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This presentation appears in the April 4, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The Strategic Triangle of Russia,
China, and India: the Eurasian Aspect

by Academician Vladimir S. Myasnikov

Dr. Myasnikov is an Academician of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His presentation to the Schiller Institute International Conference in Bad Schwalbach, Germany, was part of a March 22 panel on Eurasian development, which was keynoted by Helga Zepp-LaRouche. The speech is translated from the Russian by Tamara Karganova; some subheads have been added.

A strange but probably logical recourse of events can be observed in history. The advent of the 19th Century was marked by Napoleonic wars, and the beginning of the 20th Century, by World War I. Now, at the dawn of the 21st Century, we are witnessing the rapid lowering of the security threshold for the whole world. Notwithstanding the clear striving to peace manifested by a number of leading powers, the world again finds itself at the brink of war. In his address of Jan. 28, 2003, Mr. Lyndon LaRouche, one of the most highly reputed and honest analysts, quite correctly noted that bombing of Iraq and making the latter a theater of hostilities could trigger a new world war and a new great depression. Lyndon LaRouche once again emphasized that the world would face an economic crisis more severe than the crisis of 1928-1933. However, Iraq is not the only potential trigger.

A recent report by the RAND Corporation, which presents "Conclusions on Russia's Decline ... and Consequences for the U.S. and Its Air Force," says that "degradation" of Russia would affect the U.S. interests directly or indirectly, and therefore it should be suggested that the U.S. armed forces might be asked to help, and then would have to operate in Russian territory or in the adjacent areas. Incidentally, U.S. interests in the Russian theater of international politics seem to be pretty much the same as in Iraq. As noted by authors of the RAND report, Russia is a major producer and supplier of energy resources, and a route for transit of oil and gas from the Caspian region, which is defined as a key area for U.S. national security interests.[1]

Finally, in 2001, Gordon G. Chang, a Chinese American, published his book on The Coming Collapse of China.[2] With his 20-year experience as a legal counselor for a big American company in Shanghai, Gordon Chang predicted that the Chinese state would collapse in the near-term future. His forecast was based on the perceived inefficiency of state-run enterprises, weaknesses and shortcomings of the banking system in the P.R.C., as well as on the P.R.C. leaders' alleged inability to build an open democratic society.

So, let us try to visualize the global political scene in the near future: The United States is hit by financial crisis; Russia's degradation is at the point when U.S. military interference is required; while collapse of continental China shakes Asia and the world at large. This would be a most gloomy scenario of international developments in the first half of the 21st Century. To what extent it is realistic will become clear quite soon. In this presentation, I would like to address only those trends of international relations, which—should they gain momentum—might prevent realization of the above scenario.

Russia, China, and India
Can Guarantee Stability in Asia

The need to accomplish their respective reforms properly predetermines a certain line of international behavior, pursued by the leaders of Russia, China, and India. "Peace and Development," the logo of the P.R.C. foreign policy, is being pursued in the form of active work for stability in East, Central, and Southeast Asia. As Eurasian powers, Russia and India are interested in sustained strategic stability in the whole of Eurasia. Visits by the Russian Federation President Vladimir V. Putin to China and India in December 2002 have manifested the shared positions of the three great powers with regard to major problems of contemporary international relations. The contents of Russia's relations of strategic partnership with China and India are becoming ever more specific.

By the 16th Congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the team of leaders headed by Jiang Zemin reached impressive results in the sphere of foreign policy. These results serve as a good foundation for international activities of the new team led by Hu Jingtao.

Such attainments include, but are not limited by, the following: Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation with Russia; agreement on the free-trade zone with the ASEAN member-states; normalization of relations with India; balanced condition of relations with the United States and Japan; and, willingness to resolve border issues with all neighbor countries within 20 years.

The new world environment offers opportunities for peaceful coexistence and other universally recognized principles of international law, which guarantee observation of national interests to prevail in interstate relations. Exactly such principles serve as the basis for the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, signed by Russian Federation President Vladimir V. Putin and P.R.C. President Jiang Zemin in Moscow on July 16, 2001. This Treaty is of substantial importance—not only for Russia's relations with its great neighbor in Asia, but also for the whole complex of international relations in the world of the 21st Century.

What is the reason to qualify this "treaty of the century," as the P.R.C. President Jiang Zemin put it, in the above terms?

