This article does not surprise me. Indeed a few days ago I reblogged a similar article published by the People’s Daily Online entitled “Chinese president discusses ties, global issues with Russian counterpart“.
As it is still relevant to the latest article, let me restate my views on the first article:
Russia and China are complimentary in many ways, with Russia’s enormous mineral wealth and China’s industry powerhouse. Together they provide a remarkable challenge to Western interests that have been weakened by bickering.
Let me pick up this thread focusing on bickering.
The major Western democracies are proud of their democratic traditions, with executive decisions tempered by parliament, Congress or the Senate; in the case of Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court plays a critical role too. By comparison, democracy in Russia and China is a sham.
One of the principles of Western democracies is checks and balances on executive power. The rules are different in Russia and China permitting both countries to follow strategic objectives more assertively with decisive leadership.
One of the downsides of democracy is constant bickering. This seems to be especially prevalent since the financial crash of 2008. In the US, the Repubicans, especially the Tea Partyists, are not prepared to deal with the Democrats and a Democrat President, sapping at the US’s strength and energy. In Europe, it is similar, with the austerians in Northern Europe holding many countries in Southern Europe to randsom. Similarly, anti-European feeling in the UK is isolating the UK and reducing her effective power and economic competitiveness. Of course, in Europe there is another dimension to the creeping crisis, namely the European Commission.
Western leaders, like Angela Merkel of Germany and David Cameron in the UK seem to lead by muddling through rather than setting out vision, strategy and examples of executive leadership.
I am not advocating reduced democracy, indeed I believe that the IMF has too much power. However, I am advocating the return to proper strategic analysis to decision-making, reducing the horse-trading and bickering.
In passing, I must draw attention to the United Nations and her agencies which seems to have lost its way in recent years; once again the strength is reduced by bickering.
Of course, strategic analysts in Russia and China will have noted that bickering reduces the strength of the major Western democracies. This will not be lost on Russian and Chinese policy-makers whose interests will be served by indeed facilitating or encouraging Western bickering; this will reduce strategic focus in the Western democracies. Meanwhile, Russia and China are leveraging their joined combined strengths by strong strategic focus.
Let me turn turn this to an open question:
How should the US and Europe strengthen strategic focus and reduce the bickering in response to the Russian/Chinese strategic partnership?