ethics and International Affairs 8 (1994):183.

The collapse of its rival left the United States in a unique position.
It became simultaneously the first and the only truly global power.
And yet America's global supremacy is reminiscent in some ways
of earlier empires, notwithstanding their more confined regional
scope. These empires based their power on a hierarchy of vassals,
tributaries, protectorates, and colonies, with those on the outside
generally viewed as barbarians. To some degree, that anachronistic
terminoJogy is not altogether inappropriate for some of the
states currently within the American orbit. As in the past, the exercise
of American "imperial" power is derived in large measure from
superior organization, from the ability to mobilize vast economic
and technological resources promptly for military purposes, from
the vague but significant cultural appeal of the American way of
life, and from the sheer dynamism and inherent competitiveness of
the American social and political elites.
Earlier empires, too, partook of these attributes. Rome comes
first to mind. Its empire was established over roughly two and a
half centuries through sustained territorial expansion northward
and then both westward and southeastward, as well as through
the assertion of effective maritime control over the entire shoreline
of the Mediterranean Sea. In geographic scope, it reached its
high point around the year A.D. 211 (see map on page 11). Rome's
was a centralized polity and a single self-sufficient economy. Its
imperial power was exercised deliberately and purposefully
through a complex system of political and economic organization.
A strategically designed system of roads and naval routes,
originating from the capital city, permitted the rapid redeployment
and concentration—in the event of a major security
threat—of the Roman legions stationed in the various vassal
states and tributary provinces.
At the empire's apex, the Roman legions deployed abroad numbered
nu less than three hundred thousand men—a remarkable
force, made all the more lethal by the Roman superiority in tactics
and armaments as well as by the center's ability to direct relatively
rapid redeployment. Qt is striking to note that in 1996, the vastly
more populous supreme power, America, was protecting the outer
reaches of its dominion by stationing 296,000 professional soldiers
Rome's imperial power, however, was also derived from an important
psychological reality. Civis Romanus sum—"I am a Roman
citizen"—was the highest possible self-definition, a source of
pride, and an aspiration for many. Eventually granted even to
those not of Roman birth, the exalted status of the Roman citizen
was an expression of cultural superiority that justified the imperial
power's sense of mission. It not only legitimated Rome's rule, but it
also inclined those subject to it to desire assimilation and inclusion
in the imperial structure. Cultural superiority, taken for
granted by the rulers and conceded by the subjugated, thus reinforced
imperial power.
That supreme, and largely uncontested, imperial power lasted
about three hundred years. With the exception of the challenge posed at one stage by nearby Carthage and on the eastern fringes
by the Parthian Empire, the outside world was largely barbaric,
not well organized, capable for most of the time only of sporadic
attacks, and culturally patently inferior. As long as the empire was
able to maintain internal vitality and unity, the outside world was
Three major causes led to the eventual collapse of the Roman
Empire. First, the empire became too large to be governed from
a single center, but splitting it into western and eastern halves
automatically destroyed the monopolistic character of its power.
Second, at the same time, the prolonged period of imperial
hubris generated a cultural hedonism that gradually sapped the
political elite's will to greatness. Third, sustained inflation also
undermined the capacity of the system to sustain itself without
social sacrifice, which the citizens were no longer prepared to
make. Cultural decay, political division, and financial inflation
conspired to make Rome vulnerable even to the barbarians in its
near abroad.
By contemporary standards, Rome was not truly a global
power but a regional one. However, given the sense of isolation
prevailing at the time between the various continents of the globe,
its regional power was self-contained and isolated, with no immediate
or even distant rival. The Roman Empire was thus a world
unto itself, with its superior political organization and cultural superiority
making it a precursor of later imperial systems of even
greater geographic scope.
Even so, the Roman Empire was not unique. The Roman and
the Chinese empires emerged almost contemporaneously, though
neither was aware of the other. By the year 221 B.C. (the time of the
Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage), the unification by Chin'
of the existing seven states Into the first Chinese empire had
prompted the construction of the Great Wall in northern China, to
seal off the inner kingdom from the barbarian world beyond. The
subsequent Han Empire, which had started to emerge by 140 B.C.,
was even more impressive in scope and organization. By the onset
of the Christian era, no fewer than 57 million people were subject
to its authority. That huge number, itself unprecedented, testified
to extraordinarily effective central control, exercised through a centralized and punitive bureaucracy. Imperial sway extended to
today's Korea, parts of Mongolia, and most of today's coastal
China. However, rather like Rome, the Han Empire also became afflicted
by internal ills, and its eventual collapse was accelerated by
its division in A.D. 220 into three independent realms.
China's further history involved cycles of reunification and expansion,
followed by decay and fragmentation. More than once,
China succeeded in establishing imperial systems that were selfcontained,
isolated, and unchallenged externally by any organized
rivals. The tripartite division of the Han realm was reversed in A.D.
589, with something akin to an imperial system reemerging. But
the period of China's greatest imperial self-assertion came under
the Manchus, specifically during the early Ch'ing dynasty. By the
eighteenth century, China was once again a full-fledged empire,
with the imperial center surrounded by vassal and tributary
states, including today's Korea, Indochina, Thailand, Burma, and
Nepal. China's sway thus extended from today's Russian Far East
all the way across southern Siberia to Lake Baikal and into contemporary
Kazakstan, then southward toward the Indian Ocean, and
then back east across Laos and northern Vietnam (see map on
page 14).
As in the Roman case, the empire was a complex financial,
economic, educational, and security organization. Control over
the large territory and the more than 300 million people living
within it was exercised through all these means, with a strong emphasis
on centralized political authority, supported by a remarkably
effective courier service. The entire empire was demarcated
into four zones, radiating from Peking and delimiting areas that
could be reached by courier within one week, two weeks, three
weeks, and four weeks, respectively. A centralized bureaucracy,
professionally trained and competitively selected, provided the
sinews of unity.
That unity was reinforced, legitimated, and sustained—again,
as in the case of Rome—by a strongly felt and deeply ingrained
sense of cultural superiority that was augmented by Confucianism,
an imperially expedient philosophy, with its stress on harmony, hierarchy,
and discipline. China—the Celestial Empire—was seen as
the center of the universe, with only barbarians on its peripheries and beyond. To be Chinese meant to be cultured, and for that reason,
the rest of the world owed China its due deference. That special
sense of superiority permeated the response given by the
Chinese emperor—even in the phase of China's growing decline, in
the late eighteenth century—to King George III of Great Britain,
whose emissaries had attempted to inveigle China into a trading
relationship by offering some British industrial products as goodwill
We, by the Grace of Heaven, Emperor, instruct the King of England
to take note of our charge:
The Celestial Empire, ruling all within the four seas . ..
does not value rare and precious things . . . nor do we have the
slightest need of your country's manufactures
Hence we ... have commanded your tribute envoys to return
safely home. You, 0 King, should simply act in conformity with our wishes by strengthening your loyalty and swearing
perpetual obedience.
The decline and fall of the several Chinese empires was also
primarily due to internal factors. Mongol and later occidental "barbarians"
prevailed because internal fatigue, decay, hedonism, and
loss of economic as well as military creativity sapped and then accelerated
the collapse of Chinese will. Outside powers exploited
China's internal malaise—Britain in the Opium War of 1839-1842,
Japan a century later—which, in turn, generated the profound
sense of cultural humiliation that has motivated the Chinese
throughout the twentieth century, a humiliation all the more intense
because of the collision between their ingrained sense of cultural
superiority and the demeaning political realities of
postimperial China.
Much as in the case of Rome, imperial China would be classified
today as a regional power. But in its heyday, China had no
global peer, in the sense that no other power was capable of challenging
its imperial status or even of resisting its further expansion
if that had been the Chinese inclination. The Chinese system was
self-contained and self-sustaining, based primarily on a shared ethnic
identity, with relatively limited projection of central power
over ethnically alien and geographically peripheral tributaries.
The large and dominant ethnic core made it possible for China
to achieve periodic imperial restoration. In that respect, China was
quite unlike other empires, in which numerically small but hegemonically
motivated peoples were able for a time to impose and
maintain domination over much larger ethnically alien populations.
However, once the domination of such small-core empires
was undermined, imperial restoration was out of the question.
To find a somewhat closer analogy to today's definition of a
global power, we must turn to the remarkable phenomenon of the
Mongol Empire. Its emergence was achieved through an intense
struggle with major and well-organized opponents. Among those
defeated were the kingdoms of Poland and Hungary, the forces of
the Holy Roman Empire, several Russian and Rus' principalities,
the Caliphate of Baghdad, and later, even the Sung dynasty of
Genghis Khan and his successors, by defeating their regional rivals,
established centralized control over the territory that latterday
scholars of geopolitics have identified as the global heartland,
or the pivot for world power. Their Eurasian continental empire
ranged from the shores of the China Sea to Anatolia in Asia Minor
and to Centra] Europe (see map). It was not until the heyday of the
Stalinist Sino-Soviet bloc that the Mongol Empire on the Eurasian
continent was finally matched, insofar as the scope of centralized
control over contiguous territory is concerned.
The Roman, Chinese, and Mongol empires were regional precursors
of subsequent aspirants to global power. In the case of
Rome and China, as already noted, their imperial structures were
highly developed, both politically and economically, while the
widespread acceptance of the cultural superiority of the center exercised
an important cementing role. In contrast, the Mongol Empire
sustained political control by relying more directly on military conquest followed by adaptation (and even assimilation) to local
Mongol imperial power was largely based on military domination.
Achieved through the brilliant and ruthless application of
superior military tactics that combined a remarkable capacity for
rapid movement of forces with their timely concentration, Mongol
rule entailed no organized economic or financial system, nor
was Mongol authority derived from any assertive sense of cultural
superiority. The Mongol rulers were too thin numerically to
represent a self-regenerating ruling class, and in any case, the absence
of a defined and self-conscious sense of cultural or even
ethnic superiority deprived the imperial elite of the needed subjective
In fact, the Mongol rulers proved quite susceptible to gradual
assimilation by the often culturally more advanced peoples they
had conquered. Thus, one of the grandsons of Genghis Khan, who
had become the emperor of the Chinese part of the great Khan's
realm, became a fervent propagator of Confucianism; another became
a devout Muslim in his capacity as the sultan of Persia; and a
third became the culturally Persian ruler of Central Asia.
It was that factor—assimilation of the rulers by the ruled because
of the absence of a dominant political culture—as well as unresolved
problems of succession to the great Khan who had
founded the empire, that caused the empire's eventual demise. The
Mongol realm had become too big to be governed from a single center,
but the solution attempted—dividing the empire into several
self-contained parts—prompted still more rapid local assimilation
and accelerated the imperial disintegration. After lasting two centuries,
from 1206 to 1405, the world's largest land-based empire disappeared
without a trace.
Thereafter, Europe became both the locus of global power and
the focus of the main struggles for global power. Indeed, in the
course of approximately three centuries, the small northwestern
periphery of the Eurasian continent attained—through the projection
of maritime power and for the first time ever—genuine global
domination as European power reached, and asserted itself on,
every continent of the globe. It is noteworthy that the Western European
imperial hegemons were demographically not very numerous,
especially when compared to the numbers effectively subjugated. Yet by the beginning of the twentieth century, outside
of the Western Hemisphere (which two centuries earlier had also
been subject to Western European control and which was inhabited
predominantly by European emigrants and their descendants),
only China, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and Ethiopia were
free of Western Europe's domination (see map on page 18).
However, Western European domination was not tantamount to
the attainment of global power by Western Europe. The essential
reality was that of Europe's civilizational global supremacy and of
fragmented European continental power. Unlike the land conquest
of the Eurasian heartland by the Mongols or by the subsequent
Russian Empire, European overseas imperialism was attained
through ceaseless transoceanic exploration and the expansion of
maritime trade. This process, however, also involved a continuous
struggle among the leading European states not only for the overseas
dominions but for hegemony within Europe itself. The geopolitically
consequential fact was that Europe's global hegemony did
not derive from hegemony in Europe by any single European
Broadly speaking, until the middle of the seventeenth century,
Spain was the paramount European power. By the late fifteenth
century, it had also emerged as a major overseas imperial power,
entertaining global ambitions. Religion served as a unifying doctrine
and as a source of imperial missionary zeal. Indeed, it took
papal arbitration between Spain and its maritime rival, Portugal, to
codify a formal division of the world into Spanish and Portuguese
colonial spheres in the Treaties of Tordesilla (1494) and Saragossa
(1529). Nonetheless, faced by English, French, and Dutch challenges,
Spain was never able to assert genuine supremacy, either
in Western Europe itself or across the oceans.
Spain's preeminence gradually gave way to that of France. Until
1815, France was the dominant European power, though continuously
checked by its European rivals, both on the continent and
overseas. Under Napoleon, France came close to establishing true
hegemony over Europe. Had it succeeded, it might have also
gained the status of the dominant global power. However, its defeat
by a European coalition reestablished the continental balance
of power.
For the next century, until World War I, Great Britain exercised global maritime domination as London became the world's principal
financial and trading center and the British navy "ruled the
waves." Great Britain was clearly paramount overseas, but like the
earlier European aspirants to global hegemony, the British Empire
could not single-handedly dominate Europe. Instead, Britain relied
on an intricate balance-of-power diplomacy and eventually on an
Anglo-French entente to prevent continental domination by either
Russia or Germany.
The overseas British Empire was initially acquired through a
combination of exploration, trade, and conquest. But much like its
Roman and Chinese predecessors or its French and Spanish rivals,
it also derived a great deal of its staying power from the perception
of British cultural superiority. That superiority was not only a
matter of subjective arrogance on the part of the imperial ruling
class but was a perspective shared by many of the non-British subjects.
In the words of South Africa's first black president, Nelson
Mandela: "I was brought up in a British school, and at the time
Britain was the home of everything that was best in the world. I
have not discarded the influence which Britain and British history
and culture exercised on us." Cultural superiority, successfully asserted
and quietly conceded, had the effect of reducing the need
to rely on large military forces to maintain the power of the imperial
center. By 1914, only a few thousand British military personnel
and civil servants controlled about 11 million square miles and almost
400 million non-British peoples (see map on page 20).
In brief, Rome exercised its sway largely through superior military
organization and cultural appeal. China relied heavily on an
efficient bureaucracy to rule an empire based on shared ethnic
identity, reinforcing its control through a highly developed sense
of cultural superiority. The Mongol Empire combined advanced
military tactics for conquest with an inclination toward assimilation
as the basis for rule. The British (as well as the Spanish,
Dutch, and French) gained preeminence as their flag followed their
trade, their control likewise reinforced by superior military organization
and cultural assertiveness. But none of these empires were
truly global. Even Great Britain was not a truly global power. It did
not control Europe but only balanced it. A stable Europe was crucial
to British international preeminence, and Europe's self-destruction
Inevitably marked the end of British primacy In contrast, the scope and pervasiveness of American global
power today are unique. Not only does the United States control
all of the world's oceans and seas, but it has developed an assertive
military capability for amphibious shore control that enables
it to project its power inland in politically significant ways.
Its military legions are firmly perched on the western and eastern
extremities of Eurasia, and they also control the Persian Gulf.
American vassals and tributaries, some yearning to be embraced
by even more formal ties to Washington, dot the entire Eurasian
continent, as the map on page 22 showsAmerica's
economic dynamism provides the necessary precondition
tor the exercise of global primacy. Initially, immediately after
World War II, America's economy stood apart from all others, accounting
alone for more than 50 percent of the world's GNP. The
economic recovery of Western Europe and Japan, followed by the
wider phenomenon of Asia's economic dynamism, meant that the
American share of global GNP eventually had to shrink from the
disproportionately high levels of the immediate postwar era.
Nonetheless, by the time the subsequent Cold War had ended,
America's share of global GNP, and more specifically its share of
the world's manufacturing output, had stabilized at about 30 percent,
a level that had been the norm for most of this century, apart
from those exceptional years immediately after World War II.
More important, America has maintained and has even widened
its lead in exploiting the latest scientific breakthroughs for military
purposes, thereby creating a technologically peerless military
establishment, the only one with effective global reach. All
the while, it has maintained its strong competitive advantage in the
economically decisive information technologies. American mastery
in the cutting-edge sectors of tomorrow's economy suggests that
American technological domination is not likely to be undone
soon, especially given that in the economically decisive fields,
Americans are maintaining or even widening their advantage in
productivity over their Western European and Japanese rivals.
To be sure, Russia and China are powers that resent this American
hegemony. In early 1996, they jointly stated as much in the
course of a visit to Beijing by Russia's President Boris Yeltsin.
Moreover, they possess nuclear arsenals that could threaten vital
U.S. interests. But the brutal fact is that for the time being, and for some time to come, although they can initiate a suicidal nuclear
war, neither one of them can win it. Lacking the ability to project
forces over long distances in order to impose their political will
and being technologically much more backward than America,
they do not have the means to exercise—nor soon attain—sustained
political clout worldwide.
In brief, America stands supreme in the four decisive domains of
global power, militarily, it has an unmatched global reach; economically,
it remains the main locomotive of global growth, even if
challenged in some aspects by Japan" and Germany (neither of
which enjoys the other attributes of global might); technologically,
it retains the overall lead in the cutting-edge areas of innovation;
and culturally, despite some crassness, it enjoys an appeal that is
unrivaled, especially among the world's youth—all of which gives
the United States a political clout that no other state comes close
to matching. It is the combination of all four that makes America the
only comprehensive global superpower.
Although America's international preeminence unavoidably evokes
similarities to earlier imperial systems, the differences are more essential.
They go beyond the question of territorial scope. American
global power is exercised through a global system of distinctively
American design that mirrors the domestic American experience.
Central to that domestic experience is the pluralistic character of
both the American society and its political system.
The earlier empires were built by aristocratic political elites
and were in most cases ruled by essentially authoritarian or absolutist
regimes. The bulk of the populations of the imperial states
were either politically indifferent or, in more recent times, infected
by imperialist emotions and symbols. The quest for national glory,
"the white man's burden," "la mission civilisatrlce," not to speak of
the opportunities for personal profit—all served to mobilize support
for imperial adventures and to sustain essentially hierarchical
imperial power pyramids.
The attitude of the American public toward the external projection
of American power has been much more ambivalent. The pub-lie supported America's engagement in World War II largely because
of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The engagement of the United States in the Cold War was initially
endorsed more reluctantly, until the Berlin blockade and the subsequent
Korean War. After the Cold War had ended, the emergence
of the United States as the single global power did not evoke much
public gloating but rather elicited an inclination toward a more
limited definition of American responsibilities abroad. Public opinion
polls conducted in 1995 and 1996 indicated a general public
preference for "sharing" global power with others, rather than for
its monopolistic exercise.
Because of these domestic factors, the American global system
emphasizes the technique of co-optation (as in the case of defeated
rivals—Germany, Japan, and lately even Russia) to a much
greater extent than the earlier imperial systems did. It likewise relies
heavily on the indirect exercise of influence on dependent foreign
elites, while drawing much benefit from the appeal of its
democratic principles and institutions. All of the foregoing are reinforced
by the massive but intangible impact of the American
domination of global communications, popular entertainment, and
mass culture and by the potentially very tangible clout of America's
technological edge and global military reach.
Cultural domination has been an underappreciated facet of
American global power. Whatever one may think of its aesthetic
values, America's mass culture exercises a magnetic appeal, especially
on the world's youth. Its attraction may be derived from the
hedonistic quality of the lifestyle it projects, but its global appeal
is undeniable. American television programs and films account for
about three-fourths of the global market. American popular music
is equally dominant, while American fads, eating habits, and even
clothing are increasingly imitated worldwide. The language of the
Internet is English, and an overwhelming proportion of the global
computer chatter also originates from America, influencing the
content of global conversation. Lastly, America has become a
Mecca for those seeking advanced education, with approximately
half a million foreign students flocking to the United States, with
many of the ablest never returning home. Graduates from American
universities are to be found in almost every Cabinet on every
continent.The style of many foreign democratic politicians also increasingly
emulates the American. Not only did John F. Kennedy find eager
imitators abroad, but even more recent (and less glorified)
American political leaders have become the object of careful study
and political imitation. Politicians from cultures as disparate as the
Japanese and the British (for example, the Japanese prime minister
of the mid-1990s, Ryutaro Hashimoto, and the British prime minister,
Tony Blair—and note the "Tony," imitative of "Jimmy" Carter,
"Bill" Clinton, or "Bob" Dole) find it perfectly appropriate to copy
Bill Clinton's homey mannerisms, populist common touch, and
public relations techniques.
Democratic ideals, associated with the American political tradition,
further reinforce what some perceive as America's "cultural
imperialism." In the age of the most massive spread of the
democratic form of government, the American political experience
tends to serve as a standard for emulation. The spreading
emphasis worldwide on the centrality of a written constitution
and on the supremacy of law over political expediency, no matter
how short-changed in practice, has drawn upon the strength of
American constitutionalism. In recent times, the adoption by the
former Communist countries of civilian supremacy over the military
(especially as a precondition for NATO membership) has
also been very heavily influenced by the U.S. system of civilmilitary
The appeal and impact of the democratic American political
system has also been accompanied by the growing attraction of
the American entrepreneurial economic model, which stresses
global free trade and uninhibited competition. As the Western welfare
state, including its German emphasis on "codetermination"
between entrepreneurs and trade unions, begins to lose its economic
momentum, more Europeans are voicing the opinion that
the more competitive and even ruthless American economic culture
has to be emulated if Europe is not to fall further behind. Even
in Japan, greater individualism in economic behavior is becoming
recognized as a necessary concomitant of economic success.
The American emphasis on political democracy and economic
development thus combines to convey a simple ideological message
that appeals to many: the quest for individual success enhances
freedom while generating wealth. The resulting blend of idealism and egoism is a potent combination. Individual self-fulfillment
is said to be a God-given right that at the same time can benefit
others by setting an example and by generating wealth. It is a
doctrine that attracts the energetic, the ambitious, and the highly
As the imitation of American ways gradually pervades the
world, it creates a more congenial setting for the exercise of the indirect
and seemingly consensual American hegemony. And as in
the case of the domestic American system, that hegemony involves
a complex structure of interlocking institutions and procedures,
designed to generate consensus and obscure asymmetries
in power and influence. American global supremacy is thus buttressed
by an elaborate system of alliances and coalitions that literally
span the globe.
The Atlantic alliance, epitomized institutionally by NATO, links
the most productive and influential states of Europe to America,
making the United States a key participant even in intra-European
affairs. The bilateral political and military ties with Japan bind the
most powerful Asian economy to the United States, with Japan remaining
(at least for the time being) essentially an American protectorate.
America also participates in such nascent trans-Pacific
multilateral organizations as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Forum (APEC), making itself a key participant in that region's
affairs. The Western Hemisphere is generally shielded from outside
influences, enabling America to play the central role in existing
hemispheric multilateral organizations. Special security arrangements
in the Persian Gulf, especially after the brief punitive mission
in 1991 against Iraq, have made that economically vital region
into an American military preserve. Even the former Soviet space
is permeated by various American-sponsored arrangements for
closer cooperation with NATO, such as the Partnership for Peace.
In addition, one must consider as part of the American system
the global web of specialized organizations, especially the "international"
financial institutions. The International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank can be said to represent "global" interests,
and their constituency may be construed as the world. In reality,
however, they are heavily American dominated and their
origins are traceable to American initiative, particularly the Bretton
Woods Conference of 1944.

Unlike earlier empires, this vast and complex global system is
not a hierarchical pyramid. Rather, America stands at the center of
an interlocking universe, one in which power is exercised through
continuous bargaining, dialogue, diffusion, and quest for formal
consensus, even though that power originates ultimately from a
single source, namely, Washington, D.C. And that is where the
power game has to be played, and played according to America's
domestic rules. Perhaps the highest compliment that the world
pays to the centrality of the democratic process in American
global hegemony is the degree to which foreign countries are
themselves drawn into the domestic American political bargaining.
To the extent that they can, foreign governments strive to mobilize
those Americans with whom they share a special ethnic or
religious identity. Most foreign governments also employ American
lobbyists to advance their case, especially in Congress, in addition
to approximately one thousand special foreign interest
groups registered as active in America's capital. American ethnic
communities also strive to influence U.S. foreign policy, with the
Jewish, Greek, and Armenian lobbies standing out as the most effectively
American supremacy has thus produced a new international
order that not only replicates but institutionalizes abroad many
of the features of the American system itself. Its basic features
• a collective security system, including integrated command
and forces (NATO, the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, and so
• regional economic cooperation (APEC, NAFTA [North American
Free Trade Agreement]) and specialized global cooperative
institutions (the World Bank, IMF, WTO [World Trade
" procedures that emphasize consensual decision making,
even if dominated by the United States;
• a preference for democratic membership within key
• a rudimentary global constitutional and judicial structure
(ranging from the World Court to a special tribunal to try
Bosnian war crimes).
Most of that system emerged during the Cold War, as part of
America's effort to contain its global rival, the Soviet Union. It was
thus ready-made for global application, once that rival faltered and
America emerged as the first and only global power. Its essence has
been well encapsulated by the political scientist G. John Ikenberry:
It was hegemonic in the sense that it was centered around the
United States and reflected American-styled political mechanisms
and organizing principles. It was a liberal order in that it
was legitimate and marked by reciprocal interactions. Europeans
[one may also add, the Japanese] were able to reconstruct
and integrate their societies and economies in ways that
were congenial with American hegemony but also with room to
experiment with their own autonomous and semi-independent
political systems ... The evolution of this complex system
served to "domesticate" relations among the major Western
states. There have been tense conflicts between these states
from time to time, but the important point is that conflict has
been contained within a deeply embedded, stable, and increasingly
articulated political order.... The threat of war is off the
Currently, this unprecedented American global hegemony has
no rival. But will it remain unchallenged in the years to come?
From his paper "Creating Liberal Order: The Origins and Persistence of
the Postwar Western Settlement," University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,
November 1995.

