4: a weak russia's future
rely on china
china has made highly optimistic forecasts about Russia's prospects for recovery and return to the ranks of the top five powers in the future security environment. Few analysts in the United States share this optimism about Russia's future, nor would Americans agree with the proposal of some nationalistic Chinese authors, like He Xin, that China must form a long-term strategic partnership with Russia in order to balance the rise of a militaristic Japan. One orthodox senior analyst explains that the geopolitical thinking is, "Russia needs to rely on China. Because both the United States and Japan regard Russia as a potential force to reduce their influence in the Asia-Pacific region, and Japan has territorial disputes with Russia, Chinese-Russian cooperation can, to a great extent, resist U.S. and Japanese forces, as well as maintain the power balance in Asia." (394)
Chinese military estimates of Russian national power by 2010 to 2020 place Russia as the second- or at least the third-ranking country in terms of overall military power. Applying the ancient statecraft of the Warring States, Chinese authors refer to the geopolitical nightmare of a powerful predatory Japan joining with a declining but still powerful America to isolate and contain China. A strong Chinese partnership with a recovering Russia is the preferred countermeasure. This chapter, which introduces the views of 55 Chinese authors on Russia, lists the factors they foresee Russia will face in its future dangerous security environment. In spite of these dangers, they believe Russia also has advantages, such as its potential partnership with China and advanced military concepts and technology, which cause China to assess the Russians as far more likely to exploit successfully the revolution in military affairs (RMA) than the United States. One military author argues that "Russia will use the RMA to maintain its military superiority . . . and is taking aim at America's commanding position in the RMA." (395) Another military author states that the Russian General Staff Academy is focusing on the RMA. (396) Ancient Chinese statecraft warns that a state needs powerful "partners" to survive in a multipolar environment. China's authors seem to see a rewarding Russian "partnership" in the decades ahead. This chapter also describes Chinese sympathy for the dangers that a weak Russia will face from Japan, Europe, and the United States as these three powers attempt to carve out part of the former Soviet sphere of influence in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
debates on russia
According to interviews with civilian experts, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it took 2 years for Chinese analysts to reach a consensus on the causes and future significance of the Soviet collapse (addressed at the end of this chapter). It is apparent from Chinese articles written since the consensus was reached that China has decided Russia's decline will end and that it will be able to play its assigned role as one of the five poles in the multipolar world foreseen by Deng Xiaoping and Huan Xian in 1986. Indeed, Russia may be aligned with China in the future multipolar world, now that Moscow is somewhat weakened from its Soviet days and has a smaller gross national product (GNP) than China. According to one author, Russia's GNP is fifth in Europe, or "the level of a medium country." (397) Additionally, because Russia has forsaken Marxism, Marxist ideology cannot be a source of conflict between the two countries, nor can Russia realistically ever again seek to dominate China.
The new consensus on Russia's promising future contrasts with past debates. (398) Since the early days of the Chinese Communist Party, even before Mao was Chairman, party leaders have debated the nature of the Soviet Union. The subject of Soviet communism and the Russian nation may be the most controversial among Chinese strategists. From alliance with the Soviets in the 1950s, to estrangement and then border clashes in the 1960s, Moscow has proved "hard to understand," in the words of one People's Liberation Army (PLA) officer interviewed for this study.
In spite of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chinese analysts "officially" continue to portray the future role of Russia as one of the five equal "poles" (along with China, Japan, Europe, and the United States) that will shape the future world balance of power. Nevertheless, a few years ago, China's analysts saw Russia's immediate future as uncertain. (399) At least four scenarios were mentioned, although none of them would upset the "inevitable" trend toward a five-power multipolar structure laid down by Deng Xiaoping:
- Further fragmentation could bring warfare within and between many republics, including an independent Siberia. (400)
- Chronic crisis might bring neither a full collapse nor any real progress, but just gridlock and a continued limping along.
- Successful transformation built around the old Russian core, with stable relations among the republics and a territorial settlement with Japan, would bring investment and trade opportunities, keeping Russia in play as a pole in the five-pole multipolar world structure and as a coalition partner to Japan or China.
- Nationalistic regression would resemble the results of the coup in 1991 against Gorbachev, had it succeeded. Hardliners impose martial law, followed by a halt to market reforms and democracy.
By 1995, Chinese writings about Russia became more optimistic. (401) Chinese military authors envisioned Russia increasing its military power in future decades by exploiting the RMA ahead of other nations. In any event, Chinese authors deny that the collapse of the Soviet Union caused future trends in world politics to "break" or be "transformed." (402) They asserted China had anticipated the end of the bipolar world as early as 1986, 5 years before the Soviet collapse.
Although there is a general consensus among Chinese authors about Russia's position as a pole in the future multipolar world, Chinese analysts suggest there are dangers to Russia in the decades ahead:
- The United States will continue to exploit a weakened Russia still coping with short-term domestic economic and political problems.
- Russian success in implementing the RMA ahead of others is not certain.
- As Russia rebuilds its Comprehensive National Power (CNP), it will be under pressure from the United States and Europe to the West and Japan to the East.
development and recovery
Chinese authors recognize that Russia will continue to have economic, political, and social turbulence in the short term but do not foresee these problems preventing Russia from assuming its position as a pole in the future multipolar world. Although its influence has weakened and it no longer is a superpower, Chinese analysts emphasize that Russia remains a major nation with extensive military strength. While today's crises have contributed to a decline in Russia's CNP, in the long run they forecast that its domestic difficulties will gradually be overcome.
At present, however, the Chinese view Russia as a factor of instability during the period of transition to a multipolar world. When assessing the overall situation in the Asia-Pacific, Zhang Changtai, a Research Fellow at the China Institute of International Strategic Studies (CIISS), writes:
Russia remains an uncertain factor where there are still ups and downs in the political arena. . . . For the future, the struggle among all political factions around redistribution of powers will continue to develop and even intensify; the position of the military has declined with growing dissatisfaction, and it is a severe test for President Yeltsin and his government whether they can maintain stability in the armed forces. (403)
Chinese analysts also see economic problems precluding stability in Russia's current development and do not believe the economy will recover quickly. (404) A Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) analyst estimates, "In the short term it will be difficult for the Russian Federation's economic situation to take a turn for the better, economic recovery will necessitate a very long period of time . . . by the year 2005 it will be able to break even with the economy in 1990. The necessary time for Russia to build a comparatively complete and developed market economy will probably be even longer." (405)
A study of Russia's current and future development by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) provides a representative orthodox view of Russia's overall near-term prospects. It both acknowledges serious problems and predicts a trend of inevitable gradual recovery and restoration. Stating that "for many years Russian society has accumulated a huge number of complex contradictions and problems," the study lists some of the most critical issues it is currently facing:
- "Economic depression has endangered political stability."
- "The state of social political order is becoming seriously worse," with the pervasive spread of crime and terrorist activities.
- "The trend of local independence and localities acting on their own is difficult to contain."
