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Geopolitics, social forces, and the international: Revisiting the ‘Eastern Question’

  • Cemal Burak Tansel


This article contributes to current debates in materialist geopolitics and contemporary IR theorising by restating the centrality of social forces for conceptualising geopolitics. It does so by offering a detailed conceptual reading of the corpus of the ‘Eastern Question’, which is composed of a series of political analyses written by Marx and Engels in the period of 1853–6. This archive presents unique analytical and conceptual insights beyond the immediate temporal scope of the issue. I unpack this argument in three movements. The article (i) offers an overview of the debates on materialist geopolitics; (ii) contextualises the historical setting of the ‘Eastern Question’ and critically evaluates the great powers’ commitment to the European status quo; and (iii) constructs an original engagement with a largely overlooked corpus to reveal the ways in which Marx and Engels demonstrated the interwoven relationship between domestic class interests, the state, and the international system. I maintain that revisiting the ‘Eastern Question’ corpus (i) bolsters the existing materialist frameworks by underscoring the role of class as an analytical category; (ii) challenges an important historical pillar of the balance of power argument; and (iii) empirically strengthens the burgeoning scholarship in international historical sociology.



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Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Historical Materialism Annual Conference (London, November 2013), the International Studies Association Annual Conference (Toronto, March 2014), and the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (Giardini Naxos, September 2015). For their helpful comments and suggestions, I would like to thank Andreas Bieler, Ian Bruff, Katja Daniels, Adam David Morton, Jeppe Strandsbjerg, Sébastien Rioux, and the editors and anonymous reviewers of the Review of International Studies.



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1 Newman, David, ‘Geopolitics renaissant: Territory, sovereignty and the world political map’, Geopolitics, 3:1 (1998), p. 13. The postwar expulsion of geopolitics was predominantly a Western response to the term’s ‘damaging associations with German geopolitics and Nazi Germany’. See Claval, Paul, ‘Hérodote and the French left’, in K. Dodds and D. Atkinson (eds), Geopolitical Traditions: A Century of Geopolitical Thought (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 239. Despite its reappropriation by the American policy circles in the 1970s, geopolitics remained a pariah in Western academia until the 1980s. An important exception to this clause is the French Hérodote school led by radical geographer Yves Lacoste. For an overview, see Mamadouh, Virginie D., ‘Geopolitics in the nineties: One flag, many meanings’, GeoJournal, 46:4 (1998), pp. 237253.

2 Fukuyama, Francis, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: The Free Press, 1992), p. 66.

3 Tuathail, Gearóid Ó, Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 28; Tuathail, Gearóid Ó, ‘At the end of geopolitics? Reflections on a plural problematic at the century’s end’, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 22:1 (1997), p. 39.

4 Bieler, Andreas and Morton, Adam David, ‘Axis of evil or access to diesel? Spaces of new imperialism and the Iraq War’, Historical Materialism, 23:2 (2015), pp. 94130.

5 Sutcliffe, Bob, ‘Imperialism old and new: a comment on David Harvey’s The New Imperialism and Ellen Meiksins Wood’s Empire of Capital’, Historical Materialism, 14:4 (2006), p. 63.

6 Arrighi, Giovanni, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Time (London: Verso, 1994); Arrighi, Giovanni, ‘Spatial and other “fixes” of historical capitalism’, Journal of World-Systems Research, 10:2 (2004), pp. 527539; Harvey, David, The New Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Wood, Ellen Meiksins, Empire of Capital (London: Verso, 2003); Callinicos, Alex, ‘Does capitalism need the state system?’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), pp. 533549; Callinicos, Alex, Imperialism and Global Political Economy (Cambridge: Polity, 2009).

7 Mercille, Julien, ‘The radical geopolitics of US foreign policy: Geopolitical and geoeconomic logics of power’, Political Geography, 27:5 (2008), p. 577.

8 Colás, Alejandro and Pozo, Gonzalo, ‘The value of territory: Towards a Marxist geopolitics’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), pp. 211220; Colás, Alejandro and Pozo, Gonzalo, ‘A response to our critics’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), pp. 236238; Mercille, Julien and Jones, Alun, ‘Practicing radical geopolitics: Logics of power and the Iranian nuclear “crisis”’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99:5 (2009), pp. 856862; Pozo-Martin, Gonzalo, ‘Autonomous or materialist geopolitics?’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), pp. 551563.

