Friday, January 30, 2015

Russian Sanctions Might Be Obama’s Greatest Blunder | Johnson's Russia List

( – Robert Berke – January 25, 2015) One of the greatest foreign policy blunders of the Obama Administration was the push by the U.S. for economic sanctions against Russia. That led to Russia fleeing into the arms of China for refuge. In response, Russia, Europe’s largest and most populated country, is now intent on moving its vast storehouse of resources eastward, strengthening America’s largest emerging rival.

Over the last two years, the two countries have completed a $700 billion agreement for Russia to deliver energy to China, amounting to about 17% of Chinese annual supply, for a period covering twenty years, with China financing much of the initial costs of pipeline construction.

What Russia has done, in that one move, is to help repair a major hole in China’s military armor, making it invulnerable to a U.S. cut-off of sea bourn energy supplies, which until now was one of the greatest fears of Chinese military strategists.

From the Chinese perspective, this is a gift that fulfills its wildest dreams. It’s also a gift that could severely undermine the West’s plans to deliver expensive Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to China and Asia, while already facing competition from Qatar and Australia LNG, will now also run up against Russian pipeline gas through China.

That can’t be wise policy for the U.S.

Consider the fact that prior to adoption of the sanction regime, Russia and China were not even military allies. Their histories are fraught with mutual distrust, competition, and border conflicts. Although Russia has often supplied China with military equipment, it has always held back on high-tech weapons because of mistrust. Why supply advanced weapons to a country that might one day become your adversary?

Now, things have changed drastically, with both countries developing an alliance clearly balanced against the West. Recently, Russia offered China its most advanced ballistic missile system, that China had long sought in order to offset US sea and airpower superiority. With that, China will become far more capable of countering America’s pivot to Asia.

Just this week (1.20.15), China agreed to finance a high-speed rail link between Beijing and Moscow, with an estimated cost of $242 billion.

Complete story at - Russian Sanctions Might Be Obama’s Greatest Blunder | Johnson's Russia List

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