- The uncertainty of President Yeltsin's health. (406)
According to the study, the combination of the above problems "makes it very difficult for people to make an optimistic appraisal of Russia's political situation and the entire country's situation at the end of the century." (407) However, at least with regard to Russia's economic prospects, CICIR is more positive and puts forward a timetable predicting future development and reconstruction. It forecasts that 1997-98 will be "the true turning point for Russia's economy," 1999-2005 will bring "stable recovery," and after 2005, Russia will see "sustained growth." (408) This growth will permit gradual progress in attaining strategic goals to "restore its position as a great nation," to "contain regional separatism," and to prevent "external forces" from penetrating Russia's sphere of influence. (409)
What Chinese analysts emphasize is that despite Russia's current and short-term difficulties, the "framework" of its former power and status still exists, and the country has definite potential for future development. The CICIR study concludes, "Currently, Russia's domestic political and economic relations still are not smooth and the restoration of its Comprehensive National Power still requires time. However, the framework of Russia as a major nation and the factors of its actual strength have not disappeared; in particular, Russia possesses a huge nuclear weapons arsenal and armed forces that can not be belittled." (410) Similarly, Chen Qimao, former president of SIIS, writes, "In the short term it will be difficult for Russia to revive, but its potential cannot be underestimated. . . . From the long-term view, Russia will gradually recover and develop, and although it can not again become a superpower, it still will be a global power." (411) Yu Sui, of the Central Committee International Liaison Department, sums up Chinese analysts greater optimism about Russia's mid- to long-term prospects, saying, "We would rather assess that Russia will rejuvenate at an earlier date and at a quicker pace." (412)
dangers in the
future security environment
Not only do Chinese analysts predict continued domestic problems during Russia's path to establishing its position as one of the five poles of the future multipolar world, but they also examine the numerous threats to its external security environment. One author writes,
The correlation of forces is moving in an unfavorable direction for Russia. . . . Russia's geopolitical environment is becoming worse. . . . The western area of Russia has lost its strategic defense line by over a thousand kilometers. . . . Even more serious, the Pan-Turkic and Islamic Fundamentalists that tend to be against Russia are rapidly developing, which may possibly cause new conflicts and endanger the security of southern Russia. (413)
In general, most Chinese analysts focus on the United States and NATO as being the biggest challenges currently endangering Russia's security environment. In fact, some have blamed the West for contributing to Russia's continued domestic problems. For example, several authors assert that one of the reasons that Russia has not recovered more rapidly is "the stingy financial assistance provided by the Western powers." (414) The insufficient aid is explained by Chinese authors as the West's desire to keep Russia weak, so that it will not grow and once again be a challenge to America and NATO. "The United States and other Western countries . . . (have) continued their Cold War mentality, trying to take advantage of Russia's current political, economic and military weakness to pursue a policy of containment in order to weaken, westernize and split Russia and prevent it from restoring its position as a big power." (415)
However, Chinese analysts note that the West wants Russia to be "weak but not chaotic," and therefore must temper its efforts to inhibit the country's power. (416) Xue Gang, a Research Fellow at CIISS, explains, "The present U.S. attitude toward Russia is like this: on the one hand it continues to assist and support the present government in Moscow in order to stabilize the situation in Russia, but on the other, it attempts to prevent Russia from becoming truly powerful so that Russia will not become a threat to it again in the future." (417)
The main thrust of the West's "policy of precaution, containment, and enfeeblement" toward Russia is through the NATO eastward expansion. (418) Feng Yujun of CICIR writes, "There are three objectives for the West to extend eastward: to fill up the security vacancy in Eastern and Central Europe so as to consolidate its victory won in the Cold War; to give an impetus to Westernization of the former Warsaw Pact nations so as to 'enlarge the community of democratic countries' and to complete strategic encirclement of Russia so as to prevent Russia from staging a comeback." (419) Consequently, Chinese analysts assert, "It is not a simple policy regression for the Russians to redefine NATO as its chief threat. It is an inevitable result of the fierce strategic collision between Russia and the Western powers to protect their respective strategic interests. . . . Containing NATO expansion naturally becomes a major goal of Russian military strategy." (420) However, the Chinese forecast that the prospects for Russia's ability to prevent the eastward expansion are dim. A CICIR analyst, discussing how Russia was already forced to accept that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic will join NATO, writes, "Confronted with such a powerful offensive, Moscow has evidently soft-pedaled its resistance. Acutely aware of the latent threats to its security, yet unable to reverse the trends, Moscow had no alternative other than swallowing the bitter pill." (421) Some analysts do not foresee that Russia will do much better at thwarting new Western aggression in the near term either: "Short of an evident increase in economic and military strength in the near future, Russia will still be in a passive position before the NATO eastward expansion." (422)
Chinese authors often seem genuinely worried and even sympathetic to the hostile security environment in which a weakened Russia will find itself for decades ahead until its comprehensive power is rebuilt. For example, Russia's current weakness in the face of NATO seems exaggerated in this statement:
The disintegration of the Warsaw Pact Organization and the Soviet Union had already inflicted upon Russia a loss of a strategic depth of more than one thousand kilometers, and now NATO expansion would further push its military frontier eastward by more than 700 kilometers. It is known that the current strength of NATO conventional forces is three times that of Russia. If that of the first batch of members-to-be are also reckoned in, NATO would be militarily stronger than Russia by nearly 4 times, which would be a tremendous military pressure on Russia's western border. . . . Russia's position is restrained by its worsening national power. Politically, economically and militarily, NATO enjoys overwhelming advantage. The total GNP of its member states is 20 times that of Russia, and its military expenditure is 10 times Russia's. On the part of Russia, the erstwhile superpower is now not only crisis ridden economically and drastically weakened militarily, but also bogged down in domestic political strife. In consequence, its opposition to NATO expansion to Eastern and Central Europe is almost tantamount to a hope for the impossible, at least for the time being. (423)
Chinese analysts suggest that the real threat to Russia's security would occur if NATO decided to infiltrate the nations of the former Soviet Union, incorporating the Baltic states and Central Asian nations into its sphere of influence. They assert that such a move is part of the final NATO aim to completely encircle Russia and that the United States and Western European nations have already begun to lay the foundation for the ultimate stages of the eastward expansion. At present, they claim the West is penetrating the region through economic and military means. "The United States has decided to play a more active role in the ethnic and local conflicts in the region, and has refused to let Russia have special peacekeeping privileges in the region." (424)
A Senior Research Fellow at CIISS, Wang Naicheng, even argues that if NATO did eventually incorporate this area, such a development could mean the end of Russia's hope to becoming a pole in the future multipolar world. "Further NATO expansion to the Baltic nations, Ukraine, and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries will make Russia's space for strategic survival contract to the maximum. This would be no less than to strike at the root of Russia, for she might finally lose the important base upon which she could be an independent pole in the world." However, Wang asserts that Russia is doing its utmost to prevent this worst case scenario. "With the first line of defense in Central-Eastern Europe broken through, Russia is exerting every effort to build and entrench on the second line, tolerating no entry into the 'forbidden zone.' " (425)
Two articles written in 1998 foresee the three Baltic Nations--Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia-- becoming the next in line to fall into NATO clutches, citing the signing of the "U.S.-Baltic Charter of Partnership" in January and the first meeting of the Partnership Committee in July as preliminary steps. A People's Daily article asserts, "The formal launching of NATO eastward expansion shows that East Europe is being drawn into the west European sphere of influence and will not longer be under Russian control. Against this background, the United States has decided to push on in the flush of victory and regards the countries of the former Soviet Union as the next targets in expanding its influence." According to the article, the three Baltic states are the natural choices of NATO because they "were the first to break away from the Soviet Union and have never joined the CIS." Additionally, they have already tried to "fuse into Europe" in an effort to maintain their independence from Russian control. (426)
Other analysts see the Central Asian nations as the main countries targeted by the West. A CICIR study holds that "Western nations, with the United States at the head, have stood in the way of the CIS integration process, particularly toward Ukraine, and have actively carried out efforts to divide and disintegrate." U.S. invitations to Ukraine and Uzbekistan to join NATO are extremely dangerous to Russia's security interests, for Uzbekistan is considered to be an "important strategic partner" by the West, and in 1996, the Ukrainian Minister of National Defense expressed that at a necessary time, Ukraine "would not eliminate the possibility of entering NATO." (427) Additionally, Ukraine and a few Central Asian countries have signed "Peace Partnership Relationship" documents with NATO. One article asserts that it is through these Peace Partnerships that the United States will be able to increase its infiltration of the region, "on the pretext of 'mediating' regional conflicts, and, in the name of 'maintaining peace', dispatching U.S. and Western military forces to weaken and push out Russia's forces in this region." It concludes, "In essence it is a repeat of the 19th century 'fierce rivalry' among the great powers for Central Asia, and a way to turn Central Asian countries into the United States 'chess pieces.' " (428)
The future U.S. challenge to Russia is even more serious than efforts to contain Russia's power. In addition to luring former Soviet republics to join NATO, the United States has targeted Central Asian oil and natural gas and is already "squeezing Russia out." (429) Yang Shuheng, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), asserts, "The rivalry over the Caspian Sea region's oil and natural gas is . . . part of the U.S.-Russian rivalry over strategic interests and spheres of influence in the Eurasian hinterland. . . . The number of countries involved (in the struggle) will increase. . . . International forces covet the treasure chest that is Central Asia." (430)
While some Chinese authors regard Russia as passive and weak in the face of these threats, others see Russia as taking a stand and adopting countermeasures against U.S. and NATO policies. For example, Li Qinggong, a Research Fellow at CIISS, states, "The plan of 'NATO eastward expansion' pursued by the United States and other Western countries has entered the stage of implementation, but Russia has not weakened its opposition; it has taken new countering actions in an attempt to build the Russia-France-Germany axis to oppose the control of the United States over European security affairs and offset the impact of 'NATO eastward expansion.' " (431) Liu Guilin, an Associate Research Professor in the Division for Russian and East Europe Studies at CICIR writes, "Clearly, Moscow intends to rely on the CIS as both the basis for its great power strategy and the bulwark against NATO eastern expansion." He believes that despite drawbacks and problems that exist in inter-CIS relations, such as worries about "Moscow's possible domineering intention," Russia will not lose out to the West in the struggle for influence over the nations of the former Soviet Union. (432) "Shared interests will sustain the CIS in the face of difficulties . . . (and) cooperation will remain the mainstream due to economic and security interdependence. . . . Russia still retains strong deep-seated influence in the CIS in the forms of geographical proximity, traditional economic ties, and a Russian community of some 25 million scattered all over the region. All this cannot possibly be replaced by the West." (433) He writes that even the "strongly independence-minded Ukraine will still depend on Russia for a long time to come," citing the fact that 40 percent of its foreign trade is with Russia, and that Russia supplies much of its oil and gas. (434) Therefore, Liu predicts that CIS integration will proceed, although it will be gradual. Finally, he concludes,
Looking beyond the current Russian financial crisis, it can safely be estimated that along with further improvement in overall conditions, the stronger Russia's urge to make bigger strides in winning back its original big power status in international life, the greater CIS cohesion and the higher the organization's profile in a multipolar world of the 21st century. (435)
Chinese analysts recognize that on international issues other than NATO eastward expansion, Russia also has strategic interests that conflict with those of the West. In the Iraqi weapons inspection crises, they assert that Russia came out ahead in its dispute with the United States over how to handle the problem:
In resolving this conflict, there has been practically a struggle between Iraq and the United States, or a struggle between Russia and the United States, and Moscow has scored the most points. . . . All these efforts were made by Russia in an effort not only to head off a war in the Gulf region, but also to pave the way for strong economic ties with Iraq when the U.N. sanctions are eventually lifted. . . . Russia is, of course, aware that Washington does not like the strengthening of Russia's position in the Middle East and the increasing role of its diplomacy in the region. (436)
influence of the kosovo crisis
The two different views regarding Russia's position and power in the world structure--that it is passive and relatively powerless against the current onslaught from the NATO eastward expansion, versus it is actively asserting itself and taking steps to counter the threat--are reflected in the divergent views put forward by Chinese analysts regarding Russia's response to NATO military strikes against Yugoslavia in spring 1999. Some authors focus on the dangers posed by NATO actions in the Kosovo crisis and Russia's weak response, while others emphasize Russia's eventual return to power and the ways this was manifested during the crisis.
