“BINTEL” Geopolitical Analytics Journal, Issue 2, 2020

The Latest Issue of the “BINTEL” Journal Has Been Published

 

 

 

 

The “scale” of the materials of this year’s second issue of “BINTEL” journal is somewhat expanded thanks to the interview, which is traditionally published under the heading “Visiting Bintel”. This time our questions were answered by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of South Africa Liubov Abravitova.

And while on the pages of the journal we have already published interviews with her Ukrainian or foreign colleagues who had considerable experience in ambassadorial work, Ms. Abravitova was appointed to such a position in the first half of this year and, of course, the conversation could not include a report on what was done or not done. Therefore, the interview was about the prospect of our state’s cooperation with one of the most important, respected and interesting African countries, which Ukrainians, as it turns out, had visited long before Ukraine became independent. In particular, the Ambassador explained that “…all diplomatic missions of Ukraine in Africa, and especially our Embassy in South Africa, face an interesting but rather difficult task — to form the African direction of Ukrainian foreign policy… to develop and adopt a relevant African concept by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, like the European, Middle Eastern, Asian, American and other regional concepts of Ukraine’s foreign policy…, which will allow us to establish long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation with African countries”. How the goal will be achieved, as well as what will be new in the work of our representation in the southern part of the African continent, readers will learn from the published interview “Africa is becoming a center of world development, where the interests of all major geopolitical players intersect”.

Our next issue opens traditionally, with the article by the President of our Centre, Doctor of Military Sciences Victor Hvozd. The topic raised is, as always, relevant, as you can see from its title “The World After the Coronavirus. Ukraine and Redistribution of Spheres of Influence”. The author points out that today geopolitics has received a new unexpected “color” — the COVID-19 epidemic, which is changing almost the entire system of international relations, testing the modern civilization’s resilience to new challenges. The author believes that it can be compared with the use of weapon of mass destruction, against which there is no reliable protection. However, not so much because of its unexpected danger, as because of the unequal readiness of different countries to counter such a disaster, which affects the balance of power in the world and the redistribution of markets. Therefore, today, V. Hvozd writes, we see how a new situation has formed and is developing in the “triangle” of the United States — China — Russia, where each of these countries has the greatest (compared to the rest of the world) economic and military potential. And also that the versatility of the model of world order is changing to one that has been called bipolar in a new format: the USA/Europe — China. And then the author explains in detail how and why international relations are being formed today, what is their basis, during what time and how different countries moved towards it and through what societies and governments had to go before they achieved the desired result, as well as the possible consequences of today’s measures taken by them, which they consider right, although the guarantee of their rightness, V. Hvozd warns, may be in great question.

President of the Center for Global Studies “Strategy XXI” Mykhailo Honchar’s explanations of the situation with Ukraine’s energy security, presented in his article “It’s time for PtX-solutions in energy engineering”, resonate with the analytics by President of the “Borysfen Intel” Centre V. Hvozd.

Answering the questions, drawing a general picture of the energy security of our state, naming its main problems and shortcomings, ways to overcome the known problems, M. Honchar claims that all this negativity could have been avoided if the responsible persons really professionally fulfilled their duties. Former republics of the USSR, which today lack energy resources to meet the needs of the economy, have become dependent on supplies from Russia, says M. Honchar about the existing state of affairs. “…But to reduce the dependence… exclusively to the resource factor would be a simplification. Even, I would say, primitivization. Independence is formed in the brains of the ruling establishment. If it is there, then despite energy dependence on the former union center, it will save the country’s independence even at the cost of certain economic losses. A clear example is Lithuania and Latvia, which are almost 100 percent dependent on Russia for all types of energy. Nevertheless, the self-worth of state independence did led these countries, despite Russia’s pressure and punitive actions, to NATO and the EU. Unlike Belarus, which chose model of Russia’s “geopolitical outpost” in Eastern Europe in exchange for cheap oil and gas, which led the country to total dependence on Russia and, ultimately, to the bankruptcy of the Lukashenko regime, whose agony we now can observe”, — M. Honchar is sure, giving these words to understand why problems arise in today’s Ukraine. “…One can’t go forward with one’s head turned back, always remembering what it was like in the times of the USSR and the COMECON! Three decades ago, the world changed, and now the changed world is changing again. Our sails should be catching the wind of change, not the stench of the past, which already belongs to history”.

As in previous issues of “BINTEL” journal, Doctor of Geographical Sciences Myroslav Dnistryanskyi tells about the changes in world geopolitics in a meaningful and convincing way. His article, “The Evolution of American Geopolitical Thinking: from Pan-Americanism, Support for National-State Approaches to Globalism” under the heading “School of Geopolitics,” discusses the components of the geopolitical thought in the United States as it has become a leader in shaping of global territorial and political relations, and to a large extent — of geopolitical consciousness of the population of the modern world.

