Chapter 2 - Modern Atlantism

2.1 Followers of Speakman D.U. Maynig, W. Kirk, S. B. Cohen, C. Gray, G. Kissinger

The development of the American, purely atlantist line in geopolitics after 1945 basically represented the development of the theses of Nicholas Speakman. As he began to develop his theories with corrections by Mackinder, so his followers basically corrected his own views.

In 1956, Speakman's student D. Maynig published the text "Heartland and Rimland in Eurasian History." Maynig specifically emphasizes that “geopolitical criteria should especially take into account the functional orientation of the population and the state, and not just the purely geographical relationship of the territory to the Land and Sea.” (1) The influence of Vidal de la Blach is clearly noticeable in this.

Maynig says that the entire space of the Eurasian rimland is divided into three types according to its functional and cultural predisposition.

China, Mongolia, North Vietnam, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Eastern Europe (including Prussia), the Baltic States and Karelia are spaces organically gravitating to heartland.

South Korea, Burma, India, Iraq, Syria, Yugoslavia are geopolitically neutral.

Western Europe, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Thailand are prone to a thalassocratic bloc. (2)

In 1965, another Speakman follower, W. Kirk, published a book (3) that reproduces the title of Mackinder's famous article, The Geographical Axis of History. Kirk developed Speakman's thesis regarding the central importance of rimland for the geopolitical balance of power. Based on the cultural and functional analysis of Maynig and his differentiation of the “coastal zones” with respect to the “tellurocratic” or “thalassocratic” predisposition, Kirk built a historical model in which coastal civilizations play the main role, from which cultural impulses come with a greater or lesser degree of intensity inside continent. At the same time, the “higher” cultural forms and historical initiative are recognized by those sectors of the “inner crescent” that Maynig defined as “thalassocratically oriented."

The American Sol Cohen in his book "Geography and Politics in a Divided World" (4) proposed introducing an additional classification into the geopolitical method based on dividing the main geopolitical realities into "nucleus " and "discounted belts ". From his point of view (5), each specific region of the planet can be decomposed into 4 geopolitical components:

  1. an external marine (aquatic) environment, depending on the merchant fleet and ports;

  2. the continental core (nucleus), identical to "Hinterland" (a geopolitical term meaning "inland regions remote from the coast");

  3. discounted belt (coastal sectors oriented either inland or from the continent);

  4. regions geopolitically independent of this ensemble

The concept of "discount belts" was spoken to by leading American strategists such as Henry Kissinger, who believed that the US political strategy for "discounted" coastal zones was to combine fragments into a single whole and thereby ensure complete control over Soviet Eurasia of Atlanticism. This doctrine is called "Linkage." from English "link", "connection", "link". In order for the "anaconda" strategy to be completely successful, it was necessary to pay special attention to those "coastal sectors" of Eurasia that either remained neutral or gravitated to the interior of the continent. In practice, this policy was implemented through the Vietnam War, the intensification of US-Chinese relations, US support for the pro-American regime in Iran, support for nationalists and dissidents of Ukraine and the Baltic states, etc.

As in previous eras, the post-war American Atlantic geopolitical school constantly maintained feedback with the authorities.

The development of geopolitical views in relation to the "nuclear era" we meet with another representative of the same American school, Colin Gray. In his book “The Geopolitics of the Nuclear Era” (6), he gives an outline of the military strategy of the United States and NATO, in which the planetary location of nuclear facilities depends on the geographical and geopolitical features of the regions.

2.2 Atlantists won the Cold War

The geopolitical development of Atlantism by the beginning of the 90s reaches its climax. The anaconda strategy demonstrates absolute effectiveness. During this period, one can observe the almost "prophetic" rightness of the first Anglo-Saxon geopolitics of Mackinder and Mahan, corrected by Speakman.

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR marks the triumph of the orientation of the atlantist strategy, which was carried out throughout the 20th century. The West wins the Cold War with the East. Sea Power celebrates its victory over heartland.

