MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Arseny Oganesyan.) The Western media started publishing concerned and evidently alarmist items on the first Russia-China military exercise several days before it began.
The proclaimed goal of the joint exercise Peace Mission 2005 is to improve interoperability in the settlement of regional conflicts and the struggle against terrorism. It will be held under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the territories of Russia and China from August 18 to 25 and involve 10,000 military personnel, including about 2,000 Russian troops.
Although Moscow and Beijing said the exercise was not a demonstration of military might and was not spearheaded against third countries, the United States, Japan and South Korea have expressed "concern." This biased attitude of Washington and its regional allies is a result of their dissatisfaction over the political rapprochement of Russia and China and the growing prestige of the SCO, which is ready to assume responsibility for stability in Asia. Taken together, these two facts point to the nascent development of a multipolar world.
Alexander Dugin, the leader of the International Eurasian Movement, said, "There is a growing clash between two futures: The American vision of a world empire led by the one superpower, U.S., and the concepts of the countries and nations which reject the unipolar structure in favor of a multipolar one."
Moscow and Beijing have been pushed towards earnest geopolitical partnership by "the events of the past year, when 'color revolutions' gathered momentum in the post-Soviet states," Dugin said. "The American connection in the events in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan clearly showed that the U.S. was resolved to reform the post-Soviet space to suit its strategic interests. This decision was directed against Russia and China, whose positions were growing more vulnerable."
The two states have decided to reply to the challenge. "An alliance is taking shape in the heart of Eurasia and the planet. It includes two global centers, China and Russia, which entered the 21st century as strategic partners, and also countries with a vast and mutually complementing potential," Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, writes about the SCO. "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a unique political chance and a fundamentally new model of geopolitical integration. It embraces nearly two-thirds of the Eurasian continent, with countries from different civilizations."
The Russo-Chinese exercise, strategic partnership with China and the development of the SCO evidently point to changes in Moscow's geopolitical line. But it would be wrong to say that Russia has chosen Asia. Pyotr Stolypin, an outstanding Russian reformer of the early 20th century, said, "Our eagle, the heritage of Byzantium, has two heads. Eagles with a single head are strong and powerful too, but cutting off the head of the Russian eagle that is looking East will not turn it into an eagle with one head; this will only make it die from loss of blood."
We are witnessing the formation of a truly multivectoral foreign policy of Russia, a clever implementation of which will improve Moscow's standing in the West, which will try hard to prevent a union of Moscow and Beijing, and in the East, which views Russia as a natural partner in counterbalancing the Western dominator.