Le Point: This book inspired Putin’s war on Ukraine | culture

British geopolitical analyst Halford Mackinder says: Whoever rules Eastern Europe controls the heart of the region, and whoever rules it controls the world island (Eurasia), and whoever rules the world island dominates the world, so that Central Europe, especially Ukraine – according to this century-old equation – is a pivotal region .


Since the outbreak of the Russian war on Ukraine, critics and writers have been trying to explore the aspects of ideological influence that may have inspired Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to war, in addition to the well-known geopolitical, economic and military dimensions. .

The French magazine Le Point said that a book published in 1997 called “The Grand Chessboard”, in which its writer Zbigniew Brzezinski, former diplomatic advisor to Jimmy Carter, called for NATO expansion to include Ukraine, and was a recognition for the Kremlin, diplomats and senior officers The Russians, and evidence that the United States wants to isolate Russia by integrating Ukraine into a European and Atlantic entity.

It is therefore an important book – says Saeed Mahran, who prepared the report for the magazine – because it allows understanding some of the reasons that prompted Putin to attack his Ukrainian neighbor, and it was written by Brzezinski, one of the leading theorists to reshape the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union, such as Henry Kissinger, Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama.

Although this book does not have an “official” orientation and no one has shared it with its author and has nothing to do with the American administration, its writer, born in Poland in 1928, emigrated due to the Soviet invasion from his country to the United States when he was only 11 years old, and there he became a professor He was associated with the Democratic Party, and introduced the concept of values ​​and human rights in the doctrine of American foreign policy, and he is – as the writer says – a man with a strong voice in international relations discussions, and given his personal history, he remained hostile to Moscow.

ambitious desires

Quoting Napoleon, Brzezinski wrote that “the United States, if it is to maintain its global supremacy, must not lose sight of the importance of geopolitics” and that “a knowledge of a nation’s geography is sufficient to understand its foreign policy.”

The most frequently quoted passage, however, by Putin and his entourage is that “the United States is working to separate what is now called Moscow near abroad, that is, the countries that surround the Russian Federation and make up the Soviet Union.” Brzezinski recognized early on that Ukraine was the cornerstone of the “Great Chessboard.” “The inability to expand NATO despite American efforts could arouse Russia’s most ambitious desires,” he adds.

Referring to Russia’s “legitimate” concerns about the deployment of nuclear weapons on the territory of the new members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the author proposes the imposition of mutual restrictions, such as the refusal to deploy Russian soldiers on the borders of the alliance countries, warning that “Ukraine could, in turn, be in position to start negotiations with a view to joining the European Union and NATO” during the period 2005-2010.

The diplomat and geopolitical scientist devoted a large part of his book “The Eurasian Chessboard” invoking the concept of “the heart of the continent”, which he considers the “essential starting point” for the control of the continent.

British geopolitical analyst Halford J Mackinder says, “Whoever rules Eastern Europe controls the heart of the region, and whoever rules it controls the world island (Eurasia), and whoever rules the world island dominates the world, so that Central Europe, especially Ukraine – according to this century-old equation – becomes a region.” pivotal.”

outstretched hand

In the book there are other passages that make the Russians say that it is the real battle plan of the various American administrations. Brzezinski notes that “the independence of Ukraine changes the nature of the Russian state, and therefore it is the new important square on the Eurasian chessboard, because Russia without Ukraine is no longer an empire in Eurasia.” .

Brzezinski continues, talking about Russia’s interest in controlling Ukraine, saying, “For Moscow, restoring control of Ukraine, which has a population of 52 million, has many resources and overlooks the Black Sea, is a guarantee that it will once again become a powerful imperial country that stretches across Europe and Asia. It will be The end of Ukraine’s independence has immediate consequences for Central Europe.”

The diplomat asked about the European Union’s expansion to the east and “should it align with the eastern border of NATO?” To point out that it seems that a consensus has been reached in favor of accepting the Central European countries in both the European Union and NATO, but the debate is still open about the future status of the Baltic republics, and Ukraine.

Brzezinski, however, in his analysis, goes so far as to defend Russia’s extension of cooperation, but points out that leaders are hostile to it, and even “friendly gestures” from the West towards Russia, seem to influential members of the political class a way to deprive it of the right to obtain global status .