USA & RUSSIA : THE BERING TWINS
Russia and the US, the US and Russia… At one time it was the US and the USSR; and sometimes it seems that it still is.
Russian power has established a solid corridor around its borders, and this Russian security space includes not only the ex-Soviet states or the signatories of the Warsaw Pact, but countries like Syria, and had included Afghanistan (before it ended with the Soviet-Afghan war) or even China in the past.
Who has forgotten that China was for a short time a de facto part of the USSR?
The United States had secured its environment by establishing a strong alliance with Canada, its continental neighbor in North America. The American presence in Central and South America, as well as in the Caribbean, sometimes clashed with Soviet expansionism, such as in Cuba.
Thus, at the time of the USA versus the USSR, the world knew two super-empires, which acted in an over-imperial manner.
Does the USSR still exist? Is the American empire still relevant?
The USSR officially collapsed in the last decade of the 20th century. And the United States of America, is it still powerful? Is it still a superpower, or even a power?
To the first question, we can say that the USSR has been reconfigured, to exclude negative or dangerous elements from each new former Soviet nations . This is also the appearance, or reappearance, of the Holy Russia. With the annexation of Crimea, the war in Chechnya, the war in Dombass, the territorial claims in the disputed Russian-Georgian territories, we can say that it is also the return of the supremacy of Russia in its direct geo-sphere.
The USA appeared to be the ultimate winner of the super-empire wars, but has its confrontation with China on the economic and geostrategic levels obviously turned to China’s advantage?
Similarly, while the Soviet-Russian world has reorganized itself and created internal cooperation structures such as the Council of Independent States (CIS) or the Eurasian Economic Union, has the United States, which is not a unitary country but a federal union of semi-sovereign states, reorganized its empire?
The question must be clarified by its origin: What is the American empire?
In the realm of empire, the idea of expansion, conquest and even colonialism is put on the table. But as with a human or anything else, the first, purest, and strongest empire is the self, and on the self.
So what is the United States’ empire over itself?
Does the empire of the United States lie in its territory? Does the empire of the United States lie in the People who live there, in the interstices and ideology that inhabit and evolve there?
To answer this question, we will compare it with the twin of the USA, separated by the Bering Strait: Russia.
The United States of America and the Russian space are less different than geostrategists think, on the contrary, they share the same traditionalist values and history.
The United States of America was born as a set of interests, a colony, developed for this purpose, ruled by the British Crown or by the independent American people. We know that the first independent Americans who governed the country were part of a class of patricians, landowners, financiers, merchants who also held, as in the French Ancien Régime, official « offices » as lawyers, judges, politicians, high-ranking army commanders etc. The majority of this elite will be active in the economy of the nascent America, which was partly based on the exploitation of the land by men.
Russia, after the seizure of power by Ivan IV, was organized into separate classes, rejecting the old hierarchy of society, then led by boyars. The elite was not a pyramid, but a tower called Oprichnina, the royal estate of the first Romanov ruler, at the top of which emerged the figure of the first supreme tsar of Russia.
Thus, in the (re)creation or (re)generation of Russia, after its relative secular weakness in the face of the Norse-Scandinavians, Polishs, Balts and Siberian-Steppe Nomayads of the time, the country became not only the Kingdom of Moscow, but the « Kingdom of Russia », establishing its power and dominations in the north, east, west and south. We will see this later.
Power and dominions in the north, east, west and south, is this not what the first thirteen colonies in America did? As London-Amsterdam was the Kievan Rus’, New Amsterdam-Boston was the Principality of Moscow.
As the Tsardom of Russia expanded to the East, with the conquest of Siberia, confronting the nomadic Eurasian peoples, the 13 Colonies expanded to the West with the conquest of the West, confronting the Native American peoples (American frontier)….
In Russia, the conquerors for Russia’s power were the Cossacks.
In the United States, the conquerors for Washington’s power were the Pioneers.
But the difference is that the United States was a place of trade, Russia a place of vassalization.
In tsarist Russia, everything serves vassalization, including business.
In the expanding United States, everything served commerce, including vassalization. The pioneers worked primarily for their own interests, while the Cossacks were a military corps pledging allegiance to the Tsar and his empire.
But it should not be forgotten that the first campaign of conquest of Siberia by Russia also had a commercial purpose, financed by the wealthy Stroganov family and for Novgorod fur trade.
Also, the Bering connection between Russia and the USA is related to the Cossacks and Tsars of all Russias, as Russia expanded its territory over the Bering Stars, and made Alaska a Russian Crown land…. Who remembers that the Cossacks went to California, and started a colonization of Western America? The gemellity between Russia and the USA can in this respect be sought in the comparative analysis of their past:
The modern United States was born out of a revolt against submission to British monarchs, which led to the American Revolution and War of Independence. Modern Russia was born out of a revolt against submission to the khanates of Eurasia, when Ivan III refused to pledge allegiance to the Golden Horde.
The United States experienced Slavery.
Russia has known Servage.
There was the territorial expansion of Russia, which includes the conquest of the Caucasus.
There was the US Conquest of the West, including the Amerindian mass deportation or troubles.
There was the Civil War (plus the US-Mexican War).
There was the Russian Civil War (October Revolution plus the Russian-Ottoman wars).
There was the manifest destiny of the USA and the communist mission of the USSR.
There was the collapse of the USSR by the dissolution of the Union. Should we prepare for a collapse of the US by dissolution of the Union? Does Russia have a manifest destiny? A Russian exceptionalism?
And does the United States have an American soul?
We should ask each comparison to see if the Russian-American gemel is relevant today, and how it can help both countries as well as the international community as a whole, to prevent future unnecessary conflicts due to misunderstandings.
It is interesting to know that the two major powers during the Cold War were in fact, and still are, connected by their coldest parts which meet in the Bering Strait. It is interesting to know that the Bering Strait used to be so cold that it allowed Paleo-Siberian peoples to cross it via the ice road and move from Eurasia-Siberia to Alaska-America, then to Canada-Greenland, etc. Given the common origin and mixture of Eurasian and North American peoples, we could compare the future of the states in which they live with the way these States treat them.
One could go further and say that the high governments of the United States and Russia are or should be similar. Can one compare George H.W Bush, former director of the CIA, former vice-president of the United States and then president of the United States with Vladimir Putin, former director of the FSB (Russian secret services), former prime minister of the Russian Federation and then president of the Russian Federation?
Can we compare Barack Obama, a more conventional or consensual profile in the White House after the Bushes, with his temporary counterpart in Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, who is considered more influenced by the West, more liberal and less military? Can we compare the attitudes of the American so-called business cowboys supported by Washington with those of the Russian oligarchs supported by Moscow?
Can we compare the financial sectors of Russia and the United States, especially when they were at their full capitalistic potential, during the democratization and liberalization of the late 20th century? Did we have the yuppies in the 1990’s New York City and Chicago, and the « New Russians » in the 1990’s Moscow and St Petersburg?
This sense of Russian-American competition is stressed in the morals, the military, the research and their application, but also in the two countries perception by the world.
Is there not a mirror effect in terms of the economic sanctions that each of the Bering twins inflicts on the other during the last two decades, targeting first their businessmen, politicians and officials?
By creating a bipolar world, as during the Cold War, where countries had to choose between red pills and blue pills, like the American people during the presidential elections, Russia and the United States could create a uniform world under the patronage of their common Bering power; but they would first have to deal together with the interests and values they want to bring to the forefront of the world’s future.
But of course, such a profound attachment to each other could be difficult for them for the simple reason that the Bering Strait does exist : If Russia and USA are Twins, they could hardly be Siamese.
GNADOU ATHYTHEAUD, THE BERING TWINS
By the same author : MISS-UNDERSTAND RUSSIA