What do we know so far?
Russia probably meddled in the 2016 Presidential election. They likely shaped British public opinion, prompting the Brexit vote. They may have even set up fake rallies and counter rallies across America to widen divisions.
It is increasingly apparent that Russia is lighting fires of discord across American and European society.
Today, we have near-chaos in Washington with an administration breaking apart mid-air. We have a pro-NRA, anti-science, pro-Koch brothers policy avalanche that further pits citizen against citizen. Moreover, we have a massive black hole criminal investigation into the depths of American political depravity.
All the while, Russia's heavy hand hovers over the White House. An ominous presence that seems to at least guide - if not dictate - policy.
Just the other day, we learned that, by Russia's request, Mitt Romney was removed from consideration for the Secretary of State position. Romney is a known Russia-hawk, who had previously warned that Russia was still America's top adversary. Instead, the job was given to Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO who in 2012 was decorated by Putin with the Russian 'Order of Friendship' medal.
So who really won the Cold War? Is it even over? Is Russia now winning? Because this looks like the comeback of the millennium.
Some would argue that the demise of the USSR marked the indisputable end to the Cold War, with America as the clear winner. I believe this is a black-and-white way to view the conflict, and completely ignores the perseverance of the Slavic people. Today's Russians may have a somewhat different economic system than their forefathers, the boundaries may be different, but Red Square remains red, figuratively speaking.
Indeed, Russia has long been planning its ascension from post-collapse obscurity, and has made this no secret. I am not just talking about standard political rhetoric and military showmanship. In 1997 a Russian political analyst, strategist and philosopher with loose ties to the Russia authorities published a 'how to' guide for Russian re-emergence entitled "Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia". This book by Aleksandr Dugin has been so well-received by Russian military, police and foreign policy officials that it is now a standard part of indoctrination into the bear's tight embrace.
Foreign Policy described the book published 20 years ago as "one of the most curious, impressive, and terrifying books to come out of Russia during the entire post-Soviet era".
As crisis-after-crisis breaks through the surface of American politics, it is critical to understand that Dugin's book has likely guided Russian foreign policy for years. Russia has quietly given itself a 20 year head start over the West. Twenty years is a long time to be quietly building as the world slips into complacency about the Russian threat.
The policy prescriptions within the book are paraphrased in the copypasta below (sourced from Wikipedia, linking to Dunlop, John (January 31, 2004). "Aleksandr Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics" Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization. Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (George Washington University).
For your convenience, I've highlighted the most terrifying/explanatory sections in yellow.
If you don't want to read the entire thing, you must at a minimum read the excerpt pertaining to the US at the bottom. It's freakishly accurate and ominous.
Here you go:
In Foundations of Geopolitics, Dugin calls for the influence of the United States and Atlanticism to lose its influence in Eurasia and for Russia to rebuild its influence through annexations and alliances.
The book declares that "the battle for the world rule of [ethnic] Russians" has not ended and Russia remains "the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution." The Eurasian Empire will be constructed "on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us."
Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook believes in a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services. The operations should be assisted by a tough, hard-headed utilization of Russia's gas, oil, and natural resources to bully and pressure other countries.
The book states that "the maximum task [of the future] is the 'Finlandization' of all of Europe".
- Germany should be offered the de facto political dominance over most Protestant and Catholic states located within Central and Eastern Europe. Kaliningrad oblast could be given back to Germany. The book uses the term "Moscow-Berlin axis".
- France should be encouraged to form a "Franco-German bloc" with Germany. Both countries have a "firm anti-Atlanticist tradition".
- The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe.
- Finland should be absorbed into Russia. Southern Finland will be combined with the Republic of Karelia and northern Finland will be "donated to Murmansk Oblast".
- Estonia should be given to Germany's sphere of influence.
- Latvia and Lithuania should be given a "special status" in the Eurasian-Russian sphere.
- Poland should be granted a "special status" in the Eurasian sphere.
- Romania, Macedonia, "Serbian Bosnia" and Greece – "Orthodox collectivist East" – will unite with "Moscow the Third Rome" and reject the "rational-individualistic West".
In the Middle East and Central Asia:
- Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because "Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics". Ukraine should not be allowed to remain independent, unless it is cordon sanitaire, which would be inadmissible.
- The book stresses the "continental Russian-Islamic alliance" which lies "at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy". The alliance is based on the "traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization".
- Iran is a key ally. The book uses the term "Moscow-Tehran axis".
- Armenia has a special role: It will serve as a "strategic base," and it is necessary to create "the [subsidiary] axis Moscow-Erevan-Teheran". Armenians "are an Aryan people … [like] the Iranians and the Kurds".
- Azerbaijan could be "split up" or given to Iran.
- Georgia should be dismembered. Abkhazia and "United Ossetia" (which includes Georgia's South Ossetia) will be incorporated into Russia. Georgia's independent policies are unacceptable.
- Russia needs to create "geopolitical shocks" within Turkey. These can be achieved by employing Kurds, Armenians and other minorities.
- The book regards the Caucasus as a Russian territory, including "the eastern and northern shores of the Caspian (the territories of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan)" and Central Asia (mentioning Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).
- China, which represents a danger to Russia, "must, to the maximum degree possible, be dismantled". Dugin suggests that Russia start by taking Tibet-Xinjiang-Mongolia-Manchuria as a security belt. Russia should offer China help "in a southern direction – Indochina (except Vietnam), the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia" as geopolitical compensation.
- Russia should manipulate Japanese politics by offering the Kuril Islands to Japan and provoking anti-Americanism.
The book emphasizes that Russia must spread Anti-Americanism everywhere: "the main 'scapegoat' will be precisely the U.S."
- Mongolia should be absorbed into Eurasia-Russia.
In the United States:
The Eurasian Project could be expanded to South and Central America.
- Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke "Afro-American racists". Russia should "introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics."