20.11.2009

Astana over new loop of struggle for Eurasia

The article is contributed by PIK Analytical-Informational Bureau

Politics is the most concentrated expression of economics

Lenin

A world order is good only for those who settle it, and only until others would understand that it is actually a disorder. That’s the reason why Eurasia stays as center of interests of leading political players of the world. The explanation for this is quite simple: the largest territories, natural and human resources. Besides, as distinct from Latin America or Africa, where comparatively stabile zones and spheres of influence were settled, Eurasian space has very high dynamics of many different processes; including the desire to reformat geopolitical map from side of influential forces.

The strategy

2009 11 20  OnNew phase of activation of battle for Eurasia is connected with amplification of geopolitical games from side of Russia and China. After 9/11 events in 2001, US and its allies substantially shook positions of Moscow and Beijing in regions of their high importance. When it became obvious that American interests are not limited by struggle with international terrorism, Russia and China were attended with counterattack. First time the convenient chance was offered when military coalition headed by Washington have stuck in Iraq. The period of global crisis and cloudy perspectives of dollar are also being used as the reason to “move down” US and EU.

Single pole world has ended as early as in 2003, when limits of American possibilities were clearly showed in Iraq. The attack of the White House on Saddam Hussein regime itself — is military appearance of the desire to control global strategic resources. The course on keeping global resources US handled just in 80’s of century past, when the majority of Rome Club representatives (uniting authoritative scientists, analysts and experts) came to the conclusion, that the resources are limited and insufficient for everyone.

Geopolitics means long-term plan, sharp definition of perspective and competition. The White House is all right with strategic planning, but competition is systematically growing up. It is extremely problematical for US to support settled level of consumption of its people, because resources are required by everyone, and struggle for them is growing violent. Disagreements and discrepancies are increasing even with colleagues by “Golden Billion” represented by European Union.

Scientists are pointing on irreversible ecological changes for long ago, which would be going in closest half-a-century in cataclysm regime. Logics of survival require from human to minimize the expenses of its economical activities; however, consuming culture is specifying completely different vector. Wide duplication of financial prosperity through mass-media is intensifying desire to own it in all corners of the world and objectively pushing competition forward.

Russia and China are classified to large countries group. Big countries are subjects of global processes, one of which attributes is presence of influence zone. Moscow and Beijing yet not in condition to counterstand US in global scales, but instead they are objectively strong within perimeters of their borders. In addition, both of these countries are situated in Eurasia, whereas Washington has to operate from overseas on this field.

Russia

By amount of GDP modern Russia is almost the same as Netherlands. However, in geopolitical aspect their potentials are incomparable; as a matter of fact, in economical too, since Netherlands are already reached the limit of its growth, and Russia has giant potential. In the perspective Russia would probably turn out into global granary, since global warming would push the main belt of crops breeding to the north. Along with it, more than third part of dry earth will become arid territory (when annual rate of vaporization exceeds similar rate of rainfall). Concerning sweet lake of Baykal, than this resource in observable perspective could cover all oil of Persian Gulf by its importance.

However, time is sharply required by Moscow to come back and pull oneself up. Other players doesn’t grant such perspective to it, simply by virtue of fact, that in geopolitics is struggle for survival, and there are other rules in it. Thanks to American adventure in Iraq, high oil prices prolonged its chronological period, and Kremlin acquired additional income. Precisely it became Russian resources for activation of its geopolitical game. Even despite losses in crisis period, Moscow has quite enough of operational finance.

Narrowing of geopolitical space is dangerous for Russia by escalation of internal problems. As the result, Kremlin tries to move limits of its influence as far as possible. Reliance on own forces replaced discredited idea of salvation coming from abroad. Western investments are still invited, but they are no more considered as extremely important. The same way of thinking is being kept in military-strategic relations. Since Washington respect only strong partners, Moscow would modernize contents of national power.

Transformations of Russia to economical magnet for CIS countries became the new force of increasing influence upon Eurasia. In exchange of economical help Kremlin will ask for loyalty to its politics. Agreements with ruling elite of new independent countries would become the main instrument of strengthening of Russian positions. The task is very hard, but similarities between politico-economical systems of Russia and CIS can ease it. Beyond that, in many cases integration of these countries with the West is impossible. Elites of many countries, taken the power and quickly became rich, are feeling themselves in danger. Help from Kremlin on favorable terms could be at hand, especially considering no payments by sovereignty are required. Something like that is happening about customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belorussia.

While chasing these goals, Moscow should remember that imperialism is costly affair and it’s leading to confrontation with the West. Also, it is worth to remember, that for CIS countries sovereignty means, first of all, independence from Russia. For that reason voluntary recognition on basis of achievements in economics and society is much more favorable to Kremlin. Sure the true leader leads by its example. In light of enforcing terrorists’ activity on Russian territory and winding down freedom of speech Moscow can be proud of nothing in terms of successes by viewing from democratic point. However, in terms of power-military and economical resource in hands of elite, everything is all right.

