This paper will discuss similarities between the real-world Belt and Road Initiative to the forward-thinking speculation of Orson Scott Card. Despite, Card’s personal failings regarding personal comments, there was a lot of humanity and wisdom to be learned within in Ender’s Universe series. Card in the late-nineties and early two-thousands accurately predicted Russian and Chinese joint-efforts, which are now being realized in the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road Initiative or Project. The city of Rotterdam plays an important role in the plot of Card’s Ender’s Shadow (1999), but the major Port of Rotterdam in real-life plays a central role in the Chinese, Russian, and Eurasian economic ambitions via the Belt and Road Project. Towards the end of this paper, I will also touch upon how Aleksandr Dugin’s Eurasian ideology poses a threat to the United States, Europe, and its allies, and possibly even the everyday Russian citizen. I will also touch upon the psychological operations inspired by the Kremlin which has invaded (noticeably) the West and USA via the Right-Wing movement largely under the top-cover of white-identity politics.
This paper isn’t to indict or discriminate against the Russian people or people of Russian descent, nor is it to marginalize the Orthodox Church. In my view, the Russian people and Orthodox Church have more to lose by being used the far-right, than they do to gain. Russia has a rich culture, history, and liberal tradition in certain cases, and I would assume the average Russian citizen has a lot in common with Americans or Europeans and there’s a desire for true democracy. However, appeasing and tolerating regressive far-right ideologies will not be tolerated and will be called out, especially as try to find credence within American discourse. Another paper will be written exploring Israel’s relationship with China, Russia, and the Belt and Road Project with emphasis on the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Russia, i.e., Birobidzhan, since Israel has been central – although its understated in the American mainstream media – to the trilateral political intrigues regarding the current Trump administration (Israel via Chabad Lubavitch and other agent groups, Russia, and the USA). Israel has a separate Sino-Russian foreign policy as a possible contingency in case US relations wane in the face of its aggressive Zionist agenda.
According to the Michiel Jak (2018) in a press release for the Port of Rotterdam, ” What does it mean for a deep sea port like Rotterdam – or Shanghai for that matter – to end up at the end of the chain? Right now, Rotterdam serves as the gateway to Europe: the point from where incoming cargo is distributed across the European hinterland. But with the arrival of the ‘Silk Road Railway’, the port will undergo a radical transformation: from gateway to, for a considerable part, final destination.”
Further Jak (2018) states, ” The Chinese government is investing some USD 100 billion per year in the construction of the New Silk Road. Right now, contractors are working on the track itself, but actually the Chinese government has been influencing existing transport routes for the last decade or so via a careful, methodical, step-by-step programme. They have done this by investing heavily in areas between China and Europe. They’re acquiring shares and sites, constructing new infrastructure: motorways, terminals, railways, everything. For example, China has bought Piraeus, a port in Greece – and gained a new gateway to Europe in the process. This development is at the expense of the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg. “
The book Shadow of the Hegemon first starts off with the depiction of the City of Rotterdam overran by abandoned street children who are struggling to survive. The children are forced to live in gangs to survive such as gathering food but also avoid sexual predators. The Netherlands in this story is just one of the nations of an international political body, i.e., a United Nations type of world government that created in response to attacks from an alien enemy (yet, this science fiction trapping shouldn’t distract from this paper).