Geopolitically, this event is explained as follows:

The confrontation between the Soviet bloc and NATO was the first pure and unalloyed form of opposition between Sushi and the Sea, Behemoth and Leviathan in history. Moreover, the geopolitical balance of forces reflected not only ideological, but also geopolitical constants.

The USSR as a heartland, like Eurasia, embodied the ideocracy of the Soviet type. From a geographical point of view, it was a fairly integrated "Big Space" with colossal natural resources and developed strategic weapons. The main advantage of the USSR was the “cultural and functional” inclinations of the population living on its expanses or adjoining Soviet territory, and the presence of difficult to reach inland continental expanses that made it possible to create reliable defense and technological bridgeheads. In addition, on two sides from the North and East of the USSR, it had maritime borders, which are much easier to defend than land.

Due to the centralized economy of the USSR, he achieved commodity-food autarky and the military status of a superpower. To the extent possible, he sought to extend his influence to other continents.

But the Eastern bloc had several fundamental geopolitical shortcomings. The most important was the vast extent of land borders. If from the South the borders coincided with the ridge of the Eurasian mountains, from Manchuria to the Tien Shan, the Pamirs and the Caucasus, then in the West the border passed in the middle of plain Europe, which was the strategic bridgehead of Atlantism, while its central base was on the western shore of the "Middle Ocean" (Midland Ocean). But even in the southerly direction, the mountains served not only as protection, but also as an obstacle, blocking the path for possible expansion and access to the southern seas.

At the same time, the Eastern Bloc was forced to concentrate military-strategic, economic, intellectual, productive forces and natural resources in the same geopolitical center.

With this situation, the geopolitical position of the West with the center of the USA was in sharp contrast. (This is especially important, since the position of Western Europe in this alignment of forces was very unenviable; it got the role of the US land base adjacent to the borders of the opposite camp, a kind of "sanitary cordon"). America was completely protected by maritime borders. Moreover, by strategically integrating its continent, it gained control over a huge part of the Eurasian coast, rimland. From Western Europe through Greece and Turkey (NATO member countries), the control of the Atlantists extended to the Far East (Thailand, South Korea, strategically colonized Japan), and this zone smoothly passed into the Indian and Pacific oceans the most important military bases on the island of San Diego, the Philippines, and further on Guam, the Caribbean and Haiti.Therefore, all potential conflicts were transferred beyond the territory of the main strategic space.

At the same time, the Atlantists created a complex differentiated system of the geopolitical distribution of power “nuclei”. The United States directly provided strategic military power. Intellectual, financial and industrial structures, as well as centers for the development of high technologies, were concentrated in Western Europe, free from the burden of ensuring their own military security (except for police and purely decorative aircraft).

Natural resources came from the economically underdeveloped regions of the Third World, from which cheap labor came to a significant extent.

Maintaining the status quo that emerged immediately after the Second World War was an offensive position, since, according to the predictions of the Atlantist geopolitics, such a situation would inevitably lead to the depletion of the continental bloc, doomed to complete autarchy and forced to single-handedly develop all strategic directions at the same time.

Heartland had only two options in this situation. The first to carry out military expansion to the West with the goal of conquering Europe to the Atlantic. After this effort, the USSR could secure calm sea borders and industrial-intellectual and technological potential. In parallel, a similar effort should have been made in a southerly direction, in order to finally reach the warm seas and break the Sea Power “anaconda ring”. This is a tough path that, if successful, could lead to a stable continental world and in the near future to the collapse of America, deprived of rimland.

The other way was, on the contrary, in the withdrawal of the USSR and its armed forces from Eastern Europe in exchange for the withdrawal of NATO forces from Western Europe and the creation of a single, strictly neutral European Bloc (possibly with limited "dissuasive" nuclear potential). This option was seriously discussed in the era of De Gaulle.

The same could be done with Asia. To abandon direct political control over some Central Asian republics in exchange for creating with Afghanistan, Iran and India (possibly China) a powerful strategic anti-American bloc oriented intracontinental.

