The Geopolitical Future of Iran

There is a book by Aleksandr Dugin, titled the Foundations of Geopolitics, and the Geopolitical future of Russia that is being circulated among the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and is also a textbook at the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military.

Dugin credits General Nikolai Klokotov of the Academy of the General Staff as co-author and main inspiration. Klokotov has stated that in the future the book would “serve as a mighty ideological foundation for preparing a new military command”. Dugin has asserted that the book has been adopted as a textbook at other Russian educational institutions. Former speaker of the Russian State Duma, Gennadiy Seleznyov, for whom Dugin was adviser on geopolitics, has also “urged that Dugin’s geopolitical doctrine be made a compulsory part of the school curriculum”.

In Foundations of Geopolitics, Dugin calls for the United States and “Atlanticism” to lose their influence in Eurasia and for Russia to rebuild its influence through annexations and alliances.

The book declares that “the battle for the world rule of Russians” has not ended and Russia remains “the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution”. The Eurasian Empire will be constructed “on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.”

Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services. The operations should be assisted by a tough, hard-headed utilization of Russia’s gas, oil, and natural resources to bully and pressure other countries.

The book states that “the maximum task [of the future] is the ‘Finlandization’ of all of Europe”. Meaning for the rest of Europe to take on a more neutral posture towards the U.S. and Russia.

In Europe:

It suggests that Germany should be offered the de-facto political dominance over most Protestant and Catholic states located within Central and Eastern Europe. Kaliningrad oblast could be given back to Germany. The book uses the term “Moscow–Berlin axis”.

France should be encouraged to form a bloc with Germany, as they both have a “firm anti-Atlanticist tradition”. Under this scenario, German car exports to the U.S. would be replaced by fast growing markets to its east.

The United Kingdom, merely described as an “extraterritorial floating base of the U.S.”, and should be cut off from Europe. Which is precisely what happened with Brexit! Basically, Brexit played into Russia’s vision of a more favorable geopolitical future.

Finland should be absorbed into Russia. Southern Finland will be combined with the Republic of Karelia and northern Finland will be “donated to Murmansk Oblast”.

Estonia should be given to Germany’s sphere of influence.

Latvia and Lithuania should be given a “special status” in the Eurasian–Russian sphere.

Poland should be granted a “special status” in the Eurasian sphere.

Romania, North Macedonia, Serbia, “Serbian Bosnia” and Greece – “Orthodox collectivist East” – will unite with “Moscow the Third Rome” and reject the “rational-individualistic West”.

Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because “Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics”. Ukraine should not be allowed to remain independent, unless it is cordon sanitaire, which would be inadmissible.

In West and Central Asia:

The book stresses the “continental Russian–Islamic alliance” which lies “at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy”. The alliance is based on the “traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization”.

Iran is identified as a key ally. The book uses the term “Moscow–Tehran axis”.

Armenia has a special role: It will serve as a “strategic base,” and it is necessary to create “the [subsidiary] axis Moscow-Yerevan-Teheran”. Armenians “are an Aryan people … [like] the Iranians and the Kurds”.

Azerbaijan should be given to Iran.

Georgia should be dismembered. Abkhazia and “United Ossetia” (which includes Georgia’s South Ossetia) will be incorporated into Russia. Georgia’s independent policies are unacceptable.

Russia needs to create “geopolitical shocks” within Turkey. These can be achieved by employing Kurds, Armenians and other minorities.

The book regards the Caucasus as a Russian territory, including “the eastern and northern shores of the Caspian (the territories of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan)” and Central Asia (mentioning Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).

In East and Southeast Asia:

According to this book, China, represents a danger to Russia, “must, to the maximum degree possible, be dismantled”. Dugin suggests that Russia start by taking Tibet–Xinjiang–Mongolia–Manchuria as a security belt. Russia should offer China help “in a southern direction – Indochina (except Vietnam), the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia” as geopolitical compensation. Having read this, I realized a strange reality – NONE of the other strategic concepts in this book are achievable without China’s full participation. And in fact without a ‘deal’ with China, Russia’s own economy would not survive. Far from calling this geopolitical reality the “Eurasian” plan, it really should be called the “new Sino-sphere” world. I am discounting Dugin’s statements about China.

It also states that Russia should manipulate Japanese politics by offering the Kuril Islands to Japan and provoking anti-Americanism.

Mongolia should be absorbed into Eurasia-Russia.

The book emphasizes that Russia must spread anti-Americanism everywhere: “the main ‘scapegoat’ will be precisely the U.S.”

In the United States:

Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics”.

The Eurasian Project should be expanded to South and Central America.

This is the actual state of the Russian elite’s outlook towards the rest of the world.

Since, when does Russia with an economy smaller than Brazil’s have the capacity to ‘dictate’ global geopolitical outcome? The answer is it can’t! But in combination with Germany and China, there is a serious probability that ‘big parts’ of this geopolitical future will come true. And there is significant evidence that Germany and China have ‘bought in’. And there is a movement towards the ‘realization’ of this vision in one form or another.

