The last thing anyone in Asia would be interested in is self-reflection and ambivalence inherent in the Russian socio-political consciousness, and our discussions of value or civilizational imperatives. People in the Asia-Pacific region respect effectiveness, the ability to achieve goals, consistency and perseverance.
While only recently the West’s dominance looked absolute, now the roles of the teacher and the student, the leader and the straggler are no longer definitely assigned. Сompetition in interpreting reality, defining meanings, and translating values will increasingly grow.
In view of the accelerated development of new technologies and potentially low energy prices, the struggle for energy markets will intensify. No matter in what areas energy cooperation may develop in the future, its main task will be attracting investment, technologies and human capital into the Russian fuel/energy sector.
Central Asian countries will have to adjust their old stakes, which have failed, and make new ones. They will largely depend on the positions external partners will take. But countries in the region want economic cooperation without a geopolitical “burden.”
It seems Washington wants to provoke China into muscle-flexing. If Beijing shows restraint and cold calculation in response, this may have a restrictive, if not sobering, effect on Washington. Russia is interested in preventing the South China Sea from becoming a proving ground for testing the strength of one’s nerves.
It is unlikely that the current impasse in Russia-EU relations will be resolved within the next few years. It appeared long before the Ukrainian crisis. It is so deeply rooted that it will persist even if the con?ict in Donbass deescalates and the Minsk agreements are fully implemented. Both sides advocate fundamentally incompatible models for Russia-EU relations and for the economic and political order that should prevail in both “Wider Europe” and Eurasia.
If there is a key lesson to be drawn from the history of international relations, it is that, in extremis, political and security considerations almost inevitably triumph over economic considerations. Nothing is less certain.
China-Russia ties are at their best and will remain stable for a long time. Meanwhile, the Sino-American relationship will increasingly run into trouble. As the American leaders will hardly give up their hegemonic policy, the strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow will remain a healthy check on Washington’s “unipolar folly.”
The only strategic response to the global water challenge and international competition for water would be to improve water use efficiency by redistributing water intakes and introducing new water use technologies. Importantly, these measures do not require redistributing water flows among countries.
Numerous international competitors see the use of force as a solution to their challenges. In relations between Russia and NATO, China and Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, power plays unfold with unpredictable repercussions.
Life is never dull. The results of the British referendum, hardly expected by anyone, came as a new wake-up call clearly signaling that there is not a place left on Earth where politics could be predictable. Now everyone is waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the presidential election in the United States where all think that Donald Trump simply cannot win, but are no longer certain.
A reasonable choice would be a trial and error method, that is, learning partners better through joint projects. Instead of creating new regional cooperation mechanisms that may lead to conflicts, China should gradually promote its project of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
In 2015, the global context fever continued. It was characterised by non-linearity and unpredictability with opposite processes going on simultaneously and relationship between countries becoming increasingly tangled and complex.
With the formation of the TPP, regionalism is advancing to a new, transcontinental level and turning into mega-regionalism, which undermines the basis for multilateral liberalization of world trade. It brings to the fore the right of the strongest and most prosperous countries to identify the vectors of economic integration.
A trilateral dialogue between Russia, China, and the United States can become the core of a new security system in the Pacific, with other countries and territories in the region gradually joining in. Multilateral cooperation in the North Pacific is a fundamental objective. It will require a transition from the bloc system and allied relations to a multilateral format.
In the past few years, many in Russia have realized that the rise of Asia is serious and for the long haul.
If Peter the Great lived now, he would surely build the capital not in the Baltic region, but at the Pacific Ocean.
The place of China as a leading actor in Asian regionalism is increasingly understood today and seems almost inevitable for the future. The only controversy about China’s role in regional leadership is not whether it can lead but whether it will dominate others and displace America’s hegemony.
For some Russians economic movement towards Asia spells deviation from the European way of development and closer relations with Europe.
The 21st-century imperatives offer a new view of Russia as a Euro-Pacific country, not merely European or Eurasian. This implies Moscow has to come up with strategic initiatives on the continental scale, using the benefits of the European integration experience. These should be economic initiatives in the first place.
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