Asia Time Online - Daily News
              Click Here
Asia Times Chinese
AT Chinese

    Central Asia
     Sep 29, 2006
PART 5: Russia, China 'cooking something up'
By W Joseph Stroupe

(For Part 1, Promises that can't be kept, click here.
For Part 2, Corporate gigantism, click here.
For Part 3, No more Mr Nice Guy, click here.
For Part 4, The West's thorny crown, click here )

Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked about Russia-China relations and the mounting regional/global clout of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). He expressed great

satisfaction and excitement about the path of Russia-China relations, but quickly denied that the two strategic partners were involved in "cooking anything up between themselves".

In fact, he claimed that the mounting regional and global clout of the SCO has never been planned for or intentionally striven for by the two partners, that it has entirely happened "by surprise". And, of course, he claimed once again that neither the SCO nor the deepening Russia-China strategic partnership was "aimed at the US or NATO" (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

But contrary to Putin's soothing assurances to the West at the recent Valdai Club meeting, Russia and China most certainly do have "something in the geopolitical oven", and it has been cooking steadily for nearly a decade. In fact, their geopolitical main course is practically ready to be served to the table, so to speak, and directly contrary to Putin's recent claims they both intended from the beginning for the SCO eventually to play a significant role.

One only has to read the Sino-Russian Joint Statements from 1997 forward to see that the two partners embarked on a carefully conceived and adroitly executed geopolitical course and strategy a decade ago, and they have made tremendous progress toward the achievement of the specific goal they set way back then. Note these facts and precisely what their goal has been in the excerpts and commentary that follow:

From the Sino-Russian Joint Statement of April 23, 1997:
The two sides shall, in the spirit of partnership, strive to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order.

The establishment of a just and equitable new international political and economic order based on peace and stability has become the pressing need of the times and the inevitable necessity of history.

All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. No country should seek hegemony, practice power politics or monopolize international affairs.

Both sides express concern over the attempt at enlarging and strengthening military blocs, because such a tendency may pose a threat to the security of certain countries and aggravate regional and global tension.

Both sides underscore that the vast member of developing countries and the Non-Aligned Movement are important forces in promoting world multipolarization and building a new international order.

Developing countries have enhanced their awareness of self-strengthening through unity, played a greater role in world politics and increased their share of the world economy.

Their rise will give a strong boost to the historical process towards the establishment of a new international order. [Emphasis added]
From "PRC, Russia leaders issue joint statement", December 10, 1999:
[The two sides] propose to push forward the establishment of a multipolar world on the basis of the principles of the United Nations Charter and existing international laws in the 21st century, strengthen the UN's dominant status in international affairs, and peacefully resolve international disputes through political means ... and establish a fair, equal, and mutually beneficial international political and economic order. Third, the two sides point out that negative momentum in international relations continues to grow, and the following is becoming more obvious: The forcing of the international community to accept a unipolar world pattern and a single model of culture, value concepts and ideology, and a weakening of the role of the United Nations and its Security Council; the seeking of excuses to give irresponsible explanations or amendment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; the reinforcing and expanding of military blocs; the replacing of international law with power politics or even resorting to force; and the jeopardizing of the sovereignty of independent states using the concepts of "human rights are superior to sovereignty" and "humanitarian intervention".

The two sides agree to work together with the rest of the world to oppose the momentum presently preventing the establishment of a just multipolar structure for international relations.

Seventh, the two countries express their satisfaction with the implementation of the Bishkek Declaration issued by the summit of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, known as the "Shanghai Five States", on August 25, 1999.

In line with the Sino-Russian equal and trustworthy strategic partnership of cooperation, the two sides are willing to strengthen their cooperation, considering that the two countries share similar or identical views on such issues as the establishment of an international multipolar order and democracy and justice in international affairs. [Emphasis added]
From the China-Russia Joint Statement of July 1, 2005:
Strictly abiding by the propositions on building a multipolar world and a new international order as enunciated in the Joint Statement of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation Regarding Global Multipolarity and the Establishment of a New International Order of April 23, 1997,

The international community should thoroughly renounce the mentality of confrontation and alignment, should not pursue the right to monopolize or dominate world affairs, and should not divide countries into a leading camp and a subordinate camp.

