Make no mistake, I have a deep respect for people who study foreign counties and have a command of their native language. Especially if such a country is China--a giant of a country with a very complex culture and a gigantic economy. In fact, by sheer size--by far the largest economy in the world. When speaking about China most of the time I defer to Sinologists, except for one field and this one is military. RT, presents us with such a Sinologist like Ivan Zuenko. I don't doubt that Zuenko knows China as much as it is possible to know her at all, but being a MGIMO "product", and MGIMO started its intellectual and academic decline from its former Soviet glory days (when being a diplomat was not only prestigious but also meant the access to Western style of consumption) already in 1990s, Zuenko suffers from the same illness as his Western equivalents--speaking on issues he has no idea about. Today, when Russians have access to any consumer goods starting from jeans to cars and travel extensively, while many Russians make more, much more than even top Russian diplomats, the shiny image of MGIMO faded away. Moreover, today large swaths of this institution ranging from professors to students are very much the followers of globalist ideology and pseudo-academic framework required for perpetuation of globalist views.
Zuenko comes across as such a "product" and while I would certainly defer to him when talking about Chinese trade, consumer economy etc., I can immediately state that, as many people with the backgrounds such as his, he doesn't understand two things:
1. The combined West in general, and the United States in particular;
2. As any person with such a background he shouldn't be commenting on geopolitical issues, because they are direct derivatives of military and real economy power.
Yet, Zuenko writes in RT yesterday, opening with Captain Obvious and "water is wet" kind of thing in his article:
If there had not been an active rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing over the past decades, and if Russia did not have an Asian alternative to European markets for oil and gas, it would not have been able to attack Ukraine. Does this mean China is the main beneficiary of the European crisis and that the situation is developing according to Beijing’s plans? There are various ways to assess the nature and consequences of the events that began in February. But what is clear is that they cannot be considered in isolation from the historical context, which should include at least the last eight years, starting with the Western-backed overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych’s government in Ukraine.
OK, while absolutely trivial and self-evident, it makes a preposterous point known in Russian saying as: if grandma had balls, she would have been a grandpa(c), albeit in the modern West, she/he/their could have been many a splendor thing. But my point stands and in Zuenko we encounter here not only a bad student of practical (geo)politics formulated by Bismark as "the art of possible, of attainable--the art of the next best". And it is here that Zuenko's pedigree as a civilian and badly informed person begins to shine, because I have news for him: Russia would invade Ukraine even when NOT having China as an alternative market, or, for that matter, most of Asia.
But this "scenario" is a classic Spherical Horse in Vacuum scenario which could have been produced only by the person who has zero understanding of national security issues of Russia and has no grasp of military balance formation whatsoever. Not surprising, MGIMO as any humanities higher institution in Russia "imported" much of the fraudulent political "science" methods in the wake of Soviet collapse and if you want to see a collection of ignorant and globalist-leaning people, you can take a look at Valdai club. So, even in the opening statement Zuenko makes a horrendous mistake because he has no tools for understanding (forget grasping and internalizing) the issue of Russia's security concerns beyond, now traditional, poli-sci platitudes. He reiterates his grossly illiterate point:
If China had not adopted a benevolent neutrality towards the Russian military operation, had not continued to buy Russian goods and thereby provided a reliable strategic rear, the continuation of the offensive would have been objectively impossible.
But then he gets to "plans". I am not going to discuss China's feelings about SMO, I am sure Zuenko does know it better than me, but what Zuenko doesn't know when he writes it:
In practice, a global NATO is already in the making, and the US-led military bloc’s Madrid summit in late June is the best proof of this. For the first time in NATO’s history, the Pacific states – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea – were invited; actions were intensified to form ‘quasi-alliances’ such as the QUAD (the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the US, Australia, Japan and India), AUKUS (the trilateral pact between the US, Britain, and Australia), and the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP: AUKUS plus Japan and New Zealand). In contrast to the ‘classical NATO’, which has long been perceived in China as a vestige of the Cold War and intra-Western conflicts, these alliances have an unambiguous anti-Chinese orientation.
While talk about "alliances" is all fine and dandy, what this "researcher" doesn't get, that, as an example, is that SMO completely reshaped global balance of power and no matter what "feelings" Chinese might have, even they admit that they look at Russia as a much more serious military power than they are, and whatever those alliance are, ambiguous or unambiguous against China, Zuenko should take some courses, his "research" is not going to help him, he simply is uneducated for this task, in military balance and must understand two things about combined West: combined West CANNOT defeat Russia militarily with or without China, but combined West does have some chance against China if China is "abandoned" by Russia. Chinese know this, Zuenko doesn't.
As I already wrote and spoke on AUKUS--it is an indicator of West's dramatically declining power, hence the desperate desire to exploit last decisive advantage over China by the US--it is its world-class and dramatically superior to PLAN's submarine force. They can do it by cutting Indian Ocean SLOCs where up to 30% of China import of resources and energy goes through. In the nearest future, 10-15 years, China will not catch up to Russia or US in some key military technologies which dictate operational and strategic realities, which completely overturn Zuenko's worldview in regards to Russia-China axis. Should Zuenko had a clue, he would have been attentive to Vladimir Putin's sensational admission of Russia "helping" China in building SPRN. Real military-intel professionals around the world gasped, because this admission alone spoke volumes about roles distribution in Chinese-Russian alliance and the list where China is yet to get equal with Russia in military-industrial field is huge. Zuenko doesn't know this list, or even if knew, he wouldn't have understood its significance, and that is why his statement about "being objectively impossible" is nothing more than a hot air by a product of once proud institution. China didn't "adopt the benevolent position", she simply had NO Choice. Zuenko is not an expert in anything but in some aspects of Chinese politics, and that is why he should have avoided parading himself as an amateur, especially when talking about practical geopolitics. He would also help himself if dedicated at least some time studying what modern West (and US) are. But it is too much to ask.