9 Colás, and Pozo, , ‘The value of territory’, p. 212.

10 Agnew, John A., ‘Capitalism, territory and “Marxist geopolitics”’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), p. 232.

11 Unless otherwise noted, all references to the articles by Marx and Engels on the ‘Eastern Question’ are taken from the Collected Works (hereafter, MECW) and the German Werke (MEW). The volumes cited in this article are, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Werke, 9 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1960); Werke, 10 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1961); Collected Works, 12 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1979); Collected Works, 47 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1995). For the sake of brevity, I shall cite only the volume of MECW or MEW that contains the cited article along with the relevant page numbers.

12 As indicative of its dominant role in public discourse, Nazan Çiçek notes that ‘[b]etween 1876 and 1885 nearly five hundred articles exploring the different aspects of this subject [Eastern Question] appeared in the ten most widely circulated monthly journals in Great Britain alone.’ Çiçek, Nazan, The Young Ottomans: Turkish Critics of the Eastern Question in the Late Nineteenth Century (London: IB Tauris, 2010), p. 1.

13 I do not claim that all the proclamations made and the details provided in their analysis are accurate though one should not overlook Eleanor Marx’s comment: ‘not all prophecies have come true, or have been realised in the precise form in which they were made. But the accuracy of them in the main is astonishing’. See Marx, Karl, The Eastern Question: A Reprint of Letters Written 1853–1856 Dealing with the Events of the Crimean War, eds. E. Marx Aveling and E. Aveling (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1897), p. IX. Among these ‘failed prophecies’, one can recall their expectation of and hopes for a wave of Balkan movements for self-determination to pave the way for the establishment of ‘government[s] more suitable to the wants of the people’ and ‘the reconstruction of the Ottoman Empire by the establishment of a Greek Empire, or of a Federal Republic of Slavonic States’. See MECW 12, pp. 33, 212. Engels, in a retrospective overview, noted the ascendancy of ethnic nationalism in newly independent Balkan states wherein ‘Slavophil chauvinism which had been encouraged in the hope that it would counterbalance the revolutionary element, continued to grow day by day’. See MECW 47, p. 515.

14 Rendall, Matthew, ‘Russia, the Concert of Europe, and Greece, 1821–29: a test of hypotheses about the Vienna system’, Security Studies, 9:4 (2000), p. 54; Elrod, Richard B., ‘The Concert of Europe: a fresh look at an international system’, World Politics, 28:2 (1976), pp. 159174; Jervis, Robert, ‘From balance to concert: a study of international security cooperation’, World Politics, 38:1 (1985), pp. 5879.

15 Rioux, Sébastien, ‘International historical sociology: Recovering sociohistorical causality’, Rethinking Marxism, 21:4 (2009), pp. 585604; Nişancıoğlu, Kerem, ‘The Ottoman origins of capitalism: Uneven and combined development and Eurocentrism’, Review of International Studies, 40:2 (2013), pp. 325347; Matin, Kamran, ‘Uneven and combined development in world history: the international relations of state-formation in premodern Iran’, European Journal of International Relations, 13:3 (2007), pp. 419447; Anievas, Alexander and Nişancıoğlu, Kerem, ‘What’s at stake in the Transition Debate? Rethinking the origins of capitalism and the “Rise of the West”’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 42:1 (2013), pp. 78102; Tansel, Cemal Burak, ‘Deafening silence? Marxism, international historical sociology and the spectre of Eurocentrism’, European Journal of International Relations, 21:1 (2015), pp. 76100; Cooper, Luke, ‘The international relations of the “imagined community”: Explaining the late nineteenth-century genesis of the Chinese nation’, Review of International Studies, 41:3 (2015), pp. 477501.

16 Smith, Neil, ‘What happened to class?’, Environment and Planning A, 32:6 (2000), p. 1011. For the ‘materialist turn’, see Dittmer, Jason, ‘Geopolitical assemblages and complexity’, Progress in Human Geography, 38:3 (2014), pp. 385401; Squire, Vicky, ‘Reshaping critical geopolitics? The materialist challenge’, Review of International Studies, 41:1 (2014), pp. 139159.

