T Nation

Russia and China


I find it "interesting" that Russia and China remain generally opposed or at least on a tangent to US policies with respect to Iran.

I'm wondering, aloud, whether the policy of repeatedly chastising them on the world stage for their policies is counterproductive in the bigger picture of establishing good working relations.

This does not mean that human rights and democratic ideals should not be discussed or that they should not remain important initiatives.

I also realize that conservatives and liberals are likely to have differing views on how to go about effecting change in other countries.

Anyway, what does everyone else think would be the way towards improving relations? Would improving relations first allow changes, or must changes occur first? Finally, what would it take to actually trust such countries to a reasonable degree?

Some recent events:

China hits back at White House security report

China, Russia united on Iran



1) The first reference you cited, IMO, is unrelated. Look back at any given quarter in the last, say 5 yrs., and you can find a similar statements about China's general political policy from the Red Cross, Amnesty International, IOC, hell even Google two months ago. The State Department issues the 'Human Rights Watchlist' annually and China is always a big concern on that list. Only recently has China begun to do anything about it and, interestingly, it's more of just saying "did not" rather than not doing.

2) I think change needs to occur, but not so much the way you're thinking. Admittedly, I'm not privy to these security council meetings nor have I read/understood the entirity of the mandates they eventually generate. What I do see is a repetitive trend of Political Entity X broke Security Sanction Y, what now? The 'security councils' need to become more forward-thinking and broader scope in their solutions. I know you can't think of every possible scenario, but Iran starting it's program up against/outside of sanctions? Come on.


if u are interested in geopolitics i found this site to be extremely informative and accurate. it uses sourced materiel from around the world and adds expertise commentary.


...this is something you actually have to WONDER about? You really question whether it's a good idea or not to constantly chastize a nation that is one of the oldest nations on this earth and has a national pride reflecting that?

I mean, how much shit can you talk about someone before there's reprocussions?

I'm all for human rights, but the Chinese HATE HATE HATE feeling manipulated - I think given JUST the right ammount of gentle coaxing, China's human rights record will continue to gradually improve.

Trying to bully them simply won't work - it'll make them more steadfast in their recalcitrance.



I was just trying to make it easy for people of opposing opinions to jump on in and try to describe why they felt the way they did.

I do think that developing good relations with other countries is the way to get them to respect your wishes, and vice versa.

However, I've seen it argued that people go too far in their desire for good relations. Basically, giving too much away while the other party has no intention of doing anything except take advantage of American largess.

I think both sides have useful points to make... that it doesn't have to be a violent disagreement, and that both sides would do well to understand the viewpoint of the opposite.

What are the odds?


There was a Frenchman, and an Englishman named Neville Chamberlain. They appeased and appeased, and they went along with what Hitler said. Eventually, they came to realize that sort of thing didn't work.
Then some bald fat dude, chewing on a cigar appeared. He was naked from the waist up, standing in a stream holding an axe in one hand and a Bible in the other. He said something about "fight them on the beaches" etc etc. He bit back against the nazi's. They called him Sir Winston Churchill.

I think the stream/axe/bible part is more of an urban legend.

I do not think that we should go to war with China or Russia. I do think Iran needs to be disarmed, but I think the U.N. should be the ones to do it. Nuclear weapons hurt everybody, everybody should contribute in disarming the Iran. Too much American blood gets spilled on foreign lands as it is.

Also Vroom, I noticed you mentioned something about Democracy being spread. I am not in any way supporting any form of government, except for our own, but it is not our place to impose our own form of government upon anyone else unless they truly want us too. Supposing the chinese people, and the chinese government were both satisfied with communism, then there isn't any reason for us to want them to change.
As it stands though, I do beleive that there are people getting hurt and dying in china because of bad government. I really don't understand though. I was taught in school that if communism worked like it was supposed to, no one got hungry and everybody owned the same qualtiy of car and the same size of house. It doesn't seem like it works that way in the real world.


My 2:

China does not have REAL laws that put its citizens first. We have our Bill of Rights, and they get violated sometimes, but at least we can go back and check those bastards who did the violatin'. Our rights are there and they mean something. We should be very wary of China being anything other than our little bitch in terms of any kind of policy, be it economic, military, etc. Although some progress has been made in recent history, it should come as no surprise that such progress didn't last for long. Meaning only four friggin' years.

