Yermolaiev Andrey

philosopher; Head of Strategic Group Sofia;
initiator of the "Helsinki Group 2.0"

The second birth of the Eurasian continent
1. In the human history the continents are born twice. The first time happens when the unknown piece of land unveils itself on the maps of the discoverers, geographers and historians. They are still strewn with borders and «blank spots», while their names change frequently due to peoples' rivalry for land, resources and history. The second birth of a continent is possible when all peoples give way to a transformation of the continent into a united non-confrontational place to live, into a common «cohabitation infrastructure», «common home».

2. In the aftermath of the two World Wars of the XXth century, despite the pending «Cold World War», when the conflicts seemed intractable, two people could see the second birth of the Eurasian continent. In the 1960s Charles de Gaulle suggested a formula of new cohabitation «from the Atlantic to the Urals», moving the border of Europe. In the 1990s Mikhail Gorbachev introduced a definition, which outlined the core idea of the post-war development- «common home».

3. The USSR collapse led to a significant restructure of the continent. The crisis development of the majority of emerged post-USSR countries made the dialogue about a common continental future difficult. At the beginning of the XXI century the strengthened European Union, Russian Federation and China became the centres of gravity. Economic interests required common plans, but geopolitical rivalry for power and resources only led to chaos in decisions and obligations and rivalry for local influence ( the European neighbourhood policy, Russia's Single Economic Space, China's economic expansion into the Central Asia).

4. At the same time, a successful modernisation and socioeconomic achievements of the countries of the continental Asia (China, South Korea, Vietnam) accelerated the dialogue between the two parts of the continent. Yearly European-Asian summits became a new dialogue tradition. The axis «Europe-Asia» is now gaining a new meaning and global role. The Asian societies became the new pushing powers of economic development, destroying the stereotype of so called «asian way's» non-effectiveness and underdevelopment. Investments, dynamic development of the markets and trade, a rapid growth of continental migration - all this made the process of continental convergence unavoidable.

5. The revolutionary role in the continent's fate is played by geoprojects - transcontinental development programs that include creation of a new infrastructure for the whole continent: transport («transport corridors»), freight and logistics («new silk route»), energy (a network of oil and gas pipes connecting Russian Federation and Central Asia countries with Europe and Asia leaders), terrestrial communications and airspace (Northern sea route). Geoprojects ensure new labour division system on the continent, taking into account investments, launch of new manufacturing and transnational clusters.

6. Despite a wave of nationalism and national-conservatism in a number of countries in the continent, mutual cultural penetration gains a new quality. Art, literature, traditions, cuisine, cultural design and historic heritage shape a new outlook on the common continental past and change the way the future is imagined. Fusion element of continental cultures is present today in a day-to-day life of the majority of countries in the Eurasian continent.

7. A gradual toleration of different social organization models and development is taking place («western democracy» in the RF, «socialism with Chinese characteristics»…). China, a new continental economic leader, became and active supporter of tolerance and the idea of «common destiny». China's attitude strongly influences both Eurasian and European partners. Hence at the beginning of this century, Eurasian continent is halfway to becoming a fully functioning common living space.

8. The human history has its own laws. The destiny of the continent reflects the the destiny of the peoples inhabiting it. It takes decades to go from the first ideas of the continent-wide arrangements to real actions on their fulfillment. Competition of the industrial economies for resources and markets, rivalry of different social systems, traumas from past and on-going conflicts, territorial claims and national ambitions have kept the Eurasian continent within the set boundaries (physical, economic, sociocultural) for a long time. Its division into blocs and alliances have been containing and still contain the development.

9. The old geopolitical thinking is embodied by a new, post-economic stereotype - «the clash of civilisations». Civilisational distinctiveness of the societies, representing different parts of the continent, were perceived as critical differences. If earlier the «living space» was seen as territorial and social resource, nowadays it also has sociocultural characteristics and historical capital. As a result, at the end of XX century, the old geopolitical thinking embodied by «clash of civilisations» principle, became a source of new misconceptions and mistakes, a reason for internal crises and bloody conflicts for many peoples of the continent.

10. At the same time global competition for development substantially contains internal continental processes, using unresolved conflicts and old stereotypes. Two counter processes may become an alternative to continental unification: transatlantic ( core EU) and transpacific (core USA-Japan) unification into macro-zones with a respective economic and geopolitical components (geoprojects TTIP and TTP), that stretch eastern and western part of the continent into the extra-continental space of economic growth and safety. Meanwhile continental integration unions ( primarily EU, Eurasian Economic Community, SOC and a number of less influential local unions) are not coordinated in its development strategies and do not have a common continental security system.

11. Containing factors, that delay and even block the continental processes are trade and economic wars and hybrid «molecular wars» in a number of the countries in the continent. The largest are protectionist wars ( namely the war for power and technological leadership between USA and China, military conflict in Ukraine (Donbass), USA and EU sanctions against RF etc). The military conflict in Ukraine, under certain circumstances, may become a full scale continental war.

