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Author Topic: A Future Russian-Chinese War?
Babbler # 2799

posted 28 August 2004 06:31 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've always considered that the rise of China has meant disaster for Chinese-American relations, essentially: a new cold war. Perhaps that will happen. Taiwan remains a difficult political situation.

Recently, however, I've wondered if direct conflict between closer neighbours, both powerful, might be more probable. China and Russia. Once former allies, but never without their differences. Spheres of influences in Eastern Asia are changing. China may now dominant the former Soviet Republics, as the power of Moscow wanes.

Could a situation arise to place these two sub-super powers at arms?

China''s relentless economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s heralded its emergence as a great power in world politics. As its economy expanded, China seemed poised to become the second-largest economy in the world. At the same time, it modernized its military and adopted a more assertive diplomatic posture.

from: an abstract

I think this is also the premise of Tom Clancy's novel: The Bear and the Dragon (which I haven't read).


"More recently, there's been border conflicts in the Amur River region where Russia and China meet (in the north)," he continued. "So there's been rivalry there, and the principal reason is China has a lot of people and not enough space and the Russians have not too many people and a lot of space."

At the end of This Essay, by Alexander Lukin - a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University) of the Russian Foreign Ministry and Director of Institute for Political and Legal Studies in Moscow - he concludes:

The Chinese side, which for its own reasons is also interested in a partnership with
Russia, recently began to show more understanding toward the psychological problems plaguing the relationship. It consistently explains that no central plan of Sinofication of Russian territories has ever existed and shows readiness to cooperate with the Russian authorities in preventing illegal immigration. During his visit to Moscow in February 1998, Chinese premier Li Peng made official statements confirming this position and called Chinese citizens who stay in Russia to adhere to Russian rules and emigration laws. Thus, there exist good grounds to believe that popular fears and distrust in the Russian border regions will have only limited influence on the overall development of Russian-Chinese relations. However, the pattern in the evolution of Russia’s image of China has for a long time been that China threat theories became more popular at times when Russians think that their country is weak or is unable to develop its Far Eastern regions enough to withstand a challenge from China. If the current Russian leadership fails to stop the process of the country’s weakening and to implement a strategy of development of the RFE, these theories may once again begin to make headway in Russia’s practical policy.

Thoughts? What would such a conflict mean for the USA? For Nato? For the UN (conflict between two veto powers)? India? Pakistan?

[ 28 August 2004: Message edited by: wei-chi ]

From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 3336

posted 28 August 2004 07:13 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Back in the 50's I had a history teacher who predicted exactly that. He said there was far more tension between Russia and China than there was between either of them and the West. The Cold War forced Russia and China into the same playground, but they really have never been partners.
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1064

posted 28 August 2004 07:47 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Somewhere I read recently that in 1969, Brezhnev would almost certainly have sent Soviet troops across the border (I don't know what the issue might have been, except maybe retaliation for border skirmishes) were it not for China's nuclear weapons -- of which they had only very few at that time.

Since then, they've built up their arsenal greatly, while the Russian equivalent, as everyone knows, is in serious decay.

So I doubt war between them is likely, barring some unforeseen catastrophe.

From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5341

posted 28 August 2004 07:49 PM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think it far more likely that the Russians will stand back, for the most part, allowing the inevitable and growing confrontation between the two present superpowers ( yes, I know that it contrary to popular opinion ) ...well, I must drift a bit here.

How can any country that has the ability to unilaterally destroy the earth as we know it be considered anything other than a "superpower"? There is no doubt whatever that the U.S., Russia, and China all have that capacity. Britain and France are both borderline on that definition; but each have the nuclear capability to destroy society as any of us know it.

At any event, to the thread question; the Russians have always been very cagey, they have had to be, and I expect that they will stand back and use the growing military and economic rivalry between the U.S. and China to their best advantage.

From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 28 August 2004 08:24 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think it's speculation run wild. Afterall, there were Russian pilots flying Chinese MiG's over the Chinese-Korean border when U.S. troops were forced to withdraw. We didn't know that until fairly recently. The American's finally figured out that a land war with the Asian's was not in their best interests due to sheer numbers.

