By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-america-hits-china-in-order-to-frighten-russia/
The Americans introduced a new package of anti-Chinese sanctions. It is interesting that this time the actions of Washington aren’t connected to the economy in any way, but bear an exclusively military-political charge…
The Central Military Commission of China was hit because of its purchase of 10 Russian Su-35 and equipment for surface-to-air S-400 missiles. Or more precisely, China was allegedly hit — a number of its average importance employees are now forbidden from granting American export licenses, performing currency transactions in American jurisdiction, and the US can also arrest their property and freeze their accounts in its territory.
It’s possible to call these sanctions ridiculous. It is clear that all of this is already forbidden for the corresponding officials within the framework of Chinese legislation. In comparison with the introduction of prohibitive duties on Chinese goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars exported to the US, this isn’t even a mosquito bite. It’s simply nothing. But there is a nuance. Washington stressed that the final addressee of the sanctions is Russia, which allegedly interferes with the American elections, behaves badly in the East of Ukraine, and in general prevents America from living worldwide.
I think that the US thus reacted not to the specific purchase by China of Russian military equipment, but to the general strengthening of military-political cooperation between Russia and China.
Two years ago, when Xi Jinping suggested to Russia to seal a military-political union between the countries in the form of a binding contract, I already happened to write that in the present conditions it is unprofitable to Russia to sign documents of this sort. This would not just make Russian foreign policy dependent on the decisions made in Beijing, but would also allow China to behave much more rigidly towards the US thanks to the coercive reorientation of Russian activity in the Far East. But in the European theater the level of China’s support for Russia wouldn’t grow. Unlike Russia, China isn’t present there territorially, i.e., a direct threat doesn’t come to it from Europe, but in the Pacific theater of military operations Beijing needs to concentrate practically all its resources against the US, and preferably also the maximum amount of Russian resources too.
But I wrote that the non-formalisation of relations in the form of a binding contract doesn’t mean the absence of a Russian-Chinese military-political union in practice. It exists. It acts. It is directed against the US, like against a general threat. But at the same time, at every separate moment Moscow and Beijing make a decision about the level of support for each other in a specific region, proceeding from the general geopolitical situation.
Obviously, for some time Washington amused itself with the same illusions found among Russian SOS-patriots [members of Russian society who have a habit of reacting over-emotionally to news concerning foreign policy matters – ed], who for some reason consider that if a specific paper isn’t signed, then it is impossible to establish cooperation in any way. The statements and actions of both the administration of Obama (in the latter years of his reign) and Trump testifies that the US hopes to divide Russia and China and fight against them separately — against Russia on the European battlefield, and against China in the Pacific battlefield. It would give America the chance to manoeuvre with resources, throwing them against the main, at the current moment, opponent.
These hopes were surprising even earlier. Perhaps the Americans overestimated the efficiency of the anti-Chinese propaganda organised by them in the Russian media and expert community, intimidating Russians by talking about the “Chinese occupation” of Siberia and the Far East. By the way, the Americans tried to unleash similar anti-Russian propaganda in China with the help of local expert circles. But, anyway, they definitively vanished when Russia once again asymmetrically responded to the American intrigues that lead towards an increase in tensions in Syria and in Ukraine, and also to attempts to block Russian-German (and more widely – Russian-European) energy cooperation.
Moscow staged large-scale drills in the Far East (“Vostok-2018”), having involved in total over 300,000 people (a third of the combat structure of the army). Russia earlier showed its possibilities for operative manoeuvres via forces and means and for the creation, in the shortest possible time, of shock groups in any strategic directions. But such a number of troops have never been involved in exercises of this sort before. Russia extremely transparently showed to Washington that it is capable in only a few days of gathering in the Far East a group of troops of any number and structure, and also to provide military operations during an unlimited period of time.
The participation of a Chinese contingent in the exercises unambiguously showed who this military activity was aimed at. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that for the creation and provision of a two-three times smaller group (on the territories of ally states, with developed in advance infrastructure) Washington usually needs from two months to half a year. I.e., in the event of a joint Russian-Chinese military action in the region, the US will be able to react (without the use of the strategic nuclear weapons) only when it will have already ended.