17 Bieler, Andreas and Morton, Adam David, ‘A critical theory route to hegemony, world order and historical change: Neo-Gramscian perspectives in international relations’, Capital & Class, 28:1 (2004), pp. 85113; Bieler, Andreas and Morton, Adam David, ‘The deficits of discourse in IPE: Turning base metal into gold?’, International Studies Quarterly, 52:1 (2008), pp. 103128; Bieler, Andreas, Bruff, Ian, and David Morton, Adam, ‘Acorns and fruit: From totalization to periodization in the critique of capitalism’, Capital & Class, 34:1 (2010), pp. 2537; Bruff, Ian, ‘The totalisation of human social practice: Open Marxists and capitalist social relations, Foucauldians and power relations’, The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 11:2 (2009), pp. 332351; Morton, Adam David, ‘Disputing the geopolitics of the states system and global capitalism’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), pp. 599617; Morton, Adam David, Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2011); Selwyn, Benjamin, The Global Development Crisis (Cambridge: Polity, 2014); Selwyn, Benjamin, ‘Twenty-first-century International Political Economy: a class-relational perspective’, European Journal of International Relations, 21:3 (2015), pp. 513537.

18 Starr, Harvey, ‘On geopolitics: spaces and places’, International Studies Quarterly, 57:3 (2013), p. 439.

19 For recent discussions on the question of space in Marxist IR, see, Hesketh, Chris, ‘The clash of spatializations: Geopolitics and class struggles in southern Mexico’, Latin American Perspectives, 40:4 (2013), pp. 7087; Chris Hesketh, ‘Producing state space in Chiapas: Passive revolution and everyday life’, Critical Sociology, OnlineFirst (2014), doi:10.1177/0896920513504604; Kiely, Ray, ‘Spatial hierarchy and/or contemporary geopolitics: What can and can’t uneven and combined development explain?’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 25:2 (2012), pp. 231248; Bieler, Andreas et al., ‘The enduring relevance of Rosa Luxemburg’s The Accumulation of Capital’, Journal of International Relations and Development, Advance online publication (2014), doi: 10.1057/jird.2014.18.

20 Klinke, Ian, ‘What is to be done? Marx and Mackinder in Minsk’, Cooperation and Conflict, 48:1 (2012), p. 123.

21 This is not to say that Marx and Engels did so by using the term ‘geopolitics’ given the concept in its modern form which signified ‘an attempt to reveal textually and cartographically the complex relationships between geography and politics at a variety of spatial scales from the local to the global’ was first coined by the Swedish jurist and political scientist Rudolf Kjellén in 1899. See Heffernan, Michael, ‘Fin de siècle, fin du monde? On the origins of European geopolitics, 1890–1920’, in K. Dodds and D. Atkinson (eds), Geopolitical Traditions: A Century of Geopolitical Thought (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 28; Tunander, Ola, ‘Swedish-German geopolitics for a new century: Rudolf Kjellén’s “The State as a Living Organism”’, Review of International Studies, 27:3 (2001), p. 459.

22 Morton, ‘Disputing the geopolitics of the states system and global capitalism’, p. 606.

23 Farish, Matthew, ‘Militarization’, in K. Dodds, M. Kuus, and J. Sharp (eds), The Ashgate Research Companion to Critical Geopolitics (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), p. 250.

24 Harvey, , The New Imperialism, p. 30.

25 Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

26 Barkawi, Tarak and Laffey, Mark, ‘Retrieving the imperial: Empire and international relations’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 31:1 (2002), p. 111.

27 Harvey, , The New Imperialism, p. 3.

28 Hardt, and Negri, , Empire, p. XIV.

29 Harvey, , The New Imperialism, p. 26.

30 Ibid., p. 19.

31 Kearns, Gerry, ‘Naturalising empire: Echoes of Mackinder for the next American century?’, Geopolitics, 11:1 (2006), p. 88; Ciută, Felix, ‘Déjà vu geopolitics: Marxism and the geopolitical undead’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), p. 223.

32 Harvey, , The New Imperialism, pp. 8788.

33 Arrighi, , The Long Twentieth Century, p. 33.

34 Harvey, , The New Imperialism, p. 93.

35 Castree, Noel, ‘David Harvey’s symptomatic silence’, Historical Materialism, 14:4 (2006), p. 43; see also Jessop, Bob, ‘On the limits of The Limits to Capital’, Antipode, 36:3 (2004), pp. 480496.