“There was plenty of danger to watch for. The cops for instance. They didn’t show up often but when they did they seemed especially bent on clearing the streets of children. They would flail about them with their magnetic whips, landing cruel stinging blows on even the smallest of children, haranguing them as vermin, thieves, pestilence, a plague on the fair city of Rotterdam.” (Shadow of the Hegemon, Card, p. 8)
“A couple of twelve-year-old hookers who didn’t usually work this strip rounded a corner, heading toward Poke’s base. She gave a low whistle. The kids immediately drifted apart, staying on the street but trying not to look like a crew. It didn’t help. The hookers knew already that Poke was a crew boss, and sure enough, they caught her by the arms and slammer her against a wall and demanded their “permission” fee. Poke knew better than to claim she had nothing to share – she always tried to keep a reserve in order to placate hungry bullies. These hookers, Poke could see why their hungry. They didn’t look like what the pedophiles wanted, when they came cruising through. They were too gaunt, too old-looking. So until they grew bodies and started attracting the slightly-less-perverted trade, they had to resort to scavenging” (Shadow of the Hegemon, Card. p. 10)
The character Poke is the female lead of a street crew of desperate kids. She has to fight off bullies, predators, etc. She eventually discovers a street kid named Bean, who shows high intelligence, but Bean has to earn his way into the crew. Bean would go on to be the central character to this book and sequels such as Shadow of the Hegemon. Shadow insinuates in the shadows of Ender Wiggins, the hero of the franchise. Bean has a genetically engineered intelligence (that comes at a price as revealed in the series) who can match Ender Wiggins.
“Normally she wouldn’t have paid him more than passing attention. But this one had eyes. He was still looking around with intelligence. None of that stupor of the walking dead, no longer searching for food or even caring to find a comfortable place to lie while breathing their last taste of the stinking air of Rotterdam. After all, death would not be such a change for them. Everyone knew that Rotterdam was, if not the capital, then the main seaport of Hell. The only difference between Rotterdam and death was that with Rotterdam, the damnation wasn’t eternal.” (Shadow of the Hegemon, Card, p. 9)
Bruce Barnard (2015), a special corespondent, stated, “The port of Rotterdam has established a strategic partnership with the Bank of China focused mainly on Beijing’s “Belt and Road” strategy to boost trade links with Europe.”. Further, Barnard (2015) states, “The initiative, formerly known as “One Belt, One Road,” already has roughly $50 billion in backing. The initiative add up to $2.5 trillion in trade to China over the next decade, according to a Kuehne + Nagle analysis.”
Nadège Rolland, a Senior Fellow for Political and Security Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research, published an article for the International Institute of Strategic Studies, titled, A China–Russia Condominium over Eurasia: China and Russia share similar views of what a future Eurasian order should look like.
Rolland (2019) states, ” For the moment, however, the evidence points to an increasingly deep condominium between the two powers. French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that ‘love does not consist in looking at one another, but in looking together in the same direction’. China and Russia are certainly looking together in the same direction with equal yearning towards Eurasia. Both powers perceive the Western presence on opposite sides of the Eurasian landmass – US alliances and presence in East Asia for China; NATO and the European Union’s normative power for Russia – as threatening to contain and ultimately undermine them. Both continental powers consider Eurasia their strategic backyard, and both have launched ambitious initiatives to strengthen their influence over the region: the Eurasian Economic Union and the Greater Eurasian Partnership for Russia, the Silk Road Economic Belt – the land component of the Belt and Road Initiative – for China. But their common focus does not mean they are necessarily competing against each other in this vast continental space. Rather, China and Russia share similar concerns about Eurasia’s political stability and security, and similar overall objectives regarding what a future regional order should look like. ”
Further, Rolland (2019) states, “With the EAEU integration process already under way, a group of Russian experts led by Sergei Karaganov gathered under the aegis of the Valdai Club (most probably on commission from the Russian government)5 to brainstorm about further options for Eurasia’s integration. In April 2015, the group published a report entitled ‘Towards the Great Ocean’ that advocated the transformation of Eurasia into a Sino-Russian zone of joint development. During a visit that month to the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS),6 Karaganov announced that his ‘Greater Eurasia’ plan had been submitted to Russian President Vladimir Putin.7 He apparently liked the idea: at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum held in June 2016, Putin proposed building a ‘Greater Eurasian Partnership’ (GEP) that would include the EAEU and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, in addition to China, India, Pakistan and Iran. “
The information provided by Rolland (2019) speaks echoes by relating to the thesis of Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chess Board: American Primacy and its Geopolitical Imperatives, but the Sino-Russian relationship is referenced by Card in his books Shadow of the Hegemon and Ender’s Shadow.
