Nearly a decade ago I began warning that NATO expansion and the West’s failure to understand that Russian national security interests not a Russian desire to ‘recreate the USSR’ or ‘former Russian empire’ would lead to a world split apart between the West and ‘the rest’ (Sino-Russian ‘strategic partnership and those states oriented towards it).
In September 2015, for example, I argued:
Therefore, rather than being some grand conspiracy to build a Russian empire and defeat the West in the ostensible ‘new cold war,’ Putin’s actions are actually about defending Russian positions in the region and national security at home. Any failure to realize the latter, real motivations behind Putin’s actions and instead favor a focus on the former, imagined ones is fraught with specter of more gains for the jihadists and the greater likelihood of a world needlessly split apart on this and other key issues”(https://gordonhahn.com/2015/09/29/explaining-putins-counter-jihadi-coalition-proposal-russian-interests-not-a-new-cold-war/).
In the same month I wrote:
(I)t cannot be excluded that in the back of Putin’s mind, held in reserve depending on how talks on the Levant crisis develop, talks on Ukraine could ensue around the Levant talks. In this way, the Ukraine crisis could be addressed in any grand deal. The ensuing talks could even lead to a grand deal on Ukraine… However, just as likely an outcome as some grand deal is a more polarized East-West divide, a world split apart over the fate of Assad, the war against jihadism, and Ukraine. This has all the makings of a world war (https://gordonhahn.com/2015/09/10/putins-arab-gambit-just-got-more-bold-the-syrialevant-jihadi-crisis/).
A year later I reiterated the point:
The calamitous Arab ‘Spring’ has justified the Russian critique of American foreign policy to such an extent that some neocons and other conservatives as well as no small number of leftists have bought into it not only in the U.S. but also in Europe and globally, most starkly in the non-West. This risks a new ‘world split apart’… The coming of that world may well depend on the triumph in Moscow of the radical Eurasianist view; a triumph made more likely by the neocon-neolib hold on the American imagination, regardless of which ideological clan wins the upcoming exercise in the decaying American democracy (https://gordonhahn.com/2016/10/27/the-russian-american-cultural-ideational-contention/).
In 2018 I continued, noting that “the world is increasingly split apart between the West (plus Japan) and all the rest” (https://gordonhahn.com/2018/03/12/implications-of-pew-study-on-major-threat-perceptions-around-the-globe/). In 2019 I refined the point: “Thus, for our, the American/Western, part—I can only hope that some day we will revive the political culture of tolerance, rule of law, freedom of speech, which is slowly but surely being lost in good part for the sake of our efforts at democracy-promotion and NATO expansion. A failure to do so will result in more overreactive American and Western Russia policies, increasing polarization between the West and Russia (and China), the strengthening of an anti-Western alliance led by China and Russia, an economic war in a world split apart damaging the global economy, and finally more political violence and even war between East and West” (https://gordonhahn.com/2019/01/26/the-wests-alienation-of-russia-the-next-wave/). In 2020 I noted:
It appears that excesses of traditionalism in the east and of anti-traditionalist nihilism in the West continue to split the world apart in this crisis century (https://gordonhahn.com/2020/03/24/putins-constitutional-amendments-political-balancing-in-an-increasingly-traditionalist-russian-political-culture-divided-world-and-crisis-century/).
My worst fears now appear to be coming true, portending a global catastrophe of war, revolution, and chaos. To be sure, the war for and against NATO expansion is not the only cause of the global schism and catastrophe now before us. The Schwabist-Soros globalist and transhumanist agenda is driving economic collapse and social discontent contributing to the oncoming catastrophe, but that is another topic for another day.
NATO expansion to Ukraine continued with Ukrainian membership replaced by deep Western and NATO involvement in Ukraine’s politics and military and gradually deepening after the 2014 Maidan revolt. In effect if not juridically, Ukraine was becoming a member of the NATO alliance. In this regard, it is important to point out that the famous Article 5 of the NATO Charter is not a blanket, mandatory obligation to engage directly in military action in defense of an alliance member under attack by an alliance non-member state. It merely requires consultations and assistance, which can but does not necessarily have to be the commitment of member-states’ forces directly to the battlefield. Assistance can include the provision of weapons, training, intelligence, and other forms of indirect assistance. This was already happening in Ukraine as a result of NATO policies. The Russian president responded with his invasion rapidly, both escalating that level of NATO military and intelligence assistance to Ukraine and accelerating the bifurcation of the world between the West and the rest. For all intents and purposes NATO and the entire West are at war with Russia and escalation to a more direct confrontation is just over the horizon. This course of events has deepened and consolidated the Sino-Russian alliance by any other name and that alliance’s efforts to rally to its side the rest of the rest. The world is becoming split apart as never before—an outcome globalization was not supposed to be about. The ‘new cold war’ is driving towards a greater bifurcation of the world into two camps than the confrontation between communism and capitalism ever engendered.
