The Sino-American "Cold Peace" and the risk of a European "Hot War"

(To Emilio Tirone)
06/05/22

Despite the persistence of the conflicts that continuously followed one another after the end of the Cold War even in Europe itself, the Euro-Western but above all Italian illusions of the achievement of a perpetual peace, in which hostilities and aspirations can be composed docilely and naturally, between market laws and altruistic, as well as demagogic, renunciations of any particularistic egoism. The present and growing tension between NATO and the Russian Federation, exasperated by the events in Ukraine, which is making the risk of a direct war ever more real, coldly indicates, once again, two fundamental lessons:

1 ► geopolitics cannot ignore the military aspect of the balance of power, or rather the defensive and offensive capabilities of the players on the chessboard;

2 ► the geopolitical interests of the parties in the field disregard the transformations of the ideological and moral positions of the institutional interpreters of the moment, constantly re-emerging in history.

In the context of the exercise of this discipline, do not take into account these general laws, or rather these fundamental epistemological aspects, in the first case makes it vulnerable and not very credible in international bargaining (at best ...), in the second leads to submission to the needs and aspirations of others, political and economic. On the other hand, basing, as happens in Western Europe, the interpretation of reality and international relations on the basis of the "good-bad" morality alone is a popular, comfortable and reassuring position, which has its stable points of reference and functionally separates clear friends from enemies, but insane and therefore dangerous.

The reality is different, basically too simple, but not through the comforting mainstream, in which the media statements of politicians and opinion leaders are composed with the pounding messages of a journalistic world that is less and less inquisitive and more and more deforming in the representation of the facts, but through its cold and iron logic, made up of conflicting interests in competition with each other . Depending on the spatial geographic factor, the geopolitical analysis serves to identify them, the geostrategic one to achieve them in the best possible way. Only Europe is showing that it does not know.

In a hundred years and a hundred months the water returns to its countries goes an old Venetian saying.i Searching for an illustrative parallelism, we can affirm that geopolitics behaves like water, which responds to its own and essential dynamic logic. Compared to the geography of places, this element, despite artificial anthropogenic deviations, always returns to its original bed, in the same way geopolitical interests constantly re-emerge in the history of peoples and states claiming their own course. Indeed, the historical reading of Russian and Anglo-American policies clearly highlights the same dynamics of the present.

Beyond the ideological and moral positions of the moment, the facts that determine the political and military decisions of the powers at stake are essentially and constantly the same. For Russia, towards Europe, they are expressed in a defense against the prospect of a military encirclement, which is projected in offensive towards the dream of a end state that leads it to have a political and cultural role of reference in the continental scenario and to exercise its power in the Mediterranean. A policy carried, slowly but steadily forward, from the Tsarist to the Soviet era, immediately embraced by Lenin as well, just consolidated power after the initial renunciations linked to the peace of Brest-Litovsk with Germanyii. Whether this hegemony is exercised in the name of the Holy Alliance or in that of the Communist International, whether it is subject to the vision of a third Rome of Orthodox inspiration, or of an imperial Eurasian universalism, anti-modernist and anti-globalist, or more simply of a search for a pluralistic multipolarity of identity, which defends national and cultural specificities, in opposition to American-Atlantic globalismiii, the result in foreign policy in the end does not change. The choices are of a consistent and constant determination.

The same applies to the policy of the United States of America, heirs of the British Empire, both thalassocratic, mercantile and financial powers, projected on a planetary imperial scale, or as they say today, in a more affable and reassuring way. global; whose policy has always been aimed at avoiding the emergence of a regional power in Europe that acts as a driving force for all the different energies present in it or simply that an axis of forces can be formed that has full political and economic independence, military and ideological. Above all, in the latter field, avoiding the affirmation of a reality that is not subject to the overseas model, which has growing anti-national assimilating claims, being the supranational aspect necessary for its very survival. A control model characterized by increasingly refined economic, political and cultural mechanisms (monetary parameters of reference, first pound and then dollar, stock exchange and loan economics, liberalism, but also the affirmation of international law, secularism, etc.). Mechanisms used in pervasive and at times intolerant forms, proving to be the most effective functional weapons, whose uninterrupted use joins the occasional, but determined, military instrument. A policy in many ways not unlike the colonial one.

