The self-referencing chattering class is up in arms about the $400 billion Russia-China gas deal, seeing it and the associated Russia-China alliance as a threat to the grand strategic ambitions of the United States to remain, in the words of President Obama at West Point, the world’s “indispensable”* power. Taking place against the immediate backdrop of the prevailing US narrative** describing the Ukraine Crisis and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the gas deal is manna from heaven for the unreconstructed cold warriors and neocons in the press, the Pentagon, the defense industry, and the State Department who are fanning anti-Russian/anti-Putin hysteria with prognostications that the US, being on the cusp of a new Cold War, should not cut back its defense spending or its propensity to meddle in the affairs of others.
Viewed thru Russian and Chinese eyes, however, the gas deal may be part of a defensive grand strategy aimed at evolving pathways around Russia’s “NATO expansion problem” and China’s “pivot east” problem. The attached essay by Immanuel Wallerstein, a traditional ‘balance of power’ scholar (in the best sense of the phrase), presents a fascinating speculation in this regard. Only time will tell if he is on to something, but his hypothesis is well worth thinking about.
I have reformatted Wallerstein’s essay to highlight his main points … if you find this distracting, the original is at this link.