Russia and the East
The global financial and economic crisis only accelerated the process of turning the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) into a powerful center for the economic development of the planet. In this regard, the countries of Southeast Asia are already successfully competing with the Western world and have significant potential to become the leaders of the planet in 10-15 years. And this despite the crisis that led to the recession of most European countries and the United States. Asia-Pacific continues to show good economic growth. So, if leading rating agencies predict 2011 0,1 - 1,5% GDP growth for the EU and the United States at 4, then countries in the Asia-Pacific region will reach 5%.
If the situation does not fundamentally change, then the financial and economic superiority of the West (and first of all the States) will come to an end. An alternative to the dollar system can be quite competitive Chinese yuan.
And in terms of military might, a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region can already make significant competition to the West, and in the future their power will only increase. The armed forces of two giants, the largest countries of Asia - China and India, are developing rapidly. Both powers are turning into military superpowers, which are able to defend their interests far beyond the borders of the national territory. If Japan and South Korea come out of their current dependence on the United States, this will further change the balance of forces on the planet. It is necessary to take into account the fact that Pakistan, from an ally of the United States, becomes the "strategic partner" of China. Another interesting fact is that the combat capability of the ground forces of the APR countries is much higher than the readiness to fight against the NATO countries. This was clearly visible in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the North Atlantic bloc, everything rests only on the power of the United States. But, the internal problems of this country threaten to turn it into a regional power, the states may lose their superpower status in the very near future.
Therefore, it is very important what place the Russian Federation will occupy in the emerging system of international relations in the APR. Currently, the presence of the Russian Federation in the Asia-Pacific region can not be called noticeable. None of the major powers of this region consider the current Russian Federation as a real strategic partner, a possible ally. There is a serious territorial dispute with Japan. For China, we are a supplier of natural resources, partly military technology, no more. Even traditionally friendly India, not our ally, the position of the West is stronger there. In fact, to begin a more consistent promotion of Russia in the APR, you can almost from a “clean slate”.
So, after the collapse of the USSR, we practically left North Korea. Only after the last meeting of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with Kim Jong Il in Ulan-Ude some prospects for reviving bilateral relations were outlined, but even here they have to start almost from scratch.
Russia has largely lost its military presence in the APR, left Vietnam, leaving the naval base in Cam Ranh. The Pacific Fleet of the Russian Federation is a long-awaited remnant of the Soviet fleet. And this is in a region where we have a conflict with Japan over the Kuril Islands, where there is a possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula, a clash between China and Taiwan, or a conflict in the Paracel Islands zone of the Spratly archipelago.
In fact, Russia is only formally participating in the integration processes in the vast expanses of the APR. So, she participates in ASEAN as a “partner for dialogue”. But Russia practically does not take a real part in the activities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Some Russian politicians, political scientists, and pro-Western intellectuals believe that Russia is part of the West, and the East is hostile to us from the start. Especially love to talk about the "Chinese threat." They want to turn Russia into the "avant-garde" of the West on the collision line of Western civilization, the United States and China. This is an ancient strategy of the West - “divide and conquer”, push your competitors together, and then get all the benefits. India is also trying on the same role in order to knock together two Asian giants.
You can not look at the APR only through the prism of relations with the Chinese. We have strategic interests on the Korean Peninsula, a long tradition of partnership with Vietnam and India, it is necessary to develop relations with other countries.
It must be remembered that the city of Vladivostok is named for good reason. Russia must defend its interests in the APR without looking back at the position of the West or China.
- Alexander Samsonov
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