36 Mercille, and Jones, , ‘Practicing radical geopolitics’, p. 857.

37 Callinicos, Alex, ‘How to solve the many-state problem: a reply to the debate’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 91.

38 Kiely, , ‘Spatial hierarchy and/or contemporary geopolitics’, p. 237; Allinson, Jamie C. and Anievas, Alexander, ‘The uses and misuses of uneven and combined development: an anatomy of a concept’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 53.

39 Bieler, Andreas and Morton, Adam David, ‘The will-o’-the-wisp of the transnational state’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 72 (2014), pp. 2627.

40 Callinicos, , ‘How to solve the many-state problem’, p. 103.

41 Agnew, , ‘Capitalism, territory and “Marxist geopolitics”’, p. 232; Black, Jeremy, ‘Towards a Marxist geopolitics’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), pp. 234235.

42 For other Marxist approaches that I could not feature in this article due to space constraints, see Robinson, William, A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class and State in a Transnational World (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2004); Pijl, Kees van der, Nomads, Empires, States: Modes of Foreign Relations and Political Economy, Volume 1 (London: Pluto, 2007).

43 Teschke, Benno and Lacher, Hannes, ‘The changing “logics” of capitalist competition’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), p. 574.

44 Rosenberg, Justin, ‘Why is there no international historical sociology?’, European Journal of International Relations, 12:3 (2006), pp. 319, 316, emphasis in original.

45 Hobson, John M., ‘What’s at stake in the neo-Trotskyist debate? Towards a non-Eurocentric historical sociology of uneven and combined development’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40:1 (2011), p. 148.

46 Ashman, Sam, ‘Capitalism, uneven and combined development and the transhistoric’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 31; Davidson, Neil, ‘Putting the nation back into “the international”’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 19.

47 Matin, , ‘Uneven and combined development in world history’, p. 439; Callinicos, Alex and Rosenberg, Justin, ‘Uneven and combined development: the social-relational substratum of “the international”? An exchange of letters’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21:1 (2008), p. 96.

48 Teschke, Benno, The Myth of 1648: Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations (London: Verso, 2003), p. 272.

49 Rioux, Sébastien, ‘The fiction of economic coercion: Political Marxism and the separation of theory and history’, Historical Materialism, 21:4 (2014), p. 96; Tansel, , ‘Deafening silence?’, pp. 8084; Allinson, Jamie C. and Anievas, Alexander, ‘Approaching “the international”: Beyond Political Marxism’, in A. Anievas (ed.), Marxism and World Politics: Contesting Global Capitalism (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), pp. 197214.

50 Bruff, Ian, ‘European varieties of capitalism and the international’, European Journal of International Relations, 16:4 (2010), p. 621.

51 Teschke, Benno, ‘Advances and impasses in Fred Halliday’s International Historical Sociology: a critical appraisal’, International Affairs, 87:5 (2011), p. 1102. But see Selwyn’s take on UCD which explicitly states that ‘[w]ithout class analysis the combined aspect of late, uneven, development is lost … it is this aspect that contributes so fundamentally to the non-linear and unintended nature of late capitalist development.’ Selwyn, Ben, ‘Trotsky, Gerschenkron and the political economy of late capitalist development’, Economy and Society, 40:3 (2011), p. 444.

52 Smith, Neil, ‘The geography of uneven development’, in B. Dunn and H. Radice (eds), 100 Years of Permanent Revolution: Results and Prospects (London: Pluto, 2006), pp. 182183; Rioux, , ‘International historical sociology’, p. 591; Rioux, Sébastien, ‘Mind the (theoretical) gap: On the poverty of International Relations theorising of uneven and combined development’, Global Society, Online (2014), doi:10.1080/13600826.2014.983047; Morton, , Revolution and State in Modern Mexico, pp. 250251, fn. 1.

