“China reiterates its solemn position on the Diaoyu Islands and the East China Sea and urges Japan to respect China’s sovereignty and security concerns and refrain from taking actions that may complicate the situation,” according to the Chinese foreign ministry. Beijing has accused Tokyo of siding with Washington to contain China. Japan has also recently been more outspoken on China’s military presence in the South China Sea, its intimidation of Taiwan, and alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.
Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency
9 NOVEMBER 2020
In the event that Biden’s “projected” presidency become a reality, Russia and Turkey would stand to lose the most during America’s new era of engagement with the world due to the former Vice President’s intense dislike of the Eurasian Great Power and the regional consequences that his possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy.
Multilateralism Doesn’t Mean That Everyone Wins
Analysts are scrambling to predict what American foreign policy might look like under a possible Biden presidency in the event that his “projected” (but crucially, not yet legally certified) victory becomes a reality. It’s already known that he intends to return to the Obama-era strategy of multilateral engagement and will probably appoint many officials from that former administration or at the very least those who’ve been tremendously influenced by them. There’s also little doubt that the US’ de-facto military alliance with India will remain intact considering the bipartisan consensusregarding its grannd strategic importance. Nevertheless, although it’s still a bit early to make any confident predictions, it can be argued that Russia and Turkey will probably stand to lose the most from a Biden presidency for reasons that will now be explained.
Political Russophobes Return To The White House
Regarding the Eurasian Great Power, it has legitimate concerns about the political Russophobia of former Obama-era officials. The (soon-to-be-former?) opposition spent the past four years concocting one of the craziest conspiracy theories in modern history by imagining that Trump was secretly an agent — or at the very least, an asset — of none other than President Putin himself. These dangerous allegations have since been officially debunked, but their destructive impact on bilateral relations will persist for the indefinite future. The anti-Russian members of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) which literally conspired with theirDemocratand Mainstream Media proxies to delegitimize and subsequently subvert Trump’s presidency have no interest in a rapprochement with Russia.
A Strategically Convenient “New Detente” With China?
To the contrary, they’ve signaled every interest in clinching a “New Detente” with China instead through a series of pragmatic compromises on a slew of issues such as trade, military, and technological ones for instance. This isn’t just for pragmatic reasons, but clever geostrategic ones related to freeing up the US’ full potential to more assertively “contain” Russia for the ideological reasons that drive Obama-era officials and those influenced by them. Should this scenario come to pass, then Russia would come under unprecedented pressure along its western flank, building upon the military advances along its borders that were overseen by Trump but aggressively solidifying and possibly even expanding them. Being in the midst of a systemic economic transition away from its disproportionate budgetary dependence on resource revenue, Russia is presently real vulnerable.
Russia’s Most Vulnerable Moment
The next year or two is therefore the best possible time for the US to put maximum pressure upon it for the purpose of compelling it to agree to a lopsided “New Detente” which could foreseeably result in a so-called “new normal” of relations between the West and Russia. The intent, however, is to subjugate Russia to America’s military will, which is understandably more difficult to pull off than the political Russophobes might imagine considering Moscow’s recent advances inhypersonic missile technologywhich restored the nuclear balance between the former superpowers. Still, all that Russia has done was buy itself some more time while it sought to domestically restructure all aspects of its society while the US was distracted with “containing” China under Trump, but now the pendulum might swing back against Russia with a vengeance under Biden.
Strengthening The Regional Anti-Turkish “Containment” Coalition
On the topic of Turkey, it’s also expected that this country will stand to lose from a possible Biden presidency. The US’ strategy of assembling a regional anti-Turkish “containment” coalition between itself, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, the GCC, Greece, “Israel”, and even Syria to an extent will likely remain in place, as will its use of more subversive measures such as economic warfare and even coup plotting in order to “finish the job” that Obama failed to do during thesummer 2016 coup attemptagainst President Erdogan. Just as importantly, however, are the regional consequences that the US’ possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy since they could result in it and Tehran drifting apart after their recent rapprochement.
The Turkish-Iranian Strategic Partnership
About that, these neighboring Islamic civilizations are presently enjoying some of their best-ever relations after the failed summer 2016 coup attempt saw Iranbecome the first countryto publicly support Turkey’s legitimate government against the plotters. This wasn’t only for pragmatic reasons regarding the rule of law and international norms, but also ideological ones as well since Turkish society has been gradually Islamifying under President Erdogan’s rule in ways which align with Iran’s ideal vision for the region’s societies. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran saw the Islamic Republic move much closer to Turkey for the purpose of much-needed sanctions relief, which in turn resulted in them agreeing onAzerbaijanandLibyadespite Iran’s Syrian ally having a different position towards those two conflicts to the surprise of theAlt-Media Community.