The Eurasian Chessboard

OR AMERICA, THE CHIEF geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a
millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers
and peoples who fought with one another for regional
domination and reached out for global power. Now a non-Eurasian
power is preeminent in Eurasia—and America's global primacy is
directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance
on the Eurasian continent is sustained.
Obviously, that condition is temporary. But its duration, and
what follows it, is of critical importance not only to America's wellbeing
but more generally to international peace. The sudden emergence
of the first and only global power has created a situation in
which an equally quick end to its supremacy—either because of
America's withdrawal from the world or because of the sudden
emergence of a successful rival—would produce massive international
instability. In effect, it would prompt global anarchy. The
Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington is right in boldly
A world without U.S. primacy will be a world with more violence
and disorder and less democracy and economic growth
than a world where the United States continues to have more
influence than any other country in shaping global affairs. The
sustained international primacy of the United States is central
to the welfare and security of Americans and to the future of
freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order
in the world.1
In that context, how America "manages" Eurasia is critical.
Eurasia is the globe's largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A
power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's
three most advanced and economically productive regions. A
mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia
would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering
the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral
to the world's central continent (see map on page 32). About 75
percent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the
world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and
underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about 60 percent of the
world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy
resources (see tables on page 33).
Eurasia is also the location of most of the world's politically assertive
and dynamic states. After the United States, the next six
largest economies and the next six biggest spenders on military
weaponry are located in Eurasia. All but one of the world's overt
nuclear powers and all but one of the covert ones are located in
Eurasia. The world's two most populous aspirants to regional
hegemony and global influence are Eurasian. All of the potential
political and/or economic challengers to American primacy are
Eurasian. Cumulatively, Eurasia's power vastly overshadows
America's. Fortunately for America, Eurasia is too big to be politically
Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global
primacy continues to be played. Although geostrategy—the strategic
management of geopolitical interests—may be compared to

chess, the somewhat oval-shaped Eurasian chessboard engages
not just two but several players, each possessing differing amounts
of power. The key players are located on the chessboard's west,
east, center, and south. Both the western and the eastern extremities
of the chessboard contain densely populated regions, organized
on relatively congested space into several powerful states. In
the case of Eurasia's small western periphery, American power is
deployed directly on it. The far eastern mainland is the seat of an
increasingly powerful and independent player, controlling an enormous
population, while the territory of its energetic rival—confined
on several nearby islands—and half of a small far-eastern
peninsula provide a perch for American power.
Stretching between the western and eastern extremities is a
sparsely populated and currently politically fluid and organizationally
fragmented vast middle space that was formerly occupied
by a powerful rival to U.S. preeminence—a rival that was
once committed to the goal of pushing America out of Eurasia. To
the south of that large central Eurasian plateau lies a politically
anarchic but energy-rich region of potentially great importance to both the western and the eastern Eurasian states, including in
the southernmost area a highly populated aspirant to regional
This huge, oddly shaped Eurasian chessboard—extending from
Lisbon to Vladivostok—provides the setting for "the game." If
the middle space can be drawn increasingly into the expanding
orbit of the West (where America preponderates), if the southern
region is not subjected to domination by a single player, and if the
East is not unified in a manner that prompts the expulsion of
America from its offshore bases, America can then be said to prevail.
But if the middle space rebuffs the West, becomes an
assertive single entity, and either gains control over the South or
forms an alliance with the major Eastern actor, then America's primacy
in Eurasia shrinks dramatically. The same would be the case
if the two major Eastern players were somehow to unite. Finally,
any ejection of America by its Western partners from its perch on
the western periphery would automatically spell the end of America's
participation in the game on the Eurasian chessboard, even
though that would probably also mean the eventual subordination
of the western extremity to a revived player occupying the
middle space.
The scope of America's global hegemony is admittedly great,
but its depth is shallow, limited by both domestic and external restraints.
American hegemony involves the exercise of decisive influence
but, unlike the empires of the past, not of direct control.
The very scale and diversity of Eurasia, as well as the power of
some of its states, limits the depth of American influence and the
scope of control over the course of events. That megacontinent is
just too large, too populous, culturally too varied, and composed
of too many historically ambitious and politically energetic states
to be compliant toward even the most economically successful
and politically preeminent global power. This condition places a
premium on geostrategic skill, on the careful, selective, and very
deliberate deployment of America's resources on the huge
Eurasian chessboard.
It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be
autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially
its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a pop-ulist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit
of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in
conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of
domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense
spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties even among professional
soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic
instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.
Moreover, most Americans by and large do not derive any special
gratification from their country's new status as the sole global
superpower. Political "triumphalism" connected with America's
victory in the Cold War has generally tended to receive a cold reception
and has been the object of some derision on the part of
the more liberal-minded commentators. If anything, two rather
varying views of the implications for America of its historic success
in the competition with the former Soviet Union have been
politically more appealing: on the one hand, there is the view that
the end of the Cold War justifies a significant reduction in America's
global engagement, irrespective of the consequences for
America's global standing; and on the other hand, there is the perspective
that the time has come for genuine international multilateralism,
to which America should even yield some of its
sovereignty. Both schools of thought have commanded the loyalty
of committed constituencies.
Compounding the dilemmas facing the American leadership
are the changes in the character of the global situation itself: the
direct use of power now tends to be more constrained than was
the case in the past. Nuclear weapons have dramatically reduced
the utility of war as a tool of policy or even as a threat. The growing
economic interdependence among nations is making the political
exploitation of economic blackmail less compelling. Thus
maneuver, diplomacy, coalition building, co-optation, and the very
deliberate deployment of one's political assets have become the
key ingredients of the successful exercise of geostrategic power on
the Eurasian chessboard.
The exercise of American global primacy must be sensitive to the
fact that political geography remains a critical consideration in international
affairs. Napoleon reportedly once said that to know a
nation's geography was to know its foreign policy. Our understanding
of the importance of political geography, however, must adapt
to the new realities of power.
For most of the history of international affairs, territorial control
was the focus of political conflict. Either national self-gratification
over the acquisition of larger territory or the sense of national
deprivation over the loss of "sacred" land has been the cause of
most of the bloody wars fought since the rise of nationalism. It is
no exaggeration to say that the territorial imperative has been the
main impulse driving the aggressive behavior of nation-states. Empires
were also built through the careful seizure and retention of
vital geographic assets, such as Gibraltar or the Suez Canal or Singapore,
which served as key choke points or linchpins in a system
of imperial control.
The most extreme manifestation of the linkage between nationalism
and territorial possession was provided by Nazi Germany and
imperial Japan. The effort to build the "one-thousand-year Reich"
went far beyond the goal of reuniting all German-speaking peoples
under one political roof and focused also on the desire to control
"the granaries" of Ukraine as well as other Slavic lands, whose populations
were to provide cheap slave labor for the imperial domain.
The Japanese were similarly fixated on the notion that direct territorial
possession of Manchuria, and later of the important oil-producing
Dutch East Indies, was essential to the fulfillment of the
Japanese quest for national power and global status. In a similar
vein, for centuries the definition of Russian national greatness was
equated with the acquisition of territory, and even at the end of the
twentieth century, the Russian insistence on retaining control over
such non-Russian people as the Chechens, who live around a vital
oil pipeline, has been justified by the claim that such control is essential
to Russia's status as a great power.
Nation-states continue to be the basic units of the world system.
Although the decline in big-power nationalism and the fading
of ideology has reduced the emotional content of global politics—
while nuclear weapons have introduced major restraints on the
use of force—competition based on territory still dominates world
affairs, even if its forms currently tend to be more civil. In that
competition, geographic location is still the point of departure for
the definition of a nation-state's external priorities, and the size of
national territory also remains one of the major criteria of status
and power.
However, for most nation-states, the issue of territorial possession
has lately been waning in salience. To the extent that territorial
disputes are still important in shaping the foreign policy of
some states, they are more a matter of resentment over the denial
of self-determination to ethnic brethren said to be deprived of the
right to join the "motherland" or a grievance over alleged mistreatment
by a neighbor of ethnic minorities than they are a quest for
enhanced national status through territorial enlargement.
Increasingly, the ruling national elites have come to recognize
that factors other than territory are more crucial in determining
the international status of a state or the degree of its international
influence. Economic prowess, and its translation into technological
innovation, can also be a key criterion of power. Japan provides
the supreme example. Nonetheless, geographic location still tends
to determine the immediate priorities of a state—and the greater
its military, economic, and political power, the greater the radius,
beyond its immediate neighbors, of that state's vital geopolitical
interests, influence, and involvement.
Until recently, the leading analysts of geopolitics have debated
whether land power was more significant than sea power and what
specific region of Eurasia is vital to gain control over the entire
continent. One of the most prominent, Harold Mackinder, pioneered
the discussion early in this century with his successive
concepts of the Eurasian "pivot area" (which was said to include
all of Siberia and much of Central Asia) and, later, of the
Central-East European "heartland" as the vital springboards for
the attainment of continental domination. He popularized his
heartland concept by the famous dictum:
Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
Who rules the World-Island commands the world.
Geopolitics was also invoked by some leading German political
geographers to justify their country's "Drang nach Osten," notabiy
with Karl Haushofer adapting Mackinder's concept to Germany's
strategic needs. Its much-vulgarized echo could also be heard in
Adolf Hitler's emphasis on the German people's need for "Lebensraum."
Other European thinkers of the first half of this century anticipated
an eastward shift in the geopolitical center of gravity,
with the Pacific region—and specifically America and Japan—becoming
the likely inheritors of Europe's fading domination. To forestall
such a shift, the French political geographer Paul Demangeon,
as well as other French geopoliticians, advocated greater unity
among the European states even before World War II.
Today, the geopolitical issue is no longer what geographic part
of Eurasia Is the point of departure for continental domination, nor
whether land power is more significant than sea power. Geopolitics
has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance
over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the
central basis for global primacy. The United States, a non-Eurasian
power, now enjoys international primacy, with its power directly
deployed on three peripheries of the Eurasian continent, from
which it exercises a powerful influence on the states occupying the
Eurasian hinterland. But it is on the globe's most important playing
field—Eurasia—that a potential rival to America might at some
point arise. Thus, focusing on the key players and properly assessing
the terrain has to be the point of departure for the formulation
of American geostrategy for the long-term management of America's
Eurasian geopolitical interests.
Two basic steps are thus required:
• first, to identify the geostrategically dynamic Eurasian
states that have the power to cause a potentially important
shift in the international distribution of power and to decipher
the central external goals of their respective political
elites and the likely consequences of their seeking to attain
them; and to pinpoint the geopolitically critical Eurasian
states whose location and/or existence have catalytic effects
either on the more active geostrategic players or on
regional conditions;
• second, to formulate specific U.S. policies to offset, co-opt,
and/or control the above, so as to preserve and promote vital
U.S. interests, and to conceptualize a more comprehensive
geostrategy that establishes on a global scale the
interconnection between the more specific U.S. policies.
In brief, for the United States, Eurasian geostrategy involves
the purposeful management of geostrategically dynamic states
and the careful handling of geopolitically catalytic states, in keeping
with the twin interests of America in the short-term preservation
of its unique global power and in the long-run transformation
of it into increasingly institutionalized global cooperation. To put it
in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient
empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy
are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among
the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep
the barbarians from coming together.
Active geostrategic players are the states that have the capacity
and the national will to exercise power or influence beyond their
borders in order to alter—to a degree that affects America's interests—the
existing geopolitical state of affairs. They have the potential
and/or the predisposition to be geopolitically volatile. For
whatever reason—the quest for national grandeur, ideological fulfillment,
religious messianism, or economic aggrandizement—some
states do seek to attain regional domination or global standing.
They are driven by deeply rooted and complex motivations, best
explained by Robert Browning's phrase:"... a man's reach should
exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" They thus take careful
stock of America's power, determine the extent to which their interests
overlap or collide with America, and shape their own more limited
Eurasian objectives, sometimes in collusion but sometimes in conflict with America's policies. To the Eurasian states so driven,
the United States must pay special attention.
Geopolitical pivots are the states whose importance is derived
not from their power and motivation but rather from their sensitive
location and from the consequences of their potentially vulnerable
condition for the behavior of geostrategic players. Most
often, geopolitical pivots are determined by their geography,
which in some cases gives them a special role either in denning access
to important areas or in denying resources to a significant
player. In some cases, a geopolitical pivot may act as a defensive
shield for a vital state or even a region. Sometimes, the very existence
of a geopolitical pivot can be said to have very significant
political and cultural consequences for a more active neighboring
geostrategic player. The identification of the post-Cold War key
Eurasian geopolitical pivots, and protecting them, is thus also a
crucial aspect of America's global geostrategy.
It should also be noted at the outset that although all
geostrategic players tend to be important and powerful countries,
not all important and powerful countries are automatically
geostrategic players. Thus, while the identification of the geostrategic
players is thus relatively easy, the omission from the list
that follows of some obviously important countries may require
more justification.
In the current global circumstances, at least five key geostrategic
players and five geopolitical pivots (with two of the latter perhaps
also partially qualifying as players) can be identified on
Eurasia's new political map. France, Germany, Russia, China, and
India are major and active players, whereas Great Britain, Japan,
and Indonesia, while admittedly very important countries, do not
so qualify. Ukraine, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey, and Iran play
the role of critically important geopolitical pivots, though both
Turkey and Iran are to some extent—within their more limited capabilities—also
geostrategically active. More will be said about
each in subsequent chapters.
At this stage, suffice it to say that in the western extremity of
Eurasia the key and dynamic geostrategic players are France and
Germany. Both of them are motivated by a vision of a united Eu-rope, though they differ on how much and in what fashion such a
Europe should remain linked to America. But both want to shape
something ambitiously new in Europe, thus altering the status
quo. France in particular has its own geostrategic concept of Europe,
one that differs in some significant respects from that of the
United States, and is inclined to engage in tactical maneuvers designed
to play off Russia against America and Great Britain against
Germany, even while relying on the Franco-German alliance to offset
its own relative weakness.
Moreover, both France and Germany are powerful enough and
assertive enough to exercise influence within a wider regional radius.
France not only seeks a central political role in a unifying Europe
but also sees itself as the nucleus of a Mediterranean-North
African cluster of states that share common concerns. Germany is
increasingly conscious of its special status as Europe's most important
states—as the area's economic locomotive and the emerging
leader of the European Union (EU). Germany feels it has a
special responsibility for the newly emancipated Central Europe,
in a manner vaguely reminiscent of earlier notions of a German-led
Mitteleuropa. Moreover, both France and Germany consider themselves
entitled to represent European interests in dealings with
Russia, and Germany even retains, because of its geographic location,
at least theoretically, the grand option of a special bilateral
accommodation with Russia.
In contrast, Great Britain is not a geostrategic player. It has
fewer major options, it entertains no ambitious vision of Europe's
future, and its relative decline has also reduced its capacity to play
the traditional role of the European balancer. Its ambivalence regarding
European unification and its attachment to a waning special
relationship with America have made Great Britain
increasingly irrelevant insofar as the major choices confronting
Europe's future are concerned. London has largely dealt itself out
of the European game.
Sir Roy Denman, a former British senior official in the European
Commission, recalls in his memoirs that as early as the 1955 conference
in Messina, which previewed the formation of a European
Union, the official spokesman for Britain flatly asserted to the assembled
would-be architects of Europe:
The future treaty which you are discussing has no chance of
being agreed; if it was agreed, it would have no chance of being
applied. And if it was applied, it would be totally unacceptable
to Britain.... au revoir et bonne chance.2
More than forty years later, the above dictum remains essentially
the definition of the basic British attitude toward the construction
of a genuinely united Europe. Britain's reluctance to
participate in the Economic and Monetary Union, targeted for January
1999, reflects the country's unwillingness to identify British
destiny with that of Europe. The substance of that attitude was
well summarized in the early 1990s as follows:
• Britain rejects the goal of political unification.
• Britain favors a model of economic integration based on
free trade.
• Britain prefers foreign policy, security, and defense coordination
outside the EC [European Community] framework.
• Britain has rarely maximized its influence with the EC.3
Great Britain, to be sure, still remains important to America. It
continues to wield some degree of global influence through the
Commonwealth, but it is neither a restless major power nor is it
motivated by an ambitious vision. It is America's key supporter, a
very loyal ally, a vital military base, and a close partner in critically
important intelligence activities. Its friendship needs to be nourished,
but its policies do not call for sustained attention. It is a retired
geostrategic player, resting on its splendid laurels, largely
disengaged from the great European adventure in which France
and Germany are the principal actors.
The other medium-sized European states, with most being members of NATO and/or the European Union, either follow America's
lead or quietly line up behind Germany or France, Their policies
do not have a wider regional impact, and they are not in a
position to alter their basic alignments. At this stage, they are neither
geostrategic players nor geopolitical pivots. The same is true
of the most important potential Central European member of
NATO and the EU, namely, Poland. Poland is too weak to be a
geostrategic player, and it has only one option: to become integrated
into the West. Moreover, the disappearance of the old Russian
Empire and Poland's deepening ties with both the Atlantic
alliance and the emerging Europe increasingly give Poland historically
unprecedented security, while confining its strategic choices.
Russia, it hardly needs saying, remains a major geostrategic
player, in spite of its weakened state and probably prolonged
malaise. Its very presence impacts massively on the newly independent
states within the vast Eurasian space of the former Soviet
Union. It entertains ambitious geopolitical objectives, which it increasingly
proclaims openly. Once it has recovered its strength, it
will also impact significantly on its western and eastern neighbors.
Moreover, Russia has still to make its fundamental geostrategic
choice regarding its relationship with America: is it a friend or foe?
It may well feel that it has major options on the Eurasian continent
in that regard. Much depends on how its internal politics evolve
and especially on whether Russia becomes a European democracy
or a Eurasian empire again. In any case, it clearly remains a player,