Brzezinski (1997) argues that American foreign policy must remain concerned with the geopolitical dimension and must employ its influence in Eurasia in a manner that creates a stable continental equilibrium, with the United States as the political arbiter (p. xiv), and, the ultimate objective of American policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community, in keeping with long-range trends and with the fundamental interests of humankind (p. xiv).
“Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an “antihegemonic” coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower” (Brzezinski, p. 55). This relates to Rolland (2019) who stated that Vladimir Putin liked the idea of Sino-Russian participation in the dealing with treating Eurasia as a common economic zone that would also possibly include Iran.
However, Iran and Islamic nations might pose a threat to Sino-Soviet relations regarding Eurasia which is largely Muslim. Despite, the USA being at hegemonic odds with China and Russia, the one thing that all can agree upon, including Israel (which has trilateral relations with all three powers), is the “Muslim problem”. Since Iran is the last remaining Muslim independent nation outside of the control of the powers, it seems that if Iran is ever attacked that all three parties would agree on force. Yet, if the Americans were to take out Iran, it might tip the scale of power more to the Sino-Russian sphere of influence. The US military’s exercise of force in the Middle East was a projection of US capabilities, yet, it was costly for the American Empire and gave rise to asymmetric warfare, i.e., terrorism, both within the Middle East and through blow-back within the American and European homeland. It might be wise for the Americans to continue peaceful diplomacy with Iran as a hedge against Sino-Russian power which will only be increased by the integration of the Belt and Road project. Yet, Iran understands this and seems to have positioned itself into a position akin to Turkey, who can play both East and West off each other. Regardless, Iran is within the economic and political ambitions of Russia and China, so it is best that the Americans hedge this, such as potentially reactivating a reformed version of the Iran Nuclear Deal, meeting with Iranian diplomats for democratic reforms (if US conservatives try to block this, then simply remind them of Trump’s direct face-to-face talks with North Korea and Russia), etc.
George M. Young (2012) in his book, The Russian Cosmists: the Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and his followers, studies the esoteric elements, especially those relating to Aleksandr Dugin, regarding Russia’s view on Iran, which as stated in this paper, according to Rolland (2019) is being considered within the Greater Eurasian Partnership’ (GEP) that would include the EAEU and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, in addition to China, India, Pakistan and Iran.
“George Vendasky, for example, sees Russian pre-Christian pagan religion as a development from both Zoroastrianism and Mithraism. And Aleksandr Dugin and other current Russian neo-Eurasianists and neo-nationalists point to ancient Russia’s religious and cultural kinship with ancient Iran to support their calls for a new Russo-Iranian Eurasian continental alliance to counter NATO power and culture”. (Young, p. 83)
Young (2012) mentions Lev Gumilev (1912-1992), a Neo-Eurasianist, “In recent times, Gumilev’s theories have proved especially useful to Russian neonationalists, neo-Eurasianists and other with an anti-Western, anti-Atlanticist political bias, the most prominent of whom is the ideologist, Alexander Dugin – and, some might add, Vladimir Putin.” (Young, p. 228)
“Fedorov viewed Russian culture as a continuation of ancient Aryan Iran, a combination of Eastern and Western principles, struggling against a hostile natural environment, wary of Greco-Roman power to the west and Turan to the East. Similarly, Gumilev views Russia as an absorber and continuation of the great steppe powers of ancient Eurasia, different from and strong than both Western Europe and eastern Asia. For Gumilev, the Mongol invasion by Genghis Khan was not a curse but a blessing for Russia, saving the entire Eurasian heartland from the aggressive clutches of the Catholic West, then presented by Poland and the Baltic Teutonic Knights. Under the khans, Russian Orthodox spirituality was tolerated and allowed to mature, whereas medieval Orthodox spirituality would’ve been crushed under the heels of Teutonic Knights, and the Eurasian heartland would eventually have become simply an extended version of the European spiritual and political battleground of Catholics versus Protestants.” (p. 227-228, para. 3)
The last quote by Young (2012) relating to Gumilev is telling in that Russian nationalists see Chinese partnership as more vital to Russian ethnic identity/political power than Russian appeasement or inclusion with the West. Russia sees itself as culturally incompatible with the West which is traditionally based on the Western Catholic Rite and Protestantism, and felt that vassalage to the Asian Mongols, i.e., Chinese, was better for Russian solidarity. This concept relates to Aleksandr Dugin’s Eurasianism ideology that wants Eurasian solidarity against the West as an anti-NATO land power able exercise economic sanction power (such as shutting off natural gas lines,e.g. Nordstream and power-grids, or possibly imposing tariffs on products), and Dugin uses esoteric ideology such as that of a common Aryan and Indo-European heritage of Central Asia to “spurce” up this idea.
