Friday, April 12, 2019

Will Fear of China Be the Beginning of Russian Wisdom?

Is Russia willing to confront the problem of their accommodating policy toward China?

Barring a radical destabilization of Xinjiang or fundamental shifts in Central Asian countries and their relations with major power centers abroad, Beijing will “very likely” establish a network of its own military bases in the region over the next five years, according to Dmitry Zhelobov, a China specialist at Russia’s Urals Federal University. He recently argued, in a widely reposted interview with the Moscow-based Regnum news agency, that Chinese steps toward acquiring those bases are driven by a desire to expand its regional influence as well as to ensure that neither Russia nor the United States are able to limit China’s cross-continental trade with Europe.

I've said that China's Belt and Road Initiative to build up overland trade routes will eventually lead to Chinese military presence to protect the new economic assets.

Indeed, I've long wanted China to focus inland so China won't be likely to wage war on America and our allies at sea. Such an inland focus, complete with ground forces, will force Russia to confront the Chinese threat.

China and Russia are no allies, I think. Does the wide reposting of that interview highlighting China's threat mean that Russia is on the path to ending their policy of appeasing China (and concealing that appeasement by being counter-productively hostile to NATO)?

Zheloboy warns of China's threats to "post-Soviet" space in Central Asia. But the threat to "pre-Soviet" Far Eastern territorial gains at China's expense is just as real, if a little further in the future.

Of course, even if Russia is finally facing reality, they did a lot of damage to their relations with the West which will make it difficult to get help against China. Perhaps people in Russia will notice that Putin effed things up royally.

UPDATE: Will there be a big skedaddle by Russians from the former Soviet republic Kazakhstan?