China and Russia: Equated to Nazi Germany

By Vic Odarve

A glimpse on world history showed that countries which started a huge, bloody conflict and blown out into catastrophic proportions have a common denominator; authoritarian rule, expansionist policy, and bullying small and powerless neighbors. Authoritarian rule is akin to martial law whose leaders often perceive as rulers with unlimited powers; few elite people make decisions and control the economy. In order to grow their influence and economic reasons, they have to expand the territories under the guises of freeing their oppressed people. Through their advanced and better military hardwares, they intimidate and bully small and powerless neighbors. Nazi Germany did it before. Today, China and Russia are equated to Nazi Germany.

South China Sea

South China Sea

Both China and Russia are authoritarian countries; that is, only a few manage and control the government, and repress their citizens. Russia, a corrupt country fights its survival to make its place safe for corruption. Since authoritarian rule represses their citizens, many journalists who try to investigate the government’s shadowy activities and transactions die a horrible and excruciating death, leaving neither traces nor investigation. Both countries have a tightly controlled political system that leaves little room for

China President Xi Jinping shakes hand with Obama

China President Xi Jinping shakes hand with Obama

dissent. Confrontation seems futile; people are too scared to form a united opposition. A few weeks ago, China executed prominent business tycoon Liu Han, chairman of the Hanlong Group, and Forbes ranked the 148th richest person in China in 2012. He was charged of running a crime syndicate and involved in a campaign of intimidation since 1990. In Russia, Khodorkovsky,

Russia President Putin

Russia President Putin

once Russia’s richest man, was put in prison in 2005 on charges of tax evasion and fraud. Some European countries including the United States accused Russia of “selective prosecution” and abuse of the legal system.

One common ambition of these two countries is to expand the present territories, whether by force or by other stealthy moves. Putin wants to restore the old USSR with Russia as the center of its power and powerful army in the heart of its satellites including Ukraine. That is the picture before the collapse of the federation in 1992. Today, slowly and slowly, he is now attempting to reassert Russian leadership over the post-Soviet states, and intervenes economically and militarily in its “near abroad. Russia sent its tanks into Georgia in 2008, invaded and annexed Crimea by stealth last year, and played proxy war in Eastern Ukraine. Its shadowy incursion into Georgia and Ukraine speaks it all.

China, on the other hand,  claimed almost the entire South China Sea – an area defined by the “nine-dash line” which Beijing says its right to the area comes from 2,000 years of history where the Paracel and Spratly island chains were regarded as integral parts of the Chinese nation. Both the Philippines and China lay claim to the Scarborough Shoal which is located 100 miles (160km) from the Philippines and 500 miles from China.

With powerful military at their disposal, both countries tend to intimidate and bully their neighbors by military posturing, invading the sovereignty, and annexing territory. China, on the other hand, turned deaf ears from their neighbors’ complaints; built an airstrip and conducted oil exploration in the contested South China Sea. Russia warned US and NATO and EU to keep out from Ukraine for he has nuclear power that could lead to nuclear Armageddon.

Putin, far more dangerous than politicians, is on the diplomatic table for Ukraine on his proxy war; winning major concession such as restoration of Ukrainian control over the border with Russia in the separatist-controlled areas, and grant wide powers to the eastern regions, including the right to form their own police force and trade freely with Russia. China defies any diplomatic effort on his own; refuses to participate in a United Nations arbitration process. Economic sanctions hit Russia, but it does not deter Putin; cases were filed by Asian countries for China, but China ignores it.

As always shown in history, appeasement or concession to an aggressor does not work as in the case of Hitler; economic sanctions may bite, but does not always sway these leaders to back down; military solution accelerates the fuel burning. Only diplomatic effort may save from these conflicts to a nuclear explosion. These leaders when cornered choose instead to escalate the crisis and risk an all-out confrontation. China and Russia offer their new world order calculus, but, most people say, can be equated to Nazi Germany.

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Russia and China Play Stakes Game

                                                by Vic Odarve

Just pondering over the checkered board what the best next moves like chess, Russia and China play the dangerous games, that a wrong move lead to a disaster. Russia seems to be in a zugwang, still to find her next move to extricate from difficult positions over the downing of the Malaysian Airline. China, on the other hand, looks for best tactical maneuvers to snatch South China Sea inlets claimed by most of its neighbors and defies the international norm on settling disputes thru United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Both countries play dangerous games!

Russia BUK missile launcher

Russia BUK missile launcher

Now, as the situation develops after the downing of the Malaysian Airlines, which was believed fired by a missile from Moscow supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Russia finds it difficult to justify its action particularly to its allies and its opponents- the western countries and United States. Although Europe relies heavily on Russian energy exports, the latest tragedy complicates her position; pushing neighbors away from the orbit of

Malaysian airline wreckage

Malaysian airline wreckage

influence. But still, as the posturing going on after the impressive modern, well trained and fully equipped Russian Army swiftly conquered Crimea, the war-gaming on the Ukrainian border still persists over the past months. The support for the separatists and war games along the Ukrainian border doubted the west on her true intentions. This is a risky maneuver.

On the other hand, China looks to

Chinese Coast Guard Patrols South China Sea

Chinese Coast Guard Patrols South China Sea

be campaigning as hard as she can until meeting resistance on its own game over the South China Sea. China, as it spreads out its role in the world economy, engages in territorial disputes with its neighbors in the petroleum-rich South China Sea, and frequent skirmishes with the West over intellectual property publications. A group of disputed islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, also creates friction between the two countries; rejecting proposals to freeze on oil rigging near Vietnam and building what appears like an airstrip in a disputed island near the Philippines also raise tensions in disputed waters.