One could finally combine these two options and go peacefully in the West and force in the East (or vice versa). The only important thing was to start both of these geopolitical actions simultaneously. Only in this case, one could hope for a change in the planetary balance of forces from the apparent positional loss of Sushi to its victory. It was necessary at all costs to break through “containment ”, the term called the anaconda’s geopolitical tactics during the Cold War.

But since the USSR did not dare to take this radical geopolitical step, the Atlantic powers could only reap the results of their strictly calculated and geopolitically verified long-term positional strategy.

The autarky Soviet power could not stand it from a comprehensive surge and fell. And the military invasion of Afghanistan without a parallel strategic step in Western Europe (peaceful or non-peaceful), instead of saving the case, finally aggravated the situation.

2.3 Aeracocracy and etherocracy

Traditional atlantist geopolitics, putting Sea Power at the center of its concept, is the "geopolitics of the sea." A global strategy based on this geopolitics has led the West to establish planetary power. But the development of technology led to the development of airspace, which made the development of "geopolitics of air " relevant .

In contrast to the "geopolitics of the sea", a complete and fully developed, full-fledged "geopolitics of the air" does not exist. The ballooning factor is added to the overall geopolitical picture. But some correlations in the actualization of the air environment and related new types of weapons of strategic aviation, intercontinental missiles and nuclear weapons have changed significantly.

The development of airspace to some extent equalized the land and the sea, since for airplanes and missiles the difference between these spaces is not so significant. (An especially important step was the creation of aircraft carriers, as this completely cut off the air bases from Sushi, making them independent of the quality of the earth's surface.)

At the same time, the development of aviation has changed the proportions of the planetary scale, making the Earth much “smaller” and the distances “shorter”. At the same time, rocket science and the development of strategic aviation in many respects relativized traditional geopolitical factors, sea and land borders, intracontinental bases, etc.

The transfer of arms to Earth orbit and the strategic exploration of outer space were the last stage of the planet’s “compression” and final relativization of spatial differences.

Actual geopolitics in addition to Sushi and the Sea is forced to take into account two more elements air and ether (outer space). These elements at the military level correspond to nuclear weapons (air) and the Star Wars program (space). By analogy with tellurocracy (power of Sushi) and thalassocracy (power of the Sea), these two latest modifications of geopolitical systems can be called aerocracy (power of Air) and etherocracy (power of Ether).

Karl Schmitt gave an outline sketch of these two new spheres. Moreover, his most important and fundamental remark is that both “arocracy” and “efirocracy” represent the further development of the “nomos” of the Sea, the advanced phases are precisely the “thalassocracy”, since the entire technical process of developing new areas is carried out to the side " liquefaction of the environment, which, according to Schmitt, is accompanied by the corresponding cultural and civilizational processes, a progressive departure from the “nomos” of Sushi, not only in strategic, but also in ethical, spiritual, socio-political senses.

In other words, the development of air and space environments is a continuation of purely thalassocratic trends, and therefore, can be considered as the highest stage of a purely Atlantic strategy.

In this perspective, the nuclear confrontation of the blocs in the Cold War is presented as competition in the conditions imposed by the "Sea Force" on the heartland, forced to accept the conditions of a strategic positional duel dictated by the opposite side. Such a process of active “liquefaction of the elements”, coupled with the logic of the development of the Western world in technological and strategic sense, is parallel to the offensive position of the Atlantists in their policy of separating coastal zones from the continental center in both cases there is an offensive initiative of one geopolitical camp and a defensive reaction of the other .

At the intellectual level, this is expressed in the fact that atlantists at the theoretical level develop "active geopolitics", engaging in this science openly and systematically.

In the case of the West, geopolitics acts as a discipline that dictates the general contours of international strategy. In the case of the Eastern Bloc, it, not being officially recognized for a long time, existed and still continues to exist as a "reaction" to the steps of a potential adversary. This was and is "passive geopolitics", responding to the strategic challenge of atantism more by inertia.

