FROM GAVIN MOUNT (UNSW Canberra)
25 Aug 2014
Succinct and astute as always.
We run the usual risks of historical analogies by thinking in 'cold war' terms. We may look at some of the structural conditions such as NATO expansion and Russian interventionism. Putin is openly nostalgic for the Soviet Union.
What is striking about the narrative is new ideology of ethno-geopolitics and the revived civilisational discourse of Eurasianism. Dialogue should recognise the growing sense of Russian Derzhavnost and acknowledge the grounds for critique of assertive Atlanticism. The EU might exercise restraint.
What else to do? Genuine dialogue with ethnic minorities that have experienced invidious treatment. More sustainable prospects for political autonomy should be on the table. Broader reforms of the UN should consider a new chamber for 'peoples'.
Great powers should share responsibility to "save lives, not pick sides". In this regard, Russia might observe its own restraining advice that it gave in the UNSC votes on Libya and Syria.
Civilisational dialogue might also involve a more inclusive conversation on the idea of "Eurasia":
- Listening to India and it's growing interest in the greater Middle East.
- Understanding China's energy needs and its march to the west.
- Including the mediating voices of Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Iran.