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Garry the lecturer and Putin the challenge2011-02-17 17:25
Garry Kasparov's 2008 election slogan was "China and Islam as key geopolitical threats". Not much time has passed, and now the geopolitical challenge of the 21st century is one man, according to the grandmaster. This is Russian PM Vladimir Putin. In Georgia Kasparov delivered two lectures on this topic - at the Liberty Institute and in Europe House. The Georgian audience was listening with bated breath. Kasparov was telling things people wanted to hear.
It became a tradition in Georgian-Russian relations after 2008 that only Georgian opposition figures come to Russia, and only Russian fronda pays visits to Georgia. The only difference is that Georgians don't teach Russians sense, while notorious Valeria Novodvorskaya, Oleg Panfilov and Garry Kasparov adore lecturing in Tbilisi. This time the 13th world chess champion told Liberty University students and listeners in Europe House about geopolitical challenges for the 21st century.
Like many well-wishers of Russia with connections in the States, Garry Kimovich used to consider China and the Islamic world as key global geopolitical threats. Like Andrey Piontkovsky, a dissident emigrant, he does not like Russian-Chinese partnership as well as Russia's overtures with HAMAS and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Due to a strange coincidence Beijing is a competitor and Teheran is an enemy to the US accordingly. As we know, not long ago Kasparov was a member of the US National Security Advisory Council where he had been admitted by a bureaucratic mistake, as he claims.
With the advent of Mikheil Saakashvili Georgia was proclaimed a bridge between civilizations, a crossing between the West and the East, North and South. The new president started trading the country's geopolitical position like other states sell their hydrocarbon resources. For this purpose Saakashvili made friends with China to revive the Silk Route as well as with Iran, Kuwait and Israel, and with the whole of Europe let alone his Muslim neighbors, i.e. Turkey and Azerbaijan. That is why if Kasparov had told forward-looking Georgians that China and Muslims are a threat he would have been loudly criticized and never invited to the country again.
But as a brilliant chess player Kasparov got the situation right and had a drastic change of opinion on main geopolitical challenges telling Georgians what they wanted to hear. The world's number one threat is now Putin's Russia and Vladimir Vladimirovich as a person.