In the global geo-strategic interaction after the American era, China, the U.S., Europe, Russia and Japan will all perform key roles, and the changes in the relationships between the United States and the other three countries may also affect China’s international environment. Europe’s situation is as we explained before (this column on March 8th and 9th). The circumstances of Japan and Russia are even more important because these two countries are China’s neighbors and have very close relationships with China, both historically and today. In the past 20 years, both the continuing stagnation of Japan’s economy and the collapse of the Soviet Union have given China tremendous geo-strategic dividends and opportunities, and the directions of their future development are still worth noting.
Russia’s Powerful Counter- Containment
Japan and Russia have vigorously challenged the United States’ hegemony. The USSR confronted western countries led by the U.S., forming the cold war pattern in which these two superpowers separated hostilely for about half a century. After its degradation, the USSR’s successor, Russia, underwent total westernization, which failed, credited as retrogression by the West. During this period the westerners were constantly occupying the former USSR region, intending to encircle the USSR to compress its possible range of influence. After Russia’ s regression from westernization, the West focused on promoting Color Resolution, building up anti-Russia regimes around Russia, with Ukraine and Georgia as the most magnificent achievements. Simultaneously, the United States intensively pushed the member countries of the former USSR and of the former Warsaw Treaty Organization to join NATO and planned to deploy anti-missile systems in some of these countries.
Russia has been unhappy since falling from superpower status. Nevertheless, the pressure from the West is naturally resulting in its strong rebound. Finally in 2008, the Russian empire “struck back” by invading Georgia, facilitating South Ossetia’s detachment from Georgia and furthermore its independence while the West could do nothing but only denounce Russia and support Georgia financially. In the Ukrainian presidential election earlier this year, the pro-Western clique lost and the pro-Russian faction took office again, terminating the Orange Resolution. The struggle will continue between the U.S. and Russia in the future while the current negotiations between the U.S., Romania and other countries regarding anti-ballistic missile deployment have added a new friction point. However, Russia’s situation has been greatly improved.
Russia’s resistance against the West is naturally advantageous to China. Above all, the pressure on China can be relieved some when the West has other concerns. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is increasingly shaping up, explicitly indicating that China and Russia are using it to counterbalance the West. The two countries’ military cooperation is more clear-cut: they often hold combined exercises that are claimed to be anti-terrorist tactics, but they are carried out at scales and using advanced weapons beyond anti-terrorist needs. They are actually meaning to shock and awe the West, especially to warn the NATO not to use Afghanistan as the springboard to encroach upon Central Asia.
Chinese Military Shows Strength
China can learn from Russia’s resistance experience against the United States. Although Russia’s national strength has fallen significantly, it still has a tough attitude towards the West, particularly the United States, and it has supported arms development by exporting oil while never giving in when defending its national interests. In contrast to Russia’s attitude, China’s appears too weak, and only most recently has China become a little stronger, as a large country should. As the military representative of the CPPCC, Major General Luo Yuan said, for situations such as arms sales to Taiwan made by the U.S. to harm China’s interests, China should follow Russia’s example to counter America. Seizing the opportunity when America was trapped deeply in both the financial crisis and the anti-terrorist war mire, Russia attacked Georgia, taking advantage of the passive situation and mauling the pro-Western factions. In recent months, the Chinese military has been indicating its hard-line stance with high profile. Is China going to be Russia’s student?
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