First, the Moscow treaty restored the international legal and treaty platform of Russian-Chinese relations that had been in existence for three-plus centuries. Second, such restoration took place on a qualitatively new basis, in conformity with the principles of good-neighborliness, friendship, cooperation, equal trustful partnership, and strategic interaction between the states in the 21st Century. In this sense, the Moscow treaty, having summed up the previous decade of constructive progress in good-neighborly relations between Russia and China, has also paved new ways for their further enhancement and development in the long-term perspective.

Third, for a long time already, Russian-Chinese relations have been responsible for the general climate of international life. In the given case, the treaty has laid the bases for regional stability in East and Central Asia. And, finally, this instrument is the first treaty of such magnitude in the new century. Having signed this act, Russia and China substantially contributed to construction of the new system of international relations, which is taking shape these days.

Russian-Chinese Treaty

The Treaty, with its systemic and comprehensive nature, has established that Russia and China build their relations in compliance with the universally recognized principles and norms of international law—i.e., principles of mutual respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in one another's domestic affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. In their mutual relations, the two parties would repudiate the use of force or threat of force as well as other methods of pressure, and would confirm their pledge of non-first use of nuclear weapons and non-targeting strategic nuclear missiles against one another. These commitments are especially meaningful in the new circumstances, when the United States has seceded unilaterally from the ABM Treaty.

With the proper respect of social, political, economic, and cultural development of each party, Russia and China provide for long-term and stable progress of relations between the two states. Based on their respective national interests, Russia and China support one another in issues pertaining to protection of the state unity and territorial integrity for either party.

Article 6 in the Treaty is of exceptional importance, as it stipulates that the Parties, "recording, with satisfaction, the absence of mutual territorial claims, feel resolute to transform the border between them into a border of eternal peace and friendship to be passed through generations, and shall apply active efforts to this end."

Russia and China are aware of the fact that arrogance of force in international affairs could lead to irreparable consequences. Therefore, they "stand in favor of strict observation of universally recognized principles and norms of international law, and against any actions, designed to exert force pressure or to interfere in domestic affairs of sovereign states under any pretext whatsoever; [they] intend to apply active efforts for consolidation of international peace, stability, development and cooperation" (Article 11). As a follow-up of the Treaty provisions, Russian Federation President Vladimir V. Putin set forth an initiative of building the "arc of stability" in Eurasia.

Proceeding from this principal position, both states pledged to take efforts in order "to enhance the central role of the UN as a most highly-reputed and most universal international organization, formed by sovereign states, in resolution of international affairs, especially ... in providing for the main responsibility of the UN Security Council for sustaining international peace and security" (Article 13).

The true democratization of international life suggests recognition of the fact that a partner in international relations must be taken as such, and that each state is entitled to select independently, autonomously, and on the base of its specifics, the mode of development without interference on the part of other states. With this, differences in social systems, ideologies, and systems of values must not impede development of normal state-to-state relations. All countries, whether big or small, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community, and none of them should seek hegemony, purse a policy of force, and monopolize international affairs.

The new international order must not be imposed forcefully. More generally, in order to establish the new comprehensive security concept, it is necessary to eradicate the Cold War mentality and the recidivisms of using some national armed forces beyond the national territory.

As emphasized in Article 20 of the Moscow treaty, "the High Contracting Parties, in compliance with their respective national laws and international commitments, actively cooperate in the struggle against terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as in the struggle against organized crime, illegal traffic of narcotic substances, psychotropic substances and weapons, and other criminal activities." Certainly, struggle against international terrorism must proceed most resolutely.

Action Against Terrorism

The context of terrorist acts that took place in several countries in September and October 2002 serves as a basis for a conclusion that the counter-terrorist operation, started in Afghanistan in 2001, did not bring comfort to the world. On the contrary, terrorism building up its muscles and attacking in various corners of the globe.

By all evidence, it is necessary to draw national programs of struggle against international terrorism—for example, like the one developed by Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi in 2001. Further on, it might be possible to draw regional programs for struggle against terrorism—like the one tried by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states. For Northeast, East, and South Asia, such programs might consider the experience accumulated in drafting the regional security systems—with the only reservation that terrorism, being well-organized and actively operating, would give us no respite, no chance for slow action, and no opportunity for years-long negotiations on the matter. Government structures must be better organized and more active, must operate preventively to frustrate any possible plans and attacks on the part of terrorists.

Finally, it seems necessary to hold a special session of the UN in order to develop a comprehensive international counter-terrorist program of action that would take account of political, economic, legal, social, and national aspects of such phenomena as terrorism. Russia, China, and India, for whom counter-terrorist struggle is not merely a part of the international campaign but rather an urgent national task, seem to be able to put forward their joint initiatives on this issue on the international scene.

It should be noted, however, that—as evidenced by the course of history—no "witch-hunt" could ever serve a basis for religion. By the same logic, the "international terrorist-hunt," too, cannot serve a basis for contemporary international relations. For normal interaction of states on the world scene, their activities must be put on a healthy, positive, and constructive basis.

New World Order

As Chinese experts emphasize, the P.R.C. pursues a pragmatic foreign policy, which meets the national interests of China. National interests and their priorities are defined in the modern world on the basis of reasonable national egoism. They are tightly connected with provision of the given nation's actual rights to political, territorial, cultural, and linguistic freedom and autonomy, as well as to equal co-existence with other nations.[3]

At the present time, national interests are closely connected with a most acute issue of world policy—i.e., construction of a New World Order. As evidenced by analysis of the concepts developed in this sphere, they have nothing to do with purely theoretical designs, which are always in stock with fans of scholastic discussions at international conferences. The problem of building a new structure of international relations is connected with national interests of all states of the contemporary world. What is the core of the problem? Addressing the attitudes of Russia, China, and India in this regard, Sherman Garnett, an American political scientist, at the same time discloses the main line of differences. In his view, all three states feel more or less suspicious about the phenomenon, which appears as the world order dominated by the United States. Each of the three actors prefers one or another version of what was qualified in the Russian-Chinese declaration of April 27, 1997 as the "multi-polar world"; and they see such a world as a world which would give more room for their respective national interests.[4]

Indeed, Russia, China, and India stand in favor of building a polycentric world; i.e., a new structure of international relations taking shape in the context of objective development conditions in individual countries. This concept is supported by many states on various continents, because it is designed to create optimal conditions for realization of their national interests, and to provide a new historical environment for the life of mankind in the new century. Being renovated today, the system of global political, economic, and cultural ties must be built on the basis of democratic elements and principles of the UN Charter, as well as the fundamental principles of international law. Meanwhile, it would be necessary to consider all value orientations of each civilization, the regional interests as well as national interests of any international actor.

Would it be possible to build a polycentric system of international relations? In the view of Russia and China—the most active promoters of this concept—the answer is "yes." Both states proceed from the understanding that by the end of the 20th Century, the post-Cold War international relations have undergone profound changes. The two-pole confrontational system has disappeared, to be replaced by the positive trend for construction of a polycentric world. Changes are taking place in relations between and among major states, including the former adversaries in the Cold War. A growing number of countries shares the understanding that their national interests must be provided by equality and mutual benefit in international affairs, rather than by hegemony and policy of force; by dialogue and cooperation, rather than by confrontation and conflicts. Regional organizations of economic cooperation play an ever more active role in building a new peaceful, stable, fair, and rational international order. Broad international cooperation becomes an urgent requirement for realization of national and state interests.

Russia and China coordinate their plans for realization of such grand projects of the 20th Century, as development of Western China; the East-West and North-South international transport corridors; construction of pipelines for downstreaming of hydrocarbon resources from Russia to China; and the Eurasian Transcontinental Economic Bridge. All these projects are tied directly to the central regions of Eurasia.

Events of Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States

The New York explosions have caused a tangible effect on the course of international affairs. The international environment, where states operate as sovereign actors, has been made much more complex. Russia, China, and India actively joined the anti-terrorist coalition and supported the U.S. military action against the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. Such support was, as well, manifested by the fact that base airfields in the Asian states of the Commonwealth of Independent States were provided for the U.S. Air Force transports. For the first time in history, the U.S. Air Force came to be stationed in the immediate vicinity of Russia's and China's strategic rears. In this context, the above-cited forecast by the RAND Corporations appears even more ominous.

