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"The New Continental Block"

Written by Professor Tadeusz Marczak, Ph.D.
Director of Geopolitical Studies at the University of Wroclaw

"The New Continental Block" by Professor Tadeusz Marczak
Director of Geopolitical Studies at the University of Wroclaw.

Published: December 13, 2015


A dilemma that confronts Germany’s world-power ambitions can be defined as follows: Germany is too large for Europe, but too small for the world. In order to play an essential role as a world power, they must seek a partner, rich in resources, which would increase their potential. Such a partner is Russia.


The idea of creating a Berlin-Moscow axis has also not been alien to the Russian elite. Often regarded as pioneers of Russian Geopolitics, General Milutin and General Wandam, demanded to create a geopolitical bloc reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, based on Russo-German alliance. Also, the promoter of the Trans-Siberian Railway, Minister Sergei De Witte was convinced that the railway will become the communication backbone of the great Eurasian space, uniting the Atlantic Ocean with the shores of the Pacific.


Germany looks to Russia

This idea was close to implementation in 1939, when the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, as it would seem at first glance – impossible to overcome ideological differences between Russian Bolshevism and German Nazism. However, there was some evidence of attraction between the two totalitarian systems. In 1923, Trotsky, a well-known Soviet activist and officer of Comintern, (International Communist Organization) and Karl Radek (proper name Sobelson) proposed to establish cooperation between the Communists and Nazis. Chief Nazi of propaganda, Josef Goebbels in 1925 wrote in NS-Briefe “We look to Russia, because most likely along with us, it will follow the path to socialism. Russia was given to us by nature, an ally in the fight against the evil temptations and corruption of the West.”


More recently, not only did the ideological similarities bring Moscow and Berlin closer to each other. Vladimir Putin, speaking at Westerplatte, on September 1, 2009, said: “Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, we should consider what has led to the….Second World War, not a conflict that developed by the hour…This war has its origins in the Treaty of Versailles from 1918, which humiliated Germany after the First World War.”


Putin’s statement was an invitation in the direction of Germany, an attempt to renew the historic compatibility of the interwar period, a hostility based on both Germany and Russia against the Treaty of Versailles. The message in Putin’s speech could be interpreted as twofold issue. First, then Prime Minister of Russia supported Germany’s contemporary interpretation of the Treaty of Versailles. Second, the speech of the Russian guest on Sep. 1, 2009 at Westerplatte resembled a historic agreement in criticism of the Versailles Treaty represented by Berlin and Moscow during the interwar period. One of the treaty’s most significant achievements was the reactivation of an independent Polish state. And it resulted in particularly virulent criticism against Poland. The head of the German General Staff during the Weimar Republic, General Hans von Seeckt expressed himself as follows: “The existence of Poland is unbearable, as contrary to the conditions of life in Germany. Poland has to vanish and will disappear.” His words corresponded to the statement made by the creator of the Soviet state, Vladimir Lenin, who after the defeat of the Red Army near Warsaw, said: "The stronger Poland will be, the more they will be hated by Germany, and we can use their enduring hatred. We can always unite the whole Russian nation against Poland, and even ally with the Germans."


In the fall of 1939, after a combined German-Soviet invasion of Poland and her defeat, the consistent anti-Polish Hitler – Stalin duo clashed again. Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, speaking on October 6 in the Reichstag (German Parliamentarian building), said that Poland was a “creature, which at the time of its inception by all, except the Poles, has been described as a bastard.” Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov of the USSR Supreme Council forum, on October 31 described Poland as bastard of the Versailles Treaty.” Fully consistent views on the future of Poland were also presented at the forum. Adolf Hitler said: “The Poland of the Versailles Treaty will never rise! This is guaranteed by the two largest countries in the world” (the Third Reich and the USSR). Molotov: “The restoration of the former Poland, as everyone understands, there shall be no questions asked.”


Annihilating the Perfidious Albion

The September Polish defeat in 1939 was the result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. However, we must remember that in the geopolitical sense, the pact was also aimed at the British Empire. Its geopolitical foundations were explained by Karl Hasoffer in “Der Kontinentalblock” (Continental Bloc). He stated that the biggest and most important political turning point of our times is to create a powerful continental block including Germany, Russia and Japan. Their enormous potential, the extent of territory, made the “anaconda policy” unsuccessful which was used by the Anglo-Saxons against the Eurasian land powers. The creator of German geopolitics appealed to the political circles of Germany, the USSR and Japan for more broad and geopolitical thinking, and less ideology.”


