THE Battle for the Eurasian Heartland: Who has What? Who will WIN?
Let us assume that after Putin’s announcement to the world that Russia now possesses nuclear delivery systems that are impervious to any known US anti-missile defense system, “mutually-assured destruction” or MAD will hold and prevent humanity from self-destruction. But MAD will not prevent the lone superpower US from pursuing its long-time dream of establishing its control of the Eurasian Heartland in order to strengthen its waning influence and control of the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa; and the world. So, what does the US have to fulfill this dream of controlling the “Heartland”?
First, there is the US military – with a budget bigger than the next eight leading countries combined. Hence, the US has the most powerful military war machine in the world.
Second, there are those hundreds of US air, naval, military, and drone bases surrounding Russia, China, and Iran – three of the principal US adversaries that are now physically occupying the “Heartland” or its periphery (in the case of Iran). US forces-in-being and logistics-in-place are already pre-positioned in these US foreign bases – locked and loaded – poised to strike.
Third, there is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO. It expanded when the WARSAW PACT under the USSR collapsed and most WARSAW PACT countries abandoned Russia and joined NATO. But cracks have appeared in the NATO alliance lately when the US unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Germany, France, and UK have refused to support Trump’s latest move in the Middle East against Iran. These three leading NATO countries can sway the rest or most of the NATO members to distance themselves from US ambitions in the Eurasian Heartland.
And, last but not least, there is the US dollar hegemony – the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency (as petro-dollar) that allows the US to finance its wars, debts, budget deficits, trade deficits, and its huge military budget by merely printing money out of thin air. Saddam and Khadafy met their demise because they made moves that threatened this dollar hegemony; but Putin of Russia, Rouhani of Iran, and Xi of China are now making their own moves against the US dollar; and this could mean WAR!
At the opposite end, what do the “Heartland” occupiers and defenders have?
First, there is geographic advantage; the advantage of defense vs offense; wherein the US and its principal allies (UK, Canada, Japan, Australia) will be forced to operate on exposed and vulnerable exterior lines (i.e., being forced to cross oceans to enter the battlefields in the Eurasian mainland exposing themselves to ambush by opposing submarines), while the “Heartland” defenders will be operating in protected and secured interior lines, greatly assisted in their troop maneuvers by the highways and high-speed rails of the Belt and Road Initiative. Aside from submarines and swarms of unmanned underwater vehicles, the long sea lanes of communications of US and its major allies can also be interdicted by continental land-based anti-ship ballistic missiles of China and that of Iran; and, the Kinzhal and Avangard missiles from Russia and a mixture of supersonic and hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles delivered from air, land, and sea by China and Russia. Being on the strategic defensive, China, Russia, and Iran will be operating on the protected interior lines inside their respective territorial boundaries, or the interior lines inside the Heartland. Aside from protected lines of communications, the defenders have the added advantage of high-speed rails, superhighways, and fiber optic networks that China has built in its Belt and Road Initiative. These give the Heartland defenders the advantage of being able to rapidly maneuver forces and concentrate firepower to defeat any invading US and allied forces one-by-one.
Second, there is the advantage of asymmetry brought about by the ongoing Revolution in Military Affairs (or RMA) wherein the hundreds of fixed military bases now surrounding Russia, China and Iran, as well as aircraft carrier strike groups of the US and its allies can be obliterated in less than half an hour by barrages of long-range, supersonic/hypersonic, stealthy, highly lethal, precision-guided weapons system now in the underground arsenal of China, Russia and Iran. RMA has made land forces much more superior than sea power of US and allies.
Third, the US will be forced to fight on several major fronts (i.e., the Russian Front, the China Front, the Iranian Front, the Indian Ocean Front, and possibly even the Korean Front); thus being forced to violate the basic military dictum: “Never hit with both fists in two directions at the same time”. In the event that US and its allies decide to attack the Chinese and Russian mainland, Chinese and Russian nuclear submarines patrolling the west coast and east coast of the US can also open two additional war fronts: Western US and Eastern US Fronts; further spreading US forces thinly on a global scale; opening it to defeat in detail.
Fourth, China holds more than a trillion dollars in US treasury bills. China can dump these treasuries by buying gold and other strategic minerals, oil and gas fields, agricultural lands and valuable real estates, high-technology companies, and other real hard assets. After consuming and exhausting its US dollar assets, China will then declare its currency, the Renminbi, to be backed up by GOLD. Central banks all over the world would be scampering to get rid of the US dollar because it is not backed up by anything except brute force. This would lead to a dollar collapse followed by the collapse of the entire US economy.
Fifth, China had since the 1950’s prepared itself for a major conflict such as this to happen when Mao exhorted the whole Chinese nation: “Dig tunnels deep; store grains everywhere; and never seek hegemony.” Since that declaration of Mao, up to now, the Chinese have been digging tunnels; now they have more than 5,000 kilometers of strategic tunnels where their entire strategic defense arsenal are kept safe and hidden – impervious to any first strike or “Air-Sea Battle” strategy of the US and its allies. Seeing this, Iran had followed suit. Iran’s missile defense system had also gone underground. The US and its allies have no similar defense system of such scale. In addition, China’s extensive subway system in all of its major cities serves as civil defense for its urban dwellers in the event of a major war.
Last but not least, the “Heartland” occupiers are defending their own homelands; while the US and its allies are the invaders; hence, popular support will naturally go to the defending forces while the invaders will reap the hatred and fury of the local populace. To quote the sage Mencius: “Perfect timing is less important than positional advantage; positional advantage is less important than popular support”. This ancient thinking remains relevant in this day of RMA and modern warfare. From all of the above, it is clear which side will WIN.
*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.