In order to sustain stability in central Eurasia, Russia and China have been and are exercising strategic partnership with Central Asian countries, republics of the former Soviet Union. In April 1996, Russia, China, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan held their summit in Shanghai and signed the Agreement on military confidence-building measures in the border area. Thus the five powers, nicknamed as "Shanghai Five," started their cooperation. In 1997, at their summit in Moscow, leaders of the Five signed the even bigger-scale Agreement on mutual reduction of armed forces across the former Soviet-Chinese border.

The summit meetings of the Shanghai Five, held in Almaty (1998) and Bishkek (August 1999), proved that these powers could interact quite productively—both in the political sphere (in order to sustain stability and to deter aggressive assault on the part of Islamic extremists and terrorists in Central Asia), as well as in trade and economic affairs.

On June 15, 2001, the Shanghai Five, convened in session at the Shangri-la Hotel in Shanghai, admitted Uzbekistan as a new member and was institutionalized as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At the same time, the SCO decided to set up its anti-terrorist center in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Finally, at its summit meeting, held in St. Petersburg in July 2002, the SCO passed its Declaration and Charter (the latter deemed as the organization's statute). The Secretariat of the SCO is headquartered in Beijing. The organization is not closed, and offers the procedures for admission of new participants in their capacity of attending observers or full-fledged members.[5]

Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan, and even the United States express certain interest in interaction with the SCO. In the view of Kazakstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the SCO must become a body of confidence and partnership among the member-countries, while Russia, China, and India are to play a key role to this end.

At the signing of the SCO basic documents in St. Petersburg, President Putin noted that requirements for admission of new members were described in the statutory documents, and in principle, any country that shared the principles of the SCO Charter could become a new member. Moreover, Russia's President said that India "was exploring the possibility of a more detailed introduction in the SCO activities" through Foreign Ministry channels. As noted by India's Foreign Minister Yashvant Sinha, "India believes that the SCO fulfills important tasks, especially in the struggle against the threat of terrorism. India is interested in joining the SCO and has notified Russia and other member-states of her intention. Our membership in the SCO does not depend on whether any other country is or is not going to join this structure. We believe that India can contribute considerably to the SCO activities. However, we realize as well that at the present moment its admission regulations make it difficult to become a new member. Nevertheless, we watch its activities attentively."[6]

U.S. 'Sole Superpower'

A most important strategic objective of the United States in the continent of Eurasia is to prevent the growth of forces, which could compete with American domination and therefore are qualified as "hostile to the United States." Such a force was represented, for example, by the former Soviet Union. Now the United States sees a threat to its interests in integration developments in the post-Soviet space, as well as in the potential unpredictability of China's policy in case the latter is not "engaged" in the U.S.-tailored model of international relations.

While addressing national interests, one cannot but devote some attention to the new role of the United States in the contemporary world.

Today the U.S. international strategy is based on the intention to build a one-system—that is, actually, one-pole—world. In the given case, one system means establishment of such regimes in the world as would comply with the national security interests of the world's strongest military power. The old motto—"he who is not with us, is against us"—has been transformed into the notion of the "axis of evil."

Some experts (in particular, at the Schiller Institute) argue that the United States has moved to build an empire by the model of ancient Rome. This would mean division of the world into two parts, metropolis and periphery. In order to sustain its domination, the metropolis would keep the periphery in the condition of instability, leaving very little, if any, room for strengthening either the entire periphery or individual peripheral states. Those countries, which for one or another reason cause concerns in the metropolis, would be subject to preventive attacks by metropolitan armed forces.[7]

The U.S. military doctrine of such kind was elaborated as early as in the early 1990s, right after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Today D. Rumsfeld, R. Cheney, and P. Wolfowitz, perceived as active promoters of this doctrine, exert influence on President George Bush along the relevant direction.

At the same time, however, experts from the Brookings Institution in Washington argue that Sept. 11, 2001 opened a "post-post-Cold War era," in which the central role should belong to the "concert of powers," struggling against terrorism. In their view, the architecture of the would-be system of international relations is not yet quite clear, but it would hardly be the one-pole structure of the post-Cold War period. However, in the nearest future the world would not be led by a "global government," represented, for example, by such an international organization as the UNO. By all evidence, the concept of a one-pole world is starting to lose support within the United States—at least, at the experts' level.[8]

From the standpoint of Russia's, China's, and India's national interests, the most acceptable policy of the United States would be one for the stabilization of international security. Such a policy should not proceed from narrow self-interests of some group within American ruling circles, but rather from true care about sustainable peace that would correspond also to the U.S. national interests. In this sense, the "concert of powers" theory may be considered as an option of the "polycentric world" theory, which is accepted by the three states as well.

