China – Russia axis towards a global ascendancy

By Nasurullah Brohi

The complexity of the international realpolitik is a systematic process towards the struggle and competition for the creation of a balance to challenge the status-quo of dominant powers. Particularly, such balance is not often easily sustained by any single state, therefore; burden sharing and alliance formation becomes an imminent choice to achieve the desired goal.

The great powers always seek such opportunities, for centuries the Russia has also tried to become a member of the European family of nations. And even after the collapse the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation also looked forward towards the formation of an alliance with Germany; an alliance depending upon the German technologies and relying over Russian resources, this was primarily a notion based on the collective burden sharing and mutual cooperation to create a counterweight against the US dominance. Particularly, after the German reunification, the Russia and Germany developed a strategic partnership concentrated mainly on the principles of interdependence in the fields of energy and investment. Interestingly, the long awaited ambition turned immensely against the Russia after the Ukraine crisis and the seizure of Crimea in 2014. Moreover, it was Germany, which played the leading role along with the Britain, France and the US in the imposition of the harsh economic sanctions against the Russia which badly affected the Russian oil and banking industries and also became a reason for the devaluation of the Russian ruble.

Eventually, for Russia, the partnership with China has always been a much easier task as both have many commonalities such as their lack of stronger relations to many of the European nations and both the countries also experience distrust against the United States which naturally binds these two countries in a close partnership for collaboration despite of having many varied interests. This relation is interdependent as Russia needs China for its economic interests and China needs Russian support to become a partner in Eurasia and these both have a common interest to become able to maintain an effective counterweight against the US and its allies.

China is an emerging global economic power that has produced solemn challenges for many powers like the United States and European Union etc. Many defence and security analysts believe that the strengthening of the SCO is a reaction against the US and NATO’s antagonism in the China’s neighbourhood that twisted a feeling against its interests and strategically surrounded it from both Asia Pacific and Central Asian sides, therefore, the Organization was seen as an instrument to neutralize the military power of the United States in the region. The nonviolent entrée in the Eurasian region is also seen as another greater objective by China to get an equitable place in the international affairs.

The Sino-Russian axis under the SCO extends far from the question of just containing the US dominance in the region, but it also has a vision to control the extra regional involvement of other Western powers and institutions like the EU and NATO. This is particularly due to post Cold War era fears of Russia when the NATO combined all the Central Asian States in its Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and according to Russia’s view point these states were also under Western pressure to participate in the Partnership for Peace Programs and the Conference on Cooperation and Security where the Western powers started to interfere with the internal policies of the Central Asian States. The European Union was also one of the dominant factors in employing the Western strategies of controlling the Central Asian region and later on, Russia started to counter-weight the growing external involvement through collective security arrangements with its former Soviet bloc members. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) were reproduced to take place of the Western institutions involved in the region but unluckily these moves did not prove to be that successful to contain the Western involvement and control the Central Asian States with these instruments but however, with the support of viable SCO the Russian Federation might become successful and in such way it would again depend upon stronger partnership with China and this in turn would ultimately, provide a chance China and Russia to alter the current unipolar world and US dominance at the global level.

The Sino-Russia axis and its expanding influence beyond the region and is sometimes also termed as a gradual move towards the global ascendancy as both states are already in alliances and the purpose of their alliance formation is not primarily confined counter the expansion of NATO in the region, but actually these states sought to split some common interests and strategic partnership to avoid any bilateral conflict that would pave the way to invite any external player to dominate their sphere of influence and put their interests on stake.

The Sino-Russian relations in the shape of expanding SCO is an alarming message for many states that these can build a power bloc which has a prominent role in the international affairs by having their diverse policy than the West as they don’t believe that power is hidden in the secrets of interference in other’s internal affairs and dominating world through rouge means.

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Nasurullah Brohi

Nasurullah Brohi works as a Research Fellow at the Strategic Vision Institute in Islamabad and can be reached at [email protected]

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