Olga Kurto


Washington is exploiting the G2 concept to play Russia and China against each other?


In mid-January, Barack Obama's confidential advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, known for his Russophobic views, proposed a political alliance between the United States and China on the pattern of the US- Japanese relations, in order to discuss major issues of global policy, such as the Iranian issue, the North Korean nuclear program, Indo-Pakistani relations, etc.

Almost immediately, Russian authors concluded that the essence of the idea is to provoke disaccord between Russia and China. This suggestion has serious grounds.

For the Chinese People's Republic, the United States is a source of high technologies and an important market for industrial goods. In its turn, US consumers have long become excessively dependent on cheap imports from China. The mutual dependence is so high that destruction of trade connections would seriously undermine both economies. At present, these connections are becoming even more important, as US corporations, also for political reasons, is not inclined to transfer its productive facilities to Latin American states. Despite large-scale investments in automation, robotization, and nanotechnologies, the United States hasn't found any reliable alternative for the cheap Chinese labor force.

For those obvious reasons, US strategists seek new possibilities for strengthening political and economic cooperation with China, and for getting rid of major rivals – both in trade and in energy cooperation. Not surprisingly, relevant researches, as well as media propaganda, is directed against Russia. The incumbent Democratic establishment of the United States, involving such professed Russophobes as Zbigniew Brzezinski, is trying to implement a "pragmatic" approach, instrumentalizing US-Chinese partnership for deterring Russia and other rising economies.

International experts admit that the officially released data on China's military spending (417.8 billion yuan or $61.4 billion) are underrated. According to the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and RAND Corporation, these data are underestimated at least by 40%. This view is shared by Russian specialists from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Far East Institute. Pentagon analysts believe these data to be understated even more – twofold to threefold (this incoherence in assessment should be considered for further conclusions).

The increase of the immediate neighbor's military potential naturally disquiets Russians, especially on the background of continuing depopulation of Russia. Initiatives of a bilateral alliance of Washington and Beijing, commonly identified as G-2, contribute to this anxiety.



Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Washington has positioned itself as the only power able to control global policies. However, the socialist China has been steadily rising. Today, China's excessive labor force, modernizing and diversifying economy, and expanding sphere of influence enable China to compete with the United States on an almost equal basis. The US-centered financial crisis has made the agenda of a multipolar world more realistic than ever before. Not regarding Russia as a serious obstacle for its geopolitical ambitions, US strategists regard deterrence of China as a major geopolitical objective. At the same time, the United States is not prepared for a full-scale conflict with China, and therefore, relies upon strategic integration into projects of its own.

US Sinologists have traditionally envisaged three prospects of China's development: disintegration on the USSR model; rising hegemony, based on an increased military-economic potential; step-by-step integration into global economy with adoption of international rules. The third version, today pursued by Obama's administration, is named "pragmatic involvement".

The rise of China is likely to undermine the US spheres of influence in resource-rich regions of the globe, as well as military presence in those regions. This danger is seen in Beijing's alternative ideology of regional relations in the Asia-Pacific region, based on Asiatic values. Some Russian authors admit that China is pursuing the objective of acquiring a status of regional power, and ultimately, a global power, enjoying exclusive control of APR.

Analysts believe that by 2021, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, Beijing is going to establish a "Big China", including Taiwan (earlier, this goal was supposed to be achieved by 2011, the anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution). By 2049, the 100th anniversary of the enunciation of the Chinese People's Republic, China is expected to develop into a "Big China-2", comparable to Pax Americana in economic terms, by use of economic, political, and demographic instruments.

In the nearest years, attention of the global community is going to be focused on the Asia-Pacific Region. Recent statements of US officials confirm this forecast.

"Our imperative should be to maintain military superiority, especially from the viewpoint of global leadership", says ex- Joint Chief of Staff John Shalikashvili. This purpose suggests preservation and expansion of US military bases across the globe. Back in 1996, then-Pentagon chief William Perry, in his blueprint "Preemptive Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region", formulated the major conditions of implementation of this goal, based on separate pursuit of friendly relationship with a) allied states like Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, b) Japan, c) China. According to Mr. Perry, strategic confidence should be boosted through joint military exercises and peacekeeping operations, along with anti-proliferation policies.

