GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
In October 1917 the Russian Revolution sent shock waves across the capitals of the Western world. Was this the end of the Capitalist System? Were Communist Parties going to mount a series of take-overs in Western Europe and the US that would replace Monarchies, Parliaments and Senates with centralised Marxist Parties united in a common goal to throw off the shackles of Capitalism and in its place to build Soviet models of Government?
Fast forward to the present day and the West remains troubled. The Soviet Union has fallen away to be replaced by an autocratic Russian regime, not wedded to Marxist ideology, but focused on maintaining a strong and effective Russian State. Alongside Putin’s Russia, there exists the 89m strong Communist Party of China that has turned China from “The Sick Man of Asia” in 1949 to the second-largest economic power in the world. The West watches and worries that a new China/Russia Axis will rule the 21st Century.
Will Russia invade Ukraine and then begin the push back of NATO from Eastern Europe. Will China invade Taiwan, India, the Philippines, and dominate the S China Sea whilst its Belt and Road Initiative lulls the developing world into big debts enabling China to acquire assets and increase control over more countries.
This Column sees matters differently. Russia’s priority is to push NATO back and break NATO’s post-1997 links with the 14 countries on the Russian border. Russia’s goal remains security, not expansion. China’s goals remain prosperity and stability and not expansion or territorial acquisition. There is no China/Russia plot to diminish the US or marginalise W Europe or rule the world.
Not for the first time, the West has miscalculated. The fall of Gorbachev was meant to lead to the falling apart of the old USSR. Inviting China into the WTO was meant to encourage the growth of economic and political rights in China and the loss of power of the Communist Party. In both countries, the West has been rebuffed. It needs to change its focus and find ways – not to constantly threaten China and Russia – but to co-operate and build relations across the big divide.
THE NEXT POST IS 11 FEBRUARY 2022. THE WINTER OLYMPICS