China

The opinion about relative weakness of Beijing formed after 9/11 of2001, when Americans and their partners by NATO came freely in the region. China reacted calmly enough, only bringing additional military forces on its western boards under the rhetoric on terroristic threat. Such comparatively weak reaction nursed to sleep many; however, Beijing stayed fealty to its strategic goals and continues their methodical implementation.

China is one of the major representatives of big countries group virtually by any parameters – economical and military power, population, territory etc. in addition, as distinct from Russia, which is trying to establish cooperation with EU leaders (first of all, with Germany), Beijing is building independent pole in global politics. Resource base is allowing China to have such ambitious plans.

During the last years Beijing is purposefully enlarges area of influence. Post-soviet Cantral Asia appeared to be very promising place for that purpose by virtue of USSR disintegration and weakening of former power and influence of Moscow. In 1997 Beijing returned Hong Kong under its jurisdiction and Macao in 1999. Taiwan yet keeps its independency, but threats in its address from PRC becoming more and rougher. Along with it, it is absolutely clear that mainland China can quite use military force on emergence. Often threat is much stronger than action; the main thing is to have potential possibility for its realization – and its there.

No matter what, but while yet not taking Taiwan under control, Beijing is enforcing its penetration into Central Asia within each year. 1996 became breakthrough year in this way, when the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) establishment happened. It’s noteworthy, that until that moment China was never involved in international and regional political organization except for UN. New structure was established, being essentially asymmetrical, because only China has common borders with all initial participants – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadzhikistan.

On first stage the core topic was 7300 kilometers of Chinese borders with the rest of organization participants. In 1998, accretion of power of SCO arose, and year 2000 gave new impulse for cooperation between participants. Recently, Uzbekistan joined the organization, which has no common border with China at all. In 1999—2000 assistance to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan was rendered to fight Islamic extremists as part of SCO agreement.

Americans’ powerful arrival in Central Asia after 9/11 events somewhat shadowed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. However, quickly compressed spring started to decompress back; firstly, because China is gaining power, and it have continuation in enforcement of its presence in areas of influence. Virtually, today Washington is in dependent position from Beijing. It is worth for China to not buy American bonds only once, and dollar will be dead.

Program on development of western territories, accepted by PRC’s government, automatically increases interest to Central Asia region. Regions of China, which are contiguous to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadzhikistan, are requiring additional sources of crude materials (especially energy carriers) and water, new sales areas.

Concerning international and regional unions, than primarily large countries take advantage from it. In SCO, which on the present day is one of the most powerful regional unions in the world, “big brothers” are only China and Russia. Kazakhstan is a lesser one with large territory.

Concerning China, Russia stands in front of the question “what to do”. While the answer for it is not obvious, Moscow simply participates in SCO, just to be in course of what processes are happening inside neighbor giant. At that, Russia is too a big country, and could allow itself multi-vectorness. For instance, Kremlin declined Daqing pipeline in favor for pipe to Nahodka, because in such case there are possibilities of wide choice of customers. And Beijing swallowed it, because the partner is from the same category of weight. The last series of Russian-Chinese economical treaties virtually granted access to China to various natural resources of Siberia and Far East of Russia.

Mutual mistakes

By the way of struggle for positions in Eurasia all major players are making mistakes and misses. This occurrence is quite logical, because differently directed vectors are counteracting each other, somewhere helping, elsewhere detaining each other. Because the most powerful player is USA, then misses of Americans are exerting influence on situation in Eurasia.

Although Americano-Pakistani forces are conducting military operations against al-Qaeda on Afghan-Pakistani borders, terroristic groups’ bases in the world are increasing. Positions of Islamic radicals were sharply increased in post-Saddam Iraq. Saddam Hussein, hated any rivals in power as any other dictator, was building Arabian type of socialism, and repressed Islamists by common rules. On this ground his relations with al-Qaeda leaders were much tensioned. Now then al-Qaeda and its partners’ network is hasty growing.

Afghanistan, where sometimes battle actions are going between central government’s army and regional leaders, clearly not aiding global stability. In addition, intensiveness of military pressure on Americans and their allies in Afghanistan has enforced. Instability in this country constitutes huge treat for Pakistan, which internal problems are continuously increasing. Iran has relatively strong positions in this region; however, not everything is shiny for it too. Embargo and political pressure on Tehran from US are establishing threat of regime’s radicalization. If worst scenario would prevail, than are of instability will became truly giant and absolutely unmanageable.

However, the main mistake of US is in chosen strategy of behavior. Instead of working on liquidation of global tension sources, firstly poverty, Washington uses force resources to keep its world domination. Geopolitical tendency, given by the White House, leads to the matter, when military pressure more and more becoming usual in everyday international relations. At that, sources of tensions are not disappearing but strengthening. Then it follows by display of these tensions in many various types; one of which is terrorism, which will only enforce in closest perspective, because its feeding environment is growing.