even though it has lost some of its "pieces," as well as some key
spaces on the Eurasian chessboard.
Similarly, it hardly needs arguing that China is a major player.
China is already a significant regional power and is likely to entertain
wider aspirations, given its history as a major power and its
view of the Chinese state as the global center. The choices China
makes are already beginning to affect the geopolitical distribution
of power in Asia, while its economic momentum is bound to give it
both greater physical power and increasing ambitions. The rise of
a "Greater China" will not leave the Taiwan issue dormant, and that
will inevitably impact on the American position in the Far East.
The dismantling of the Soviet Union has also created on the western
edge of China a series of states, regarding which the Chinese leaders cannot be indifferent. Thus, Russia will also be much affected
by China's more active emergence on the world scene.
The eastern periphery of Eurasia poses a paradox. Japan is
clearly a major power in world affairs, and the American-Japanese
alliance has often—and correctly—been defined as America's
most important bilateral relationship. As one of the very top economic
powers in the world, Japan clearly possesses the potential
for the exercise of first-class political power. Yet it does not act on
this, eschewing any aspirations for regional domination and preferring
instead to operate under American protection. Like Great
Britain in the case of Europe, Japan prefers not to become engaged
in the politics of the Asian mainland, though at least a partial reason
for this is the continued hostility of many fellow Asians to any
Japanese quest for a regionally preeminent political role.
This self-restrained Japanese political profile in turn permits
the United States to play a central security role in the Far East.
Japan is thus not a geostrategic player, though its obvious potential
for quickly becoming one—especially if either China or America
were suddenly to alter its current policies—imposes on the
United States a special obligation to carefully nurture the American-Japanese
relationship. It is not Japanese foreign policy that
America must watch, but it is Japan's self-restraint that America
must very subtly cultivate. Any significant reduction in American-Japanese
political ties would impact directly on the region's
The case for not listing Indonesia as a dynamic geostrategic
player is easier to make. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the most
important country, but even in the region itself, its capacity for
projecting significant influence is limited by the relatively underdeveloped
state of the Indonesian economy, its continued internal
political uncertainties, its dispersed archipelago, and its susceptibility
to ethnic conflicts that are exacerbated by the central role
exercised in its internal financial affairs by the Chinese minority. At
some point, Indonesia could become an important obstacle to Chinese
southward aspirations. That eventuality has already been
recognized by Australia, which once feared Indonesian expansionism
but lately has begun to favor closer Australian-Indonesian security
cooperation. But a period of political consolidation and continued economic success is needed before Indonesia can be
viewed as the regionally dominant actor.
In contrast, India is in the process of establishing itself as a regional
power and views itself as potentially a major global player
as well. It also sees itself as a rival to China. That may be a matter
of overestimating its own long-term capabilities, but India is unquestionably
the most powerful South Asian state, a regional hegemon
of sorts. It is also a semisecret nuclear power, and it became
one not only in order to intimidate Pakistan but especially to balance
China's possession of a nuclear arsenal. India has a geostrategic
vision of its regional role, both vis-a-vis its neighbors and in the
Indian Ocean. However, its ambitions at this stage only peripherally
intrude on America's Eurasian interests, and thus, as a
geostrategic player, India is not—at least, not to the same degree
as either Russia or China—a source of geopolitical concern.
Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard,
is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent
country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine,
Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can
still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly
Asian imperial state, more likely to be drawn into debilitating
conflicts with aroused Central Asians, who would then be
resentful of the loss of their recent independence and would be
supported by their fellow Islamic states to the south. China would
also be likely to oppose any restoration of Russian domination
over Central Asia, given its increasing interest in the newly independent
states there. However, if Moscow regains control over
Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as
its access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the
wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe
and Asia. Ukraine's loss of independence would have immediate
consequences for Central Europe, transforming Poland into the
geopolitical pivot on the eastern frontier of a united Europe.
Despite its limited size and small population, Azerbaijan, with
its vast energy resources, is also geopolitically critical. It is the
cork in the bottle containing the riches of the Caspian Sea basin
and Central Asia. The independence of the Central Asian states
can be rendered nearly meaningless if Azerbaijan becomes fully subordinated to Moscow's control. Azerbaijan's own and very significant
oil resources can also be subjected to Russian control,
once Azerbaijan's independence has been nullified. An independent
Azerbaijan, linked to Western markets by pipelines that do
not pass through Russian-controlled territory, also becomes a major
avenue of access from the advanced and energy-consuming
economies to the energy rich Central Asian republics. Almost as
much as in the case of Ukraine, the future of Azerbaijan and Central
Asia is also crucial in defining what Russia might or might not
Turkey and Iran are engaged in establishing some degree of influence
in the Caspian Sea-Central Asia region, exploiting the retraction
of Russian power. For that reason, they might be considered as
geostrategic players. However, both states confront serious domestic
problems, and their capacity for effecting major regional shifts in
the distribution of power is limited. They are also rivals and thus
tend to negate each other's influence. For example, in Azerbaijan,
where Turkey has gained an influential role, the Iranian posture
(arising out of concern over possible Azeri national stirrings within
Iran itself) has been more helpful to the Russians.
Both Turkey and Iran, however, are primarily important geopolitical
pivots. Turkey stabilizes the Black Sea region, controls access
from it to the Mediterranean Sea, balances Russia in the
Caucasus, still offers an antidote to Muslim fundamentalism, and
serves as the southern anchor for NATO. A destabilized Turkey
would be likely to unleash more violence in the southern Balkans,
while facilitating the reimposition of Russian control over the
newly independent states of the Caucasus. Iran, despite the ambiguity
of its attitude toward Azerbaijan, similarly provides stabilizing
support for the new political diversity of Central Asia. It
dominates the eastern shoreline of the Persian Gulf, while its independence,
irrespective of current Iranian hostility toward the
United States, acts as a barrier to any long-term Russian threat to
American interests in the Persian Gulf region.
Finally, South Korea is a Far Eastern geopolitical pivot. Its close
links to the United States enable America to shield Japan and
thereby to keep Japan from becoming an independent and major
military power, without an overbearing American presence within Japan itself. Any significant change in South Korea's status, either
through unification and/or through a shift into an expanding Chinese
sphere of influence, would necessarily alter dramatically
America's role in the Far East, thus altering Japan's as well. In addition,
South Korea's growing economic power also makes it a more
important "space" in its own right, control over which becomes increasingly
The above list of geostrategic players and geopolitical pivots is
neither permanent nor fixed. At times, some states might have to
be added or subtracted. Certainly, in some respects, the case
could be made that Taiwan, or Thailand, or Pakistan, or perhaps
Kazakstan or Uzbekistan should also be included in the latter category.
However, at this stage, the case for none of the above seems
compelling. Changes in the status of any of them would represent
major events and involve some shifts in the distribution of power,
but it is doubtful that the catalytic consequences would be farreaching.
The only exception might involve the issue of Taiwan, if
one chooses to view it apart from China. Even then, that issue
would only arise if China were to use major force to conquer the island,
in successful defiance of the United States, thereby threatening
more generally America's political credibility in the Far East.
The probability of such a course of events seems low, but that consideration
still has to be kept in mind when framing U.S. policy toward
The Identification of the central players and key pivots helps to define
America's grand policy dilemmas and to anticipate the potential
major challenges on the Eurasian supercontinent. These can
be summarized, before more comprehensive discussion in subsequent
chapters, as involving five broad issues:
• What kind of Europe should America prefer and hence promote?
• What kind of Russia is in America's interest, and what and
how much can America do about it?
• What are the prospects for the emergence in Central Eurasia
of a new "Balkans," and what should America do to minimize
the resulting risks?
• What role should China be encouraged to assume in the Far
East, and what are the implications of the foregoing not
only for the United States but also for Japan?
• What new Eurasian coalitions are possible, which might be
most dangerous to U.S. interests, and what needs to be
done to preclude them?
The United States has always professed its fidelity to the
cause of a united Europe. Ever since the days of the Kennedy administration,
the standard invocation has been that of "equal
partnership." Official Washington has consistently proclaimed its
desire to see Europe emerge as a single entity, powerful enough
to share with America both the responsibilities and the burdens
of global leadership.
That has been the established rhetoric on the subject. But in
practice, the United States has been less clear and less consistent.
Does Washington truly desire a Europe that is a genuinely
equal partner in world affairs, or does it prefer an unequal alliance?
For example, is the United States prepared to share leadership
with Europe in the Middle East, a region not only much
closer geographically to Europe than to America but also one in
which several European states have long-standing interests? The
issue of Israel instantly comes to mind. U.S.-European differences
over Iran and Iraq have also been treated by the United
States not as an issue between equals but as a matter of insubordination.
Ambiguity regarding the degree of American support for European
unity also extends to the issue of how European unity is to be
defined, especially concerning which country, if any, should lead a
united Europe. Washington has not discouraged London's divisive
posture regarding Europe's integration, though Washington has
also shown a clear preference for German—rather than French—
leadership in Europe. That is understandable, given the traditional
thrust of French policy, but the preference has also had the effect of encouraging the occasional appearance of a tactical FrancoBritish
entente in order to thwart Germany, as well as periodic
French flirtation with Moscow in order to offset the American-German
The emergence of a truly united Europe—especially if that
should occur with constructive American support—will require
significant changes in the structure and processes of the NATO alliance,
the principal link between America and Europe. NATO provides
not only the main mechanism for the exercise of U.S.
influence regarding European matters but the basis for the politically
critical American military presence in Western Europe. However,
European unity will require that structure to adjust to the
new reality of an alliance based on two more or less equal partners,
instead of an alliance that, to use traditional terminology, involves
essentially a hegemon and its vassals. That issue has so far
been largely skirted, despite the modest steps taken in 1996 to enhance
within NATO the role of the Western European Union (WEU), •
the military coalition of the Western European states. A real choice
in favor of a united Europe will thus compel a far-reaching reordering
of NATO, inevitably reducing the American primacy within the "
In brief, a long-range American geostrategy for Europe will have
to address explicitly the issues of European unity and real partnership
with Europe. An America that truly desires a united and hence
also a more independent Europe will have to throw its weight behind
those European forces that are genuinely committed to Europe's
political and economic integration. Such a strategy will also
mean junking the last vestiges of the once-hallowed U.S.-U.K. special
A policy for a united Europe will also have to address—though
jointly with the Europeans—the highly sensitive issue of Europe's
geographic scope. How far eastward should the European Union
extend? And should the eastern limits of the EU be synonymous
with the eastern front line of NATO? The former is more a matter
for a European decision, but a European decision on that issue will
have direct implications for a NATO decision. The latter, however,
engages the United States, and the U.S. voice in NATO is still decisive.
Given the growing consensus regarding the desirability of admitting
the nations of Central Europe into both the EU and NATO, the practical meaning of this question focuses attention on the future
status of the Baltic republics and perhaps also that of Ukraine.
There is thus an important overlap between the European
dilemma discussed above and the second one pertaining to Russia.
It is easy to respond to the question regarding Russia's future
by professing a preference for a democratic Russia, closely linked
to Europe. Presumably, a democratic Russia would be more sympathetic
to the values shared by America and Europe and hence
also more likely to become a junior partner in shaping a more stable
and cooperative Eurasia. But Russia's ambitions may go beyond
the attainment of recognition and respect as a democracy.
Within the Russian foreign policy establishment (composed
largely of former Soviet officials), there still thrives a deeply ingrained
desire for a special Eurasian role, one that would consequently
entail the subordination to Moscow of the newly
independent post-Soviet states.
In that context, even friendly western policy is seen by some influential
members of the Russian policy-making community as designed
to deny Russia its rightful claim to a global status. As two
Russian geopoliticians put it:
[T]he United States and the NATO countries—while sparing
Russia's self-esteem to the extent possible, but nevertheless
firmly and consistently—are destroying the geopolitical foundations
which could, at least in theory, allow Russia to hope to
acquire the status as the number two power in world politics
that belonged to the Soviet Union.
Moreover, America is seen as pursuing a policy in which
the new organization of the European space that is being engineered
by the West is, in essence, built on the idea of supporting,
in this part of the world, new, relatively small and weak
national states through their more or less close rapprochement
with NATO, the EC, and so forth.4
The above quotations define well—even though with some animus—the
dilemma that the United States faces. To what extent
should Russia be helped economically—which inevitably strengthens
Russia politically and militarily—and to what extent should
the newly independent states be simultaneously assisted in the defense
and consolidation of their independence? Can Russia be
both powerful and a democracy at the same time? If it becomes
powerful again, will it not seek to regain its lost imperial domain,
and can it then be both an empire and a democracy?
U.S. policy toward the vital geopolitical pivots of Ukraine and
Azerbaijan cannot skirt that issue, and America thus faces a difficult
dilemma regarding tactical balance and strategic purpose. Internal
Russian recovery is essential to Russia's democratization
and eventual Europeanization. But any recovery of its imperial potential
would be inimical to both of these objectives. Moreover, it
is over this issue that differences could develop between America
and some European states, especially as the EU and NATO expand.
Should Russia be considered a candidate for eventual membership
in either structure? And what then about Ukraine? The costs of the
exclusion of Russia could be high—creating a self-fulfilling
prophecy in the Russian mindset—but the results of dilution of either
the EU or NATO could also be quite destabilizing.
Another major uncertainty looms in the large and geopolitically
fluid space of Central Eurasia, maximized by the potential
vulnerability of the Turkish-Iranian pivots. In the area demarcated
on the following map from Crimea in the Black Sea directly eastward
along the new southern frontiers of Russia, all the way to the
Chinese province of Xinjiang, then down to the Indian Ocean and
thence westward to the Red Sea, then northward to the eastern
Mediterranean Sea and back to Crimea, live about 400 million people,
located in some twenty-five states, almost all of them ethnically
as well as religiously heterogeneous and practically none of
them politically stable. Some of these states may be in the process
of acquiring nuclear weapons.
This huge region, torn by volatile hatreds and surrounded by
competing powerful neighbors, is likely to be a major battlefield,
both for wars among nation-states and, more likely, for protracted
ethnic and religious violence. Whether India acts as a restraint or
whether it takes advantage of some opportunity to impose its will on Pakistan will greatly affect the regional scope of the likely conflicts.
The internal strains within Turkey and Iran are likely not
only to get worse but to greatly reduce the stabilizing role these
states are capable of playing within this volcanic region. Such developments
will in turn make it more difficult to assimilate the new
Central Asian states into the international community, while also
adversely affecting the American-dominated security of the Persian
Gulf region. In any case, both America and the international
community may be faced here with a challenge that will dwarf the
recent crisis in the former Yugoslavia.
A possible challenge to American primacy from Islamic fundamentalism
could be part of the problem in this unstable region.
By exploiting religious hostility to the American way of life and
taking advantage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islamic fundamentalism
could undermine several pro-Western Middle Eastern governments
and eventually jeopardize American regional interests especially in the Persian Gulf. However, without political cohesion
and in the absence of a single genuinely powerful Islamic state, a
challenge from Islamic fundamentalism would lack a geopolitical
core and would thus be more likely to express itself through diffuse
A geostrategic issue of crucial importance is posed by China's
emergence as a major power. The most appealing outcome would
be to co-opt a democratizing and free-marketing China into a larger
Asian regional framework of cooperation. But suppose China does
not democratize but continues to grow in economic and military
power? A "Greater China" may be emerging, whatever the desires
and calculations of its neighbors, and any effort to prevent that
from happening could entail an intensifying conflict with China.
Such a conflict could strain American-Japanese relations—for it is
far from certain that Japan would want to follow America's lead in
containing China—and could therefore have potentially revolutionary
consequences for Tokyo's definition of Japan's regional
role, perhaps even resulting in the termination of the American
presence in the Far East.
However, accommodation with China will also exact its own
price. To accept China as a regional power is not a matter of simply
endorsing a mere slogan. There will have to be substance to
any such regional preeminence. To put it very directly, how large a
Chinese sphere of influence, and where, should America be prepared
to accept as part of a policy of successfully co-opting China
into world affairs? What areas now outside of China's political radius
might have to be conceded to the realm of the reemerging Celestial
In that context, the retention of the American presence in
South Korea becomes especially important. Without it, it is difficult
to envisage the American-Japanese defense arrangement continuing
in its present form, for Japan would have to become
militarily more self-sufficient. But any movement toward Korean
reunification is likely to disturb the basis for the continued U.S.
military presence in South Korea. A reunified Korea may choose
not to perpetuate American military protection; that, indeed,
could be the price exacted by China for throwing its decisive
weight behind the reunification of the peninsula. In brief, U.S. management
of its relationship with China will inevitably have direct consequences for the stability of the American-Japanese-Korean
triangular security relationship.
Finally, some possible contingencies involving future political
alignments should also be briefly noted, subject to fuller discussion
in pertinent chapters. In the past, international affairs were
largely dominated by contests among individual states for regional
domination. Henceforth, the United States may have to determine
how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out
of Eurasia, thereby threatening America's status as a global power.
However, whether any such coalitions do or do not arise to challenge
American primacy will in fact depend to a very large degree
on how effectively the United States responds to the major dilemmas
identified here.
Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand
coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an "antihegemonic"
coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances.
It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge
once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would
likely be the leader and Russia the follower. Averting this contingency,
however remote it may be, will require a display of U.S.
geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters
of Eurasia simultaneously.
A geographically more limited but potentially even more consequential
challenge could involve a Sino-Japanese axis, in the
wake of a collapse of the American position in the Far East and a
revolutionary change in Japan's world outlook. It would combine
the power of two extraordinarily productive peoples, and it could
exploit some form of "Asianism" as a unifying anti-American doctrine.
However, it does not appear likely that in the foreseeable future
China and Japan will form an alliance, given their recent
historical experience; and a farsighted American policy in the Far
East should certainly be able to prevent this eventuality from
Also quite remote, but not to be entirely excluded, is the possibility
of a grand European realignment, involving either a GermanRussian
collusion or a Franco-Russian entente. There are obvious
historical precedents for both, and either could emerge if European
unification were to grind to a halt and if relations between Europe
and America were to deteriorate gravely. Indeed, in the latter eventuality, one could imagine a European-Russian accommodation
to exclude America from the continent. At this stage, all of
these variants seem improbable. They would require not only a
massive mishandling by America of its European policy but also a
dramatic reorientation on the part of the key European states.
Whatever the future, it is reasonable to conclude that American
primacy on the Eurasian continent will be buffeted by turbulence
and perhaps at least by sporadic violence. America's
primacy is potentially vulnerable to new challenges, either from regional
contenders or novel constellations. The currently dominant
American global system, within which "the threat of war is off the
table," is likely to be stable only in those parts of the world in
which American primacy, guided by a long-term geostrategy, rests
on compatible and congenial sociopolitical systems, linked together
by American-dominated multilateral frameworks.

