Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed all of Asia’s dynamics. Europe had been without war for almost 80 years.
The struggle in Yugoslavia was a civil confrontation and therefore different. But a military clash between two large states in the heart of the continent was something largely forgotten during a period without precedent in European history. And yet it happened.
In Asia, the last war was 40 years ago when China attacked Vietnam over its conquest of Cambodia. Before that, there were decades of fighting in Korea and Indochina. The idea of a conflict was always more present than in Europe.
If, then, a full-blown invasion can happen in Europe, the same possibility is automatically multiplied in more volatile Asia.
Every Asian country will therefore have to assume, as it’s happening today, that a full-scale war might blow up at any given moment over any given incident. Therefore, there is an arms race going on and emotions are running high for various reasons.
Unfortunately, while in the past China backed the “attacked” countries, such as Iraq or Serbia when it was trying to safeguard Yugoslavia’s unity, according to official rhetoric, this time, at the start of the clash, Beijing’s domestic propaganda sided with the attacker, Russia, oblivious of its claim on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Presently, China is changing its tune on Ukraine. It is nervous and the region is tense. Every country in the area has reasons to consider that, as Russia did with Ukraine, so Beijing could do with Taiwan.
The chances still might be low, but how could an Asian government around China dismiss this possibility and avoid rearmament?
Here is the dilemma: War preparation is thus very reasonable, increasing the chances of incidents and worse. Some serious dialogue should be initiated to stop or slow down the slide, but so far there is none in sight while wild grandiloquence inflames sentiments – and not only in China.
Traps and trip-wires have always been part of politics. China beat the US at its own globalization game, and now should be wise not to fall into various ruses set by its many enemies, not only the US. Actually, China should remove the tangles and de-escalate the tensions.
It is useless to complain about the snares and then fall for them; it all sounds deliberate. Super-clever Russian President Vladimir Putin’s complaint about being tricked by otherwise “stupid” Americans sounds nonsensical.
But, to top it all, Russia faces many problems in Ukraine. It has been politically defeated and it might also be militarily defeated. In the past century, the Russian establishment never survived a defeat in war. It faced disruptive revolutions in 1905 after falling to Japan, in 1917 after failing to Germany, and in the 1980s after losing in Afghanistan.
Will it be different this time? Perhaps not, but the stability of Russia is crucial for every country. What kind of fire will Russia’s future “revolution” kindle with the fickle Asian fuel?
Puny but hyper-dangerous North Korea is preparing for a seventh nuclear test, making South Korea and Japan very nervous.
This fire could be months or even days away, but likely not years. It is doubtful at this stage that the war in Ukraine can go on like this interminably. Perhaps we should all prepare for something very soon.
This story first appeared on Settimana News and is republished with permission. The original article can be read here.