The Grand Chessboard

January 18, 2012

The Grand ChessboardZbigniew Brzezinski was born in Poland in 1928. He served as National Security Advisor under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.

The Grand Chessboard outlines what Brzezinski sees as an essential strategy for the United States in order to preserve its status as the global super-power. The chessboard, itself is Eurasia, which consists of several key players with which the United States must deal appropriately in order to prevent any power from becoming strong enough to challenge U.S. dominance.

If the game being played is Chess, then the strategy is to achieve a Check-Mate situation, though Brzezinski does not use that term. But he implies that the goal is to achieve a global cooperation among the nation-states of the world so that the U.S. would be, not only the first, but the last global super-power. That cooperation is suggested to come in the forums provided by NATO, the UN, G7, etc.

Comment: But doesn’t this beg the question as to what entities control those forums, thus in position to dominate the globe from behind the scenes under the guise of a multilateral effort?

Never-the-less, the strategy to maintain U.S. hegemony can be achieved, according to Brzezinski, by managing Eurasia. Eurasia has 75% of the worlds population, about 60% of the worlds Gross National Product (GNP) and about 75% of the world’s energy resources.  As one, Eurasia would be a stronger power than the U.S., but its diversity as well as geographical size makes that one-ness impossible.  However, individual nations that could possibly rise to challenge U.S. primacy are all located in Eurasia.

Thus, in order to prevent any such challenge, the strategy should employ specific relationships with key nations.  The key nations are divided into

  • geostrategic players – Those nations which have aspirations of power beyond their own borders
    • France
    • Germany
    • Russia
    • China
    • India
  • geopolitical pivots – Those nations which are vulnerable to other key players due to their geographic location
    • Ukraine
    • Azerbaijan
    • South Korea
    • Turkey
    • Iran

Brzezinsky notes that Great Britain is not a geostrategic player, though it has been consistently opposed to European unification. Also of note is that Japan, though a great economic power, has decidedly become uninvolved in any politics within the asian mainland. Still, both are key partners for the U.S. in its activites within Eurasia.

France and Germany are the key countries within the Eurozone keeping the unification alive.  Without them, there wouldn’t be unification.

Russia is more of a “black hole.” It’s still unclear what Russia’s true national aspirations are going to be, after the fall of the U.S.S.R. It is Brzezinski’s desire to see Russia a supporter of the EU community without any moves to become an empire again.

China is obviously a major player as the worlds fastest growing of the developing world. After the reunification of Hong Kong, China still insists that Taiwan is part of its domain, but realizes that a forceful takeover would conflict directly with U.S. interests. A peaceful integration would only come about if China can prove it is capable of progressing towards a political situation recognizing “many systems” within “one country.”

India is China’s rival in the region and has aspirations of its own.

By establishing specific relationships – both politically and economically – with key nations, the U.S. can promote or discourage the desires of those nations.  In other words, the U.S., according to Brzezinski, should manipulate those nations through carefully thought out, strategic activities.


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