The West, Indubitably, Has Lost Russia, And Is Losing Eurasia Too...

Is not President Putin’s purpose in visiting North Korea and Vietnam now clear in the context of the Eurasian security architecture project?

There perhaps was a momentary shrugging-off of slumber in Washington this week as they read the account of Sergei Lavrov’s démarche to the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow: Russia was telling the U.S. – “We are no longer at peace”!

Not just ‘no longer at peace’, Russia was holding the U.S. responsible for the ‘cluster strike’ on a Crimean beach on last Sunday’s Pentecost holiday, killing several (including children) and injuring many more. The U.S. thereby “became party” to the proxy war in Ukraine (it was an American-supplied ATACM; programmed by American specialists; and drawing on U.S. data), Russia’s statement read; “Retaliatory measures will certainly follow”.

Evidently, somewhere an amber light flashed hues of pink and red. The Pentagon grasped that something had happened – ‘No going around it; This could escalate badly’. The U.S. Defence Secretary (after a pause since March 2023) reached for the phone to call his Russian counterpart: ‘The U.S. regretted civilian deaths; the Ukrainians had full targeting discretion’.

The Russian public however, is plain furious.

The diplomatic argot of ‘there now being a state of betweenness; not war and not peace’ is but the ‘half of it’.

The West has ‘lost’ Russia much more profoundly than is understood.

President Putin – in his statement to the Foreign Ministry Board in wake of the G7 sword-rattling – detailed just how we had arrived at this pivotal juncture (of inevitable escalation). Putin indicated that the gravity of the situation demanded a ‘last chance’ offer to the West, one that Putin emphatically said was to be “No temporary ceasefire for Kiev to prepare a new offensive; nor a freezing the conflict – but rather, needed to be about the war’s final completion”.

It has been widely understood that the only credible way to end the Ukraine war would be a ‘peace’ agreement emerging through negotiation between Russia and the U.S.

This however is rooted in a familiar U.S.-centric vision – ‘Waiting on Washington …’.

Lavrov archly commented (in paraphrase) that if anyone imagines we are ‘waiting for Godot’, and ‘will run for it’, they are mistaken.

Moscow has something much more radical in mind – something that will shock the West.

Moscow (and China) are not simply waiting upon the whims of the West, but plan to invert completely the security architecture paradigm: To create an ‘Alt’ architecture for the ‘vast space’ of Eurasia, no less.

It is intended to exit the existing bloc zero-sum confrontation. A new confrontation is not envisaged; however the new architecture nevertheless is intended to force ‘external actors’ to curtail their hegemony across the continent.

In his Foreign Ministry address, Putin explicitly looked ahead to the collapse of the Euro-Atlantic security system and to a new architecture emerging: “The world will never be the same again”, he said.

What did he mean?

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s principal Foreign Policy adviser (at the Primakov Readings Forum), clarified Putin’s ‘sparse’ allusion:

Ushakov reportedly said that Russia increasingly has come to the view there is not going to be any long-term re-shaping of the security system in Europe. And without any major re-shaping, there will be no ‘final completion’ (Putin’s words) to the conflict in Ukraine.

Ushakov explained that this unified and indivisible security system in Eurasia must replace the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-centric models that are now receding into oblivion.

“This speech [of Putin at the Russian Foreign Ministry], I would say, sets the vector of further activities of our country at the international stage, including the building of a single and indivisible security system in Eurasia,” Ushakov said.

The dangers of excessive propaganda were apparent in an earlier episode where a major state found itself trapped by its own demonisation of its adversaries: South Africa’s security architecture for Angola and South-West Africa (now Namibia) too had fallen apart by 1980 – (I was there at the time). The South African Defence Forces still retained a residue of immense destructive capacity to the north of South Africa, but the use of that force was not yielding any political solution or amelioration. Rather, it was taking South Africa to oblivion (just as Ushakov described the Euro-Atlantic model today). Pretoria wanted change; It was ready (in principle) to do a deal with SWAPO, but the attempt to implement a ceasefire fell apart in early 1981.

The bigger problem was that the South African apartheid government had so succeeded with their propaganda and demonisation of SWAPO as being both ‘Marxist AND terrorist’ that their public recoiled at any deal, and it was to be another decade (and would take a geo-strategic revolution) before a settlement finally became possible.

Today, the U.S. and EU Security ‘Élite’ have been so ‘successful’ with their equally exaggerated anti-Russian propaganda that they too, are trapped by it. Even if they wanted to (which they don’t), a replacement security architecture may simply prove ‘unnegotiable’ for years to come.