Chinese analysts regarded NATO strikes against Yugoslavia as part of the plan of eastward expansion, an effort "to bring the strategic areas in the Balkans under control, in order to further contain and weaken Russia and prevent Russia from rising up again." (437) While one CICIR analyst merely stated that NATO "wanted to issue a warning to Russia, and further weaken its international standing," other authors were much more explicit. (438) An article in the Liberation Army Daily, claimed:
The ultimate aim of the United States in launching air strikes against Yugoslavia is to remove the last obstacle on the 'crescent frontier' surrounding Russia and to further narrow Russia's strategic space. Sticking a knife in Russia's traditional sphere of influence not only contains Russia but gives Eastern Europe and the former Soviet countries a sense of crisis, making them realize that they are lacking military security assurance and forcing them to throw themselves more resolutely into the NATO fold. This move really kills two birds with one stone. (439)
Li Yonggang, a scholar at the Chinese Society for Strategy and Management, holds a similar view, "By dismembering the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or forcing Milosevic to surrender, the external front of Russia will be brushed away, therefore, Russia will be further oppressed, which is the key step to finally annihilating Russia." He writes, "In addition to sharing the advantages of militarily and politically squeezing out Russia," one of the reasons "NATO European powers have been so enthusiastic" about their actions in Yugoslavia is that it is an "attempt to get through the Balkan corridor in the south and extend their sphere of economic influence to Central Asia and even further to a wider scope." (440)
Wang Naicheng, of CIISS, also considers power in Central Asia to be one of the goals of NATO: "If NATO succeeds in stationing its troops in Kosovo and taking up strategically important places to the east, it can make direct threats against Central Asia, thus weakening the control of Russia over the CIS and undermining its foundation." Wang even warned that NATO incursions could harm Russia's efforts to return to power. "If the strength and influence of NATO can drive straight into the scope of influence of the former Soviet Union through the Balkans, Russia is bound to be further weakened and will encounter more difficulties in realizing its overall state strategy of becoming a pole in the future multipolar world." (441)
Chinese analysts note how the United States exploited Russia's economic weakness during the Kosovo crisis, counting on Russia's dependency on loans to keep it from taking a stand against NATO actions. Zhang Zhaozhong, of NDU, writes, "The United States has already accurately gauged Russia's weak disposition. When it started bombing the FRY, it was feeling for Russia's cards and did not know what Russia would do." However, "they know that in dealing with Russia they only need to use economic methods and give them a bit of money, and everything will be fine. In addition, the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also declared that they were willing to help Russia resolve its economic crisis and provide loans totaling over $4 billion. They also knew that Russia would just murmur without really doing anything." (442) Colonel Liu Gang of the Academy of Military Science (AMS) similarly commented on Russia's weak response due to economic concerns, stating, "The fact that Russia has continually changed its role during the Kosovo crisis shows that when U.S.-led NATO encroached on Russian interests in Kosovo and affronted its dignity. . . . Russia showed that, for economic reasons, 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,' and it had no alternative but to retreat." However, Colonel Liu points out that the United States was forced to make "certain concessions to Russia . . . because Russia is still a military power that cannot be lightly 'stirred up.' " (443)
Dr. Shen Jiru, a Research Fellow and Director of the International Strategic Research Section of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at CASS, argues that despite its weakened power, Russia will not be passive in the face of the NATO threat:
It is difficult for Russia to make any substantial moves. The fundamental reason for this is that its national strength is too weak. Its total domestic output is less than the military expenditure of the United States; its military expenditure is only about 1/45th that of the United States, or about $6 billion. Consequently, few Russian army divisions are completely equipped nowadays. . . . Nevertheless, the Russian Government also understands that NATO's strategic aim is to further weaken Russia to make it become a third-class country with no chance to rise up again forever. . . . Russia's entrance into the 20th century was marked by its defeat in the Russian-Japanese War. This time, Russia is certainly unwilling to have its entrance into the 21st century marked by losing the Balkans without a fight. (444)
Other authors considered Russia's function as a mediator in the Kosovo crisis to be evidence of Russia's continued influence in international affairs. One explained, "In the political settlement of the Kosovo issue, Russia played a unique, important role. Regarding this, the United States expressed its 'thanks' to Russia superficially. In fact, it had a sour feeling. For a considerable period of time, the United States has adopted the policy of pressuring and intimidating Russia, weakening its role in international affairs. However, when the United States was in a dilemma over the Kosovo issue, it had to seek Russia's assistance. As a consequence, the latter played the role of mediator and increased its international status." (445) The fact that Russian troops entered Kosovo before NATO troops was viewed by the Chinese as even further evidence of Russian power and a sign of potential growth and influence in the future.