It is noteworthy that already at that time, Mr. Perry warned against political deterrence and isolation of China which, as he believed, would only trigger modernization of China's military forces. His idea of "pragmatic involvement of China" suggested development of mechanisms of influence that would prevent China's military partnership with Pakistan and Iran, reduce China's capabilities in international arms trade, and use Taiwan as an instrument of pressure upon Beijing in the South Chinese Sea.

Thus, the declared peaceful approach towards China is not a bit sincere. In the period when the USSR was the second global superpower, Washington never proposed Moscow to "make friends against" then weaker China.

Since the Soviet Union has left the scene of global confrontation, the only reason for Washington to maintain a huge military contingent in the Asia-Pacific Region is to deter China, and to prevent expansion of its influence in the region. Under the guise of "pragmatic involvement", Washington is in fact developing an array of strategies against its emerging new rival.



The most significant of the abovementioned scenarios pursues the goal of establishing an arch of instability along the borders of China.

In the post-Cold War period, old geopolitical conflicts in APR are still moldering. The include the problem of Southern Kuril Isles that sours Russian-Japanese relations; the problem of Taiwan and Spratley Isles; the conflict of two Koreas; complications in the US-Japanese security relations, etc. In the framework of international diplomacy, Russia is involved only in the Korea issue.

However, other interested powers are permanently trying to get Russia involved in geopolitical games that don't correspond with Moscow's strategic interests. Not surprisingly, the idea of Chinese threat, addressed to Russia, is emerging from Japan, China's historical rival with a record of most ruthless military interventions into the mainland of China. Ostensibly pursuing a peaceful strategy (which is not surprising when 50% of Japan's own economy depends on the Chinese market), Tokyo uses the materials of its own scientific research for disseminating the anti-Chinese superstitions across the region. For reasons of their own, the same superstitions are shared by top officials of India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Stifling China is viewed in New Delhi as a possibility for expanding India's own influence, while a number of smaller nations are obsessed with the problem of debated territories. Not surprisingly, these fears are skillfully played upon by US string-pullers.

Does Russia have real grounds for anti-Chinese obsessions? The answer requires analysis of facts that serve for substantiation of the "yellow threat". Russia's regional officials are troubled with massive inflow of Chinese workers across the border. However, this inflow is motivated with search for jobs. According to researches of Russian institutions, based in the Far East, this inflow follows a typical pattern of "pendulum immigration". Curiously, some Moscow scientists (particularly, Denis V. Kubarsky, who recently received a relevant grant from the state-owned Russian Fund of Humanitarian Research) are engaged in studying "psychological adaptation" of Chinese immigrants, though Russian intellectuals in remote regions more urgently need assistance of that kind than low-educated Chinese workers.

Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa has once said about Chinese people: "This laborious nation will definitely reach the Urals, without any war. They don't need war, as many Russians don't want to live on their own land, and escape from there. Russian families have few children. Therefore, Russia will lack labor force, and the Chinese will be invited to work. They already work a lot, and with a high quality, and not because the Chinese government imposes some mission upon them. They had just got used to a hard life in China, while Russians commonly don't have this hard experience". Thus, the Russian clergyman has pointed at the real problem embedded in Russian, not Chinese culture.

It is also quite natural that the two nations with a huge common border are interested in mutual trade. The rapprochement of Russia and China that started in 1990s reached a new level in the last years. The re-established friendship is regarded by the Russian leadership as crucial in the perspective of a multipolar world. Definitely, this thaw, marked with cooperation in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, has become a subject of envious irritation not only in Tokyo but also in Washington.

That is one of the major reasons for spreading the anti-Chinese sentiment among Russians. Under this influence, Russian media frequently reprint alarmist researches of Japanese origin – like Tokyo Shimbun's forecast of large-scale military exercises that China was allegedly going to carry out in 1995 to impose its conditions of correction of the borderline along the Amur river, or Newsweek's 1997 speculations about Beijing's intentions to dispatch police units to Khabarovsk Krai to protect Chinese workers.

The latest activities of Zbigniew Brzezinski and his kin suggest that dissemination of the "yellow threat" versions is an element of a deliberate effort of playing one nation against another. At the same time, Beijing may use the same activities for its own objectives, realizing that Russia is anxious about the abovementioned G-2 option – for instance, by insisting that Moscow relieve customs duties for oil and other goods. Much depends on the choice of priorities Obama's administration will eventually make. Still, is China really interested in an anti-Russian deal with America?

(To be continued)

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