Muse unveiled this track as part of an international treasure hunt in which the band hid USB sticks containing portions of the song in seven cities. Following the conclusion of the treasure hunt on July 21, 2009, the song was made available as a free digital download online complete with the piano sonata "Collateral Damage," which is tagged on at the end.
In a pre-release interview, singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy revealed to Mojo magazine August 2009 that the inspiration for this song came from a book called The Grand Chessboard by Polish-born advisor to Jimmy Carter, Zbeigniew Brzezinski. Bellamy explained that "Brzezinski has the viewpoint that the Eurasian landmass, i.e. Europe, Asia and the Middle East, needs to be controlled by America to secure the oil supply. He talks very matter-of-factly about seeing the world as a chessboard. That, combined with the obvious Orwellian reference to the state of Europe from 1984, inspire the words on that song."
Bellamy told MTV News: "[That] was probably the first song anyone heard off our new album. It's a song about the grandiose, megalomaniacal geo-strategy of foreign-policy advisors who talk about Eurasia and the world as some kind of chessboard to play games on. So the track on the first part is really over-the-top, trying to capture that megalomaniac vibe." He added: "The track's got lots of different influences on there, Middle Eastern [music], '70s prog music, some big choir parts on there... it's one of my favorite songs on the album."
Bellamy writes all of Muse's lyrics. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme told Q magazine October 2009: that he had no idea what this song was about until he stepped into a studio booth to record backing vocals. "It's Matt's business," he said. "As long as he's not offending anyone."
Most of The Resistance's lyrical content is serious stuff. However scattered about there some funny, tongue-in cheek bits such as the layered "I want to ride my bicycle" vocals in this song's bridge. Muse drummer Dominic Howard told the NME: "We thought that was too good to take out, so we left it."
Much of The Resistance, including this song. was influenced by the band's tour of South America, South Africa and the Middle East in 2008. Bellamy told Billboard magazine: "I remember listening to music I'd never heard before in Dubai-stuff that certainly had an effect on songs like 'Eurasia,' and going to tango bars in Brazil that gave us musical ideas that wouldn't have happened if we didn't do that tour."