Joel Davis on Eurasianism

This is the best video I have seen breaking down what ‘Eurasianism’ is. 

Eurasianism is predicated fundamentally upon a geo-civilizational concept of the world in which the “natural” political order is conceived as a world of 4 distinct blocs where the north rules the south (Anglosphere->Latin America, Europe->Africa, Russia->Middle East, China->South-East Asia), hence why it views itself as fundamentally incompatible with the liberal universalism of “Atlanticist Globalism” – which it views as an unnatural political force disrupting the quadripartite civilizational diversity it sees implied in global geography.

There is a neat logic to this but the theory ultimately falls down in 3 key (and related) ways in my view.

1. I find the geopolitical logic of Eurasianism to be flawed as a structural realist. What do I mean by this? Eurasianist logic in relying upon an appeal to geography, presupposes that proximity implies political centralization and therefore submission to regional hegemony. Now this is all well and good to say if you’re Russian and portraying Russia as the regional hegemon, but realist logic would dictate that the nations Eurasianists want to dominate will see things differently and will therefore have a structural interest in alliances with great powers from other regions in order to defend themselves against domination by the greatest power in their own region. 

2. Eurasianism in its emphasis of civilizational identity overlooks the power of Nationalism. The history of modern Europe demonstrates this potently – despite the civilizational unity of Christendom, a requisite political unity never followed. The French didn’t want to be ruled by the English nor the English by the French nor the Germans by either. The fighting between them was only stopped by the American domination of all three and the promotion of the very liberal universalist ideology which Eurasianism rejects and opposes.

There is no evidence that sharing a civilization implies a sharing of government. This is generally because a civilization usually has more than one group within it which wants to rule it. Civilizations in modernity have not had natural leaders to which all submit, instead leadership if it can be grasped is hard won and often challenged. Time and time again we have seen nations go to war within the same civilization, and as long as men are willing to fight and die in brother wars to hold onto their nations we will continue to see it. So, this idea that Eurasia is a “natural” civilizational bloc doesn’t make a great deal of sense. “Eurasian Civilization” if it does or will ever exist is only a thing insofar as Russian state power imposes it.

3. The rejection of the Europeanness of Russia is the hardest pill to swallow with Eurasianism though. And the deep irony of Eurasianism is that it is fundamentally an expression of Russian Nationalism in its unwillingness to submit to a Western Civilizational identity. Eurasianism is a fundamentally arbitrary concept – what civilizational unity does Russia really have with the Islamo-Turkic world? Does a Slavic Russian really have more in common with a Turk than he does with a German? The history of Russia has always been far more defined by its relationship to the West than it has by anything else.

The Eurasianist concept of Russia is in my view tragic, the Slavic Russian people are Europeans (this is a genetic fact that isnt up for debate) and should be part of the West, but they have been driven away by the brutal realities of great power politics. Ultimately, if Russia is going to grasp and maintain the size and power necessary for it to stand against the American-led world order – it needs to integrate the Turkic world into itself. Sad.

Eurasianism by the way is not all that popular in Russia despite the hype it gets in our circles – most ethnic Russians are either conventional nationalists or liberals. But for Russia to pursue its own path from the West geopolitically, I can see Eurasianism becoming increasingly influential in Russian state policy moving forward.

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