To be sure, this is in part simple counterbalancing, with great powers and small states joining to counter the global hegemon—the U.S. and the West—in order to maximize their own interests. It is also a consequence of exceedingly hubristic, arrogant, and increasingly clumsy U.S. foreign policies, such as NATO and EU expansion, a less thaN surgical and overly politically correct ‘war against terrorism’ (i.e., against jihadism). However, more recently, because of U.S. ‘democracy-promotion’ and human rights policies (an often hypocrisy), the emerging bipolar or multipolar culture is taking on an ideological element. In the West, democratization is being more insistently pushed while those deemed insufficiently ‘liberal’ (which has received some exotic new content and criteria: homosexuality promotion, transgenderism, and critical race theory—perhaps not entirely objectionable to some among the West’s former colonies. The non-Western ‘rest’ is increasingly opposed to democratization, seeing it as a Western pretext for expanding NATO and hegemony over the rest. China and Russia are increasingly moving to a pro-authoritarian stance that asserts that their systems are more efficient at maintaining order and thus securing development and can protect the rest’s cultures and economies from Western encroachment and anti-traditional values. Russia stands on the front line in this potentially global confrontation, by virtue of its geographical position on the Western periphery, its failed move toards the West after the Cold War, and a long history of troubled and complex relations with the West that have engendered a dominant security vigilance norm in Russian political and security culture.
The world split could become far more institutionalized than the first Cold War, drawing in more of the ‘rest’ separate from the West and centered in a Sino-Russian organized Greater Eurasia. There are several elements to the construction of the rest-West bifurcation. They include: (1) the Sino-Russian organization of Greater Eurasia, locking out the U.S. and Europe given the present world schism; (2) the attendant Sino-Russian expansion through Greater Eurasian IOs to the southern hemisphere, capitalizing on ‘Third World’ anti-Western anti-colonialism resentment to draw the South into institutions such as OBOR and BRICS; (3) the Sino-Russian anti-colonialism supplemented by the Eurasianist idea of ‘civilizational pluralism’ as a ideological foundation for a multipolar structure for an international system; (4) a new European and global security architectUre as the foundation for a new global political order; and (5) America’s turn to open regime change policy regarding the Putin regime in Russia and in the interim deepening Europe’s economic and security dependence on the U.S. The core, defining characteristic of the world split apart anew is Sino-Russian global confrontation with the U.S. and the West over the structure of a new world order or preservation of the old American unipolar system.
The West’s Separation from Russia
The story of the West’s ‘international isolation of Russia’—better thought of as the West’s and only the West’s alienation and rejection of Russia is well-known and needs little detailing here. NATO and, to a lesser extent, EU expansion alienated Russia, and Russia’s reactions to said expansion led the West to wholly reject Russia and to a alarge extent, visa versa. Although there are occasional loopholes, exceptions, and dissenters in the Western sanctions against Russia—some gas bought here, a turbine provided there, a space agreement here, SWIFT cutoff for only some Russian banks there—the West’s sanctions are isolating Russia from the West. Western businesses have removed from Russia almost en masse, and Russian businesses, athletes, and culture have been expelled from the West. Sanctions in general force countries to substitute imports by making them produce the sanctioned goods themselves. Russia has been doing this since 2014 and now will intensify and broaden that process.
