Questioning Geopolitics: Political Projects in a Changing World-System

By Georgi M. Derluguian; Scott L. Greer | Go to book overview

on new security thinking that is seeking to replace the old "realist" notions of national defense and the bloc-limited multilateralism with the agenda of human rights and prevention of most brutal forms of violence even at the cost of violating the sovereignty of peripheral states. Furthermore, the discourses of sustainable development and environmentalism may prove to be no less practical than the management of global debt. In theory, the commodification of global eco-management can replace the military Keynesianism of the twentieth century and offer realistic hope to the deindustrializing Rust Belts such as the former Soviet economies.

This possibility should not look exceptionally ironic given the adaptability of a capitalist world-system that has integrated many antisystemic movements before, including the Russian Marxist revolutionaries who ended up building a military-industrial empire adequate to its times. Specifically, the European Union might be best positioned to adopt the former Soviet territories into its special zone of economic and political interests, but at the moment this remains a distant hypothesis conditional on too many factors including the consequences of the likely further disruptions at the world-system's level, including the breakdown of the U.S. monopoly. In any event the trajectory of Russia will be critically conditioned by the emergent configuration of geopolitics and geoculture. In its turn, Russia remains in every respect a pivotal area whose trajectory will indicate whether the world-system is evolving along the lines of exclusion and violent challenges or as it shifts in the direction of global reformism.


NOTES
1.
Valerie Bunce provided an astute analysis of the taming effects and the limits to the Brezhnev-era stability ( Bunce, 1983). She was also one of the few social scientists who theoretically predicted the Soviet abdication from empire ( Bunce, 1985).
2.
The analysis of Soviet strategic thinking, once a major component of Western Sovietology, though suddenly a historical topic, remains a contested terrain. I am particularly indebted to Vitaly Vasilievich Shlykov, former head of the U.S. economic analysis unit at Soviet military intelligence (GRU), and his bristling articles ( Shlykov, 1996).
3.
The aluminum example was lent to me by the former GRU Col. Shlykov. Personal interviews, Moscow, June 1998.
4.
I am grateful to Anatol Lieven for directing me to Lampedusa great novel, The Leopard.
5.
Vadim Volkov, Organized violence, market building, and state formation in postcommunist Russia. Manuscript.
6.
This argument was developed by the late Andrei Fadin. Personal communication, January 1997.
7.
To my knowledge, the extraordinary British journalist Anatol Lieven was first to apply Gramsci analysis of Italian Transformismo to Yeltsin's Russia in the excellent book that bears the utterly misleading title Chechnya: The Tombstone of Russian Power.

-225-

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