Follow us on:   

Obama’s Provocations Pushed China, Russia Closer
November 9, 2014, 6:07 am

The American and Russian presidents have publicly revealed their conflicting visions of future development not only in Europe (where Moscow and Washington continue to lock horns over Ukraine), but in Asia, as well.

In the buildup to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, US President Barack Obama made it clear that he had no plans to meet his Russian counterpart.

He went on to say that he also likely won’t meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brisbane, Australia where both leaders will attend the G20 summit in mid-November.

At the same time, Obama reiterated his support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal Washington is negotiating with 11 nations in the region, excluding China and Russia.

On the eve of the APEC summit in Beijing, Putin highlighted his opposition to the TPP.

One does not need to be a genius to understand that plans to build Pacific economic zones without the region’s two biggest powers – Russia and China – are doomed.

“It is clear that the economic influence of the United States and the West in general will inevitably decline in the coming years,” commented the Moscow-based Expert magazine, Russia’s leading weekly specializing in economic analysis.

“But the [Obama] administration and the European Union seem to have chosen the costliest and the most painful way to manage this process,” it went on.

“We’re organising trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards,” Obama said referring to the TPP in a presidential debate in 2012 [Xinhua]

“We’re organising trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards,” Obama said referring to the TPP in a presidential debate in 2012 [Xinhua]

Indeed, Obama’s stance is a logical continuation of the policy line he made public during his tour of Southeast Asian nations in spring 2014, right before Putin’s visit to Beijing.

During his visits to Japan and Philippines, Obama promised US support in their disagreements with China.

This presidential move couldn’t have been more provocative as the verbal bickering between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands was at its height, and the conflict between Russia and the US over Ukraine was leading to outright civil war there.

Backfire

The result of Obama’s actions in Japan and Philippines produced the opposite effect he had desired, however.

In May, and most likely under the impression of American hostility, Russia and China inched closer together and signed a landmark gas deal.

According to the agreements signed during Putin’s visit to Beijing that month, Russia is to supply 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year to China via a yet to be constructed pipeline named Sila Sibiri (“The Force of Siberia”).

Thanks to this deal, Russia is expected to get $400 billion and to diversify its gas exports, which had been geared to the European markets for over 40 years.

The current Russia-China deal is supposed to be implemented over the course of the next 30 years.

“Obama’s statements against China and Russia do not reveal a productive approach and reveal his lack of understanding of the region,” says Yuri Tavrovsky, a prominent Russian expert on China and Japan.

“Few people believe that the US can be a fair and balanced mediator between Tokyo and Beijing, [while] Washington’s bias against China is too obvious,” said Tavrovsky, who in the 1980s also consulted the Central Committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union on relations with Tokyo and Beijing.

“Also the United States is showing a lack of subtlety on the issue of China’s wartime losses. Official Chinese figures  say 35 million Chinese lost their lives during the Japanese occupation in 1930s and 1940s. This is a huge figure.”

Similarly, in Russia, relations with the US have soured over Washington’s support for the modern Ukrainian and Baltic nationalists.

These groups often pose as successors to the Ukrainian and Baltic nationalist movements of the 1940s.

But many of these movements have for decades been tarnished by their collaboration with the German Nazi leader Adolph Hitler.

During Hitler’s occupation of the Soviet territories between 1941 and 1945, these Ukrainian, Latvian and Estonian nationalists made their “contribution” to the killing of 27 million Soviet citizens, who perished during World War II.

So, even emotionally – when one considers the casualties and horrors inflicted during that war – Russian and Chinese grievances against the US become similar.

"The Russian-Chinese relations have become a crucial factor in accommodating the foreign policy interests of the two countries in the 21st century, playing a significant role in establishing a just, harmonious and safe world order,” said Putin on Thursday ahead of his Beijing visit [PPIO]

“The Russian-Chinese relations have become a crucial factor in accommodating the foreign policy interests of the two countries in the 21st century, playing a significant role in establishing a just, harmonious and safe world order,” said Putin on Thursday ahead of his Beijing visit [PPIO]

The anti-Beijing and anti-Moscow clique behind Washington’s foreign policy, which became all too apparent in recent years, is pushing not only Russia and China but also other BRICS countries to common protective measures against the US.

Layering the BRICS

BRICS’ leaders are planning to meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane on November 15-16.

As Putin meets with his BRICS allies, Obama seems to be deliberately isolating himself by refusing to meet the Russian president in Brisbane.

Analysts note that in Autumn 2013 Obama also refused to have talks with Putin at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Only a few weeks later, Obama needed Putin’s help in implementing the Russian plan of dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons.

This plan saved Obama from losing face after cancelling the White House strategy to launch airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces.

BRICS has already established a $100 billion New Development Bank and a $100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement, both of which are supposed to provide additional financial protection to members in case of emergency.

For Russia, which is under financial sanctions from the US and the EU, these organizations of financial protection are a source of hope as the Ruble continues its six-month downward spiral.

China, which is a major contributor to the BRICS projects, is also interested in Russia’s energy reserves.

In this sphere, both countries’ interests converge.

This is significant for Moscow, which has been hearing for some time the EU’s threat that it will “lessen its dependence” on Russian gas exports.

Besides the controversial American plan of Trans-Pacific cooperation which excludes both of their countries, Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are expected to make progress on the plans of an additional pipeline from Russia to China.

The so called Altai pipeline (also called the Western Itinerary) is expected to carry 30 billion cubic meters of gas to China.

The Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said the deal could be finalized by the first half of the year 2015.

A year ago, this plan would have more closely resembled a fantasy.

But it is precisely Washington’s aggressive support of the anti-Russian “revolution” in Ukraine and for anti-Chinese forces in Asia that has transformed this fantastic Russo-Chinese cooperation into a reality.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the publisher's editorial policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.