In the sphere of regional security, the establishment of security cooperation mechanisms that take into account the interests of all parties, are open, and are not directed at other countries has fundamental significance. [Emphasis added]
Look at the declarations
The ultimate target of deepening Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation is clearly the pushing toward the establishment of what they call the "multipolar world order" to end US global dominance. The joint statements above prove that fact beyond any reasonable doubt whatever.

Consequently, the repeated claims by the two that no "third country" is being targeted amount only to pure diplomatic indirection and propaganda. The US most certainly is being targeted. You cannot push to establish a new international order to end dominance by one power without simultaneously targeting the one power that currently has that domination - namely, the United States itself. However, the targeting being done by Russia, China and their global partners isn't that of directly hitting the US economy to sink it, or of directly attacking the US military in a confrontation.

The targeting of the US global position of dominance is much smarter than that. It is indirect targeting, in which US economic, political and even military dominance and power are undermined and weakened by virtue of the creation of a deepening and widening global complex of strategic resources-based economic, political and military ties, a complex that is centered in the East rather than looking to the US as center, and a complex that mostly disregards, and increasingly rivals, US interests.

That strategy of ending US global dominance by pushing for "multipolarity", not directly confronting the US but rather building a non-US-centric global complex, works because the US is able to dominate the globe only because the world at large permits it to do so and either actively or indirectly facilitates such dominance. The US is not nearly omnipotent, politically, economically or militarily. It must dominate by virtue of willing allies and key powers that permit the US to exercise its influence through them, and by maintaining fear on the part of its rivals with respect to opposing the US in the spheres of the global economy and the military. Without the combination of willing cooperation and fearful acquiescence on the part of the world at large, the US will tumble from its global position of dominance.

Russia and China have correctly calculated, therefore, that if they can undermine that willing cooperation and fearful acquiescence by turning enough of the globe's key states away from a US-centric stance toward a stance more in line with their own purpose, inculcating them firmly into their own growing complex of economic, political and even military ties centered in the East, then the US will incrementally suffer ever greater political and economic isolation and subsequent weakening of its leverage and position on the world stage.

At the center of the new global complex of ties is the Russia-China axis itself. That has been the strategy of the two partners since before they issued their Joint Statement of April 23, 1997 - to build a new international economic and political order that isn't US-centric, that progressively robs the US of the deep cooperation and fearful acquiescence it needs across the globe to keep it atop the current order, and that thereby cuts deeply into the US ability to continue to dominate the world order. They aren't directly confronting the US in their efforts, but make no mistake - they are powerfully targeting the US nonetheless.

The United States has inadvertently cooperated on a massive scale with Russia and China in their push to create this new order, cooperated with them in their political, ideological and economic push to isolate the US incrementally. By its policies and actions since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and especially since September 11, 2001, the US has profoundly isolated itself on the world stage. That has played, and continues to play, directly into the hands of Russia, China and their strategic partners who understand US global isolation is the key to ending US global dominance. That is the real meaning of the policies and actions undertaken by Russia, China and their partners in the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, in which they have worked steadily to isolate the US and to keep it isolated, and to deepen its isolation. They have been very quick to capitalize on growing US isolation to construct rapidly their global complex of resources-based economic, political, ideological and security ties not centered on the US, and as rivals to the US.

Hence whenever Russian and Chinese leaders say that neither the US nor NATO is being targeted by their activities, that is an entirely facetious statement designed to give the two partners plausible deniability, in that the statement is technically true - they aren't directly hitting or confronting the US economy or military. But they most certainly are actively working to undermine the US global position by insidious, indirect and profoundly effective means. And US leaders simply aren't intelligent and humble enough to understand the effectiveness of the strategy or how they themselves are aiding in its success.

