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LOOKING AHEAD
28.03.2009

Olga Kurto

BIG ZBIG'S GIMMICK. Part 2

Instead of reiterating anti-Chinese rhetoric, Russia should focus on a responsible approach towards development of the Far Fast

Part 1: http://www.rpmonitor.ru/en/en/detail.php?ID=13426

WASHINGTON-TOKYO-BEIJING: A TRIANGLE OF CONTRADICTIONS

Japan's leading circles believe that only their nation's economic superiority in the Asia-Pacific region, transforming into comprehensive political domination, could guarantee security of the region as a whole and Japan in particular.

Since the defeat of the United States in the war in Vietnam, Japan has been concerned of the decline of American influence in South-Eastern Asia. Today, using the pretext of North Korea's nuclear program, Tokyo insists on its right of independent use of nuclear weapons, and relevant amendments in the US military doctrine for Asia. In its turn, Washington agrees to provide additional military assistance to Tokyo but prefers to control the "nuclear umbrella" solely.

Believing that in case of danger for Japan, Washington would readily get involved in regional confrontation as Tokyo's partner, the Japanese establishment underestimates the fact that the mounting diffidence between Tokyo and Beijing is favorable for the United States.

A possible conflict over North Korea would inevitably force China into a regional war. Beijing realizes that the crush of Kim Chong Il's regime would turn a massive humanitarian catastrophe. Russian authors, particularly Sergey Kanchukov, confirm that US strategists envisage options like a Prague-68 scenario for Phnom Penh. In case such a development takes place, China is likely to promptly intervene to establish a pro-Beijing government on the ruins of the Juche system.

The problem of Taiwan is similarly crucial for China, whether the plans of "Big China" are genuine or not. The Taiwan Strait remains the most conflictogenic zone in the Asia-Pacific. Confrontation with Taipei, viewed in Beijing as a domestic conflict, is likely to internationalize, with inevitable damage for China's economic and political security. In this regard, Beijing is increasingly disquieted with Japan's efforts to expand its military influence, its "self-defense forces" capacity already spreading almost to the coastline of Australia.

 

THE HINDU-PAKISTANI FRONT

One more sector of the arc of tension, surrounding China, extends along the borders of the currently destabilized Pakistan.

For years, China had envisaged multilateral economic cooperation with the secular government of Islamabad, using the neighbor country as a promising market and outsourcing area for major Chinese companies, particularly in Balochistan, and intending to use Pakistan as a stronghold for economic ties with nations of the Middle East, Africa, as well as Central Asia. The current rise of radical Islamic movements undermines the results of this longtime work, galvanizing the Islam-dominated Xinjiang province and potentially encompassing the Uighur minority in the former Soviet states of Central Asia as well.

At the same time, Beijing has been committed for improvement of mutual confidence with New Delhi. These efforts were blocked by a joint US-Israeli influence on the government of India. In this effort, Washington's strategists played upon the territorial debate between China and India, amounting to 125,000 sq. km, as well as the economic and military rivalry of the two nations.

Thus, the conflict zone around China is expanding. The only missing link of this circle is Russia. Obviously, the Washington-orchestrated information war, pursuing disaccord between Moscow and Beijing, serves for filling this crucial gap. Zbigniew Brzezinski's efforts to spread the version of the Washington-Beijing strategic axis contribute to this objective.

 

OPTIONS OF DISINTEGRATION

Returning to possible US scenarios designed for guaranteeing permanent presence in the region, we should mention, beside the instigation of Xinjiang separatism, also the conflict around Tibet that involves more ideological than territorial or ethnic implications.

China's excessive involvement in globalization inevitably influences self-identification of the Chinese. The CPC apparatus has been focused on assimilation of minorities, also by means of directive employment of postgraduates of universities: minority students were not supposed to return to their ethnic communities, while the ethnic Han majority, on the contrary, was deliberately resettled to border areas, in order to destroy the cultural base of separatism.

From the cultural standpoint, the major factor that unifies the Chinese nation is written grammar. In everyday speech, millions of Chinese use local dialects. Hieroglyphs are an essential unifying base; in case they disappear, the state is doomed for disintegration.

DON'T FEAR AND DON'T RELAX

 

Thus, China's concentration on its domestic problems, especially in the period of economic crisis, is rather explained with a multitude of external and internal factors of destabilization that absorb much energy of the central government.

These problems of China provide a possibility for mobilization of Russia's economic and potential in the Far East, traditionally associated with upgrading of military facilities. The obvious efforts of Washington to maintain its domination in the Asia-Pacific makes military modernization equally essential for Russia and China.

At the same time, we have to consider the recent warning of Indian expert Denny Roy, who indicates that the tension, created around China, provokes defensive thinking in the minds of the Chinese population. "The experience of Britain in the time of Pax Britannica, Japan in early XX century, Germany and Japan in 1930s, the USSR and the United States in the period of Cold War, demonstrates that as soon as a particular nation becomes stronger, it more resolutely suppresses efforts of its neighbors to upgrade their own security, reminds the author.

In the nearest tears, we hardly have grounds to fear Chinese aggression. But that does not mean that Russia should display its weakness in the region. During negotiations over the debates islands on Amur, Col. Grigory Levkin, ex-chief of the Far East Military District's Topographic Authority, warned against easy unilateral concessions to the neighbor. For the sake of peace in the Asia-Pacific and preparedness to common challenges, Russia should behave as a strong side in bilateral relations with China. After all, isn't fear a symptom of weakness?


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