53 Pozo-Martin, , ‘Autonomous or materialist geopolitics?’, pp. 560561.

54 Agnew, John A., ‘Global political geography beyond geopolitics’, International Studies Review, 2:1 (2000), p. 98. See also Dodds, Klaus and Sidaway, James D., ‘Locating critical geopolitics’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 12:5 (1994), pp. 515524; Smith, Neil, ‘Is a critical geopolitics possible? Foucault, class and the vision thing’, Political Geography, 19:3 (2000), pp. 365371; Hyndman, Jennifer, ‘Towards a feminist geopolitics’, The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe Canadien, 45:2 (2001), pp. 210222; Dowler, Lorraine and Sharp, Joanne, ‘A feminist geopolitics?’, Space and Polity, 5:3 (2001), p. 169; Power, Marcus and Campbell, David, ‘The state of critical geopolitics’, Political Geography, 29:5 (2010), pp. 243246; Mamadouh, Virginie D., ‘Critical geopolitics at a (not so) critical junction’, GeoJournal, 75:4 (2010), pp. 320321.

55 Colás, and Pozo, , ‘The value of territory’, p. 216.

56 Black, , ‘Towards a Marxist geopolitics’, p. 234; Agnew, , ‘Capitalism, territory and “Marxist geopolitics”’, p. 232.

57 Ciută, , ‘Déjà vu geopolitics’, p. 224. This line of critique has a long history in critical geopolitical thinking. See, for example, Ó Tuathail’s dismissal of ‘the new radical geography of the 1970s’ as ‘[a] naive rediscovery and enthusiasm for the dogma of old Marxist theoretical debates on capitalism and imperialism.’ Ó Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics, p. 127; cf. Smith, ‘Is a critical geopolitics possible?’, p. 367. For a predisciplinary confluence between Marxists and classical geopoliticians in the German context, see Bassin, Mark, ‘Nature, geopolitics and Marxism: Ecological contestations in Weimar Germany’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 21:2 (1996), pp. 315341.

58 While it is not my intention to respond to these comments within the parameters set by the intervention of Colás and Pozo-Martin, it should be noted that the authors’ previous work partially pre-empts some of the charges levelled against their vision of ‘Marxist’ geopolitics. See, for example, Pozo-Martin’s engagement with the new imperialist conceptions of geopolitics (particularly the one espoused by Callinicos) in which the author underscores the necessity to attend the issues of ‘agency and micro-foundations’. Pozo-Martin, ‘Autonomous or materialist geopolitics?’, p. 552.

59 Colás, and Pozo, , ‘The value of territory’, p. 212.

60 Smith, , ‘Is a critical geopolitics possible?’, p. 367.

61 Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü, A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2008), p. 71.

62 Fahmy, Khaled, All the Pasha’s Men: Mehmed Ali, His Army, and the Making of Modern Egypt (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2002), p. 25.

63 Bodger, Alan, ‘Russia and the end of the Ottoman Empire’, in M. Kent (ed.), The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire (2nd edn, London: Frank Cass, 1996), p. 73.

64 The phrase originates from an anonymous publication with the same title printed in 1850 and remained widely-used in public discourse up to the early twentieth century. See Çiçek, The Young Ottomans, p. 241, fn. 2.

65 Trotsky, Leon, The Permanent Revolution and Results and Prospects (New York: Pathfinder, 1969), p. 112.

66 Gladstone, William Ewart, Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East (New York: Lovell, Adam, Wesson & Co., 1876), p. 10.

67 Quoted in Hobson, John M., The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760–2010 (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2012), p. 37.

68 Schumacher, Leslie Rogne, ‘The Eastern Question as a Europe Question: Viewing the ascent of “Europe” through the lens of Ottoman decline’, Journal of European Studies, 44:1 (2014), pp. 6566; cf. Marriott, J. A. R., The Eastern Question: An Historical Study in European Diplomacy (London: Clarendon, 1917); Anderson, M. S., The Eastern Question, 1774–1923: A Study in International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1966); Clayton, Gerald David, Britain and the Eastern Question: Missolonghi to Gallipoli (London: University of London Press, 1971); Karsh, Efraim and Karsh, Inari, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789–1923 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999).

69 Bromley, Simon, Rethinking Middle East Politics (Cambridge: Polity, 1994), p. 48.

70 Hanioğlu, , A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire, p. 206.

71 Mardin, Şerif, The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought: A Study in the Modernization of Turkish Political Ideas (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000 [orig, pub. 1962]), p. 354.

