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SOVIET & RUSSIAN GEOPOLITICS. Mackinder’s Heartland Theory Drawn from Ratzel’s geographic view of state as organism.

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Presentation on theme: "SOVIET & RUSSIAN GEOPOLITICS. Mackinder’s Heartland Theory Drawn from Ratzel’s geographic view of state as organism."— Presentation transcript:


2 Mackinder’s Heartland Theory Drawn from Ratzel’s geographic view of state as organism

3 Mackinder’s Heartland Theory Whoever controls “Heartland” (Pivot Area) can control world The “Great Game” between Britain, Russia, 1800s-1900s Maritime powers need control in “Rimland” (Inner Crescent), esp. Middle East Prevent Russo-German alliance or Russian control of Germany

4 Containment Theory Extension of Mackinder Isolation of Soviets after 1917 George Kennan (State Dep’t) resurrects after WWII Encircle USSR with military bases, treaties, alliances

5 Containment Theory


7 View of Communist “Red Bloc” during Cold War Lumping failed to recognize differences among Communists, or local causes of conflict (Vietnam War 1960s)

8 NATO and Warsaw Pact, 1945-89

9 xxxxx

10 NATO and Warsaw Pact NATO not all democratic (Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey) Brezhnev Doctrine prevents democratization in East U.S. saw Soviets as “totalitarian,” rightist dictators as “authoritarian” Greece 1968 Czechoslovakia 1968

11 WW III possible flashpoints West Germany/West Berlin (1948, 1961) Yugoslavia (1946, 1980s) Cuba (1961, 1962) Iran (1946, 1980) Fears of Soviet invasion?

12 Military budgets Both economies reliant on military-industrial complex U.S. forced Soviets to keep up? (Star Wars 1983). Military spending still up since Cold War National Missile Defense as US nuclear umbrella

13 Third World US-USSR indirect “hot wars” Struggles mainly nationalist not Communist Third World competed for aid until Cold War ended East-West competition in culture Cuba Vietnam Star Trek

14 Third World Soviets pro-”liberation” in Cuba, Vietnam, Angola, South Africa, Chile, Nicaragua, Palestine, etc. East German posters

15 China Rivalry Mao felt Khrushchev sold out Communism Competed in Third World Cultural Revolution in China, 1960s

16 China Rivalry Historic Chinese Claims in Siberia Border clashes, 1969 Nearly nuclear war

17 China Card, 1972 Nixon visits Moscow, Détente started Nixon visits China as counterweight Russian fear of West, East teaming up Also saw West as protection from China

18 George Orwell’s 1984 “Oceania” (NATO) “Eurasia” (USSR) “Eastasia” (China)

19 On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners… the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns… at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally. There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy…. Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.


21 Soviet military overextended beyond Russian Empire Too far to (Muslim) South Lost in Afghanistan Too far to (Catholic) West Unraveled in Poland, Baltics Too far to East Diverted by China

22 Breakup of Soviet Union into 15 states, 1991

23 Atlanticists vs. Eurasianists (both want Russia as great power) Atlanticists (Modernizers) Lean to West Russia European Statist Eurasianists (Slavophiles) Mistrust West Unique E-W bridge Nationalist

24 Russia’s geopolitical fears revisited Threat from East Resurgent China Threat from West NATO expansion, U.S. missile defense Threat from South Muslim fundamentalism

25 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 2004 Kosovo military zones 1999

26 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 2004 New members: Estonia Latvia Lithuania Slovakia Slovenia Romania Bulgaria Not yet: Croatia Macedonia Albania

27 Russian fears rekindled Historic buffer vs. West shrunk - Expanded NATO border on Russia Kaliningrad enclave cut off by NATO NATO intervenes vs. Serbs in ex-Yugo. -Russians balance force in Kosovo U.S. troops in Hungary, Bosnia, Kosovo

28 Iraq Crisis, 2003 Russia sides with Germany, France, Belgium - Mackinder theory - Like brief Soviet alliance with France, 1935-39 Eastern European NATO members side with U.S. -Polish troops head up sector, others send non-combat - Polls show majority public opposition (all but Romania) Historic realignment underway? - Independent Western Europe with Russia - U.S. sphere of influence in UK, East-Central Europe

29 Government Positions on Iraq War, 2004 Blue: Supported war (some withdrew 2005) Green: Did not oppose war Red: Opposed war Gray: Neutral In E. Europe polls, only Romanians backed their government’s pro-war position

30 New U.S. military bases 1.Gulf War, 1991 2. Yugoslav Wars, 1995-99 3. Afghan War, 2001 4. Iraq War, 2003 Base clusters left over from recent wars creating a U.S. “sphere of influence” between Europe, Russia and East Asia?


32 Russian preferences Independent European military force -Taking over ex-Yugo. peacekeeping “Decoupling” of U.S., Western Europe Or Russia becoming full NATO member

33 Reassurance for Putin? Partnership for Peace Future NATO membership for Russia, CIS? U.S.-Russian oil alliance vs. OPEC Allow free hand in Chechnya, Georgia

34 Russian intervention in Caucasus region * * * *

35 Caspian Basin oil and gas pipelines Routes through Russia, Turkey, Iran, China, Afghanistan

36 Oil/gas pipeline routes xxxxx Xxxxx xxxxx

37 Putin vs. Muslims Crushed Muslim secession in Chechnya, curbed in Tatarstan Fought Muslim rebels in Uzbek., Tajik. Allowed U.S. troops in Central Asia, Georgia after 9/11 Continued verbal support for Iraqi, Palestinian people

38 Putin and East Asia Visited China, placated Eurasianists China better economy, huge market 1/4 million Chinese illegals in Siberia Asian companies in Siberia Japan talks over trade, Kuril Is. claims

39 How Many Americans View the World

40 Cartoon: Bush’s View of the World Problem: some former allies later seen as “evil”

41 Samuel Huntington theory of Western, Islamic, Slavic, etc. “blocs” in conflict with each other. “Clash of Civilizations” theory

42 Fails to recognize differences within each “bloc.” Most sources of conflict are local (often ethnic), not religious. Often blames the victim for the conflict (Chechens, etc). West shares responsibility (military aid arms both sides) “Clash of Civilizations” theory

43 “Push” of USSR, “Pull” of EU

44 European Union Began as European Economic Community (EEC), 1957. EU decision 1988; Implemented 1994 euro

45 European Union 10 new members join, 2004 Estonia Latvia Lithuania Poland Czech Rep. Slovakia Hungary Slovenia Cyprus Malta 2007: Romania Bulgaria Turkey ???

46 A “Blue Curtain”? Catholic/Protestant West Orthodox/Muslim East Who will be welcome in the EU “club”? Orthodox Greece in EU

47 A “Blue Curtain”? Eastern Europe as a “Mexico” for West? Less developed economy; Reserve for labor? Border towers moved from Hungary to Austria

48 Religious minorities Orthodox stuck in West: Serbs in Croatia (expelled) Russians in Kaliningrad Russians in Baltic States

49 Catholics stuck in East: Croats in Bosnia Hungarians in Romania “Uniates” in western Ukraine Poles in Ukraine/Belarus Also Lutheran Karelian Finns in Russia Religious minorities

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