As Iran began to rely more on Turkey, so too did Turkey began to rely on Iran, thus establishing a relationship of mutual strategic interdependence. Where Iran sees Turkey as a pressure valve from sanctions, Turkey regards Iran as an indispensably influential regional partner which helps hold back the emerging US-led anti-Turkish “containment” coalition. Nevertheless, if a breakthrough is reached on the US returning to the Iranian nuclear deal, then there’s a credible chance that their mutual strategic interdependence might eventually weaken and the two countries could gradually “decouple” with time. That would place Turkey in a very disadvantageous regional position, but one which could interestingly improve its already solid relations with Russia so long as both have the political will to do so.
Could The Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership Transform Into An Unofficial Alliance?
The analysis has thus far argued that Russia and Turkey will lose the most from a Biden presidency, but the proverbial silver lining is that they’d have more of a reason than ever to strengthen their cooperation with one another in response. In fact, should similar pressure be placed upon them in a semi-coordinated manner, they might naturally move a lot closer together. Issues of occasional discord such as differences of vision over certain conflicts might remain, but they wouldn’t be insurmountable and in fact might be more easily resolved in the event that they enter into a stronger relationship of mutual strategic interdependence which might even eventually become an unofficial alliance. The exact contours of such a scenario are difficult to forecast at this point, but the possibility itself shouldn’t be discounted for the earlier mentioned reasons.
While many across the world are celebrating what they’ve been (mis?)led to believe is Trump’s impending ouster from the White House, it’s all but certain that Russia and Turkey are fretting over what might come next if Biden is able to execute on his regional vision of repairing relations with China, doubling down on the US’ anti-Russian and -Turkish pressure campaigns, and returning to the Iranian nuclear deal. Taken together, these variables could prove extremely troublesome for their grand strategies, but might also present an opportunity for these two Great Powers to work more closely together in the future. Having said all of that, nothing’s set in stone of course and a Biden presidency might end up surprising a lot of observers just like the Trump one did in some respects, but it’ll still likely be difficult for either Russia or Turkey to secure their interests during this time.
September news analyzed by GGN revealed that actions by the United States and its closest Asian allies to contain China’s expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region continue.
1) India and Japan concluded their Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), agreement that shows strategic convergence between two major swing powers in the Indo Pacific region, with growing concerns about China.
2) India announced that project to support infrastructures plans in Maldives to compete with the China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
3) India and Vietnam signed an agreement to strengthen their strategic partnership.
4) Japan announced that plan to shore up relations with Vietnam and Indonesia, two key Southeast Asian partners with important positions in ASEAN.
5) Five Eyes alliance -US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand- make public their plan to include Japan as a member.
6) United States and Europe made known their plan to create an ‘Asian NATO’ of regional powers.
7) It was disclosed a plan to install a military base of United States in the Pacific nation of Palau.
8) United States signed a defense agreement (in consultation with India) with the Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives.
9) United States attempted to rally support from Washington’s closest allies in Asia -Japan, India and Australia– to strength their infrastructural initiatives as a countervailing measure against China’s Belt and Road Initiative influence.
10) There were attempts by United States to make top diplomats from Southeast Asia to cut ties with Chinese companies helping build islands in the South China Sea.
The results of United States and its closest allies in Asia efforts to contain China in the Indo Pacific region showed by September news are yet to be known.
The concrete thing is that the Indo-Pacific has become a new focal point of the US-China rivalry that will re-shape the strategic dynamics in the region.
Unlike United States, their closest allies does not view relations with China as a zero-sum game and, while allied with USA in countering China in security, would try to find ways to coexist with China in the economic sphere, even participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. China is the main economic partner for almost all Asian American allies, so is unlikely that they would break economic ties with it.
On the other hand, it is not clear how far the United States is ready to offer to its closest allies in Asia real alternatives that could compete with what China offers, especially with the BRI.
What is the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific?
Indo-Pacific is at the centre of gravity of economic growth in the world. The three largest economies, the United States, China, and Japan are all located in the Indo-Pacific.
The Indo-Pacific has emerged as the hub of global trade and energy supply.
The two-third container trade of the world passes through this region. Around one third of global shipping passes through the South China Sea alone.
The two rising economies- India and China and Japan are dependent on Indo-Pacific sea routes for their trade and energy supply.
Two important maritime choke points- Bal al Mandeb and the Malacca Strait are located on the either side of the Indo-Pacific.
The region is also the home of more than 50 percent of the global population and rich in mineral and marine resources.
The Indo-Pacific includes the world’s most populous state (China), the most populous democracy (India) and the most populous Muslim-majority state (Indonesia).
Militarily, the Indo-Pacific is full of flashpoints that serve as potential sources of armed conflict: North Korea of Kim Jong; Taiwan’s pro-independent intentions; territorial and maritime disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Seven of the ten largest standing armies in the world can be found in the Indo-Pacific.