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Revisionist Power Play
CCP Mouthpiece Praises Putin's Geopolitical Courage

We wondered aloud on Wednesday if events in Ukraine would strengthen the geopolitical alliance between the revisionist powers—Russia, China, and Iran. We’ve been getting our answer in dribs and drabs ever since. First we noted how Russia has already gestured at going easy on Iran. And now we see that China appears to be cautiously backing Russia’s claims in Crimea. Here’s the key passage from the Global Times (a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party):

For quite a long time in the future, the most strategic pressure will come from the US-led West. This pressure is not only geopolitical but also ideological. China promotes a multipolar world and a powerful Russia can accelerate this, which is much better than a unipolar world led by the US.

Putin holds on to the outdated thinking of “sphere of domain,” which may trigger frictions with China as its influence in Central Asia expands. But the divergence between the two is not beyond management, and the two have initiated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. So let’s turn back to Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Russia has been driven away from its original sphere of influence. Restoring its influence in Eastern Europe is an unavoidable challenge for Russia during its revival process.

As long as Beijing properly handles its cooperation and divergence with Moscow and joins hands with it on global issues, the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership will become a solid foundation of their global diplomacy.

In the coming years, Russia will not pose a strategic threat to China. China should become used to Russia’s revival, and maintain its own interests when dealing with Russia.

It’s an interesting read, and to the extent it accurately captures the thinking of top Chinese leaders, it should give American leaders pause. We refer you back to (yet another) prescient essay by Walter Russell Mead from December of last year:

Sometime in 2013, we reached a new stage in world history. A coalition of great powers has long sought to overturn the post Cold War Eurasian settlement that the United States and its allies imposed after 1990; in the second half of 2013 that coalition began to gain ground. The revisionist coalition hasn’t achieved its objectives, and the Eurasian status is still quo, but from this point on we will have to speak of that situation as contested, and American policymakers will increasingly have to respond to a challenge that, until recently, most chose to ignore.

Call the challengers the Central Powers; they hate and fear one another as much as they loathe the current geopolitical order, but they are joined at the hip by the belief that the order favored by the United States and its chief allies is more than an inconvenience. The big three challengers – Russia, China and Iran — all hate, fear and resent the current state of Eurasia. The balance of power it enshrines thwarts their ambitions; the norms and values it promotes pose deadly threats to their current regimes. Until recently there wasn’t much they could do but resent the world order; now, increasingly, they think they have found a way to challenge and ultimately to change the way global politics work.

Clearly, Western policymakers have yet to awake from their postmodern reverie, though the Crimea crisis certainly appears to have rattled some cages. One hopes it won’t take too many more egregious provocations before our best and brightest wake up to the game that is actually being played.

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  • Charles Hurst

    There is an important point to look at with the Ukraine as Barry threatens this and that at which Putin is completely ignoring. And that is this is what happens with an unchecked tyrant.
    I’ve seen several videos of the Ukraine people being shot at with nothing but
    metal shields as they continued to stand defiantly against the police forces.

    The don’t have the Second Amendment.

    I wonder how easily the Russians could walk in if they were met with pockets of rebel forces coming out, opening fire and disappearing into the crowds? I wonder what the Russian soldier would feel like knowing he might be going home in a box?

    This is why we “right wing nutcases” cling to our guns. Our economy is going to collapse. It has to. We have an unresolvable debt. And when it does we will have chaos in the metropolitan areas. And the government’s answer will be to disarm the people. How do I know
    this? I watched the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Because we are a
    society that favors the criminal and entitlement driven over the law abiding.

    Barry, I would watch closely to the happenings in the Ukraine. These people are resisting even with the lack of firearms. I’ve predicted in my fiction the incoming tyranny to the United
    States. But we aren’t the Ukraine. And we have millions of firearms in our
    homes, Barry.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. Creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

  • Andrew Allison

    This is not rocket science! The West has shown weakness and it’s only to be expected that it’s geopolitical competitors would respond accordingly.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Welcome to the Fall of the West. I wish I could believe it was only Obama but I am afraid he is an accurate representation of an intellectually, economically and spiritually exhausted civilization. Is a revival possible? I suppose nothing is impossible but I fail to see anything, or anyone, on the horizon who will reverse these trends

  • lukelea

    “Putin holds on to the outdated thinking of “sphere of domain,” which may trigger frictions with China as its influence in Central Asia expands. But the divergence between the two is not beyond management . . .”

    Now that is scary.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    While it is true that Obama is the weakest president ever, and has left a power vacuum, the Iran, Russia, China axis aren’t the only ones trying to fill it. The Asian countries bordering the south china sea are all spending more money on their militaries, further west India, Saudi Arabia, Israel are all pushing back at the axis, all around the world other nations are taking actions to fill the void. In less than 3 years the lame Obama will be replaced, most likely by a reform minded Jacksonian/Hamiltonian Republican administration, which will organized an alliance to oppose the IRC. In the mean time let’s hope that IRC overreach doesn’t start a world wide war, before a new administration can initiate containment. No doubt the IRC recognizes that their window of opportunity is brief, and overreach is highly likely as they get desperate to grab territory before the American Superpower reawakens and blocks any further ambitions on their part, or even worse rolls them back with humiliating losses.

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