Saturday, July 6, 2013

China-Russia Exercise - A cause for US concern?

Warming ties between China and Russia deserve US attention. From their joined support for Assad to their friendship with Iran, both these states have policy alignments that counter US interests.

However, although the US should be cautious in face of this emerging challenge, concern is not necessary. Both China and Russia face serious social pressures in the medium to long term. Russia faces an aging population and a weakening energy export industry (US energy supplies are more affordable). This will debilitate Russia's ability to wage energy extortion in Europe (a favorite Russia approach of recent years). In a similar vein, as Chinese citizens grow in wealth, education and aspiration, they'll demand more from their Government. The Chinese elite remain sheltered in networks of corruption/patronage and China's politics remain stagnant and obstructive of initiative. In short, China faces a major challenge in fulfilling the demands of her citizens.

This isn't to say that the US is perfect - the national debt proves otherwise. Nonetheless, China and Russia cannot compete with the political stability of the United States. This is their greatest sustaining weakness.

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