and Chinese President Xi Jinping
get friendly at a ceremony to present Xi
with a degree from the St Petersburg State University
on June 6, 2019.
AFP / Dmitri Lovetsky
to balance the hegemonic powers,
as a guarantor of a new union
of non-aligned nations...
He's also the honorary chairman of Russia's Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.
In December 2018, I had the pleasure of being received at Karaganov's office in Moscow for a one-on-one conversation essentially about Greater Eurasia:
Now Karaganov has expanded his main insights for an Atlanticist made in Italy vehicle usually more distinguished for its maps than its predictable "analyses" straight from a NATO press release.
Even noting, correctly, that the EU is a "profoundly inefficient institution" on a slow path towards dissolution - and that's a massive understatement - Karaganov observes that Russia-EU relations are on their way to a relative normalization.
This is something that has been actively discussed in Brussels corridors for months now.
The degree of exasperation with Team Trump's antics is unprecedented.
Still, as Karaganov recognizes:
Enter NATO's routine secretary-general Stoltenberg's platitudes on the Russian "threat"...
Even as Russia's trade with Asia is now equivalent to trade with the EU, a new "threat" emerged in Europe:
An Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China was just invented last week as a new demonization platform, congregating representatives from,
China "as led by the Chinese Communist Party," is to be faced as a "threat" to "Western values" - the same old triad of,
The paranoia embodied in the dual Russia-China "threat" is nothing but a graphic illustration of the prime Grand Chessboard clash:
Head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy
Photo: AFP/Evgeny Biyatov/Sputnik
A Great Asian Power
Karaganov breaks down the crucial Russia-China strategic partnership to an easily absorbed formula:
He recalls the crucial fact that when Western pressure on Russia was at its peak after Maidan and the Crimea referendum,
One of the subsequent benefits is that Russia-China abandoned their competition in Central Asia - something I saw for myself in my travels late last year.
That does not mean competition has been erased.
Conversations with other Russian analysts reveal that fear of excessive Chinese power is still on, especially when it comes to China's relations with weaker and non-sovereign states.
But the bottom line, for such a sterling realpolitik practitioner as Karaganov, is that the "pivot to the East" and the strategic entente with China favored Russia in the Grand Chessboard.
Karaganov totally understands the Russian DNA as a great Asian power - taking into consideration everything from authoritarian politics to the natural resource wealth of Siberia.
Russia, he says, is,
He breaks down Washington's objective as playing a "Last Battle" profiting from the forward bases the US still dominates in what Immanuel Wallerstein would define as our collapsing world-system...
New Non-Aligned Movement
Karaganov is very sharp on Russia's independent streak - always fiercely countering,
The result is that the Russia-EU rapprochement dream remains very much alive, but under "Eurasian optics."
That's where the concept of Greater Eurasia comes in, as I discussed with Karaganov in our meeting:
And that includes a,
That's what the evolution in the Grand Chessboard seems to point at.
Karaganov - correctly - identifies western and northern Europe as attracted to the "American pole," while southern and eastern Europe are "inclined towards the Eurasian project."
The Russian role, under this framework, will be to,
That hints at a very interesting new configuration of the Non-Aligned Movement.
So meet Russia as one of the supporters of a new multilateral, multi-vector partnership, finally moving from a status of,
A work in - steady - progress...