New Silk Road Policy

As for the nations which the United States tries to make an object of its policy, they, too, are not at all happy to play the offered role. Along with active participation in the SCO, they are putting forward broad initiatives for the system of international relations in the 21st Century to be polycentric and aimed at economic reforms in a peaceful environment. For example, in the Spring of 1999, Askar Akayev, President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, published his manifesto entitled "Silk Route Diplomacy," which says: "Building of a nuclear weapon free zone in Central Asia, discontinuing the arms race, and converting defense production, as well as providing proper conditions for sustainable development of all countries along the Great Silk Route without exception—all these would give a reason to hope that in the beginning of the 3rd Millennium, the [Silk] Route region, with its enormous potential and resources, would be one of the most prosperous and wealthy in the world; because problems, connected with interests of all countries, would be resolved jointly; and all obstacles to free movement of goods, capitals, services, and labor in the whole area of the Route would be eliminated.

"There are sufficient grounds to suggest that all countries of the Great Silk Route would apply maximal efforts to the effect that in the new millennium, only positive impulses of creativity, peace, progress, and prosperity would be generated from the region of the Route, which is a vast space crossing the whole mainland of Eurasia from East to West, and which unites the rich diversity of cultures, traditions, and historic destinies."[9]

This approach is accepted by a number of Asian and European states that are interested in the grand project of the 21st Century—the Trans-Continental Economic Bridge. In China, for example, this project has been adopted as a government program. The project means to build a high-tech-based network of high-speed transport and communications lines in the expanses of Eurasia, and thus to unite Asian and European nations in a new type of association for development. The central purpose of such an association would be to build, through joint efforts, an integrated super-modern infrastructure for transport, energy, and communications, that would extend from the Pacific through to the Atlantic, and thus provide a basis for rapid economic development of the whole mass of Eurasia in the 21st Century.

As noted in the comprehensive expert assessment of this project, "Having lived through geopolitical manipulations, alienation and conflicts, as well as the 'Great Game' of the colonial powers, peoples of the greatest continent have approached the opportunity to overcome the chronic backwardness of Eurasian 'inland areas' with the help of advanced technologies. For the first time in history, Eurasia, as an integrated unit, would arrive at a quite clear economic reality, composed by sovereign states intensively cooperating with one another."[10]

Coming back to Russia's current strategic partnership with China and India, it should be said that an important strategic objective in the central part of Eurasia is the need to create and to sustain favorable international conditions for successful realization of planned reforms. This is a point of coincidence among major national interests of Russia, China, and India, which is multiplied by the existing long traditions of friendly ties in the spheres of economy, culture, science, and technology. Lyndon LaRouche highlighted exactly this point in his presentation of Dec. 3, 2001 in New Delhi; and exactly this point provides a real opportunity for interaction among the three Eurasian giants. However, in practice, the opportunity alone would not be sufficient for such interaction, because the latter could take place only in a certain international environment, which we have to create and for which we shall have to struggle.

In the environment which is taking shape under the influence of other powers, favorable factors work together with quite many unfavorable ones, which could complicate and even frustrate interaction among the three powers, and which are not generated exclusively by bilateral relations within the "triangle." So, let us try to systematize the main unfavorable factors, and to weigh the real extent to which such factors could jeopardize attainment of our common strategic objective.

