The Russian army on one side and the Chinese navy at the very other side of the Asian continent are increasing tensions in a buildup where any accidental miscalculation can lead to a very dangerous situation.
Just a century after the then world at peace buzzing with international trade quickly led in just one month to a cascade of alliances where everyone declared war on everyone, the world nears a concert once again where for the first time America is tested on two fronts by its two main rivals.
Or we’re forgetting that history doesn’t repeat, it only rhymes, with any tension far more likely to be localized, and having a different nature at the two edges.
Ships from the Gulf to and from China go through that gap between Indonesia and Malaysia, turning at Singapore and up the sea, in the middle of which there is a speck of tiny islands controlled by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and China.
It is there or near there, kind of in the middle, where there are now a lot of war ships, including the featured image where the US navy is watching a Chinese ship.
That’s how close they all are, and now a Vietnamese ship has gone in, while today apparently some 25 Chinese air force planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
That’s an almost daily occurrence, with Chine here clearly dominant, but only where its navy is concerned.
Its air force appears to be equal to just a few surrounding countries, with a theoretical war between China and all its sea neighbours looking like pretty much an equal match.
Against any one of them, however, China is far stronger. United, their sea neighbours have the upper hand where numbers are concerned, and this is before even accounting for the United States or India.
However their sea neighbours do not have any formal alliance, and thus China gets to have the initiative with America and the rest just watching while China seemingly tries its best to get more and more control of that middle area without provoking an actual reaction.
This is probably where the real ‘diplomacy’ on the ground is occurring, with the propaganda one being this incursion in Taiwan’s air identification zone to send the message to all their neighbours that they’re too small and too weak and can be gobbled up, so keep just watching, including you American captains.
Not that arguably they can do much, like that Turkish boat browbeating the French one off the coast of Libya, because China has a lot more boats there and it sounds like its neighbours are more individually reacting than collectively strategizing.
Presumably China wouldn’t quite want the latter, so they probably won’t do anything that is actually unacceptable to any neighbouring country. They’ll instead just keep on extending and consolidating their claims, while the rest just watch or get on a table to stand as one voice.
Where Taiwan itself is concerned, it’s not clear why China would want to bother with a full escalation when the threat of it probably serves them better to wolf at the other neighbours.
The unspoken question is of course whether China is even wrong in what it is doing where these speky islands are concerned, but that must be answered in a civilized way on a table, and maybe the only way to get to such table is if the rest unites.
In the meantime you’d think this tension must have led to some consideration among the citizenry towards protecting their own wealth, with bitcoin potentially a good store of value in such instances.
That applies arguably more so at the other side of the continent, with the situation here already semi-hot as another Ukrainian soldier was killed yesterday by Russian backed forces, the 27th this year so far.
Apparently 80,000 Russian troops are at the border or in Crimea, with Russia stating they have no intention to attack but they might go in if the Russian backed forces in Donbas are attacked by Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokeswoman Yulia Mendel has said the country has no plans for a military offensive in what Ukrainian media calls “the Russia-occupied part of Donbas.”
“But another thing is Russia,” she said. “The entire world is now speaking about the buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. A total of 40,000 Russian troops have already been deployed along the eastern border, the same number is in occupied Crimea. And now the question is whether Russia could attack? Yes, it could – and we saw this in 2014.”
If anything happens obviously they’ll blame each other regarding who started it, and considering another Ukrainian soldier was killed, the general public will probably conclude the Russian backed forces started it.
Russian media appears to be panicking a little bit. Their narrative seems to be if the Russian backed forces are attacked, Russian troops will get involved, Nato will go in, and then where does it end?
Well by international law it ends where Ukraine’s borders end which includes Crimea. So the big question is of course whether Russia is bluffing where Donbas is concerned. Would Putin really go in?
He didn’t go in in Armenia, although a similar number of Russian troops was at the time at the border with Armenia. He didn’t go in most likely because, what if he loses?
Losing at your own borders is of course quite different than in some far away country. He can of course die on that hill as the saying goes, put in more troops, but at what level would then places like Siberia – where there have been small revolts – be left a bit undefended, or in the Caucus.
The situation thus can be very dangerous for Russia because it can’t afford to lose, and yet war is a gamble.
One way to not lose is to not go in into Ukraine. From Russia’s point of view of course doing all they can to keep control of Donbas is just natural, so trying to cower Ukraine to not take control of its own territory is just basic ‘diplomacy.’
Yet if faced with a decision, it is difficult to see why – considering all the risks – they wouldn’t just let Donbas fall to ensure they keep Crimea, at least for now.
The New Clash of Ideologies?
Welcome to the devil’s game, or geopolitics as they call it, the ‘science’ of justifying war under the unstated assumption of there must be tribalistic supremacy, barbarism.
If we take out the above paragraph, it is difficult to see how Russia would answer: why did they even go into Ukraine?