If in the case of nuclear weapons and aviation (in the field of aerocracy) the USSR was able to achieve relative parity at the cost of all internal resources, then at the next stage, structural erasure occurred in the field of etheocracy, and competition in the field of technologies related to "star wars" led to the final geopolitical loss and to the defeat in the cold war.

To understand the essence of geopolitical processes in the nuclear world and in the development of orbital spaces, the remark of Karl Schmitt that aerocracy and etheocracy are not independent civilization systems, but only the development of the "nomos" of the Sea, is fundamental.

2.4 Two versions of modern Atlantism

The victory of the Atlantists over the USSR (heartland) meant the entry into a radically new era, which required original geopolitical models. The geopolitical status of all traditional territories, regions, states and unions has changed dramatically. Comprehension of planetary reality after the end of the Cold War led Atlanticist geopolitics to two concepts.

One of them can be called "pessimistic" (for Atlantism). It inherits the line of confrontation, traditional for Atlanticism, with heartland, which is considered incomplete and not removed from the agenda along with the fall of the USSR, and predicts the formation of new Eurasian blocs based on civilizational traditions and sustainable ethnic archetypes. This option can be called "neo-Atlanticism", its essence is reduced, ultimately, to the continuation of the consideration of the geopolitical picture of the world from the perspective of fundamental dualism, which is only nuanced by the allocation of additional geopolitical zones (except Eurasia), which can also become further centers of confrontation with the West. The most prominent representative of this neo-Atlantic approach is Samuel Huntington.

The second scheme, based on the same initial geopolitical picture, on the contrary, is optimistic (for Atlantism) in the sense that it considers the situation that has developed as a result of the victory of the West in the Cold War as final and irrevocable. This is the basis for the theory of "mondialism", the concept of the End of History and One World (United World), which claims that all forms of geopolitical differentiation are cultural, national, religious, ideological, state, etc. about to be finally overcome, and the era of a single universal human civilization based on the principles of liberal democracy will come. History will end along with the geopolitical confrontation, which initially gave the main impetus to history. This geopolitical project is associated with the name of the American geopolitician Francis Fukuyama, who wrote a program article with the expressive title "The End of History". This mondialist theory will be discussed in the next chapter.

Let us analyze the main provisions of the Huntington concept, which is an ultramodern development of the atlantist geopolitics traditional for the West. It is important that Huntington builds his programmatic article “Clash of civilizations” as a response to Fukuyama's thesis on “The End of History”. It is significant that at the political level this controversy corresponds to two leading political parties in the USA: Fukuyama expresses the global strategic position of the Democrats, while Huntington is the mouthpiece of the Republicans. This quite accurately expresses the essence of the two latest geopolitical projects, neo-Atlantism follows a conservative line, and “mondialism” prefers a completely new approach, in which all geopolitical realities are subject to a complete revision.

2.5 Clash of Civilizations: Huntington's Neo-Atlantism

The meaning of the theory of Samuel P. Huntington, director of the Institute for Strategic Studies. John Olin at Harvard University, formulated by him in the article “The Clash of Civilizations” (7) (which appeared as a summary of the large geopolitical project “Changes in Global Security and American National Interests”), is as follows:

The apparent geopolitical victory of Atlantism on the entire planet with the fall of the USSR disappeared, the last bastion of continental forces actually affects only a superficial section of reality. The strategic success of NATO, accompanied by ideological formalization, the rejection of the main competitive communist ideology, does not affect the deepest civilizational strata. Huntington, contrary to Fukuyama, argues that strategic victory is not a civilizational victory; Western ideology liberal demo democracy, market, etc. became non-alternative only temporarily, since civilization and geopolitical features, an analogue of the "geographical individual" that Savitsky spoke about, would soon begin to appear among non-Western peoples.

The rejection of the ideology of communism and the shifts in the structure of traditional states, the collapse of some entities, the appearance of others, etc. they will not lead to the automatic alignment of all mankind with the universal system of atlantic values, but, on the contrary, will make the deeper cultural strata freed from superficial ideological cliches again relevant.