So what does all this mean for Iran?

  • Iran-Iraq-Syria land route is strategically critical to China

Obviously, China is trying to create a land-based access to critical mineral resources and to its principal markets. Any serious risk analysis of a war with the United States, places China in a very vulnerable situation with sea-based transportation routes for both imports and exports. It simply must develop crucial land-based connectivity to strategic resources. Given the history, I also believe putting its ‘eggs in the Russia basket alone’ for connectivity to Europe and other markets would be extremely risky. China MUST have alternate options to Russian land-routes.

This is exactly where Iran (and its connectivity to Iraq, and Syria) comes in. Iran provides risk mitigation for China. Put another way, its very clear, that China will NOT abandon Iran, or allow it to fall out of its sphere of influence … all the way to Syria.

  • Central Asian Connectivity is strategically critical to China and therefore Iran

This “Eurasian” Plan is meaningless without a bridge across several Eurasian countries in play i.e. Tajikestan, Turkmenistan etc.  These countries are land-locked and need to import significant supplies – such as cement, flour etc. In many cases, Iran is a preferred source for these critical supplies, or at the very minimum can become a transit route for these shipments from third country ports.

Iran’s Chah Bahar port is already umbilically linked by rail and road to these central Asian nations. And Iran’s industrial and improving agricultural base can serve as a critical supplier of these neighboring states. Put another way, its very clear that – for the sake of these nations – BOTH Russia and China will NOT abandon Iran or allow it to fall out of their sphere of influence or be ‘crushed’ by the U.S.

  • Iran will become a serious Economic Hub Reinforcing the Sino-sphere

40 years of sanctions against Iran was designed to ‘contain’ and ‘hopple’ Iran both politically and economically. But Iran has survived. The core ‘truth’ is that Iran’s balance sheet is extremely strong – with almost no external debt i.e. virtually no liabilities and a huge mineral resource based (not to mention a massive population of highly educated STEM graduates). As both China, Russia (and eventually Europe) free Iran from the shackles of international sanctions, Iran’s economy will blossom. Iran has the potential to become not only a G20, but a G10 economy – i.e. a serious market!

As the world increasingly abandons the US dollar for trade, and alternative banking is established outside of the world’s current US dominated systems like SWIFT, Iran will become a key player in this new ‘economic’ domain – and reinforce it.

  • There is an ‘opportunity’ for Iran to establish a Central Asian Union

These Russian strategists see no inherent value in an independent Azerbaijan. They potentially have the same view of Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan too. And both Iraq and Syria must be under full ‘control’ for the ‘Chinese’ risk mitigation to be ‘risk free’. If a Central Asian union is not established, Iran will at a minimum be a serious player in the ‘internal’ political outcomes in these neighboring nations.

Iran will become an important ‘regional’ player. No doubt about it.

This nonsense between the U.S. and Iran will have essentially led to a huge global strategic realignment to the detriment of the U.S.

For those like me that wish for true democracy in Iran, and the end of Iran’s theocracy, let me be the bearer of bad news: the IRI is going nowhere. Both Russia and China are effectively totalitarian states, who according the “Xi” himself functions better economically because it is totalitarian. They do NOT offer or want democracy in Iran – as an option. In fact, they see it as a serious risk to their grand programs. Also, there is serious political advantage in maintaining Iran’s Shia complexion because it gives it leverage in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan – and even to some extent in Pakistan. There is NO geo-political advantage in political change in Iran.

Also, US sanctions are going nowhere and will be increasingly counterproductive. Iran will sell oil and gas to China and its neighbors (even Russia to be resold to Europe via Russian pipelines). Iran will become a serious economic and logistical hub. And Iran will play in a non-Western economic sphere. As far as the west is concerned, now, Iran is basically ‘gone’!

The only counter strategy to this Europe-Russia-Iran-China axis for the west is to essentially surround this whole “EurAsian” alliance with an Anglo-sphere alliance bridged by Arabs. China will be replaced by India (an emerging ‘Anglo-sphere’ ally) as a source for low cost goods. And a bifocal world will emerge.

In this new world, the best Iran can hope for, is to be part of a huge central Asian union with Iran at its heart (and potentially Turkey too). And to make up for 40 years of sanctions and economic stagnation with a dynamic new economy outside the U.S. dominated financial system.

The U.S. has played its cards very poorly. A uni-polar world, with a dominant super-power is now, BECAUSE of U.S. actions alone, transforming to a bi-polar world: the Anglosphere and Sino-sphere. And what was once the staunchest, most loyal, most pro-American (and pro-Israeli) ally, will have been effectively pushed into the lap of America’s own competitors. Having ‘broken apart’ the soviet union, Russia will be at the heart of a ‘broken west’ with key former allies like mainland Europeans and Iran having splintered from the West! And, US GDP share as part of the global GDP will have halved in the span of a generation. With the exception of India, all global growth will be in the Sino-sphere!

The writing is on the wall. Iranians take note.

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