Feng Shaolei is Dean at the School of Advanced International and Area Studies (SAIAS); Director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University.
The “One Belt, One Road” strategic initiative is a focus and priority for China’s foreign strategy in the new century. What is particularly interesting is that this inter-regional cooperation initiative driven by concrete projects aims to link the Eurasian Economic Union with systemic policies and institutional designs.
Several significant changes have taken place with regard to China’s foreign strategies in the last 50 odd years.
Globalization in the 21st century is no longer a trend solely promoted by the “Washington consensus,” it is now driven more by various concepts, including the “Chinese dream” and Russia’s great power ambitions. It is not only inspired by private sectors and market mechanisms, it involves by far more diverse participants, especially big corporations supported by their governments.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.