So, as Lavrov has underlined, Eurasian countries have come to the realization that security on the continent must be built from within – free and far from American influence. In this conceptualisation, the principle of indivisibility of security – a quality not implemented in the Euro-Atlantic project – can and should become the key notion around which the Eurasian structure can be built, Lavrov specified.

Here, in this ‘indivisibility’, is to be found the real, and not the nominal, implementation of the provisions of the UN Charter, including the principle of sovereign equality.

Eurasian countries are pooling efforts together to jointly counter the U.S. claims on global hegemony and the West’s interference in other states’ affairs, Lavrov said at the Primakov Readings Forum on Wednesday.

The U.S. and other Western countries “are trying to interfere in the affairs” of Eurasia; transferring NATO infrastructure to Asia; holding joint drills and creating new pacts. Lavrov predicted:

This is a geopolitical struggle. This has always been; and will perhaps, last for long – and maybe we will not see an end to this process. Yet it is a fact that the course towards control from the ocean of everything that occurs everywhere – is now countered by the course towards uniting the efforts of Eurasian countries”.

The start of consultations on a new security structure does not yet indicate the creation of a military-political alliance similar to NATO; “Initially, it may well exist in the form of a forum or consultation mechanism of interested countries, not burdened with excessive organisational and institutional obligations”, writes Ivan Timofeev.

However, the “parameters” to this system, explained Maria Zakharova,

“… will not only ensure long-lasting peace, but also avoid major geo-political upheavals due to the crisis of globalization, built according to Western patterns. It will create reliable military-political guarantees for the protection of both the Russian Federation and other countries of the macro-region from external threats, create a space free from conflicts and favourable for development – by eliminating the destabilizing influence of extra-regional players on Eurasian processes. In the future, this will mean curtailing the military presence of external powers in Eurasia”.

Honorary Chair of Russia’s Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, Sergei Karaganov, (in a recent interview) however, inserts his more sober analysis:

“Unfortunately, we are heading for a real world war, a full-blown war. The foundation of the old world system is bulging at the seams, and conflicts will break out. It is necessary to block the way leading to such a war … conflicts are already brewing and taking place in all areas”.

“The UN is a dying breed, saddled with the Western apparatus and therefore unreformable. Well, let it remain. But we need to build parallel structures … I think we should build parallel systems by expanding BRICS and the SCO, developing their interaction with ASEAN, the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, Latin American Mercosur, etc.”.

“In general, we are interested in establishing a multilateral nuclear deterrence system in the world. So, I am personally not worried by the emergence of new nuclear powers and the strengthening of old ones simply because reliance on people’s reason doesn’t work. There must be fear. There must be greater reliance on a “nuclear deterrence-fear, inspiring-sobering up””.

The nuclear policy aspect is a complex and contentious issue today in Russia. Some argue that an overly restrictive Russian nuclear doctrine can be dangerous, should it cause adversaries to become overly blasé; that is to say, that adversaries become unimpressed or indifferent to the deterrence effect, so as to dismiss its reality.

Others prefer a posture of very last resort. All agree however that there are many stages of escalation available to an Eurasian security architecture, other than nuclear.

Yet the capacity for a continent-wide nuclear ‘security lock’ versus a nuclear-equipped NATO is evident: Russia, China, India, Pakistan – and now North Korea – are all nuclear weapons states, so a certain degree of deterrence potential is baked-in.

Other ‘steps of escalation’ no doubt will be at the centre of discussions at the Khazan BRICS summit this October. For a security architecture is not conceptually just ‘military’. The agenda embraces trade, financial and sanctions issues.

The simple logic of inverting the NATO military paradigm to yield an ‘Alt’ Eurasian security system would seem through force of logic alone, to argue that if the security paradigm is to be inverted, then the western financial and trading hegemony be inverted too.

De-dollarisation, of course, is already on the agenda, with tangible mechanisms likely to be unveiled in October. But if the West now feels free to sanction Eurasia at whim, the potential is also there for Eurasia reciprocally to sanction both the U.S. or Europe – or both.


We have ‘lost’ Russia (not forever). And we may lose much more. Is not President Putin’s purpose in visiting North Korea and Vietnam now clear in the context of the Eurasian security architecture project? They are part of it.

And to paraphrase CP Cavafy’s celebrated poem:

Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion? (How serious people’s faces have become).

Because night has fallen, and the [Russians] haven’t come.

 And some of our men just in from the border say

 there are no [Russians] any longer…

“Now what’s going to happen to us without [the Russians]”?

“They were a kind of solution”.

Submitted by Alastair Crooke,

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