The blog host at Nur al-Cubicle is kind enough to translate a piece from Le Monde not likely to get any attention in North America. Comments allude to "unipolar" and "multipolar" world orders which I take to mean a world dominated by a single "superpower" versus one with at least two "super-powers," with the counterbalancing power being an alliance of several states, not a single entity.
This seems arcane at first, the ramblings of tobacco-scented university profs sitting in a dark club room sipping drinks. But there is nothing arcane about joint military exercises involving several thousands of Russian and Chinese participants.
On Thursday 25 August, China and Russia are scheduled to complete their joint military maneuvers which has engaged 8,880 troops: 7,000 Chinese, 1,800 Russians, 17 planes and 140 warships and submarines for an entire week. The exercises, which initiated in Vladivostok, the great Far Eastern port, and concluded in the Yellow Sea off the Jiaodong Peninsula of eastern China were the first of its size between the two countries.
The goal of the maneuvers is to test the combat ability of our forces to better face the new challenges which await us in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world in general, explains the Russian Chief of Staff Yuri Baluevski. Meant to test the ability of Russian and Chinese forces to meet new threats, the maneuvers gamed a Russo-Chinese intervention in a third country caught in the throes of "an ethnic conflict", and victim of "terrorist attacks".
The exercise, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005," is supposedly a practice exercise by Russia and China to be prepared in the event of problems in some of their smaller neighbor countries. Problems, indeed, with the US poking about in that part of the world.
Alexander Duguin, the "Pope" of Russia's Eurasian Movement, has one opinion. According to him, the "color-themed revolutions of 2003 and 2004 in the post-Soviet space" have pushed Moscow and Beijing to strengthen their military partnership. The American influence has been felt in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This proves that Washington is intent on reforming the post-Soviet space and on pursuing its own interests to the detriment of Russia and China, whose positions have become more vulnerable, explains Duguin.
Since 2001, Moscow and Beijing have formed the nucleus of a new regional coalition: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Inspired by the War on Terror, the alliance also includes four central Asian republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. On July 5th, it was the through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that Uzbekistan demanded the departure of US troops stationed at the Karshi-Khanabad base in the south of the country since 2001. Recently, the group has granted observer status to Pakistan, India and Iran.
The final paragraph may be the most interesting.
The creation of a Moscow-Tehran-New Delhi-Beijing axis which guarantees Russia, a continental country, "access to warm water ports" while conferring on it the status of a Third Rome (according to the Manifesto of Eurasian-ness created by Alexander Duguin ) is viewed favorably by the Kremlin which is happy to show that it can turn towards the East incase of rejection by the Europeans. It is India, Russia's largest buyer of weaponry, with whom Russia will hold its next large-scare military exercises in October.
Moscow-Tehran-Delhi-Beijing...Russia as a Third Rome...turning Eastward in case of European rejection...
I didn't take two quarters of Russian History and forget everything.