It is vibrantly clear that through the years, both China and Russia have been significantly building and improving their militaristic arsenals cognizant of NATO’s simultaneous imperial expansion within and beyond Europe in its attempt to recolonize the globe economy under its powers. However, what is concrete in this combative eventful arena is that, as the NATO military might decline, so also the NATO alliance will be less confident that a war situation either with Russia or with China will conform to its militaristic plans. Particularly, military capabilities for anti-access and area denial weaponry abilities mean that the NATO arsenal cannot count on gaining operational control and destroying defenses posed by any one of these two nations, and ultimately achieving decisive victory as it may anticipate currently, if a war situation occurred in any parts of the region.
Yet in denial of this exact reality, from the outset, NATO is determined to: (1) support Ukraine with military and humanitarian assistance; (2) impose the most significant sanctions including economic sanction regime ever, in order to cripple Putin’s economy; and (3) fortify the eastern flank of the NATO Allies. Also, the Biden Administration has committed to provide over $2 billion in military equipment to Ukraine including anti-air systems, anti-armor systems, ammunition that have already been flowing into Ukraine.
In addition to the 100,000 U.S. forces now stationed in Europe to defend NATO territory, NATO has also established, four new battle groups in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia to reinforce the eastern front. All these in provocation and squeezing tactics of the Russian Federation. On its part, China is cognizant of the measures taken against Russia and is preparing itself how to overcome such harsh measures if similar decisions are to be imposed on Its economic structures.
While Russia and Ukraine swayed between war and peace talks in Turkey, Western media still continues to push the anti-Russian sentiment to a climax. Although every news article, editorial, and analysis lashes out at Russia’s military operations, we as bystanders can always feel a tinge of horror from these admixture of fake news led-propaganda. Also, we can’t help but ask, is the West fearing Russia’s steel torrent, or Russia itself? In my view, the answer may be the latter. Such fear is not uncommon in Western history, and this is simply the well-known “Russo-phobia” that has haunted the Western world for hundreds of years.
So what exactly is “Russo-phobia” and how does it come about?
Regarding the origin of “Russo-phobia”, it can even be traced back to the “Russian baptism” in AD 988, and ancient Russia has since accepted the Orthodox Church as the state religion. At that time, from the west of Poland, almost all of Europe was the Roman Catholic world. In 1204, the crusade to Byzantium, the Varanian guard sent by Rus was brave and good at fighting back against the crusaders. Thirty years
later, Pope Gregory IX once again provoked the Eastern Expedition. Catholic Poland fought Orthodox Rus for centuries, and finally Archduke Alexander Nevsky drove the invaders out of Rus. Such religious disputes paved the way for the birth of “Russo-phobia” in the future. In fact, Europe in the eyes of the West is not defined by geographical factors, and the “European culture” with Catholicism as the main content is an important principle for the West to locate its own identity. And Russia, which believes in the Orthodox Church, naturally does not belong to the “we” defined by the West.
The history of Mongol rule from the 13th to 15th centuries deepened the estrangement between Russia and Europe. The rule of the Golden Horde for more than 200 years has marked Russia’s history and culture with a profound “Oriental” brand. Especially in the European Catholic culture atmosphere, the Mongolian expedition was even called the “yellow peril” for a time. The Rus who accepted Mongol rule became “barbarians on the threshold”. Under the double label of Orthodox Christianity and Mongol rule, medieval Rus was a real “outlier” to Europe.
Russo-phobia as the root cause for persisting NATO-provocation
Russo-phobia or Anti-Russian sentiment refers to a diverse spectrum of negative prejudices, dislikes or fears of Russia, Russians, or Russian culture. There exists a wide variety of mass culture clichés in the Western World, and especially among older NATO-Pact member nations, about Russia and Russians. Many of these stereotypes were developed during the Cold War, and were used as elements of political war against the Soviet Union. Some of these prejudices are still observed in the discussions of the relations with Russia. Negative representation of Russia and Russians in modern popular culture is also often described as functional, as stereotypes about Russia may be used for framing reality, like creating an image of an enemy, or an excuse, or an explanation, for compensatory reasons, etc.