The West’s decade-long sanctions regime against Russia is the central tool for isolation, but this tool inadvertently inspired a search for self-reliance and a turn to China as Moscow’s new strategic partner. While the Yamal LNG project, in the Russian arctic, two bridges in Russia’s Far East, and the Power of Siberia pipeline are the most notable bilateral successes, there are many other burgeoning projects. China’s Silk Road Fund helps to finance investment in Sibur, Russia’s largest petrochemical firm. During Xi’s 2019 visit to Moscow, a deal was signed to use Huawei equipment in its 5G trials was announced just as the Chinese firm was subject to greater Western scrutiny. China and Russia have worked together to develop alternative global navigation satellite systems with both commercial and military applications. Russia’s GLONASS system, which attained operational capacity of 24 satellites until 1995, and China’s BeiDou satellite network, completed in 2020 and claiming to have over 400 million users in 120 countries, are being coordinated, with a 2018 agreement establishing a committee to do this work, including trials to their equipment along Belt and Road transportation routes. Also, the parties agreed to host each other’s base stations (Jonathan Hillman, https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/200715_ChinaandRussia.pdf, pp. 8-9). It is important to note that many Sino-Russian joint projects signed on to still remain on paper only, but the post-February 2022 conflict and the Pelosi provocation on Taiwan can only add to motivation. However, incentives, driven by Western sanctions and antagonism, as well as ambitions have led to notable accomplishments in economic, financial, energy, communications cooperation and integration.
De-Westernization of trade in Russia and other Eurasian states was already declining considerably before the present war and resulting sanctions. China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for over a decade if one does not take the EU as a single entity, but Sino-Russian trade turnover has grown precipitously since Russia’s post-February ‘isolation’ began. Trade turnover between Russia and China in the first seven months of 2022 grew by 29 percent to $97.7 billion, with exports from Russia to China grew by 48.8 percent (www.ng.ru/monitoring/2022-08-10/7_8508_monitoring.html). By 1 October 2022, Sino-Russian trade turnover growth had accelerated, showing a projected 32.5 percent increase for the year attaining $136 billion, with Chinese exports to Russia increasing by 10.3 percent and Russian exports to China increasing by an impressive 51.6 percent (www.ng.ru/monitoring/2022-10-26/7_8575_monitoring.html). Four years ago, the parties announced the goal of $200 billion in trade by 2024—a goal that seems unlikely to be met, with the figure reaching only $101 billion in 2020. Notably, Russian natural gas sales are being switched from the West to ‘the rest’, especially China, as Europe attempts to quit its Russian gas habit and other economic ties with Moscow, Russo-Western economic trade turnover is set to collapse precipitously.
Already, from 2014-2020 the share of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union’s trade turnover with the Sino-Russian-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization grew from 16.3 percent to 24.1 percent and with the Asia-Pacific Economic Community from 29.6 percent to 36.4 percent; that is, by 50 percent and 25 percent, respectively. This, while the share of EEU’s overall trade turnover conducted with the EU fell from 46.2 percent in 2015 to 36.7 percent in 2020 and with the U.S. in the same period that figure fell by 18.1 percent (https://expert.ru/2022/02/25/sanktsii-i-suverenitet-column/). Now Russia is pursuing aggressively new trade ties with those non-Western powers refusing to abide by Washington’s sanctions; secondary sanctions on those partners will further isolate Russia and those eastern and southern partners from the West.
Some in the West, for their part, are planning to extend ‘Russia’s isolation’ in scale, scope, and duration. In a recent interview former NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged that plans are afoot to establish “economic deterrence as a way to counter authoritarian coercion.” The plan is to divide the world into democratic (ostensibly Western) countries and authoritarian countries (ostensibly most of the rest of the world’s states). Developing their “Economic Article 5”—modeled on NATO’s Article 5, which requires NATO member-states to support any member-sate that comes under attack—the designers hope to rally all members of the ‘democratic community of nations’ in the event a member-state experiences economic aggression. For example, a “common market of democracies” would assist a member threatened by economic aggression from China through “trade deals, investment agreements, transfers of technology, or…credit facilities to enable companies with production facilities in China to move operations to other low-cost countries.” Rasmussen notes:
A new world order is emerging that will involve less economic interaction between autocracies and democracies. Globalization is entering a new phase (www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/france-has-delivered-almost-nothing/ar-AAZGVyk).
Such isolation of Russia, China, and the rest will be with the West alone and will deepen the Sino-Russian strategic semi-alliance and entice the rest to further integrate among themselves with Beijing and Moscow and insulate from the West. This is where the creation of a network of network of states organizing an alternative economic and financial global order and an anti-NATO military-political alliance among the rest comes in. Three years ago at the annual Valdai Club forum, Putin decribed the Sino-Russian relationship that as “an allied relationship in the full sense of a multifaceted strategic partnership. This is reflected in the economy” (Vladimir Putin, “Valdai Discussion Club Session,” (speech, Valdai Discussion Club, Moscow, October 3, 2019), http:// en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/61719).
