CMC: how Russia and Europe to adapt to the confrontation between the US and China

CMC: как России и Европе адаптироваться к противостоянию США и Китая

The global rivalry of the great powers, which returned to international relations in the mid-2010s years to have significant impact on international and regional security, including the European.When this rivalry was in its infancy, in the years 2014-2016, it was about the transition of relations between Russia and the USA in a state of confrontation, somewhat reminiscent of the cold war, but with significant differences. The situation is more complicated. From 2017, the US firmly rejected the previous policy toward China, which combined involvement (engagement) and soft containment (hedging), and moved on to hard pressure on this country.At the same time Washington has beefed up political, financial and economic pressure on Moscow, U.S. relations with Russia continued to deteriorate. Against this background, Moscow and Beijing, in turn, intensified cooperation in many fields, including military. In 2019, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin described the relations of Russia with China as allies.According to some estimates, the world is entering a period of new bipolarity, where the main players are the US and China. While the United States defended its leading position in the global system, China, intensified economically, financially and militarily, found almost equal to the rival’s geopolitical ambitions.However, the confrontation of these two poles is unlikely to be as robust and comprehensive as it was in the second half of the twentieth century between the Soviet Union and the United States. In the world probably won’t clear dividing lines, as in the days of the cold war. Nevertheless, this opposition will force other States to determine its location relative to the Central axis of the rivalry between Washington and Beijing. This primarily refers to Russia, to build a close relationship with China, and to Europe, where most countries are members of NATO or otherwise tend to the United States.European security, as we have seen, makes the next evolution. In the first half of the twentieth century it ceased to be a matter only of European States, and in the second half turned into a function of relations of the Soviet Union and the United States. Now, European security is becoming an element of the system of Euro-Asian security, which along with the United States and Russia increasingly significant role played by China.The problem of European security, thus, today and in the future is how to ensure the safety of the continent, when two of the most important component of the security structures (NATO countries and their partners on the one hand and Russia on the other) are closely connected with the opposite sides of the main conflict of the XXI century.It is clear that the situation is asymmetrical. European countries mainly consist in the formal political-military Alliance with the United States, involving the unity of action, while between Russia and China officially, there are relations of strategic partnership, leaving Moscow and Beijing’s freedom of maneuver. NATO is still regarded as a potential enemy of Russia, and not China. For Russia the Alliance has again become synonymous with the American military presence in Europe. Russia finally acts on the international stage as an independent variable, and European countries do not constitute a consolidated entity in the framework of NATO, where of course the lead of the United States. The European Union, as a close Association of States but not a Federal state, has its own strategic identity, and only proclaims the desire for strategic autonomy.The new geo-EconomicsCompetition and cooperation of the States — the main content and at the same time the main engine of contemporary international relations. The period of the universal domination of one power — the United States of America, which lasted a quarter century after the cold war ended. The system of Pax Americana facilitated the globalization of international relations, global distribution of advanced standards in various fields, in the ultimate unity of the world, albeit under the leadership of a single power. This system helped the growth and improvement of the technological level of the Chinese economy, the beginning of the rise of India, has given Europe the opportunity to forget about foreign policy and defense, and have taught Russian and other countries.From Pax Americana was the obvious disadvantages. The main one — not so much an exclusive position of power-hegemony, as the selfishness of its elite and the narrowness of the agenda that the elite has formed. American hegemony has been effective in conditions when the main enemy of the previous competition cycle international relations — Russia — was in a state of internal turmoil, failure, and then an uneven recovery, and the main emerging rival — China — has been completely focused on the tasks of internal development. When Russia decided that the country has enough strength to return to the big game powers, and the United States noted that China plays in their economic field and may become a serious competitor in the technological sphere, then the reigning world — pax — ended.The American-Chinese confrontation is different from the Soviet-American relatively less emphasis on the ideological and military components. On the fore issues of Economics, Finance, and technology. The competition is between economic models, financial institutions and technology platforms, as well as between the agendas and visions of the future that offer and promote America and China. Geopolitics remains a decisive factor, but enriched with new dimensions — the economy, geofinance, with geotechnologies.Europe unlike the US does not consider China as a military threat and does not protect him from its global economic leadership. She would be more open to cooperation and interaction with China.Nevertheless, the Chinese initiative of “One belt, one Road” (opop) in Europe was perceived with mixed feelings. On the one hand, China’s intention to create or upgrade the infrastructure that connects Asia with Europe, opens new opportunities for trade development the main spheres of foreign activity of the European Union. On the other hand, concern the desire of China to purchase infrastructure facilities abroad, to build with weaker partners, the relationship of