Moscow’s problem is non-extinctive syndrome of imperialism in from of false representation of reality, which is not allowing to effectively using available resources and opportunities. Kremlin can make generous gifts to the countries, which can hardly become its friends, and carry paltry trade with real allies. The desire to continuously gain financial profit in geopolitics is not always reasonable.

Present picture of Russian economy is allowing to state, that Kremlin has no resources to substantially improve well-being of its own nationals. As the result, political resource is being utilized more and more actively. In the first stance, it is appeal to great power state hold and search for outside enemy. After Beslan tragedy, where terrorists killed hundreds of children, Moscow cried out to punish at least somebody. Many neighbor countries around CIS were seriously scared. Only Georgia has tried to overtake South Ossetia on the first day of Beijing Olympiad, in consequence of which it was demonstratively punished.

When china gives Uzbekistan 1 billion US dollars of investments, it doesn’t mean that it looks for serious economical dividends after the manner of Russia. The other philosophy is working here, and struggle on influence with US is going on. At that, finance is being sent there, where it required most for the people of Uzbekistan. Beijing is absolutely not interested in burning Central Asia; that’s why it is ready for significant expenses. The main mistakes of China are lying in politics concerning ethnic minorities. Rough suppression of Uyghur, unwillingness to compromise with Tibetans, are settling anxiety in countries of Chinese perimeter. Because of what Chinese neighbors are very cautiously conceiving even its economical projects.

European Union is making troubles for itself in Turkish issue. Short-view policy of Brussels by making obstacles for Turkey’s acceptance into EU is playing against united Europe. Sophisticated delay of Ankara acceptance to European Union is giving power for that part of Islamic world, which is appearing anti-Western. This plays into the hands of radicals under colors of Islam, also feeding conservative circles in Turkey itself. On this background it is hard for Brussels to position itself in quality of religiously neutral party.

Astana

The strategy of multi-vectorness, long ago added to armory by political power of Kazakhstan, will be seriously tested on durability. This is challenged both by political temperature increase and increase in activity of large countries on the space of Central Asia. In modern conditions nobody among leading world nations can overlook the territory with the size of five Frances. It is important for Astana to keep its sovereignty over new loop of battle for Eurasia.

Within all years of its independency Kazakhstan is only trying to avoid uncomfortable geopolitical breakdowns and to flat down internal contradictions. Recent events are witnessing, that this line, which is already became traditional, will be carried in much more difficult conditions. The most powerful neighbors of Astana, Russia and China are determined to enlarge their geopolitical space. In parallel with this, US and EU are accounting on preferences in the region.

As a small country with large territory and relatively weak state, Kazakhstan is bounded to hang on positions of maximum security preservation. At that, doing this becoming more and more complicated. Because of expansion of sources and centers of tension common threat of instability is pumped up. Americans are stuck in Afghanistan. Violence in Middle East isn’t stopping. Russia more and more transforming into country at war, as circles from Chechen conflict are dispersing far to corners of the state. Beijing intensifies military pressure on Xinjiang, and Uyghur refugee flow into Kazakhstan is growing. South of the republic is solid zone of instability, from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At that, all subjects of Geopolitics, from large states to transnational companies and terroristic organizations are fighting for resources and expansion of influence spheres. In such conditions, new and more serious challenges can be expected for Astana. As soon as today Kazakhstani geopolitical drift from the West to the side of Moscow and Beijing is noticeable. Institutionally, this is initiated through the structures of Customs Union and SCO. In return, the West is also standing out, agreeing on gifts for Ak Orda in from of OSCE presidency in 2010, also extensively participation in development of hydrocarbons on Caspian Shelf. However, those who are closer, such as Russia and China, are objectively stronger and influential. But along with that another Kazakhstan is growing, which is, figuratively speaking, canny, and which couldn’t be cheated in closest future. For that reason Kazakhstan, in case of normal development of its creative, could recycle its limitations, adapt it for the future and realize its originality in relations with other civilizations.

9 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Самобытный лидер... Хорошо сказали!!!!

  2. Anonymous

    Особенно ударной выглядят последние строчки этой галиматьи: — )))

  3. Anonymous

    Однако бред-с

  4. Anonymous

    Не скажите... Если многа многа рас прочесть... Вштыривает не по деццки...

  5. George

    Basically u're right, excluding issues with US/Allies presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are staying there for specific reason while transnational companies are discovering and assigning resources.

    Kazakhstan doesn't really palys anything since in terms of politics its less than a dummy in the big game.

  6. timmy

    George, do you believe in conspirancy theory. This costofwar.com is much more demonstrative than some speculations of the guy named George.

  7. George

    timmy, it's obvious — they are after natural resources there no less. Or you think they are after democracy. Still Kazakhstan wouldn't even get share in this affair. But it is candidate to be a share itself.

  8. Anonymous

    Умный материал

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