Russia & China: A Political Marriage Of Convenience

In the past two weeks, Kazakhstan has witnessed unprecedented chaos, with regional powers competing for domination under the guise of fighting “terrorism”. Paradoxically, Washington and Europe are the only ones benefiting from the ongoing chaos. Given the heightened tensions in Kazakhstan, Moscow’s military will be exhausted in the long run. In return, Russia is more likely to postpone its plans to invade Ukraine, at least for now.   

Frankly speaking, this would give Europe and Washington more time to ramp up their defense capabilities in the case of a future Russian aggression scenario. It would be too naive to say that Moscow is ready to initiate a double-layered war in Kazakhstan and Ukraine at one time.   

 U.S. Rep. Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, is among those who see the uprising in Kazakhstan as deterring Russia in Ukraine.

“I don’t see Russia with the capability of handling two crises simultaneously,” Green said. “I think it will deter their ability to wage a major conflict in Ukraine.” 

The question is: Who is “NOT” benefiting from the Russian move? 

Surprisingly, it is China. Ostensibly, Russia is a good “partner”, if not an ally, to China. Yet, this does not necessarily mean that Moscow’s soaring influence in Central Asia is not hitting China’s ambitions in the region.  

Brandon Weichert, a geopolitical analyst at the “Weichert Report” writes: “The Russian movement in Kazakhstan is a complicating factor for none other than Moscow’s best frenemy, China. After all, it is Central Asia that China has envisaged using as a bridge between itself and the European markets for its multi billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative. For China successfully to complete its BRI program through Central Asia, it needs Russia out of their way.”  

Though the Chinese government has repeatedly announced its support for the Russian intervention in the conflict,  the government is not aware enough that its economic interests will be hurt by the Russian move.  

More importantly, despite the era of good feelings that have slowly evolved (thanks to feckless US foreign policy toward Russia) between Moscow and Beijing, geography and history continue to slow the inevitable marriage of these two Eurasian titans. 

Again, this works in the best interest of Washington. The U.S. has spared no effort to halt the Russian-Chinese partnership. And now, the Russian move is fulfilling the American dream of a Russian-Chinese rivalry.  

By moving into Kazakhstan with Russian forces, Putin has in effect sent a signal to Beijing that he is the Big Boss in Central Asia.   

Yet despite this, it is too naive to say that China is ready to cut ties with Russia. They have a lot in common. From Ukraine to Taiwan, the Russian-Chinese “strategic partnership” is necessary in the face of America’s soaring pressures.  

But, Russia has to fathom the fact that China will not give up on a strategic region like Central Asia. 

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