Dr. Chodakiewicz publishes article on the geopolitics of the Intermarium

July 2, 2012  |  KOSCIUSZKO CHAIR

Chess and globe

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz - the holder of IWP's Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies - has published an article on the geopolitics in the Intermarium in the Spring 2012 volume of the British political and literary journal, Quarterly Review.

Entitled "The West's overshadowed borderlands," Dr. Chodakiewicz's article offers an outline of the geopolitical situation and potential of the Intermarium, defined as the Central and Eastern European lands between the Baltic and Black Seas.

As a historic eastern bulwark of the West, argues Dr. Chodakiewicz, it is natural and understandable that the former Soviet republics and satellites of the Intermarium have sought to integrate with Western structures and institutions, such as the European Union. Yet, it is imprudent to treat the EU as a sacrosanct end in itself. Rather, the EU, like any other international organization, should be treated as a vehicle for furthering national and regional interests, not an ideological project or an article of faith.

Simultaneously, the countries comprising the Intermarium, realizing that they share a community of interests, might be well served by pursuing a confederation of their own. Such a political bloc in Central and Eastern Europe need not function in opposition to the EU. In fact, it may theoretically function in parallel with EU institutions.

But the nations of the region should seek friends not only in Europe. An alignment between the United States and the Intermarium stands to benefit both parties. Such an alliance will certainly increase America's leverage versus any potential anti-US coalitions (led, most likely, by Berlin, Brussels, Moscow, and perhaps even Beijing) on the world stage. For the nations of the Intermarium, the benefit of a firm strategic partnership with the United States is obvious, since it would secure their independence and sovereignty. Furthermore, the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe - as opposed to Western Europeans and Russians - are generally pro-American, and, like most of middle America, are more sympathetic toward traditional values, such as religion and patriotism.

Washington must decide, however, whether it wishes to have the Intermarium squarely in its camp. After all, the international balance never tolerates power vacuums. Both post-Soviet Russia and reunified Germany view themselves as traditional and rightful hegemons in the region. It is also being penetrated by such powers as the Chinese, the Turks, and even the Saudis. Thus, it is ultimately the choice of the nations of the Intermarium and their leaders to decide whether they wish to become pawns in a new "great game" or players on the grand chessboard.      

His newest book on the region, Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas, is forthcoming from Transactions Press this fall.

See Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, "The West's overshadowed borderlands," Quarterly Review: Ideas, Culture & Current Affairs 12, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 9-26.