Like magical soldiers descending from the sky, a spearhead detachment of the Russian peacekeeping force arrived in Pristina, capital of Kosovo in the Yugoslav Federation, at 0130 on 12 June. . . . It should be said that although Russia's national strength is weak at present, it is still very experienced in handling international affairs, and the action of its peacekeeping force in being the first into Kosovo has already scored highly in international politics. It shows to the whole world that Russia can still play a major role in international affairs, that Russia will continue to exert a major influence in postwar Kosovo issues, and that Russia can make things hot for NATO when necessary. (446)
Some Chinese analysts argue that one way for Russia to counterbalance the dangers to its security environment from the West would be to improve its relations with China. Chinese authors have noted a shift in Russia's foreign policy toward this direction, in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Initially, in the early 1990s, they were critical of Russia for focusing too much on the West, for "leaning to one side." (447) In keeping with the Chinese foreign policy theory that only weak nations have alliances, Russia at that time was regarded negatively, "Because of dependency on the West, Russia's foreign affairs policy lacked independence, causing its international position to suffer a disastrous decline and incurring domestic criticism and opposition." (448) However, in the mid-1990s, the focus of Russia's foreign policy began to widen, with greater attention being given to other parts of the world. (449) Li Zhongcheng, a Research Professor in the China and World Studies Division at CICIR, writes, "Russia, bent on recovering its former status as a global power, will intensify its efforts in pursuing an omni-directional diplomacy so as to regain and expand its influence in the international community." (450)
Chinese analysts assert that it was the threats to Russia's security environment from the West that caused it turn to the East, making Asia in general and China in particular the new targets of its diplomacy. Li states, "While NATO was busy preparing its eastward expansion and the United States and Japan redefined the U.S.-Japan security treaty, which broadened the field of cooperative defense, China and Russia announced a plan to develop a '21st-century-oriented strategic partnership of equality, mutual confidence, and mutual coordination.' " (451) Shi Ze, the Vice President of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), holds a similar view, emphasizing the benefits to Russia from improving its relations with China:
For Russia, it is the most realistic and ideal choice to enhance its cooperation with China so as to enter the Asia-Pacific economic and political space as soon as possible. . . . After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, certain changes have taken place in the geopolitical situation which are unfavorable to Russia. From the west, the eastern expansion of NATO has taken on a strong momentum, while in the south it is facing infiltration of the separatists. . . . Russia has made it the top priority to establish "good neighboring areas." Developing relations with China is significant not only for the improvement of Russia's surrounding environment, but also for the future prospect of its far east area. (452)
Chinese authors see the Sino-Russian partnership as benefiting both sides. (453) Not only does Russia gain by having a counterweight to NATO eastward expansion, but several studies also point to the economic advantages that can be derived through improved relations, because "the two sides are specially complementary in terms of resources, industrial structure, and development levels." (454) From China's point of view, it also intends to use Russia as a counterbalance to the West. Liu Jinghua of CASS writes,
There are two possible prospects for Russia: One, Russia succeeds in its reforms and fits into the track that the West designs for it. Two, Russia fails in its reforms and chooses nationalism. In 10 years, Russia's future will be clear. Within the next 15 years, Russia will still be a strong force, but it will not be on its guard against China. . . . Hence maintaining a good Sino-Russian relationship will have a comprehensive effect for China to use Russia's market and restrain the West. (455)
Study Reports on the International Situation-1997-1998, a yearly compilation of the views of authors from a variety of institutes published by the Chinese Society for Strategy and Management, contained an article that argues why Russia and China are very natural strategic partners. The author, Zheng Yu, writes, "Even if the next Russian President takes office with pro-Western influence in the year 2000, Russia's unique diplomatic and cultural tradition, its consciousness as a great power, and the natural characteristics formed by the Orthodox Eastern Church will make it difficult" for Russia to be part of the West. The process of catching up for Russia has lasted "several hundred years, since Peter the Great, [and] has not made Russia entirely Westernized." He further points out, "Since 1992 pro-Western radicals in Russia have gradually lost power on the Russian political stage." This is a strategic cultural argument. According to Zheng, a good reason for Russia to help China is that "Russia has considerable influence in the continents of Europe and Asia and will undoubtedly promote the setting up of China's position of a political great power in the world." (456)
Additionally, Zheng advocates that in the 21st century China should increase its cooperation with Russia and Northeast Asia "with a view to disintegrating American manipulation to improve Japanese-Russian relations and draw Russia closer to the American-Japanese position on the question of security in the Northeast Asian region." (457) Concerning economic factors, creating closer ties to Russia would also benefit China.
From the long-term view, the massive energy development projects in the next century already agreed upon will be an important source of supply for China's even greater energy demands in the early 21st century. In the inevitable economic recovery which Russia will have in the early 21st century, China will be a great market unmatched by the West, either because of its geographical advantage or its consistent demand for the same product mix of Russian goods. The absorption by China of Siberian chemical, metallurgical and energy products will play a big role as a market to support the development of Russia's Eastern Region.
Zheng also points out that "China's participation in the development of Russia Far East oil and gas fields will have an important strategic significance in the next century." (458) Military affairs is a final area where China could profit from improved relations. Zheng argues, "In Chinese-Russian military cooperation, China should absorb and use Russian achievements for long-term research on American weapons and combat methods in order to serve China in its struggle in Taiwan and to exercise Chinese sovereignty in the South China Sea. (459)
Chinese analysts do point out troubles that exist in Sino-Russian relations, which could become hindrances to continued improvement, and a few authors have warned Moscow not to interfere in Taiwan or take other steps to harm China's interests. The Vice President of CIIS put forward three main problem areas in the bilateral ties:
- "There often appear comments in the Russian society and media not conducive to the bilateral relations; some extreme nationalists of Russia also make trouble in bilateral relations time and again. They disseminate the theory of 'Russia is getting weaker and China getting stronger,' or 'China is carrying out population and economic expansion to Russia,' some even openly exaggerating that 'the development of China has constituted threats to Russia.' They are deliberately making rifts in the bilateral relations."
- "In the boundary areas, the two countries have resolved 99 percent of the boundary issues, but still a small number of borders are not determined. Some regional forces and politicians are obstructing the boundary delimitation work."
- "The issue of Taiwan still remains an important issue affecting Sino-Russian relations. While actively expanding economic and trade relations and people-to-people exchanges with Russia, the Taiwan authorities also are attempting to seek official relations with Russia, to which some political forces in Russia have given certain responses." (460)
Other authors cite similar issues, but argue that the current trend of improving relations will outweigh the problems. Feng Yujun, an Assistant Research Professor in the Division for Russian and East Europe Studies at CICIR writes,
Side by side with deepening bilateral relations, there has arisen an anti-China undercurrent in Russia, which spreads such allegations against China as "population invasion," "economic penetration," "military challenges," and "geostrategic contradictions." It has affected somewhat the expansion of bilateral relations. Yet this frenzy remains after all only a tributary and is mixed up with many factors of Russian domestic politics. The mainstream in Russia's China policy still considers China as a reliable partner and gives top priority in Russian foreign policy to the expansion of relations with China. (461)
In general, Chinese analysts put forward very positive assessments of the current and future development of the two countries' relationship. For example, the settlement and removal of problems that existed between China and the Soviet Union, such as ideology and border disputes, have contributed to the improvement of Sino-Russian relations, as Shi Ze asserts: "Compared with the relations between China and the Soviet Union, which experienced ups and downs and even military confrontations . . . the relations between China and Russia have been showing positive momentum of stable development and full dynamic." (462)
Other authors write about how Sino-Russian relations will contribute to regional stability and the world's multipolar development: "The expansion of Sino-Russian strategic cooperation has given an impetus to adjustments in major power relations and a strong stimulus to the tendency toward a multipolar world." (463) Li Zhongcheng of CICIR even predicts that these improved relations will be better than those China has with the United States:
In the near future, China's ties with Russia will be much closer than with the United States . . .There exist no "natural" or "artificial" barriers to friendly cooperation between China and Russia; China shares more common views on major world issues with Russia than China shares with the United States and the United States shares with Russia; China and Russia both stick to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. (464)
Chinese analysts often point to Russian military power as one of the key factors contributing to its continued existence as a major nation in the world and believe that in international affairs it will rely on its military strength while it copes with its domestic economic and political problems. However, the Russian military, while strong, still can not compare to that of the Soviet Union. One author writes about Russia's current force: "Its military power has declined and its defense capability has seriously weakened. . . . Russia inherited most of the former Soviet army's weapons and equipment, but less than 20 percent of those meet the requirements of modernization; its military power has seriously weakened." (465)
A CICIR study stated, "Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall in Russia's Comprehensive National Power, Russia's armed forces sank into a severe decline." It went on to sum up several problems Russia will have to deal with in its efforts to modernize and develop its military:
- "The largest difficulty currently facing the Russian military is that funds are seriously insufficient."
- "The serious shortage of funds greatly influences the Russian military's work in troop training, logistics supplies, equipment renewal, professionalizing troops, and other projects."
- "Troop replenishment difficulties have brought the Russian military one disaster after another. Because of unrest in the Russian political situation and the low level of the troops' social position and living wages, young people's enthusiasm for participating in the military is universally low, and evading military service is extremely common."
- "Various objective factors are causing a sharp rise in the crime rate in the Russian armed forces."
- "In the war in Chechnya, the Russian military revealed that its command coordination was not at its best, its coordinated fighting was in chaos, its information reconnaissance was sluggish, its logistics safeguards were lacking, it had low officer-soldier morale, and there were many other weak points." (466)
However, according to the study, Russia's military reforms may speed up because of its problems in Chechnya, which "critically influenced Russia's military reform process," even though Russia still "lacks a clear military reform strategy." Failures during the war in Chechnya resulted in much attention from Russia's highest decisionmaking levels, so that the entire plan for military reforms is also being "tensely deliberated and drafted." (467)
One area of Russia's military force that Chinese analysts assess as balancing these inadequacies is its arsenal of nuclear weapons. "On the one hand, Russia is still a major nuclear power and the second largest military power in the world; on the other hand, the shortage of military funds, the slow renewal of equipment and the irregular training have greatly lowered the Russian army's effectiveness." (468) Chinese authors point out that, "given the fact that Russian national power has dramatically declined and its conventional forces have been reduced on a large scale," Russia has no choice but to "stress the deterrent role played by the nuclear force in safeguarding its national security." (469) A People's Daily article stated,
Russia, not reconciled to having been reduced to a "second-class country," tries hard to restore its status as a big country with its "nuclear shield." . . . After beginning to expand eastward, NATO has steadily closed in on Russia, and Russia has been reduced to an inferior position with regard to the balance between Russia and Western countries in conventional military forces. Thus, Russia should all the more attach importance to the nuclear weapons in its hands.