The world, along with the UN and western allies, are trying hard to make sure the present volatile situation doesn’t escalate. These nations have nuclear weapons, which, if not properly manage, can turn into catastrophe. These flurries of international crises that involve Russia and China seem difficult for the UN and its supporters to respond. China’s deaf ears to settle through UN mediation and Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, are breaching the international norms.

As always in world history, the United Nations and the western allies are the last walls to deter the expansions. Red lines establishments, calculated sanctions, and enforcements of the international laws and UN charters are some of the measures to save peace rather than to force military experts to their own drawing boards.

These current situations are very delicate and a mite too late to resolve may result to another apocalypse. Like matter and antimatter which annihilates each other, there are always pros and cons, as violators and abiders to international law. Nobody wants to fight like the World War II. But both Russia and China are now playing a high stakes game!

Why China’s Behavior Alarms Neighbors

By Vic Odarve

In history, it is the military might coupled with aggressive totalitarian leadership that increases the risk of an incident or miscalculation or fueled by overconfidence bring the world wars. And China has all these elements! China’s exponential military budget over the past few years; military posture over the South China Sea; and aggressive totalitarian leader that defies international norm on settling disputes thru United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea worries her small and relatively weak neighbors.

Yes, China is militarily strong and is still growing. According to the survey conducted by Global Firepower report, China has the third most powerful army in the world next to Russia and United States.

Commercial flight across the South China Sea

Commercial flight across the South China Sea

China military power rises exponentially in the past five years. Beijing is undergoing massive military modernization program widely regarded as among the most aggressive and advanced in the world; aspiring to build a truly powerful 21 st century military with budget excessive for the country’s legitimate defense needs. The elevated budget levels for the past few years may build even more potent forces; attempt to intimidate potential competitors in Asia; and suggests that the primary purpose is projecting power across long distances, not defending the homeland anymore. Today, China has its strategic missile forces combat ready and has also developed a broad array of space weapons designed to destroy enemy’s satellites; and also built the world’s largest army of cyber warriors, and drones.

Moreover, Chinese government, with its Communist party in power, is authoritarian in structure and ideology usually headed by few influential people. Most often than not, authoritarian government can be abused by leaders who are corrupt; people under the leadership just follow the leader without questions; and may lead in making a bad decision. In authoritarian government, there’s a political stability, but it is sometimes ruled with fear.

History always reminds mankind that country with powerful military and authoritarian rule usually have expansionist policy and intimidate the smaller neighbors. That is what happened in Europe before World War II. Germany, with Hitler authoritarian rule backed up with the powerful military machine, invaded her neighbors without considering the international norm of respecting sovereignty. Few months ago, Russian under Putin absorbed Crimea by demonstrating her military might and authoritarian regime rule. Today, China’s behavior is alarming; claims that China’s territorial seas extend into much of the South China Sea and declare to be within their Exclusive Economic Zones and establishes a new demarcation line on the air and naval navigation.

AS always shown in history, military might coupled with an authoritarian leader increases the risk of an incident or miscalculation or fueled by overconfidence bring the world in flames. China’s behavior is likened to Germany and Japan before World War II. This behavior alarms her relatively weak and small neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei

History Repeats Itself

By Vic Odarve

Have you seen your television every morning? The world’s situation is a giant mess!  News on Syria, Egypt, South China Sea, and Russian invasion in Ukraine caught your attention. Russia and China, both look like a Poseidon holding a trident, are ready to smite their own oppositions. And the world seems gasping its last breath! History is to repeat itself!

Our old folks experience the Second World War in 1945.

Most of our old folks are war veterans

Look at Crimea, Ukraine! It is an aftermath of Georgia. In 2008, Mr. Putin invaded Georgia and paid no price for that action. NATO and its western allies were on standstill. No action. And lately he proceeded to takeover Crimea, saying his country could not “ignore calls for help” from ethnic Russians in Ukraine.  Putin declared that he acted accordingly with the international law. That was his point.

 On opposite side of the globe China bullied his small neighbors by making her own demarcation line on the South China seas and claimed to be its integral part of the mainland. China has bullied the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei and unilaterally staked claims to wide swaths of international air space and sea lanes. China also claimed Senkaku Islands from Japan in the East China Sea. 

 Both their actions are against the UN Charter and international law. Russia’s action in Crimea is a clear “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial

This new generation does not experience the cruelty of war

This new generation does not experience the cruelty of war

integrity.” China’s rejections to its settlement thru UN arbitration are also against the international law like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. And she shows no sign of backing away from its growing assertiveness in disputed waters in the East China and South China seas.

Today, these powerful nations Russia and China are becoming more frightening because of the various excuses such as reuniting their own speaking people and thru intimidation, flex their muscles over their small neighbors.

This is exactly what happened before World War II. Yes, history seems to repeat itself. Germany under Hitler launched his own expansionist drive with the annexation of Austria in March 1938; Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland and its 3.5 million ethnic Germans in September 1938; and Poland in September 1, 1939. Japan, too, by late 1938 had seized control of most of northeast China and imposed several measures designed to assimilate the Korean population.

As always in world history, United Nations and the western allies are the last walls to deter the expansions. Red lines establishments, calculated sanctions, and enforcements of the international laws and UN charters are some of the measures to save peace rather than to force military experts to their own drawing boards.

These current situations are very delicate and a mite too late to resolve may result to another apocalypse. Like matter and anti matter which annihilates each other, there are always pros and cons, as violators and followers to international law. Nobody wants confrontation.

As shown, Russia and China are like Germany and Japan of old. Both appear to lose the touch of reality of our real world. History seems to repeat itself!