Non-interventionist Americans who oppose U.S. involvement in Ukraine are the 21st century inheritors of a long and honorable tradition in American politics and foreign policy going back to George Washington and his warning against becoming embroiled in the dynastic conflicts of Europe.
Unfortunately, Washington’s wise counsel did not serve its advocates well in the lead-up to the 20th century’s two World Wars, and it serves less well now as we face a new threat from Russia, Iran and Communist China in the form of what Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his political allies call Eurasian National Bolshevism.
What most Americans, including President Biden and his staff, probably don’t understand is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine isn’t the work of some megalomaniacal dictator bent on conquest, but an ideological war motivated by the “Eurasian National Bolshevism” of Alexandr Dugin, Vladimir Putin’s ideological mentor.
And their goal is nothing less than reordering of the world’s economy and reassembling the old Soviet Union to create a world order centered on Eurasia. Putin’s grand vision is to make Eurasia, not America, the world’s economic and political center. And the pegs that will anchor this new world order are a Russia that stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific, Red China, and Iran.
In this sense Putin’s invasion of Ukraine wasn’t a regional conflict on the Russian periphery, it was the opening battle of World War III and the beginning of an attempt to, as Dugin once said, destroy the American Empire*.
When Putin began his invasion of Ukraine it looked like he was well on the way to establishing that new Eurasian world order as his tanks rolled toward the outskirts of Kiev.
Fortunately, and almost in spite of themselves, the Biden administration did the right thing to thwart Putin’s ambitions and gave the plucky Ukrainians enough arms and economic aid to hold the Russians at bay.
Despite many missteps and blunders, such as debating Polish military assistance to Ukraine on the front page of the New York Times, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s clumsy attempts to draw NATO and the United States into “boots on the ground” participation in the war, the Russians have not only been stopped but turned back.
Ukraine has regained much, but not all of its lost territory, while suffering terrible damage to its national infrastructure and tens of thousands of military and civilian casualties.
And as the Russian invasion has been stopped and rolled back, the losses to Russian military capability and national prestige have been severe, with the Russian state shown to be both militarily inept and corrupt.
But is merely stopping the Russian invasion and returning things to the status quo ante bellum enough to stop the Eurasian National Bolshevism project of reorienting the world’s economic and military center?
Apparently, the Ukrainians don’t think so – that’s why they attempted to assassinate Putin’s ideological mentor Alexandr Dugin. That they missed and killed his daughter was unfortunate, but getting rid of Dugin, or even getting rid of Putin, is unlikely to be enough to end the Russian fantasy of a new Eurasian National Bolshevist world order.
The idea of a reconstituted Soviet Union by a new name is a strong current in Russian politics and the only thing that is likely to kill it is the decisive defeat of Russian ambitions in Ukraine and the concomitant destruction of the Putin regime in Russia.
With Putin gone, and the Putin loyalists in the Russian military defeated and demoralized, much like Nazi Germany and Japan were after World War II, a new Western-looking Russia could be built.
But such an outcome presupposes continued American and NATO aid at sufficient levels to not just hold Russian forces in Ukraine at bay, but to reestablish Ukraine’s historic borders and push the Russians back and out of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Crimea.
The new Republican Congress has promised an audit of the Biden administration’s aid to Ukraine and a thorough review of its effectiveness. Given the Biden family’s history of Ukraine-related corruption such an effort is no doubt warranted, but it shouldn’t detract from the larger goal of defeating Eurasian National Bolshevism and destroying the nascent Russia-Iran-Red China axis that aspires to replace the United States and the West as the world’s dominant economic and military power.
Miles Gloriosus is the pen name of an occasional CHQ contributor with a background in military and national security affairs.
* When there is only one power which decides who is right and who is wrong, and who should be punished and who not, we have a form of global dictatorship. This is not acceptable. Therefore, we should fight against it. If someone deprives us of our freedom, we have to react. And we will react. The American Empire should be destroyed. And at one point it will be.
Aleksandr Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory, translated By Mark Sleboda and Michael Millerman (London, Arktos, 2012) page 193.
Joe Biden foreign policy
Russia Ukraine war
Eurasian National Bolshevism