indebtedness, to buy political influence in other countries, especially if we are talking about the Eastern neighbors of the European Union and the countries of the Eastern flank of the EU.In close cooperation with China is already involved 16 European countries, 11 of which are EU members. The largest country in South Europe, Italy has supported opop. Greece had provided China with its ports. Many countries of the former Soviet Union — Ukraine, Belarus, republics of Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia, forming the Eastern neighborhood of the EU, — see China as a major trade, economic and financial partner. For their multi-vector foreign policy Beijing — an alternative not only Russia, but also Western countries and their institutions.Russia itself, became, like other partners in opop, just join a Chinese project, invited the Beijing formula for the pairing between opop and the Moscow-backed Eurasian economic Union (EEU), which also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Of the Russian Federation is acting cautiously, seeking to avoid excessive dependence on China, but economic cooperation between the two countries strengthened.2014 China, edging out Germany, he occupies the first place in trade turnover of Russia (the Russian Federation, however, only the tenth place among the trade partners of China). China replaced Germany as the main supplier of machinery and equipment to Russia. Thus, in geo-economic terms to the East of the EU coexists not only with Russia and the EEU, but with the Russian-post-Soviet-Chinese economic “pairing”. Failed greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok is replaced by a Large Asia from Shanghai to St. Petersburg.These changes are largely the result of the fact that in 2014 the U.S. and EU imposed against Russia economic sanctions. Russia, which for centuries focused on Western Europe in terms of investments, loans and advanced technology, have been forced increasingly to turn to the East in search of alternatives. In terms of Western sanctions, Russia had to prevent a Chinese state Corporation for the development of their energy resources for Russia avoided. The balance in the Russian foreign economic activity between the West direction and East historically lagged markedly shifted in favor of the latter.Russia is turning towards China financial and technological relations. Considering bonds denominated in dollars, as vulnerable to possible U.S. sanctions, Moscow diversifitsirovat their gold reserves. Although instead of selling dollar-denominated assets of the Russian Federation acquires assets mainly in euros, the share of the RMB also increased significantly.A small but growing part of the Russian-Chinese trade turnover carried out in national currencies. At the direction of Beijing Chinese state banks provide Russian state-owned corporations long-term loans. Even more noticeable, these shifts in the countries of Central Asia. We are not talking of course about the creation of the territory of the former USSR the zone of the Renminbi, but the Chinese positions in the financial sector of the region was strengthened.In 5G communication technologies Russia lags behind in creating its own platforms, and also relies more on the Chinese — instead became politically unreliable American. The General idea of Moscow is to diversify politics in the field of communication technology through the cooperation with all the main leaders — the US, Europe and China. European companies Nokia and Ericsson remain, from the point of view of Moscow, possible partners, but it is believed that in a crisis situation, they are unstable to a possible pressure from the United States.If Russian-American relations will retain a negative trend, which is most likely in the medium term, and the development of the domestic Russian technologies will continue to lag, technological, Russia’s dependence on China will increase, and RF can get into the emerging geo-technological sphere of attraction of the PRC. In this case, between Russia and the EU there still a technological barrier.New geopoliticsgeostrategic region In a barrier — in fact, the line of the military-political opposition already exists. The starting point was the political crisis in Ukraine, the interference of the Russian Federation, the annexation of Crimea to Russia and after that the armed conflict in the Donbass. 2014 Russian-Ukrainian relations became openly hostile. With NATO, Russia again entered a period when each side regards the other as a potential enemy. Strained relations of Russia with the nearest neighbours — Poland and the Baltic countries. Against this background, the US military presence shifted to the East (to Poland, the Baltic States, Romania). Russia, for its part, strengthens the grouping of troops and forces in the Kaliningrad enclave.In recent years, however, the situation became more complicated. Russian-Chinese military cooperation has reached a new level. After 2014 Moscow eased export restrictions and agreed to give China more advanced weaponry such as air defense systems s-400 and su-3516.Joint military exercises of the Armed forces of the Russian Federation and the people’s liberation army of China coming in the second half of 2000-ies became more ambitious. This not only worked through the interaction between the two armies in counter-terrorism operations, but also considers their joint actions in other potential conflicts, including regional wars. Chinese sailors are trained together with Russian colleagues, including in the seas surrounding Europe — the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean. From 2019, the air force of the two countries carried out joint air patrols — while in North-East Asia.Termination in 2019 of the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles (INF Treaty) removed the ban on deployment of land-based missiles with a launch range of 500 to 5,500 km. the Emergence of American missiles on the European continent, if it happens, will lead to the most serious since 1983, the aggravation of the military-political situation in Europe. This will entail a change of nuclear policies toward applying the first pre-emptive strike, and as a result, the threat of a nuclear conflict rises dramatically.The deployment of INF in Europe while that looks less likely than the emergence of such systems in Asia. The likely targets for them in this case will be military and political objects of the PRC. The factor