The participants of the continental bloc were inspired by the idea expressed by Stalin that “England won't have any right to rule the world anymore.” In contrast, Hitler stated that “a new combination of states is emerging” consisting Germany, Italy, Japan, and also the Soviet Union, France and Spain. These countries should define “their areas of interest.” After the victory over the United Kingdom about 40 million km2 area of the empire “can be divided as a property of the bankrupt.” Moscow accepted the basic meaning of Hitler and Ribbentrop’s proposals, taking the direction of expansion south, toward the Indian Ocean. Stalin believed in German political assurances that Molotov had brought from Berlin. Moreover, he also agreed with the German concept of the Eurasian continental bloc. This line of thought could explain his passivity towards the publicized announcements of possible German attack on Soviet Union, which he treated as an Anglo-Americanplot aimed at the Soviet-German agreement.


The change in German politics surprised Moscow. Alexander Dugin says, “Eurasians in GRU (Soviet intelligence agency) and more broadly, in the army – Voroshilov, Timoshenko, Zhuhov, Golikov and others – until the last minute did not believe in the possibility of war, as the major influence of the Eurasian lobby in the Third Reich were the well known.” The outbreak of the Russo-German war in 1941, Dugin himself described as “the great Eurasian disaster” as “terrible, fratricidal war between two geopolitical, spiritual and metaphysical relatives, allied powers, two anti-Atlantic oriented regimes, Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany.” In similar tones, Alexei Mitrofanow, contemporary supporter of axis Berlin – Moscow – Tokyo, is writing: “The mighty German Wehrmacht turned in 1941, not against the true enemy of the German nation, it is an international financial oligarchy, but against the Soviet Union, his sole ally”. The outbreak of war between the two signatories of the infamous non-aggression pact has not eliminated their desire to re-bind the alliance. Vladimir Karpov in his book “Generalissimo” (Moscow, 2002) writes that Stalin, after winning the Battle of Moscow, attempted to reactivate the agreement with Hitler. He proposed a ceasefire and a new border between Germany and the Soviet Union. Additionally, he promised to side with the Third Reich and take the military action against England and the United States, blame them for unleashing the war, “international Jewry” and carry out joint efforts to rebuild the global political spectrum. Also, he reported to be included in “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question”.


Russo-German talks were held in Mcensk, on the German front, in February 1942. The Soviet Union was represented by Merkulov, Deputy Head of the NKVD (Soviet secret police), while the German side was represented by gruppenfuehrer SS Wolf, head of Himmler’s personal staff. In his report to Stalin, Merkulov stated that the German side did not come forward to meet the Soviet proposals. On the Jewish Question, Wolff was told that “the Soviet Union should immediately put an end to Judaism. In this situation, all Jews ought to be deported in the far north region (Siberia), and remain under isolation and then completely destroyed…In a matter of annihilation (killing), and disposal of corpses, Jews will involve themselves”.


From Dublin to Vladivostok

During World War II, the alliances endured, and Stalin was rewarded by his Western Allies to dominate in Eastern Europe. The line demarcating the spheres of influence was established at the Elbe River, and the Iron Curtain defined the political realities for over 40 years of the Cold War. According to the modern Russian geo-politicians, however, the Soviet Union was not a product of geopolitical perfectionism because it did not reach the shores of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. According to the sources of uncertain origin, which in the 1970s leaked to the West, the Soviet military circles were well aware of this fact and therefore, designed a master plan to integrate the great Eurasian continent by contriving political and military actions. Nevertheless, the systemic collapse of the USSR and the liberation movement, which began with the Polish Workers’ Revolt and the strikes in the coastal cities, put an end to this plan. In the 1990s, it appeared that Russia under Gorbachev’s and later Yeltsin’s leadership was focused on international cooperation and integration with the West. Soon after, however, neo-imperialist tendencies surfaced in Moscow, expressed by Vladimir Putin. He began to promote the sublime-sounding slogan of a Russia “rising from its knees.” At the same time, Russian geopolitical circles predominantly obsess over the Eurasian doctrine and projects on reviving the empire on a scale larger than the Soviet Union.


The decisive indication towards the establishment of a new continental bloc was Vladimir Putin’s visit to Germany upon Angela Merkel’s invitation, when he delivered a speech, published in “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on November 25, 2010. Commenting his own Prime Minister's speech, Russian geo-politician Alexander Dugin stated that “the plan presented by Putin is a historical repetition of continental geopolitics, aiming to unite parts of Europe and Russia-Eurasia into a single sphere of economic, strategic and raw material importance.” He pointed out the obvious analogy to Karl Haushoffer’s continental bloc from 1939-1940. He recalled the recent proponents of this idea, namely: Belgian Jean Thiriart, who in the last years of the USSR, developped the idea of a “Euro-Soviet Empire from Dublin to Vladivostok,“ French writer Jean Parvulesco, author of “Vladimir Poutine et l’Eurasia” (Putin and Eurasia), published in 2005, where the "neo-gaullists" (de Gaulle party), including former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin were to remain heavily influenced by the Eurasian doctrine. The leading supporter of a continental bloc consisting of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis is Henri de Grossouvre. Previously, the bloc was to challenge the British naval power, however, the contemporary rival is the United States. The main motto of this concept is to break the post-Cold War uni-polar world, known as American hegemony, and to create a multi-polar world. Dugin states that only the integration of Europe with Russia will remove the shadow of the U.S. and create a multi-polar world. According to him, Europe by itself, and Russia by itself is a scenario not able to achieve this goal.