Today, over three decades after the end of the Cold War, Russians are still portrayed as “Hollywood’s go-to villains”. Frequent criticism of Russia in western news media concerns Russia–Ukraine relations and worries that Russia will invade other former Soviet republics, human rights in Russia, and alleged limited democracy and media freedom in Russia, often articulated by western governments and the
leading democracy and human rights watchdogs.
“Russo-phobia” itself has at least two meanings. The first layer is to regard “Russia” as a country, that is, a fear of the Russian regime in the political sense. For example, during the Cold War, the West feared that the Soviet Union would instigate a “world revolution”. The second level of meaning is to regard “Russia” as a civilization, that is, the cultural fear of Russian civilization. Historically, the West has long excluded Russia from European civilization, and has long regarded Russia as a synonym for “backward, autocratic, slave” and so on. The two meanings of “Russo-phobia” are not isolated. In the process of continuous development, they reinforce and express each other. [For details, see: Yang Xiaojie: Hysterical fear of Russia – what is the West afraid of?].
France, the origin of “Russo-phobia”, has even pushed this cognition to a theoretical level. From the time of Louis-XV, an unknown “will of Peter the Great”, Russia has been branded with “expansion”. Enlightenment thinkers such as Montesquieu and Rousseau also believed that Russia was a land of “authoritarian, tyrannical and uncivilized”. In 1843, the French Writer, Marquis Custine, published his travel journal “Russia in 1839”, which made a huge impact in the Western world. This travel journal was also regarded as the “Bible” of “Russo-phobia”. After long-term development, France’s “Russo-phobia” has been deeply integrated into its national culture such as religion and philosophy.
Britain’s “Russo-phobia” is more of a product of imperial expansion. After Napoleon was overthrown in 1815, Tsarist Russia became the sole hegemon on the European continent. At the same time, the colonial competition between Britain and Russia in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Far East became increasingly fierce, resulting in Britain’s “Russo-phobia”. The “Russo-phobia” in Germany only gradually emerged at the end of the 19th century. Growing ultra-nationalism allowed the spread of “Russo phobia” in Germany. The “Russo-phobia” in the United States inherited many factors from its European ancestors, and at the same time, it gradually became deeply ideologically imprinted in the process of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In general, the United States has gone further than its European ancestors in its “Russo-phobia” behavioral manifestations.
In 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain Speech” in Missouri, USA in which he stated: “From Szczecin on the Baltic Sea to Trieste on the Adriatic Sea, an Iron Curtain across the European continent has fallen…” Accordingly, the line of confrontation between the West and the then Soviet Union was drawn in Europe Since the end of World War II, during which time the political meaning of “Russo-phobia” has gradually strengthened, while the cultural meaning has gradually become a more intrinsic and profound factor. In the all-round confrontation ranging from economy to military, the West has turned “Russian phobia” into specific “containment policies” one by one.
In this process, the “fear” of Russian culture has become the “ruler” for the West to understand the Soviet Union and Russia. For example, it was George Kennan’s “eight thousand-character telegram” after World War II that demonstrated the “expansion” of Russian history that made the “containment strategy” that the West still implements into reality.
Western “Russian phobia” also shows an increasingly strong ideological tendency. During the Cold War, “Russo-phobia” was largely manifested in the fear of socialist ideology. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, U.S. diplomacy more firmly advocated the liberal concept of “democracy and human rights”, and tried to “reform” the former Soviet Union. But such a transformation has not continued in Russia, which has become increasingly competitive with Western countries since Putin became the Russian president. The Western “Russo-phobia” has also gradually regarded Putin as an object of hatred, and Putin has gradually become synonymous with “authoritarianism” and even “authoritarianism”. Viewed from “US and Them” perspective, what the West fears is a powerful Russia that is not “us” in the Western sense of it.
