The Russian elite have realized that the country will have to live in a new reality that differs from the past rosy dreams of integration with the West, while preserving its independence and sovereignty. Yet they have not yet used the confrontation and the growth of patriotism for an economic revival.
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.
After the Ukraine crisis and military intervention in Syria, the key principles and ideas underpinning Russian foreign policy are becoming easier to understand.
Not so long ago Russia was the only country to advocate the adoption of a code of responsible conduct in cyberspace. Today the expert community is already actively discussing the need for such a code with regard to the global Internet infrastructure.
Russia has nothing to gain and nothing to lose in Europe. By contrast, Russia has much to gain and everything to lose in Asia. Asia is dynamic and growing. But to realize its potential Russia must focus on internal development, not external posturing. And the obvious place for it to focus first is the Far East.
The National Security Strategy to 2020 is a key element in managing the development of Russia. The plans to update it are not just a prerequisite for making changes to many other major documents but also a good reason to reconsider the current vision of the country’s present and future and its national interests.
If Russia holds out until 2020 and all attempts by its enemies to bring it to economic collapse, chaos, and disintegration fail, then we can be certain that the era of Western dominance has ended. Thus, international relations will officially enter a new era.
The SCO is essentially a regional cooperative association, and as such it is often perceived as a potential center of the burgeoning multipolar world, capable of providing an alternative – or a counterbalance – to the US and its allies.
The rise of Central Eurasia is one of the three components of Russia’s new global strategy. The other two are relations with Europe and Russia’s current turn towards the Asia-Pacific region. Russia’s internal development should be meaningfully linked to its main foreign policy imperatives.
The BRICS can serve as a locomotive for Russia’s geopolitical rise in the 21st century. This development will not necessarily imply a deterioration of relations with the West, which would be almost inevitable if Moscow were to face it alone.
At the summit in Ufa, Russia should give the green light to the establishment of an SCO Development Bank where China takes dominant positions in the authorized capital and management bodies. In exchange, Moscow could coordinate investment principles on terms that would be most favorable to itself and its partners.
The Silk Road Economic Belt has become an embodiment of the Chinese Dream in an international format. This is the first real foreign policy concept during China’s transition “from a big state to a strong one.”
Seoul believes that South Korea, with its advanced port infrastructure, is a natural gateway to the Pacific, opening access to the entire continent of Eurasia all the way to the Atlantic.
The possibilities of club monetary interaction mechanisms are very modest as they do not replace but supplement global mechanisms. Nevertheless, they deserve attention and support. Equally important is the fact that such mechanisms may have side effects, namely, general shifts in the structure of global economic governance.
The Russian-U.S. confrontation is amplifying an even larger trend in global development – the danger of the world’s division into the “Greater West” and the “Eurasian non-West.” There is the impression that the geography of the division resembles the dividing line between “continental” and “island” countries in classical geopolitics.
Today Russia is confronted by the West which is largely demoralized by its own blunders and no longer a source of moral supremacy and appeal for most people in the world. Sided with Moscow is the rising “non-West” that comprises the majority of countries and most dynamic economies.
All players expect explanation from China of its initiative to build a New Economic Silk Road. The faster it presents arguments and the clearer they are, the less room there will be for idle speculation and rumor. In any case, China is interested in a favorable response and support for its own foreign policy signals.
The SCO, comprising Russia, China, and four of the five Central Asian states, is likely to grant India and Pakistan full membership, and has added Afghanistan as an observer and Turkey as a dialogue partner. It is indeed uniquely placed to provide a regional canopy under which India and Pakistan could work together.
China is determined to have its voice clearly heard on Central Asian affairs and to keep the SCO’s attention focused on the region, not diluted. This is evidenced by China’s firm stance on a number of pressing issues.
Отношение к Европе является фактором, из-за которого Анкара и Москва сейчас тяготеют друг к другу.
Russia and China make up the backbone of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Equating the ongoing search for a positive balance of Russian and Chinese interests with an incessant tug of war for asserting one’s hegemony would be a biased conclusion that would be contrary to the way the SCO is organized and functions.
The world crisis has spurred the already high rate of processes taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, forcing its transformation into a major center of world politics.
It is a matter of whether the SCO will evolve as just a club of states, or whether it will become a serious international mechanism comparable in influence to ASEAN or APEC or, perhaps, even excelling them. Considering the unpredictable situation in Central Asia, which may see yet events similar to the “Arab Awakening,” the SCO may soon prove to be very essential.
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.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
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.