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Aleksandr Dugin. Comments to four questions by Ima-press, February 2002

About russian military reform, Bin Laden, military bases and NATO

Ima-press: Vladimir Putin has approved the implementation of a gradual transition to the acquisition of part of the Armed forces of Russian Federation on a contract basis instead of draft. Will the generals consent to turn the whole army into a prfessional army?

AD : I have a few observations on this problem, since the elaboration of a geopolitical pattern of reforming the armed forces, in particular their division, is linked to the strategic outlook. And I can give you a uniquely valid answer, why the military reform, including the transition to a professional army, has been delayed during the last 10 years. As a matter of fact, military reform as the practice should be the accomplishment of the provisions of the military doctrine as the theory. Such things are strictly interdependent and can not exist separately from each other. Our present military doctrine is ambiguous, as it does not give an answer to the most important problem: "who is our potential opponent". And the answer to this problem also defines all the system of the military doctrine and, accordingly, the course of the military reform, where the transition of the army to a contract basis is only one of the elements. Concerning this major, causal point about the potential opponent, an invisible, yet very active and tough fight has been going on through all these years between the force-wielding ministries and offices and the political government of the country. The militaries insist on that, as long as the Americans consider Russia or the so-called Eurasian bloc as one of most probable potential opponents, we too should consider the US as our main opponent. This is logical. The Kremlin acts in the opposite way. Accordingly, the reform of the army does not take place, and all the issues linked to it, including the professional army, bear an abstract, not concrete character. Under Putin, it seems, the consensus was reached with the adoption of a national security concept oriented to a multi-polar world, which makes the US – as the builder of the unipolar world – our main potential opponent. But the events of September 11 have mixed all the cards – again it is unclear whether America is for us an opponent or not. If not, them Russia needs to build an army where the strategic sector will be reduced to its minimum, while the highest attention will be paid to building professional compact armed forces, able to efficiently wage war operations within the borders of the Russian Federation. In this case the army becomes the continuation of police forces or, say, frontier troops. But as a matter of fact this severely contradicts geopolitical logic itself. During our President’s last visit in the US, we became convinced that the Americans are ready to smile, to speak about some concessions, but in the strategic sphere their positions do not change. As a result, the contradictions are sharpened again, not between the supporters of the professional army and their oppositors, as between two basic definitions of the geopolitical function of Russia. I think that even the President has not taken yet an unequivocal decision about this problem.

Ima-press : Osama Bin Laden openly plans – with the help of his son – to put an end to his life by committing suicide before TV cameras, which will serve as a signal for terrorist attacks on the Capitol in Washington, the Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Do you believe in such possibility?

AD : It all seems to me as a gloomy farce. When I see Bin Laden on the screen it seems to me that all the scenery is built somewhere in California, since it does not as much suit the Islamic consciousness, as express some expectations of the modern man of the West. I do less and less believe in the existence of Bin Laden. It is known that he was a CIA agent, and I do not exclude he is an hired actor, indispensable for the US to justify the new geopolitical trends – such, as settling military bases in Central Asia, mobilizing its own civil population stuck in the mud of political indifference and disintegration, intimidating Europe, who now has to pay the American military expenses, and Russia, who swears to obey the US in everything. And the more the story with Bin Laden goes on, the more it gets a Hollywood-like character. I do not I want to say that we are talking about something frivolous, but we live in a world where images completely displace reality. About this wrote in the famous book «The Society of Performance» the French philosopher Guy Débord. He really committed suicide as a sign of protest against the «society of Performance», showing that human life cannot depend on virtual falsification, on which we are fed. Bin Laden and the Taliban look like representative figures of the «society of Performance». The outstanding French philosopher Jean Baudrillard considered the September 11 tragedy as the only event of the last decade which brought us back to reality. But everything that will follow then, said Baudrillard, will be performance. About what you asked me, it is an idiotic farce. Every new mediacratic detail as though carefully breed the fears of the American philistine – suicide, blood, TV, son, Bin Laden, religion... Thus are simultaneously demonized and idealized human life, belief, the example of the others, the attacks, even Bin Laden himself. As a matter of fact, ever more serious realities are brought as a victim to the insatiable sensational nature of the television. Basically it is the continuation of such programs as «Behind the glass» and «The Last Hero», only carried out in sadder tones, in a horror-movie style. I conceive all the latest events as a mark of the full numbness of our civilization and its extreme inadequacy.