Of particular interest in the link above is the passage:

"Article 35 of the 1982 State Constitution proclaims that "citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration." In the 1978 constitution, these rights were guaranteed, but so were the right to strike and the "four big rights," often called the "four bigs": to speak out freely, air views fully, hold great debates, and write big-character posters. In February 1980, following the Democracy Wall period, the four bigs were abolished in response to a party decision ratified by the National People's Congress. The right to strike was also dropped from the 1982 Constitution. The widespread expression of the four big rights during the student protests of late 1986 elicited the regime's strong censure because of their illegality."

And so we have Tianenmen Square and other wonderful stuff happening.

Bottom line: They are not to be trusted until they are a democracy of some kind. Their society WAS ancient and steeped in thousands of years of culture until Mao came along and completely F'd them all up. Communism does not work. Sorry. I guess it's a good thing that China isn't a real communist country. I would classify them more as a socialist oligarchy/dictatorship. There is no system of checks and balances on the powers of the government. The party controls everything and they answer to no one.

This is bad.

You do not let a government like this grow larger and more powerful unless you can control it and its interests are in line with your own. We should keep this rottweiler on a short leash.

So I guess my answer to vroom is a resounding "Y'all change first, and we'll think about it. Maybe. You guys have a shitty track record."


I find it perfectly understandable that Russia and China differ from the US in their approach to dealing with problems posed by Iran. Iran is in their back yard and not ours. If, hypothetically speaking, the world community were to take issue with Mexico or El Salvador, or any number of other countries south of our borders it would be entirely likely that the US would take a more measured approach to resolving this issue than would Russia or China.


Good point, BigPaul. I'm sure the geography plays a part in this. We can go and start shit militarily because we don't live next door.

Do you wonder if, behind closed doors, Russia and China are saying "Thanks, US, you guys can do so much more out there than we could get away with. Please don't let those psychopaths get a hold of the means to make nuclear weapons!"

Probably not, but it's funny to think about, isn't it?


WW3 in the making...


Chastising Russia and China has little effect on their behavior. It is done strictly for internal political reasons.

Their governments are not our friends nor are they allies.


This is just an example of activity within this arena... differing viewpoints on how best to go about these things.

Senators vow 'constructive approach' to China trade
"This legislation is intended to take a constructive approach to engaging China and to encourage China to abide by the norms expected of a mature economy that derives great benefit from an open international trading system," she said, giving the first details on the bill.

Grassley and Baucus have planned their legislation as an alternative to a popular, but controversial, bill that threatens China with across-the-board U.S. tariffs if it does not revalue its currency. The Senate is scheduled to vote on that measure by March 31, unless its chief sponsors -- who are currently in China -- agreed to a delay.[/i]


But they're not our enemies either, in spite of how tyrannical their governments are.


I've always been a fan of "quiet diplomacy." This allows whomever to save face on the world stage and also gets your point across.

However, if a nation crosses a certain line then the tactics must change. As the rest of the world must actually see the US reacting forcefully. Anything less would encourage more of the same.


An editorial from WSJ Europe:

Friendly Bear, Cuddly Dragon
March 23, 2006

It's a sign of cloudier times ahead when an illiberal Russia and a still-Communist China -- never warm and fuzzy partners -- get together and try to forge a friendship. Even more reason, then, for the Bush administration to spend more diplomatic energy on cultivating relations with Asia's free nations, as political alliances shift in the Pacific.

The rest of the world might not have noticed, but Moscow has been sliding toward Beijing's orbit for some time now. Russian President Vladimir Putin's turn towards authoritarianism has markedly cooled Russia's political relationship with Washington and the capitals of Europe. Meanwhile, Beijing's rapport with the Bush administration has also deteriorated, thanks mostly to Capitol Hill's protectionist antics -- which may come to a head soon if Chuck Schumer's proposed 27.5% tariff bill on Chinese exports gains steam.

How apt, then, for Mr. Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao to kick off the "Year of Russia" in Beijing on Tuesday, at the same time that Mr. Schumer and his Congressional colleagues -- in town to whine -- were getting the cold shoulder. The two leaders sealed an energy agreement and promised to bind their economies closer together. In many ways, this makes sense: China is energy deficient, while Russia has lots of oil and gas. And although Russia has been a long-time seller of arms to the mainland, its stunted private sector has only marginally benefited from the mainland's economic boom. More trade would benefit both parties.

