Feature

An alliance against America?

The week's news at a glance.

Russia and China

A new anti-American alliance is being born, said Alexander Golts in The Moscow Times. Russia and China conducted joint military exercises last week, billing them as just routine “peacekeeping training.” But they were really practice for a war over Taiwan. In the war-games scenario, unrest in an island country—such as, say, Taiwan—prompts the U.N. to call on Russia and China to restore order. The actual drills went way beyond peacekeeping, though, and included a naval blockade to prevent “any third country”—such as, say, the U.S.—from aiding the beleaguered island while Chinese troops take control. It’s far from certain that Russia really would help China take back Taiwan. But the “anti-American saber rattling” is in itself disturbing.

The Chinese and Russians aren’t fooling anyone, said Shi Jiangtao in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. Both governments can insist all they want that the drills were not aimed at the U.S., but analysts in both countries think otherwise. Military expert Ni Lexiong from Shanghai Normal University, for instance, noted that the two countries have many strategic reasons for creating more military ties. China needs Russian help to “take back Taiwan,” while Russia needs China to counter the growing U.S. involvement in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. “The message from China and Russia is clear-cut,” Ni said. “We have at least one card left in response to America’s expansion of influence—that is military alliance.”

The U.S. pushed Russia to this significant step, said Arseny Oganesyan in the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Russian analyst Alexander Dugin blames American involvement in the democratic “color revolutions” of the past year. U.S. support for activists in Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan showed Russia that “the U.S. was resolved to remold the post-Soviet region to suit its strategic interests.” Increased cooperation with China does not mean, of course, that Russia has committed itself to Asia instead of the West. But it does suggest the “nascent development of a multi-polar world.”

Andrei Piontkovsky

Moscow Times

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