War of the World Island (Dugin)

In this work A. Dugin advances and develops the typology of Eternal Rome vs. Eternal Carthage–land empires against sea, mercantile empires. So his thesis: Russia cannot be interpreted apart from the Russian land (Dugin loc. 128). From this he deduces a Geopolitical theorem: “the geopolitical system depends on the position of the observer and interpreter” (loc. 147). All observers are already embedded in a context.

Russian geopolitician: geopolitics of the heartland. Russia is going to be a “civilization of Land.” Of course, this is the typology of Eternal Rome vs. Eternal Carthage/Atlantis. This ties in with Dugin’s thesis: we are always already observers. Russia, therefore, will observe itself from a certain perspective, a land-based perspective.

Dugin extends the analysis a step further: Russia as Land-Civilization means its gradual becoming in history will ultimately be on a planetary scale (loc. 188). It is a “continental Rome.” Unfortunately, this means it will be drawn into conflict with “Carthage/Atlantis,” Britain and America. As Dugin notes, “The fact that Russia is the heartland makes its sovereignty a planetary problem” (loc. 259).

He gives the reader a brief treatment of Russian history from the October Revolution to the current day (though not including Putin’s presence in Syria). Readers may chafe at his neutral account of Soviet terror, but one supposes it fits his thesis: the Soviet Union strengthened Russia’s presence as a Land Civilization.

The Politics of Yeltsin:

Retells Chesterton’s narrative of Rome vs. Carthage. Rome’s defeat of Carthage was the defeat of Moloch. Dugin sees the contrary of this happening in 1991. I disagree. Rome’s sordid, almost dead state was parallel to Yeltsin’s Russia.

New Atlanticist Geo-Politics: The structure of the bi-polar world remained but with one of the poles withdrawn (loc. 1527ff). There was no longer a West-East Axis, but a “Center-Periphery” one. Nato was placed at the center of the world and everyone else on the periphery.
Dugin’s conclusions.

(1) There is a need for an energetic, post-Putin head of state (2741).
(2) Although working for a multipolar world, Russia must have global ambitions to thwart Atlantis.

Critical of Putin

Some say Dugin is the brainchild behind Putin. This is false. Dugin criticizes Putin on a number fronts.

*Dugin says Putin should not have allowed US support in Afghanistan, as this placed more NATO bases on Russia’s border (2144).

*Dugin notes no matter how important Putin’s gains are, they are not irreversible (and thus, they are open to a NATO/Atlanticist turn; loc. 2741).


The book was surprisingly good. I had heard horror stories about Dugin (see the shrill hysteria at National Review), but most of his analysis is level-headed and familiar territory to Russia readers.


7 thoughts on “War of the World Island (Dugin)

  1. Rome as a land empire, solely, was prior to the Punic Wars when Rome was constrained to the peninsula. Rome defeated Carthage by adapting to Carthaginian naval tech. From that point on, naval power was key to Rome. The Empire became centered around the Mediterranean, and could not expand much beyond that (with the exception of Gaul). So, I’m not sure the typology fits unless you wants to say Rome ceased to be Rome by adopting to Carthage’s ways. But that eviscerates 90% of significant Roman history.


  2. Of course, not a 1:1 connection, hence it’s analogical not identical. But there has to be a solid connecting theme. Adam/Jesus it’s about headship of Humanity, in terms of authority and spiritual origin, and between David/Jesus it’s about kingship over the people of God and being the first-born of God’s mission over the whole creation.

    But with Rome, to say it is a land-based empire is very sketchy reading, at best. It seems like a shoe-horn in order to build a false polarity. Russia’s empire and imperial expanse is more akin to the Mongols (from whom they inherited some fundamental structures that even Peter the Great couldn’t fully eradicate). But that ruins the implicit link of Russia to Rome, in that Russia is a holy empire, following Rome and Byzantium.

    Russia is wretchedly corrupt and Putin is pretty ruthless, but I give him credit for standing up against American hegemony. Very few people in the US realize how blatantly evil and aggressive the US was in its manipulation of the Ukraine crisis.


    PS. If anything, historically speaking, Carthage was not the evil empire that typology presupposes. It was Rome who was, like a cancer, swallowing up all the sea ports along the Italian coast, and it was Rome’s reckless and aggressive spirit that launched the Sons of Mars into Sicily. The Romans were like those American Marines in the early 20th, treating the whole Americas as theirs, and using private gangster tactics in order to keep tribute flowing. Carthage was not, inversely, good, but I’ve got no sympathy for the Republic.


    • PPS. I know I am bouncing between more historical, literalistic readings and typologies. I guess I just find the whole exercise as an unjustified means of obscuring the issues with fanciful deployments of historical categories. If we are to employ typologies, I’d rather stick with biblical ones, namely Babylon, which applies to any empire, whether of land-based or sea-based variety. Russia, America, they are both Babylons, unfortunately, whether it’s Kirill or Rick Warren, they both are committed to the pride of life as per St. John.


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