War between China and Russia? Are we mad? Surely the two totalitarian powers are cheerfully united in a new Axis, solid against the democracies forever? But once you look at the two studies we list below, you might just want to think again.
Wars start for two reasons. First, a growing imbalance of power between two nations (think Britain and Germany after 1900). Secondly when one side sees its overwhelming opportunity to attack. (Hitler in 1941 is instructive here). The imbalance argument writes itself. China, a growing highly successful nation must expand to satisfy the needs of its hungry, industrious billions. True: they could head south into the Pacific. But nations like Taiwan, Japan and India seem increasingly aware of their giant neighbour. They could make any Chinese moves increasingly costly. Now look north. Siberia is a vast, thinly-populated land full of oil, minerals and other riches. All of it corruptly and incompetently administered from distant Moscow.
And the opportunity? Russia has become increasingly embroiled in an unnecessary and expensive war that threatens to break its army, and its economy. The mere fact of launching it raises questions about the competence of its ruler and his underlings. While its value as an ally declines in proportion to its economic strength. If China has given Russia a sort of mortgage on its great power status , now might be the time to foreclose, as some will no doubt argue in Beijing.
How ironic indeed for Putin to find that his attempt to restore Russia’s imperial might results in its final dismemberment. As the old saying has it “Be careful what you wish for.”
Pravin Jethra, for the BESA centre, looks in detail at the hidden tensions between the two powers
MSN have a rather graphic video of how such a conflict might play out
#Xi Jinping #China #Russia Vladimir Putin #geopolitics #siberia #energy