New World Disorder

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

RUSSIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-ECONOMYThe collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991 catapulted the United States as the only superpower on Earth. It ushered in a new age — Pax Americana — with the balance of power securely ensured by the United States encircling what is left of the once-mighty Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the Russian Federation.

But don’t be fooled by the demise of the communist regime. Russia, with 6.6 million square miles of land area covering more than one-eight of the world’s inhabited land area. In 2012, Russia was the world’s sixth largest economy with a GDP of $2.22 trillion, behind the U.S. (first-ranked at $16.66 trillion), China ($10.09 trillion), Japan ($4.31 trillion), India ($4.06 trillion), and Germany ($2.94 trillion).

Endowed with rich natural resources, Russia has the world’s largest reserves of natural gas, second-largest reserves of coal, and the eight-largest reserves of crude oil. In 2011, she became the world’s largest producer of oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia; and the second-largest producer of natural gas. And she possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

With the election of Vladimir Putin to the presidency in May 2012 for the second time around — he served as President for two terms (from 2000 to 2008) but was constitutionally prohibited to serve a third consecutive term — there are high expectations that Putin would take Russia on the high road to economic progress and propel the country on a trajectory that would regain her share of dominance — if not total dominance– of world geopolitics.

Enter the Dragon

On March 14, 2013, China’s rubberstamp national legislature elected Xi Jinping to the ceremonial title of president, which capped his rise to the pinnacle of power as China’s undisputed ruler. Last November, Xi was named Secretary General of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), which controls the CPC’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). As the country’s de facto armed forces, the PLA has an active membership of 2.25 million, which makes it the world’s largest standing army.  Never before since the time of Mao Zedong had a Chinese ruler consolidated his power within a short time– four months!

Upon his ascension to the presidency, Xi’s first venture outside China was to visit his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. At their summit in Kremlin last March 22, the two leaders agreed to form a “strategic partnership” to advance their countries’ interests.  They affirmed their mutual support for each country’s geostrategic and territorial interests, which include territorial disputes. With more than 20 territorial disputes that China is embroiled with various countries — including Japan, Philippines, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam — this could put Russia squarely on the paths of conflict, which could involve the United States who has mutual defense treaties with at least four of China’s adversaries.

“Sweetheart deal”

Signing 30 agreements in the areas of energy, trade, technology, and military exchange, the highlight of Xi’s visit was a rare glimpse into Russia’s defense command headquarters — or “war room” — a first by any foreign leader.  Chinese media videotaped the event showing Xi being briefed as he looked at computers and giant screens tracking military intelligence targets.

On the economic front, the new China-Russia strategic partnership would bind the two countries in jointly developing Russia’s most strategic economic resources — oil, gas, and coal — to meet China’s massive current and future energy requirements.

One of the summit’s immediate results was an agreement for Russia to triple her oil supplies to China in exchange for a $2-billion loan. In addition, the two countries agreed on a preliminary deal to build a gas pipeline. Indeed, with Russia as one of the world’s largest energy producers and China the world’s number one energy consumer, one can say that Xi got a “sweetheart deal” he couldn’t resist.

At a joint press conference, Xi told the media: “China’s friendship with Russia guarantees strategic balance and peace in the world.” But what he presumably meant to say was that the new China-Russia military-economic alliance would be so formidable that it would establish a new world order never seen before.  In Xi’s mind, only a China-Russia military-economic alliance could stop the United States’ “pivot to Asia” strategy. And one of Xi’s concerns was the United States’ building of an intercontinental ballistic missile defense system, which could tilt the balance of power towards the U.S.

Kim goes ballistic

Kim-Jong-Un-salutingBut when Kim Jong-Un, North Korea’s young– and untested — leader, went ballistic, it rattled everybody!  His scrapping of the 1953 Korean War Armistice and testing of a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead have prompted the U.S. to reassess her missile shield system against North Korea.

Last March 15, Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the U.S. would spend $1 billion to add 14 interceptors to the current 30 interceptors that are already based in Alaska. In addition, he said that the U.S. is planning to deploy an additional radar system in Japan, a move that would provide an “improved early warning and tracking of any missile launch from North Korea at the U.S. or Japan.”

Encirclement

Aegis-Combat-SystemIt is interesting to note that in January 2010, it was reported in the news that the U.S. had completed the transfer of a $6.4-billion weapons deal with Taiwan that included 200 advanced Patriot anti-ballistic missiles. It was also reported earlier that month that the U.S. had provided Taiwan with eight frigates equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which has the capacity to launch ship-based interceptor missiles.

That completed the deployment of the Aegis component of the U.S. interceptor missile system in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia. In addition, Taiwan has already a network of 22 missile sites around the country… ready to go!

And that made China nervous… very nervous.  The government-owned China Daily reported in its February 22, 2010, that China and Russia are encircled by chain of U.S. anti-missile systems with a footprint that extends from Japan to South Korea to Taiwan. As one Chinese military strategist explained: Washington has deployed a ring of anti-missile systems around China’s periphery forming a crescent-shaped encirclement that begins in Japan, stretches through nations in the South China Sea to India, and ends in Afghanistan.

