Russia Reset Officially Fails
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  • Would you agree, though, that the Bush administration’s handling of Georgia was probably one of its most dangerous and reckless yet least-discussed screwups?

  • I wonder, would China be so reluctant to annex the Russian Far East if the U.S. weren’t around?

  • rkka

    “I wonder, would China be so reluctant to annex the Russian Far East if the U.S. weren’t around?”

    No. Chinese don’t particularly want to live there, and don’t particularly want to get nuked.

    A further reason the Russian government don’t share your perception of a “China threat” is that they understand that the Anglosphere foreign policy elite and punditocracy are even more hostile to Russian influence and interests than they are to China’s.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @rkka If the Russian elite thinks the Anglosphere is more hostile to Russia than to China, they aren’t paying attention. The sense is that the things Russia does that English speakers don’t like cripple Russia itself and that Russian influence is a self-limiting problem. In essence, that is what Kennan’s theory of containment said: Russians are a nuisance and under the right conditions they can make trouble — but don’t worry too much because they always trip over their own mistakes. The tendency is to see China as more capable, and therefore both a greater threat and a potentially more attractive partner. Not sure any of this is right, but Russian inability to ‘read’ the Anglospheric mindset, combined with firm Russian conviction that they are uniquely brilliant at this task, is one of the significant limits on Russian power development and foreign policy management.

  • Last I heard one quarter of the Russian Far East’s population were illegal Chinese immigrants. The Chinese take advantage of any possibility they see, and that includes moving into territory other people wouldn’t touch.

    Besides, should Russia collapse there will be nobody around to drop the bomb.

  • rkka

    Chinese come to trade, certainly. They tend not to stay long.

    And should Russia collapse, then mighty US will hardly be able to “save” the Far East for Russia.

    As to Kennan’s theory of hapless Russians being no real problem, he lost that policy battle to Paul Nitze more than six decades ago.

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