The article predicts that Russia will invest heavily in the development of nuclear technology so that it will retain its military power:A particularly negative assessment of Russia's military capabilities was put forward by Shen Jiru, Director of the International Strategic Research Section of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at CASS. He also believes that Russia's only option is to rely on its nuclear forces. He writes:
To balance its nuclear weapons with those of the United States, Russia has still allocated a huge sum of money, despite its financial straits, in order to accelerate development of the "White Poplar M" intercontinental guided missiles. This year, Russia will deploy this new kind of guided missile to replace gradually the SS-25 powered intercontinental ballistic guided missiles. Russia is also developing a new series of fourth-generation nuclear submarines called "God of the North Wind," and the first modern nuclear submarine, named "Dorglooge," will be put into use between 2000 and 2003. (470)
Few Russian army divisions are completely equipped nowadays. As its navy cannot even afford fuel, its aircraft carriers have had to be sold as scrap metal. Under these circumstances, Russia can only barely manage to keep up its nuclear forces, but nothing else. Russian military personages have said that, in the future, Russia will have to be more and more reliant on nuclear forces. Therefore, in conducting any future military activities, Russia has lost the possibility of making choices. As far as Russia is concerned, it either fights or does not fight. But if the latter is chosen, it is very probable that it will have to use nuclear weapons, because any other weapons link for Russia is now incomplete. Russia would be unable to operate militarily in a normal way due to financial problems as well as a shortage of military staff. Frankly, it just lacks the material base to adopt any strategy and tactics which would escalate step by step. (471)
Despite Russia's weakened military force, Chinese analysts emphasize that it still is quite powerful when compared to that of other countries. According to Chinese assessments, Russia currently has the second most powerful military in the world after the United States, and in the short term no other country will be able to surpass it. For example, Yan Xuetong of CICIR writes, "Russia's superiority over China, Japan, and Germany in the areas of nuclear and conventional weaponry . . . can be preserved until early next century." (472) A comparison of the military power of six countries, done by Colonel Huang Shuofeng of AMS in 1996 as part of a study on CNP, found that Russia's military power was 67 percent of the U.S. score, a major decline from the assessment of the Soviet Union's military power by Huang in 1990, when it was 99.6 percent of the U.S. score. (473) However, Huang points out, "Although Russia currently has numerous economic difficulties, the progress of its armed forces reforms is uneven, its national defense expenditures have actually decreased by around 45 percent, and it has suffered a disastrous decline from its position as a military superpower to a very large extent; it can be said that Russia is a military power that is second only to the United States, and it is second only to the United States in terms of the highest military expenditures." China accordingly, still falls behind Russia in military power. Based on Huang's calculations, in 1996, China's military power score was 77.7 percent of the Russian score. In strategic weaponry, China's score was only 0.4 percent of Russia's; in national defense expenditures, China scored 8.7 percent; and in average national defense expenditures per person and annual per capita defense expenditures, China's scores were 4.7 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. (474)
"secret" rma efforts
As Russia assumes its place as one of the five poles in the multipolar structure, Chinese military analysts believe Russia will also be exploiting the RMA, probably ahead of the declining United States. Two officers at AMS, authors of America, Russia, and the Revolution in Military Affairs, describe Russia's fall from its "superpower pinnacle" as the reason Moscow "temporarily will be unable to compete with the United States in this new RMA." They add: "In the new RMA tide that is currently rising in the world, the United States without a doubt is in the central position that is the focus of attention." However, they contend that several factors favor a surprise, and Russia may do better at the RMA than the United States: "Because military power has today become practically the only pillar supporting Russia's position as a major nation, its strategists will place top priority on using the new RMA to maintain its military superiority in a position of top priority in its national strategy. Currently it is secretly taking aim at America's commanding position in the new RMA and actively planning, preparing, and carrying out the new RMA." (475) The orthodox view seems to be that Russia will achieve sustained growth after 2005, and recovery suggests to PLA authors that Moscow will be able to exploit the RMA rapidly, which would enhance Russian military power.
Russian military specialists invited to AMS find their works quoted favorably in Chinese journals. (476) Even though "up to now [Moscow] still has not completely implemented a new RMA plan . . . this does not indicate that the figures in Russia's military and political leadership and military doctrinal circles lack a full understanding and urgent desire regarding the RMA; also, it does not mean that Russia is willingly allowing its former opponent to get far ahead in the spring tide of this new RMA . . . they are trying to prepare for the future when Russia will enter the period when it completely carries out the new RMA." (477) Despite its current economic weakness, Chinese analysts such as Gao Chunxiang of AMS see that, "Russia's high-level military and political leadership continually make speeches on issues related to the RMA . . . [and] draw lessons from the new technology the United States needs to develop the RMA." The place in Russia where this is done is "the General Staff Military Academy and other military learning organizations." The Chinese are aware that Russian doctrine "points out that national defense research and development must first focus on developing new deep-strike weapons, information weapons, and electronic warfare equipment." Moreover, they know the Russian military is "putting forward concepts about 21st century Russian military structure and has already made public 'The Russian Military's Ten-Year Weaponry Development Long-Term Plan' and 'Twenty-First Century Soldier Equipment Plan.' " (478) Li Qinggong, a Research Fellow at CIISS, writes,
With the introduction of the program of "three-phased military reform," Russia has begun to speed up the process of the new military revolution, with an even clearer objective, i.e., carrying out the professionalization of the armed forces, enhancing military scientific research, updating equipment on large scale, and restoring its position of a major military power. To achieve this goal, Russia on the one hand is adjusting its military structure and reorganizing its military industries, and on the other hand is increasing its input in the development of military high technology, updating its nuclear force and promoting its conventional force. In order to deal with future information warfare, Russia specially held a roundtable meeting, which introduced the "doctrine of information security" and decided to step up its development of information weapons so as to achieve a "new balance of power." (479)
implications of the soviet collapse
As noted in the Preface, Chinese "debates" about the security environment are quite different in style and content from the debates of Western scholars and public commentators. Debates about Russia have been particularly sensitive and secretive in the two decades since the death of Chairman Mao.
According to interviews in China, these past debates remain relevant and not all issues in them have been fully resolved. A secretive debate on the character of the USSR was carried out in the mid-1970s through allegorical references to Chinese ancient history by authors using pseudonyms for the individuals or groups involved. The authors pretended to hold "harmless" historical debates. Only after the deaths of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai and the subsequent arrest of the Gang of Four did China reveal that the allegorical debates had directly involved Politburo members. Apparently they instigated the scholars' attack on the policies of their political opponents using ancient historical figures in allegory. (480)
From 1978 to 1982, a second debate on the USSR was also largely concealed. The result of the second debate was a sharp reduction in China's assessment of a Soviet military threat. (481)
The collapse of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union jolted China. China's leaders had difficulty maintaining their claim that socialism was a superior system that would eventually replace capitalism. Consequently, in the early nineties, a debate ensued over the causes of the collapse and the implications for China. In the first phase of the debate, from 1991-92, the United States was assessed to be completely responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union through a process of containment and ideological subversion called "peaceful evolution." (482) However, this view was overturned in the second stage of "scholarly" debate in 1992-93. (483)
Close examination of Chinese commentary from 1990 to 1992 indicates a veiled debate took place among various institutes and individuals about the causes of the Soviet disintegration and its consequences for Chinese communism. The debates were initially restricted to internally circulated journals. Using an old Mao quotation, an initial explanation was attributed to an American strategy, dating back to John Foster Dulles, known by the characters for "peaceful evolution." An early assertion of this cause of the Soviet collapse appeared in Hong Kong in December 1991 in a newspaper affiliated with the People's Republic of China (PRC):
The strategy of peaceful evolution created an opportunity for foreign forces, lead by United States, to meddle in, interfere with, and eventually dominate the political and economic affairs of the Soviet Union, and opened the door for them to impose their own political, economic and social values. (484)
Its author provides an explicit warning for China when he adds, "It is fair to say that without overt or covert support from the United States, the disintegration of the Soviet Union could not have been realized, nor could it have been achieved so successfully and so precipitously."