In addition to the Aegis Combat System and batteries of Patriot anti-ballistic missiles, the U.S. had moved a squadron of 12 B-52 nuclear-armed bombers and two squadrons of the advanced F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters to Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. And at least three nuclear attack submarines are also deployed in Guam, which is beyond the range of China’s land-based Dong Feng 21D anti-ship ballistic missile.

With the U.S.S. George Washington nuclear-powered super carrier battle group forward-deployed in Yokosuka, Japan, the U.S. provides an awesome array of state-of-the-art defensive armaments that would keep North Korea, China or Russia from toying with the notion of attacking the U.S. or any of her allies in the Asia-Pacific.

Conspicuously missing from the United States’ military defense network is the Philippines, who was once identified as a “major non-NATO ally” of the U.S. Other than the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the untested Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries, the Philippines has no role in the “Air-Sea Battle” plan of the U.S. in Asia-Pacific.

Pax Pacifica

Be that as it may, what we’re seeing here is a geostrategic shift from a “one world power” — Pax Americana — to a “strategic partnership” of countries with common interests that is centered in the vast Pacific. With more than 130 countries forming the rim of the Pacific, the age of Pax Pacifica is about to begin. And who would be the dominant force that would chart the destiny of Pax Pacifica — China or the United States?

At the end of the day, one might say that Pax Pacifica could usher in a world of new order… or disorder?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

 


7 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Guy M. Guerrero says:

    Great article, Perry,
    Crystal clear. Analytic, yet not pedantic.

    It just makes me wonder if political leaders in our old country are aware of your observations here. I wonder too, if Filipino ambassadors here monitor your blog. I dearly wish I could read their commentary.

    Guy

    P.S. I wish you speedy recovery. I missed Balita the last couple of weeks.

    • perry says:

      Hi Guy,

      Thanks for your kind words. My rehab is progressing well. I’ll be discharged on Saturday and will continue my rehab at home. I like that because I can go back to my computer work. There is so much ground to recover.

      In regard to all these geopolitical events, I’m pretty sure that our leaders — who love to bask in the limelight of international political stage — are aware of what’s going on. And they know that the Philippines is no longer a player — not even an “extra” in the geopolitical stage. They’re more interested on who is to blamed for the Tubbahhata incident or how to save the lives of Pinoy drug mules on China’s death row. Meanwhile, China is constructing military fortifications in the Kalayaan islands under the noses of Philippine marines stationed there.

      Our leaders should learn how to become good team players like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia. It’s no different from basketball — it’s either you’re with Team A or Team B. And whichever team you want to play with, give it your best; otherwise, you’d end up as their “water boy.”

      Perry

  2. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    “Perry take it easy and have more bed rest for your fast recovery. Have more fun”, I think your doctor told you that piece of advice.

    I hope you’ve a capable staff to help you in your Global Balita and other businesses.

    I believe in “Health is Wealth” and I think you believe in that saying too.

    Regarding your visionary article, I do not know how the China-Russia alliance will affect the ASEAN members and the Pacific region.

    I think not all ASEAN members are politically friendly to the US, probably the reason why US cannot be an acceptable mediator – say, even in the Sabah issue and in the Spratly case too.

    Let’s wait and see the next chapter.

    • perry says:

      Hi Mac,

      ASEAN is a toothless tiger — a loose association of 10 countries that are bound by geography. Beyond that, it’s diverse politically, culturally, and socially.

      The South China Sea is a powder keg ready to explode. And with Kim Jong-Un of North Korea toying with the a nuclear button like a joy stick, I wouldn’t be surprise if the Korean War would break again. The U.S. just deployed two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers in South Korea earlier today. Let’s see what Kim would do next.

      Perry

  3. Not too fast, Mr. Perry. These countries are not at war with the United States, and/or the smaller countries that are weak in military strenghth or with the lack of it. When it comes time for our country to become a “strategic partner” in war efforts, we will be. Macro-military strategies are not the game we play, we cannot lead it. “The race is not to the swift, nor to the strong, but time and chance happens to them all.” Do you know who said this? Have we been drawn to a war we never wanted? We have, our history tells us that. It is funny you think we would be a “water boy” without examining our military alliances where we are strategically involved. The water carrier can douse the fire.

    • perry says:

      Hi Angel,

      China and Russia want to win the war with the U.S. without starting a war. Have you read Gen. Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” he wrote 2,500 years ago? Read it and that would provide you with a primer on the Chinese military strategy. I always believe in the mantra, “A good defense is a strong offense.” What the U.S. is doing right now is to make sure that China and Russia will never have the upper hand in the world’s balance of power.

      As for the Philippines being the “water boy,” well, that’s a promotion. It used to be just a spectator from the bleacher.

      Perry

  4. Lito Banayo says:

    Great article, Perry.
    Keep well and recover fast!
    And Happy Easter to you and the family.

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