Beijing’s nightmare is an Asian defense alliance encircling China from all directions and since China is surrounded by rivals, does Beijing make sure to keep close to Russia. Both Beijing and Moscow are keenly aware that a major confrontation between China and Russia over the ownership of Siberia looms on the horizon. Yet, both nations find it mutually convenient to play nice for now. One reason for this is because this conflict is far from imminent and may be 20 years off.
Two decades ago Vladimir Putin tried to align Russia with the West but was promptly rebuffed. Since then has Russia been arming itself in preparation for WWIII in Europe and WWIV with China. Russia is keenly aware that it needs the economic and demographic muscles of Europe in order to once more become a superpower and hence become able to militarily defend Siberia against a far larger future Chinese military than at present. Putin’s Russia sees in the perceived “weakness” of Biden’s America a unique chance to kick out America from Europe and conquer Europe from Poland to Ireland.
China is like a poisonous snake waiting to bite its prey while in the meantime using its eyes to hypnotize it. Mother Russia is that prey. We should thus expect more Chinese efforts during the Ukraine war to get closer to Russia. At the same time is this a classic divide and rule stratagem of dividing China’s rivals. China’s ambitions for territorial expansion is not limited to Siberia but includes thinly populated regions of European Russia; Central Asia, Mongolia, eastern Iran, parts of the Middle East up to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea as well as Australia. It is imperative for America to take timely diplomatic action to build an Asian defense alliance that will prevent China from territorially expanding. Anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of Chinese history is well aware that China has expanded for thousands of years at the expense of neighboring peoples through Han colonization. No one should delude himself that this process stopped as this is still very much going on in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia and it certainly won’t stop at China’s internationally recognized borders.
China’s rivals are many and do not only include neighbors of China and so the Ukraine conflict is certainly an opportunity for China’s rivals around the world to not only resolve the Ukraine conflict, but also to reconcile the United States and the Russian Federation and form an Asian defense alliance that would completely encircle China. This is the real strategic challenge of leadership. It is true that Putin made a mistake twenty years ago in not explaining his Siberian motives for wanting to align with the West and the present unfortunate sanctions regime which causes only misery and suffering to ordinary Russian citizens while doing nothing to influence the course of war certainly does not make the challenge of reconciling Moscow and Washington any easier.
Russia is stuck in the Ukrainian quagmire and being unable to conquer Ukraine means that it is incapable of conquering Europe as well, unless of course Russia uses tactical nuclear weapons against NATO military bases in Europe. Therefore, in consideration of this approaching danger, the Biden administration urgently needs to take diplomatic action now to prevent WWIII. The Biden administration has committed itself to focus on its “competition” with China. Now it has a genuine opportunity to reach out diplomatically to Moscow, resolve the Ukraine conflict, avoid WWIII and WWIV and establish a US-led Asian defense alliance that would completely encircle and contain China. Statesmanship is largely about the ability to identify, grasp and seize opportunities of history. The Biden administration has a golden diplomatic opportunity to end the war in Ukraine, prevent further wars (including with tactical nuclear weapons) and assert US hegemony in Asia. Now is certainly the time for Washington to reach out to Moscow with an olive branch.