The main Anglo-American successes achieved in Europe are mainly due to having been able to feed the divisive clash within its own bosom, with the dual aim of weakening its various components and decapitating any nascent internal hegemonic attempt. A centuries-old politics, continuously conducted in a winning way, which marked the destiny first of the old continent and then of the world. A logical path in which innumerable clashes and historical events are framed, in which Great Britain and then the USA fought or supported states and political factions, sometimes in successive apparently inconsistent phases. Indeed, it is possible to identify an intimate coherence: from the sixteenth century against Spain and support for the Netherlands in the Seven Years' War, from the conflict with Napoleonic France to the clash with Tsarist Russia, from that with the Central Empires and then with the German III Reich, with the final forced division into two of Europe and its central engine, Germany, in the cold war against the Soviet Union yesterday and against the Russian restoration today. A policy that in its penetration into the Mediterranean also involved Italy, whose unity of the Risorgimento was facilitated by England in order to create a new balancing power, both in the south of the continent and in the Mediterranean. An independence, however, granted and then tolerated, with limited sovereignty, without the possibility of having a foreign policy, not only expansive but not even fully autonomous. A role that has seen moments of clear crisis, such as during the attempt of colonial affirmation in Ethiopia and in the Second World War, or occult ones, from Mattei to Craxi, to cite superficially some examples.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the US policy towards Europe has clearly been the same as always: to avoid a clot of forces such as to make it, due to its cultural, technical, economic and military capabilities, a competitors on a global scale. A possibility that the fall of the Iron Curtain made it seem possible. The danger of a Moscow-Berlin axis was clearly denounced by the influencers think tanker USiv, as made explicit by the expression of Russia by the Duma Center for Geopolitics Studies in the XNUMXs.v By contrast, the US has conducted a policy, direct and indirect, which in fact boycotted the inclusion of a democratic Russia in the European context, both EU and NATO.

After obtaining the dissolution of the Soviet empire, the Americans conducted a campaign, at times even unscrupulous, which fomented the centrifugal forces, not only of the countries of the former Warsaw Pact but also in the context of the republics of the former Union Soviet, so that the new Federation was territorially reduced. At the same time, the enlargement of NATO increased the military encirclement to contain Russia, while, with the Kosovo crisis, its traditional Pan-Slav role of reference was mortified in the Balkans.

Many geopolitical analysts indicate comprehensive theories to identify simplified explanations to today's international relations, trying to provide answers to the open questions. But there is no single theorem. Reality is more responsive to set theory. There are various sets and subsets of elements and interests that intersect with each other.

In such optical the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation is getting closer and closer to that of a proxy conflict within the larger whole of the Sino-American confrontation. But there is a substantial difference: during the "cold war", a direct US-USSR military confrontation was made impossible by the danger of a escalation nuclear power, now China and the US, in addition to not being able to afford a "hot war", cannot even afford a "cold war" because of the close economic interconnections that exist between them. Between these two countries there is therefore, increasingly, a scenario that we could define as di "Cold peace". An undeclared hostility characterized by formally peaceful relations.

This also status, like the old US-USSR Cold War, has its own proxy conflicts and the Russia-Ukraine conflict seems to have this fate. The Russia-Western Europe crisis is equally framed, with respect to which China and the United States would immediately gain a double advantage: first, by strengthening their political, economic and military weight in the face of the weakening of their respective allies; second, avoiding the risk of their union for the next few decades (GeRussia risk).

