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President Putin’s speech at the Valadi club is almost like a trailer of a series of Geopolitical events that are to come within this decade. Quoting his words “Ahead is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and, at the same time, important decade since the end of World War II. “ Looking at most of his speeches, one could say that he speaks his mind as well as give a blurred picture of what is going to come.
While there is only a very thin chance that NATO will engage the Russian forces , what other event could he be probably talking about ? An event or events that have a significant impact for him to mention. Undoubtedly the proxy wars between Russia & the West will be escalated. Syria is such a theater where a coordinated Turkish – Russian – Iranain push will try to unseat the Amercinas. Africa will be one theater where Russians will challenge the European armies who are part of NATO but operate independently such as the French. But none of these are new & the accumulated forces are limited in numbers and capacity. Neither NATO nor the Russians have deployed strategic weapons or Nuclear weapons in any of these araas. There is a very high possibility the Isreal – Hezbollah conflict erupts. Nasrallah has been silent for a while & Isrelis keep raiding Iranian- Hezbollah weapons in Damasus with no push back. But this will not be escalated beyond a regional war unless Iranians confronts the Jewish state headon. But it will be a cost effective way for Iranianas to run that as a protactaed proxy conflict for both plausible deniability & see its enemy is harmed.
We are already seeing a bloody conflict unfolding in Ukraine. Could it be any bloodier? Well Russia’s winter offensive will certainly bring more deaths on both sides but I doubt Putin is worried about that. According to him “ It is a historical fact that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, which makes the current conflict a “civil war” of sorts “. If Russia Ukraine is in a civil war & there is no other frozen conflict that seems to have a global impact , what are the terrible times Putin is talking about ?
Answer to this could be found in his mentioning of Taiwan. That is the missing piece of the puzzle.“Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China, and all visits to Taiwan by top [foreign] officials are perceived as a provocation,” He goes on further in rebuking the Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan.
Russian recognition of Taiwan as part of China is nothing new. However the entire speech of President Putin and his solidarity for Taiwan is what could very well be the reference of the most dangerous – unpredictable but important of this decade.
China’s resolve to bring Taipe under their control is determined. Dialogue will be the very last thing on the table. It will be the one war that China will wage willingly & determinately. There are few foes & enemies for China. But it will not go to war with any of these states.
Looking at India – China for example. Both are rivals – competitors for regional dominance. But will China go to war with India? This will not happen for a number of reasons. Both are nuclear powers & a war unleashed will be catastrophic for both states. It is highly unlikely that anyone could emerge as a victor . Rather there will be a stalemate & prolonged negotiations for minor or major border altercations if any. China will not fight the USA either. Both have nuclear deterrence. China could easily escalate such a scenario to a regional war were American allies are dragged in to it & a multi pronged war fought in Korean peninsula or Japan. This will not be anyone’s interest either.
But China will not hesitate to fight Taiwan. They will find more moral justification for such a war & could easily turn it to a national cause. For the Chinese nationals this will be a just war. This is the one issue every leader after Mao has been leaving behind for the incumbent. Xi seems to be adamant that he will stop this legacy.
Seeing a devastating war in Asia is of no one’s interest. Especially a conflict that has ramifications far beyond its epicenters. Can this be avoided ? Is there a compromise that could be found ? I firmly believe there is room for dialogue. This reference of Putin is such an indication.
“I have always believed in the power of common sense, and I still do, so I am convinced that sooner or later, the new centers of the multipolar world and the West will have to embark on an equal dialogue about our shared future, and the sooner that happens, the better,”
It is highly unlikely that China could be deterred with show of force or military posturing. The Ukraine war has opened a Pandora’s box that has revealed the hands of every stakeholder. That of NATO, Russia , EU & the global south. In China’s eyes Russia called NATO’s bluff in Ukraine. It did not back down & is willing to fight. This is a departure from the world where rhetoric worked as a way to deter states. No amount of heightened , veiled threats will deter China. They too will call the bluff. That will be a day late and a dollar short for negotiations.
It is always better to use the runup to a conflict to resolve it before the first shot is fired. But the real question is do the current world leaders have the capacity , capability & the character to put their brains & heart to work ? In the name of humanity Asian countries should start a dialogue that will help to de-escalate this tension. If China goes to war with Taiwan , the Asian century will be nothing but a terrible hundred years of chaos. It is of the interest of all the nations in the vast Asian continent to come together & make a stand to sue for Peace.