Large Cracks in the Grand Chessboard

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-1-29-42

K. Gadzhiev (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, 
Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23 Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation; 
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 27/4, Lomonosovskii Prosp., 119991, Moscow, Russian Federation 


In the article, it is attempted to identify and analyze the profound changes that have taken place in the geopolitical picture of the vast Eurasian space over the past three decades. The concept of Zb. Brzezinski, the well-known American analyst who portrayed Eurasia as a “Grand Chessboard” where the winner represented by the United States is known in advance, enounced in his similar-name book (which has been gaining increasing popularity in 1990s and 2000s) is used as an original premise. It is shown that within the first fifteen years of the 21st century, due to a combination of factors, the geopolitical situation in Eurasia changed dramatically. The revival of Russia as a strong military and political power capable to defend its national interests, the emergence of powerful new actors such as China, the weakening of geopolitical positions of the West in general and the U.S. in particular, their defeat in aggressive wars and other failures have led to deep cracks in the conventional Grand Chessboard, which have brought about changes in both the lineup of the leading players and the rules of the game on it. These cracks create a serious obstacle for Washington in terms of maintaining its positions in this vast region, which is of key importance for the prospects of the modern world community. But at the same time, it is necessary to take into account that the United States as a great military and political power simply will not give up the protection of their interests in Eurasia as a whole, and particularly in Central Asia. The most rational and acceptable way for all sides to solve the key problems of the region is seen in the transformation of Eurasia with common efforts into a sort of testing ground for peace, cooperation and harmonization of basic interests in mutually beneficial and healthy competition, or, in other words, a fair game of chess. The aim of this game could not be a zero sum result, but the search for conditions, forms and means of a positive, responsible cooperation of all stakeholders. However, as history shows, the content, nature, scope, prevalence and levels of positive or negative settings of inter-state relations depend on how the states see and perceive each other, to what extent they trust each other. We must not forget that not arms, or an arms race, cause wars, but on the contrary, the competing parties’ attitude towards war leads to an arms race.


Grand Chessboard, Eurasia, power, geopolitics, force, counterforce, veto, national interest, national security 


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For citation:
Gadzhiev K. Large Cracks in the Grand Chessboard. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2017, vol. 61, No 1, pp. 29-42.

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