Contrary to what Moscow claims, Russia’s military buildup against Ukraine has nothing to do with a perceived threat from NATO and in contrast has everything to do with China. This obviously requires some explanation. Russia is infamous for its propaganda and disinformation and has long disingenuously claimed that NATO (a purely defensive organization) has offensive designs on Russia. If this were true, why has not NATO already expanded to include Ukraine? There is no logic to the Russian claim. None of Russia’s European neighbors have territorial claims on internationally recognized sovereign Russian territory and NATO and the United States have absolutely nothing to gain from attacking Russia. Russia of course knows this but Russia is nevertheless preparing for what it perceives as a fight for Russia’s national survival.
China is along with its domestic growth and global economic expansion building up an invincible military machine. What is the purpose of this gargantuan military buildup considering that China is threatened by no one? Beijing intends to conquer the vast, largely uninhabited expanses of much of Asia in search of living space and natural resources. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with Chinese history is aware that China expanded for millennia through Han colonization and this process never ended as Han colonization of Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Uygur and Tibet is only intensifying. China intends to take over Central Asia, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Iran when the regime falls, and reach the Indian Ocean; and even intends to expand as far as to the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The imperialist logic is to take over mostly sparsely populated regions of Asia and incorporate them into the Han empire and subsequently settle hundreds of millions of Han people in the conquered territories. The strategy is to build such an invincible military force that no one will be able to challenge and defeat China militarily.
Moscow of course is keenly aware of China’s territorial ambitions and understands that it will not be able to defend Russia from a rapidly strengthening China. Russia has its own designs for Russian hegemony in a post-American Islamdom but unlike China is Russia not densely populated and Moscow harbors no plans for Russian colonization. However, in order to gain the economic strength for defending the Asian part of Russia, Moscow needs to conquer affluent Europe. There is no other way for Russia to militarily and economically compete with China and thus be able to militarily deter China from militarily attacking Russia in convincing Beijing that China will not be able to successfully conquer Siberia and the Russian Far East.
However, conquering Ukraine will put Russia in a forward position for invading America’s European NATO allies. The Biden administration does not seem aware that they are losing a vital buffer against Russian expansionism when Russia conquers democratic Ukraine and America effectively abandons a democratic ally.
What to do then? The solution does not lie in Europe but rather in Asia. Washington as part of its ongoing dialogue with Moscow needs to take the initiative to create an “Asia Defense Organization” (ADO) that would encircle China and include Russia, Australia, Asian nations as well as the United States. Moscow is genuinely fearful for the future and although a Chinese invasion of Asian Russia is far from imminent, Russia is preparing itself accordingly with its own military buildup designed to conquer Europe in order to be able to rival China both economically and militarily and ultimately militarily deter Beijing and if need be militarily defeat China.
This may sound like a desperate last ditch effort to prevent war in Ukraine and it is of course but it is substantially more than that, it is about preventing WWIII in Europe and WWIV in Asia.