The US, and with it Great Britain, however, seem more interested in forcing the situation to completely put Russia out of the game. Without this fundamental ally, China would in fact remain completely isolated and its climb to the leadership world would consequently be compromised or greatly slowed down. Situation that certainly the PRC will not be able to consider acceptable. But the US would gain even more from China's direct involvement in support of Russia. This would give him the opportunity to sanction it, passing from a scenario of "cold peace" to that of a "cold war", and to block its development, which aims to overcome the entire West in the near future. A circumstance that the US cannot be unaware of. Among other things, consider the slow decline of the dollar underlined and accompanied by the gradual loss of Chinese interest in US public debt as an indicator.

Ultimately, US policy, which apparently seems naïve, has simultaneously put Russia, Western Europe and China on the corner with this crisis. The real interest of the latter would be that the current tension was limited to producing an economic, energy and commercial crisis, this, similar to what already happened with Covid, would turn into a further opportunity for development both for the USA, which their trade with the old continent would increase, both for the PRC (with the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 Chinese GDP has already grown), which would practically become the only partner important commercial for the Russian Federation. But in fact, thanks to the Western intransigence dictated by Washington, we are heading towards the imposition of a sort of new Iron Curtain (Democratic countries-autocratic countries or countries accused of being autocratic). A bipolar world again in the face of multipolarism so much advocated by Putin. A condition that would damage the People's Republic of China over time. A China that until today silently, appearing docile and compliant, continues to strengthen itself on the military, economic and geopolitical level, exploiting the stability and openness of the global system, aiming to become the first world power.

But a hypothetical Iron Curtain could be less harm than the temptation of a world conflict that could be seen by the United States, which still possesses military primacy, as an advantageous diverter of the current one. trends development world. The war hypothesis, however, is accompanied by the worrying unknown factor of the "customs clearance" of the use of the atomic bomb triggered by the US-Russia tug-of-war, which the latter, cornered, could resort to.

Total war, after decades of mothballing, seems conceivable again, sweeping away decades of theories on its definitive overcoming in favor of "surgical wars" and "military operations other than war (MOOTOW)"vi. Herman Khan's scenario of "thinking the unthinkable" returns,vii considering it possible to win an atomic confrontation beyond the price to payviii.

War with the West is made more and more probable by the lack of communication between Russia and Ukraine, the result above all of the failure of the rest of the world to act as an intermediary. There is an air of reckoning, where unconsciously one believes that one can gain from the recomposition of the balance of forces.

In any case, the only actor that surely has only to lose is Western Europe, which with a simplistic carelessness runs towards incalculable risks without any geopolitical logic, driven solely by ideological imperatives. The behavior of the old continent, rather than from geostrategic analysis, would be from psychiatric analysis. Europe is in fact a victim of itself, of the feelings of guilt instilled by a strictly moralistic conception of history, which prevents it from identifying its real interests and from designing with a far-reaching independent vision, risking, instead, to make it slip towards the abyss.

i G. Boerio, Dictionary of the Venetian dialect. Added the Italian Veneto index, Cecchini ed., Venice 18562, P. 758.

iiCf.. IM Maysky, The foreign policy of the RSFSR 1917-1922, edited by O. Dubrovina, Biblion edizioni, Milan 2020, pp. 250.

iiiCf.. A. Dugin, Putin against Putin, AGA, Milan 2018. pp. 389.

vCf.. S. Santangelo, Gerussia: the broken horizon of European geopolitics, Castelvecchi, Rome 2016, pp. 192.

viSee. Q. Liang, W. Xiangsui, War without limits. The art of symmetrical warfare between terrorism and globalization, edited by F. Mini, Leg, Gorizia 2001, pp. 199.

viiSee. H. Khan, Thinking about the unthinkable, Horizon press, New York 1962, pp. 254.

viiiSee. H. Khan, Philosophy of atomic warfare. Examples and schemes, and. del Borgese, Milan 1966, pp. 376.

Photo: US Marine Corps