I received the following article from V.T., whose email accompanying it was addressed to me with the subject header "Boom!" Curious, I opened it and saw the article, which, as regular readers here will appreciate, appears to confirm some of my recently-voiced high octane suspicions that we're watching the emergence of new long-term geopolitical realities.
Basically, those "new long-term geopolitical realities" concern China, and my speculation that we're watching the formation of what I've been calling a "Quadruple Entente," quadruple because it involved the major powers of the region - Russia, Japan, India, and the USA - united around a common "entente" or understanding that China, particularly under Mr. Xi, has become a major menace and threat, and has to be contained. For the USA, this "containment" policy is but an updated version of George Kennan's "containment" policy against the Soviet Union. That policy speaks for itself, that the USA and its allies would seek to blunt any Soviet expansion until the system imploded from sheer economic overload. That's the part of "containment" that often gets overlooked, but it's worth remembering as we contemplate the emergence of this Quadruple Entente.
In stressing the "entente" nature of this emerging phenomenon, however, I've been attempting to indicate that it would be a far cry from a formal system of alliance like NATO, but rather, a system of agreements (perhaps) that bind the countries concerned together, perhaps later on leading to something like an Asian NATO. Frankly, I doubt the latter will occur, because in this instance the countries involved are not likely to allow the USA to have the sway and say that NATO provides it. Bi-lateral agreements are much more likely, and India and Japan, as I've indicated previously, are likely to be the two movers and shakers.
No sooner said than done, it seems:
As the article points out, these negotiations have been under way since 2018, but this leads one to wonder why - after two years - they were concluded just now, and I strongly suspect that the talks were accelerated by both countries in the aftermath of the recent border clash between Indian and Chinese forces. But there's another mention in this article that's worth exploring:
India has already signed similar agreements with the United States, Australia, France, South Korea and Singapore.
According to an Indian defence official, speaking to the Times of India, it is also seeking comparable arrangements with Britain and Russia.
They said: “India is negotiating similar pacts with the UK and Russia.
“The Russian one should be inked later this year.
To counter China’s growing power India has been moving closer to the US, Japan and Australia, a group known informally as the ‘quad’. (Emphasis added)
And with that, we learn something new and highly significant: India and Russia are negotiating a similar pact as that just concluded between India and Japan. And there can be no doubt against whom that agreement is directed: China. So one might expect that similar arrangements are possibly already under way between Russia and Japan... but... the world will never know about it, because both nations have compelling reasons to keep any such arrangement secret; Russia, because it leaves it maneuvering room as a go-between to China, and Japan, because it cannot afford, at this juncture, to appear to be pursuing too independent a course from the USA, and because any disclosure of such an arrangement would perhaps provoke even more aggressive actions from Mr. Xi.
But today, it's Australia that's of interest. I've already predicted that, as a result of Brexit, one would see The United Kingdom reaching out to other Commonwealth countries and even trying to re-vivify the Commonwealth as a soft power institution. In Australia's case, we've already witnessed the Johnson Government reaching out to the Australian space ministry, and on the Australian side, there has been a quiet, but growing, discussion in that country for the development of its own independent nuclear deterrent. And the U.K. is, of course, a thermonuclear power.
While it sounds utterly laughable at this point in time, I for one would not be a bit surprised if, over the next few years, one sees both countries expanding their joint space initiatives, and for Australia to develop its own nuclear forces, perhaps by working out some agreements with the two Commonwealth countries that are nuclear powers, the U.K., and of course, India. Failing that, Australia might purchase nuclear weapons from them, or allow nuclear basing in Australia. All this, right now, seems far-fetched, but there are pressing reasons to believe Canberra might do it, not the least of which is the unreliability of the USA as an ally, torn as it is currently with internal strife and seemingly irreconcilable political fissures. Those fissures are now cultural, and that means they're not going to disappear in the next election cycle, if ever.
And that means, like it or not, than when one is contemplating China in Moscow, Tokyo, New Delhi, or Canberra, the response that has to be formed is "we're on our own." Swampington, D.C.'s participation would be welcomed, of course, but for policy planning, the worst case scenario has to be assumed.
And that's why we're reading, in this article, of agreements between India and Russia, India and Japan, and India and the United Kingdom. And if India is seeing things this way, rest assured, they are in London, too.
They're just being polite, and not telling the cousins across the pond what their long term analysis has concluded, and they're certainly don't going to be very public about it as long as Frau Merkel is digging in her feet and playing hardball on Brexit.
See you on the flip side...