2Roy Den man, Missed Chances (London: Cassell, 1996).
'In Robert Skidelsky's contribution on "Great Britain and the New Europe,"
in From the Atlantic to the Urals, ed. David P. Calleo and Philip H. Gordon
(Arlington, Va.: 1992), p. 145.

HA. Bogaturov and V. Kremenyuk (both senior scholars in the Institute of
the United States and Canada), in "Current Relations and Prospects for Interaction
Between Russia and the United States," Nezauisimaya Gazeta, June

The Democratic Bridgehead

UROPE is AMERICA'S NATURAL ALLY. It shares the same values; partakes,
in the main, of the same religious heritage; practices the
same democratic politics; and is the original homeland of a
large majority of Americans. By pioneering in the integration of nation-states
into a shared supranational economic and eventually political
union, Europe is also pointing the way toward larger forms of
postnational organization, beyond the narrow visions and the destructive
passions of the age of nationalism. It is already the most
multilateral^ organized region of the world (see chart on page 58).
Success in its political unification would create a single entity of
about 400 million people, living under a democratic roof and enjoying
a standard of living comparable to that of the United States. Such
a Europe would inevitably be a global power.
Europe also serves as the springboard for the progressive expansion
of democracy deeper into Eurasia. Europe's expansion
eastward would consolidate the democratic victory of the 1990s. It
would match on the political and economic plane the essential civilizational
scope of Europe—what has been called the Petrine Europe—as
denned by Europe's ancient and common religious heritage, derived from Western-rite Christianity. Such a Europe
once existed, long before the age of nationalism and even longer
before the recent division of Europe into its American- and Sovietdominated
halves. Such a larger Europe would be able to exercise
a magnetic attraction on the states located even farther east,
building a network of ties with Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, drawing
them into increasingly binding cooperation while proselytizing
common democratic principles. Eventually, such a Europe could
become one of the vital pillars of an American-sponsored larger
Eurasian structure of security and cooperation.
But first of all, Europe is America's essential geopolitical
bridgehead on the Eurasian continent. America's geostrategic
stake in Europe is enormous. Unlike America's links with Japan,
the Atlantic alliance entrenches American political influence and
military power directly on the Eurasian mainland. At this stage of
American-European relations, with the allied European nations still
highly dependent on U.S. security protection, any expansion in the
scope of Europe becomes automatically an expansion in the scope
of direct U.S. influence as well. Conversely, without close transatlantic
ties, America's primacy in Eurasia promptly fades away. U.S.
control over the Atlantic Ocean and the ability to project influence
and power deeper into Eurasia would be severely circumscribed.
The problem, however, is that a truly European "Europe" as
such does not exist. It is a vision, a concept, and a goal, but it is
not yet reality. Western Europe is already a common market, but it
is still far from being a single political entity. A political Europe has
yet to emerge. The crisis in Bosnia offered painful proof of Europe's
continued absence, if proof were still needed. The brutal
fact is that Western Europe, and increasingly also Central Europe,
remains largely an American protectorate, with its allied states
reminiscent of ancient vassals and tributaries. This is not a
healthy condition, either for America or for the European nations.
Matters are made worse by a more pervasive decline in Europe's
internal vitality. Both the legitimacy of the existing socioeconomic
system and even the surfacing sense of European
identity appear to be vulnerable. In a number of European states,
one can detect a crisis of confidence and a loss of creative momentum,
as well as an inward perspective that is both isolationist and
escapist from the larger dilemmas of the world. It is not clear whether most Europeans even want Europe to be a major power
and whether they are prepared to do what is needed for it to become
one. Even residual European anti-Americanism, currently
quite weak, is curiously cynical: the Europeans deplore American
"hegemony" but take comfort in being sheltered by it.
The political momentum for Europe's unification was once driven
by three main impulses: the memories of the destructive two
world wars, the desire for economic recovery, and the insecurity
generated by the Soviet threat. By the mid-nineties, however, these
impulses had faded. Economic recovery by and large has been
achieved; if anything, the problem Europe increasingly faces is
that of an excessively burdensome welfare system that is sapping
its economic vitality, while the passionate resistance to any reform
by special interests is diverting European political attention inward.
The Soviet threat has disappeared, while the desire of some
Europeans to gain independence from American tutelage has not
translated into a compelling impulse for continental unification.
The European cause has been increasingly sustained by the bureaucratic
momentum generated by the large institutional machinery
created by the European Community and its successor, the
European Union. The idea of unity still enjoys significant popular
support, but it tends to be lukewarm, lacking in passion and a
sense of mission. In general, the Western Europe of today conveys
the impression of a troubled, unfocused, comfortable yet socially
uneasy set of societies, not partaking of any larger vision. European
unification is increasingly a process and not a cause.
Still, the political elites of two leading European nations—
France and Germany—remain largely committed to the goal of
shaping and defining a Europe that would truly be Europe. They
are thus Europe's principal architects. Working together, they
could construct a Europe worthy of its past and of its potential.
But each is committed to a somewhat different vision and design,
and neither is strong enough to prevail by itself.
This condition creates for the United States a special opportunity
for decisive intervention. It necessitates American engagement
on behalf of Europe's unity, for otherwise unification could
grind to a halt and then gradually even be undone. But any effective
American involvement in Europe's construction has to be
guided by clarity in American thinking regarding what kind of Eu-rope America prefers and is ready to promote—an equal partner
or a junior ally—and regarding the eventual scope of both the European
Union and NATO. It also requires careful management of
Europe's two principal architects.
France seeks reincarnation as Europe; Germany hopes for redemption
through Europe. These varying motivations go a long way toward
explaining and defining the substance of the alternative
French and German designs for Europe.
For France, Europe is the means for regaining France's past
greatness. Even before World War H, serious French thinkers on international
affairs already worried about the progressive decline
of Europe's centrality in world affairs. During the several decades
of the Cold War, that worry turned into resentment over the "Anglo-Saxon"
domination of the West, not to speak of contempt for
the related "Americanization" of Western culture. The creation of a
genuine Europe—in Charles De Gaulle's words, "from the Atlantic
to the Urals"—was to remedy that deplorable state of affairs. And
such a Europe, since it would be led by Paris, would simultaneously
regain for France the grandeur that the French still feel remains
their nation's special destiny.
For Germany, a commitment to Europe is the basis for national
redemption, while an intimate connection to America is central to
its security. Accordingly, a Europe more assertively independent of
America is not a viable option. For Germany, redemption + security
= Europe + America. That formula defines Germany's posture and
policy, making Germany simultaneously Europe's truly good citizen
and America's strongest European supporter.
Germany sees in its fervent commitment to Europe a historical
cleansing, a restoration of its moral and political credentials. By redeeming
itself through Europe, Germany is restoring its own greatness
while gaining a mission that would not automatically mobilize
European resentments and fears against Germany. If Germans seek
the German national interest, that runs the risk of alienating other
Europeans; if Germans promote Europe's common interest, that
garners European support and respect.
On the central issues of the Cold War, France was a loyal, dedicated,
and determined ally. It stood shoulder to shoulder with
America when the chips were down. Whether during the two
Berlin blockades or during the Cuban missile crisis, there was no
doubt about French steadfastness. But France's support for NATO
was tempered by a simultaneous French desire to assert a separate
French political identity and to preserve for France its essential
freedom of action, especially on matters that pertained to
France's global status or to the future of Europe.
There is an element of delusional obsession in the French political
elite's preoccupation with the notion that France is still a
global power. When Prime Minister Alain Juppe", echoing his predecessors,
declared to the National Assembly in May 1995 that
"France can and must assert its vocation as a world power," the
gathering broke out into spontaneous applause. The French insistence
on the development of its own nuclear deterrent was motivated
largely by the view that France would thereby enhance its
own freedom of action and at the same time gain the capacity to influence
American life-and-death decisions regarding the security of
the Western alliance as a whole. It was not vis-a-vis the Soviet
Union that France sought to upgrade its status, for the French nuclear
deterrent had, at the very best, only a marginal impact on Soviet
war-making capabilities. Paris felt instead that its own nuclear
weapons would give France a role in the Cold War's top-level and
most dangerous decision-making processes.
In French thinking, the possession of nuclear weapons fortified
France's claim to being a global power, of having a voice that had
to be respected worldwide. It tangibly reinforced France's position
as one of the five veto-wielding UN Security Council members, all
five also nuclear powers. In the French perspective, the British nuclear
deterrent was simply an extension of the American, especially
given the British commitment to the special relationship and
the British abstention from the effort to construct an independent
Europe. (That the French nuclear program significantly benefited
from covert U.S. assistance was, to the French, of no consequence
for France's strategic calculus.) The French nuclear deterrent also
consolidated, in the French mindset, France's commanding position
as the leading continental power, the only truly European
state so endowed.
France's global ambitions were also expressed through its determined
efforts to sustain a special security role in most of the
Francophone African countries. Despite the loss, after prolonged
combat, of Vietnam and Algeria and the abandonment of a wider
empire, that security mission, as well as continued French control
over scattered Pacific islands (which have provided the venue for
controversial French atomic tests), has reinforced the conviction
of the French elite that France, indeed, still has a global role to
play, despite the reality of being essentially a middle-rank postimperial
European power.
All of the foregoing has sustained as well as motivated France's
claim to the mantle of European leadership. With Britain self-marginalized
and essentially an appendage to U.S. power and with Germany
divided for much of the Cold War and still handicapped by
its twentieth-century history, France could seize the idea of Europe,
identify itself with it, and usurp it as identical with France's
conception of itself. The country that first invented the idea of the
sovereign nation-state and made nationalism into a civic religion
thus found it quite natural to see itself—with the same emotional
commitment that was once invested in "la patrie"—as the embodiment
of an independent but united Europe. The grandeur of a
French-led Europe would then be France's as well.
This special vocation, generated by a deeply felt sense of historical
destiny and fortified by a unique cultural pride, has major
policy implications. The key geopolitical space that France had to
keep within its orbit of influence—or, at least, prevent from being
dominated by a more powerful state than itself—can be drawn on
the map in the form of a semicircle. It includes the Iberian Peninsula,
the northern shore of the western Mediterranean, and Germany
up to East-Central Europe (see map on page 64). That is not
only the minimal radius of French security; it is also the essential
zone of French political interest. Only with the support of the
southern states assured, and with Germany's backing guaranteed,
can the goal of constructing a unified and independent Europe, led
by France, be effectively pursued. And obviously, within that
geopolitical orbit, the increasingly powerful Germany is bound to
be the most difficult to manage.
In the French vision, the central goal of a united and independent
Europe can be achieved by combining the unification of Europe under French leadership with the simultaneous but gradual diminution
of the American primacy on the continent. But if France is to
shape Europe's future, it must both engage and shackle Germany,
while also seeking step-by-step to strip Washington of its political
leadership in European affairs. The resulting key policy dilemmas
for France are essentially twofold: how to preserve the American
security commitment to Europe—which France recognizes is still
essential—while steadily reducing the American presence; and how
to sustain Franco-German partnership as the combined politicaleconomic
engine of European unification while precluding German
leadership in Europe.
If France were truly a global power, the resolution of these dilemmas
in the pursuit of France's central goal might not be difficult.
None of the other European states, save Germany, are endowed with
the same ambition or driven by the same sense of mission. Even
Germany could perhaps be seduced into acceptance of French lead-ership in a united but independent (of America) Europe, but only if
it felt that France was in fact a global power and could thus provide
Europe with the security that Germany cannot but America does.
Germany, however, knows the real limits of French power.
France is much weaker than Germany economically, while its military
establishment (as the Gulf War of 1991 showed) is not very
competent. It is good enough to squash internal coups in satellite
African states, but it can neither protect Europe nor project significant
power far from Europe. France is no more and no less than a
middle-rank European power. Accordingly, in order to construct
Europe, Germany has been willing to propitiate French pride, but
in order to keep Europe truly secure, it has not been willing to follow
French leadership blindly. It has continued to insist on a central
role in European security for America.
That reality, painful for French self-esteem, emerged more
clearly after Germany's reunification. Until then, the Franco-German
reconciliation did have the appearance of French political
leadership riding comfortably on German economic dynamism.
That perception actually suited both parties. It mitigated the traditional
European fears of Germany, and it had the effect of fortifying
and gratifying French illusions by generating the impression that
the construction of Europe was led by France, backed by an economically
dynamic West Germany.
Franco-German reconciliation, even with its misconceptions,
was nonetheless a positive development for Europe, and its importance
cannot be overstated. It has provided the crucial foundation
for all of the progress so far achieved in Europe's difficult process
of unification. Thus, it was also fully compatible with American interests
and in keeping with the long-standing American commitment
to the promotion of transnational cooperation in Europe. A
breakdown of Franco-German cooperation would be a fatal setback
for Europe and a disaster for America's position in Europe.
Tacit American support made it possible for France and Germany
to push the process of Europe's unification forward. Germany's
reunification, moreover, increased the incentive for the
French to lock Germany into a binding European framework. Thus,
on December 6, 1990, the French president and the German chancellor
committed themselves to the goal of a federal Europe, and
ten days later, the Rome intergovernmental conference on political union issued—British reservations notwithstanding—a clear mandate
to the twelve foreign ministers of the European Community to
prepare a Draft Treaty on Political Union.
However, Germany's reunification also dramatically changed
the real parameters of European politics. It was simultaneously a
geopolitical defeat for Russia and for France. United Germany not
only ceased to be a political junior partner of France, but it automatically
became the undisputed prime power in Western Europe
and even a partial global power, especially through its major financial
contributions to the support of the key international institutions.'
The new reality bred some mutual disenchantment in the
Franco-German relationship, for Germany was now able and willing
to articulate and openly promote its own vision of a future Europe,
still as France's partner but no longer as its protege.
For France, the resulting diminished political leverage dictated
several policy consequences. France somehow had to regain
greater influence within NATO—from which it had largely abstained
as a protest against U.S. domination—while also compensating
for its relative weakness through greater diplomatic
maneuver. Returning to NATO might enable France to influence
America more; occasional flirtation with Moscow or London might
generate pressure from the outside on America as well as on Germany.
Consequently, as part of its policy of maneuver rather than
contestation, France returned to NATO's command structure. By
1994, France was again a de facto active participant in NATO's political
and military decision making; by late 1995, the French foreign
and defense ministers were again regular attendees at alliance
sessions. But at a price: once fully inside, they reaffirmed their determination
to reform the alliance's structure in order to make for
greater balance between its American leadership and its European
participation. They wanted a higher profile and a bigger role for a
collective European component. As the French foreign minister,
Herv6 de Charette, stated in a speech on April 8,1996, "For France the basic goal [of the rapprochement] is to assert a European identity
within the alliance that is operationally credible and politically
At the same time, Paris was quite prepared to exploit tactically
its traditional links with Russia to constrain America's European
policy and to resuscitate whenever expedient the old FrancoBritish
entente to offset Germany's growing European primacy.
The French foreign minister came close to saying so explicitly in
August 1996, when he declared that "if France wants to play an international
role, it stands to benefit from the existence of a strong
Russia, from helping it to reaffirm itself as a major power," prompting
the Russian foreign minister to reciprocate by stating that "of
all the world leaders, the French are the closest to having constructive
attitudes in their relations with Russia."2
France's initially lukewarm support for NATO's eastward expansion—indeed,
a barely suppressed skepticism regarding its desirability—was
thus partially a tactic designed to gain leverage in
dealing with the United States. Precisely because America and Germany
were the chief proponents of NATO expansion, it suited
France to play cool, to go along reticently, to voice concern regarding
the potential impact of that initiative on Russia, and to act as
Europe's most sensitive interlocutor with Moscow. To some Central
Europeans, it appeared that the French even conveyed the impression
that they were not averse to a Russian sphere of influence
in Eastern Europe. The Russian card thus not only balanced America
and conveyed a none-too-subtle message to Germany, but it
also increased the pressure on the United States to consider favorably
French proposals for NATO reform.
Ultimately, NATO expansion will require unanimity among the
alliance's sixteen members. Paris knew that its acquiescence was
not only vital for that unanimity but that France's actual support
was needed to avoid obstruction from other alliance members.
Thus, it made no secret of the French intention to make support
for NATO expansion a hostage to America's eventually satisfying
the French determination to alter both the balance of power within
the alliance and its fundamental organization.
France was at first similarly tepid in its support for the east-
ward expansion of the European Union. Here the lead was taken
largely by Germany, with American support but without the same
degree of U.S. engagement as in the case of NATO expansion. Even
though in NATO France tended to argue that the EU's expansion
would provide a more suitable umbrella for the former Communist
states, as soon as Germany started pressing for the more rapid enlargement
of the EU to include Central Europe, France began to
raise technical concerns and also to demand that the EU pay equal
attention to Europe's exposed Mediterranean southern flank.
(These differences emerged as early as fhe November 1994 FrancoGerman
summit.) French emphasis on the latter issue also had the
effect of gaining for France the support of NATO's southern members,
thereby maximizing France's overall bargaining power. But
the cost was a widening gap in the respective geopolitical visions
of Europe held by France and Germany, a gap only partially narrowed
by France's belated endorsement in the second half of 1996
of Poland's accession to both NATO and the EU.
That gap was inevitable, given the changing historical context.
Ever since the end of World War II, democratic Germany had recognized
that Franco-German reconciliation was required to build a
European community within the western half of divided Europe.
That reconciliation was also central to Germany's historical rehabilitation.
Hence, the acceptance of French leadership was a fair
price to pay. At the same time, the continued Soviet threat to a vulnerable
West Germany made loyalty to America the essential precondition
for survival—and even the French recognized that. But
after the Soviet collapse, to build a larger and more united Europe,
subordination to France was neither necessary nor propitious. An
equal Franco-German partnership, with the reunified Germany in
fact now being the stronger partner, was more than a fair deal for
Paris; hence, the French would simply have to accept Germany's
preference for a primary security link with its transatlantic ally
and protector.
With the end of the Cold War, that link assumed new importance
for Germany. In the past, it had sheltered Germany from an
external but very proximate threat and was the necessary precondition
for the eventual reunification of the country. With the Soviet
Union gone and Germany reunified, the link to America now provided
the umbrella under which Germany could more openly as-sume a leadership role in Central Europe without simultaneously
threatening its neighbors. The American connection provided
more than the certificate of good behavior: it reassured Germany's
neighbors that a close relationship with Germany also meant a
closer relationship with America. All of that made it easier for Germany
to define more openly its own geopolitical priorities.
Germany—safely anchored in Europe and rendered harmless
but secure by the visible American military presence—could now
promote the assimilation of the newly freed Central Europe into
the European structures. It would not be the old Mitteleuropa of
German imperialism but a more benign community of economic renewal
stimulated by German investments and trade, with Germany
also acting as the sponsor of the eventually formal inclusion of the
new Mitteleuropa in both the European Union and NATO. With the
Franco-German alliance providing the vital platform for the assertion
of a more decisive regional role, Germany no longer needed to
be shy in asserting itself within an orbit of its special interest.
On the map of Europe, the zone of German special interest
could be sketched in the shape of an oblong, in the West including
of course France and in the East spanning the newly emancipated
post-Communist states of Central Europe, including the Baltic republics,
embracing Ukraine and Belarus, and reaching even into
Russia (see map on page 64). In many respects, that zone corresponds
to the historical radius of constructive German cultural influence,
carved out in the prenationalist era by German urban and
agricultural colonists in East-Central Europe and in the Baltic republics,
all of whom were wiped out in the course of World War II.
More important, the areas of special concern to the French (discussed
earlier) and the Germans, when viewed together as in the
map below, in effect define the western and eastern limits of Europe,
while the overlap between them underlines the decisive
geopolitical importance of the Franco-German connection as the
vital core of Europe.
The critical breakthrough for the more openly assertive German
role in Central Europe was provided by the German-Polish
reconciliation that occurred during the mid-nineties. Despite some
initial reluctance, the reunited Germany (with American prodding)
did formally recognize as permanent the Oder-Neisse border with
Poland, and that step in turn removed the single most important Polish reservation regarding a closer relationship with Germany.
Following some further mutual gestures of goodwill and forgiveness,
the relationship underwent a dramatic change. Not only did
German-Polish trade literally explode (in 1995 Poland superseded
Russia as Germany's largest trading partner in the East), but Germany
became Poland's principal sponsor for membership in the
EU and (together with the United States) in NATO. It is no exaggeration
to say that by the middle of the decade, Polish-German reconciliation
was assuming a geopolitical importance in Central
Europe matching the earlier impact on Western Europe of the
Franco-German reconciliation.
Through Poland, German influence could radiate northward—
into the Baltic states—and eastward—into Ukraine and Belarus.
Moreover, the scope of the German-Polish reconciliation was
somewhat widened by Poland's occasional inclusion in important
Franco-German discussions regarding Europe's future. The socalled
Weimar Triangle (named after the German city in which
the first high-level trilateral Franco-German-Polish consultations,
which subsequently became periodic, had taken place) created a
potentially significant geopolitical axis on the European continent,
embracing some 180 million people from three nations with
a highly denned sense of national identity. On the one hand, this