NATO’s Provocative Exhibits for its “Russo-phobia” Case in Russo-Ukraine Conflict
On March 26, 2022, Biden made a scaremongering speech in Poland, where he said of Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Advocating for regime change in Russia, Biden further commented that Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”
In his twitted text message, Biden added: “We are engaged anew in a great battle for freedom. A battle between democracy and autocracy. Between liberty and repression. This battle will not be won in days or months either. We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead.” In this just cynical. rhetoric, Biden made an enthusiastic defense of liberal democracy and the NATO military alliance, while saying Europe must steel itself for a long fight against Russian aggression. Instantly, his speech and hasty remarks have started to haunt him.
The White House spokesperson declined to comment on whether Biden’s statement about Putin was part of his prepared remarks.
The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly denounced Biden, saying: “It’s not up to the president of the US and not up to the Americans to decide who will remain in power in Russia.” In a related reaction reported by Sophia Sleigh, the Deputy Political Editor of HuffPost UK, the UK has distanced itself from Joe Biden’s controversial and dangerous comments on Putin calling for a regime change in Russia.
When asked about Biden’s remarks made in a speech in Poland on March 26, 2022, the US-Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said it was “up to the Russian people” to decide the fate of Vladimir Putin. Biden’s impromptu remark left the White House scrambling around in a bid to dial down the rhetoric but in vain. The damage is already done.
To get rid of the “Russo-phobia” in the West, it is not only necessary for Russia and the West to truly ease, but also for long-term and unremitting exchanges on an equal footing. And for Russia and the arrogant Western countries, which are currently facing security threats, the possibility is almost zero.
The plan to Counter “Russo-phobia” and Nazism in Ukraine is Endangering Humanity
On March 28, 2022, Dmitry Medvedev, the ex-Russian prime minister and president who is now deputy chairman of the country’s security council, warned this weekend that Russia could turn to its nuclear arsenal against a country which used conventional weapons.
Medvedev told the Guardian that Russia’s nuclear doctrine would not require an enemy state to fire first and listed four scenarios in which Russia would launch their nuclear arsenal:
1) If Russia was struck by a nuclear missile.
2) If any other nuclear weapons were used against Russia or its allies.
3) An attack on “critical infrastructure” which paralyses its nuclear deterrents. 4) If an act of aggression is committed against Russia and its allies that jeopardizes the existence of the country itself.
Medvedev’s words were the latest nuclear warnings coming out of Moscow after Vladimir Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on “high alert” following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
The longer the Russo-Ukraine crisis continued, the more significant economic, domestic political, and international effects would become. Already, following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the regional and global economy is under huge stress.
Regional Spillover Economic Effects of the ongoing Russo-Ukraine crisis
Conflict in Ukraine has negatively changed the global economy in less than a week. Just before the war started, the Russian economy was one of the largest economies in the world (the 11th biggest according to IMF data), it was a key supplier area of agricultural and natural commodities, particularly energy and food. Sanctions imposed included freezing of Russian central bank assets, targeting of wealthy Russian individuals and some state-owned banks, partial access restriction to the international payments system SWIFT and a stop from Germany to its Russian gas pipeline project. The consequential impact has been a boomerang effect.
In Ukraine itself, in addition to the human toll, the economic damage is already substantial. Sea ports and airports are closed and have been damaged, and many roads and bridges have been damaged or destroyed.
Overall, Europe is suffering the largest spillover, but the longer the war drags on, the more widespread the impact will likely become. Europe is highly dependent on Russian energy. Even though all countries have already started to switch to renewable sources, most have not been fast enough. Countries that have very close economic links with Ukraine and Russia are undergoing through the challenges of scarcity and supply disruptions and are most affected by the increasing inflows of refugees. The war in Ukraine represents a challenge for the global economy harming growth and putting upward pressure on inflation when inflation is already at high levels. Ukraine is not a significant trading partner for any major economy, but countries such as China, US, Germany, France, and Italy represent some of the major import partners for Russia. There are several channels through which the conflict impacts on the world economy. The Ukrainian and Russian economies are key suppliers of commodities, including titanium, palladium, wheat, and corn. Disruptions to the supply chain of these commodities would keep prices high, intensifying for users of such commodities (including car, smartphone, and aircraft makers).
