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Washington’s Nightmare Comes True: The Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership Goes Global (Part II)

OWoN: Insightful writing that gives a clear picture of what is happening in a multipolar world, where the US is being isolated as a Unipolar society amongst countries who clearly, by acceptance of a multipolar lead by Russia and China, are expressing their lack of interest in further American leadership. Trust has gone. America is a failed nation now.

The question is how this reality is dealt with that will determine either a continued diminished role or new era of opportunity not just for the US but for the west. Failure to change accordingly will further exasperate economic output.

Oriental Review
By Andrew Korybko
22 August 2014

Part I

PART II: Geopolitical Application

It is now time to segue into the geopolitical applications of the RCSP. This section will begin with Northeast Asia and then proceed counterclockwise into exploring the dual approaches towards Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It will then move on to Europe before looking at the Mideast/North Africa (MENA) and Latin America. It is only in Africa where the RCSP has yet to mature, although the possibilities most certainly are there for China to invite Russia’s balancing influence into the continent in the future and to influence regional leaders to expand their trade ties with Moscow. Finally, the conclusion will unify the article and demonstrate that the RCSP is truly the most important relationship of the 21st century and the definitive vehicle for multipolarity.

The reader is recommended to keep the following in mind while perusing this section: Each hand of the RCSP is intended to wash the other and complement its counterpart in regions/states where it may be at a relative disadvantage vis-à-vis its partner, with the end-game intent of establishing true global multipolarity. With that being stated, the geopolitical examination of the RCSP begins.

Northeast Asia

The essence of the RCSP in Northeast Asia is to carefully confront the US’ “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and neutralize its lethality. Both Russia and China had existing territorial disputes with Japan prior to the commencement of the RCSP, but Japan did not begin to aggravate these tensions until the early 2010s. The Japanese problem could more accurately be viewed as an American problem due to its occupation of and mutual security with the country, so via proxy, the RCSP is effectively faced with the hurdle of American obstruction over the process of Northeast Asian pacification. Tokyo always has the ‘opt-out clause’ of a normalization of ties with Moscow (which is in the national interests of both actors), but this does not seem to be on the horizon under Abe’s administration. The US occupation is too strong and influential for the country to break free in the near future, but should a stroke of luck occur breakout and movement towards true foreign policy independence transpire, it would place Moscow in a position to play a positive role in moderating Tokyo’s actions towards Beijing.

Opening Russia-China joint Navy exercises, May 2014

In the current environment, however, both Russia and China understand that Japan, not North Korea (which both countries engage in the multilateral de-nuclearization talks), poses the strongest risk of Northeast Asian destabilization due to its aggressive pursuit of territorial claims. This is aided and abetted by the US in order to create the optimal Lead From Behind partner in the region and sabotage the prospect of pan-regional cooperation. Thus, however unlikely it may seem at the moment, in the event that war breaks out, Russia and China could either military cooperate or one or the other would use the strongest diplomatic and political tools at its disposal to try to influence Japan to back down and halt hostilities as soon as possible.

Central Asia

A lot has been written about a supposed Russian-Chinese rivalry in Central Asia, but in actuality, this is not the case, and it is nothing more than wishful thinking by those intending to split up the RCSP and see Russia and China butting heads over the region. Russia is in the process of politically and economically integrating with Kazakhstan and soon Kyrgyzstan under the auspices of the Eurasian Union, and it has mutual security commitments with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan under the CSTO (which also regularly partake in military drills). China, on the other hand, is more of a soft leader in Central Asia, having established lucrative business contacts in recent years and struck extremely strategic energy deals with most of the region’s members, first and foremost Turkmenistan.

The state of play in Central Asia is the following: Russia is consolidating its influence over the former Soviet sphere with states which it already has cultivated deep relations with, while China is moving in to fill the void in certain economic vectors. It is of the highest importance for China to be able to diversify its natural resource import routes in order to avoid the US-occupied and chokehold-prone Straits of Malacca, ergo its energy interest in Central Asia. It is through Russia’s implicit acceptance of China’s involvement here via the RCSP that it is able to proceed without a hitch, as it is also in Russia’s interest to have a strong and as energy independent as possible partner in China.

The meteoric expansion of China’s energy influence in Central Asia is also beneficial for Russia in a tangential way, however. The ties that it has fostered with Uzbekistan, which in the past few years has been moving away from Russia (it left the CSTO in 2012 and has plans to buy loads of NATO’s leftover military equipment from Afghanistan) and closer to becoming the US’ possible Lead From Behind partner post-Afghan withdraw, could be used to temper its regional policies. It is not to say that China can convince it to abstain from increased military cooperation with the US, but instead, it can exercise its impactful economic and energy influence over Uzbekistan to try to stave off a catastrophic military confrontation with Tajikistan that would likely involve Russia through its CSTO responsibilities.

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