According to the "peaceful evolution" strategy, the levers the United States used against the former Soviet Union (and which would apply to China) were trade, economic cooperation, technology transfer, diplomacy, cultural and educational exchanges, religious freedom, and so on. Another scholar estimates that the West enjoyed a superiority in these "weapons." By the mid-1980s, the estimated advantage that the Western countries enjoyed over the socialist countries in material terms was calculated by the Chinese to be 3:1. However, in terms of mass media, the advantage was calculated to exceed 20:1. The analyst argued that Western countries have employed electronic media as a weapon to infiltrate socialist countries and disintegrate them. (485) One internal speech by a Chinese leader warns,
In the wake of traumatic changes in Eastern Europe and the August 19 coup in the Soviet Union, the task of countering peaceful evolution has become ever tougher. The developed countries headed by the United States attempt to conquer the whole world in terms of ideology, imposing such Western values as democracy, freedom and human rights . . . they have already caused revolts in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Now they naturally would target China. (486)
According to interviews conducted by the author, a book entitled Western Politicians on Peaceful Evolution contains articles warning about the American subversive strategy for dealing with China after the June 1989 Tiananmen breakdown.
moscow's own fault
The second thesis about the collapse of the Soviet Union was argued by Liu Keming, the former chief of the Liaison Department of China's Central Committee. Liu, a leading Soviet expert, criticized Mikhail Gorbachev's "new thinking" and his personality. (487) In Liu's view, when Gorbachev introduced a multiparty system and separation of powers, he completely negated 70 years of Soviet political structure and brought an end to the Communist Party in power. Gorbachev was a negative example for China; thus Liu asserts that China should avoid:
- The adoption of a multiparty system, which abandoned the leading role of the Communist Party
- A pluralist ideology, in which Marxist-Leninism no longer formed the only ideological foundation
- Talk of democratic socialism rather than communism as the final goal of the party
- Rejection of democratic central control of the Communist Party and its transformation into a loose political organization tolerating overt factions.
Liu's thesis holds that the neglect of politics and ideology by the Soviet leadership, together with Gorbachev's political errors and widespread corruption (including the bribery case of Leonid Brezhnev's son-in-law), all caused the downfall.
By mid-1992, however, a new analysis emerged. Scholars presenting this analysis challenged the idea of Western imperialists pushing peaceful evolution in the Soviet Union. If they had been at it since the 1940s, why did it not succeed until the late 1980s? They asked how hostile international forces could peacefully subvert a 20-million-member Soviet Communist Party without encountering any resistance. Professor Luo Zhaohong, of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at CASS, directly criticizes the effort to blame Gorbachev alone for the Soviet disintegration. He also attacks the notion of peaceful evolution, arguing that foreign involvement could never play a significant role in the Soviet collapse. Professor Luo puts forward the view that it was an excess of Stalinism and poor budgetary management and errors in economic policy that caused the Soviet collapse. (488) According to Chinese analysts, the logic of the "peaceful evolution" thesis began to be attacked by many analysts in the second phase of the 1990-1992 debate. (489) For one thing, not a single American soldier had entered the Soviet Union. Chinese analysts instead suggest that problems such as agriculture were ignored; the ethnic issue was mishandled; and the Soviets were overcommitted, especially with the invasion of Afghanistan and generous aid to Cuba. In general, they said, economic factors were key to the collapse.
In an interesting twist, the new argument held that stagnation and isolation had caused the Soviet system to fall behind, along with its highly centralized planning and an excessive military budget. The implication of this diagnosis was that if China could avoid highly centralized planning, excess defense spending, and isolation, then China could also avoid the fate of the Soviet Union. Professor Luo Zhaohong also criticizes the economic theory of the Soviet Union because it left out of its theoretical foundation notions of value, profit, and competition and it overemphasized state-owned enterprises, which had no autonomy and had their production geared to an arbitrary state plan rather than market commands. This, he concludes, destroyed the vitality of enterprises and hampered the quantity and quality of production. There were no incentives to innovate. Technological progress and competition with the West were impossible. (490)
Professor Luo estimates the Soviet defense budget to have been at 20 to 25 percent of the GNP at the time of the USSR collapse, and almost all the research efforts of the Soviet industrial base served the military. He quotes former Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov in saying that 75 percent of the government research and development budget had been appropriated for alternate use, and that the military share of electronics was as much as 50 percent. Thus Luo concludes that because the Soviet GNP was one-third that of the U.S. GNP, maintaining strategic parity with strategic weapons and surpassing the United States in conventional forces put an unbearable burden on the Soviet economy. The Chinese quote Gorbachev's admission in a speech in February 1981: "This is the most militarized economy in the world." (491)
Gorbachev's personality and policies may have accelerated the economic collapse, but in the Chinese view, decades of overly centralized planning and excessive military expenditures were the root causes of the collapse. The gap between American and Soviet living standards was 10 to 1, according to Chinese calculations, with the per capita GNP in the Soviet Union as low as about $2,000.
The conclusions for China of this new thesis were not that "peaceful evolution" should be cut off by seclusion and isolation from Western cultural influences; rather, the issues would be successful management of the economy to maintain ever higher living standards, further devolution of planning toward a market economy, and efforts to continue technological progress. After nearly 2 years of debate, in what seems to be a tradition in this policy process, a major conference was held in Beijing in May 1992. The record was published in the journal World Economics and Politics. An important element in this policy process was a statement made by Deng Xiaoping during his tour of Southern China in early 1992. In remarks conveyed through intermediaries, Deng supposedly said, "A planned economy does not equal socialism." Whether something is socialist or capitalist, Deng pointed out, depends on whether it will benefit the living standards of the people. He criticized anyone who opposed foreign capital investment in China or joint ventures with foreigners as "ignorant" and "lacking common sense." (492)
Russia and the Soviet Union have always been a subject of debate in China. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s there were disagreements about the extent of the Soviet threat, while in the early 1990s a major debate ensued over the causes of the collapse of the USSR and its implications for China. Today, Chinese analysts see the Soviet decline as a cautionary tale but generally speaking they regard Russia with sympathy. In spite of its current extensive problems, Chinese analysts "officially" continue to portray the future role of Russia as one of the five equal poles that will shape the coming world balance of power. They forecast that its decline will eventually end, and that Russia will increase its military power by exploiting the RMA in advance of other nations. Although Russia's inevitable recovery and position as a pole are commonly accepted by Chinese analysts, what will happen to the country during the transition to a multipolar world is the subject of conflicting points of view. Authors recognize that Russia will continue to have economic, political, and social instability. What they disagree upon is how long the turmoil will prevail. Additionally, most analysts discuss the numerous threats to Russia's future security environment, but they differ in how they view its response to these dangers.
Chinese authors do not foresee Russia's severe crises and decline in CNP preventing it from assuming its position as a pole, because they emphasize that the framework of its former power and status still exists, and it has potential for future development. Some authors argue that promoting relations with China would be a way for Russia to improve its current circumstances. Not only would it be helped by strengthened economic ties to China, but a strategic partnership would also be a means for counterbalancing the dangers to its security environment, particularly by providing a counterweight to NATO eastward expansion.
It is Russia's past efforts and its future abilities to deal with serious threats from the U.S. and NATO that are the main subjects of debate about Russia. Some analysts see Russia as passive and relatively powerless against NATO efforts to infringe upon the former Soviet sphere of influence. They point out that Russia has already lost Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia to NATO and do not foresee that Russia will do much better at thwarting new Western aggression in the near term. The real threat to Russia's security would occur if NATO decided to infiltrate the Baltic states and particularly Central Asia, where the goal of the West is not only to contain Russia's power but also to obtain oil and gas. There have even been warnings that if Russia does not prevent these incursions, it could lose its foundation for becoming a pole. However, other analysts see Russia adopting countermeasures against U.S. and NATO policies that are commensurate with its current power and indicative of future influence.
Chinese discussions of Russian military strength tend to fall into two categories--those that focus on the negative aspects of its current status, and those that make positive predictions about the future. When assessing the Russian military today, many authors examine its numerous weaknesses, although its arsenal of nuclear weapons is often considered to balance some of its inadequacies. More optimistic assessments are made about Russian military affairs, when analysts examine the country's development potential. In particular, some authors assert that as Russia assumes its place as a pole, it will be developing the RMA, probably ahead of the declining United States. Analysts argue that its current military power is the key factor contributing to its continued existence as a major nation in the world, consequently the country will give priority to promoting the RMA. The belief is that once Russia inevitably overcomes its problems, gradual sustained growth will allow it to be able to rapidly exploit the RMA, enhancing both its military strength, as well as its overall CNP.
394. Gu Guanfu, "Russian Foreign Policy in Evolution," Contemporary International Relations 4, no. 11 (November 1994).
395. Zhu Xiaoli and Zhao Xiaozhuo, Mei-E xin junshi geming (America, Russia, and the revolution in military affairs)(Beijing: Junshi kexue chubanshe, 1996), 2.
396. Gao Chunxiang, ed., Xin junshi geming lun (On the new revolution in military affairs)(Beijing: Junshi kexue chubanshe, 1996), 196.