Eurasia vs. USA

On October 3, 2011, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s article was published in “lzwiestia” announcing the creation of structures based on integrating the new territory of the former Soviet Union, closer, in the form of the transnational structure of the Eurasian Association. Putin’s proposal, which was addressed to all former Soviet republics, however, was received with caution.


Professor Igor Panarin of Moscow University is among the most unfailing supporters of Putin’s program. In an interview with the magazine “Kommersant,” he emphasizes that at the presidential election on March 4, 2012, Russians entrusted Putin, as the only candidate who is able to pursue the “imperial project”. Professor Panarin himself predicts that the Eurasian Union will gradually be extended beyond the area of the former Soviet Union, and already in 2013 Russia together with Germany will proceed to “reformat” the European Union. As a result, the Russian-German “Hansa Gas” will begin its operations based on the Northern Pipeline.


No one is trying to conceal the fact that the implementation of this project is directed against the United States. In order to limit American maneuverability, it was decided to strike at the most vulnerable point, the dollar. Unfortunately, largely due to the irresponsibility of the Wall Street, it has now become the Achilles' heel of the American empire.


An American economist, Michael Hudson proposed a shocking thesis three years ago,: “The City of Yekaterinburg, the largest Russian city east of the Urals, it may become known not only as a place of death of the last Tsar of Russia, but also as a place for the end of American hegemony – not only as place where in 1960 U-2 spy plane was shot down with Gary Powers on board, but also as a place where American controlled international financial system lied in ruins.” In such dramatic terms Hudson commented on the meeting which was held in Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk in Soviet times), on June 15-16, 2009. Formally, this was a conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded in 2002 as a counterweight to NATO. Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are the members. Observer status is granted to India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia. After two days in Yekaterinburg, the president of Brazil appeared at the conference and further discussions took place in the geopolitical formula known as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). United States wanted to participate in the deliberations as an observer, but faced a refusal. At the conference, the United States and its financial policies were heavily critisized, such as printing worthless money and passing the costs of such financial decisions onto the shoulders of others. Members of the conference were advised to make cuts on purchases of American military equipment. Undoubtedly a success for Moscow was winning China’s support to criticize the missile defense system in Eastern Europe. BRIC have also threatened the abandonment of the dollar in mutual trade turnover, and even the establishment of a new global currency. At this point of the discussion, Germany offered its stance, whereby according to Deutsche Bank chief economist Norbert Walter’s opinion that under such circumstances the only appropriate alternative to the dollar is the euro.


Russia’s war with the American dollar in combination with BRICS caused some concern in the political circles of Berlin. A consistent supporter of the Berlin–Moscow axis Alexander Rahr (German Society of International Politics) expressed concern over Russia’s favoring gestures towards BRICS, neglecting relations with Germany and the EU. Most distressingly, the BRICS group did not come to an agreement to replace the dollar with the euro. The euro poses as a currency with little more interest for the group as the dollar due to its lack of coverage. Any potential gains would only benefit the European Central Bank, which is under German control. On the other hand, neither China nor Russia could afford to bring about the collapse of the dollar due to the vast resources of this currency at their disposal: China – 2 trillion dollars, Russia – 400 billion dollars. They may eventually decide to do so only after liquidating their dollar reserves - for example, through investments and purchases of various goods in other countries. Threats at the dollar are sometimes uncouth tactics in order to obtain concessions from Washington – i.e. Putin described the issue injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy (printing money) as an act of hooliganism.


Putin in his pre-election program, proposed the following objectives in the area of foreign policy: strategic partnership with China, strengthen BRICS, close cooperation with the EU. There is no doubt that the first two points are a challenge to the America’s position of superpower. Putin verbalized that challenge in his speech in Munich in 2007 in which he criticized the vision of a uni-polar world, the American hegemony. It seems probable that close cooperation with the EU (practically with Germany) placed third is just as important to Moscow. It may take the form either of a new continental bloc, the axis of Paris – Berlin – Moscow, Euro-Russia or Euro-Siberia, but it gives Moscow the confidence that Russia will not remain alone in confronting the Chinese colossus.


