the US ruminates over North Korea’s chest thumping and posturing, China
has already turned away from the mess on the peninsula and is sidling
up next to its new buddy in the world, Russia.
Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin met this week and shook hands for the
world to see while their underlings went about completing the last
phase of the Argansk-Daqing pipeline and setting the table for yesterday’s
Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
two leaders are on the same page concerning a lot of foreign policy:
Both aim to curb US influence by promoting a stronger UN role in
virtually every conflict in the world, except for Chechnya. And
Both urge the US to use peaceful means to counter terrorism
Both want to stay out of the North Korean problem as much as possible
and let the US concede a few things before bringing in the UN to
And both are real intent on developing their economies (particularly
oil) on a global scale.
ties have been many things in the past – violent, strained, non-existent
– But only since 9/11 and the arrival of American troops have the
two stepped up efforts to turn the SCO into more than just a name
and the development of an oil pipeline into more than just a plan.
week's SCO summit will focus more on organizational development
and gaining more recognition from international (and national) bodies
as a viable group with economic potential and political clout. Whether
or not this is possible, with the Central Asian -stans contributing
little in the way of either, is unclear.
of the -stans, the SCO provides another chance for Russians and
Chinese to meet and do a little plotting. The Russians envy the
Chinese business acumen and the Chinese envy the fear Russians can
still inspire. Together, Russia may get rich again and China may
be able to swagger a little more when meeting with the US.
eastern border of Russia and the northern Chinese border are crisscrossed
with the tracks of Russian trucks hauling lumber across, as far
as Sichuan. Siberia is not unlike any other area around the world
with opportunity and exploitable resources in that "there be
Chinese." The development of the region is vital to Russian
oil interests as is cooperation with the Chinese government -- if
anything to insure that Siberia remains Russian!
just as the Chinese "invade" Siberia and set up shop,
so have the Russians established themselves in the northeastern
Chinese city of Ha’arbin. So much so, that foreigners walking the
streets are greeted in Russian by local Chinese.
peoples have a common history of hardship under dictators, hardship
as international pariahs, loss of face at the hands of foreigners
and, more importantly, former (and potential future) greatness.
and Russians can find more common ground with each other than, say,
with French or English or Americans.
tight relationship with mutual economic and political benefit is
a good thing for the common people of both countries. Perhaps in
the future, the cross border exchange can include more people than
goods, more artists, scholars and students than businessmen and
course this may be seen by some as detrimental to the US. Two former
enemies of the US becoming friends, something that didn’t happen
in the Cold War, is now happening during the War on Terrorism. If
the "war" continues to focus on terrorists and less on
war, then the friendship between the Russians and Chinese can only
help the US "rid the world of evil."
if the war, now unleashed, focuses less on terrorists and more on
war, well then expect blocs to start forming up – with the biggest
led by two of the biggest countries on the world.
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