Meanwhile, in the 90’s and in the beginning of the 2000’s the US ensured their military-political domination in the world precisely thanks to the ability to quickly create in any region of the planet a grouping capable, by means of conventional arms, of suppressing any opponent in the zone of responsibility. Back then Russia was able to defend its territory only because an attack on Russia meant the beginning of nuclear war, but it couldn’t effectively resist the US outside its own borders, which the Americans actively exploited.
During the “Vostok-2018” exercises it was convincingly shown to America that in this region its former advantage had disappeared. It can’t effectively resist joint Russian-Chinese military activity. At the same time, the US has no reason to opt for a nuclear confrontation, because their territory is reliably protected from non-nuclear military action by the ocean, where (for now) the American fleet dominates.
In fact, the military-political squeezing of the US out of Southeast Asia has started, like how earlier Russia started to squeeze Washington out of the Middle East during the Syrian campaign. The concept “Big Eurasia”, besides the earlier inherent in it economic outlines, obtained a concrete military-political form. The sharp breakthrough in inter-Korean dialogue, which took place practically on the terms of Pyongyang, is the best confirmation of this.
Already in the spring of this year the US, relying on its South Korean ally, threatened the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with military aggression. Back then China took a hard line, having notified Washington that if the Americans will strike the first blow, then Beijing will give Northern Korea military support. Russia expressed itself more flexibly, having called for the parties to hold dialogue and having put its troops in the region on full combat readiness. Nobody doubted whose side Moscow would be on in the event of a military conflict. By the way, the dialogue that took place soon after between Trump and Kim Jong-un was regarded in the world as a victory for Pyongyang, and thus its allies too.
And after less than half a year had passed since those events, the Republic of Korea, looking at its northern neighbor through the crosshairs and preparing for war, reaches unprecedented agreements on political and economic interaction with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the exchange of visits starts, during which sincere friendliness and full mutual understanding is shown. But inter-Korean dialogue and peace between two Koreas means for the US the loss of the South Korean bridgehead. And after having lost military-political influence over Seoul, Washington will also lose economic influence. And this is seen in all Southeast Asia. This is a catastrophe.
For the Russians who got used to a Euro-centric policy, events in the Far East aren’t so obvious, but their geopolitical meaning is huge. The loss of control over Southeast Asia makes for the US any attempts to remain in Europe and in the Middle East senseless. They simply can’t be insured with resources (neither military-politically, nor economically).
That’s why Washington is nervous and sends signals of its discontent with the developing Russian-Chinese military cooperation, which unexpectedly for the US, without any written contracts, came to the level of close interaction that has destroyed the American military-political control over Southeast Asia that took decades to build.
Yes, these signals aren’t convincing. But the US already used everything serious that they could use in the sphere of the economy against Russia in 2014-2015, when Obama was sure that he had torn the Russian economy to pieces. And the Trump administration already involved all available sanctions mechanisms against China. Anyway, it is impossible to introduce duties that are greater than the volume of Chinese export, but the US has already come close to this threshold.
Of course, the Chinese economy is more vulnerable to American attacks than the Russian one. Beijing, unlike Moscow, wasn’t engaged during 15 years in the concealed reorganisation of its economy and the creation even not of import-substituting enterprises, but of whole spheres. Those several years that were lacking for full strategic self-sufficiency, due to the ahead of schedule eruption of the Ukrainian crisis, were made up in 2014-2016. Now Russia is capable not only of standing on its feet, but also of supporting China.
Without the severance of the Russian-Chinese union – unwritten, but no less strong and effective as a result – Washington isn’t able to reach any of its strategic objectives, neither in Trump’s concept, nor in Clinton/Obama’s concept. The only thing that the US is capable of doing, which they obviously lead affairs towards, is to set fire to some more regions and to try to additionally foment already existing conflicts in order to leave behind only ruins for the winners, like the retreating Germans did in 1943-1945.
But the concept of scorched earth didn’t save the Reich, and it won’t save the US either. It will simply cause additional damage to America’s allies, who are being scorched just to spite Russia. And this means that those from them who still can break free from the leash will flee from Washington en masse. After all, they have no place to hide except under the Russian-Chinese umbrella. There is no force in the world anymore that would throw down to the US a military-political and economic challenge and would force Washington to retreat on all fronts, including the internal one – where, as the Americans try to assure, Russia elects presidents for them.