Most world commentators now believe that Mao’s Communist “revolution” was a guise for China to grab countries and become a neo Middle Kingdom. China’s PRC (People’s Republic of China) itself says since 1980, that the only “Communism” followed by China is “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, which essentially means state-controlled capitalism. In 1950’s, under banner of Communism, China annexed Inner Mongolia, East Turkestan (Xinjiang) and Tibet, just as Soviet Union had gobbled up lands of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan etc) earlier.
Ukraine was always a cultural extension of Russia with a similar language – Kiev was alternative capital of Russia in the past. Ukraine was also the rice bowl of Russia. One reason that Soviet Union set up huge Industries in Ukraine was its core oneness with Ukraine. Crimea was a part of Russia, before it was put under Ukraine jurisdiction in 1954 as an internal shuffle in Soviet Union.
It is the unsaid rule of world order that without interference of an outside force, the nation state, as defined in current terms, wont face an existential issue. The same got proven with US/ EU role in cold war, China’s support to Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia’s support to Sunni and Shia factions in various parts of Middle East, US role in current messy state of Iraq, Syria and Libya and so on.
Soviet Union was dismembered and Cold war ended. American deal with Russia’s Gorbachev was that Soviet Union would transition to a healthy democracy, freedom of its citizens and EU (European Union) & NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) won’t gang up on Russia’s borders. With demise of Soviet Union, that deal was broken by West deep state. The EU & NATO moved on to reach Russia’s borders. What remains of Soviet Union is a Russia which is a super power in its own right albeit with a foundation almost entirely built on Defense & Oil industries.
Recent turn of events have seen Ukraine trying to move out of Russian orbit, into a tight embrace with the EU by wanting to join EU. Since then, Russia took over Crimea and Russian backed rebels control roughly 15% of Ukraine with unstable truce & intermittent fighting raging on.
Why is Russia reacting badly to Ukraine’s move towards the EU? Much has been written about “Iron wall” syndrome of Putin, who was a member of KGB, the dreaded spy agency in ex-Soviet Union. However, it is to do with the history of Russia where the real answer lies. It is through the direction of Ukraine that most threats emanated for Russia – bloody wars were fought with loss of precious lives which threatened the very survival of Russia.
Looking at the case of India – It was dismembered sequentially by British. Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar were artificially separated by British. Nepal offered to merge with India but Nehru, independent India’s first Prime Minister (PM), declined. Bhutan is a case just like Sikkim. British partitioned India separating Pakistan (Pak) before leaving. So in stark contrast to China, India saw its lands of modern Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bhutan separated from it. Off these, after creation of Bangladesh, only Pakistan remains the real thorn in the flesh of the Indians with intermittent headaches presented by the Chinese through some of these nations.
Pakistan has been supported by China to weaken its southern border front against India – to the extent that China even made Pak nuclear and is its only reliable supporter internationally. China knows it will be suicidal for India to fight on two fronts – Pakistan front and Chinese border. The other perennial supporters of Pakistan viz Saudi Arabia and US now seem to be drifting away. US has now given a NATO ally status to India and extended its drone campaigns in whole of Pakistan by first killing Pakistan Taliban chief through a drone attack in Baluchistan. Saudi Arabia is miffed at Pakistan for not joining its international Islamic coalition but support in form of Oil deliveries still remain.
The only country which is a perennial thorn for democratic republics of US, India, Japan and ASEAN nations is China. Solving the China problem means taking it head-on: economically and militarily. This seems to be work-in-progress with the US pivot towards Asia and focus on South China Sea. An international partnership is building with regular military exercises between India, Japan, US, Australia, ASEAN nations and South Korea. But one nation is missing from the canvas!
Now I ask the readers to take a look at the map – the final pressure needs to come from northern border of China, the Russia front.
China indeed realizes its weak link up its North border. After China’s defeat at hand of Russia at Ussuri River, it learnt its lesson well. It promptly settled its border with Russia. (What is shocking is that China took some land from Russian control to settle the border. This has been the policy of China – with all other countries with which it settled its borders, China took land and then proceeded with the final settlement.)
