The "Grand Area" plan was elaborated by James Rogers, one of the co-founders of the Group on Grand Strategy (GoGS). In his comprehensive paper, "A new Geography of European Power?" Rogers makes a plea for the EU to take control over such a "Grand Area." European military and civilian forces should regularly intervene to arrest "disorders" and insure a "liberal order." According to Rogers the "Grand Area" should "show the least likelihood of significant encroachment by powerful foreign actors" and should be defended "most cost-effectively through the expansion of the Common Security and Defence Policy." The "Grand Area" covers all of Europe including Iceland and Greenland, stretches to Central Asia and parts of South East Asia all the way to the Middle East and North Africa. For the most part, the map is oriented along current, internationally recognized, borders, however in the case of Russia, it dissects its national territory.
James Rogers draws the eastern border of the "Grand Area," as a line running from the Pakistani-Indian border along the Sino-Kazakh border, the West Siberian Ishim, north to the Arctic Ocean. The North Siberian Yamal gas fields, which are among the largest in the world, are specifically tagged as part of the EU controlled "Grand Area." The small Russian town of Ishim is located at 69° E longitude. Not far away, along the 70° E longitude, was where the Nazis had drawn the line demarcating fascist Germany's spheres of interests from those of its ally, the Japanese empire.
Group on Grand Strategy
The Group on Grand Strategy, which published the "Grand Area" planning, was founded in the Summer of 2011 to prevent - according to its manifesto - the "wane" of European power, in the wake of "the world's geopolitical and geo-economic (...) world power shift[ing] towards the eastern half of Eurasia - and the Pacific rim, in particular." They seek to become a "platform and a home for a new generation of European strategic thinkers" and advance, self-defined, "European interests" in public discourse. They particularly seek to promote a discussion on a "European Grand Strategy." The GoGS qualifies, in its own Manifesto, its project as "adventurous." Among the members of the group's advisory board is the political scientist, Stefani Weiss, a Bertelsmann Foundation employee, covering the theme "Europe's Future," for the foundation, while also holding the post of assistant director of the Atlantik-Brücke. In April 2012, Walter Posch was the first employee of the, chancellery-financed, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) to publish a GoGS article.
Germany: "Terrestrial Power"
In GoGS publications, Germany is explicitly characterized as a "terrestrial power," that clings "tenaciously" to a "Bismarckian terrestrial strategy." This strategy, aimed at winning continental influence, poses, nevertheless, a danger to the "maritime powers" Great Britain and France, according to one of the reports. The strategist of the GoGS, Luis Simón, a former Volkswagen Foundation fellow, warns that a future "German-Russian axis" could develop. But "for the moment" Germany is clinging to the EU. However, Simón adds that the "British - American Power" in the Baltic - meaning the partially close collaboration between the Baltic countries and Poland with the USA and Great Britain - is preventing a more elaborate German-Russian rapprochement. According to the author, over the next few years, Great Britain will reinforce its influence in Eastern Europe, to make a rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow more difficult. As a matter of fact, British troops have been permanently stationed in the Czech Republic since 2000, where they carried out the United Kingdom's largest airborne maneuvers in 2010. James Rogers adds that a German renunciation of the "Atlantic Alliance" would renew the rivalry between Berlin and London, and "history has shown that nothing good can come of that."
Rogers, the GoGS's main writer, pointed to two countries to be considered for locating EU military bases. Germany is already seeking to intensify its influence with both. One is Georgia, a country of great geo-strategic significance, because of its position as a transport corridor between Central Asia and Europe, as well as its common border with the instable south of Russia. The EU has its European Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia. For the first three years (2008 - 2011), the EUMM had been headed by the German diplomat, Hansjörg Haber. Twenty German Federal Police officers, along with an approximately similar number of German civilians, including de-commissioned military officers, are in operation. These EU troops have been accused repeatedly of being partisan in the Caucasus conflicts. In addition, the Bundeswehr is working directly with Georgia, regularly training Georgian officers. Great Britain and the USA also have military advisers in the country.
Turkmenistan is another location being considered for an EU military base, according to the "Grand Area" strategists. This country, which has enormous natural gas deposits, cooperates very closely with China in the energy sector, but recently it has repeatedly made overtures toward the EU and NATO. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, for example, took part in a NATO summit meeting in 2008. Last year, NATO representatives visited the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat. For years, its local airport has been a transport hub for fuel deliveries to the western occupation troops in Afghanistan. This year, it became known that Turkmenistan will buy patrol boats from Turkey and intends to build a new naval base at the Caspian Sea. In 2007, the US Marines signed a secret cooperation agreement with its Turkmen counterpart. Germany is also seeking to strengthen its influence in the country, although mainly at the economic level. In 2011, Siemens and Mercedes Benz signed major contracts with Turkmenistan. Germany is among that country's most important development aid providers. During a visit to the country in November 2011, German Foreign Minister, Westerwelle reached an accord with the Turkmen dictator, Berdimuhamedov, on the expansion of bilateral relations in sectors of politics, economy, culture, and sciences.
The term "Grand Area," used by the GoGS, had once been popularized by the "Third Reich's Crown Jurist" Carl Schmitt, in his 1939 book "Völkerrechtliche Großraumordnung und Interventionsverbot für raumfremde Mächte. Ein Beitrag zum Reichsbegriff im Völkerrecht." In this work Schmitt postulated that the "principle of non-interference by powers foreign to the realm, is a valid international legal principle," which was supposed to secure sole access for Germany to all countries in Europe. To show the success of his Grand Area theory, Schmitt used the example of Rumania. As critics point out - Rumania was integrated into the German "Great Area," at the "expense of its natural resources and economic substance." The Group on Grand Strategy is obviously also demanding that the countries within the "Great Area" surrender their wealth to the advantage of Germany and the EU.