It’s difficult to point to a moment in time where one could say that Christendom was united in any real sense. From the Constantinian shift1 in the 4th century up until the East-West schism of 1054,2 it could be argued that Christendom was unified in a loose sense, however the theological differences between the Latin West and the Greek East had been present since the early days of Christianity. Even then, as distinct national identities arose during the middle ages after the disintegration of the Roman Empire, it could hardly be argued that Europe had ever been united in any peaceful sense.
Fast-forward to 1949, and after the most devastating war in human history,3 Western Europe would unite under the banner of N.A.T.O. led by the United States, and later the European Economic Community in 1958. Although primarily established to consolidate opposition to the Soviet East during the Cold-War, this arrangement would continue after 1989-1991 when the Eastern Bloc collapsed and the Soviet Union disintegrated. The idea of a United States of Europe, promoted by the United States of America, had been there since the conception of the European Union.4
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and N.A.T.O. would be deprived of an enemy. In recent years, Western diplomats have attempted to argue that post-Soviet Russia still poses a threat to the West and the world. English journalist Peter Hitchens, who lived Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, argues differently.5 To him, the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, and the collapse of the ruling Communist Party was evidence of this, noting how burnt Communist Party membership cards filled the bins of Moscow during that time. He explains how the Soviet Navy was effectively scuttled in Sevastopol, and that the border of Russia now looked similar that imposed on them by Kaiser Wilhelm in 1918.6 The key point Peter puts across is that Russia and the Soviet Union are two different things, and that after 1991, the latter ceased to exist.
In the late 1999, N.A.T.O. would expand to include Poland and in 2004 it would expand further to include Romania, Bulgaria as well as the Baltic states. Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad was now isolated. Russia’s access to the Mediterranean as well as the Baltic Sea was reduced drastically.
The Ukrainian revolution in 2014, backed by the West,7 now puts Russia in a crucially dangerous position. If Ukraine falls to the Western camp, Russia will be isolated completely in Europe, with no buffer zone against the expansive European Union, which seeks to add Turkey to its membership list.8
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea was a desperate and risky one, but ultimately crucial if Russia wanted to maintain its key strategic presence in the Black Sea. Putin’s action would come with severe consequences, as it was followed with economic sanctions and further geopolitical isolation. In the last two years, the war drums of the Western foreign policy establishment have been slowly building. With the return of Cold War rhetoric from both sides of American politics, combined with Russia’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War, it’s not hard to see a severely dangerous confrontation arising from this precarious situation.9
Enter Donald Trump. The election of this man could change the game entirely. Donald Trump in his campaign for U.S. president has repeatedly called for a better relationship with Russia and perhaps even an alliance.10 The American Old Right has called for an alliance with post-Soviet Russia for years, noting his nationalist opposition to Islamic expansion as well has his perceived political traditionalism.11 Many on the Alt-Right admire his authoritarian strong-man-ship in addition to this.12
The new Eastern Europe is rather really interesting and will have a lot to say about the future of European man in the next century or so. Eastern Europe was preserved by communism from the decadence of the liberalism which has semi-destroyed Western Europe (and points to the west of that)… Communism was a strange doctrine, because it preserved under permafrost many of the characteristic social chapters of what it means to be a European. ~ Jonathan Bowden, “Western Civilisation Bites Back”
It’s also a simple case of geopolitical real-politik over ideological posturing.13 It is argued that Russia’s threat to the West is non-existent, and that her international interests largely align with that of the West. In the post-Iraq era (although Iraq is still in civil turmoil even today), the argument for promoting “democracy” and “challenging dictators” no-longer comes across as serious policy. It is argued that Putin is an “autocrat” and an “aggressor,” and thereby should be opposed on those grounds. However, the same could be said for our apparent ally, Saudi Arabia, and her aggression against Yemen. The Western foreign policy establishment is decidedly silent on that conflict.
In addition to this, America and Europe needs all the geopolitical support in can get in the 21st century era, especially as the threat of China becomes more apparent. The “Sons of Han” aspire to become the most powerful country on Earth, and they are just as much a threat to the U.S. as they are to Russia. In-fact, Russia and China share one of the largest borders in the world, and one must remember that there are 1.3 billion Chinese and Eastern Russia is sparsely populated and rich in natural resources. This is an interesting reversal of strategic interests, as the U.S. previously built relations with Communist China in the 1970s in order to counter the Soviet Union.
Russia has always been a nation under constant threat of invasion. This fear has dominated the Russian mindset for centuries. After the Mongols, the Swedes, the French and then culminating in 20 million dead Russians after a devastating German invasion in 1941, this mindset is entirely justified. Americans can never fully understand this, as they have only been invaded once (by the British in 1814) and live on a continent bordered by two oceans.14
If Donald Trump is able to normalise relations with Russia, and perhaps even form an alliance precipitated by the threat of I.S.I.S., then we will be witnessing a geopolitical paradigm shift unprecedented in human history. The Anglosphere, Europe and Russia aligned together through a common interest: self-preservation in a world dominated by Asia and potentially Africa. The European Union will have to collapse or be reformed significantly for this to work, but the opportunities for such a development are incredibly exciting. The possible nomination of Exxon-Mobil C.E.O. and friend of Vladimir Putin, Rex Tillerson, to the position of U.S. Secretary of State seems to be consistent with Trump and Steve Bannon‘s vision.
Although Christendom has all but died in many parts of Europe, and is on the retreat in America, the next few years could herald the beginning of a New Christendom, particularly if the words of Trump’s top adviser, Bannon, are any indication of the nature of this future relationship.15 It would not be surprising if historians look back upon this period and wonder in bemusement how such an obviously advantageous relationship took so long to be forged.