Note that in the joint statements quoted above, the two partners (Russia and China) repeatedly spoke not only of a new political order, but also of a new international economic order. Notably, in the April 23, 1997, statement the following statement was made:
Both sides underscore that the ... developing countries and the Non-Aligned Movement are important forces in promoting world multipolarization and building a new international order.

Developing countries have enhanced their awareness of self-strengthening through unity, played a greater role in world politics, and increased their share of the world economy.

Their rise will give a strong boost to the historical process towards the establishment of a new international order. [Emphasis added]
It so happens that the vast bulk of the world's strategic resources are located within the very group mentioned here, the developing countries and the Non-Aligned Movement. It is not by accident that Russia and China have concentrated their efforts there, succeeding in deeply integrating those nations into their global complex of ties, and simultaneously those resource-rich nations have become ever more characterized by adoption of deeply anti-American economic, political and/or religious ideologies.

The undermining and weakening of US global economic power and dominance are key to the achievement of the goal of ending the unipolar order that is led by the United States. It is being accomplished without direct confrontation between the US and its rivals. The massive ongoing transfer of wealth from the US to its rivals and the attendant weakening of the US economy is in no small part facilitated by energy developments and the growing cohesiveness and anti-US political affinity among the globe's energy producers, who by and large disdain continued US global dominance. Additionally, entities such as the SCO are being employed to reverse US geopolitical advances in energy-rich regions by helping to close ranks among its members, further placing the strategic US economic security in a precarious position. The US has requested, but has been denied, any role whatever in the SCO, which is shaping up to be a closed entity to the West.

On September 15, RIA Novosti reported that prime ministers of SCO member countries, while gathered in Dushanbe for a key meeting, gave instructions for studies to be conducted into the establishment of a regional energy club. In June at the SCO Summit, Putin caused a stir when he proposed the creation of the energy club centered in the SCO and designed to balance the interests of producers and key consumers such as China (a key founding member of the SCO) and India (which has observer status in the SCO) in a new arrangement that would transcend the leverage of a mere axis of producers alone. That proposal appears to be taking definite shape now, with officials from Kazakhstan and Russia tasked with drafting proposals for a key meeting next year of the grouping's fuel and energy experts. The ongoing development of the SCO-centered energy club proposed by Putin in June is a development of profound importance and constitutes a major advance in the Russian effort to complete the drawing of the circle of international energy security, a circle that by and large excludes the West.

Russia and China have been "cooking something up between themselves" for at least a decade now, and the results are already dramatic, to say the least. Don't expect Russia and its partners to "play nice" with energy and other strategic resources, not in view of the colossal stakes for both sides in the Great Game and the fact that the West will stop at nothing to try to turn the Game around in its favor before the clock soon runs out.

Putin's promise that Russia will not behave like an energy superpower is a promise that cannot be kept. It is a promise the West must not give credence to or rely upon, but the West itself is partly to blame for the increasingly contentious relations between resource-rich East and resource-dependent West. The moment of truth for both sides in the Great Game and for the current global order itself is impending.

This is the final article in a five-part report.

W Joseph Stroupe is editor of Global Events Magazine, online at www.GeoStrategyMap.com. He has authored a new book on the implications of ongoing energy geopolitics,
Russian Rubicon: Impending Checkmate of the West.

(Copyright 2004-06 GeoStrategyMap.com and W Joseph Stroupe. All rights reserved.)

Russia sets the pace in energy race (Sep 23, '06)

China and Russia embrace the Shanghai spirit (Jun 16, '06) 

US outflanked in Eurasia energy politics (Jun 10, '06)

The Sino-Russian romance (Mar 21, '06)


All material on this website is copyright and may not be republished in any form without written permission.
Copyright 1999 - 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd.
Head Office: Rm 202, Hau Fook Mansion, No. 8 Hau Fook St., Kowloon, Hong Kong
Thailand Bureau: 11/13 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuab Kirikhan, Thailand 77110