Playing with "Intermarium"

The fall of the Iron Curtain has changed the geopolitical map of Europe and the position of Poland on it. Poland, liberated after the “Solidarity epic," returned to its natural, pro-Western, pro-Anglo-Saxon orientation. General Gerd Komossa, head of MAD (German counterintelligence), wrote in 2004 that “in one night Poland has become a more trusted partner for Washington than Germany”. The deployment of the U.S. missile defense system would strengthen the strategic alliance between Poland and United States, while geopolitically, would establish an American military foothold between Germany and Russia. Experts from the Heritage Foundation emphasized this aspect even further. Considering that in NATO, Germany and France obstruct the United States’ freedom of movement, experts proposed the restructuring of the system of U.S. alliances. In this framework, Poland and the Czech Republic would gain “special ally” status, analogous to that of the United Kingdom.


Unfortunately, the Obama administration withdrew from the missile defense shield. The decision was preceded by a significant event, the BRICS conference in Yekaterinburg and the attack on the U.S. currency.


In 2009, Alexander Dugin stated that countries of Central and Eastern Europe are the obstacle to the implementation of a new continental block. During the interwar period the region was known as the sanitary cordon, while today in the words of Donald Rumsfeld – as the “New Europe” (in Polish geopolitical thought, this area functions as "Intermarium" - countries between Baltic and Black seas). For years, Dugin has been consistent in his view that the sanitary cordon should be destroyed. He also notes that Russia’s geo-political practice has developed two models of destroying this region: the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk version and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact model. The two differ in terms of border placement between the German and Russian zones. The border of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of March 3, 1918, acknowledged Ukraine, western Belarus and the Baltic countries to remain on the German side. The original borderline of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact ran along the rivers of San, Vistula, Bug, and Narew. As a result, both are considered to be a common border where Russia and Germany are direct neighbors. Is Dugin’s statement an expression of his personal beliefs, or perhaps an observation drawn from the deliberations in Moscow and Berlin? In August 2008, a niche British magazine, citing the sources of global-intelligence agency Stratfor, released the information that President Medvedev offered Chancellor Merkel establishing a security pact between the two countries. It has been repeatedly stated that the offer is not confirmed and details are unknown.


In the summer of the following year another niche magazine "Trumpet Magazine", also citing the Stratfor agency, reported on June 22, 2009, the signing of new Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This information was sought to be discredited by Moscow’s “Pravda” magazine (June 25, 2009) in Ivan Tuliakov’s commentary, who wrote: “Stratfor scares their customers about the renewal of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the forthcoming German and Russian supremacy in Europe.” On September 8, 2009, a week after Putin’s speech in Gdansk, the Russian-Belarusian military began large scale maneuvers code-named “Zapad” ("West"). Military practice drills were provided for the defense of pipelines, including the Northern Pipeline, still under construction. Later, on September 21, 2009 the drills were completed with the defense of Brest and Grodno before the Polish attack. Contrary to military customs, where the nationality of the alleged enemy is not mentioned, this time Poland was named as the enemy. The military case scenario also simulated the use of nuclear weapons against Poland. Observers drew attention to the fact that neither the United States or NATO authorities have reacted strongly to these events. Do the above mentioned facts not provide a disturbing political context for President Obama’s decision?


Removal of the Continental Bloc

In the United States the policy of removing the continental bloc is met with increasing criticism. It mainly concerns the infamous “reset” policy with Russia. It is concluded that the United States in exchange for their concessions did not receive significant benefits from Moscow. The reset policy also encouraged the EU to yield to the promptings of the Franco-Germanic duo and sailing straight to Russia, where the latter encourages the aggressive establishment of a Eurasian sphere of influence. There was also a voice that the reset policy is implemented at the expense of traditional U.S. allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and especially Poland. And it is because of these countries and their historical experience, the transatlantic community policy toward Russia should include their rights to decide as well.
The voices re-evaluating the U.S. position towards EU integration should also be noted. They are a veiled criticism of the integration model, which is imposed on countries in the EU by Berlin, supported by Paris. Nile Gardiner and Ted Bromund state that only a “Europe of sovereign nation-states best protect U.S. interests in Europe, strong and robust transatlantic alliance and democracy within Europe.” The United States should support the principle of national sovereignty and economic freedom in the EU. However, they have no interest in keeping the euro alive.


Are these opinions in fact predicting changes in U.S. foreign policy and an end of the appeasement era in its relations with Russia and Germany? Is it a promise to dismantle a newly formed continental bloc? Dismantling of the structure should have three basic ideas: democratization of Russia and their inclusion to the Western civilization, the release of the European Union from the dictates of Berlin and to define relations between EU countries under the old Polish rule “free with the free, equal to equal”; increase the political value of countries of Central and Eastern Europe (New Europe, Intermarium) corresponding to its geopolitical importance on the map of Eurasia. All of the above principles correspond to the vital Polish interest, correspond to the Polish national interest. The Polish political establishment should break away from the irresponsible practice of incorporating Poland into the new continental bloc and its establishment within the new Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.


Photo: www.dw.com