I think the Russian's are more afraid of the Yanks, especially after 1991 and running over Iraq's army in 2003. Apparently, the Russkies are the world's number one nuclear threat as a result of that invasion of Iraq. As usual, I think everyone's afraid of the Yanks, especially when the hawks start talking about reviving star wars, using small nukes and listing nations for possible bombing in the coming years. And our guys on the Hill wanna bend over backwards to accommodate them with our tax dollars.

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 6497

posted 29 August 2004 04:13 PM      Profile for Malek     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
China has demonstrated the will to resolve border disputes without resorting to all out war, such as with India to a degree. As China continues to develop its military technology and increased blue water naval capabilities, it's focus may largely be directed towards settling accounts with Tiawan, which could come at any time after they achieve regional parity with the US in conventional military capabilities. China and Russia may be drawn together over mutual concerns as US influence in Central Asia develops, expecially if an increased American military presence in those regions materializes. NATO's American led eastward expansion and the posiitoning of forward NATO strategic assets into those countries that had previously been under Russia's sphere of influence may very well lead to increased levels of Sino-Russian cooperation.
From: Upper Canada | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4372

posted 01 September 2004 01:43 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
China has the ability to absolutely devastate the US economy inside of about 2 weeks, if it so desires. Who do you think is carrying the massive Bush deficits? Not to mention building up huge holdings of US dollars though their enormous trade surplus with the Americans.

Dump the bonds, and their massive holdings of US dollars, onto the market, and the US is out of gas and broke in a few weeks or months. Economic crisis, to say the least, and very easy to do. Not without some cost to China, of course.

Of course, that would mean the US would be forced into a war of some sort, somewhere. But at their level of military expense, not many could finance them foir long, and not many would with that much instability. Not to mention, most countries with the capacity would have little interest in financing the death throes of an aggressive superpower.

It amazes me that the neocons think Bush is making them more secure. Don't they realize that debts are owed to someone? With a debt comes obligation and weakness, as anyone who has staggered under a student loan or credit card can tell you.

At some point, China will decide it is time to take back Taiwan. Their military establishment has spent the past 40 years thinking about how to do that without getting waxed by the US. It's been awhile since I studied the issue, but some schools of strategic thought in China focus on asymmetrical stuff, like flattening the internet through focused hacking (we know it could happen), blasting all the satellites out of the sky, and devastating the US economy.

The last point is the biggest. Bush and the neocons are so focused on getting mideast oil and make plutocrats richer they are opening up a huge weakness through their deficits.

From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1292

posted 01 September 2004 01:49 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
China and Russia. Once former allies

Really? When?
During the Korean War both China and Russia might have been giving some material support to the Noth Koreans, and China direct military support, but it was more a case of "the enemy of your enemy .. blah, blah," type of thing than any real alliance.

China and Russia have had border tensions for decades but their cold war has never become hot.

It is more in China's interests to continue mending relations with Russia due to the energy equation.

On the regional side, China has historically been an ally of Pakistan and Russia, India.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 01 September 2004 02:59 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by WingNut:

Really? When?
During the Korean War both China and Russia might have been giving some material support to the Noth Koreans, and China direct military support, but it was more a case of "the enemy of your enemy .. blah, blah," type of thing than any real alliance.

I think it was a Soviet delegate who brokered a peace deal with the UN. The American's were sat on the Iallou River staring over at China and eating Thanksgiving dinner. That night, hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Korean soldiers moved in, and the UN force led by the Yanks had to pretty much run away before they were run over. Soviet pilots flew MiGs with Chinese markings.

Their common enemy is and always has been the American's. MacArthur wanted to nuke Korea in order to draw the Chinese and Soviets into a nuclear war. They would have murdered hundreds of millions of human beings in order to kill an idea.

They attempted to kill an idea in Vietnam. It was high tech weaponry against low tech and the Vietnamese will to be free. They told 19 year old American's that they would be welcomed with open arms. In fact, they had to keep the young soldiers doped up, liquored up and entertained to prevent large scale mutiny. Vietnam and Korea were a total mind phuck for American's.

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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