ISHCHENKO: U.S EMBARGO ON CHINA IS BASED IN FEAR OF ITS MILITARY POWER, NOT ECONOMICS
by Rostislav Ishchenko
But, I wrote, the non-formalization of relations in the form of a binding agreement does not mean the absence of a Russian-Chinese military-political union in practice. Its there. It works. It is directed against the US as against a common threat. But at the same time, Moscow and Beijing decide at any given moment about the level of support for the ally in a particular region, based on the general geopolitical situation.
Apparently for some time Washington has been teasing itself with the same illusions as some Russian patriots who somehow believe that unless a specific paper is signed, it is impossible to establish cooperation. Statements and actions by both the Obama administration (in recent years of government) and the Trump administration showed that the US hopes to divide Russia and China and fight them separately – with Russia in the European theater of operations, and with China in the Pacific. This would give America the opportunity to maneuver resources, shifting them against the main, at the moment, enemy.
These hopes were surprising earlier. Perhaps the Americans overestimated the effectiveness of anti-Chinese propaganda organized by them in the Russian media and the expert, intimidating Russians by the “Chinese occupation” of Siberia and the Far East. By the way, the Americans tried to unite the similar anti-Russian propaganda in China with the help of local expert circles. But, anyway, they finally disappeared when Russia once again asymmetrically responded to American intrigues, leading to increased tensions in Syria and Ukraine, as well as attempts to block the Russian-German (and, more broadly, Russian-European) energy cooperation.
Moscow conducted large-scale exercises in the Far East (“East-2018”), involving, in total, more than three hundred thousand people (one-third of the army’s military strength). Russia has previously demonstrated its capabilities in terms of operational maneuver by forces and means and the creation, in the shortest possible time, of strike groups in any strategic directions. But such a number of troops have never been involved in such exercises. Russia showed extremely transparent to Washington that it is capable of assembling in the Far East in a few days a group of troops of any strength and composition, as well as ensuring the conduct of its military operations for an unlimited time.
Participation in the exercises of the Chinese contingent unequivocally demonstrated who this military activity is directed against. It should be understood that Washington needs two to three times less grouping (on the territories of allied states, with the infrastructure deployed beforehand) from two months to six months. That is, in the case of a joint Russian-Chinese military action in the region, the US will be able to react (without the use of strategic nuclear weapons) when it is already over.
Meanwhile, in the 90s and early 2000s, the United States provided its military and political domination in the world precisely at the expense of the ability to promptly create in any region of the world factions capable of using conventional weapons to suppress any enemy in their area of responsibility. Then Russia could protect its territory only because the attack on Russia meant the beginning of a nuclear war, but it could not effectively resist the US outside its borders, than the Americans actively used.
During the exercises “East-2018” America was convincingly shown that in this region its former advantage disappeared. It can not effectively resist joint Russian-Chinese military activity. At the same time, the United States has no reason for nuclear confrontation, since their territory is reliably protected from non-nuclear military action by the ocean, which is dominated by the (so far) American fleet.
In fact, the military-political repression of the United States from South-East Asia began, just as Russia, in the course of the Syrian campaign, began to oust Washington from the Middle East. The concept of “Greater Eurasia”, except for its inherent economic outlines, acquired a specific military and political form. A sharp breakthrough in the inter-Korean dialogue, held almost on the terms of Pyongyang – the best confirmation of what was said.
In the spring of this year, the US, relying on its South Korean ally, threatened the DPRK with military aggression. Then China took a tough stance, notifying Washington that if the Americans were to strike first, then Beijing would provide military support to North Korea. Russia spoke more vaguely, urging the parties to dialogue and bringing their troops in the region into a state of full combat readiness. No one doubted on whose side Moscow would turn in the event of a military conflict. By the way, the dialogue between Trump and Kim Jong-no in the world soon took place as a victory for Pyongyang, and therefore for its allies.
And now, after less than six months, after those events, the Republic of Korea, looking at its northern neighbor through the slit of the sight and preparing for war, reaches with the DPRK unprecedented agreements on political and economic interaction, the exchange of visits begins, during which a sincere friendliness and full mutual understanding. But the inter-Korean dialogue, peace between the two Koreas, means for the US the loss of the South Korean bridgehead. And after the military-political influence on Seoul, Washington will lose its economic influence. And this is seen throughout Southeast Asia. This is a catastrophe.
For Russians accustomed to Eurocentric politics, the events in the Far East are not so obvious, but their geopolitical significance is enormous. The loss of control over Southeast Asia makes it useless for the United States to try to stay in Europe and the Middle East. They simply can not be provided with resources (neither politico-military nor economically).
Therefore, Washington is nervous and sends signals about its dissatisfaction with the developing Russian-Chinese military cooperation, which unexpectedly for the US, without any written contracts, has reached a level of close interaction that destroyed decades of carefully-built US military-political control over Southeast Asia.
Yes, these signals are inconclusive. But all that could be serious in the US economy was already used against Russia in 2014-2015, when Obama was sure that he tore the Russian economy to shreds. And against China, the Trump administration has already used all available sanctions mechanisms. Enter duties more than the amount of Chinese exports is still impossible, and the United States has come very close to this bar.
Of course, the Chinese economy is more vulnerable to US attacks than the Russian one. Beijing, unlike Moscow, has not been engaged for fifteen years in a hidden restructuring of the economy and the creation of not even import-substituting enterprises, but whole industries. Those few years that were not enough for full strategic self-sufficiency, because of the early-breaking outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, were made up in 2014-2016. Now Russia is able not only to resist itself, but also to support China.
Without breaking the unwritten, but from this equally strong and effective Russian-Chinese alliance, Washington is unable to achieve any of its strategic goals, either in the Trump concept or in the Clinton / Obama concept. The only thing the United States is still capable of and to what they are obviously doing is to set several more regions on fire and try to further inflate the conflicts already existing so that, like the retreating Germans in 1943-1945, they leave the ruins to the winners.
But the concept of scorched earth did not save the Reich, nor will the US save it. It will simply cause additional damage to the American allies burnt out “for spite of Russia”. And this means that those of them who still can break off the leash will flee from Washington by the masses. Hide them, except as under the Russian-Chinese umbrella nowhere. There is no more power in the world that would throw the US military-political and economic challenge and force Washington to retreat on all fronts, including the internal one, where, as the Americans say, Russia is elected by the presidents.