397. Yang Shuheng, "Lengzhan hou de Zhong-Mei-E guanxi" (Sino-U.S.-Russian relations after the Cold War," Heping yu fazhan (Peace and Development) 51, no. 1 (February 1995): 13-15, 42.
398. Gilbert Rozman, The Chinese Debate About Soviet Socialism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), 3.
399. Yan Jin, Bai Xue, and Zhang Xingping, Shuangtouying fei xiang hechu--guoji wutai shang de E'Luosi (Where is the double-headed eagle flying--Russia on the international stage)(Beijing: Shishi chubanshe, 1995).
400. The most dramatic scenario of an independent Siberia occurs in the first novel about future warfare that the PLA has published--Qiao Liang, Mo ri zhi men--Danyuan zhe qizhong miaoshu de yiqie jie nan dou bu yao fasheng (Door to doomsday--I hope the disasters described will not take place)(Beijing: Kunlun chubanshe, 1995). Siberian independence is declared to exploit the distraction of Chinese armed forces attempting to limit a war between India and Pakistan (in order to preserve a balance of power in South Asia, even though India has not invaded China). The author serves in the General Political Department of PLA.
401. An example of an optimistic assessment of Russia's future is Yu Sui, "Dui E'Luosi xingshi yu zhengce de ji dian kanfa" (Some observations on Russia's situation and policy), Xiandai guoji guanxi (Contemporary International Relations) 76, no. 2 (February 1996): 17-20.
402. According to Zhu Chun, of the China Institute of International Strategic Studies, a think tank affiliated with Chinese military intelligence, "The maintenance of a balanced development of relations in the Asia-Pacific region by the four big powers, the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Japan is of great significance to peace and stability in this region." See "A Probe Into the Question of Security and New Order in the Asia-Pacific Region," International Strategic Studies (English edition) 19, no. 1 (March 1991): 14.
403. Zhang Changtai, "Some Views on the Current Situation in the Asia-Pacific Region," International Strategic Studies 43, no.1 (January 1997): 31.
404. For an analysis of Russia's economic crisis see Sun Zhanlin, "News Analysis: Why Has the Russian Financial Crisis Occurred," Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, September 16, 1998, in FBIS-CHI-98-264, September 25, 1998.
405. Dong Bainan, "Euluosi lianbang he qian Sulian diqu qita guojia de fazhan qianjing" (The development prospects for the Russian federation and the other countries of the former Soviet region), in Kua shiji de shijie geju da zhuanhuan (Major changes in the world structure at the turn of the century), ed. Chen Qimao (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe, 1996), 79.
406. Wang Lijiu and Liu Guiling, eds., Kua shiji de E'Luosi (Russia today and in the next century) (Beijing: Shishi chubanshe, 1997), 78-80.
408. Ibid., 128-131.
409. Ibid., 176.
410. Ibid., 198.
411. Chen Qimao, "Qianyan" (Introduction), in Kua shiji de shijie geju da zhuanhuan, 8.
412. Yu Sui, "The Big Powers' Relationships in Northeast Asia," International Strategic Studies, 8, no. 3 (1994).
413. Li Haoyu, "Shixi E'Luosi de guojia anquan zhanlue" (A tentative analysis of Russia's national security strategy), Heping yu Fazhan (Peace and Development) 50, no. 4 (November 1994): 24.
414. Song Yimin, "Dulianti de xianzhuang ji fazhan qianjing" (The Commonwealth of Independent States current situation and its future), Heping yu fazhan (Peace and Development) 50, no. 4 (November 1994): 21-23. Another article stressing how little aid the United States gave Russia is Zhang Yebai, "Meiguo dui E'Luosi de yuanju" (American assistance to Russia), Heping yu fazhan (Peace and Development) 49, no. 3 (August 1994): 44-48.
415. Wang Rui and Zhang Wei, "A Preliminary Analysis of Russian Military Strategy," International Strategic Studies 45, no. 3 (July 1997): 39.
416. Li Haoyu, "Shixi E'Luosi de guojia anquan zhanlue," 27.
417. Xue Gang, "The Present Security Policy Framework of Russia," International Strategic Studies, no. 1 (1995). A CICIR analyst has noted that the United States cannot push Russia too far in its efforts to weaken and contain its development. "As for Washington, avoidance of a confrontation with Russia is also in its own strategic interests. Examination of Washington's Russia policy reveals its duality. On the one hand, it intends to guard against and contain Russia out of concern for Moscow's reviving potential and alleged 'imperial ambitions,' which may someday evolve into a regional dominating power threatening Washington's world leadership. As a matter of fact, the NATO eastern expansion is essentially a most important strategic move against such an eventuality. On the other hand, it attempts to appease and encourage Russia at the same time. Russia's position on the nuclear issue and the success or failure of Moscow's economic transition are closely related to U.S. strategic objectives. Under these circumstances, possible confrontation with Moscow on this issue would naturally harm vital U.S. interests." See Zhang Minqian, "Washington and NATO Expansion," Contemporary International Relations 7, no. 5 (May 1997): 4-5. Zhang is an Associate Research Professor at CICIR.
418. Wang Naicheng, "Beiyue dongkuang dui Mei-E-Ou guanxi de yingxiang" (The impact of NATO's eastward expansion on relations between the United States, Russia and Europe), Guoji zhanlue yanjiu (International Strategic Studies) 46, no. 4 (October 1997): 20. Wang is a Senior Research Fellow at CIISS.
419. Feng Yujun, "Moscow vs. NATO: Compromise Will Not Dispel Apprehensions," Contemporary International Relations 7, no. 5 (May 1997): 14. Feng is an Assistant Research Professor at CICIR.
420. Wang Rui and Zhang Wei, "A Preliminary Analysis of Russian Military Strategy," 40.
421. Zhang Minqian, "Washington and NATO Expansion," 5.
422. Ji Zhiye, "Russia in 1997," Contemporary International Relations 7, no. 1 (January 1997): 31-32.
423. Feng Yujun, "Moscow vs. NATO: Compromise Will Not Dispel Apprehensions," 10, 14.
424. Li Haoyu, "Shixi E'Luosi de guojia anquan zhanlue," 27.
425. Wang Naicheng, "Beiyue dongkuang dui Mei-E-Ou guanxi de yingxiang," 19.
426. Xu Hongzhi, "The United States Upgrades Ties with the Three Baltic States," Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), July 21, 1998, 6, in FBIS-CHI-98-209, July 29, 1998. See also Tang Bingzhong, "Another Move by the United States on the Chessboard European Strategy," Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, January 18, 1998, in FBIS-CHI-98-021, January 23, 1998.
427. Wang Lijiu and Liu Guiling, eds., Kua shiji de E'Luosi, 189-190.
428. Wang Guang, "New U.S. Central Asia Strategy Evaluated" (in Chinese), Xiandai guoji guanxi (Contemporary International Relations), no. 11 (November 1997): 13-16.
429. Yang Shuheng, "Lengzhan hou daguo he diqu liliang dui Zhongya de zhengduo" (The struggles over Central Asia by major nations and regional forces in the post-Cold War period), Heping yu fazhan (Peace and Development) 60, no. 2 (June 1997): 29.
430. Ibid., 45.
431. Li Qinggong, "Dangqian de guoji junshi anquan xingshi" (Current international military security situation," Guoji zhanlue yanjiu (International Strategic Studies) 47, no. 1 (January 1998):8.
432. Liu Guiling, "Whither CIS?," Contemporary International Relations 8, no. 7 (July 1998): 29, 31.
433. Ibid., 33-35.
434. Ibid., 34.
435. Ibid., 36.
436. Wang Dandi, "Russia's Role, Goal in Resolving Iraqi Crisis," Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service (February 24, 1998), in FBIS-CHI-98-055, March 3, 1998.
437. Wang Naicheng, "Failure of the New Strategic Concept," Jiefangjun bao (Liberation Army Daily), May 22, 1999, 4, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0601, May 22, 1999.
438. Yuan Peng, "An Arrogant and Lonely Superpower--The Tradition and History of Hegemony," Zhongguo Qingnian Bao, May 26, 1999, 3, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0609, June 10, 1999. Yuan is at CICIR.
439. Li Donghang, "Dangerous Attempt to Resist Multipolarization Process," Jiefangjun bao (Liberation Army Daily), May 26, 1999, 5, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0604, May 26, 1999.
440. Li Yonggang, "Looking at the U.S. World Strategy Against the Backdrop of the Kosovo Crisis," excerpt published in Zhongguo Tongxun She (Hong Kong), May 27, 1999, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0528, May 27, 1999.
441. Wang Naicheng, "Failure of the New Strategic Concept."
442. Ma Ling, "The Attempt Behind the 'Bombing in Error'--Interview with Renowned Military Commentator Zhang Zhaozhong," Ta Kung Pao (Hong Kong), May 17, 1999, A4, in FBIS-CHI-1999-1518, May 17, 1999. Zhang is Director of the Science and Technology Teaching and Research Section of NDU.