In response to Western hegemony, regime change policies, NATO expansion, and fears over their state sovereignty especially over territorial integrity such as Taiwan for China and newly annexed Crimea, Russia and China have been deepening their economic, political, military, and intelligence cooperation. Russia and China have been growing major business opportunities with each other and much of the rest of the non-Western world for some time—from energy (natural gas, oil, nuclear, even coal) to other commodities (gold, silver, diamonds, titanium) to weapons and wheat. Now Western sanctions are forcing Russia to increase its dependence on China and the rest of the rest, consolidating Russia’s break with the West and strengthening both Russia’s domestic market and the rest. Thus, Russia has been able to rapidly replace its Western partners with Chinese as well as Indian, Saudi energy and other industrial sector customers and investors. Russia has demonstrated its ability to survive this transformation, as sanction-violating deliveries continue under various rebranding and smuggling schemes even with NATO member states. As prices rise precipitously, Russian gas profits skyrocket and Western economies suffer from sticker shock.
In terms of autonomy and self-reliance, ‘de-dollarization’, repatriation of offshore finances, diversification, import substitution, and the development of closed-cycle production processes are underway (https://expert.ru/2022/02/25/sanktsii-i-suverenitet-column/). In terms of a ‘new dependence’, Western sanctions are driving Russia to greater but more diversified dependency on the ‘rest’ as well—most notably, democratic but anti-colonial India—and rallying countries in Eurasia dependent on Russia or unable to afford sanctions to the side of China and by association Russia. England’s seizure of all of Venezuela’s gold held in the Bank of England in late 2021, U.S. seizure of Iran’s exchange reserves, and the U.S.’s most recent seizure of Russian reserves—including $320 billion in gold reserves and $120 billion in dollar currency—held in the U.S. have intensified the division of the world between the West and Eurasia. China also lowered its dollar reserve below the symbolic $1 trillion to $850 billion this year, as coordinated U.S.-EU sanctions on trade connected to chip and soy production loom (https://www.ng.ru/economics/2022-10-31/4_8579_china.html). Isolation of the West from the rest consequently has locked in the Sino-Russian ‘strategic partnership’ for decades to come.
Moreover, China and Russia are nearing an official military alliance to consummate the unofficial one, supporting each other to one degree or another with intelligence exchanges, coordinated propaganda campaigns, and on policies such as Taiwan, Ukraine, international economics and finances, opposition to Western, especially American foreing policies. China has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine morally if not materially by placing the blame for the conflict going on NATO’s expansion east and Western-cultivated ‘color revolutions’ against Russia’s allies and neighbors. Moscow is Beijing’s largest arms supplier, providing 70 percent of China’s arms imports between 2014 and 2018 (Hillman, https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/200715_ChinaandRussia.pdf, p. 3).
The triangular relationship between the U.S., China, and Russia is now clearly more acute than isosceles and in fact is a bipolar straight line with a Sino-Soviet pole and a Western pole. China and Russia are becoming intentionally, by policy, interdependent economically, politically and strategically. Most importantly, Russia and its main strategic partner, China, are now fully motivated by will and opportunity to complete plans to establish an alternative world order—political, economic, financial, monetary, and military—autonomous from the West’s hegemony, tutelage, and control. In turn, much of the rest is rallying around the Sino-Russian pole on key issues and maintaining a slightly pro-Russian neutrality regarding the Ukrainian conflict.
The Sino-Russian Pole and the Rest of ‘the Rest’
At the same time, the West’s former colonial conquests, while leaving some victims less antagonistic towards the West than Russia and China presently are, have no love lost for the West. Even those states tending towards neutrality on issues such as Ukraine, Taiwan, and the ‘new cold war’ are inclined to rally around the new pole in the international system, forming a more bipolar or at least multipolar structure in which the West is just one component. China and the overwhelming part of the rest of the rest have refused to implement any sanctions against Russia no less the kind of broad and radical sanctions demanded by Washington and Brussels. All of the world’s most populous states besides the U.S. (China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Mexico), almost the entire Muslim world, as well as other states have not implemented sanctions against Russia. Thus, the UN vote that saw 141 of 181 countries vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had no teeth. It was a symbolic gesture that allowed the majority of the 141 ‘for’ states to get off the hook by virtue signaling and retain their pro-Russian neutrality.
