The Eurasian Empire of the Middle door Martin A. SCHWARZ in EURASIA - Rivista di studi Geopolitici nr. 1-2006.
The economic rise of China is as much well-known as the result of its growth in the fields of politics and military (geo-strategic) is still unknown and probably undecided. What does this development mean in the context of Eurasia and how has this development be seen in a historic and traditional perspective which is not those of the Western main-stream? This question is the leitmotiv of this weighty first issue of 2006 and already fifth in the series of "Eurasia", presenting on its 256 pages 31 contributions, from which only some can presented here.
The director of "Eurasia", Tiberio Graziani, gives in his editorial the principal answer to said question already in its title: The equilibrium of the planet passes through Peking (L´equilibrio del pianeta passa per Pechino). This means, China is traditional considered as the Empire of the middle, and after the unnatural dualistic epoch of the "cold war", in which China increasingly tried to out-balance the two "super powers", but still remained a kind of outsider of the world system, and the even more unnatural (and probably very short epoch) of the only superpower USA, a new equilibrium of a multi-polar world order can only maintained with and not against the regime in Peking. This is not only a question of economics and military, but of people and land, both in quantity as in quality. The territorial size is obvious, but it is also the strategic quality that has to be taken in consideration, and this can be done from the point of view of the geopolitical classics like Haushofer or Jordis von Lohausen, but also from the Chinese way of thinking, and it is very fortunate that "Eurasia" can present some authors who have both qualifications.
One of them is Serge Thion, sociologist with Eastern Asia experience (Spazio delle Cina e Cina dello spazio). He reflects on the Chinese development from the time of the emperor through the Communist struggle in the civil war to the present time of capitalistic expansion. He reflects also on the interaction with its neighbours.
One of the means, certainly frightening to many of them, is the enormous military potential of China, which is presented to us by Antonio Venier (Il potenziale militare cinese) in outlines, and which is also considered in some details by Yves Bataille (La Cina e la guerra ventura). The latter considers the military doctrine and the way to a cold war scenario between the USA and China, in which of course the important question is, if the other Eurasian powers stick with China or if the American strategy of "divide and conquer" has success on a large scale. The means of preventing such an intruding into Asian matters for the time being is the Organisation of Cooperation of Shanghai (OCS) which he considers in this context. The OCS is also the special theme for an own text, written by Daniele Scalea (La sfida eurasiatica parte da Shanghai), already mentioning in the title the challenge, which is presented to the USA with this enterprise of supranational collaboration without the USA - an obvious difference to NATO, ASEAN, NAFTA, and so on.
How did China get there were it is? On the "Chinese way" to socialism (la "via cinese al socialismo") - strange as this would seem to everybody who would not know anything about the past but only the China of today. Not so strange, when considering the eternal Chinese principles lurking through the Marxist phraseology of Mao.
Massimiliano Carminati presents us a detailed historical study on this question of China and Socialism. And the well-known expert of Marxist doctrine and history, Costanzo Preve, follows with a more philosophical than historic study. He starts with the concept of Eric Voegelin of an "originario stato di indistinzione fra il macrocosmo naturale ed il microcosmo sociale", but with the development of the economic contradictions of capitalistic society the question of contradictions becomes a philosophical-political problem, which is also the theme of one of the most famous theoretical works of Mao Tse Tung, "On Contradiction". Preve presents Mao´s theory of contradiction and of truth by Mao, he highlights also the difference with Confucius´ classical Chinese concepts. But in the end - and in the title of his contribution he speaks of a return to Confucius, although with a question mark. (Ritorno a Confucio?)
Confucius is very famous also in the West, where philosophers and poets found universal truth in the wisdom of this sage, while other "thinkers" tried to establish an inevitable opposition between the great civilisations of the world, the Confucian being one of them. Claudio Mutti sees in the work of Ezra Pound the antipode to the Huntington paradigm of "The Clash of Civilisations" (Pound contra Huntington). The famous poet, who was put first in an animal cage and than in a lunatic asylum because of his opposition to the American "crusade" in the 20th century, was very much influenced by Chinese thinking, especially by Confucius, but also by the Chinese ideogrammatic scripture. On the other hand in his literary fight against usury he acknowledged the Islamic economy as prescribed by the Sharia, and materialised in the form of gold and silver coins, minted by Caliph Abd al-Malik. Both, Confucius and Abd al-Malik found their place in the Cantos of Pound.