12. The newly launched «Arms race» promotes the growth of pessimistic, conservative and reactionary sentiments both in Europe and the RF. Henceforth despite the dynamic processes of continent «arrangements» based on the long-term geoprojects, conflicts and various wars keep the inner differentiation, suspicion and phobias of «new European/continental/ world war» alive.
The change of paradigm and new initiatives
13. The danger of a new crisis on the continent is obvious. The European Union crisis, economic wars of global leaders and «molecular» active wars are able to not only delay the development of the continental space, but also to strengthen the division - new buffer zones in Central Europe, Central Asia and the Far East.

14. The continental project requires an appropriate, modern, post-geopolitical thinking. Post-geopolitical thinking is humanist and continental aproach, that is able to reflect and express the newly created reality, avoiding traditional conflictual ways for fulfilment of some countries' or communities' interests, preventing the catastrophic model of future's arrangement.

15. The key principle of the new continental thinking is a principle of humanist development. A co-development in solidarity. The one that has competition but not a conflict. Not only sustainable, but controlled. A development that is safe for all the states parties to the continental process of co-development.

16. Hence, the security approach should be reassessed. A new security paradigm - «security of development» is necessary. It means leaving an outdated, conflict and past resentments preserving «security of the existing order» behind. Common effort should be directed at, first of all, prevention of threats ( social, humanitarian, economic, ecological, terrorist etc), secondly, at the development of sustainable dialogue and communication institutions in the continent, balancing the development in its different parts.

17. The development based on solidarity presumes a new level of solidarity strategies on the development of existing and new geoprojects on a continental scale, based on post-bloc and continental grounds. In other words, the Eurasian countries have to deeply reform the existing military-political blocs in order to transfer remaining bloc functions beyond the continent's boundaries and create the continental collective security system based on universal humanist principles and values ( which corresponds to the co-existence of different social systems and organisations principle, «common destiny»).

18. Hence, a new collective response to the world's challenges is needed. A new system of collective security in the continent, based on good will, dialogue and cooperation «from Vancouver to Vladivostok and Beijing», without reservations and limitations, may be the answer.

19. The continent needs the new «Helsinki 2.0». We need a non-aligned, universal mechanism providing peaceful development and guaranteed security for people regardless of the country and region. It is necessary to have an effective dialogue and decision making mechanism for conflicts and disputes. The continent needs The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Asia with a Treaty and a Charter, with a peace mission in every corner of the continent, with working mechanisms for its inclusion into the settlement of interstate security problems. Proposals and initiatives:

20. Transform the OSCE into a continental organisation - the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Asia (OSCE + A) with pro-active security functions. Inclusion of Asian countries (primarily China) will allow to radically change the security landscape and economic abilities of the parties. This will also allow to join the interests of the member states that are members of the existing military-political blocs, non-aligned states or have a recognised neutral status. The key to restarting the OSCE should be the Treaty on Security and Development in the continent, as well as the Charter of the organisation, which will be binding on the parties. The discussions and preparation of such a treaty, involving new parties, should begin as early as 2019.

21. The work of the new organisation OSCE+A should be based on the main provisions and ideas of Helsinki-1 (1975), as well as development security principles ( preventive reduction of threats to peaceful development and well-being of the OSCE + A member states and peoples) and "collective sovereignty" of states parties(collective conflict resolution and agreed national responses to global threats).
How to implement the «development security»:
22. Foundation of the OSCE+A Civil Assembly. Today, the limitations of diplomatic and political instruments for resolving conflict situations are obvious. It is necessary to fully use the potential of civil, humanitarian and intellectual diplomacy, the "horizontal dialogue" mechanism, preventive measures to avoid information wars, the spread of xenophobia, radical nationalism and aggressive separatism. The system of continental security needs a new format of dialogue and influence - civil and intellectual interaction. This can be governed by the OSCE+A Civil Assembly.

23. Creation of OSCE + A international intellectual network of research centers on development security issues, that will hold an annual Europe-Asia Intellectual Forum.

24. Establishment of permanent commissions in charge of conflict prevention and development of parties' cooperation in socio-economic, technological and humanitarian fields, under the OSCE+A Ministerial Council. Following by conversion of such commissions into specialised institutions, using the UN experience.

25. Development of the monitoring and control system of advanced civil technologies and scientific discoveries militarisation, in order to limit the possibilities of their use in the armaments field.

26. Development of a GIS monitoring system (space technologies for Earth's surface monitoring) for military, infrastructural and environmental safety on the continent.

27. The OSCE + A should have the right to provide guarantees of sovereignty and territorial integrity to states with a neutral status and non-aligned states.

28. The OSCE+A should have the right to preventive stabilization measures, including with the help of collective peacekeeping forces, to prevent a conflict or to grant assistance to a member state upon request.

29. In order to implement "collective sovereignty", new mechanisms for collective action should be created:

- The permanent OSCE + A peacekeeping corps and national units of law enforcement bodies of the armed forces, in the OSCE+A registry, capable of collective action if necessary.

In the modern world of the 21st century, a vacuum of generally recognised spiritual leaders of development has emerged. After a long battle of two superpowers, personifying the two worlds - the world of capitalism and democracy, on the one hand, and the world of communism and justice, on the other - humanity plunged into an endless struggle. The struggle for their own national, narrow corporate or private group interests.

New leadership is possible only as a product of collective efforts, based on the ideals of humanism, human values, and security of development. A continent that has survived the bloody 20th century as a century of wars and upheavals needs new continental thinking.
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