72 See ‘Preface’ in MECW 12, pp. XIV–XV.

73 Tuathail, Gearóid Ó and Agnew, John, ‘Geopolitics and discourse: Practical geopolitical reasoning in American foreign policy’, Political Geography, 11:2 (1992), p. 192.

74 Tuathail, Gearóid Ó, ‘Theorizing practical geopolitical reasoning: the case of the United States’ response to the war in Bosnia’, Political Geography, 21:5 (2002), p. 612.

75 MECW 12, p. 195, emphasis in original.

76 MECW 12, p. 24, emphasis in original.

77 MECW 12, p. 17.

78 Marx, Karl, Wage-Labour and Capital & Value, Price and Profit (New York: International Publishers, 1976), p. 15, emphasis in original.

79 Marx, Karl, Class Struggles in France (1848–1850) (New York: International Publishers, 1964), p. 42.

80 MECW 12, p. 106.

81 MECW 12, p. 196.

82 Gramsci, Antonio, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, trans. and eds Q. Hoare and G. Nowell-Smith (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971), p. 132, Q13§1.

83 MECW 12, p. 212.

84 MECW 12, pp. 212–13.

85 MECW 12, p. 36.

86 MECW 12, p. 106, emphasis in original.

87 MECW 12, p. 34.

88 There is no doubt that the ‘Eastern Question’ interventions of Marx and Engels are constructed from a European perspective. Nevertheless, the empirical focus on Europe is always accompanied by a universal sensitivity to the prospects of revolution beyond Europe, thus any attempt at unpacking the archive’s Eurocentrism has to carefully evaluate its position within the broader corpus of Marx and Engels. I have explored these questions in more detail in Tansel, ‘Deafening silence?’ and Tansel, Cemal Burak, ‘Breaking the Eurocentric cage’, Capital & Class, 37:2 (2013), pp. 299307.

89 MECW 12, p. 231.

90 Marx’s citation of an article by M. de St-Marc Girardin published in the Journal des Débats signals the extraordinary extent to which class relations were seen fundamental during the mid-nineteenth century. Mirroring a conservative counter-argument of the revolutionary praxis espoused by Marx and Engels, Girardin wrote: ‘Europe has two great perils, according to us: Russia, which menaces her independence; and the Revolution, which menaces her social order. Now, she cannot be saved from one of these perils except by exposing herself entirely to the other … [W]hat we know is, that in the present state of Europe, war would be the social revolution’. See MECW 12, p. 117 emphasis in original.

91 MECW 12, p. 347.

92 MECW 12, p. 313.

93 Hobson, John A., ‘Why the war came as a surprise’, Political Science Quarterly, 35:3 (1920), p. 341.

94 MECW 12, p. 590. Marx also highlighted the contradiction between liberal discourse and practice vis-à-vis the state: ‘These same “gallant” free-traders, renowned for their indefatigability in denouncing government interference, these apostles of the bourgeois doctrine of laissez-faire, who profess to leave everything and everybody to the struggles of individual interest, are always the first to appeal to the interference of Government as soon as the individual interests of the workingman come into conflict with their own class interests. In such moments of collision they look with open admiration at the Continental States, where despotic governments, though, indeed, not allowing the bourgeoisie to rule, at least prevent the workingmen from resisting.’ See MECW 12, p. 135.

95 Redford, Arthur, Manchester Merchants and Foreign Trade, Vol. 2: 1850–1939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956), p. 84.

96 Cobden, Richard, Russia and the Eastern Question (Boston: John P. Jewett & Co., 1854), p. 11. Cobden was of the conviction that ‘the Russian trade’ was three times more important to Britain than the Turkish. McGilchrist, John, Richard Cobden: The Apostle of Free Trade, His Political Career and Public Services: A Biography (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1865), p. 198. It is also important to note that Cobden had ‘a background in manufacturing and represented constituencies in the industrial northwest of England’. Davis, John R., ‘The British Sonderweg: the peculiarities of British free trade, 1845–80’, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 8:3 (1997), p. 76.

97 Cobden, , Russia and the Eastern Question, p. 30; see also Semmell, Bernard, The Rise of Free Trade Imperialism: Classical Political Economy, the Empire of Free Trade and Imperialism 1750–1850 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 160.

