Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Know Your (Future) Enemy

China and Russia will conduct joint naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea. I wonder if both navies will be neighbors in the region soon? And will they one day shoot at each other?

On the surface, all looks chummy:

The navies of China and Russia plan to hold joint drills in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in mid-May, China's Defense Ministry announced Thursday, in the latest expansion of the growing informal partnership between the two militaries.

Mid-May could coincide with a renewal of Russia's offensive in eastern Ukraine, based on Russia's conscript intake schedule. Just saying.

One day soon, could both China and Russia see their ships return to local bases?

Russia might want to be careful with their new friends. I've long been skeptical of the value of our exchange visits with China's military.

If there is a Russo-Chinese War over Russia's ownership of large chunks of their Far East that used to be part of China, Russia won't even get the chance to sail their European waters warships all the way to the Pacific before the rising Asian power destroys them.

Here's a recent Strategic Studies Institute paper on their joint exercises.

However friendly they look, they do not have a military alliance. And I think that the friction between them makes friendship fragile.

Not that I count on that friction and the grating knowledge in Moscow that they are the junior partner.

Sure, the West could benefit if their relationship turns hostile as the Nazi-Soviet pact blew up when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

But Hitler counted on the Allied-Soviet alliance to break down, too. It did break down and lead to a Cold War, but not before Hitler's Reich was ground into dust by the alliance in 1945.