A short contribution by Tahir de la Nive, he is like Prof. Mutti an European Muslim, can be attached here, although not Confucianism, but Taoism is the point of reference for him in comparing Islam and Chinese tradition, following the footsteps of René Guénon. L´Islam e il Tao shows how central notions of both traditions can be translated into each other, for example the imperial Chinese city and the Kaaba in Mecca, both representing the connection between heaven and earth. Also the notion of the way, in Chinese "Tao" features prominently in the Quranic message.
A longer study by the university teacher for Islamic history Enrico Galoppini shows the historic encounter of Il celeste impero e la mezzaluna (The Celestial Empire and the Crescent). The Chinese occupation of Xinjiang, home of the Muslim Uighurs, leads into the present. Insignificant in numbers, but large in territory, the problems of this province lead the Chinese government after the famous 9/11 to declare their own "war on terrorism. Galoppini favours the opinion that not so much religious but ethnic motifs are at the core of the Uighur longing for independence.
A different dialogue or confrontation between cultures has to be tasked on the Southern border of China, where it touches India. The equally numerous Indian civilisation is, of course, to a large percent Muslim, but Hu Yeping appeals to the Buddhist example for an harmonic outcome for the dialogue of the civilisations between India and China (Dialogo di civiltà fra India e Cina). As is known Buddhism did only for a short time flourish in India, but conquered the neighbouring countries. But today the Buddhist influence in China could help to mentally understand the Hindu civilisation from where it once did arise.
The bloody occupation and oppression of the Buddhist Tibet by the Chinese army is for Stefano Vernole the Tibetan "thorn" (La "spina" tibetana) in the flesh of the Chinese Empire. After a longer historic sketch of the Chinese-Tibetan relations he correctly shows how the strategy of the American divida et impera of the Eurasian continent has tried to use Tibet as an instrument against China (without much success it seems). There are signs of normalisation as Vernole can show in his overview of the current situation. But in our opinion the main aim of Peking is simply to wait for the death of the current (and possibly last) Dalai Lama, and at the same time to accelerate the demographic and economic Chinese infiltration of this traditional culture. The final end of Tibetan culture in Tibet can be seen on the horizon, which will be a great loss for the Eurasian continent.
On the other hand Tibetan culture has started a long triumphant march in the West, making it possible that Tibetan Buddhism (or a kind of it) is been practised in nearly every city of Europe. Like nearly all Asian communities the globalisation has brought a growing presence of Chinese people in Europe. Luca Donadei examines the special case of Chinese in Italy and comes to the obvious conclusion: the Empire of the middle is already in Italia (L´Impero di Mezzo è già in Italia). He does not hide the problems coming with this immigration.
Only some decades earlier the East seemed much more far away and exotic from the European perspective, and even more in earlier centuries. And one of the pioneers of the Western discovery of Eastern Asia, born in 1784, is the Hungarian Alessandro Csoma de Körös, who is presented in a text by the famous orientalist and geopolitician, Giuseppe Tucci, completed by a portrait of this bodhisattva ungherese by Claudio Mutti . Csoma de Körös travelled from Transilvania to Tibet and Eastern India. In the Tarim bassin he met the Uighurs, for him the "Asiatic parents of the Hungarians".
Not only the Hungarians immigrated long ago from Central Asia to Europe, another known people of this origin, are the famous and demonised Huns. A short piece by the German researcher Franz Altheim, expert of the ancient solar cult and also of the story of interconnections of very different peoples in the ancient times, speaks of the Eurasian function of the Huns (La funzione eurasiatica degli Unni).
The history of Central Asia and Europe has for a long time been interconnected, but for a certain time this connection has been forgotten, and others like the Arabs did develop the connections. The mystery of the central invisible empire of Agharta, with its images in the visible cities of Jerusalem/Al-Quds, Peking or Rome, all representing the middle of the universe, the connection between heaven and earth, shows to us the importance of retaining or re-establishing the equilibrium between the Eurasian cultures. Those are not destined to clash, but to mutually contribute and compete, but to repulse the enemy, who is alien to this great space and therefore tries to exploit the differences between similar types of traditional orders, and to veil the fundamental opposition between all those Eurasian cultures and the global system of Mammon and un-culture, which is the intruder's "way of life".