With subsequent international isolation of Russia by US and EU, it is China which has stood up to Russia, but in ways beneficial to it. With West’s sanctions against Russia, China made most of its permanent seat in UN Security Council with the $400 billion Russia Gas deal, big defense orders like the S400 batteries and cutting-edge technology Sukhoi’s, merging of One-belt-One-road project with Eurasian Union and the strengthening of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). China also made full use of its UN seat by cutting mega deals with anyone sided by US – like the mega Iran oil deal stitched during sanctions on Iran, prior to US-Iran nuclear deal.
But China is also a threat to Russia. China claims entire Siberia as below post from a Chinese daily explains
What is Russia to US & EU and more importantly, what can it be? Russia, under KGB’isque Putin, is currently seen as a thorn in the eyes of US & EU. While a large reason for this is history of Russia’s super power moves as erstwhile Soviet Union, but a case can be made that the offensive policy of US & EU is past overdue. US, EU and Russia share a common Christian civilization, the heads of Orthodox & Catholic Church also met recently in Havana and shared a common vision for the two.
Russia showed by its fight against ISIS (Islamic state) in Syria, the kind of understanding it has of political Islam and the Middle East. History shows it was Russia which defeated political Islam through the ages – be it Ottoman Empire, conquering Islamic marauders coming down from the Central Asian steppes, subduing Arabs with Jihad in their mind from Arabia to Egypt to Slavic lands of ex-Yugoslavia. US, in spite of its wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, seems to have liberal blinkers and doesn’t seem to have the kind of experience & understanding of the dictatorships which Islam creates to propagate itself wherever it goes.
There is indeed a case of a coalition between large powers against China. With Australia, South Korea and ASEAN, Russia doesn’t have prominent issues. Only with Japan, there is a legacy issue of Kuril Islands under occupation of Russia, but the recent visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Russia seems to be resolving that. What remains is the US deep state syndrome and Ukraine to solve for US rapprochement with Russia.
Off late, Obama has been travelling to places which historically have been at war with US. Cuba, Hiroshima in Japan, Iran, Myanmar and Vietnam being case in point – he seems to be wanting to live up to his Nobel Peace prize and leaving an Obama legacy of applying soothing balm to these countries.
So why not Russia?
US would do better to solve the China problem by letting go of US and EU’s involvement in Ukraine (Economically, EU can merge with the Eurasian Union promoted by Russia but politically, NATO should desist from a giving its membership to Ukraine) in return for a long-term partnership and putting pressure on China’s northern border through Russia. That would be a true Obama moment in history!
With Russia in a bear hug with China, now it’s up to US deep state to recognize Russia as a long term ally. An adverse US action against any country in the world results in that country going to other camp whose flag bearers are China & Russia. With US, EU & Japanese economy being in perennial decline, US needs to break this theorem to maintain its longevity of rule in a multi-polar World with close cooperation with Russia, based on principles of this age viz Democracy, Freedom and rule of Law.
China has a $11 trillion economy, but it’s an outlier to the open system propagated by the West and indeed a threat to it. It’s another Soviet Union which is sitting on annexed countries of East Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia by sheer force. It has an outsized ego, is too big for an authoritarian system to be at peace with the World and carries a heft largely based on its nuisance value.
Hence, I posit that Putin & Obama need to hug & make up to solve the China problem – US Deep state needs to embrace Russia.
As for India, with China out of the Pakistan equation, India will ensure Pakistan terrorism affecting the entire world goes down and the military state controlling Pakistan also gets relinquished. With cutting down of Pakistan to size, the Afghanistan problem will also be solved. It will also enable the world to curtail the “International Migraine” (as Hillary Clinton famously named Pakistan) that Pakistan is, by looking to have maintainable countries in the form of Baluchistan, NWFP (North West Frontier Province) and Sindh, break offs from the terrorist state of Pakistan. It would also enable to denuclearise Pakistan.