But it's on the political front where this tentative detente looks most worrying. As this page has argued before, China and Russia aren't natural allies. Moscow views China's rise as threatening to its strategic interests in Central Asia, and worries about Beijing opaque military buildup. For its part, China is anxious over Russia's border claims and its aging nuclear arsenal. The efforts to mend the relationship between the two countries are based on a common desire to stymie U.S. purposes.

Of particular concern to the U.S. Moscow and Beijing are starting to find common ground in their policies toward Tehran. Both sell weapons to Iran's nuclear-ambitious regime and have energy interests there. As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, a Sino-Russian bloc can frustrate Western diplomatic initiatives at the U.N. Moscow also helpfully supports Beijing's aggressive stance toward Taiwan, regarding the island democracy as "an inalienable part of the Chinese territory," and opposing its U.N. membership. This is happening at a time when U.S. relations with Taipei are a bit strained.

China's overtures aren't confirmed to large nations like Russia. At December's inaugural East Asia Summit, Beijing courted the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations. A warmer relationship has bloomed, too, between Seoul and Beijing, at the expense of Japan, a solid American ally.

The Bush administration hasn't been blind to these shifting alliances, but it has chosen to regard them as part of the normal give and take of international diplomacy. That's understandable so long as these maneuvers don't interfere excessively with U.S. policy objectives, in particular its efforts to establish stable democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have of course been tending to their own relationships in Asia.

America's long-standing allies in the Pacific will remain so for a long while yet. Canberra and Tokyo renewed their friendship with America during Secretary Rice's visit to Asia last weekend. The U.S.-India alliance is clearly on the upswing. And some relationships, such as the one America is cultivating with Indonesia, are on the mend.

Even Russia and China recognize the risks that U.S. exasperation might pose for them. But when two authoritarian regimes set about to play diplomatic games, the possibility for mischief can never be ignored.



ok, here's the deal on China - technically, they are a republic - a representative democracy like the USA. They DO only have one official political party, HOWEVER, there are various factions and differing viewpoints WITHIN that party that exceed the differences between Dems and Reps here in the states. Elections, NATIONAL elections ARE held, representatives are elected (yes, they do have multiple choices), and the chairman is chosen by a majority vote of the national congress.

China is NOT a dictatorship. Communist? yes, somewhat - more socialist than communist. Granted, they've done some shitty things - but so have we, so has EVERYONE. If you think that China's ancient history and traditions were wiped out by Mao Ze Dong, you're FOOLING yourself. I lived there for a YEAR. TRUST me, they have a good deal of national pride, and deserve to. They went from a monarcny to a nationalistic corrupt regime to ANOTHER nationalistic corrupt regime, to civil war, to occupation by the Japanese in WWII, BACK to civil war, and were then kept isolated from pracically the entire civilized world because of differing global political views.

To go from THAT to one of the most powerful economic and military forces on the planet is a testament to the industriousness, inteligence, and national pride of the Chinese people. Historically, China was THE SUPERPOWER of all time. Yeah, they're a little pissed the they've been usurped, and they aim to regain their status. You know what? They're GOING TO. They're ALREADY ON THEIR WAY.

Making China into an enemy isn't good for ANYBODY. Political change will slowly, eventually come about there, but I'm pretty sure that they are going to remain Communists indefinitely.

My point is that it would be foolish of us to think we can bully China - that'll just piss 'em off, and we can't go 'round pissing off the only other world superpower. Sure, if something very serious happens, then we will need to stand up to them, perhaps even forcefully, but until then, let's try to forge a freindship that runs deeper than economic ties with the sleeping giant.

...because militarily, there's no WAY we would win a war with China. (I'm not saying they'd just mow us over... I'm saying that we'd exhaust one another.)


I hear ya, Vroom - I do also hope that this dialogue can continue in a thought provoking and enlightening manor.


You are getting kooky.

You insinuate in another thread that our presidential election was rigged and now you deny that China is a dictatorship.


Another thing I forgot to mention...

This sino-russian bloc thing they've got going on, well, it'll never last - for one reason and one reason alone:

It violates not one, but TWO cardinal rules of "Risk!" You can't hold asia for more than 1 round, and alliances between traditional enemies last only as long as its in both of their best interest.


You may be a kook but at least you are funny.