The author of the article explains that the prospects of stable and conflict-free development of states and regions, the ability to maintain balance of political forces, overcoming international contradictions and conflict situations, modeling the future territorial and political organization depend even more on the priorities of American geopolitical thinking and its transformation. Therefore, the evolution of American geopolitical thinking in general must be analyzed in the light of official foreign policy doctrines, resonant conceptual geopolitical rationale, and practical geopolitics. And within the framework of the Ukrainian geopolitical analytics — necessarily taking into consideration the interests of the state of Ukraine.

The article gives a meaningful account of the geostrategic preconditions for the emergence of American doctrines, their authors and the foundations that prompted them to create the geopolitics of the North American continent. These are the 5th US President James Monroe, the US Navy rear admiral and naval theorist Alfred T. Mahan, the 28th US President Woodrow Wilson, a British geopolitician Halford J. Mackinder, American geopolitician Nicholas J. Spykman, American political geographer Richard Hartshorne, American philosopher Francis Fukuyama, American geostrategist Ira L. Straus, etc. Of course, the author paid special attention to modern geopoliticians, who played a prominent role in the formation of the United States in the 20th–21st centuries. These are such famous personalities as the author of the concept of the “clash of civilizations” Samuel P. Huntington, American political scientist, sociologist and statesman Z. Brzezinski, who in his famous book “The Grand Chessboard” outlined a strategy that ensures US supremacy in the world, and pointed out that “…Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state”.

Paying tribute to the US policy towards China, the author of the article M. Dnistryanskyi, among other things, touches upon the relations between Washington and Kyiv. In one paragraph, he writes: “American geopolitical pressure on Russia is not active enough, despite the enormous threats to the independent neighboring countries-allies of the United States, which can be caused by this state with undisguised imperial ambitions. In this context, the United States’ support to Ukraine and understanding of the strategic importance of the integrity and inviolability of the borders of the Ukrainian state is significant, but insufficient. The USA’s economic support for Ukraine is also limited”. In general, the article is relevant and corresponds to current events both on a global scale and to what Ukrainian society is going through.

This theme includes the content of another article by Anis H. Bajrektarević, Professor in international law and global political studies (Vienna, Austria), editor of the NY-based GHIR (Geopolitics, History and International Relations) journal, entitled “Democracy Vaccinated: The Post-Corona Epilogue of Sino-American Relationship”, which is placed in Issue 2 of “BINTEL” under the heading “International Policy”. The subject of this article echoes the above-mentioned materials, which is largely confirmed by its title. But the point of view of the author, as well as the style of presentation is somewhat different, which can be said about some generalizations and conclusions.

Already in the first paragraph, the author makes it clear to the reader what his work is about — the relationship between the United States and China. But it’s not just about the relationship between two powerful actors, namely such prominent geopolitical players of the “first line”, on whom the fate of the whole world is beginning to depend. The author tries to summarize their policies of recent decades, pointing out the key decisions of their leadership, which allowed to achieve world dominance, to determine the features of their “conspiracy” to cooperate, when everyone relied on their capabilities and went beyond their interests. Well, it shows how these bilateral relations between alienated power centers, each on its side of Pacific, suddenly began to collapse today due to the pandemic. Or not so “suddenly”? — the author asks. And begins to answer questions: “Theory loves to teach us that extensive debates on what kind of economic system is most conductive to human wellbeing is what consumed most of our civilizational vertical. However, our history has a different say: It seems that the manipulation of the global political economy — far more than the introduction of ideologies — is the dominant and arguably more durable way that human elites usually conspired to build or break civilizations, as planned projects. Somewhere down the process, it deceived us, becoming the self-entrapment”… “Clearly, the universal equivalent of all equivalents — the US dollar — follows the same pattern: Bold and widely accepted promise. For the US, it almost instantly substantiates extraterritorial economic projection: American can print (any sum of) money without fear of inflation. (Quantitative easing is always exported, value is kept home.)

But, what does the US dollar promise when there is no gold cover attached to it ever since the time of Nixon shock of 1971?

Pentagon promises that the oceanic sea-lanes will remain opened (read: controlled by the US Navy), pathways unhindered, and that the most traded world’s commodity — oil, will be delivered. So, it is not a crude or its delivery what is a cover to the US dollar — it is a promise that oil of tomorrow will be deliverable. That is a real might of the US dollar, which in return finances Pentagon’s massive expenditures and shoulders its supremacy”… “Indeed, no successful and enduring empire does merely rely on coercion, be it abroad or at home. The grand design of every empire in past rested on a skillful calibration between obedience and initiative — at home, and between bandwagoning and engagement — abroad… Hence, if unable to escape its inner logics and deeply-rooted appeal of confrontational nostalgia, the prevailing archrival is only a winner, rarely a game-changer”.