Significant escalation on energy prices due to Russia being one of the world’s largest oil producers and energy exporters, will lead into higher inflation. The European Union is the most vulnerable of the major economies, given trade links, reliance on Russian energy to meet more than 60 per cent of its energy needs and the dependence on food supplies.
The risk premium on some European banks have risen and share prices have fallen. Markets will be watchful for any sign of default or liquidity problems for firms with strong links to Russia.
Also, Russia has a great exposure to the UK, and as the result of the conflict, it is expected that the impact on the UK economy could be to reduce its GDP growth by around about 4.0 per cent until the end of 2022.
On its part, Moldova has requested an augmentation and re-phasing of its existing IMF-supported program to help meet the costs of the current crisis, and IMF staff are actively discussing options with the Moldovan authorities.
On top of this, Western Europeans see the issue of Ukrainian refugees mostly as a European issue; this will present substantial demographic challenges, mainly for western Europe and higher public spending is already in plan to solve them. In addition, the conflict is expected to increase military spending in NATO. Both defense and refugees’ assistance expenditures are likely to add pressure on resources and therefore inflation.
In many other countries outside Europe, the crisis is creating an adverse shock to both inflation and activity, amid already elevated price pressures. As a realistic regional economic exhibit in place, let us take, for instance, the current economic status of Tunisia. The ongoing Russo-Ukraine crisis further squeezes and decimates livelihoods in Tunisia. As the war rages in Ukraine, citizens in Tunisia are wandering between empty supermarket shelves and bread queues amid a deepening political and financial crisis impacting that country. The sharp rise in food prices is being seen firsthand. Small bakery shops no longer are able to find flour or semolina to bake bread in response to public demands for daily bread in March 2022. The wheat shortage affected bakeries so much that they can no longer work.
Literally, this is a big crisis. Tunisia, which has been subsidizing its domestic fuel prices and foodstuffs like bread and oil, is now bound to already seek a foreign rescue package to withstand the conflict in Ukraine-led jumps in global prices of essential household commodities.
According to the warning signals provided by Morgan Stanley investment bank, if the current economic deterioration in Tunisia’s national financial handling continues unchecked immediately, then the country is clearly heading for a major default that may arouse civil unrest and turmoil of its citizens who struggle for their survival. Because of smuggling, monopoly and many other uncontrolled things, the shortage of basic commodities and subsidized goods existed in Tunisia for some time before the Russo-Ukraine conflict. But now with this NATO steered provocation leading to war in the region, the month of Ramadan in Tunisia is becoming a challenging season. Practically, one observes an open abject poverty in Tunisia as people are engulfed with both internal and external real economic crises.
Globally the ongoing COVID-pandemic has left the global economy with two key points of exposure, namely: (a) high inflation and (b) jumpy financial markets. Aftershocks from the Russo-Ukraine invasion could easily worsen both. Just how big a blow the conflict ends up delivering to the global economy will depend on its length and scope, the severity of Western sanctions, and the possibility that Russia might retaliate. There’s the potential for other twists too, from an exodus of Ukrainian refugees to a wave of Russian cyber-attacks.
Likely War with China
For quite some time, China and the United States are at loggerheads over several regional disputes including the British Hong-Kong colonial residues that could lead to military serious confrontation or even violence between them. Both countries have large concentrations of military forces operating in close proximity around the Far Eastern waters. If an incident occurred or a crisis overheated, both have an incentive to strike the enemy forces before being struck by them. And if hostilities erupted, both have ample forces, technology, industrial might, and personnel to fight across vast expanses of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. Thus, Sino-U.S. war, perhaps a large and costly one, is not just thinkable; it needs more thought at this challenging time when the US and its NATO alliance nations have jointly provoked the Russo-Ukraine ongoing conflict.