Yet, Brzezinski (1997) describes the inherent instability of Russia in trying to control Muslim lands. “Finally, within the Soviet Union itself, the 50 percent of the population that was non-Russian eventually rejected Moscow’s domination. The gradual political awakening of the non-Russians meant that Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and Azeris began to view Soviet power as a form of alien imperial domination by people they did not feel culturally inferior” (Brzezinski, p. 9).
This statement by Brzezinski (1997), echoes in Card’s fiction with the statement, “Indeed, the only force that stood firm against China and Russia while facing them across heavily defended borders were the Muslim nations. Iran generously forgot how threateningly Pakistani troops had loom along their borders in the month before India’s fall, and Arabs joined with Turks in Muslim solidarity against any Russian encroachment across the Caucus into the vast steppes of central Asia. No one seriously thought that Muslim military might could stand for long against a serious attack from China, and Russia was only scarcely less dangerous, but the Muslims laid aside their grievances, trusted in Allah, and kept their bodies bristling with the warning that this nestle would be hard to grasp.” (Shadow of the Hegemon, Card, p. 428-429, para. 4)
Now, I will go back to the works of Orson Scott Card regarding his reference to Rotterdam, which as we can see in real-life is being integrated into the Belt-and Road Project, and this project increases the Sino-Russian sphere of influence within the Western (European, American, and its auxiliaries) sphere of influence.
“What Bean saw as the driving force of history, however, was the resurgent Russian Empire. Where the Chinese simply took for granted that they were and should be the center of the universe, the Russians, led by a series of ambitious demagogues and authoritarian generals, felt that history had cheated them out of their rightful place, century after century, and it was time for that to end” (Ender’s Shadow, Card, p. 400, para. 2)
“It was Russia that forced the creation of the of the New Warsaw Pact, bringing its effective borders back to the peak of Soviet power – and beyond, for this Greece was its ally, and an intimidated Turkey was neutralized. Europe was on the verge of being neutralized, the Russian dram of hegemony from Pacific to the Atlantic at last within reach” (Ender’s Shadow, Card, p. 400, para. 2)
“For along with their national vigor, the Russians had also nurtured their astonishing talent for misgovernment, that sense of personal entitlement that made corruption a way of life. The institutional tradition of competence that would be essential for a successful world government was nonexistent. It was in China that those institutions and value were most vigorous. But even China would be a poor substitute for a genuine world government that transcended any national interest. The wrong world government would eventually collapse under its own weight” (Ender’s Shadow, Card, p. 401, para. 6)
“As if this vat redrawing of the world’s map were not enough, Russia announced that it had joined China as its ally, and that it considered the nations of eastern Europe that were not loyal members of the New Warsaw Pact to be provinces in rebellion. Without firing a shot, Russia was able, simply by promising not to be as dreadful an overlord as China, to rewrite the Warsaw Pact until it was more or less the constitution of an empire that included all of Europe east of Germany, Austria, and Italy in the south, and east of Sweden and Norway in the north” (Shadow of the Hegemon, Card, p. 428, para. 2)
“The weary nations of western Europe were quick to “welcome” and “discipline” that Russia would bring to Europe, and Russia was immediately given full membership in the European Community. Because Russia now controlled the votes of more than half the members of that community, it would require constant tug of war to keep some semblance of independence, and rather than play that game, Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, and Portugal left the European Community. But even they took great pains to assure the Russian bear that this was purely over economic issues and they really welcomed this renewed Russian interest in the West” (Shadow of the Hegemon, Card, p. 428)
Before I end this, I want to stress that the Alt-Right is actually an internal threat to both Western conservatism and liberalism (in the modern sense). Many of its followers are being used in ways beyond their comprehension. It is the Trojan Horse for Russian and thus Sino-Russian influence to destabilize the West and United States.
