One of the blogs I follow is a China Youth blog, which is an English-language blog that generally prints the official government view of foreign policy. I don’t read the blog closely, because I’m not really interested in hearing or imbibing China’s propaganda, but it is difficult not to notice that the blog’s image has been changed to a picture of NATO’s symbol with a giant red circle and a slash over it. China is going out of its way to “just say no” to NATO, and that provides a very intriguing picture.
The European powers and the United States want to put the Assad dynasty out of power in Syria. There is nothing surprising here. Europe, Turkey, and the Arab powers are all working together (as they worked together to take down Gaddafi) in order to put pressure on Assad. A democratic Syria, like a democratic Egypt, is a state dominated by some kind of political Islamic movement, rather than a state run by a secular dictator of the Baathist (think Saddam Hussein) mold. The choice between secular dictators and Islamist regimes is not a choice between good and evil, just a choice between two different kinds of evil. For now, the West’s love of democracy and the Arab League’s love of political Islamism are in the same direction. How long that will last is anyone’s guess, but it won’t last forever.
What is intriguing is that Russia and China are finding more and more reasons to get along and work together. Both of them have major imperialist ambitions in Central Asia and both of them have a huge amount of hostility toward both rising European power as well as the rise of political Islam, which is a threat to both of their current imperial holdings (see Chechnya, Dagestan, and Kazan in Russia and Sinkiang for areas where the political and ethnic pressures of Muslim populations looking for freedom is particularly explosive).
What we see here is a dangerous three party system here in a delicate equilibrium. Right now we have three different parties aligned together for temporary reasons. The United States is rapidly in a state of imperial decline, largely for reasons of a lack of political willpower as well as a lack of economic strength. When entitlements are threatened for ordinary people, few people have the stomach for imperial adventures right now, except the most militaristic among us. Who knows what the endgame of the Arab regimes, new and old is, but any move toward greater Arab harmony and rising political islam will raise fears of a revived Arab caliphate that few outside of the region want to see. Europe, of course, has some serious political and economic problems that would seem to presage a growing German imperialistic fervor at home and abroad. Germany and the Arab regimes both appear to be pushing for edge induced cohesion in their own regions, which bodes ill for the future.
Russia and China are both imperialistic regimes with mutual interests–Russia has natural resources, China has an insatiable desire for them, and both of them dislike American and European and Arabic geopolitical aims. Right now we are in a state of delicate balance as proxy wars and low-level fighting within countries for regime changes is going on. So far there has been only limited conflict that has mostly been internal. Who knows how long that will last. It certainly bears watching.