of strengthening of military power of China and the determination of Washington to confront this was apparently the main cause of US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.The deployment in Asia of systems capable of surprise attack to destroy the main decision-making centers and major missile bases of the enemy, may lead to retaliatory steps by not only China but also Russia. In 2019, it became known that Moscow assisted Beijing in the establishment of the system of missile attack warning (early warning system), eliminating the possibility of applying for China’s sudden nuclear missile attack. Still systems early warning system had only Russia and the United States. Military cooperation of Russia and China, thus strengthening its strategic nature. The echo of the confrontation from one end of the increasingly interconnected and interdependent Eurasia can quickly respond at the other end.From European to Euro-Asian security in theGiven examples do not show yet on the formation of Sino-Russian military Alliance, the more a monolithic bloc opposing the United States and its allies. Relations between Moscow and Beijing are more allied character, but it is not the former Soviet Union (Warsaw Pact) or the current American (NATO) sample, which of course is dominated by the main party.Both China and Russia are sensitive about their own sovereignty and seek to maintain freedom of maneuver. Neither China nor Russia can not and do not want to claim leadership in this pair. In this sense, the relationship between Moscow and Beijing is more like unions that have entered into Imperial Russia with other great powers or the Soviet Union with the countries of anti-Hitler coalition.This situation creates opportunities to build flexible relations between Russia and other countries whose relations with China are less trusting and less friendly nature: with Japan in the East, India in the South European countries in the West.Russian foreign policy has already demonstrated the ability to be flexibility in the middle East, where the background of military action in Syria, she manages to maintain a productive relationship with the political antagonists — Israel and Iran, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Kurds. It is obvious that Russia intends to maintain its independent relationship with the United States and Europe.Flexible policy gives you the chance to escape the rigid bipolarity in Eurasia. To implement this feature using the parallel steps of Russia and Europe. It is clear that Russian-European relations in the security area can be improved, if you start to run the Minsk agreement 2015 in the Donbass. The change of power in Ukraine in the result of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2019, creates a more conducive environment.The implementation in full of the Minsk agreements and reintegration on the basis of Donbass in Ukraine may lead to the easing or lifting of sanctions would help Moscow to balance Russia’s foreign and foreign economic policy between East and West. At the same time, progress in resolving the conflict in Eastern Ukraine can increase the value of a United Europe as a geopolitical player, capable of actively and independently participate in resolving international conflicts on the continent.Donbas settlement even in the best case will take time. Ukrainian nationalists severely criticized the Minsk agreement as a capitulation. The ultimate diplomatic success is not ensured. However, the vast majority of Russian-European economic ties are not limited to the sanctions. On a number of fronts, including in the field of information and communication technologies, companies of the EU countries can compete with Chinese manufacturers on the Russian market. This would be not only commercial but also strategic interests of Europe, and also from the point of view of maintaining balance between East and West — strategic interests of Russia.Another area of international competition, where Russia and Europe it makes sense to follow the strategic balance is the development of the Arctic and, in particular, the arrangement of the Northern sea route from Asia to Europe, passing mainly along the Russian coast.Vitally important, however, is preventing new euroracing crisis, which can grow according to the model of the late 1970s and the first half of 1980-ies. The active participation of Europe in maintaining strategic stability in the region substantially not only to strengthen security on the continent, but also to increase the geopolitical weight of the United Europe. Russia has the sense not to repeat the mistakes of the late Soviet Union and not to provoke the Europeans to seek protection from Moscow in USA.A recent example of successful cooperation of the European Union, Russia and the United States to resolve internal crisis in Moldova gives us hope that the acute contradictions between Russia and the West in the post-Soviet space can be mitigated. Given the hard lessons of recent years, the way out of the situation with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia may become Russia’s willingness not to obstruct the development of relations of these countries with the European Union in terms of non-expansion of NATO. An important stabilizing importance of the development of an independent and friendly Moscow Belarus as a bridge between Russia and the European Union, Russia and Ukraine.In the twenty-first century, the middle East and North Africa are among the regions of greater Eurasia. It is logical, therefore, that among the steps that could strengthen European security, there should be cooperation between the EU, Russia and China, as well as desirable USA on the Iranian nuclear issue; coordination of their efforts (and also India) in the search for stability in the Persian Gulf; cooperation on the political aspects of the Syrian settlement and on this basis joint participation in the reconstruction of Syria; cooperation in stabilizing the situation in Libya.Above was formulated some thoughts on how to avoid rigid bipolarity and to achieve stable equilibrium in Europe, and greater Eurasia as a whole. Well, if the concerns will be the impetus for discussion of a new geopolitical and strategic reality. The dialogue on these issues is desperately needed, especially between the two major, but not major players on the global scene of the XXI century — Europe and Russia.

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