We may quote many more accurate and interesting opinions of the author of this article, Professor Anis H. Bajrektarević to show how objectively he tries to describe the cause of modern world events, their consequences, which become unexpected for the same world, but, to tell the truth, logical for its essence. But it is better to read attentively the article of the respected author. Especially as his statement ends with the following sentence: “…as the US Council of Foreign Relations’ Thomas Graham fairly admits: “with the exception of China, no country affects more issues of strategic and economic importance to the US than Russia. And no other country, it must be said, is capable of destroying the US in 30 minutes”.

Our regular column “History of Geopolitics”, under which materials and researches by Ukrainian scientists are published, this time gave way to a different one — “Ukrainians in the World History” on and is devoted to Taras Shevchenko. After all, 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of his reburial, and Shevchenko’s poetry itself is becoming more and more relevant right now, when the desire of nations and peoples for self-determination and self-assertion of nation-states is growing in the world. This is stated in the article “Geopolitical Dimension of Taras Shevchenko’s Work” by Olha Rudyuk, participant of the 8th Youth Kyiv Security Forum.

The author reminds the readers that our genius Ukrainian poet is respected not only by his descendants, he is known and respected on almost all continents. But “…the relatively recent deliberate creation and promotion of the image of an “envious alcoholic” in order to debunk the “Shevchenko myth” only intensified one part of the society’s fight against hostile propaganda, and made another interested in his work and read “Kobzar”. Such desecration of our national prophet during the information war only emphasizes the power of Shevchenko’s word, which frightens the enemy, as does the society capable of thinking. George Orwell once wrote about the public: “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious”. Isn’t Taras Shevchenko calling for such a revolt in his poems? Isn’t such a revolt dangerous for all anti-national systems? Is it not because in order to remove the paper “detonator” of the people’s anger, they began to resort to more effective methods — leveling and forgetting?”.

It is enough to read the subtitles of O. Rudyuk’s article to understand the content and subject matter of the author’s references and conclusions. For example, “Shevchenko and the Czech Republic”, “Shevchenko and Ireland”, “Shevchenko and China”. Many of us know what this means and what it is about, but not everyone knows everything. Unfortunately. “…The ideas of freedom, self-sacrifice for his nation, glorified by Taras Shevchenko, resonate with the ideology of the Irish nationalist party “Sinn Féin”, whose history is closely connected with the struggle of the IRA. One of the participants of the Irish people’s revolutionary struggle for independence, Dorothy Macardle, wrote: “Freedom is a sacred thing that makes people brave”. While Taras Hryhorovych bequeathed: “Fight — you will win! God helps you! Justice, truth, glory and sacred freedom are at your side!”.

And who can tell where the uncensored “Kobzar” was first published? This happened in the 19th century in Prague, where Shevchenko’s popularity among the Czechs grew so much that articles about him even appeared in the Czech encyclopedia Slovník naučný (“Scientific Dictionary”), and the last issue of Praha-Moskva (1939, № 3), published on the eve of the occupation of Czechoslovakia, was entirely devoted to the genius Ukrainian poet, whose works went far beyond literature, as Mykola Kulish wrote, calling Taras Hryhorovych a “national prophet”, his literary work has entered the geopolitical dimension. It is not for nothing that monuments to Taras Shevchenko have been erected on all continents of the Earth, wherever his patriotic appeal has reached.

Under the heading “Discussion Panel” there is an article “Our Place in the World. Blood Formula” by Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Valeriy Shvets. Of course, those who were not lucky enough to deal with mathematics, will have difficulties with estimating the article, agreeing with it or denying what the author is trying to convey to the readership. In fact, the volume of this work is much larger than V. Shvets dared to publish, and it is not quite “in tune” with geopolitics. But only at the first glance…

For who of us, for example, could have foreseen a year ago that an insidious disease would appear and stubbornly mow down the population on all latitudes? And that it would take the first place among other earthly problems to such extent that geopoliticians will no longer look down at it? Professor V. Shvets dared to propose to analyze the origin of peoples by the formula of blood, which should somehow determine the affinity of genotypes of some and the difference of others, which until recently were considered close if not relatives, then neighbors. Here are just some of the author’s conclusions that may interest the reader or even make him start a discussion with the author:

“There is no connection between the kinship of peoples by blood groups and the kinship of peoples by language. Close relatives — Austrians and Ukrainians — speak completely different languages”.

“The term “Slavs” should be agreed upon. Either we use it only as the name of a group of peoples who speak close languages, which can be conditionally called Slavic, or in relation to the ethnic kinship of different peoples. In the latter case, Ukrainians, Austrians, and Greeks are Slavs”.

 

Oleh Makhno

 

 

The journal is published in Ukrainian and English and is not duplicated on the website of the Independent Analytical Center for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel”.

You can buy a printed copy of the journal through our website.

 

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