Moreover, non-Western countries have stepped in to increase imports from Russia since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the onset of the resulting sanctions. Accordong to the New York Times, India increased its imports since February 2022 by 430% (!), Turkey by 213%, Brazil—166%, China—98%, and Saudi Arabia—45%. Exports to Russia fell for all countries, except for Turkey (+113%) and China (+24%). Some Western and Western-allied countries also increased their Russian imports: Netherlands—74%, Japan—40%, Germany—38%, and Norway—21%. Overall Russian-Belgian trade volume increased by 84%. For now, Western trade with Russia while reduced is still significant but no longer vital for Russia. Thirteen EU countries increased imports from Russia, while fourteen reduced them(www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/10/30/business/economy/russia-trade-ukraine-war.html and https://news.ru/world/new-york-times-rasskazal-kakie-strany-narastili-import-iz-rossii/?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fdzen.ru%2Fnews%2Fsearch%3Ftext%3D citing the New York Times). In other words, we see a substantial decline in trade with Europe along with a major, in some cases extraordinary increase in trade with non-Western states. Isolation is now becoming a hard and fast Western policy concensus not just in relation to Russia but also in relation to China. Washington is preparing new sanctions against China, and Germany, having ‘learned the lesson of the dangers of dependence on Russia,’ has developed a concensus that Berlin must limit its economic ties with Beijing in order to avoid the risk of dependence on this even greater authoritarian powerhouse (https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/10/31/germany-olaf-scholz-china-investment-problem/).
Moreover still, Western sanctions produced counter-sanctions, from tactical ones such as Russia’s new demand that payments for natural gas sales be made in rubles to geostrategic ones such as the formation of a new alternative ‘global’ monetary-financial system to draw in the rest of the rest. Russian and Eurasian de-dollarization was underway in Russia and Eurasia before the February Russian offensive, prompted by the Russo-Western Ukrainian crisis of 2013-2014. Thus, from the first Ukraine-related sanctions introduced in 2014 through 2020, the use of dollar declined in international trade settlements from 60.2 percent to 46.7 percent. The EEU’s use of the dollar declined from 26.3 percent to 20.0 percent.
Already as a result of the post-2013 sanctions, Russia developed its own system of electronic money transfers—the System for Financial Transfer Communications (SPFS) of the Russian Central Bank and a credit card system ‘Mir’, which is tied to China’s own system ‘Union Pay’ and is used for both domestic and international bank transfers. Now this system will receive international support and states that fall to secondary Western sanctions will likely join with the new Sino-Russian infrastructure (https://expert.ru/2022/02/25/sanktsii-i-suverenitet-column/).
Washington’s seizure of Russia’s foreign reserves in April and ban of Russia from foreign markets have given motivation to Russia (and China) to follow through on threats to de-dollarize fully. Moscow now seeks to substitute the American and world reserve currency with national currencies and then a new exchange-traded and commodities-backed currency for trade with Asian and African states, creating a new monetary system. One day into the new stage of the war, former government minister Sergie Glazev suggested that Russia propose to its “Asian partners” the introduction of a new “global payment-accounts currency based on an index of national currencies and market goods” (https://expert.ru/2022/02/25/sanktsii-i-suverenitet-column/). In the longer-term, Russia and its strategic partner are most likely to pursue a semi-global reserve currency, for example the yuan, which now accounts for only 5 percent of trade payment settlements globally, compared to 80 percent for the dollar. According to the IMF, central bank currencies have declined from 70 to 60 percent in dollars since 2000, with the yuan having picked up 2 percent of such holdings in that period (https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/the-war-in-ukraine-marks-the-end-of-the-american-century/and https://americanmind.org/memo/dethroning-the-dollar%ef%bf%bc/).
China and Russia initiated financial and monetary autonomy cooperation before the Ukraine crisis. They began using their own currencies for bilateral trade as early as 2010 and inaugurated their first currency swap line in 2014. Now China, Russia, great power India, Iran, and others are increasing trade in their own currencies. Saudi Arabia and China began talks in March on Chinese yuan replacing the ‘petrodollar’ as payment currency for some of its oil purchases from the Kingdom. Before Russia’s February 2022 escalation, Sino-Russian cooperation on alternative digital payment systems expanded but remained limited by Russia’s relatively small market and aversion to currency digitalization. In 2019, Yandex.Checkout—a joint venture between Russia’s diversifying tech company Yandex and its largest bank, SberBank—became the first online Russian retailer to accept China’s WeChat Pay. At the same time, China’s AliPay began working on a joint venture with Russia’s Mail.ru to establish digital payment services to Russian customers (Hillman, https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/200715_ChinaandRussia.pdf, p. 5).