Huntington quotes George Weigel: "Desecularization is one of the dominant social factors at the end of the 20th century." Therefore, instead of discarding religious identification in the One World, as Fukuyama speaks of, peoples, on the contrary, will feel religious affiliation even more vividly.

Huntington argues (8) that along with Western (= Atlantic) civilization, which includes North America and Western Europe, we can foresee the geopolitical fixation of seven more potential civilizations:

  1. Slavic-Orthodox

  2. Confucian (Chinese)

  3. Japanese

  4. Islamic

  5. Hindu

  6. Latin-American

  7. (and possibly) African

Of course, these potential civilizations are by no means equivalent. But they are all united in that the vector of their development and formation will be oriented in a direction different from the trajectory of Atlantism and civilization of the West. So the West will again be in a situation of confrontation. Huntington believes that this is almost inevitable and that now, despite the euphoria of the Mondialist circles, the realistic formula should be taken as the basis: “The West and The Rest ” (9).

The geopolitical conclusions from this approach are obvious: Huntington believes that the Atlantists should do their utmost to strengthen the strategic positions of their own civilization, prepare for confrontation, consolidate strategic efforts, restrain anti-Atlantic tendencies in other geopolitical entities, and prevent them from joining the continental alliance, which is dangerous for the West.

He gives such recommendations:

The West should:

  • Ensure closer cooperation and unity within the framework of their own civilization, especially between its European and North American parts;

  • Integrate into Western civilization those societies in Eastern Europe and Latin America whose cultures are close to Western;

  • Ensure closer relations with Japan and Russia;

  • Prevent the development of local conflicts between civilizations into global wars;

  • Limit the military expansion of Confucian and Islamic states;

  • Suspend the coagulation of Western military power and ensure military superiority in the Far East and South-West Asia;

  • Use the difficulties and conflicts in the relations between Islamic and Confucian countries;

  • Support groups oriented to Western values ​​and interests in other civilizations;

  • Strengthen international institutions reflecting and legitimizing Western interests and values, and to ensure the involvement of non-Western states in these institutions.


This is a concise and concise statement of the doctrine of neo-Atlantism.

From the point of view of pure geopolitics, this means an exact adherence to the principles of Mahan and Speakman, and the emphasis that Huntington places on culture and civilizational differences as the most important geopolitical factors indicates his involvement in the classical school of geopolitics, dating back to "organic" philosophy, for which initially it was common to consider social structures and states not as mechanical or purely ideological formations, but as “life forms”.

Huntington points to China and Islamic states (Iran, Iraq, Libya, etc.) as the most likely opponents of the West. This is directly affected by the doctrines of Maynig and Kirk, who believed that the orientation of the countries of the “coastal zones”, rimland and “Confucian” and Islamic civilizations belong geopolitically mainly to rimland more important than the position of heartland. Therefore, unlike other representatives of neo-Atlanticism in particular, Paul Wolfowitz Huntington sees the main threat not in the geopolitical revival of Russia-Eurasia, heartland, or some new Eurasian continental formation.

The report of the American Paul Wolffowitz (security adviser) to the US government in March 1992 said "it is necessary to prevent the emergence of a strategic force on the European and Asian continents that can resist the US" (11), and further explains that the most likely force , which is meant here, is Russia, and that a sanitary cordon should be created against it on the basis of the Baltic countries. In this case, the American strategist Wolfowitz is closer to Mackinder than Speckman, which distinguishes his views from Huntington's theory.

In all cases, regardless of the definition of a specific potential adversary, the position of all neo-Atlantists remains essentially unified: a victory in the Cold War does not cancel the threat to the West emanating from other geopolitical entities (present or future). Consequently, it is premature to talk about the “One World”, and the planetary dualism of thalassocracy (reinforced by aerocracy and efirocracy) and tellurocracy remains the main geopolitical scheme for the 21st century.

Huntington's thesis, The West and The Rest, is becoming a new and more general formula for such dualism.