Old and New Aspects of International Security

The first group of factors is connected with international security, as well as its old and new aspects. All strategic threats—or, in the given case, unfavorable factors—are embedded in the changed state of international security. The trends that have generated the change have been accumulated implicitly. The main aspects of the old security structure (in the 1960s-1980s) were represented by the willingness: to avoid nuclear war at the level of the two superpowers; to prevent the growth of local conflicts and wars into a universal holocaust; to block the proliferation of nuclear weapons; to solve the ecological problems of the planet; and, to regulate the demographic explosion.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union activated development of some old trends and generated new ones, such as: 1) So far, the reduction of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems does not guarantee against a nuclear war; 2) The proliferation of nuclear weapons could not be stopped, and now the task is not so much to make such weapons unavailable to states, but rather to individual terrorist organizations and groups; 3) Ecological problems are mounting—both in connection with the U.S. refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, and in connection with global climate change and the growing number of technology-generated catastrophes; 4) By all the evidence, demographic problems will be growing until the mid-21st Century, which is defined as the final point of demographic transition (i.e., a global self-regulating demographic process); 5) By that time, China's population, for example, would reach the mark of 1.6 billion; 6) The two-pole structure of the world in general, and international security in particular, is being replaced by a multi-polar structure of both, which is taking shape in the struggle against the trend towards a U.S.-led one-pole world; 7) Hence, there is reason to discuss the United States as playing a new role, of a "brake" on the development of international relations; 8) In the resolution of international problems, evident attempts are being taken to regard domestic legislation as higher than the UN Charter; 9) The creation of the EU and the role of united Europe carry both positive and negative potentials for the new system of international relations; 10) China and India have appeared in the position of major world powers, and their role will be growing; 11) As proved by the financial crisis of 1997-1998, the economic security of nations is no less important than security in the military and political spheres; 12) The role of such a factor of world development as the Islamic Revolution is growing rapidly; and 13) Finally, factors have appeared such as international terrorism, the international drug business, corruption and crime in many spheres of human activity, etc., all of which serve as a reason to discuss the process of criminal globalization. The above list of factors could be crowned by the appearance of a worldwide anti-globalist movement.

The second group of factors is connected with a struggle within the United Nations and for the United Nations. The UN was established as a collective guarantor of international security. Nowadays, we hear the widely disseminated view that the UN is somehow outdated and lagging behind rapidly developing international relations. To some extent, this view seems correct—especially in the context of several substantial failures of the UN in the last several years. The failures include: the Yugoslavian crisis of 1999, when NATO was placed over the UN; the year 2001, announced by the UN as the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, and "creamed" by the events of Sept. 11 in the United States; and, the resolution by the U.S. Congress allowing the U.S. President to attack Iraq at his own discretion, neglecting the UN resolutions and inspections. Today, if one asks the question as to "Who is interested in the UN?" the answer will be: "Nobody but, probably, Taiwan, who wants to be back in there." However, to bury the UN would be premature.

Along with the ever more frequent neglect of the UN on the part of the United States and NATO, several objective factors, too, are responsible for weakening the UN's role.

First, apart from the five leading countries—being the UN founders and permanent members of its Security Council—a group of other important actors has appeared on the world scene, and hence in the UN. These countries—India, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and Canada—seek to strengthen their positions in the United Nations. Reorganization of the UN structure has been on the agenda for several years already, but so far, consensus on this issue seems to be quite distant from now. Second, there are a number of new multinational associations (European Union) and international organizations—both regional (for example, APEC) and specialized (OPEC, WTO). Regular summit and ministerial meetings within the framework of such organizations somehow dissolve the need to delegate a number of problems to the UN. At the same time, informal but regular summits of the G-8 or Asia-Europe also remove many issues from the UN agenda.

It appears that along with reorganization of the UN structure, the authority of this organization as the only world-scale forum to address the problems of international security could be enhanced by such measures, as: to conduct the G-8 summit at the UN—while resolving global issues, the G-8 must not isolate itself from the rest of the world, because otherwise it would place itself in confrontation with many states and with many movements; to continue the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations and, to this end, to select the UN as the venue for the Asia-Europe summit, Islamic Conference Summit, and Conference on Islam and Europe (the latter planned to take place in Spain); to conduct the APEC and OPEC summits within the framework of the UN; to hold a special session of the UN General Assembly that would address unification of all forces in the struggle against international terrorism (as discussed above).

The UN could make all the above-listed summits more transparent for the world public, and thus create an atmosphere of better confidence in the world. Such Eurasian powers as Russia, China, and India are interested, probably more than others, in the UN being again an efficient instrument of peace for the world community, and this is one of their shared positions, where they have started to apply coordinated efforts.

Economic Crisis, New Bretton Woods

The third group of unfavorable factors is connected with the economic aspects of international security. In the new system of international relations at the dawn of this century, the economic component has grown considerably. This growth has been predetermined by three elements: 1) the objective course of globalization; 2) depletion of world energy resources: and, 3) global ecology problems—such as the shortage of freshwater and depletion of soils.