Alternatives to the Brussels-based SWIFT system were embryonic but significant before February 2022. China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) as of April 2020 had participants in 95 countries. After Japan, Russia has the second-largest number of banks using CIPS. Russia’s SFPS expanded in 2019 to include the EEU’s members (Hillman, https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/200715_ChinaandRussia.pdf, pp. 5-6). After February 2022 when the West froze half of Russia’s gold reserves inexplicably placed abroad by Moscow’s Central Bank, Russia, the Eurasian Economic Union, and China announced they were moving to create an alternative currency and financial system, including the formation of an alternative SWIFT by combining the Russian and Chinese payment systems, and the founding of a new international currency. Countries sanctioned by the West such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and North Korea would likely join these systems, and many states will now begin to think twice about holding its gold or money reserves in American and even European institutions, facilitating the rise of an alternative monetary-financial system. To be sure, the transition to a bipolar monetary-financial order will take years, as the dollar still is involved in 80 percent of transactions worldwide; the Euro—35 percent. A yuan or ruble bridgehead to a new Eurasian-global currency is impractical given the yuan’s 5 percent involvement in transactions and the impracticality if not impossibility of a Chinese transition to solely yuan-based transactions, given the structural and import-centric nature of China’s economy. And a Sino-Russian-backed new Eurasian/global currency will require careful planning, close coordination between China in transitioning the yuan and ruble, and confidence that many states in the rest of the rest will soon join the new currency sphere. But the train has left the station, and an alternative reserve currency may be inevitable now.
Moscow and Beijing also are increasingly cooperating in civilian and military space projects. Soviet and Russian assistance helped create the Chinese space program, transferring know-how on manned space flights, the creation of space suits, and training methodology for astronauts. China’s space program is now the world’s leading program, with four cosmodromes, more than 100 satellites launched, and the leading number of space launches per year: 37 in 2018 and 55 in 2021 (https://nvo.ng.ru/armament/2022-10-06/7_1209_sky.html). In 2017 Russia’s Roscosmos and China’s space agency signed a 5-year space cooperation program, and Russia and China are discussing a joint project to set up a Moon research base. In February of 2021, Roscosmos confirmed its readiness to sign an agreement with China “on cooperation to create the International Lunar Research Station,” and in March 2021 the two space agencies concluded a memorandum of understanding. The two countries signed another agreement to create a joint data center to assist cooperation in future missions to the Moon and deep space. Both Russia and China are testing counterspace weapons that could threaten NATO satellites (https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/210331_Harrison_SpaceThreatAssessment2021.pdf?gVYhCn79enGCOZtcQnA6MLkeKlcwqqks, p. 13). Chinese and Russian accomplishments in space capture the imagination of lesser developed countries, such as Iran and India, which are drawn to these great powers in the hope of reaping benefits that will lead to similar successes.
On a background of growing tensions with Washington, American sanctions, and “deforeignization” (mostly de-Westernization) of foreign firms operating in China, Beijing, in contrast to the last decades of the 20th century and this century’s first, is instituting a two-tier economy to insulate itself from U.S. efforts to use the dollar-based financial system and engage in democracy-promotion for political and military-strategic purposes. A catalyzer of the new attempt at a soft autarchy was Washington’s case against Huawei for breaking U.S. law by trading with Iran and clearing payments through U.S. banks. Moving to limit foreign influence while maintaining its global economic presence and expansion, Beijing is forming two Chinese economies in what it calls a “dual circulation” system, in effect, two economies: “a domestic economic circuit, which is insulated from the rest of the world, and a global circuit that relies on political connections (the Belt and Road Initiative) to open markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America” and, of course, Russia and Eurasia (my emphasis). Both circuits are controlled by the CCP and insulated as much as possible from foreign pressure (https://unherd.com/2022/10/china-has-given-up-on-the-west/; https://asiasociety.org/australia/china-executive-brief-open-autarky-chinas-coming-5-year-plan; and https://asiasociety.org/australia/china-executive-brief-open-autarky-chinas-coming-5-year-plan). One can suspect that Moscow and perhaps others among the rest will formally beign implementing such a system even more systematically that it is already as the economic, cultural and political distance from the West grows and those from China lessen. It is no coincidence that it is precisely now that China and Russia are moving forward with plans to expand BRICS, SCO and other Eurasian and global initiatives to establish sovereignty from the West through a network of networks.
PART 2 TO FOLLOW SOON