Corrupt, authoritarian states like China and Russia can make impressive short-term military gains but they do not have the fiscal staying power to compete in the long game of history. __ Foundations Matter
Russia and China can make calamitous trouble for the rest of the world, before reality sinks in. The ultra-nationalist hard heads and corrupt elites who rule those nations will be forced to face the facts sooner or later.
… claims (or fears) of Chinese global domination are clearly overblown. The budget numbers just don’t add up.
… China’s population is rapidly aging, placing enormous pressure on health and pension systems. The proportion of the population that is aged 65 and over is expected to rise from 10 percent today to more than 20 percent in 2035. Elder care will increasingly strain Chinese government budgets in the decades to come. __ China
… ordinary Russians are nervous because they know their country is a declining power. Although Siberia is rich in energy resources, timber, water and minerals, the entire Russian population east of the Ural Mountains, traditionally the eastern boundary of Europe, is only 25 million.
Worse, just 7 million live in the most eastern part of Russia, while just across the border are more than 100 million Chinese suffering from a lack of clean water and an endless need for energy and other raw materials.
Even modern economic deals like the ones proposed raise fears that opening the door to China will lead to a flood of traders, merchants and investors that cannot be countered by native Russians. This is not an economic issue, but an ethnic one, driven by a sense of nationalism.
Even as Moscow seeks Chinese economic aid, it, too, fears the growth of China’s military strength.
The past half-decade has seen concerns that Russia’s long-term ability to defend Siberia is being hollowed out by depopulation and Chinese growth.
… Relations between Russia and China, even over economic ties that should benefit both, will be tense at the best of times. If China’s economy weakens, Beijing may seek more access to Siberia than Moscow is willing to give. ___ China vs. Russia
Meanwhile in Europe, national leaders are in denial over the inevitable changes coming to Eurasia. Europeans have grown soft and weak, and without a toughening up and a change in leadership they may be easy prey to the next horde sweeping out of Africa and Eurasia.
Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine has had two positive effects.
The first is that NATO has returned its attention to Europe after focusing for so long on the faraway war in Afghanistan. Back home, the organization has established six command centers in Eastern Europe with the aim of supporting 5,000 troops and boosting the defenses of what has been a neglected area of the alliance.
The second consequence is that the war in eastern Ukraine is making all NATO members finally confront their decline in defense spending-even though there is little political will in many finance ministries to increase defense budgets.
… “If a country such as Georgia joins NATO, we have to be ready to defend it,” an Eastern European diplomat said. “Would we be willing to take on Russia?”
Added to that is Russian intimidation of NATO, as Russia’s permanent representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, made clear. “Any political game concerning NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine is filled with the most serious, most profound geopolitical consequences for all of Europe,” Grushko told the LifeNews television channel.
But it was Russian expansion into Georgia and Ukraine that changed Europe’s post-Cold War security architecture. And it is Russia that is trying, as ever, to veto any further NATO expansion. ___ NATO Fears the Inevitable
In other words, conflict of some type between NATO and Russia is inevitable. Wise NATO leaders would make the necessary preparations.
…Aleksei Kudrin, a mainstay of the Putin government for more than a decade until his resignation last year, issued a report declaring that “research shows that the crisis” in the Russian economy and political system “has become irreversible, regardless of the scenarios of its further development. Maintaining political stability, let alone a return to the pre-crisis status quo, is no longer possible.” In a press conference, Kudrin said there was a fifty-percent chance that Russia was headed for a recession that would produce a political breakdown and a change of government.
Competition in the global defence market
From now on, Russia and China will find themselves caught in an increasingly risky competition for influence in Eurasia and elsewhere. China is winning in Central Asia, and is slowly but surely moving into the Russian Far East. If Putin does not step back from the abyss in Eastern Europe, the dragon will eventually have bear for lunch.
Instead of antagonising NATO, both the bear and the dragon should be courting NATO and the west so as to assure access to advanced western science and technology into the indefinite future.
Russia is lucky to have any schools in the top 1000. In ten years it may not have any of that rank.
Already now, Russia’s scientific institutions and universities lack access to everything from subscriptions to the latest technical journals to modern lab equipment. That will one day take its toll.
… the number of Russians adequately skilled in their professions to work in the outside world will rapidly decline in the near future. And when the question arises, “Is it time yet to get out of here?” the answer will increasingly be: “Nobody needs you over there, anyway.” __ http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/will-russias-brain-drain-dry-up-op-ed/527001.html
China is struggling in the education department as well — as one might expect of a nation that jails and murders its most promising minds unable to escape the country.
Rather than “the China century,” what is approaching out of the fog is more likely “the coming anarchy.” Best begin making provisions, should Pax Americana break down entirely.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Russian GDP plunges almost 5% . . . No relief in sight