Under what principle or justification did they decide to intervene militarily into a European country, and under what right do they waste their resources into a ‘civil’ war that impoverishes both countries?
Geopolitics? Is that what Muscovites will be told if once again they have to burn their city, because that is where ‘geopolitics’ leads.
This generation thought such wars of stupidity under the justification of ‘geopolitics’ had no place in this century, especially where it concerns actual anexations.
And yet, there is no other reply to war but war. There is no other reply to geopolitics but to play geopolitics. So the devil’s trap.
And so, more importantly, the clash of ideas and ideologies. Putin is once again saying that there is a challenger to democracy, and in effect thus that democracy itself is an enemy, by in effect announcing himself to be president for life.
Dictatorship, with its ‘geopolitics’ justification for military oppression, is in effect once again challenging democracies and our freedoms with its encroaching annexations and impositions.
Their loss previously apparently insufficient to prevent this fall into discredited thinking, their lessons learned not one bit as they go in full form back one century.
It’s as if the superiority of liberalism is not self evident by their medium wage of $400 and falling, 15% in the past decade.
Making this descend of Russia arguably the worst catastrophe since the Bolsheviks in a cruel rhyme for here they lack even aspiration of some superior method of governing, falling instead to just plain animalistic tribalism that, even more cruelly, limits itself not to Russia the country but Putin the Czar.
The Russian elite apparently thinks the west is against Putin himself. They weren’t until he signed that declaration of president for life.
That is a bigger betrayal of principles to this generation than even the Iraq War, for while that threatened this return of geopolitics which we are now seeing, this Czar declaration threatens freedom itself.
It’s an escalation beyond repair and must be countered in every way. Which is why Putin would lose in Ukraine. Because his people are demoralized and so is his army. Because while they hoped for prosperity, he gives them that same old that led to their starvation not even three decades ago.
And even if he wins, it would give rise to a European Union patriotism that would in the richest continent on earth eradicate the concert.
So the Russian elite is right, Putin must go, as he said he would this January and didn’t, for the name itself is an afront for thinking in this Caesar’s Europe he can be Caesar.
The Biggest Catastrophe of the 21st Century
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin did fine to restore the Russian civil service, until he gave way to Medvedev. He should have kept giving way to the democratic process, because since Medvedev, it has been downhill for the country, to the point now they are in even more than Great Depression level poorer than a decade ago after the principle of two terms was breached.
And if he doesn’t go, despite his old age and clear cognitive decline, it doesn’t matter much to Europe since he will now fully be countered after showing his true face of being a dictator.
The Russian people are an educated bunch however with many scientists who could help humanity’s quest to get to Mars, but they are an independent country and it is their own Russian government making such choices to threaten and oppress Europeans in Ukraine and elsewhere who want prosperity and not dictator Rasputins playing devil’s games of war.
If they were colonized then one could understand their Moscow government not serving them well, but it is Russians in the Kremlin doing this to Russia.
This, being an iron wall which clearly is descending as it is difficult to see how the European electorate can any further tolerate a self declared dictator that threatens with 100,000 troops a European democracy.
One can play with donkeys but you can’t play with lions who should have not been awoken by this Czar declaration in this very Europe.
And thus one must think Russian citizens are probably worried about a potential dictatorial gamble in Ukraine, which could potentially even bring down the whole Russian government due to its hubris in thinking they can keep Ukraine from enforcing order in its own country.
Considering what could potentially happen in other parts of Russia if there is such gamble, you’d think any Russian would want a secure store of value, and so pile up on bitcoins.
Democracy v Dictatorship, Round 21st Century
All of it suggesting that when countered, dictatorships lose because fundamentally they have no legitimacy, and thus do not serve their own people.
Un-countered, as Russia has been for much of the past decade since their first step towards dictatorship, then of course their vulgar ways of arrogance and wolfing gives them some tolerance space until their actual face becomes too clear and appeasement therefore becomes stupid.
Suggesting it isn’t their fault the arrogance, but the donkey’s fault the lack of countenance, although one must give leeway for the natural desire to cooperate and have that joint focus on economic prosperity instead of the devil’s game.
Alas, there is no leader perhaps even in history that has been given more leeway than Putin, to the point he has been freely allowed to even poison the mind of Xi Jinping and China, a country that too risks thinking it best to play devil worshipping games, instead of objectively applying the self evident principles of the enlightenment, which they even admit are superior.
The time of waiting for them to change course however must be over. At some point one has to realize others have their own mind, and Putin has made his clear in his two decade long pursuit of crushing democracy.
So Merkel and even Macron can again choose to just watch if Russia enters Ukraine, to the detriment of the judgment of their own electorate, but presumably there will be plenty who won’t just be watching as any incursion into Ukraine and its internal affairs would be an attack on democracy itself.