Friday, June 17, 2011

Fear the Chinese/Russian condominium!

On June 15th, in a sign of strengthening ties between rising Eurasian powers, the six defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization issued a joint communique slamming U.S. plans to revise the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.

Oh, no, wait, just a second... that communique was issued on June 15th, 2001. Yeah, ten years ago. And here I was prepared to acknowledge that this powerful signal of cooperation between Beijing and Moscow constituted a "mile marker on the road" to "a China-Russia entente [that could soon dominate] the international distribution of resources and [will be] ascendant economically"!

That would be pretty stupid, though, seeing as a decade has passed without giving any real indications that this sort of anti-American balancing coalition had even the most remote chance of materializing (or that if such a coalition did form, it wouldn't be similarly balanced against by the presumably predictable anti-hegemonic behaviors of other states).

Seriously, though, this particular SCO declaration, the one that happened this week, where Russia, China, and their Central Asian little brothers declared opposition to U.S. plans for theater ballistic missile defense... this one is definitely foreboding. Way more foreboding than that other outraged communique from a decade ago. Especially since the U.S. did in fact withdraw from the ABM treaty, which surely pissed off the Russians and Chinese even more, further solidifying the bonds of anti-hegemonic cooperation. Surely.

(In case you're wondering, the SCO also issued a declaration expressing the member states' collective belief that armed conflict in Libya should come to an end. I wonder why that one's not a mile marker. Or the SCO Antiterrorist Strategy that was just published. Or any of the several UNSC resolutions on which Russian and Chinese votes have been cast in lockstep. Is it because it's even more difficult to make the absurd allegation that these developments represent some kind of anti-U.S. balancing instead of routine, pragmatic cooperation and the coincidence of interests?)

So yeah, dude, Eaglen and McGrath are nuts. (Or just playing around, "creat[ing] a framework for thinking, not ... a prediction of the future," depending which day it is.)


  1. This post reminds me of Steve Walt's post the other day about Robert Gates and NATO. Walt kindly points to a Wikipedia entry regarding his own "balance of threat" theory, and QED, one is impressed with his theory's ability to predict. But can his theory predict, or has his theory predicted, at all, the timing of the disintegration of an alliance?


  2. The notion of the SCO being a major power to counter the US, let alone achieve a "codominium" is incredibly far-fetched (self plugging the latest post at my blog here). Particularly considering that Russia and China are expanding it not to strengthen their power vs. the US, but to *check each other's influence within the organization*.

    The only people more convinced the SCO is going to form some anti-American geopolitical superbloc are the far left and anti-American types writing op-eds in foreign press.