It is important to note that Dugin was a member of Neo-Bolshevik Party, a syncretic party that synthesized elements of both the far-right and far-left, e.g., National Socialism such as that of the Nazis, which was later dissolved and became absorbed with the Other Russia Party, which is a left-wing but nationalist party. The slogan of Other Russia is “Russia is everything, the rest is nothing!” and “Nation! Homeland! Socialism!”. Yet, Dugin would later go to the Eurasia Party, which is far right, though it shares many nationalist, anti-Western, and authoritarian characteristics to that of the Neo-Bolshevik Party. According Dugin’s Wikipedia page, Dugin’s book The Basics of Geopolitics (1997): “The new 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. This common civilizational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union”.
Yet, what are liberal values? In modern discourse we ascribe liberalism to progressive, the political left, the Democratic Party, etc. Yet, liberalism is the overarching political school of though in which both Western conservatives and liberals are descended. Liberalism is the Enlightenment-based political ideology, that varies from liberal nation to liberal nation which espouses the rights of individual man; inalienable rights; the pursuit of happiness; freedoms of speech; freedoms of religion; taxation only with representation; an armed citizenry; property rights, legal systems strongly based on common law systems, though civil law systems such as those in Europe are included, and pluralism. Pluralism is vital because it is essentially the ability to agree to disagree, which a core tenant which facilitates and supports free speech. Modern conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and Marxists all have roots in liberalism.
Dugin’s anti-liberalism by way of Bolshevism to me relates to the phenomena of monarchism within the Alt-Right. Pro-Russian mouthpieces such as Orthodox convert, Jay Dyer of Jay’s Analysis, who interviewed Dugin and has made many comments stating his agreement with Alt-Right figures, is a Traditionalist and Monarchist. The Alt-Right movement of the West and United States has been highly influenced by online psychological operations such as Alex Jones’ InfoWars (platformed by Joe Rogan and Jones ironically has links to the DisInformation Company of Richard Metzger who produced his film End Game); Richard Spencer had a Russian wife known as Nina Kouprianova; Lauren Southern interviewed Dugin in Russia and she worked for Rebel Media owned by Jewish businessman, Ezra Levant. Levant was held as responsible for organizing the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally; and Red Ice TV which was co-founded by Laura Lokteff who is of Russian descent and identities as pagan, which relates to the Hyperborean movement of the Russian Cosmists subgenre as detailed in Young’s (2012) book.
For example, Putin and Dugin are Communists despite them branding their ideology with concepts spanning the spectrum as the far-right, nationalism, Orthodox traditionalism, Indo-Aryan paganism, and even monarchist sentiments. This right-wing glossing of their “crypto-communism” appeals to white supremacy which sees itself under threat. I support this statement with Young’s (2012) statement on Pavel Florensky (1882-1937), “To some degree, Florensky believe that the Communist future could possibly (but not necessarily) lead to a revival of medieval objectivism, collectivism, and constructive vision, and a turning from illusory individualism and self-destructive atomization that had characterized prerevolutionary modernity” (p.124). Hence, Monarchism, which is seen as an alternative political model within the Far-Right can be a cover for communism. In theory, communism, fascism, and monarchism share similar characteristics such as the promotion of an autocrat, the collective over the individual, central directives or edicts dictating the economy, and state monopoly of force. Monarchism just adds a level of regalia, religion, and ethnicity to the forefront. Liberalism isn’t incompatible with religion, but rather it separates church from state.
