World View: China Threatens to Cut Off Aid to North Korea

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • China threatens to cut off aid to North Korea
  • Russia blames the West for fomenting jihadist 'blowback'


China threatens to cut off aid to North Korea

Xi Jinping, China's new president
Xi Jinping, China's new president

A highly significant and highly fascinating English language editorial appeared Friday in China's Global Times, an organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing (emphasis mine): 

Not all Peninsula issues China’s problem

In response to UN Security Council Resolution 2087 which was approved on Wednesday, North Korea vowed that it will carry out a "high-level" nuclear test. This may not be mere angry words, because South Korea says preparation for North Korea's new nuclear test is already in progress.

Wednesday's UN resolution condemned North Korea's rocket launch in December and expanded existing sanctions. After putting a lot of effort into amendments for the draft resolution, China also voted for it.

It seems that North Korea does not appreciate China's efforts. It criticized China without explicitly naming it in its statement yesterday: "Those big countries, which are obliged to take the lead in building a fair world order, are abandoning without hesitation even elementary principles, under the influence of the US' arbitrary and high-handed practices, and failing to come to their senses."

China has a dilemma: We are further away from the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and there's no possible way for us to search for a diplomatic balance between North Korea and South Korea, Japan and the US.

China should be more relaxed and reduce our expectations on the effect of our strategies toward the peninsula. We should have a pragmatic attitude to deal with the problems and pursue the optimal ratio between our investment of resources and strategic gains.

China can neither take one side of the peninsula conflict like the US and Japan nor dream of staying aloof. We should readily accept that China is involved and may offend one side or both sides.

China's role and position are clear when discussing North Korea issue in the UN Security Council. If North Korea engages in further nuclear tests, China will not hesitate to reduce its assistance to North Korea. If the US, Japan and South Korea promote extreme UN sanctions on North Korea, China will resolutely stop them and force them to amend these draft resolutions.

Just let North Korea be "angry." We can't sit by and do nothing just because we are worried it might impact the Sino-North Korean relationship. Just let the US, Japan and South Korea grumble about China. We have no obligation to soothe their feelings.

Due to China's strength, as long as our attitude is resolute, the situation will be gradually influenced by our principles and our insistence.

China is a power adjacent to the Korean Peninsula. This means that our strategic interests are complex and diverse. China should maintain our national interest to the full extent instead of any other side's interests.

China hopes for a stable peninsula, but it's not the end of the world if there's trouble there. This should be the baseline of China's position.

China is doomed to be located in East Asia where the situation is now quite chaotic. But luckily, China is the most powerful among the region's countries, so it will be influenced the least by the situation. China should stay calm.

China has been displaying increasing impatience with its client, North Korea, but the new leadership, led by president Xi Jinping, is apparently willing to demonstrate its impatience in a big way. 

There's a game of brinksmanship going on here. Is Xi simply bluffing? China does not want North Korea to run that nuclear weapon test. The youthful North Korean president Kim Jong-un will look extremely weak if he now doesn't run the test. If he does, Xi has apparently backed himself into a corner, and presumably will be forced to reduce China's assistance. This doesn't mean that all assistance, particularly food aid, will be cut off, but presumably some significant component of the assistance will be affected. Let's all feel some Schadenfreude for the Chinese. This may even turn out to be fun to watch. Global Times

Russia blames the West for fomenting jihadist 'blowback'

Russian president Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West in recent days for pursuing what he regards as naive and incoherent Middle East policies. The reasoning is that the West has supported movements to oppose dictators in Libya and Syria, and doing that has energized Sunni Muslim jihadist groups. 

According to Putin: 

The Syrian conflict has been raging for almost two years now. Upheaval in Libya, accompanied by the uncontrolled spread of weapons, contributed to the deterioration of the situation in Mali. The tragic consequences of these events led to a terrorist attack in Algeria which took the lives of civilians, including foreigners.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added the following: 

Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the same people who ... our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime [in Libya].

With Russia heading deep into a generational Crisis era, the fault line between Caucasian Muslims and ethnic Russians has been growing exponentially in recent years, and Putin is implying that the West is at fault because of Syria and Libya. According to one Russian analyst: 

Russia is on the frontier, we are in jihad territory. Our own fringes, the northern Caucasus, Central Asia, and even the central Volga region are threatened. That's why we're very clear about who the enemy is... We know this, and you would think that after 9/11 and other events that our American and European colleagues would have some clarity about it, too. Yet they always seem ready to play with fire, and to use militant jihadists against Russia and its national interests – as they did in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Libya, and Syria.

The Russian criticism of the West even goes back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Instead of blaming themselves for energizing the Sunni Muslim jihadists there, and creating al-Qaeda and the Taliban, they blame the West for supplying weapons to those fighting the Soviets (who, at that time, formed an "Evil Empire" that was our enemy).

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is very little to support the Russian analysis. There have been huge, genocidal wars between the Orthodox Christian civilization and the Muslim civilization for centuries, and the West didn't cause those wars. Furthermore, if I had to pick just one event that energized the Sunni Muslim jihadists from Indonesia to the Maghreb and up to the Caucasus, that event would be Iran's 1979 Great Islamic Revolution, followed by the Iran/Iraq war (a regional Shia/Sunni war) of the 1980s. 

In the West, we focus on World War II as the most significant war of the 20th century, but for most Muslim countries that was just another war -- brutal and bloody like all wars, but not a generational Crisis war. The Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war shook the entire Muslim world, and particularly inspired Osama bin Laden to start his jihadist movement to duplicate Iran's revolution, which was a victory for Shia Muslims, with a similar revolution for a Sunni al-Qaeda state. 

Al-Qaeda and its splinter groups have tried this in Iraq, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and now in Mali, and they've failed every time so far. Meanwhile, the Arab Spring, which was also not caused by the West, is destabilizing the entire Mideast, which is trending towards a much larger Sunni/Shia war. 

Within Russia itself, the growing fault line is between the (Orthodox Christian) ethnic Russians and the (Sunni Muslim) ethnic groups in the Caucasus. However, the mutual xenophobia is not limited to the Caucasus. Violence between Russians and Caucasians has spread across the country, particularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as we've reported in the past. 

It's affected the army, in that Russians and Caucasians can no longer serve together. Even the Caucasus itself is becoming devoid of Russians. There has been a massive outflow of ethnic Russians from the Caucasus since 1991, when the Chechen leadership declared a so-called "Islamic state," and conducted a targeted anti-Russian policy. As a result, the number of Russians in Chechnya went from 220 thousand in 1991 to just 25 thousand in 1999, and the outflow has continued since then. 

It's very convenient for Vladimir Putin to blame the West for a Sunni Muslim vs Orthodox Christian fault line that's existed for centuries. But as Russia's generational Crisis era heads towards a full-scale war, repeating the genocides of past centuries, Putin is going to have to leave his fantasy bubble world and figure out how to save Russia. CS Monitor and Newsland (Trans) (Russia) and Sova Center (Russia)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, North Korea, Global Times, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, Caucasus

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