Apart from these rather obvious factors, there are factors, which are not very visible for the broad public, but which could blow up all economic ties in the world. By this, I mean the condition of global finance.

The situation is presented most fully and clearly in the Resolution of Sept. 25, 2002, passed by the Italian National Parliament, with regard to authorizing the government to take measures that would help Argentina to overcome the crisis. The Parliament proceeded from recognition of the fact that escalation of the banking and financial crisis, which started from crises of 1997 in Asia, Russia, and Latin America, and has lasted through to the recent failure of the "new economy" in the United States, the massive and, so far, lasting banking collapse in Japan, and the bankruptcy of Argentina, cannot but cause concern in all countries—among the population, ruling classes, companies, investors, and depositors—because this is not some chance string of events, but rather expresses the crisis of the entire [global] financial system, marked by the staggering gap between the volume of speculative capital—worth $400 trillion ($140 trillion of which the United States accounts for)—and a world gross product worth only $40 trillion.

This is exactly the delayed-action mine laid within the international financial system. The authors of the above-cited parliamentary resolution consider it necessary to convene a new Bretton Woods-like international conference that would address the adaptation of IMF and IBRR [World Bank] activities to the new conditions. The evident task of such a conference would be to free European countries from the dependence on the U.S. dollar, in connection with enactment of the euro, and to try to provide the same international parity for the euro as the one that was provided at Bretton Woods for the U.S. dollar. The nearest future will show if these efforts help to save the world from the so-called "vampire capital"—i.e., the continuously growing speculative capital, which is capable of causing damage not only to individual national economies, but to entire regional economies, too. So far, however, all countries should be prepared for a sudden and painful attack on the part of that vampire.

Such preparations seem to be a reasonable element of interaction among Russia, China, and India within the framework of their constructive partnership. The prospects for interaction in the 21st Century among such countries as Russia, China, other SCO member countries, and India, Mongolia, Iran—i.e., the countries that historically are connected with the center of Eurasia—are not at all exhausted by the vectors addressed in this presentation. Certainly, interaction of all these countries must be put on the solid platform of economic and science-technology cooperation.

[1] This theory was voiced as early as July 1997, when the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on Washington's policy vis-à-vis "eight new independent states of Caucasus and Central Asia"—i.e., Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. According to the main conclusion of those hearings, these republics would form a sphere of U.S. priority interests. Such a conclusion was predetermined, first and foremost, by the extremely rich Caspian oil and gas deposits, comparable to the hydrocarbon resources of the Persian Gulf. In the Caspian, the United States considers Russia and Iran as its main competitors, while Turkey is seen in Washington as a potential ally or tool of its policy.

[2] Gordon G. Chang, The Coming Collapse of China (New York: Random House, 2001).

[3] V.S. Shevtsov, Gosudarstvennyi suverenitet—voprosy teorii (State Sovereignty—Questions of Theory) (Moscow: 1979), pp. 167-168.

[4] Sherman Garnett, Influencing Transition States: Russia. China, and India; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Project on "Foreign and Security Policy Problems," Program on Asian Security (Washington, D.C.: July 1998), p. 3.

[5] For SCO documents, see: Far Eastern Affairs, 2002, No. 4.

[6] Vremya novostei, Feb. 19, 2003, p. 5. (As the original English text of the speech by the Indian Foreign Minister was not available, the above quotation is translated from Russian.)

[7] Such a U.S. strategy was outlined by Alexander Oslon, President of the Obshchestvennoye mneniye (Public Opinion Foundation), in a book published right after the events of Sept. 11, Amerika: vzglyad iz Rossii, Do i posle 11 sentyabrya (America: View from Russia, Before and After September 11) (Moscow: 2001), p. 14.

[8] Brookings Northeast Asia Survey: 2001-2002 (Washington, D.C.: 2002), p. 4.

[9] A. Akayev, Diplomatiya Shelkovogo Puti (Silk Route Diplomacy) (Bishkek: 1999), pp. 1-3.

[10] V.S. Myasnikov, "Kontinentalnyi most—proyekt XXI veka" (Continental Bridge: Project of the 21st Century), Metally Evrazii. Natsionalnoye obozreniye, 1997, No. 3, p. 8.