further enhanced Germany's dominant role in Central Europe, but
on the other hand, that role was somewhat balanced by the
Franco-Polish participation in the three-way dialogue.
Central European acceptance of German leadership—and such
was even more the case with the smaller Central European
states—was eased by the very evident German commitment to the
eastward expansion of Europe's key institutions. In so committing
itself, Germany undertook a historical mission much at variance
with some rather deeply rooted Western European outlooks. In
that latter perspective, events occurring east of Germany and Austria
were perceived as somehow beyond the limits of concern to
the real Europe. That attitude—articulated in the early eighteenth
century by Lord Bolingbroke,3
 who argued that political violence in the East was of no consequence to the Western Europeans—resurfaced
during the Munich crisis of 1938; and it made a tragic reappearance
in the British and French attitudes during the conflict of
the mid-1990s in Bosnia. It still lurks beneath the surface in the ongoing
debates regarding the future of Europe.
In contrast, the only real debate in Germany was whether
NATO or the EU should be expanded first—the defense minister favored
the former, the foreign minister advocated the latter—with
the net result that Germany became the undisputed apostle of a
larger and more united Europe. The German chancellor spoke of
the year 2000 as the goal for the EU's first eastward enlargement,
and the German defense minister was among the first to suggest
that the fiftieth anniversary of NATO's founding was an appropriately
symbolic date for the alliance's eastern expansion. Germany's
conception of Europe's future thus differed from its
principal European allies: the British proclaimed their preference
for a larger Europe because they saw in enlargement the means for
diluting Europe's unity; the French feared that enlargement would
enhance Germany's role and hence favored more narrowly based
integration. Germany stood for both and thus gained a standing in
Central Europe all its own.
The central issue for America is how to construct a Europe that is
based on the Franco-German connection, a Europe that is viable,
that remains linked to the United States, and that widens the
scope of the cooperative democratic international system on
which the effective exercise of American global primacy so much
depends. Hence, it is not a matter of making a choice between
France and Germany. Without either France or Germany, there will
be no Europe.
Three broad conclusions emerge from the foregoing discussion:
1. American engagement in the cause of European unification is
needed to compensate for the internal crisis of morale and purpose
that has been sapping European vitality, to overcome the widespread European suspicion that ultimately America does not
favor genuine European unity, and to infuse into the European undertaking
the needed dose of democratic fervor. That requires a
clear-cut American commitment to the eventual acceptance of Europe
as America's global partner.
2. In the short run, tactical opposition to French policy and support
for German leadership is justified; in the longer run, European
unity will have to involve a more distinctive European political and
military identity if a genuine Europe is actually to become reality.
That requires some progressive accommodation to the French view
regarding the distribution of power within transatlantic institutions.
3. Neither France nor Germany is sufficiently strong to construct
Europe on its own or to resolve with Russia the ambiguities
inherent in the definition of Europe's geographic scope. That requires
energetic, focused, and determined American involvement,
particularly with the Germans, in defining Europe's scope and hence
also in coping with such sensitive—especially to Russia—issues as
the eventual status within the European system of the Baltic republics
and Ukraine.
Just one glance at the map of the vast Eurasian landmass underlines
the geopolitical significance to America of the European
bridgehead—as well as its geographic modesty. The preservation
of that bridgehead and its expansion as the springboard for
democracy are directly relevant to America's security. The existing
gap between America's global concern for stability and for the related
dissemination of democracy and Europe's seeming indifference
to these issues (despite France's self-proclaimed status as a
global power) needs to be closed, and it can only be narrowed if
Europe increasingly assumes a more confederated character. Europe
cannot become a single nation-state, because of the tenacity
of its diverse national traditions, but it can become an entity that
through common political institutions cumulatively reflects shared
democratic values, identifies its own interests with their universalization,
and exercises a magnetic attraction on its co-inhabitants of
the Eurasian space.
Left to themselves, the Europeans run the risk of becoming ab-sorbed by their internal social concerns. Europe's economic recovery
has obscured the longer-run costs of its seeming success.
These costs are damaging economically as well as politically. The
crisis of political legitimacy and economic vitality that Western Europe
increasingly confronts—but is unable to overcome—is
deeply rooted in the pervasive expansion of the state-sponsored
social structure that favors paternalism, protectionism, and
parochialism. The result is a cultural condition that combines escapist
hedonism with spiritual emptiness—a condition that can be
exploited by nationalist extremists or dogmatic ideologues.
This condition, if it becomes rampant, could prove deadly to
democracy and the idea of Europe. The two, in fact, are linked, for
the new problems of Europe—be they immigration or economictechnological
competitiveness with America or Asia, not to speak
of the need for a politically stable reform of existing socioeconomic
structures—can only be dealt with effectively in an increasingly
continental context. A Europe that is larger than the
sum of its parts—that is, a Europe that sees a global role for itself
in the promotion of democracy and in the wider proselytization
of basic human values—is more likely to be a Europe that is
firmly uncongenial to political extremism, narrow nationalism, or
social hedonism.
One need neither evoke the old fears of a separate GermanRussian
accommodation nor exaggerate the consequences of
French tactical flirtation with Moscow to entertain concern for the
geopolitical stability of Europe—and for America's place in it—resulting
from a failure of Europe's still ongoing efforts to unite. Any
such failure would in fact probably entail some renewed and
rather traditional European maneuvers. It would certainly generate
opportunities for either Russian or German geopolitical self-assertion,
though if Europe's modern history contains any lesson,
neither would be likely to gain an enduring success in that regard.
However, at the very least, Germany would probably become more
assertive and explicit in the definition of its national interests.
Currently, Germany's interests are congruent with, and even
sublimated within, those of the EU and of NATO. Even the spokesmen
for the leftist Alliance 90/Greens have advocated the expansion
of both NATO and the EU. But if the unification and
enlargement of Europe should stall, there is some reason to as-sume that a more nationalist definition of Germany's concept of
the European "order" would then surface, to the potential detriment
of European stability. Wolfgang Schauble, the leader of the
Christian Democrats in the Bundestag and a possible successor to
Chancellor Kohl, expressed that mindset when he stated that Germany
is no longer "the western bulwark against the East; we have
become the center of Europe," pointedly adding that in "the long
periods during the Middle Ages ... Germany was involved in creating
order in Europe. "* In this vision, Mitteleuropa—instead of being
a European region in which Germany economically preponderates—would
become an area of overt German political primacy as
well as the basis tor a more unilateral German policy vis-a-vis the
East and the West.
Europe would then cease to be the Eurasian bridgehead for
American power and the potential springboard for the democratic
global system's expansion into Eurasia. This is why unambiguous
and tangible American support for Europe's unification must be
sustained. Although both during Europe's economic recovery and
within the transatlantic security alliance America has frequently
proclaimed its support for European unification and supported
transnational cooperation in Europe, it has also acted as if it preferred
to deal on troubling economic and political issues with individual
European states and not with the European Union as such.
Occasional American insistence on a voice within the European
decision-making process has tended to reinforce European suspicions
that America favors cooperation among the Europeans when
they follow the American lead but not when they formulate Europe's
policies. This is the wrong message to convey.
American commitment to Europe's unity—reiterated forcefully
in the joint American-European Madrid Declaration of December
1995—will continue to ring hollow until America is ready not only
to declare unambiguously that it is prepared to accept the consequences
of Europe becoming truly Europe but to act accordingly.
For Europe, the ultimate consequence would entail a true partnership
with America rather than the status of a favored but still junior
ally. And a true partnership does mean sharing in decisions as
well as responsibilities. American support for that cause would t is conceivable that at some point a truly united and powerful
European Union could become a global political rival to the United
States. It could certainly become a difficult economic-technological
competitor, while its geopolitical interests in the Middle East
and elsewhere could significantly diverge from those of America.
But, in fact, such a powerful and politically single-minded Europe
is not likely in the foreseeable future. Unlike the conditions prevailing
in America at the time of the formation of the United States,
there are deep historical roots to the resiliency of the European nation-states
and the passion for a transnational Europe has clearly
The real alternatives for the next decade or two are either an
expanding and unifying Europe, pursuing—though hesitantly and
spasmodically—the goal of continental unity; a stalemated Europe,
not moving much beyond its current state of integration and geographic
scope, with Central Europe remaining a geopolitical noman's-land;
or, as a likely sequel to the stalemate, a progressively
fragmenting Europe, resuming its old power rivalries. In a stalemated
Europe, it is almost inevitable that Germany's self-identification
with Europe will wane, prompting a more nationalist definition
of the German state interest. For America, the first option is clearly
the best, but it is an option that requires energizing American support
if it is to come to pass.
At this stage of Europe's hesitant construction, America need
not get directly involved in intricate debates regarding such issues
as whether the EU should make its foreign policy decisions by majority
vote (a position favored especially by the Germans);
whether the European Parliament should assume decisive legislative
powers and the European Commission in Brussels should become
in effect the European executive; whether the timetable for
implementing the agreement on European economic and monetary
union should be relaxed; or, finally, whether Europe should be a
broad confederation or a multilayered entity, with a federated inner
core and a somewhat looser outer rim. These are matters for
the Europeans to thrash out among themselves—and it is more
than likely that progress on all of these issues will be uneven, punctuated by pauses, and eventually pushed forward only by
complex compromises.
Nonetheless, it is reasonable to assume that the Economic and
Monetary Union will come into being by the year 2000, perhaps initially
among six to ten of the EU's current fifteen members. This
will accelerate Europe's economic integration beyond the monetary
dimension, further encouraging its political integration. Thus,
by fits and starts and with an inner more integrated core as well as
a looser outer layer, a single Europe will increasingly become an
important political player on the Eurasian chessboard.
In any case, America should not convey the impression that it
prefers a vaguer, even if broader, European association, but it
should reiterate, through words and deeds, its willingness to deal
eventually with the EU as America's global political and security
partner and not just as a regional common market made up of
states allied with the United States through NATO. To make that
commitment more credible and thus go beyond the rhetoric of
partnership, joint planning with the EU regarding new bilateral
transatlantic decision-making mechanisms could be proposed and
The same principle applies to NATO as such. Its preservation is
vital to the transatlantic connection. On this issue, there is overwhelming
American-European consensus. Without NATO, Europe
not only would become vulnerable but almost immediately would
become politically fragmented as well. NATO ensures European security
and provides a stable framework for the pursuit of European
unity. That is what makes NATO historically so vital to Europe.
However, as Europe gradually and hesitantly unifies, the internal
structure and processes of NATO will have to adjust. On this issue,
the French have a point. One cannot someday have a truly
united Europe and yet have an alliance that remains integrated on
the basis of one superpower plus fifteen dependent powers. Once
Europe begins to assume a genuine political identity of its own,
with the EU increasingly taking on some of the functions of a
supranational government, NATO will have to be altered on the basis
of a 1 + 1 (US + EU) formula.
This will not happen overnight and all at once. Progress in that
direction, to repeat, will be hesitant. But such progress will have to
be reflected in the existing alliance arrangements, lest the absence of such adjustment itself should become an obstacle to further
progress. A significant step in that direction was the 1996 decision
of the alliance to make room for the Combined Joint Task Forces,
thereby envisaging the possibility of some purely European military
initiatives based on the alliance's logistics as well as on command,
control, communications, and intelligence. Greater U.S.
willingness to accommodate French demands for an increased role
for the Western European Union within NATO, especially in regard
to command and decision making, would also betoken more genuine
American support for European unity and should help to narrow
somewhat the gap between America and France regarding
Europe's eventual self-definition.
In the longer run, it is possible that the WEU will embrace some
EU member states that, for varying geopolitical or historical reasons,
may choose not to seek NATO membership. That could involve
Finland or Sweden, or perhaps even Austria, all of which
have already acquired observer status with the WEU.5
 Other states
may also seek a WEU connection as a preliminary to eventual
NATO membership. The WEU might also choose at some point to
emulate NATO's Partnership for Peace program with regard to
would-be members of the EU. All of that would help to spin a wider
web of security cooperation in Europe, beyond the formal scope of
the transatlantic alliance.
In the meantime, until a larger and more united Europe
emerges—and that, even under the best of conditions, will not be
soon—the United States will have to work closely with both France
and Germany in order to help such a more united and larger Europe
emerge. Thus, regarding France, the central policy dilemma
for America will continue to be how to inveigle France into closer
Atlantic political and military integration without compromising
the American-German connection, and regarding Germany, how to exploit U.S. reliance on German leadership in an Atlanticist Europe
without prompting concern in France and Britain as well as in
other European countries.
More demonstrable American flexibility on the future shape of
the alliance would be helpful in eventually mobilizing greater
French support for the alliance's eastward expansion. In the long
run, a NATO zone of integrated military security on both sides of
Germany would more firmly anchor Germany within a multilateral
framework, and that should be a matter of consequence for
France. Moreover, the expansion of the alliance would increase the
probability that the Weimar Triangle (of Germany, France, and
Poland) could become a subtle means for somewhat balancing
German leadership in Europe. Although Poland relies on German
support for gaining entrance into the alliance (and resents current
French hesitations regarding such expansion), once it is inside the
alliance a shared Franco-Polish geopolitical perspective is more
likely to emerge.
In any case, Washington should not lose sight of the fact that
France is only a short-term adversary on matters pertaining to the
identity of Europe or to the inner workings of NATO. More important,
it should bear in mind the fact that France is an essential
partner in the important task of permanently locking a democratic
Germany into Europe. That is the historic role of the FrancoGerman
relationship, and the expansion of both the EU and NATO
eastward should enhance the importance of that relationship as
Europe's inner core. Finally, France is not strong enough either to
obstruct America on the geostrategic fundamentals of America's
European policy or to become by itself a leader of Europe as such.
Hence, its peculiarities and even its tantrums can be tolerated.
It is also germane to note that France does play a constructive
role in North Africa and in the Francophone African countries. It is
the essential partner for Morocco and Tunisia, while also exercising
a stabilizing role in Algeria. There is a good domestic reason
for such French involvement: some 5 million Muslims now reside
in France. France thus has a vital stake in the stability and orderly
development of North Africa. But that interest is of wider benefit
to Europe's security. Without the French sense of mission, Europe's
southern flank would be much more unstable and threatening.
All of southern Europe is becoming increasingly concerned with the social-political threat posed by instability along the
Mediterranean's southern littoral. France's intense concern for
what transpires across the Mediterranean is thus quite pertinent
to NATO's security concerns, and that consideration should be
taken into account when America occasionally has to cope with
France's exaggerated claims of special leadership status.
Germany Is another matter. Germany's dominant role cannot
be denied, but caution must be exercised regarding any public endorsements
of the German leadership role in Europe. That leadership
may be expedient to some European states—like those in
Central Europe that appreciate the German initiative on behalf of
Europe's eastward expansion—and it may be tolerable to the Western
Europeans as long as it is subsumed under America's primacy,
but in the long run, Europe's construction cannot be based on it.
Too many memories still linger; too many fears are likely to surface.
A Europe constructed and led by Berlin is simply not feasible.
That is why Germany needs France, why Europe needs the FrancoGerman
connection, and why America cannot choose between
Germany and France.
The essential point regarding NATO expansion is that it is a
process integrally connected with Europe's own expansion. If the
European Union is to become a geographically larger community—with
a more-integrated Franco-German leading core and lessintegrated
outer layers—and if such a Europe is to base its
security on a continued alliance with America, then it follows that
its geopolitically most exposed sector, Central Europe, cannot be
demonstratively excluded from partaking in the sense of security
that the rest of Europe enjoys through the transatlantic alliance.
On this, America and Germany agree. For them, the impulse for enlargement
is political, historical, and constructive. It is not driven
by animosity toward Russia, nor by fear of Russia, nor by the desire
to isolate Russia.
Hence, America must work particularly closely with Germany
in promoting the eastward expansion of Europe. American-German
cooperation and joint leadership regarding this issue are essential.
Expansion will happen if the United States and Germany jointly encourage
the other NATO allies to endorse the step and either negotiate
effectively some accommodation with Russia, if it is willing to
compromise (see chapter 4), or act assertively, in the correct con-viction that the task of constructing Europe cannot be subordinated
to Moscow's objections. Combined American-German pressure
will be especially needed to obtain the required unanimous
agreement of all NATO members, but no NATO member wili be able
to deny it if America and Germany jointly press for it.
Ultimately at stake in this effort is America's long-range role in
Europe. A new Europe is still taking shape, and if that new Europe
is to remain geopolitically a part of the "Euro-Atlantic" space, the
expansion of NATO is essential. Indeed, a comprehensive U.S. policy
for Eurasia as a whole will not be possible if the effort to widen
NATO, having been launched by the United States, stalls and falters.
That failure would discredit American leadership; it would
shatter the concept of an expanding Europe; it would demoralize
the Central Europeans; and it could reignite currently dormant or
dying Russian geopolitical aspirations in Central Europe. For the
West, it would be a self-inflicted wound that would mortally damage
the prospects for a truly European pillar in any eventual
Eurasian security architecture; and for America, it would thus be
not only a regional defeat but a global defeat as well.
The bottom line guiding the progressive expansion of Europe
has to be the proposition that no power outside of the existing
transatlantic system has the right to veto the participation of any
qualified European state in the European system—and hence also
in its transatlantic security system—and that no qualified European
state should be excluded a priori from eventual membership in either
the EU or NATO. Especially the highly vulnerable and increasingly
qualified Baltic states are entitled to know that eventually
they also can become full-fledged members in both organizations—
and that in the meantime, their sovereignty cannot be threatened
without engaging the interests of an expanding Europe and its U.S.
In essence, the West—especially America and its Western European
allies—must provide an answer to the question eloquently
posed by Vaclav Havel in Aachen on May 15, 1996:
1 know that neither the European Union nor the North Atlantic
Alliance can open its doors overnight to all those who aspire
to join them. What both most assuredly can do—and what
they should do before it is too late—is to give the whole of Eu-rope, seen as a sphere ol common values, the clear assurance
that they are not closed clubs. They should formulate a clear
and detailed policy of gradual enlargement that not only contains
a timetable but also explains the logic of that timetable, [italics
Although at this stage the ultimate eastern limits of Europe can neither
be denned firmly nor finally fixed, in the broadest sense Europe
is a common civilization, derived from the shared Christian tradition.
Europe's narrower Western definition has been associated with
Rome and its historical legacy. But Europe's Christian tradition has
involved also Byzantium and its Russian Orthodox emanation. Thus,
culturally, Europe is more than the Petrine Europe, and the Petrine
Europe in turn is much more than Western Europe—even though in
recent years the latter has usurped the identity of "Europe." Even a
mere glance at the map on page 82 confirms that the existing Europe
is simply not a complete Europe. Worse than that, it is a Europe in
which a zone of insecurity between Europe and Russia can have a
suction effect on both, inevitably causing tensions and rivalry.
A Charlemagne Europe (limited to Western Europe) by necessity
made sense during the Cold War, but such a Europe is now an
anomaly. This is so because in addition to being a civilization, the
emerging united Europe is also a way of life, a standard of living,
and a polity of shared democratic procedures, not burdened by
ethnic and territorial conflicts. That Europe in its formally organized
scope is currently much less than its actual potential. Several
of the more advanced and politically stable Central European
states, all part of the Western Petrine tradition, notably the Czech
Republic, Poland, Hungary, and perhaps also Slovenia, are clearly
qualified and eager for membership in "Europe" and its transatlantic
security connection.
In the current circumstances, the expansion of NATO to include
Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary—probably by 1999—appears
to be likely. After this initial but significant step, it is likely
that any subsequent expansion of the alliance will either be coinci-dental with or will follow the expansion of the EU. The latter involves
a much more complicated process, both in the number of
qualifying stages and in the meeting of membership requirements
(see chart on page 83). Thus, even the first admissions into the EU
from Central Europe are not likely before the year 2002 or perhaps
somewhat later. Nonetheless, after the first three new NATO members
have also joined the EU, both the EU and NATO will have to
address the question of extending membership to the Baltic republics,
Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, and perhaps
also, eventually, to Ukraine.
It is noteworthy that the prospect of eventual membership is
already exercising a constructive influence on the affairs and conduct
of would-be members. Knowledge that neither the EU nor
NATO wishes to be burdened by additional conflicts pertaining either
to minority rights or to territorial claims among their members
(Turkey versus Greece is more than enough) has already
EU Membership: Application to Accession
A European country submits an application for membership to
the Council of the European Union (the Council).
The Council asks the Commission to deliver an opinion
about the application.
The Commission delivers an opinion about
the application to the Council.
The Council decides unanimously to open
negotiations for accession.
The Commission proposes, and the Council adopts
unanimously, positions to be taken by the Union
vis-a-vis the Applicants in accession negotiations.
The Union, represented by the Council President,
conducts negotiations with the Applicant.
Agreement reached between Union and Applicant
on a Draft Treaty of Accession.
Accession Treaty submitted to the Council
and the European Parliament.
European Parliament delivers its assent to the
Accession Treaty by an absolute majority.
The Council approves the Accession Treaty unanimously.
Member States and Applicants formally sign
the Accession Treaty.
Member States and Applicants ratify the Accession Treaty
ratification, the Accession Agreement goes into effect.
Prepared by C.S.I.S. US-EU-Poland Action Commission

given Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania the needed incentive to
reach accommodations that meet the standards set by the Council
of Europe. Much the same is true for the more general principle
that only democracies can qualify for membership. The desire not
to be left out is having an important reinforcing impact on the new
In any case, it ought to be axiomatic that Europe's political
unity and security are indivisible. As a practical matter, in fact it is
difficult to conceive of a truly united Europe without a common security
arrangement with America. It follows, therefore, that states
that are in a position to begin and are invited to undertake accession
talks with the EU should automatically also be viewed henceforth
as subject in effect to NATO's presumptive protection.
Accordingly, the process of widening Europe and enlarging the
transatlantic security system is likely to move forward by deliberate
stages. Assuming sustained American and Western European
commitment, a speculative but cautiously realistic timetable for
these stages might be the following:
1. By 1999, the first new Central European members will have
been admitted into NATO, though their entry into the EU
will probably not happen before 2002 or 2003.
2. In the meantime, the EU will initiate accession talks with the
Baltic republics, and NATO will likewise begin to move forward
on the issue of their membership as well as Romania's,
with their accession likely to be completed by 2005.
At some point in this stage, the other Balkan states may
likewise become eligible.
3. Accession by the Baltic states might prompt Sweden and
Finland also to consider NATO membership.
4. Somewhere between 2005 and 2010, Ukraine, especially if in
the meantime the country has made significant progress in
its domestic reforms and has succeeded in becoming more
evidently identified as a Central European country, should
become ready for serious negotiations with both the EU
and NATO.
In the meantime, it is likely that Franco-German-Polish collaboration
within the EU and NATO will have deepened considerably,
especially in the area of defense. That collaboration could become
the Western core of any wider European security arrangements
that might eventually embrace both Russia and Ukraine. Given the
special geopolitical interest of Germany and Poland in Ukraine's independence,
it is also quite possible that Ukraine will gradually be
drawn into the special Franco-German-Polish relationship. By the
year 2010, Franco-German-Polish-Ukrainian political collaboration,
engaging some 230 million people, could evolve into a partnership
enhancing Europe's geostrategic depth (see map above).
Whether the above scenario emerges in a benign fashion or in
the context of intensifying tensions with Russia is of great importance.
Russia should be continuously reassured that the doors to
Europe are open, as are the doors to its eventual participation in
an expanded transatlantic system of security and, perhaps at some future point, in a new trans-Eurasian system of security. To give
credence to these assurances, various cooperative links between
Russia and Europe—in all fields—should be very deliberately promoted.
(Russia's relationship to Europe, and the role of Ukraine in
that regard, are discussed more fully in the next chapter.)
If Europe succeeds both in unifying and in expanding and if
Russia in the meantime undertakes successful democratic consolidation
and social modernization, at some point Russia can also become
eligible for a more organic relationship with Europe. That, in
turn, would make possible the eventual merger of the transatlantic
security system with a transcontinental Eurasian one. However, as
a practical reality, the question of Russia's formal membership will
not arise for quite some time to come—and that, if anything, is yet
another reason for not pointlessly shutting the doors to it.
To conclude: with the Europe of Yalta gone, it is essential that
there be no reversion to the Europe of Versailles. The end of the division
of Europe should not precipitate a step back to a Europe of
quarrelsome nation-states but should be the point of departure for
shaping a larger and increasingly integrated Europe, reinforced by
a widened NATO and rendered even more secure by a constructive
security relationship with Russia. Hence, America's central
geostrategic goal in Europe can be summed up quite simply: it is to
consolidate through a more genuine transatlantic partnership the
U.S. bridgehead on the Eurasian continent so that an enlarging Europe
can become a more viable springboard for projecting into
Eurasia the international democratic and cooperative order.

!As quoted by Le Nouvel Observateur, August 12,1996.
'Cf. his History of Europe, from the Pyrenean Peace to the Death of Louis

'Poiitiken Sondag, August 2,1996, italics added.

lt is noteworthy that influential voices both in Finland and in Sweden
have began to discuss the possibility of association with NATO. In May 1996,
the commander of the Finnish Defense Forces was reported by the Swedish
media to have raised the possibility of some NATO deployments on Nordic
soil, and in August 1996, the Swedish Parliament's Defense Committee, in an
action symptomatic of a gradual drift toward closer security cooperation
with NATO, recommended that Sweden join the Western European Armaments
Group (WEAG) to which only NATO members belong.

Czech Republic
Holy See
San Marino
\ Denmark A\\\/ /
\ United Kingdom //

Black Hole

HE DISINTEGRATION LATE IN 1991 of the world's territorially
largest state created a "black hole" in the very center of
Eurasia. It was as if the geopoliticians' "heartland" had been
suddenly yanked from the global map.
For America, this new and perplexing geopolitical situation
poses a crucial challenge. Understandably, the immediate task has
to be to reduce the probability of political anarchy or a reversion
to a hostile dictatorship in a crumbling state still possessing a
powerful nuclear arsenal. But the long-range task remains: how to
encourage Russia's democratic transformation and economic recovery
while avoiding the reemergence of a Eurasian empire that
could obstruct the American geostrategic goal of shaping a larger
Euro-Atlantic system to which Russia can then be stably and safely
The collapse of the Soviet Union was the final stage in the progressive
fragmentation of the vast Sino-Soviet Communist bloc that for
a brief period of time matched, and in some areas even surpassed,

the scope of Genghis Khan's realm. But the more modern transcontinental
Eurasian bloc lasted very briefly, with the defection by
Tito's Yugoslavia and the insubordination of Mao's China signaling
early on the Communist camp's vulnerability to nationalist aspirations
that proved to be stronger than ideological bonds. The SinoSoviet
bloc lasted roughly ten years; the Soviet Union about
However, even more geopolitically significant was the undoing
of the centuries-old Moscow-ruled Great Russian Empire. The disintegration
of that empire was precipitated by the general socioeconomic
and political failure of the Soviet system—though much
of its malaise was obscured almost until the very end by its systemic
secrecy and self-isolation. Hence, the world was stunned by
the seeming rapidity of the Soviet Union's self-destruction. In the
course of two short weeks in December 1991, the Soviet Union was
first defiantly declared as dissolved by the heads of its Russian,
Ukrainian, and Belorussian republics, then formally replaced by a
vaguer entity—called the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS)—embracing all of the Soviet republics but the Baltic ones;
then the Soviet president reluctantly resigned and the Soviet flag
was lowered for the last time from the tower of the Kremlin; and, finally,
the Russian Federation—now a predominantly Russian national
state of 150 million people—emerged as the de facto
successor to the former Soviet Union, while the other republics—
accounting for another 150 million people—asserted in varying degrees
their independent sovereignty.
The collapse of the Soviet Union produced monumental geopolitical
confusion. In the course of a mere fortnight, the Russian people—who,
generally speaking, were even less forewarned than the
outside world of the Soviet Union's approaching disintegration—
suddenly discovered that they were no longer the masters of a
transcontinental empire but that the frontiers of Russia had been
rolled back to where they had been in the Caucasus in the early
1800s, in Central Asia in the mid-1800s, and—much more dramatically
and painfully—in the West in approximately 1600, soon after
the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The loss of the Caucasus revived
strategic fears of resurgent Turkish influence; the loss of Central
Asia generated a sense of deprivation regarding the enormous en-ergy and mineral resources of the region as well as anxiety over a
potential Islamic challenge; and Ukraine's independence challenged
the very essence of Russia's claim to being the divinely endowed
standard-bearer of a common pan-Slavic identity.
The space occupied for centuries by the Tsarist Empire and for
three-quarters of a century by the Russian-dominated Soviet Union
was now to be filled by a dozen states, with most (except for Russia)
hardly prepared for genuine sovereignty and ranging in size
from the relatively large Ukraine with its 52 million people to Armenia
with its 3.5 million. Their viability seemed uncertain, while
Moscow's willingness to accommodate permanently to the new reality
was similarly unpredictable. The historic shock suffered by
the Russians was magnified by the fact that some 20 million Russian-speaking
people were now inhabitants of foreign states dominated
politically by increasingly nationalistic elites determined to
assert their own identities after decades of more or less coercive
The collapse of the Russian Empire created a power void in
the very heart of Eurasia. Not only was there weakness and confusion
in the newly independent states, but in Russia itself, the upheaval
produced a massive systemic crisis, especially as the
political upheaval was accompanied by the simultaneous attempt
to undo the old Soviet socioeconomic model. The national trauma
was made worse by Russia's military involvement in Tajikistan,
driven by fears of a Muslim takeover of that newly independent
state, and was especially heightened by the tragic, brutal, and
both economically and politically very costly intervention in
Chechnya. Most painful of all, Russia's international status was
significantly degraded, with one of the world's two superpowers
now viewed by many as little more than a Third World regional
power, though still possessing a significant but increasingly antiquated
nuclear arsenal.
The geopolitical void was magnified by the scale of Russia's social
crisis. Three-quarters of a century of Communist rule had inflicted
unprecedented biological damage on the Russian people. A
very high proportion of its most gifted and enterprising individuals
were killed or perished in the Gulag, in numbers to be counted
in the millions. In addition, during this century the country also suffered the ravages of World War I, the killings of a protracted
civil war, and the atrocities and deprivations of World War II. The
ruling Communist regime imposed a stifling doctrinal orthodoxy,
while isolating the country from the rest of the world. Its economic
policies were totally indifferent to ecological concerns, with the result
that both the environment and the health of the people suffered
greatly. According to official Russian statistics, by the
mid-1990s only about 40 percent of newborns came into the world
healthy, whiie roughly one-fifth of Russian first graders suffered
from some form of mental retardation. Male longevity had declined
to 57.3 years, and more Russians were dying than were being born.
Russia's social condition was, in fact, typical of a middle-rank
Third World country.
One cannot overstate the horrors and tribulations that have
befallen the Russian people in the course of this century. Hardly a
single Russian family has had the opportunity to lead a normal civilized
existence. Consider the social implications of the following
sequence of events:
• the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, ending in Russia's humiliating
• the first "proletarian" revolution of 1905, igniting large-scale
urban violence;
• World War I of 1914-1917, with its millions of casualties and
massive economic dislocation;
• the civil war of 1918-1921, again consuming several million
lives and devastating the land;
• the Russo-Polish War of 1919-1920, ending in a Russian
• the launching of the Gulag in the early 1920s, including the
decimation of the prerevolutionary elite and its large-scale
exodus from Russia;
• the industrialization and collectivization drives of the early
and mid-1930s, which generated massive famines and millions
of deaths in Ukraine and Kazakstan;
• the Great Purges and Terror of the mid- and late 1930s, with
millions incarcerated in labor camps and upward of 1 million
shot and several million dying from maltreatment;
• World War II of 1941-1945, with its multiple millions of military
and civilian casualties and vast economic devastation;
• the reimposition of Stalinist terror in the late 1940s, again
involving large-scale arrests and frequent executions;
• the forty-year-long arms race with the United States, lasting
from the late 1940s to the late 1980s, with its socially impoverishing
• the economically exhausting efforts to project Soviet power
into the Caribbean, Middle East, and Africa during the 1970s
and 1980s;
• the debilitating war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989;
• the sudden breakup of the Soviet Union, followed by civil
disorders, a painful economic crisis, and the bloody and humiliating
war against Chechnya.
Not only was the crisis in Russia's internal condition and the
loss of international status distressingly unsettling, especially for
the Russian political elite, but Russia's geopolitical situation was
also adversely affected. In the West, as a consequence of the Soviet
Union's disintegration, Russia's frontiers had been altered most
painfully, and its sphere of geopolitical influence had dramatically
shrunk (see map on page 94). The Baltic states had been Russiancontrolled
since the 1700s, and the loss of the ports of Riga and
Tallinn made Russia's access to the Baltic Sea more limited and
subject to winter freezes. Although Moscow managed to retain a
poiitically dominant position in the formally newly independent but highly Russified Belarus, it was far from certain that the nationalist
contagion would not eventually also gain the upper hand
there as well. And beyond the frontiers of the former Soviet Union,
the collapse of the Warsaw Pact meant that the former satellite
states of Central Europe, foremost among them Poland, were
rapidly gravitating toward NATO and the European Union.
Most troubling of all was the loss of Ukraine. The appearance of
an independent Ukrainian state not only challenged all Russians to
rethink the nature of their own political and ethnic identity, but it
represented a vital geopolitical setback for the Russian state. The
repudiation of more than three hundred years of Russian imperial
history meant the loss of a potentially rich industrial and agricultural
economy and of 52 million people ethnically and religiously
sufficiently close to the Russians to make Russia into a truly large
and confident imperial state. Ukraine's independence also deprived
Russia of its dominant position on the Black Sea, where
Odessa had served as Russia's vital gateway to trade with the
Mediterranean and the world beyond.
The loss of Ukraine was geopolitically pivotal, for it drastically
limited Russia's geostrategic options. Even without the Baltic
states and Poland, a Russia that retained control over Ukraine
could still seek to be the leader of an assertive Eurasian empire, in
which Moscow could dominate the non-Slavs in the South and
Southeast of the former Soviet Union. But without Ukraine and its
52 million fellow Slavs, any attempt by Moscow to rebuild the
Eurasian empire was likely to leave Russia entangled alone in protracted
conflicts with the nationally and religiously aroused nonSlavs,
the war with Chechnya perhaps simply being the first
example. Moreover, given Russia's declining birthrate and the explosive
birthrate among the Central Asians, any new Eurasian entity
based purely on Russian power, without Ukraine, would
inevitably become less European and more Asiatic with each passing
The loss of Ukraine was not only geopolitically pivotal but also
geopoiitically catalytic. It was Ukrainian actions—the Ukrainian
declaration of independence in December 1991, its insistence in
the critical negotiations in Bela Vezha that the Soviet Union should
be replaced by a looser Commonwealth of Independent States, and
especially the sudden coup-like imposition of Ukrainian command over the Soviet army units stationed on Ukrainian soil—that prevented
the CIS from becoming merely a new name for a more confederal
USSR. Ukraine's political self-determination stunned
Moscow and set an example that the other Soviet republics,
though initially more timidly, then followed.
Russia's loss of its dominant position on the Baltic Sea was
replicated on the Black Sea not only because of Ukraine's independence
but also because the newly independent Caucasian states—
Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan—enhanced the opportunities
for Turkey to reestablish its once-lost influence in the region. Prior
to 1991, the Black Sea was the point of departure for the projection
of Russian naval power into the Mediterranean. By the mid-1990s,
Russia was left with a small coastal strip on the Black Sea and with
an unresolved debate with Ukraine over basing rights in Crimea
for the remnants of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, while observing,
with evident irritation, joint NATO-Ukrainian naval and shore-landing
maneuvers and a growing Turkish role in the Black Sea region.
Russia also suspected Turkey of having provided effective aid to
the Chechen resistance.
Farther to the southeast, the geopolitical upheaval produced a
similarly significant change in the status of the Caspian Sea basin
and of Central Asia more generally. Before the Soviet Union's collapse,
the Caspian Sea was in effect a Russian lake, with a small
southern sector falling within Iran's perimeter. With the emergence
of the independent and strongly nationalist Azerbaijan—reinforced
by the influx of eager Western oil investors—and the similarly
independent Kazakstan and Turkmenistan, Russia became
only one of five claimants to the riches of the Caspian Sea basin. It
could no longer confidently assume that it could dispose of these
resources on its own.
The emergence of the independent Central Asian states meant
that in some places Russia's southeastern frontier had been
pushed back northward more than one thousand miles. The new
states now controlled vast mineral and energy deposits that were
bound to attract foreign interests. It was almost inevitable that not
only the elites but, before too long, also the peoples of these states
would become more nationalistic and perhaps increasingly Islamic
in outlook. In Kazakstan, a vast country endowed with enormous
natural resources but with its nearly 20 million people split almost evenly between Kazaks and Slavs, linguistic and national frictions
are likely to intensify. Uzbekistan—with its much more ethnically
homogeneous population of approximately 25 million and its leaders
emphasizing the country's historic glories—has become increasingly
assertive in affirming the region's new postcolonial
status. Turkmenistan, geographically shielded by Kazakstan from
any direct contact with Russia, has actively developed new links
with Iran in order to diminish its prior dependence on the Russian
communications system for access to the global markets.
Supported from the outside by Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and
Saudi Arabia, the Central Asian states have not been inclined to
trade their new political sovereignty even for the sake of beneficial
economic integration with Russia, as many Russians continued to
hope they would. At the very least, some tension and hostility in
their relationship with Russia is unavoidable, while the painful
precedents of Chechnya and Tajikistan suggest that something
worse cannot be altogether excluded. For the Russians, the
specter of a potential conflict with the Islamic states along Russia's
entire southern flank (which, adding in Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan,
account for more than 300 million people) has to be a source of serious
Finally, at the time its empire dissolved, Russia was also facing
an ominous new geopolitical situation in the Far East, even though
no territorial or political changes had taken place. For several centuries,
China had been weaker and more backward than Russia, at
least in the political-military domains. No Russian concerned with
the country's future and perplexed by the dramatic changes of this
decade can ignore the fact that China is on its way to being a more
advanced, more dynamic, and more successful state than Russia.
China's economic power, wedded to the dynamic energy of its 1.2
billion people, is fundamentally reversing the historical equation
between the two countries, with the empty spaces of Siberia almost
beckoning for Chinese colonization.
This staggering new reality was bound to affect the Russian
sense of security in its Far Eastern region as well as Russian interests
in Central Asia. Before long, this development might even overshadow
the geopolitical importance of Russia's loss of Ukraine. Its
strategic implications were well expressed by Vladimir Lukin, Rus-sia's first post-Communist ambassador to the United States and
later the chairman of the Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee:
In the past, Russia saw itself as being ahead of Asia, though lagging
behind Europe. But since then, Asia has developed much
faster. . . . we find ourselves to be not so much between "modern
Europe" and "backward Asia" but rather occupying some
strange middle space between two "Europes."1
In brief, Russia, until recently the forger of a great territorial
empire and the leader of an ideological bloc of satellite states extending
into the very heart of Europe and at one point to the
South China Sea, had become a troubled national state, without
easy geographic access to the outside world and potentially vulnerable
to debilitating conflicts with its neighbors on its western,
southern, and eastern flanks. Only the uninhabitable and inaccessible
northern spaces, almost permanently frozen, seemed geopolitically
A period of historic and strategic confusion in postimperial Russia
was hence unavoidable. The shocking collapse of the Soviet Union
and especially the stunning and generally unexpected disintegration
of the Great Russian Empire have given rise in Russia to enormous
soul-searching, to a wide-ranging debate over what ought to
be Russia's current historical self-definition, to intense public and
private arguments over questions that in most major nations are
not even raised: What is Russia? Where is Russia? What does it
mean to be a Russian?
These questions are not merely theoretical: any reply contains
significant geopolitical content. Is Russia a national state, based on
purely Russian ethnicity, or is Russia by definition something more
(as Britain is more than England) and hence destined to be an imperial
state? What are—historically, strategically, and ethnically—
the proper frontiers of Russia? Should the independent Ukraine be viewed as a temporary aberration when assessed in such historic,
strategic, and ethnic terms? (Many Russians are inclined to feel
that way.) To be a Russian, does one have to be ethnically a Russian
("Russkyi"), or can one be a Russian politically but not ethnically
(that is, be a "Rossyanin"—the equivalent to "British" but not
to "English")? For example, Yeltsin and some Russians have argued
(with tragic consequences) that the Chechens could—indeed,
should—be considered Russians.
A year before the Soviet Union's demise, a Russian nationalist,
one of the few who saw the end approaching, cried out in a desperate
If the terrible disaster, which is unthinkable to the Russian people,
does occur and the state is torn apart, and the people,
robbed and deceived by their 1,000-year history, suddenly end
up alone, and their recent "brothers" have taken their belongings
and disappeared into their "national lifeboats" and sail
away from the listing ship—well, we have nowhere to go....
Russian statehood, which embodies the "Russian idea" politically,
economically, and spiritually, will be built anew. It will
gather up all the best from its long 1,000-year kingdom and the
70 years of Soviet history that have flown by in a moment.2
But how? The difficulty of defining an answer that would be acceptable
to the Russian people and yet realistic has been compounded
by the historic crisis of the Russian state itself.
Throughout almost its entire history, that state was simultaneously
an instrument of territorial expansion and economic development.
It was also a state that deliberately did not conceive
itself to be a purely national instrument, in the West European tradition,
but defined itself as the executor of a special supranational
mission, with the "Russian idea" variously defined in religious,
geopolitical, or ideological terms. Now, suddenly, that mission
was repudiated as the state shrank territorially to a largely ethnic
Moreover, the post-Soviet crisis of the Russian state (of its
"essence," so to speak) was compounded by the fact that Russia was not only faced with the challenge of having been suddenly deprived
of its imperial missionary vocation but, in order to close
the yawning gap between Russia's social backwardness and the
more advanced parts of Eurasia, was now being pressed by domestic
modernizers (and their Western consultants) to withdraw from
its traditional economic role as the mentor, owner, and disposer of
social wealth. This called for nothing short of a politically revolutionary
limitation of the international and domestic role of the
Russian state. This was profoundly disruptive to the most established
patterns of Russian domestic life and contributed to a divisive
sense of geopolitical disorientation within the Russian
political elite.
In that perplexing setting, as one might have expected,
"Whither Russia and what is Russia?" prompted a variety of responses.
Russia's extensive Eurasian location has long predisposed
that elite to think in geopolitical terms. The first foreign
minister of the postimperlal and post-Communist Russia, Andrei
Kozyrev, reaffirmed that mode of thought in one of his early attempts
to define how the new Russia should conduct itself on the
international scene. Barely a month after the dissolution of the Soviet
Union, he noted: "In abandoning messianism we set course for
pragmatism. ... we rapidly came to understand that geopolitics
... is replacing ideology."'
Generally speaking, three broad and partially overlapping
geostrategic options, each ultimately related to Russia's preoccupation
with its status vis-a-vis America and each also containing
some internal variants, can be said to have emerged in reaction to
the Soviet Union's collapse. These several schools of thought can
be classified as follows:
1. priority for "the mature strategic partnership" with America,
which for some of its adherents was actually a code
term for a global condominium;
2. emphasis on the "near abroad" as Russia's central concern,
with some advocating a form of Moscow-dominated economic
integration but with others also expecting an eveninterview
In Rossiyskaya Gazeta, January 12,1992.
tual restoration of some measure of imperial control,
thereby creating a power more capable of balancing America
and Europe; and
3. a counteralliance, involving some sort of a Eurasian antiU.S.
coalition designed to reduce the American preponderance
in Eurasia.
Although the first of the foregoing was initially dominant
among President Yeltsin's new ruling team, the second option surfaced
into political prominence shortly thereafter, in part as a critique
of Yeltsin's geopolitical priorities; the third made itself heard
somewhat later, around the mid-1990s, in reaction to the spreading
sense that Russia's post-Soviet geostrategy was both unclear and
failing. As it happens, all three proved to be historically maladroit
and derived from rather phantasmagoric views of Russia's current
power, international potential, and foreign interests.
In the immediate wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, Yeltsin's
initial posture represented the cresting of the old but never entirely
successful "westernizer" conception in Russian political
thought: that Russia belonged in the West, should be part of the
West, and should as much as possible imitate the West in its own
domestic development. That view was espoused by Yeltsin himself
and by his foreign minister, with Yeltsin being quite explicit in denouncing
the Russian imperial legacy. Speaking in Kiev on November
19, 1990, in words that the Ukrainians or Chechens could
subsequently turn against him, Yeltsin eloquently declared;
Russia does not aspire to become the center of some sort of
new empire .. . Russia understands better than others the perniciousness
of that role, inasmuch as it was Russia that performed
that role for a long time. What did it gain from this? Did
Russians become freer as a result? Wealthier? Happier? ... history
has taught us that a people that rules over others cannot
be fortunate.
The deliberately friendly posture adopted by the West, especially
by the United States, toward the new Russian leadership was
a source of encouragement to the post-Soviet "westernizers" in the Russian foreign policy establishment. It both reinforced its proAmerican
inclinations and seduced its membership personally.
The new leaders were flattered to be on a first-name basis with the
top policy makers of the world's only superpower, and they found
it easy to deceive themselves into thinking that they, too, were the
leaders of a superpower. When the Americans launched the slogan
of "the mature strategic partnership" between Washington and
Moscow, to the Russians it seemed as if a new democratic American-Russian
condominium—replacing the former contest—had
thus been sanctified.
That condominium would be global in scope. Russia thereby
would not only be the legal successor to the former Soviet Union
but the de facto partner in a global accommodation, based on genuine
equality. As the new Russian leaders never tired of asserting,
that meant not only that the rest of the world should recognize
Russia as America's equal but that no global problem could be
tackled or resolved without Russia's participation and/or permission.
Although it was not openly stated, implicit in this illusion was
also the notion that Central Europe would somehow remain, or
might even choose to remain, a region of special political proximity
to Russia. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon
would not be followed by the gravitation of their former members
either toward NATO or even only toward the EU.
Western aid, in the meantime, would enable the Russian government
to undertake domestic reforms, withdrawing the state
from economic life and permitting the consolidation of democratic
institutions. Russia's economic recovery, its special status as
America's coequal partner, and its sheer attractiveness would then
encourage the recently independent states of the new CIS—grateful
that the new Russia was not threatening them and increasingly
aware of the benefits of some form of union with Russia—to engage
in ever-closer economic and then political integration with
Russia, thereby also enhancing Russia's scope and power.
The problem with this approach was that it was devoid of either
international or domestic realism. While the concept of "mature
strategic partnership" was flattering, it was also deceptive.
America was neither inclined to share global power with Russia
nor could it, even if it had wanted to do so. The new Russia was
simply too weak, too devastated by three-quarters of a century of Communist rule, and too socially backward to be a real global partner.
In Washington's view, Germany, Japan, and China were at least
as important and influential. Moreover, on some of the central
geostrategic issues of national interest to America—in Europe, the
Middle East, and the Far East—it was far from the case that American
and Russian aspirations were the same. Once differences inevitably
started to surface, the disproportion in political power,
financial clout, technological innovation, and cultural appeal made
the "mature strategic partnership" seem hollow—and it struck an
increasing number of Russians as deliberately designed to deceive
Perhaps that disappointment might have been averted if earlier
on—during the American-Russian honeymoon—America had embraced
the concept of NATO expansion and had at the same time
offered Russia "a deal it could not refuse," namely, a special cooperative
relationship between Russia and NATO. Had America
clearly and decisively embraced the idea of widening the alliance,
with the stipulation that Russia should somehow be included in
the process, perhaps Moscow's subsequent sense of disappointment
with "the mature partnership" as well as the progressive
weakening of the political position of the westernizers in the Kremlin
might have been averted.
The moment to have done so was during the second half of
1993, right after Yeltsin's public endorsement in August of
Poland's interest in joining the transatlantic alliance as being consistent
with "the interests of Russia." Instead, the Clinton administration,
then still pursuing its "Russia first" policy, agonized for
two more years, while the Kremlin changed its tune and became
increasingly hostile to the emerging but indecisive signals of the
American intention to widen NATO. By the time Washington decided,
in 1996, to make NATO enlargement a central goal in America's
policy of shaping a larger and more secure Euro-Atlantic
community, the Russians had locked themselves into rigid opposition.
Hence, the year 1993 might be viewed as the year of a missed
historic opportunity.
Admittedly, not all of the Russian concerns regarding NATO expansion
lacked legitimacy or were motivated by malevolent motives.
Some opponents, to be sure, especially among the Russian
military, partook of a Cold War mentality, viewing NATO expansion not as an integral part of Europe's own growth but rather as the
advance toward Russia of an American-led and still hostile alliance.
Some of the Russian foreign policy elite—most of whom
were actually former Soviet officials—persisted in the long-standing
geostrategic view that America had no place in Eurasia and
that NATO expansion was largely driven by the American desire to
increase its sphere of influence. Some of their opposition also derived
from the hope that an unattached Central Europe would
some day again revert to Moscow's sphere of geopolitical influence,
once Russia had regained its health.
But many Russian democrats also feared that the expansion of
NATO would mean that Russia would be left outside of Europe, ostracized
politically, and considered unworthy of membership in
the institutional framework of European civilization. Cultural insecurity
compounded the political fears, making NATO expansion
seem like the culmination of the long-standing Western policy designed
to isolate Russia, leaving it alone in the world and vulnerable
to its various enemies. Moreover, the Russian democrats
simply could not grasp the depth either of the Central Europeans'
resentment over half a century of Moscow's domination or of their
desire to be part of a larger Euro-Atlantic system.
On balance, it is probable that neither the disappointment nor
the weakening of the Russian westernizers could have been
avoided. For one thing, the new Russian elite, quite divided within
itself and with neither its president nor its foreign minister capable
of providing consistent geostrategic leadership, was not able to define
clearly what the new Russia wanted in Europe, nor could it realistically
assess the actual limitations of Russia's weakened
condition. Moscow's politically embattled democrats could not
bring themselves to state boldly that a democratic Russia does not
oppose the enlargement of the transatlantic democratic community
and that it wishes to be associated with it. The delusion of a
shared global status with America made it difficult for the Moscow
political elite to abandon the idea of a privileged geopolitical position
for Russia, not only in the area of the former Soviet Union itself
but even in regard to the former Central European satellite states.
These developments played into the hands of the nationalists,
who by 1994 were beginning to recover their voices, and the militarists,
who by then had become Yeltsin's critically important do-mestic supporters. Their increasingly shrill and occasionally
threatening reactions to the aspirations of the Central Europeans
merely intensified the determination of the former satellite
states—mindful of their only recently achieved liberation from
Russian rule—to gain the safe haven of NATO.
The gulf between Washington and Moscow was widened further
by the Kremlin's unwillingness to disavow all of Stalin's conquests.
Western public opinion, especially in Scandinavia but also
in the United States, was especially troubled by the ambiguity of
the Russian attitude toward the Baltic republics. While recognizing
their independence and not pressing for their membership in the
CIS, even the democratic Russian leaders periodically resorted to
threats in order to obtain preferential treatment for the large communities
of Russian colonists who had deliberately been settled in
these countries during the Stalinist years. The atmosphere was
further clouded by the pointed unwillingness of the Kremlin to denounce
the secret Nazi-Soviet agreement of 1939 that had paved
the way for the forcible incorporation of these republics into the
Soviet Union. Even five years after the Soviet Union's collapse,
spokesmen for the Kremlin insisted (in the official statement of
September 10, 1996) that in 1940 the Baltic states had voluntarily
"joined" the Soviet Union.
The post-Soviet Russian elite had apparently also expected
that the West would aid in, or at least not impede, the restoration
of a central Russian role in the post-Soviet space. They thus resented
the West's willingness to help the newly independent postSoviet
states consolidate their separate political existence. Even
while warning that a "confrontation with the United States ... is an
option that should be avoided," senior Russian analysts of American
foreign policy argued (not altogether incorrectly) that the
United States was seeking "the reorganization of interstate relations
in the whole of Eurasia .. . whereby there was not one sole
leading power on the continent but many medium, relatively stable,
and moderately strong ones ... but necessarily inferior to the
United States in their individual or even collective capabilities."'1