98 Quataert, Donald, ‘The age of reforms, 1812–1914’, in H. İnalcık with D. Quataert (eds), An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 828; Kasaba, Reşat, ‘Incorporation of the Ottoman Empire, 1750–1820’, Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center, 10:5–6 (1987), p. 810.

99 Kasaba, Reşat, ‘Was there a comprador bourgeoisie in mid-nineteenth-century western Anatolia?’, Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center, 11:2 (1988), p. 221.

100 Pamuk, Şevket and Williamson, Jeffrey G., ‘Ottoman de-industrialization, 1800–1913: Assessing the magnitude, impact and response’, The Economic History Review, 64:S1 (2011), p. 161.

101 Puryear, Vernon John, International Economics and Diplomacy in the Near East: A Study of British Commercial Policy in the Levant, 1834–1853 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1935), p. 118; Clark, Edward C., ‘The Ottoman Industrial Revolution’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 5:1 (1974), pp. 7172.

102 Owen, Roger, The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800–1914 (London: IB Tauris, 2009 [orig. pub. 1981]), pp. 8485; Puryear, , International Economics and Diplomacy in the Near East, p. 127.

103 Gooch, Brison D., ‘A century of historiography on the origins of the Crimean War’, The American Historical Review, 62:1 (1956), p. 37.

104 Engels made a similar comment with regards to the British aristocracy who ‘would, if need be, sacrifice the national English interests to their particular class interests, and permit the consolidation of a juvenile despotism in the East in the hopes of finding a support for their valetudinarian oligarchy in the West’. See MECW 12, p. 12.

105 MEW 10, p. 83; Marx, , The Eastern Question, p. 258.

106 Marx, , The Eastern Question, p. 90; MECW 12, p. 175; MEW 9, p. 177. There are other direct associations made between the political circuits and newspapers. Marx, for example chastises The Morning Post as ‘Palmerston’s private Moniteur’. See Marx, , The Eastern Question, p. 263.

107 MECW 12, p. 537.

108 MECW 12, p. 19.

109 See, for example, leader of The Times dated 8 July 1953 which contains the following statement: ‘as the Russians could not master their propensity for civilizing barbarian provinces, England had better let them do as they desired, and avoid a disturbance of the peace by vain obstinacy’ (quoted in MECW 12, p. 185).

110 MECW 12, p. 113, emphasis in original.

111 Kandal, Terry R., ‘Marx and Engels on international relations, revolution and counterrevolution’, in M. T. Martin and T. R. Kandal (eds), Studies of Development and Change in the Modern World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 57.

112 Krasner, Stephen D., Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 129.

113 Mardin, , The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought, p. 180.

114 Bukharin, Nikolai, Imperialism and World Economy (New York: Howard Fertig, 1966), p. 100.

115 Miéville, China, Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law (Leiden: Brill, 2005), p. 227.

116 Issawi, Charles, ‘The Ottoman debt’, in Charles Issawi (ed.), The Economic History of the Middle East, 1800–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), p. 94; Birdal, Murat, The Political Economy of Ottoman Public Debt: Insolvency and European Financial Control in the Late Nineteenth Century (London: IB Tauris, 2010), p. 14.

117 Lacher, Hannes and Germann, Julian, ‘Before hegemony: Britain, free trade and nineteenth-century world order revisited’, International Studies Review, 14:1 (2012), p. 108.

118 Cowen, Deborah and Smith, Neil, ‘After geopolitics? From the geopolitical social to geoeconomics’, Antipode, 41:1 (2009), p. 24.

119 Teschke, Benno, ‘The fetish of geopolitics’, New Left Review (II), 69 (2011), p. 84.

120 Teschke, and Lacher, , ‘The changing “logics” of capitalist competition’, pp. 577578.

121 Smith, ‘What happened to class?’, p. 1013.

* Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Historical Materialism Annual Conference (London, November 2013), the International Studies Association Annual Conference (Toronto, March 2014), and the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (Giardini Naxos, September 2015). For their helpful comments and suggestions, I would like to thank Andreas Bieler, Ian Bruff, Katja Daniels, Adam David Morton, Jeppe Strandsbjerg, Sébastien Rioux, and the editors and anonymous reviewers of the Review of International Studies.

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