Liberalism isn’t dead. Liberalism isn’t wrong. It’s just a complicated system to balance. It’s like a body of interlocking systems, e.g., endocrine system, neurological system, immune system, digestive system, etc., so it can be easily manipulated or “sickened” by foreign agents, but also poor decision making of the self. There’s inherent sickness within American democracy which foreign agents know they can exploit.
These include, White supremacy, racial self-determination of historically marginalized groups, the inability to reach reconciliation between white majorities and minorities (ironically due to the commercialization of race within the American capitalist system where culture is argued as intellectual property and sharing is seen as appropriation) – this is both the fault of the political left and political right, but also national cultures have shifted to the promotion of a cynical, hyper-aware, and ironic culture of low-art material fetishism, where universal “beyond differences” concepts are no longer sacred (marriage, childbearing, civic duty, etc.). Yet, these topics can be fixed and worked on with time. It’s not that liberalism is dead, but rather we’ve become too individualistic, tribal, but also materialistic, and have usurped a sense of “spiritual attachment” and historical preservation of ideas such as a Americana. There is no crime in being white, black, Asian, Hispanic, multiracial, etc., but for liberalism to survive and not be manipulated by foreign agents and their domestic proxies, we need put a sense of humanity back into American and Western culture. This can be an inclusive process that posits unity over tribalism, yet it can be done in a way that venerates marginalized groups without tapping into majority white fears. This will take a process of self-reflection of all peoples but also listening to the experiences of others. We can also deal with issues such as the power of corporations, the constitutionality of the spy-state, and the power of political lobbyist and technocrats.
Brzezinski (1997) pays tribute to American liberalism but also offers a warning if decadence goes too far. “The American emphasis on political democracy and economic development thus combines to convey a simple ideological message that appeals to many: the quest for individual success enhances freedom while generating wealth. The resulting blend of idealism and egoism is a potent combination” (p. 26-27). However, he provided a warning by showing an example of Western European social democracies, by stating, “The crisis of political legitimacy and economic vitality that Western Europe increasingly confronts – but is unable to overcome – is deeply rooted in the pervasive expansion of the state-sponsored social structure that favors paternalism, protectionism, and parochialism. The result is a cultural condition that combines escapist hedonism with spiritual emptiness – a condition that can exploited by nationalist extremists or dogmatic ideologues”. The nationalist extremists are the Alt-Right and Far-Right, and the dogmatic ideologues seem to denote the political realities of Trump, i.e., Caesarism.
Barnard, B. (2015, October 30). Rotterdam partners with Bank of China to tap ‘Belt and Road’ push. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.joc.com/port-news/european-ports/port-rotterdam/rotterdam-partners-bank-china-tap-belt-and-road-push_20151030.html.
Brzeziński, Z. (1997). The grand chessboard: American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives. New York: Basic Books.
Card, O. S. (2001). Shadow of the Hegemon. New York: Tor.
Card, O. S. (1999). Enders Shadow. New York: Tor.
Jak, M. (2018, February 27). New Silk Road calls for Rotterdam to take on a directing role. Retrieved December 25, 2019, from https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/news-and-press-releases/new-silk-road-calls-for-rotterdam-to-take-on-a-directing-role.
Rolland, N. (2019) A China–Russia Condominium over Eurasia: China and Russia share similar views of what a future Eurasian order should look like. International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), 61(1), 7–22. Retrieved from https://www.iiss.org/publications/survival/2019/survival-global-politics-and-strategy-februarymarch-2019/611-02-rolland
Young, G. M. (2012). The Russian cosmists: the esoteric futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and his followers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.