China-Russia Cold War Camp Prevails while Western Camp DisintegratingPosted: June 19, 2017
I have quite a few posts on the emergence of the new Cold War between Russia-China autocratic camp and Western democratic camp consisting of US, EU and Japan.
There has been much media talks about the US losing Asia, which in facts means US losing Southeast Asia.
Previously US was Asian leader but in East Asia consisting of Japan and South Korea and in Southeast Asia, the ASEAN.
Now, the US has lost ASEAN due to ASEAN’s economic dependence on China and US military’s failure to protect Philippines’ interests in the South China Sea.
In recent Shangri-la Dialogue, only the US, Japan and Australia criticized Chinese moves in the South China Sea, but ASEAN remained silent. Some ASEAN members have contending claims against China but they prefer silence as they know that they will suffer in confronting China as the US will not and is unable to help them either economically or militarily.
Western media blames Trump for that. However, US losses were caused by Obama administration’s failures.
First, US pivot to Asia aimed at containing China gave Russia the impression that the US was also containing Russia when Putin was making great efforts to improve Russia-US relations.
Obama thus gave China the opportunity to win over Russia, China’s historical enemy.
Unexpectedly, Russia has become China’s close ally as China can be the largest market for Russia’s natural resources especially oil and gas. The US, however has greatly reduced its import of energy even from the Middle East let alone Russia as it has developed the technology to extract gas from shale. China has also been able to provide Russia with funds for Russia’s development.
Certainly, the alliance is first of all political as they have to combine forces in resisting the US.
Being strategy illiterate, US politicians and military intensified pressure on both China and Russia respectively in the South China Sea and Ukraine. That has turned China and Russia into close allies and their Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) into their new Cold War camp against the Western camp led by the US.
SCO’s recent expansion to include Pakistan and India has made the China-Russia camp much stronger. Now it seems that SCO will soon accept Iran as its new member as Iran has been applying to join SCO.
SCMP’s report today “China and Iran held a joint naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf amid rising tension in the region” shows China and Iran’s joint efforts in developing military ties.
The report says “the drill on Sunday included an Iranian warship and two Chinese destroyers, a logistics ship and one helicopter.”
The timing of the drill is especially important as SCMP says that it was carried out “amid heightened tension between Iranian and US warships in the Gulf. Washington has accused Iran of sending fast-attack boats to harass US warships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. The US Navy also held a drill with Qatar on Saturday.”
In fact, close relations with Iran will enable China to have a new Silk Road through Pakistan to Iran for secure export of Iranian oil and gas to China. As India, Pakistan and potentially Iran are all SCO members, there is possibility for Iran to export oil to India safely through Pakistan.
The great economic interests will make China and Pakistan Iran’s close military allies in countering the US and protecting China’s trade sea route from Pakistan to the Middle East.
On the other hand, Trump’s “America first” has given rise to serious split between EU and the US while his scrap of TPP and improvement of US ties with China has made the US Japan’s fierce competitor in China’s huge market.
US-EU-Japan Cold War camp is disintegrating while China-Russia camp is growing larger and stronger.
American world leadership? In the new Cold War, America cannot even lead its Western camp.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2098898/china-and-iran-carry-out-naval-exercise-near-strait.