In this regard, Ukraine was critical. The growing American inclination,
especially by 1994, to assign a high priority to AmericanUkrainian
relations and to help Ukraine sustain its new national
freedom was viewed by many in Moscow—even by its "westernizers"—as
a policy directed at the vital Russian interest in eventually
bringing Ukraine back into the common fold. That Ukraine will
eventually somehow be "reintegrated" remains an article of faith
among many members of the Russian political elite.5
 As a result,
Russia's geopolitical and historical questioning of Ukraine's separate
status collided head-on with the American view that an imperial
Russia could not be a democratic Russia.
Additionally, there were purely domestic reasons that a "mature
strategic partnership" between two "democracies" proved to
be illusory. Russia was just too backward and too devastated by
Communist rule to be a viable democratic partner of the United
States. That central reality could not be obscured by high-sounding
rhetoric about partnership. Post-Soviet Russia, moreover, had
made only a partial break with the past. Almost all of its "democratic"
leaders—even if genuinely disillusioned with the Soviet past—
were not only the products of the Soviet system but former senior
members of its ruling elite. They were not former dissidents, as in
Poland or the Czech Republic. The key institutions of Soviet
power—though weakened, demoralized, and corrupted—were still
there. Symbolic of that reality and of the lingering hold of the Communist
past was the historic centerpiece of Moscow: the continued
presence of the Lenin mausoleum. It was as if post-Nazi
Germany were governed by former middle-level Nazi "Gauleiters"
spouting democratic slogans, with a Hitler mausoleum still standing
in the center of Berlin.
Tor example, even Yeltsin's top adviser, Dmitryi Ryurikov, was quoted
by Interfax (November 20, 1996) as considering Ukraine to be "a temporary
phenomenon," while Moscow's Obshchaya Gazeta (December 10, 1996) reported
that "in the foreseeable future events in eastern Ukraine may confront
Russia with a very difficult problem. Mass manifestations of
discontent... will be accompanied by appeals to Russia, or even demands,
to take over the region. Quite a few people in Moscow would be ready to
support such plans." Western concerns regarding Russian intentions were
certainly not eased by Russian demands for Crimea and Sevastopol, nor by
such provocative acts as the deliberate inclusion in late 1996 of Sevastopol
in Russian public television's nightly weather forecasts lor Russian cities.
The political weakness of the new democratic elite was compounded
by the very scale of the Russian economic crisis. The
need for massive reforms—for the withdrawal of the Russian state
from the economy—generated excessive expectations of Western,
especially American, aid. Although that aid, especially from Germany
and America, gradually did assume large proportions, even
under the best of circumstances it still could not prompt a quick
economic recovery. The resulting social dissatisfaction provided
additional underpinning for a mounting chorus of disappointed
critics who alleged that the partnership with the United States was
a sham, beneficial to America but damaging to Russia.
In brief, neither the objective nor the subjective preconditions
for an effective global partnership existed in the immediate years
following the Soviet Union's collapse. The democratic "westernizers"
simply wanted too much and could deliver too little. They desired
an equal partnership—or, rather, a condominium—with
America, a relatively free hand within the CIS, and a geopolitical
no-man's-land in Central Europe. Yet their ambivalence about Soviet
history, their lack of realism regarding global power, the depth
of the economic crisis, and the absence of widespread social support
meant that they could not deliver the stable and truly democratic
Russia that the concept of equal partnership implied. Russia
first had to go through a prolonged process of political reform, an
equally long process of democratic stabilization, and an even
longer process of socioeconomic modernization and then manage
a deeper shift from an imperial to a national mindset regarding the
new geopolitical realities not only in Central Europe but especially
within the former Russian Empire before a real partnership with
America could become a viable geopolitical option.
Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the "near
abroad" priority became both the major critique of the pro-West
option as well as an early foreign policy alternative. It was based
on the argument that the "partnership" concept slighted what
ought to be most important to Russia: namely, its relations with
the former Soviet republics. The "near abroad" came to be the
shorthand formulation for advocacy of a policy that would place
primary emphasis on the need to reconstruct some sort of a viable
framework, with Moscow as the decision-making center, in the
geopolitical space once occupied by the Soviet Union. On this premise, there was widespread agreement that a policy of concentration
on the West, especially on America, was yielding little and
costing too much. It simply made it easier for the West to exploit
the opportunities created by the Soviet Union's collapse.
However, the "near abroad" school of thought was a broad umbrella
under which several varying geopolitical conceptions could
cluster. It embraced not only the economic functionalists and determinists
(including some "westernizers") who believed that the
CIS could evolve into a Moscow-led version of the EU but also others
who saw in economic integration merely one of several tools of
imperial restoration that could operate either under the CIS umbrella
or through special arrangements (formulated in 1996) between
Russia and Belarus or among Russia, Belarus, Kazakstan,
and Kyrgyzstan; it also included Slavophile romantics who advocated
a Slavic Union of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and, finally,
proponents of the somewhat mystical notion of Eurasianism as the
substantive definition of Russia's enduring historical mission.
In its narrowest form, the "near abroad" priority involved the
perfectly reasonable proposition that Russia must first concentrate
on relations with the newly independent states, especially as
all of them remained tied to Russia by the realities of the deliberately
fostered Soviet policy of promoting economic interdependence
among them. That made both economic and geopolitical
sense. The "common economic space," of which the new Russian
leaders spoke often, was a reality that could not be ignored by the
leaders of the newly independent states. Cooperation, and even
some integration, was an economic necessity. Thus, it was not
only normal but desirable to promote joint CIS institutions in order
to reverse the economic disruptions and fragmentation produced
by the political breakup of the Soviet Union.
For some Russians, the promotion of economic integration was
thus a functionally effective and politically responsible reaction to
what had transpired. The analogy with the EU was often cited as
pertinent to the post-Soviet situation. A restoration of the empire
was explicitly rejected by the more moderate advocates of economic
integration. For example, an influential report entitled "A
Strategy for Russia," which was issued as early as August 1992 by
the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, a group of prominent
personalities and government officials, very pointedly advocated "post-imperial enlightened integration" as the proper program for
the post-Soviet "common economic space."
However, emphasis on the "near abroad" was not merely a politically
benign doctrine of regional economic cooperation. Its
geopolitical content had imperial overtones. Even the relatively
moderate 1992 report spoke of a recovered Russia that would
eventually establish a strategic partnership with the West, in
which Russia would have the role of "regulating the situation in
Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Far East." Other advocates of
this priority were more unabashed, speaking explicitly of Russia's
"exclusive role" in the post-Soviet space and accusing the West of
engaging in an anti-Russian policy by providing aid to Ukraine and
the other newly independent states.
A typical but by no means extreme example was the argument
made by Y. Ambartsumov, the chairman in 1993 of the parliamentary
Foreign Affairs Committee and a former advocate of the "partnership"
priority, who openly asserted that the former Soviet
space was an exclusive Russian sphere of geopolitical influence. In
January 1994, he was echoed by the heretofore energetic advocate
of the pro-Western priority, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who
stated that Russia "must preserve its military presence in regions
that have been in its sphere of interest for centuries." In fact,
Izvestiia reported on April 8,1994, that Russia had succeeded in retaining
no fewer than twenty-eight military bases on the soil of the
newly independent states—and a line drawn on a map linking the
Russian military deployments in Kaliningrad, Moldova, Crimea, Armenia,
Tajikistan, and the Kuril Islands would roughly approximate
the outer limits of the former Soviet Union, as in the map on page
In September 1995, President Yeltsin issued an official document
on Russian policy toward the CIS that codified Russian goals
as follows:
The main objective of Russia's policy toward the CIS is to create
an economically and politically integrated association of
states capable of claiming its proper place in the world community
... to consolidate Russia as the leading force in the formation
of a new system of interstate political and economic
relations on the territory of the post-Union space.
One should note the emphasis placed on the political dimension
of the effort, on the reference to a single entity claiming "its"
place in the world system, and on Russia's dominant role within
that new entity. In keeping with this emphasis, Moscow insisted
that political and military ties between Russia and the newly constituted
CIS also be reinforced: that a common military command
be created; that the armed forces of the CIS states be linked by a
formal treaty; that the "external" borders of the CIS be subject to
centralized (meaning Moscow's) control; that Russian forces play
the decisive role in any peacekeeping actions within the CIS; and
that a common foreign policy be shaped within the CIS, whose
main institutions have come to be located in Moscow (and not in
Minsk, as originally agreed in 1991), with the Russian president presiding
at the CIS summit meetings.
And that was not all. The September 1995 document also declared
that Russian television and radio broadcasting in the near abroad
should be guaranteed, the dissemination of Russian press in
the region should be supported, and Russia should train national
cadres for CIS states.
Special attention should be given to restoring Russia's position
as the main educational center on the territory of the
post-Soviet space, bearing in mind the need to educate the
young generation in CIS states in a spirit of friendly relations
with Russia.
Reflecting this mood, in early 1996 the Russian Duma went so
far as to declare the dissolution of the Soviet Union to be invalid.
Moreover, during spring of the same year, Russia signed two agreements
providing for closer economic and political integration between
Russia and the more accommodating members of the CIS.
One agreement, signed with great pomp and circumstance, in effect
provided for a union between Russia and Belarus within a new
"Community of Sovereign Republics" (the Russian abbreviation
"SSR" was pointedly reminiscent of the Soviet Union's "SSSR"), and
the other—signed by Russia, Kazakstan, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan—postulated
the creation in the long term of a "Community of
Integrated States." Both initiatives indicated impatience over the
slow progress of integration within the CIS and Russia's determination
to persist in promoting it.
The "near abroad" emphasis on enhancing the central mechanisms
of the CIS thus combined some elements of reliance on objective
economic determinism with a strong dose of subjective
imperial determination. But neither provided a more philosophical
and also a geopolitical answer to the still gnawing question "What
is Russia, what is its true mission and rightful scope?"
It was this void that the increasingly appealing doctrine of
Eurasianism—with its focus also on the "near abroad"—attempted
to fill. The point of departure for this orientation—defined in
rather cultural and even mystical terminology—was the premise
that geopolitically and culturally, Russia is neither quite European
nor quite Asian and that, therefore, it has a distinctive Eurasian
identity of its own. That identity is the legacy of Russia's unique
spatial control over the enormous landmass between Central Europe
and the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the legacy of the imperial
statehood that Moscow forged through four centuries of eastward expansion. That expansion assimilated into Russia a large nonRussian
and non-European population, creating thereby also a singular
Eurasian political and cultural personality.
Eurasianism as a doctrine was not a post-Soviet emanation. It
first surfaced in the nineteenth century but became more pervasive
in the twentieth, as an articulate alternative to Soviet communism
and as a reaction to the alleged decadence of the West.
Russian Emigres were especially active in propagating the doctrine
as an alternative to Sovietism, realizing that the national awakening
of the non-Russians within the Soviet Union required an overarching
supranational doctrine, lest the eventual fall of communism
lead also to the disintegration of the old Great Russian Empire.
As early as the mid-1920s, this case was articulated persuasively
by Prince N. S. Trubetzkoy, a leading exponent of Eurasianism,
who wrote that
[c]ommunism was in fact a disguised version of Europeanism in
destroying the spiritual foundations and national uniqueness
of Russian life, in propagating there the materialist frame of reference
that actually governs both Europe and America ...
Our task is to create a completely new culture, our own culture,
which will not resemble European civilization ... when
Russia ceases to be a distorted reflection of European civilization
... when she becomes once again herself: Russia-Eurasia,
the conscious heir to and bearer of the great legacy of Genghis
That view found an eager audience in the confused post-Soviet
setting. On the one hand, communism was condemned as a betrayal
of Russian orthodoxy and of the special, mystical "Russian
idea"; and on the other, westernism was repudiated because the
West, especially America, was seen as corrupt, anti-Russian culturally,
and inclined to deny to Russia its historically and geographically
rooted claim to exclusive control over the Eurasian
Eurasianism was given an academic gloss in the much-quoted
writings of Lev Gumilev, a historian, geographer, and ethnogra pher, whose books Medieval Russia and the Great Steppe, The
Rhythms of Eurasia, and The Geography ofEthnos in Historical Time
make a powerful case for the proposition that Eurasia is the natural
geographic setting for the Russian people's distinctive "ethnos,"
the consequence of a historic symbiosis between them and
the non-Russian inhabitants of the open steppes, creating thereby
a unique Eurasian cultural and spiritual identity. Gumilev warned
that adaptation to the West would mean nothing less for the Russian
people than the loss of their own "ethnos and soul."
These views were echoed, though more primitively, by a variety
of Russian nationalist politicians. Yeltsin's former vice president,
Aleksandr Rutskoi, for example, asserted that "it is apparent
from looking at our country's geopolitical situation that Russia
represents the only bridge between Asia and Europe. Whoever becomes
the master of this space will become the master of the
 Yeltsin's 1996 Communist challenger, Gennadii Zyuganov,
despite his Marxist-Leninist vocation, embraced Eurasianism's
mystical emphasis on the special spiritual and missionary role of
the Russian people in the vast spaces of Eurasia, arguing that Russia
was thereby endowed both with a unique cultural vocation and
with a specially advantageous geographic basis for the exercise of
global leadership.
A more sober and pragmatic version of Eurasianism was also
advanced by the leader of Kazakstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Faced
at home with an almost even demographic split between native
Kazaks and Russian settlers and seeking a formula that would
somewhat dilute Moscow's pressures for political integration,
Nazarbayev propagated the concept of the "Eurasian Union" as an
alternative to the faceless and ineffective CIS. Although his version
lacked the mystical content of the more traditional Eurasianist
thinking and certainly did not posit a special missionary role for
the Russians as leaders of Eurasia, it was derived from the notion
that Eurasia—denned geographically in terms analogous to that of
the Soviet Union—constituted an organic whole, which must also
have a political dimension.
To a degree, the attempt to assign to the "near abroad" the
highest priority in Russian geopolitical thinking was justified in the sense that some measure of order and accommodation between
postimperial Russia and the newly independent states was an absolute
necessity, in terms of security and economics. However,
what gave much of the discussion a surrealistic touch was the lingering
notion that in some fashion, whether it came about either
voluntarily (because of economics) or as a consequence of Russia's
eventual recovery of its lost power—not to speak of Russia's
special Eurasian or Slavic mission—the political "integration" of
the former empire was both desirable and feasible.
In this regard, the frequently invoked comparison with the EU
neglects a crucial distinction: the EU, even allowing for Germany's
special influence, is not dominated by a single power that alone
overshadows all the other members combined, in relative GNP,
population, or territory. Nor is the EU the successor to a national
empire, with the liberated members deeply suspicious that "integration"
is a code word for renewed subordination. Even so, one
can easily imagine what the reaction of the European states would
have been if Germany had declared formally that its goal was to
consolidate and expand its leading role in the EU along the lines of
Russia's pronouncement of September 1995 cited earlier.
The analogy with the EU suffers from yet another deficiency.
The open and relatively developed Western European economies
were ready for democratic integration, and the majority of Western
Europeans perceived tangible economic and political benefits in
such integration. The poorer West European countries were also
able to benefit from substantial subsidies. In contrast, the newly
independent states viewed Russia as politically unstable, as still
entertaining domineering ambitions, and, economically, as an obstacle
to their participation in the global economy and to their access
to much-needed foreign investment.
Opposition to Moscow's notions of "integration" was particularly
strong in Ukraine. Its leaders quickly recognized that such
"integration," especially in light of Russian reservations regarding
the legitimacy of Ukrainian independence, would eventually lead
to the loss of national sovereignty. Moreover, the heavy-handed
Russian treatment of the new Ukrainian state—its unwillingness to
grant recognition of Ukraine's borders, its questioning of Ukraine's
right to Crimea, its insistence on exclusive extraterritorial control
over the port of Sevastopol—gave the aroused Ukrainian national-ism a distinctively anti-Russian edge. The self-definition of Ukrainian
nationhood, during the critical formative stage in the history of
the new state, was thus diverted from its traditional anti-Polish or
anti-Romanian orientation and became focused instead on opposition
to any Russian proposals for a more integrated CIS, for a special
Slavic community (with Russia and Belarus), or for a Eurasian
Union, deciphering them as Russian imperial tactics.
Ukraine's determination to preserve its independence was encouraged
by external support. Although initially the West, especially
the United States, had been tardy in recognizing the
geopolitical importance of a separate Ukrainian state, by the mid-
1990s both America and Germany had become strong backers of
Kiev's separate identity. In July 1996, the U.S. secretary of defense
declared, "I cannot overestimate the importance of Ukraine as an
independent country to the security and stability of all of Europe,"
while in September, the German chancellor—notwithstanding his
strong support for President Yeltsin—went even further in declaring
that "Ukraine's firm place in Europe can no longer be challenged
by anyone ... No one will be able any more to dispute
Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity." American policy
makers also came to describe the American-Ukrainian relationship
as "a strategic partnership," deliberately invoking the same phrase
used to describe the American-Russian relationship.
Without Ukraine, as already noted, an imperial restoration
based either on the CIS or on Eurasianism was not a viable option.
An empire without Ukraine would eventually mean a Russia that
would become more "Asianized" and more remote from Europe.
Moreover, Eurasianism was also not especially appealing to the
newly independent Central Asians, few of whom were eager for a
new union with Moscow. Uzbekistan became particularly assertive
in supporting Ukraine's objections to any elevation of the CIS into
a supranational entity and in opposing the Russian initiatives designed
to enhance the CIS.
Other CIS states, also wary of Moscow's intentions, tended to
cluster around Ukraine and Uzbekistan in opposing or evading
Moscow's pressures for closer political and military integration.
Moreover, a sense of national consciousness was deepening in almost
alt of the new states, a consciousness increasingly focused
on repudiating past submission to Moscow as colonialism and on eradicating its various legacies. Thus, even the ethnically vulnerable
Kazakstan joined the other Central Asian states in abandoning
the Cyrillic alphabet and replacing it with the Latin script as
adapted earlier by Turkey. In effect, by the mid-1990s a bloc, quietly
led by Ukraine and comprising Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan,
Azerbaijan, and sometimes also Kazakstan, Georgia, and Moldova,
had informally emerged to obstruct Russian efforts to use the CIS
as the tool for political integration.
Ukrainian insistence on only limited and largely economic integration
had the further effect of depriving the notion of a "Slavic
Union" of any practical meaning. Propagated by some Slavophiles
and given prominence by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's support, this
idea automatically became geopolitically meaningless once it was
repudiated by Ukraine. It left Belarus alone with Russia; and it also
implied a possible partition of Kazakstan, with its Russian-populated
northern regions potentially part of such a union. Such an
option was understandably not reassuring to the new rulers of '
Kazakstan and merely intensified the anti-Russian thrust of their
nationalism, In Belarus, a Slavic Union without Ukraine meant
nothing less than incorporation into Russia, thereby also igniting
more volatile feelings of nationalist resentment.
These external obstacles to a "near abroad" policy were powerfully
reinforced by an important internal restraint: the mood of the
Russian people. Despite the rhetoric and the political agitation
among the political elite regarding Russia's special mission in the
space of the former empire, the Russian people—partially out of
sheer fatigue but also out of pure common sense—showed little
enthusiasm for any ambitious program of imperial restoration.
They favored open borders, open trade, freedom of movement,
and special status for the Russian language, but political integration,
especially if it was to involve economic costs or require
bloodshed, evoked little enthusiasm. The disintegration of the
"union" was regretted, its restoration favored; but public reaction
to the war in Chechnya indicated that any policy that went beyond
the application of economic leverage and/or political pressure
would lack popular support.
In brief, the ultimate geopolitical inadequacy of the "near
abroad" priority was that Russia was not strong enough politically
to impose its will and not attractive enough economically to be able to seduce the new states. Russian pressure merely made them
seek more external ties, first and foremost with the West but in
some cases also with China and the key Islamic countries to the
south. When Russia threatened to form its own military bloc in response
to NATO's expansion, it begged the question "With whom?"
And it begged the even more painful answer: at the most, maybe
with Belarus and Tajikistan.
The new states, if anything, were increasingly inclined to distrust
even perfectly legitimate and needed forms of economic integration
with Russia, fearing their potential political consequences.
At the same time, the notions of Russia's alleged Eurasian mission
and of the Slavic mystique served only to isolate Russia further
from Europe and, more generally, from the West, thereby perpetuating
the post-Soviet crisis and delaying the needed modernization
and westernization of Russian society along the lines of what Kemal
Ataturk did in Turkey in the wake of the Ottoman Empire's collapse.
The "near abroad" option thus offered Russia not a geopolitical solution
but a geopolitical illusion.
If not a condominium with America and if not the "near abroad,"
then what other geostrategic option was open to Russia? The failure
of the Western orientation to produce the desired global coequality
with America for a "democratic Russia," which was more
a slogan than reality, caused a letdown among the democrats,
whereas the reluctant recognition that "reintegration" of the old
empire was at best a remote possibility tempted some Russian
geopoliticians to toy with the idea of some sort of counteralliance
aimed at America's hegemonic position in Eurasia.
In early 1996, President Yeltsin replaced his Western-oriented
foreign minister, Kozyrev, with the more experienced but also orthodox
former Communist international specialist Evgenniy Primakov,
whose long-standing interest has been Iran and China.
Some Russian commentators speculated that Primakov's orientation
might precipitate an effort to forge a new "antihegemonic"
coalition, formed around the three powers with the greatest
geopolitical stake in reducing America's primacy in Eurasia. Some
of Primakov's initial travel and comments reinforced that impression.
Moreover, the existing Sino-franian connection in weapons
trade as well as the Russian inclination to cooperate in Iran's efforts to increase its access to nuclear energy seemed to provide a
perfect fit for closer political dialogue and eventual alliance. The
result could, at least theoretically, bring together the world's leading
Slavic power, the world's most militant Islamic power, and the
world's most populated and powerful Asian power, thereby creating
a potent coalition.
The necessary point of departure for any such counterailiance
option involved a renewal of the bilateral Sino-Russian connection,
capitalizing on the resentment among the political elites of both
states over the emergence of America as the only global superpower.
In early 1996, Yeltsin traveled to Beijing and signed a declaration
that explicitly denounced global "hegemonic" tendencies,
thereby implying that the two states would align themselves
against the United States. In December, the Chinese prime minister,
Li Peng, returned the visit, and both sides not only reiterated
their opposition to an international system "dominated by one
power" but also endorsed the reinforcement of existing alliances.
Russian commentators welcomed this development, viewing it as
a positive shift in the global correlation of power and as an appropriate
response to America's sponsorship of NATO's expansion.
Some even sounded gleeful that the Sino-Russian alliance would
give America its deserved comeuppance.
However, a coalition allying Russia with both China and Iran
can develop only if the United States is shortsighted enough to antagonize
China and Iran simultaneously. To be sure, that eventuality
cannot be excluded, and American conduct in 1995-1996
almost seemed consistent with the notion that the United States
was seeking an antagonistic relationship with both Teheran and
Beijing. However, neither Iran nor China was prepared to cast its
lot strategically with a Russia that was both unstable and weak.
Both realized that any such coalition, once it went beyond some
occasional tactical orchestration, would risk their respective access
to the more advanced world, with its exclusive capacity for
investment and with its needed cutting-edge technology. Russia
had too little to offer to make it a truly worthy partner in an antihegemonic
In fact, lacking any shared ideology and united merely by an
"antihegemonic" emotion, any such coalition would be essentially
an alliance of a part of the Third World against the most advanced portions of the First World. None of its members would gain much,
and China especially would risk losing its enormous investment inflows.
For Russia, too, "the phantom of a Russia-China alliance ...
would sharply increase the chances that Russia would once again
become restricted from Western technology and capital," as a critical
Russian geopolitician noted.8
 The alignment would eventually
condemn all of its participants, whether two or three in number, to
prolonged isolation and shared backwardness.
Moreover, China would be the senior partner in any serious
Russian effort to jell such an "antihegemonic" coalition. Being
more populous, more industrious, more innovative, more dynamic,
and harboring some potential territorial designs on Russia,
China would inevitably consign Russia to the status of a junior
partner, while at the same time lacking the means (and probably
any real desire) to help Russia overcome its backwardness. Russia
would thus become a buffer between an expanding Europe and an
expansionist China.
Finally, some Russian foreign affairs experts continued to entertain
the hope that a stalemate in European integration, including
perhaps internal Western disagreements over the future shape of
NATO, might eventually create at least tactical opportunities for a
Russo-German or a Russo-French flirtation, in either case to the
detriment of Europe's transatlantic connection with America. This
perspective was hardly new, for throughout the Cold War, Moscow
periodically tried to play either the German or the French card.
Nonetheless, it was not unreasonable for some of Moscow's
geopoliticians to calculate that a stalemate in European affairs
could create tactical openings that might be exploited to America's
But that is about all that could thereby be attained: purely tactical
options. Neither France nor Germany is likely to forsake the
American connection. An occasional flirtation, especially with the
French, focused on some narrow issue, cannot be excluded—but a
geopolitical reversal of alliances would have to be preceded by a
massive upheaval in European affairs, a breakdown in European
unification and in transatlantic ties. And even then, it is unlikely that the European states would be inclined to pursue a truly comprehensive
geopolitical alignment with a disoriented Russia.
Thus, none of the counteralliance options, in the final analysis,
offer a viable alternative. The solution to Russia's new geopolitical
dilemmas will not be found in counteralliance, nor will it come
about through the illusion of a coequal strategic partnership with
America or in the effort to create some new politically and economically
"integrated" structure in the space of the former Soviet
Union. All evade the only choice that is in fact open to Russia.
Russia's only real geostrategic option—the option that could give
Russia a realistic international role and also maximize the opportunity
of transforming and socially modernizing itself—is Europe.
And not just any Europe, but the transatlantic Europe of the enlarging
EU and NATO. Such a Europe is taking shape, as we have
seen in chapter 3, and it is also likely to remain linked closely to
America. That is the Europe to which Russia will have to relate, if it
is to avoid dangerous geopolitical isolation.
For America, Russia is much too weak to be a partner but still
too strong to be simply its patient. It is more likely to become a
problem, unless America fosters a setting that helps to convince
the Russians that the best choice for their country is an increasingly
organic connection with a transatlantic Europe. Although a
long-term Russo-Chinese and Russo-Iranian strategic alliance is
not likely, it is obviously important for America to avoid policies
that could distract Russia from making the needed geopolitical
choice. To the extent possible, American relations with China and
Iran should, therefore, be formulated with their impact on Russian
geopolitical calculations also kept in mind. Perpetuating illusions
regarding grand geostrategic options can only delay the historic
choice that Russia must make in order to bring to an end its deep
Only a Russia that is willing to accept the new realities of Europe,
both economic and geopolitical, will be able to benefit internally
from the enlarging scope of transcontinental European
cooperation in commerce, communications, investment, and edu-cation. Russia's participation in the Council of Europe is thus a
step very much in the right direction. It is a foretaste of further institutional
links between the new Russia and the growing Europe.
It also implies that if Russia pursues this path, it will have no
choice other than eventually to emulate the course chosen by
post-Ottoman Turkey, when it decided to shed its imperial ambitions
and embarked very deliberately on the road of modernization,
Europeanization, and democratization.
No other option can offer Russia the benefits that a modern,
rich, and democratic Europe linked to. America can. Europe and
America are not a threat to a Russia that is a nonexpansive national
and democratic state. They have no territorial designs on Russia,
which China someday might have, nor do they share an insecure
and potentially violent frontier, which is certainly the case with
Russia's ethnically and territorially unclear border with the Muslim
nations to the south. On the contrary, for Europe as well as for
America, a national and democratic Russia is a geopolitically desirable
entity, a source of stability in the volatile Eurasian complex.
Russia consequently faces the dilemma that the choice in favor
of Europe and America, in order for it to yield tangible benefits, requires,
first of all, a clear-cut abjuration of the imperial past and,
second, no tergiversation regarding the enlarging Europe's political
and security links with America. The first requirement means
accommodation to the geopolitical pluralism that has come to
prevail in the space of the former Soviet Union. Such accommodation
does not exclude economic cooperation, rather on the model
of the old European Free Trade Area, but it cannot include limits on
the political sovereignty of the new states—for the simple reason
that they do not wish it. Most important in that respect is the need
for clear and unambiguous acceptance by Russia of Ukraine's separate
existence, of its borders, and of its distinctive national identity.
The second requirement may be even more difficult to swallow.
A truly cooperative relationship with the transatlantic community
cannot be based on the notion that those democratic states of Europe
that wish to be part of it can be excluded because of a Russian
say-so. The expansion of that community need not be rushed,
and it certainly should not be promoted on an anti-Russian theme.
But neither can it, nor should it, be halted by a political fiat that itself
reflects an antiquated notion of European security relations. An expanding and democratic Europe has to be an open-ended historical
process, not subject to politically arbitrary geographic limits.
For many Russians, the dilemma of the one alternative may at
first, and for some time to come, be too difficult to resolve. It will
require an enormous act of political will and perhaps also an outstanding
leader, capable of making the choice and articulating the
vision of a democratic, national, truly modern and European Russia.
That may not happen for some time. Overcoming the post Communist
and postimperial crises will require not only more
time than is the case with the post-Communist transformation of
Central Europe but also the emergence of a farsighted and stable
political leadership. No Russian Ataturk is now in sight. Nonetheless,
Russians will eventually have to come to recognize that Russia's
national redefinition is not an act of capitulation but one of
 They will have to accept that what Yeltsin said in Kiev
in 1990 about a nonimperial future for Russia was absolutely on
the mark. And a genuinely nonimperial Russia will still be a great
power, spanning Eurasia, the world's largest territorial unit by far.
In any case, a redefinition of "What is Russia and where is Russia"
will probably occur only by stages, and it will require a wise
and firm Western posture. America and Europe will have to help.
They should offer Russia not only a special treaty or charter with
NATO, but they should also begin the process of exploring with
Russia the shaping of an eventual transcontinental system of security
and cooperation that goes considerably beyond the loose
structure of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE). And if Russia consolidates its internal democratic institutions
and makes tangible progress in free-market-based
economic development, its ever-closer association with NATO and
the EU should not be ruled out.
At the same time, it is equally important for the West, especially
for America, to pursue policies that perpetuate the dilemma
of the one alternative for Russia. The political and economic stabilization
of the new post-Soviet states is a major factor in necessitating
Russia's historical self-redefinition. Hence, support for the new post-Soviet states—for geopolitical pluralism in the space of
the former Soviet empire—has to be an integral part of a policy designed
to induce Russia to exercise unambiguously its European
option. Among these states, three are geopolitically especially important:
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.
An independent Azerbaijan can serve as a corridor for Western
access to the energy-rich Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia. Conversely,
a subdued Azerbaijan would mean that Central Asia can
be sealed off from the outside world and thus rendered politically
vulnerable to Russian pressures for reiritegration. Uzbekistan, nationally
the most vital and the most populous of the Central Asian
states, represents a major obstacle to any renewed Russian control
over the region. Its independence is critical to the survival of
the other Central Asian states, and it is the least vulnerable to
Russian pressures.
Most important, however, is Ukraine. As the EU and NATO expand,
Ukraine will eventually be in the position to choose whether
it wishes to be part of either organization. It is likely that, in order
to reinforce its separate status, Ukraine will wish to join both, once
they border upon it and once its own internal transformation begins
to qualify it for membership. Although that will take time, it is
not too early for the West—while further enhancing its economic
and security ties with Kiev—to begin pointing to the decade
2005-2015 as a reasonable time frame for the initiation of Ukraine's
progressive inclusion, thereby reducing the risk that the Ukrainians
may fear that Europe's expansion will halt on the PolishUkrainian
Russia, despite its protestations, is likely to acquiesce in the
expansion of NATO in 1999 to include several Central European
countries, because the cultural and social gap between Russia and
Central Europe has widened so much since the fall of communism.
By contrast, Russia will find it incomparably harder to acquiesce in
Ukraine's accession to NATO, for to do so would be to acknowledge
that Ukraine's destiny is no longer organically linked to Russia's.
Yet if Ukraine is to survive as an independent state, it will
have to become part of Central Europe rather than Eurasia, and if
it is to be part of Central Europe, then it will have to partake fully
of Central Europe's links to NATO and the European Union. Russia's
acceptance of these links would then define Russia's own decision to be also truly a part of Europe. Russia's refusal would be tantamount
to the rejection of Europe in favor of a solitary "Eurasian"
identity and existence.
The key point to bear in mind is that Russia cannot be in Europe
without Ukraine also being in Europe, whereas Ukraine can
be in Europe without Russia being in Europe. Assuming that Russia
decides to cast its lot with Europe, it follows that ultimately it is in
Russia's own interest that Ukraine be included in the expanding
European structures. Indeed, Ukraine's relationship to Europe
could be the turning point for Russia itself. But that also means
that the defining moment for Russia's relationship to Europe is still
some time off—"defining" in the sense that Ukraine's choice in favor
of Europe will bring to a head Russia's decision regarding the
next phase of its history: either to be a part of Europe as well or to
become a Eurasian outcast, neither truly of Europe nor Asia and
mired in its "near abroad" conflicts.
It is to be hoped that a cooperative relationship between an enlarging
Europe and Russia can move from formal bilateral links to
more organic and binding economic, political, and security ties. In
that manner, in the course of the first two decades of the next century,
Russia could increasingly become an integral part of a Europe
that embraces not only Ukraine but reaches to the Urals and even
beyond. An association or even some form of membership for Russia
in the European and transatlantic structures would in turn
open the doors to the inclusion of the three Caucasian countries—
Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan—that so desperately aspire to a
European connection.
One cannot predict how fast that process can move, but one
thing is certain: it will move faster if a geopolitical context is
shaped that propels Russia in that direction, while foreclosing
other temptations. And the faster Russia moves toward Europe,
the sooner the black hole of Eurasia will be filled by a society that
is increasingly modern and democratic. Indeed, for Russia the
dilemma of the one alternative is no longer a matter of making a
geopolitical choice but of facing up to the imperatives of survival.