Ima-press: Russia closes its last large military bases, in Cuba (Lurdes) and in Vietnam (Kamran). How far is this justified, especially on the background of the present unstable world situation and the rumours about the third world war?

AD : This decision can be considered from several sides. Firstly, it is a symbolical capitulation of Russia before the winner of the cold war – «atlantism». NATO today is expanding eastward, and it is sad from the point of view of the death of a great power, a great stage in our national history. Secondly, I do not exclude that technologically these bases have exhausted their military operating value and in principle may be substituted by something different, on other levels. Thirdly, it is probably the diplomatic course of Vladimir Putin, who tries at any cost to normalize the relation with the West. Truly, the problem of the price, in my opinion, is being inadequately set, and everything will end with a failure. The West will find some excuse not to let us neither in the NATO, nor in the WTO or in the European Union. The outcome will be like under Gorbachev – we make steps forward, and in reply we get busted and slapped in the face. The Russian President over some time will necessarily return to a different pattern of behaviour vis-à-vis the Western countries – an eurasist pattern, But, unfortunately, we shall still have for a long time to disentangle ourselves from the consequences of the present decision of the federal government. An enormous quantity of fatal mistakes is being made. And, most importantly, our concessions are not indemnified by anything. Misunderstanding that Russia does not benefit from the opposition between the US and Taliban means not simply a mistake, as the ignorance of the laws of geopolitics as such. The Clinton strategic doctrine about American national interests in the XXI century was published in 1997, even children heard about it. It is a fundamental, epoch-making document, where it is said that the main task of the United States is to prevent the rise of a strategic bloc in Eurasia. Until September 11 Putin was drawing this bloc, but America used the tragedy in order to disorganize it. What can be the profit to Russia here?!

Ima-press: President Putin is going to meet in Brussels with NATO general secretary Robertson. How far are substantiated the rumours about that a condition for the Russian involvement in the Antiterrorist Campaign is the decision about its inclusion in the North-Atlantic alliance or, in any case, stopping NATO eastward expansion?

AD : Russia will destroy this organization: our membership in the North-Atlantic alliance will considerably change its structure and geopolitical direction. You see, the entrance in this bloc of a mighty Eurasian nuclear power with completely definite continental concerns brings to nothing the concept of «atlantism», turns the North-Atlantic alliance into something absolutely different! In this case the NATO, by definition, would not be able to discharge those functions for which it was created. It will be some completely new strategic union: the strategic and military weight of Russia will be so heavy that the organization will not be able anymore to spend such uniform civilizational and geostrategic line like the one the NATO is now leaning on. Our President since the very beginning constantly took definite and very persevering steps in this direction: for example, proposing to create a pan-European antimissile defence system. As far as I know, such change of the present pattern of geostrategic relationship with the West is for Putin one of the priority tasks and is an organic component of his foreign policy. However, the NATO too perfectly perceives what is going on. In my view, the US are now absolutely not ready to a similar conversion of the alliance, and will go through it only in case they feel its fundamental vulnerability. Therefore we must aim to enter NATO, but should not be surprised if us they will never accept us: we are not dealing with idiots! Another issue is that in the present situation Russia tries to show Europe and the US its own geopolitical subjectivity. This is absolutely correct, and any our involvement in the antiterrorist activity of the international assemblage should be arranged by a number of strategic conditions on the part of Russia. On the whole, our straight participation to American antiterrorism actions is extremely undesirable and even dangerous. But even other softer forms of involvement of Russia in the opposition to international terrorism must be undoubtedly accompanied by a number of requests. In particular, by the demand to stop NATO expansion. I think that Putin will discuss these problems with Robertson, though actually it is difficult to figure how hard a position will be held by both parties.

Trans. M. Conserva

Russian Italiano Deutche
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