Why Russia and China are besties
The Kremlin has been eying China for a very long time.
PARAG KHANNA: One of the misconceptions about Russia is that it's always driven to become a European power, because we identify that mentality with the reign of Tsar Peter the Great. However, if you look further back into Russian history, it has a long exposure to Asian powers. It skirmished, of course, with the Mongols and was sacked by the Mongols. It also skirmished with the Ming Dynasty of China, as well. So there is really a Eurasian history to Russia. And today, Russia again identifies itself very much as a Eurasian power.
It's not that Russia necessarily understands Asia better. Let's remember that in many ways, they are very much a junior partner to China a much, much junior partner. If we go back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Russia was considered a transition economy, but still with a lot of potential. But its population has shrunk tremendously. Very few countries have as rapid population decline. Meanwhile, it borders China, the country with the most people in the world. And its economy is countless times larger than Russia's is at this point. So it's very much a junior partner. It does have to deal with Asia more, and I think we would benefit from understanding Russia better if we understood it not just in terms of its relations with the West, but rather also the fact that it is spending as much, or more, time these days focused on its relations with the East.
When President Obama declared his pivot to Asia in about the year 2014, the response in the Kremlin was, we already pivoted to Asia. Because Russia has been reorienting itself economically, and even strategically, towards Asia, especially China, for about 10 years now. Certainly, as it overlaps with the reign of Vladimir Putin. Now, because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea, the sanctions on Russia made them that much more likely to tilt and turn towards Asia. But at the same time, it also has to do with Asia's economic rise. Because whereas in the past, Russia aspired to be part of Europe and had stronger trade relations with Europe than with Asia, especially Germany. Today, Russia's largest trading partner is China. Now, when it comes to foreign investment, Europeans still invest more in Russia than Asians do but there also is catching up. But one thing is for sure, the further you look into the future, especially with the Belt and Road Initiative of transportation linkages across all of Eurasia, most all of which pass through Russia and originate in East Asia, there's no doubt that Russia is very much Asian-izing.
- Russia is not a European power, nor does it strive to be, says Parag Khanna. It is a Eurasian power.
- Western sanctions on Russia, coupled with Asian's economic rise, has inspired Russia to pivot toward China – its largest trading partner.
- The West would understand Russia better if it fully considered Russia's economic reorientation toward Asia, and especially China.
Going from a solitary teenage protester in front of the Swedish parliament to a global icon in little more than a year certainly merits the distinction.
- Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist, has been named Time's Person of the Year.
- The award is given to "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."
- Considering the magnitude of directly inspired protest movements and real-world impacts she has had, the award seems to be merited, although not everybody is pleased about this.
Just hearing two languages helps babies develop cognitive skills before they even speak. Here's how - and how you can help them develop those skills.
A new study shows that babies raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving -- before they even speak.
The Jerezo crater — where Mars 2020 is set to land — could be a good place to find signs of past life on Mars.
- The Jerezo crater is likely home to hydrated silica, a material which on Earth is especially good at preserving signs of life.
- Mars 2020 is set to land on the planet crater in February 2021. NASA's Curiosity rover is currently the only rover operating on Mars.
- The discovery of past life on Mars would be revolutionary, at least in science and philosophy.