Read this. Turns out that, pushed by Putin's megalomania and occasionally bizarrely aggressive behavior, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Georgia, have decided to throw in their lot together.
Yours truly is thrilled, for a variety of very good reasons. Take a look at the map, here to the right.
Poland, in Green, Ukraine in Orange (nice touch, don't know whether it was intentional), Lithuania, in the puce color to the Northeast of Poland and the Northwest of Belarus, and Georgia, Northeast of Turkey in the center bottom.
What do they all have in common?
1. They're sick of the Russian government using the old Soviet oil infrastructure as a club with which to beat Europe about the head and shoulders.
2. They're all trying to break Belarus free from the Vampire's (fn1) grip.
3. They are all solidly pro-freedom, unlike sitzpinkler Germany to the west, which is equally dependent upon Russian oil, but, hammered by socialist politics leading up to the elections, seems adamant upon cementing its position as France's degraded submissive in the "Old Europe" experiment on how to run a country with neither an economy, a military, nor, judging by demographic projections, a population.
What are the ramifications, with just these four?
A. A unified foreign policy vis-a-vis Putin means that Russia won't be able to play divide-and-conquer.
B. With a wall of pro-democracy nations to his west, Putin may scrape harder than ever to hold onto Belarus as an economic puppet (and its Stalinist kleptocracy will certainly try to hold onto power), the old insistance of the Russians that they actually are part of Europe and possess European values will be severely put to the test. When Old Catholic Europe was distinct from Eastern Europe, the Russians could insist on some difference. Under the current situation, Moscow doesn't get to indulge itself in any illusions regarding its position relative to Central and East-Central Europe.
C. With solid sea connections from the Black sea to the Baltic, a new oil "pipeline" can be created that wouldn't leave old grannies across Eastern Europe vulnerable to freezing every winter as Putin continues to substitute Soviet materiel-realpolitik for regular diplomacy.(fn2)
Now.. what happens if this opens up a little, as is certainly intended?
1. With Armenia and Azerbaijan on board, it becomes Caspian/Black/Baltic. Serious trade potential.
2. With Kazakhstan playing along, the whole region is theoretically freed from the slow formation of an SCO (fn3) economic stranglehold on Central Asia.
3. On the basis of shared values(fn4) conforming to economic advantage, were rest of the "Visegrad" nations to come on board, with Slovenia and Croatia, you then have Caspian/Black/Baltic/MED. In other words, not only do you get an axis that protects individual countries from power-vacuum politics, which tends to come just as often from the Axis of Sitzpinklers as it does from the Vampire (though from the west typically in economic terms)... but you also cement the old geographic situation that made the Persia/Caucus/Eastern Europe swath one of the wealthiest regions on Earth before the Mongols came through and murdered half the population of the region. Doubly so if a peaceful Iran that wasn't being strangled by the mullahcracy were ever to emerge.
4. In geopolitical terms, as Western Europe's nonsensical, bordering-on-suicidal economic politicies continues to take their toll, this axis has the possibility of becoming an active bloc similar to the Anglosphere (see Huntington, vindicated.) ... and highly compatible with it. Theoretically, if this gets on its feet, it bodes poorly for the Strongmen, and very poorly for the Statist West's attempts to supplant the Anglosphere. The "Axis of Up Yours!" already has more military credibility than France, Spain, and Germany combined.
It's fairly certain that they won't be facing any centrally-planned bra shortages any time soon, either.
1. "The Vampire," is a nickname for Putin. IIRC, the moniker actually comes from his wife...
2. What do you expect from a
3. SCO: Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Not so much an actual organization, as a Moscow/Beijing axis to put pressure on the US in Central Asia and Taiwan, while promising to prop up tyrants and shield them from human rights gadflies and the concept of not slaughtering one's own citizens at will. **cough** Uzbekistan **cough**
4. Geographially, Turkey would add quite a bit, but politically speaking, Turkey has its own serious problems, and plenty of them, and would be unlikely to even consider getting involved. However, if the EU continued to play hardball, it's conceivable that Turkey might try to go this way as an alternative simply to spite France, whose EU referendum vote can legitimately be described as significantly anti-Turkish. Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, not to mention the Czechs all chafe at notions that they should somehow kowtow to the cheese-eating sitzpinkler alliance within the EU, and the economic reforms of East-Central and Eastern Europe, though not particularly impressive in tax-crushed Hungary, clearly sets it on a divergent course from "we still love socialism" Western Europe.