In the United States—as, evidently, in China—systematic analysis of war may be taken as the territory of militaristic war planners. Yet this is not good enough to solve the conflicting matters from some holistic perspectives, for such war planners are solely concerned with how to gain military advantage, not how to avoid economic and political damage. Yet the consequences of war could go far beyond military success and failure: The worldwide economy could be rocked, and international order, such as it is, could be shattered. Because the scope and effects of a Sino-U.S. war could be much wider than the scope of military planning for such a war, it is crucial to think and plan much more expansively than we have in the past.
It is likely that such crisis would be regional and conventional. One may assume that It would be waged mainly by ships on and beneath the sea, by aircraft and missiles of many sorts, and in space (against satellites) and cyber-space (against computer systems). We assume that fighting would start and remain in East Asia, where potential Sino-U.S. flash points and nearly all Chinese forces are located. Each side’s increasingly far-flung disposition of forces and growing ability to track and attack opposing forces could turn much of the Western Pacific into a “war zone,” with grave economic consequences. Through time,
as the US and China become more equal in their ability to destroy each other’s militaristic forces, neither can be confident of winning at an acceptable price. Should a confrontation or incident nonetheless lead to hostilities, it would be better if both sides had thought through how to limit the harm, not just how to win. Besides, it is likely that nuclear weapons would be used as a final step just as expressed by Russia currently due to the Russo-Ukraine crisis. The outcome of such confrontational events is going to be devastating to either of the conflicting parties and to the entire global economy. Such conflicts halt the peaceful economic progress backward and put the global security at jeopardy.
The Extension of Sino-phobia and Russo-phobia in the West
In the weeks since the COVID-19 virus spread around the world, multiple accounts of discrimination against Chinese nationals or anyone who looks East Asian have emerged, including from Asia and Chinese-majority societies. Some were randomly attacked for no reason.
Just like the Russians, discrimination against China and Chinese people is not new – Sino-phobia is a well-documented phenomenon that has existed for centuries. In places where Asians are a visible minority such as Europe, the US and Australia, the Sino-phobia appears to be fueled by superficial stereotypes of the Chinese as dirty and uncivilized.
Given that Sino-phobia and Russo-phobia suggest an irrational fear of China’s and Russia’s “Otherness,” how much of this is really about China or Russia? Tackling something as conceptually vague as Sino phobia requires a measure of intellectual dexterity. Its use and meaning has become totally subsumed into today’s information war.
Discourses of “otherness” are always expressions of identity and power. The tendency to paint China and Russia as eternally backward, barbarous, despotic and even evil, is fundamental to the “West’s” construction of itself. Just note how the imagined borders of “Europe” or the “West” have shifted over the last century based on membership in and aspirations to join NATO/EU vis-a-via Russia and China.
Like most objects of self-admiration, China and Russia serve as both an object of American desire and a subject of disgust. Desire in that the United States craves similitude from China and Russia to reconfirm the universality of American values and its vested interests. At the same time, the United States is repulsed by China’s or Russia’s halfhearted dramas or its outright rejection of American universalism and the policeman of the globe.
Both China and Russia exist in a permanent changing state within the American imagination. These two countries are always in a state of becoming; yes, becoming more democratic or more authoritarian. It is this anticipation which provokes so much the American yearning and distaste. The American discourse posits both the historically inert China and Russia and the cynicism China and Russia that must progress.
What I am always surprised by is the depth and strength of China that would unflinchingly stand on the side of Russia and the relatively sidelined African and Latin American nations from the global arena.
Through the years, NATO has become an imperial project that aims to squeeze and destabilize not only Russia and China, but also the rest of the weaker parts of the world under its mantle of globalization. The world knows the genesis of such kind of economic domination and cultural invasion from the West.
Consequently, it is becoming essential for other countries outside the NATO-Club to resist and fight for their own empowerment. That means, they should not only to de-Nazifying Ukraine, but also the rest of the NATO alliance structure where Nazism has mushroomed via Skin-heads, Red-necks and “White Supremacist” hooligans that long for a unilateral NATO empowerment beyond and above Europe to control the worldwide resources and continue feeding and feasting on the weakening and disintegration of other nations outside the NATO alliance hub.
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