Thursday, November 08, 2018

Go East Young Slav

Russia's focus on the west has led to some territorial gains in Georgia and Ukraine at the expense of economic sanctions from the West and a rearming NATO that is gaining new members and friends. Those problems are leading Russia to pivot to the east. I'm sure that will work out just as well as the western focus.

Please do it:

With Moscow’s recent “obsession” with the turning to the Asia-Pacific region, there are still doubts if it can so at the expense of its Western partners. However, it seems that Moscow is trying to sit on two chairs. The Kremlin can’t afford to alienate Europe completely because it is Russia’s major economic partner (with over 40 percent of trade) and provider of technologies. At the same time, Russia is building and developing bridges with Asia, looking for new partners and markets that could potentially diversify its current economic activities.

If Russia truly pivots to the east, they'll take their paranoia with them and ultimately alienate potential allies and trading partners as much as they alienated the slumbering Europe and America who were content not to think much about Russia until Russia invaded Ukraine and began making nuclear threats against western nations.

And if China truly focuses inland as I've long wanted them to do, the Russians are unlikely to exploit a rising China with economic interests in Central Asia and territorial claims on Russia, when the Russians bring their focus and paranoia to bear on Central Asia, China, and the rest of Asia.

Can you imagine China's reaction if Russia pulls this kind of stunt against a Chinese plane?

Remember, too, that a Russian pivot to the east is kind of necessary because that treaty suspending Chinese claims on Russian territory expires in 2021. Russia is running out of time to gain the ability to defend that territory short of using nukes. If the treaty is not renewed, the pivot east will be a military necessity with the economic potential harmed by potential Chinese hostility.

I won't believe Russia is truly and effectively pivoting to the east until they give back territory to Japan that the USSR seized in 1945, and negotiate an actual peace treaty to formally end World War II hostility. If China has to worry that Japan would help Russia in case of a Russia-Chinese war, China will be a bit more hesitant.

And NATO will still be upset with Russia, no doubt, for at least a little while longer even if Russia manages not to ef things up royally in what should be their new strategic rear.

After alienating east and west, all the Russian rulers will have left to alienate will be their own people.