443. Liu Gang, "Why Has Russia Changed Its Role," Renmin ribao, June 23, 1999, 6, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0624, June 25, 1999.
444. Hsu Tao-chen, "United States Still Makes Old Mistakes, Exclusive interview with Shen Jiru," Hong Kong Ta Kung Pao, May 21, 1999, A6, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0604, May 21, 1999. A similar view is presented in Xiao Feng, "World Trends Under U.S. Global Strategy, Part One of Two," Renmin Ribao, May 31, 1999, 6, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0601, May 31, 1999. "Since Russia is 'no longer what it was' and dares not break up with the West, it is forced to make concessions in a weak-kneed fashion. A nation which once defeated Napoleon and later defeated Hitler during World War Two cannot be ordered about for a long time. Russia's economic strength has been weakened and its political situation is unstable, but its military strength, especially its nuclear arsenal, is still there. Once it has recovered sufficiently to stand on its feet, its conflicts with the West, especially with U.S. hegemonism, are bound to sharpen. It will not accept the attempts of the United States to build a 'unipolar world.' "
445. Ma Shikun and Zhang Yong, "United States: Winner or Loser?" Renmin Ribao, June 11, 1999, 6, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0611, June 11, 1999.
446. Qi Changming, "Unusual Significance of the Russian Army's Stealing a March into Kosovo," Jiefangjun bao (Liberation Army Daily), June 13, 1999, 4, in FBIS-CHI-1999-0623, June 24, 1999.
447. Gao Heng, "Lengzhan hou Mei-E-De sanbian guanxi" (The trilateral relations between the United States, Russia and Germany in the post-Cold War period"), Heping yu fazhan (Peace and Development), 60, no. 2 (June 1997): 10.
448. Wang Lijiu and Liu Guiling, eds., Kua shiji de E'Luosi, 3.
449. Several authors point to 1996 as the specific year in which Russia began to stand up to the West and shift the focus of its foreign policy to the East. For example, "The year 1996 marked a turning point in Russia's foreign policy." Ji Zhiye, "Russia in 1997," 31. See also Wang Lijiu and Liu Guiling, eds., Kua shiji de E'Luosi, 4.
450. Li Zhongcheng, "World Politics in 1997," Contemporary International Relations 7, no. 1 (January 1997): 1-2.
451. Li Zhongcheng, "The Role of an Emerging China in World Politics," Contemporary International Relations 8, no. 2 (February 1998): 14.
452. Shi Ze, "Lun xin shiqi de Zhong-E guanxi" (Perceptions on Sino-Russian relations in the new era)," Gouji zhanlue yanjiu (International Studies) 60, no. 2 (April 1996): 5-6.
453. A CICIR study provides a positive assessment of Sino-Russian relations, pointing to four main reasons why Sino-Russian relations have made headway in the past several years and will continue to develop in the future. First, "No major disputes and problems exist between China and Russia." Neither country interferes in the internal affairs of the other, such as Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights. Second, both sides have learned from past historical experiences. Third, "On international issues, the two countries have numerous common understandings and common interests that are not mutually exclusive." Fourth, "Their advantageous geographical position and complementary economic structures create the conditions for the two countries' reforms and economic development." See Wang Liuji and Liu Guiling, Kua shiji de E'Luosi, 224-225.
454. Shi Ze, "Lun xin shiqi de Zhong-E guanxi," 12.
455. Liu Jinghua, "Ershi yi shiji ershi sanshi niandai Zhongguo jueqi ji waijiao zhanlue xueze" (China's rise and diplomatic strategy in the twenties and thirties of the 21st century), Zhanlue yu guanli (Strategy and Management) 4, no. 3 (1994): 119.
456. Zheng Yu, "New Changes in the Russian Security Environment and Chinese-Russian Strategic Partnership Relations (in Chinese)," in Guoji xingshi genxi baogao--1997-1998 (Study reports on the international situation 1997-1998)(Beijing: Zhanlue yu guanli chubanshe, 1998), 137.
457. Ibid., 138.
458. Ibid., 137.
459. Ibid., 138.
460. Shi Ze, "Lun xin shiqi de Zhong-E guanxi," 15.
461. Feng Yujun, "Reflections on the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership," Contemporary International Relations 8, no. 8 (August 1998): 8-9.
462. Shi Ze, "Lun xinshiqi de Zhong-E guanxi," 1.
463. Feng Yujun, "Reflections on the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership," 3.
464. Li Zhongcheng, "The Role of an Emerging China in World Politics," 12.
465. Li Haoyu, "Shixi E'Luosi de guojia anquan zhanlue," 24.
466. Wang Lijiu and Liu Guiling, eds., Kua shiji de E'Luosi, 285-289.
467. Ibid., 289, 295.
468. Wang Rui and Zhang Wei, "A Preliminary Analysis of Russian Military Strategy," 42.
469. Ibid., 40-41.
470. Tang Jinxiu, "Contest and Compromise Between Russia and the United States Over Nuclear Disarmament," Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), March 17, 1998, 6, in FBIS-CHI-98-083, March 25, 1998.
471. Hsu Tao-chen, "United States Still Makes Old Mistakes, Exclusive interview with Shen Jiru."
472. Yan Xuetong, Zhongguo guojia liyi fenxi (An analysis of China's national interests)(Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1996), 55.
473. Huang Shuofeng, Guojia shengshuai lun (On the rise and fall of nations)(Changsha: Hunan Press, 1996): 405, and Huang Shuofeng, Zonghe guoli lun (On comprehensive national power) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1992): 218.
474. Huang, Guojiashengshuai lun, 496.
475. Zhu Xiaoli and Zhao Xiaozhuo, Mei-E xin junshi geming, 2.
476. The views of General Vladimir Slipchenko, of the Russian Academy of Military Science, were suggested in Komsomolskaya Pravda October 15, 1996. He said that new weapons based on new physical principles "will form the basis of many states' armed forces in 10 to 15 years time. . . . Explosives are currently being developed which will be 30 to 50 times more destructive . . . . The main attack element will be five to eight times faster then sound air- and sea-launched cruise missiles . . . military lasers will be used to disable military space systems. . . . By directing energy emission at a target it is possible to turn an enemy division into a herd of frightened idiots . . . electromagnetic weapons . . . ionizing (plasma) weapons . . . our 'likely friends' in the West and the East are developing new weapons and means of employing them. Is Russia ready to take up the challenge of the times?" According to interviews conducted in Beijing for this study, Chinese military officers are now studying at advanced Russian military institutes, where they become aware of Russian views.
477. Zhu Xiaoli and Zhao Xiaozhuo, Mei-E xin junshi geming, 139.
478. Gao Chunxiang, ed., Xin junshi geming lun,196.
479. Li Qinggong, "Current International Military Security Situation," 10-11.
480. See Michael Pillsbury, "Sino-American Security Ties: The View from Moscow, Tokyo and Beijing," International Security 1, no. 4 (Spring 1977): 124-142.
481. Gilbert Rozman, The Chinese Debate About Soviet Socialism.
482. Zhang Jialin, China's Response to the Downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (Palo Alto, CA: Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 1994), 25. Zhang Jialin, who was a Research Fellow at the Institute of International Studies in Shanghai, spent 6 years in the 1950s at the Moscow Institute of International Relations.
483. For a review of several U.S. books on why the Soviet Union collapsed, see Lawrence G. Kelley, "Gorbachev and Beyond: An Empire Transforming?" Parameters 28, no. 3 (Autumn 1998): 141-149.
484. Ta Kung Pao (Hong Kong), December 28, 1991.
485. Wang Jiafu, "Strategic Analysis of the Internal Factors Affecting Traumatic Change in the Soviet Union," Soviet Social Science Research, no. 1 (1992): 2.
486. Cited in Zhang Jialin, China's Response to the Downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
487. Liu Keming, "The New Thinking of Mikhail Gorbachev's Reform," Soviet Social Science Research, no. 1, (1992): 1.
488. Luo Zhaohong, "Disintegration of the Soviet Union and its Impact on the World Economic and Political Landscape" (in Chinese), Shijie jingji yu zhengzhi (World Economics and Politics), no. 10 (1992), 1. The author interviewed Professor Luo in January 1998.
489. See Zhang Jialin, China's Response.
490. Luo Zhaohong, "Disintegration of the Soviet Union," 5.
491. Liu Keming, "Formation, Development and Major Lessons of the Militarization of the Soviet Economy," Soviet Studies, no. 3 (1992): 6.
492. Liaowang, no. 7 (1993): 1.