'In "Our Security Predicament," Foreign Policy 88 (Fall 1992):60.

2Aleksandr Prokhanov. "Tragedy of Centralism," Literaturnaya Rossiya,
January 1990, pp. 4-5.

'A. Bogaturov and V. Kremenyuk (both senior scholars in the Institute of
the United States and Canada), in "The Americans Themselves Will Never
Stop," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 28, 1996

EN. S. Trubetzkoy. "The Legacy of Genghis Khan," Cross Currents 9

Interview with {.'Espresso (Rome), July 15, 1994.

"Aleksei Bogaturov. "Current Relations and Prospects for Interaction Between
Russia and the United States," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 28,1996.

'In early 1996, General AJeksandr Lebed published a remarkable article
("The Fading of Empire or the Rebirth of Russia," Segodnya, April 26, 1996)
that went a long way toward making that case.

The Eurasian BalkansI
N EUROPE, THE WORD "BALKANS" conjures up images of ethnic
conflicts and great-power regional rivalries. Eurasia, too, has its
"Balkans," but the Eurasian Balkans are much larger, more populated,
even more religiously and ethnically heterogeneous. They
are located within that large geographic oblong that demarcates
the central zone of global instability identified in chapter 2 and
that embraces portions of southeastern Europe, Central Asia and
parts of South Asia, the Persian Gulf area, and the Middle East.
The Eurasian Balkans form the inner core of that large oblong
(see map on page 124), and they differ from its outer zone in one
particularly significant way: they are a power vacuum. Although
most of the states located in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East
are also unstable, American power is that region's ultimate arbiter.
The unstable region in the outer zone is thus an area of single
power hegemony and is tempered by that hegemony. In contrast,
the Eurasian Balkans are truly reminiscent of the older, more familiar
Balkans of southeastern Europe: not only are its political entities
unstable but they tempt and invite the intrusion of more
powerful neighbors, each of whom is determined to oppose the re-gion's domination by another. It is this familiar combination of a
power vacuum and power suction that justifies the appellation
"Eurasian Balkans."
The traditional Balkans represented a potential geopolitical
prize in the struggle for European supremacy. The Eurasian
Balkans, astride the inevitably emerging transportation network
meant to link more directly Eurasia's richest and most industrious
western and eastern extremities, are also geopolitically significant.
Moreover, they are of importance from the standpoint of security
and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate
and more powerful neighbors, namely, Russia, Turkey, and Iran,
with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region.
But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a
potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural
gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important
minerals, including gold.
The world's energy consumption is bound to vastly increase
over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department
of Energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more
than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant
increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum
of Asia's economic development is already generating massive
pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of
energy, and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are
known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those
of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea.
Access to that resource and sharing in its potential wealth represent
objectives that stir national ambitions, motivate corporate
interests, rekindle historical claims, revive imperial aspirations,
and fuel international rivalries. The situation is made all the more
volatile by the fact that the region is not only a power vacuum but
is also internally unstable. Every one of its countries suffers from
serious internal difficulties, all of them have frontiers that are either
the object of claims by neighbors or are zones of ethnic resentment,
few are nationally homogeneous, and some are already
embroiled in territorial, ethnic, or religious violence.
The Eurasian Balkans include nine countries that one way or another
fit the foregoing description, with two others as potential
candidates. The nine are Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia—all of
them formerly part of the defunct Soviet Union—as well as
Afghanistan. The potential additions to the list are Turkey and
Iran, both of them much more politically and economically viable,
both active contestants for regional influence within the Eurasian
Balkans, and thus both significant geostrategic players in the region.
At the same time, both are potentially vulnerable to internal
ethnic conflicts. If either or both of them were to be destabilized,
the internal problems of the region would become unmanageable,
while efforts to restrain regional domination by Russia could even
become futile.
The three states of the Caucasus—Armenia, Georgia, and Azer-baijan—can be said to be based on truly historic nations. As a result,
their nationalisms tend to be both pervasive and intense,
and external conflicts have tended to be the key challenge to their
well-being. The five new Central Asian states, by contrast, can be
said to be rather more in the nation-building phase, with tribal
and ethnic identities still strong, making internal dissension the
major difficulty. In either type of state, these vulnerabilities have
tempted exploitation by their more powerful and imperially
minded neighbors.
The Eurasian Balkans are an ethnic mosaic (see preceding table
and map), The frontiers of its states were drawn arbitrarily by Soviet
cartographers in the 1920s and 1930s, when the respective Soviet
republics were formally established. (Afghanistan, never
having been part of the Soviet Union, is the exception.) Their borders
were carved out largely on the ethnic principle, but they also
reflected the Kremlin's interest in keeping the southern region of
the Russian Empire internally divided and thus more subservient.
Accordingly, Moscow rejected proposals by Central Asian nationalists
to meld the various Central Asian peoples (most of
whom were not yet nationalistically motivated) into a single political
unit—to be called "Turkestan"—preferring instead to create
five separate "republics," each with a distinctive new name and jigsaw
borders. Presumably out of a similar calculation, the Kremlin
abandoned plans for a single Caucasian federation. Therefore, it is
not surprising that, upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, neither
the three states of the Caucasus nor the five states of Central Asia
were fully prepared for their newly independent status nor for the
needed regional cooperation.
In the Caucasus, Armenia's less than 4 million people and Azerbaijan's
more than 8 million promptly became embroiled in open
warfare over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, a largely Armenianpopulated
enclave within Azerbaijan. The conflict generated largescale
ethnic cleansings, with hundreds of thousands of refugees
and expellees fleeing in both directions. Given the fact that Armenia
is Christian and Azerbaijan Muslim, the war has some overtones
of a religious conflict. The economically devastating war
made it much more difficult for either country to establish itself as
stably independent. Armenia was driven to rely more on Russia,
which had provided significant military help, while Azerbaijan's new independence and internal stability were compromised by the
loss of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan's vulnerability has wider regional implications because
the country's location makes it a geopolitical pivot. It can
be described as the vitally important "cork" controlling access to
the "bottle" that contains the riches of the Caspian Sea basin and
Central Asia. An independent, Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan, with
pipelines running from it to the ethnically related and politically
supportive Turkey, would prevent Russia from exercising a monopoly
on access to the region and would thus also deprive Russia
of decisive political leverage over the policies of the new
Central Asian states. Yet Azerbaijan is very vulnerable to pressures
from powerful Russia to the north and from Iran to the
south. There are twice as many Azeris—some estimate as many
as 20 million—living in northwestern Iran as in Azerbaijan
proper. That reality makes Iran fearful of potential separatism
among its Azeris and hence quite ambivalent regarding Azerbaijan's
sovereign status, despite the two nations' shared Muslim
faith. As a result, Azerbaijan has become the object of combined
Russian and Iranian pressures to restrict its dealings with the
Unlike either Armenia or Azerbaijan, both of which are ethnically
quite homogeneous, about 30 percent of Georgia's 6 million
people are minorities. Moreover, these small communities, rather
tribal in organization and identity, have intensely resented Georgian
domination. Upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Ossetians
and the Abkhazians therefore took advantage of internal
Georgian political strife to attempt secession, which Russia quietly
backed in order to compel Georgia to accede to Russian pressures
to remain within the CIS (from which Georgia initially wanted to secede
altogether) and to accept Russian military bases on Georgian
soil in order to seal the area off from Turkey.
In Central Asia, internal factors have been more significant in
promoting instability. Culturally and linguistically, four of the five
newly independent Central Asian states are part of the Turkic
world. Tajikistan is linguistically and culturally Persian, while
Afghanistan (outside of the former Soviet Union) is a Pathan, Tajik,
Pashtun, and Persian ethnic mosaic. All six countries are Muslim.
Most of them, over the years, were under the passing influence of the Persian, Turkish, and Russian empires, but that experience has
not served to foster a spirit of a shared regional interest among
them. On the contrary, their diverse ethnic composition makes
them vulnerable to internal and external conflicts, which cumulatively
tempt intrusion by more powerful neighbors.
Of the five newly independent Central Asian states, Kazakstan
and Uzbekistan are the most important. Regionally, Kazakstan is
the shield and Uzbekistan is the soul for the region's diverse national
awakenings. Kazakstan's geographic size and location shelter
the others from direct Russian * physical pressure, since
Kazakstan alone borders on Russia. However, its population of
about 18 million is approximately 35 percent Russian (the Russian
population throughout the area is steadily declining), with another
20 percent also non-Kazak, a fact that has made it much more difficult
for the new Kazak rulers—themselves increasingly nationalistic
but representing only about one-half of the country's total
population—to pursue the goal of nation building on the basis of
ethnicity and language.
The Russians residing in the new state are naturally resentful of
the new Kazak leadership, and being the formerly ruling colonial
class and thus also better educated and situated, they are fearful
of the loss of privilege. Furthermore, they tend to view the new
Kazak nationalism with barely concealed cultural disdain. With
both the northwestern and northeastern regions of Kazakstan
heavily dominated by Russian colonists, Kazakstan would face the
danger of territorial secession if Kazak-Russian relations were to
deteriorate seriously. At the same time, several hundred thousand
Kazaks reside on the Russian side of the state borders and in
northeastern Uzbekistan, the state that the Kazaks view as their
principal rival for Central Asian leadership.
Uzbekistan is, in fact, the prime candidate for regional leadership
in Central Asia. Although smaller in size and iess endowed
with natural resources than Kazakstan, it has a larger population
(nearly 25 million) and, much more important, a considerably
more homogeneous population than Kazakstan's. Given higher indigenous
birthrates and the gradual exodus of the formerly dominant
Russians, soon about 75 percent of its people will be Uzbek,
with only an insignificant Russian minority remaining largely in
Tashkent, the capital.

Moreover, the country's political elite deliberately identifies
the new state as the direct descendant of the vast medieval empire
of Tamerlane (1336-1404), whose capital, Samarkand, became the
region's renowned center for the study of religion, astronomy, and
the arts. This lineage imbues modern Uzbekistan with a deeper
sense of historical continuity and regional mission than its neighbors.
Indeed, some Uzbek leaders see Uzbekistan as the national
core of a single Central Asian entity, presumably with Tashkent as
its capital. More than in any of the other Central Asian states,
Uzbekistan's political elite and increasingly also its people, already
partake of the subjective makings of a modern nation-state and are
determined—domestic difficulties notwithstanding—never to revert
to colonial status.
That condition makes Uzbekistan both the leader in fostering a
sense of post-ethnic modern nationalism and an object of some uneasiness
among its neighbors. Even as the Uzbek leaders set the
pace in nation building and in the advocacy of greater regional selfsufficiency,
the country's relatively greater national homogeneity
and more intense national consciousness inspire fear among the
rulers of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and even Kazakstan
that Uzbek regional leadership could evolve into Uzbek regional
domination. That concern inhibits regional cooperation
among the newly sovereign states—which is not encouraged by
the Russians in any case—and perpetuates regional vulnerability.
However, like the others, Uzbekistan is not entirely free of ethnic
tensions. Parts of southern Uzbekistan, particularly around the
historically and culturally important centers of Samarkand and
Bukhara, have significant Tajik populations, which remain resentful
of the frontiers drawn by Moscow. Complicating matters further
is the presence of Uzbeks in western Tajikistan and of both
Uzbeks and Tajiks in Kyrgyzstan's economically important Fergana
Valley (where in recent years bloody ethnic violence has erupted),
not to mention the presence of Uzbeks in northern Afghanistan.
Of the other three Central Asian states that have emerged from
Russian colonial rule—Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—
only the third is relatively cohesive ethnically. Approximately 75
percent of its 4.5 million people are Turkmen, with Uzbeks and
Russians each accounting for less than 10 percent. Turkmenistan's
shielded geographic location makes it relatively remote from Rus-
sia, with Uzbekistan and Iran of far greater geopolitical relevance
to the country's future. Once pipelines to the area have been developed,
Turkmenistan's truly vast natural gas reserves augur a
prosperous future for the country's people.
Kyrgyzstan's 5 million people are much more diverse. The Kyrgyz
themselves account for about 55 percent of the total and the
Uzbeks for about 13 percent, with the Russians lately dropping
from over 20 percent to slightly over 15 percent. Prior to independence,
the Russians largely composed the technical-engineering
intelligentsia, and their exodus has hurt the country's economy.
Although rich in minerals and endowed with a natural beauty that
has led some to describe the country as the Switzerland of Central
Asia (and thus potentially as a new tourist frontier), Kyrgyzstan's
geopolitical location, squeezed between China and Kazakstan,
makes it highly dependent on the degree to which Kazakstan itself
succeeds in maintaining its independence.
Tajikistan is only somewhat more ethnically homogeneous. Of
its 6.5 million people, fewer than two-thirds are Tajik and more
than 25 percent are Uzbek (who are viewed with some hostility
by the Tajiks), while the remaining Russians account for only
about 3 percent. However, as elsewhere, even the dominant ethnic
community is sharply—even violently—divided along tribal
lines, with modern nationalism confined largely to the urban political
elite. As a result, independence has produced not only civil
strife but a convenient excuse for Russia to continue deploying
its army in the country. The ethnic situation is even further complicated
by the large presence of Tajiks across the border, in
northeastern Afghanistan. In fact, almost as many ethnic Tajiks
live in Afghanistan as in Tajikistan, another factor that serves to
undermine regional stability.
Afghanistan's current state of disarray is likewise a Soviet
legacy, even though the country is not a former Soviet republic.
Fragmented by the Soviet occupation and the prolonged guerrilla
warfare conducted against it, Afghanistan is a nation-state in name
only. Its 22 million people have become sharply divided along ethnic
lines, with growing divisions among the country's Pashtuns,
Tajiks, and Hazaras. At the same time, the jihad against the Russian
occupiers has made religion the dominant dimension of the
country's political life, infusing dogmatic fervor into already sharp political differences. Afghanistan thus has to be seen not only as a
part of the Central Asian ethnic conundrum but also as politically
very much part of the Eurasian Balkans.
Although all of the formerly Soviet Central Asian states, as well
as Azerbaijan, are populated predominantly by Muslims, their political
elites—still largely the products of the Soviet era—are almost
uniformly nonreligious in outlook and the states are formally
secular. However, as their populations shift from a primarily traditional
clannish or tribal identity to a more modern national awareness,
they are likely to become imbued with an intensifying Islamic
consciousness. In fact, an Islamic revival—already abetted from
the outside not only by Iran but also by Saudi Arabia—is likely to
become the mobilizing impulse for the increasingly pervasive new
nationalisms, determined to oppose any reintegration under Russian—and
hence infidel—control.
Indeed, the process of Isiamization is likely to prove contagious
also to the Muslims who have remained within Russia proper. They
number about 20 million—more than twice the number of disaffected
Russians (circa 9.5 million) who continue to live under foreign
rule in the independent Central Asian states. The Russian
Muslims thus account for about 13 percent of Russia's population,
and it is almost inevitable that they will become more assertive in
claiming their rights to a distinctive religious and political identity.
Even if that claim does not take the form of a quest for outright independence,
as it has in Chechnya, it will overlap with the dilemmas
that Russia, given its recent imperial involvement and the
Russian minorities in the new states, will continue to face in Central
Gravely increasing the instability of the Eurasian Balkans and
making the situation potentially much more explosive is the fact
that two of the adjoining major nation-states, each with a historically
imperial, cultural, religious, and economic interest in the region—namely,
Turkey and Iran—are themselves volatile in their
geopolitical orientation and are internally potentially vulnerable.
Were these two states to become destabilized, it is quite likely that
the entire region would be plunged into massive disorder, with the
ongoing ethnic and territorial conflicts spinning out of control and
the region's already delicate balance of power severely disrupted.
Accordingly, Turkey and Iran are not only important geostrategic players but are also geopolitical pivots, whose own internal condition
is of critical importance to the fate of the region. Both are middle-sized
powers, with strong regional aspirations and a sense of
their historical significance. Yet the future geopolitical orientation
and even the national cohesion of both states remains uncertain.
Turkey, a postimperial state still in the process of redefining its
identity, is pulled in three directions: the modernists would like to
see it become a European state and thus look to the west; the Islamists
lean in the direction of the Middle East and a Muslim community
and thus look to the south; and the historically minded
nationalists see in the Turkic peoples of the Caspian Sea basin and
Central Asia a new mission for a regionally dominant Turkey and
thus look eastward. Each of these perspectives posits a different
strategic axis, and the clash between them introduces for the first
time since the Kemalist revolution a measure of uncertainty regarding
Turkey's regional role.
Moreover, Turkey itself could become at least a partial victim
of the region's ethnic conflicts. Although its population of about 65
million is predominantly Turkish, with about 80 percent Turkic
stock (though including a variety of Circassians, Albanians, Bosnians,
Bulgarians, and Arabs), as much as 20 percent or perhaps
even more are Kurdish. Concentrated in the country's eastern regions,
the Turkish Kurds have increasingly been drawn into the
struggle for national independence waged by the Iraqi and Iranian
Kurds. Any internal tensions within Turkey regarding the country's
overall direction would doubtless encourage the Kurds to press
even more violently for a separate national status.
Iran's future orientation is even more problematic. The fundamentalist
Shiite revolution that triumphed in the late 1970s may be
entering its "Thermidorian" phase, and that heightens the uncertainty
regarding Iran's geostrategic role. On the one hand, the collapse
of the atheistic Soviet Union opened up Iran's newly
independent northern neighbors to religious proselytizing but, on
the other, Iran's hostility to the United States has inclined Teheran
to adopt at least a tactically pro-Moscow orientation, reinforced by
Iran's concerns regarding the impact on its own cohesion of Azerbaijan's
new independence.
That concern is derived from Iran's vulnerability to ethnic tensions.
Of the country's 65 million people (almost identical in num-ber to Turkey's), only somewhat more than one-half are Persians.
Roughly one-fourth are Azeri, and the remainder include Kurds,
Baluchis, Turkmens, Arabs, and other tribes. Outside of the Kurds
and the Azeris, the others at present do not have the capacity to
threaten Iran's national integrity, especially given the high degree
of national, even imperial, consciousness among the Persians. But
that could change quite quickly, particularly in the event of a new
political crisis in Iranian politics.
Furthermore, the very fact that several newly independent
"stans" now exist in the area and that even the 1 million Chechens
have been able to assert their political aspirations is bound to
have an infectious effect on the Kurds as well as on all the other
ethnic minorities in Iran. If Azerbaijan succeeds in stable political
and economic development, the Iranian Azeris will probably become
increasingly committed to the idea of a greater Azerbaijan.
Thus, political instability and divisions in Teheran could expand
into a challenge to the cohesion of the Iranian state, thereby dramatically
extending the scope and increasing the stakes of what is
involved in the Eurasian Balkans.
The traditional Balkans of Europe involved head-on competition
among three imperial rivals: the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, and the Russian Empire. There were also three indirect
participants who were concerned that their European interests
would be adversely affected by the victory of a particular protagonist:
Germany feared Russian power, France opposed Austria-Hungary,
and Great Britain preferred to see a weakening Ottoman
Empire in control of the Dardanelles than the emergence of any one
of the other major contestants in control of the Balkans. In the
course of the nineteenth century, these powers managed to contain
Balkan conflicts without prejudice to anyone's vital interests, but
they failed to do so in 1914, with disastrous consequences for all.
Today's competition within the Eurasian Balkans also directly
involves three neighboring powers: Russia, Turkey, and Iran,
though China may eventually become a major protagonist as well.
Also involved in the competition, but more remotely, are Ukraine, Pakistan, India, and the distant America. Each of the three principal
and most directly engaged contestants is driven not only by
the prospect of future geopolitical and economic benefits but also
by strong historical impulses. Each was at one time or another either
the politically or the culturally dominant power in the region.
Each views the others with suspicion. Although head-on warfare
among them is unlikely, the cumulative impact of their external rivalry
could contribute to regional chaos.
In the case of the Russians, the attitude of hostility to the Turks
verges on the obsessive. The Russian media portrays the Turks as
bent on control over the region, as instigators of local resistance
to Russia (with some justification in the case of Chechnya), and as
threatening Russia's overall security to a degree that is altogether
out of proportion to Turkey's actual capabilities. The Turks reciprocate
in kind and view their role as that of liberators of their
brethren from prolonged Russian oppression. The Turks and the
Iranians (Persians) have also been historical rivals in the region,
and that rivalry has in recent years been revived, with Turkey projecting
the image of a modern and secular alternative to the Iranian
concept of an Islamic society.
Although each of the three can be said to seek at least a sphere
of influence, in the case of Russia, Moscow's ambitions have a
much broader sweep because of the relatively fresh memories of
imperial control, the presence in the area of several million Russians,
and the Kremlin's desire to reinstate Russia as a major
global power. Moscow's foreign policy statements have made it
plain that it views the entire space of the former Soviet Union as a
zone of the Kremlin's special geostrategic interest, from which outside
political—and even economic—influence should be excluded.
In contrast, although Turkish aspirations for regional influence
retain some vestiges of an imperial, albeit more dated, past (the
Ottoman Empire reached its apogee in 1590 with the conquest of
the Caucasus and Azerbaijan, though it did not include Central
Asia), they tend to be more rooted in an ethnic-linguistic sense of
identity with the Turkic peoples of the area (see map on page 137).
Given Turkey's much more limited political and military power, a
sphere of exclusive political influence is simply unattainable.
Rather, Turkey sees itself as potential leader of a loose Turkicspeaking
community, taking advantage to that end of its appealin relative modernity, its linguistic affinity, and its economic means to
establish itself as the most influential force in the nation-building
processes underway in the area.
Iran's aspirations are vaguer still, but in the long run no less
threatening to Russia's ambitions. The Persian Empire is a much
more distant memory. At its peak, circa 500 B.C., it embraced the
current territory of the three Caucasian states, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, as well as Turkey,
Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Although Iran's current geopolitical
aspirations are narrower than Turkey's, pointing mainly at
Azerbaijan and Afghanistan, the entire Muslim population in the
area—even within Russia itself—is the object of Iranian religious
interest. Indeed, the revival of Islam in Central Asia has become an
organic part of the aspirations of Iran's current rulers.
The competitive interests of Russia, Turkey, and Iran are represented
on the map on page 138: in the case of the geopolitical thrust of Russia, by two arrows pointing directly south at Azerbaijan
and Kazakstan; in Turkey's case, by a single arrow pointing
eastward through Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea at Central Asia;
and in Iran's case, by two arrows aiming northward at Azerbaijan
and northeast at Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. These
arrows not only crisscross; they can collide.
At this stage, China's role is more limited and its goals less evident.
It stands to reason that China prefers to face a collection of
relatively independent states in the West rather than a Russian
Empire. At a minimum, the new states serve as a buffer, but China
is also anxious that its own Turkic minorities in Xinjiang Province
might see in the newly independent Central Asian states an attractive
example for themselves, and for that reason, China has sought
assurances from Kazakstan that cross-border minority activism
will be suppressed. In the long run, the energy resources of the region
are bound to be of special interest to Beijing, and direct ac-cess to them, not subject to Moscow's control, has to be China's
central goal. Thus, the overall geopolitical interest of China tends
to clash with Russia's quest for a dominant role and is complementary
to Turkish and Iranian aspirations.
For Ukraine, the central issues are the future character of the
CIS and freer access to energy sources, which would lessen
Ukraine's dependence on Russia. In that regard, closer relations
with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have become important
to Kiev, with Ukrainian support for the more independentminded
states being an extension of Ukraine's efforts to enhance its
own independence from Moscow. Accordingly, Ukraine has supported
Georgia's efforts to become the westward route for Azeri oil
exports. Ukraine has also collaborated with Turkey in order to
weaken Russian influence in the Black Sea and has supported Turkish
efforts to direct oil flows from Central Asia to Turkish terminals.
The involvement of Pakistan and India is more remote still, but
neither is indifferent to what may be transpiring in these new
Eurasian Balkans. For Pakistan, the primary interest is to gain
geostrategic depth through political influence in Afghanistan—and
to deny to Iran the exercise of such influence in Afghanistan and
Tajikistan—and to benefit eventually from any pipeline construction
linking Central Asia with the Arabian Sea. India, in reaction to Pakistan
and possibly concerned about China's long-range influence in
the region, views Iranian influence in Afghanistan and a greater
Russian presence in the former Soviet space more favorably.
Although distant, the United States, with its stake in the maintenance
of geopolitical pluralism in post-Soviet Eurasia, looms in
the background as an increasingly important if indirect player,
clearly interested not only in developing the region's resources but
also in preventing Russia from exclusively dominating the region's
geopolitical space. In so doing, America is not only pursuing its
larger Eurasian geostrategic goals but is also representing its own
growing economic interest, as well as that of Europe and the Far
East, in gaining unlimited access to this hitherto closed area.
Thus, at stake in this conundrum are geopolitical power, access
to potentially great wealth, the fulfillment of national and/or religious
missions, and security. The particular focus of the contest,
however, is on access. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, access
to the region was monopolized by Moscow. All rail transport,gas and oil pipelines, and even air travel were channeled through
the center. Russian geopoliticians would prefer it to remain so,
since they know that whoever either controls or dominates access
to the region is the one most likely to win the geopolitical and economic
It is this consideration that has made the pipeline issue so central
to the future of the Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia. If the
main pipelines to the region continue to pass through Russian territory
to the Russian outlet on the Black Sea at Novorossiysk, the
political consequences of this condition will make themselves felt,
even without any overt Russian power plays. The region will remain
a political dependency, with Moscow in a strong position to
determine how the region's new wealth is to be shared. Conversely,
if another pipeline crosses the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan
and thence to the Mediterranean through Turkey and if one more
goes to the Arabian Sea through Afghanistan, no single power will
have monopoly over access.
The troubling fact is that some elements in the Russian political
elite act as if they prefer that the area's resources not be developed
at all if Russia cannot have complete control over access. Let
the wealth remain unexploited if the alternative is that foreign investment
will lead to more direct presence by foreign economic,
and thus also political, interests. That proprietary attitude is
rooted in history, and it will take time and outside pressures before
it changes.
The Tsarist expansion into the Caucasus and Central Asia occurred
over a period of about three hundred years, but its recent
end was shockingly abrupt. As the Ottoman Empire declined in vitality,
the Russian Empire pushed southward, along the shores of
the Caspian Sea toward Persia. It seized the Astrakhan khanate in
1556 and reached Persia by 1607. It conquered Crimea during
1774-1784, then took over the kingdom of Georgia in 1801 and
overwhelmed the tribes astride the Caucasian mountain range
(with the Chechens resisting with unique tenacity) during the second
half of the 1800s, completing the takeover of Armenia by 1878.
The conquest of Central Asia was less a matter of overcoming a
rival empire than of subjugating essentially isolated and quasitribal
feudal khanates and emirates, capable of offering only sporadic
and isolated resistance. Uzbekistan and Kazakstan were taken over through a series of military expeditions during the
years 1801-1881, with Turkmenistan crushed and incorporated in
campaigns lasting from 1873 to 1886. However, by 1850, the conquest
of most of Central Asia was essentially completed, though
periodic outbreaks of local resistance occurred even during the
Soviet era.
The collapse of the Soviet Union produced a dramatic historical
reversal. In the course of merely a few weeks in December 1991,
Russia's Asian space suddenly shrank by about 20 percent, and the
population Russia controlled in Asia was cut from 75 million to
about 30 million. In addition, another 18 million residents in the
Caucasus were also detached from Russia. Making these reversals
even more painful to the Russian political elite was the awareness
that the economic potential of these areas was now being targeted
by foreign interests with the financial means to invest in, develop,
and exploit resources that until very recently were accessible to
Russia alone.
Yet Russia faces a dilemma: it is too weak politically to seal off
the region entirely from the outside and too poor financially to develop
the area exclusively on its own. Moreover, sensible Russian
leaders realize that the demographic explosion underway in the
new states means that their failure to sustain economic growth will
eventually create an explosive situation along Russia's entire
southern frontier. Russia's experience in Afghanistan and Chechnya
could be repeated along the entire borderline that stretches
from the Black Sea to Mongolia, especially given the national and
Islamic resurgence now underway among the previously subjugated
It follows that Russia must somehow find a way of accommodating
to the new postimperial reality, as it seeks to contain the
Turkish and Iranian presence, to prevent the gravitation of the new
states toward its principal rivals, to discourage the formation of
any truly independent Central Asian regional cooperation, and to
limit American geopolitical influence in the newly sovereign capitals.
The issue thus is no longer that of imperial restoration—
which would be too costly and would be fiercely resisted—but
instead involves creating a new web of relations that would constrain
the new states a

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