Could Russia’s attempts to establish closer ties with countries of Southeast Asia or Indochina become an issue in its relationship with China? Putin’s visits to Vietnam and South Korea will focus on certain infrastructure projects, certain easing of tensions in bilateral relations and by no means taking any steps that could undermine the major bilateral treaty with China.
Professional army is the army of mercenaries. This means that again, as in XVI-XVII, the heads of the leading countries are staking on small contingents of armed professionals who are to carry out specific professional missions. The times when it was argued that the army should be small, highly professional, efficient and weakly associated with the rest of population have come back.
The achievements of Russian politics, including the emerging possibility for energy exports are related to the transition to a strategic partnership with China. Attempts to find other partners ranging from Japan and ASEAN countries to New Zealand and the United States have failed. The Russian-Chinese Big Treaty remains the key resource of Russia’s policy in the Pacific, as it was ten years ago.
Russia and the U.S. seem to have resumed their strategic dialogue by mid-summer. Following the May 7 visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow, the two countries have unblocked arms control talks, which had been suspended in mid-2011. The meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in Lough Erne on June 17 showed that the dialogue will focus on three areas.
In the last 20 years Germany has become for Moscow a kind of a bridge to the United States and NATO. Closer coordination between Berlin and Washington would mean the end to this. Politically Germany – Russia’s closest partner until recently – would become less hospitable. This would reduce the potential of Russia’s European policy against the backdrop of closer partnership between France and the UK.
Russia-NATO cooperation on Afghanistan is coming to an end for objective reasons. If NATO withdraws most of its troops from Afghanistan by late 2014, it won’t need Russia’s help as much. If there’s no cooperation on the Afghan problem, Moscow and Washington will have nothing to show for their partnership.
Moscow’s primary challenge is to prevent an armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, which would most likely cause an environmental catastrophe in the neighboring Russian Far East. Moscow is not interested in an American military operation near Russia’s borders. In this respect, Russia’s aims are nearly identical to China’s interests.