• Far Eastern Affairs
  • 2002-04-01FEA-No. 002
  • Size: 50.4 Kbytes .
  • Pages:26-41.
  • Words: 8311

"The Third Threat:" China as Russia's No. 1 Enemy? (How and Why a Prospective Strategic Partner is Being Made into a Strategic Adversary)

Author: Alexander YAKOVLEV

The pluralism of opinion and freedom of speech practiced by Russia's most liberated mass media unfortunately often escalate into elementary civil irresponsibility and unbridled dilettantism. This, if we keep in mind the enormous role played by the mass media in forming the moral and political climate in society, cannot but arouse regret, particularly when the unrestricted fantasy of journalists and, something which is particularly sad and intolerable, of the scientific "fraternity" affects this country's vital interests with respect to its security, and to real and potential military threats from the outside.

"Scientific" fantasies about the supposedly escalating threat from our great eastern neighbor, China, have recently boomed and found their way into the press. They literally repeat the age-old and well-nigh apocalyptic "revelations" of a century ago by political thinkers about the "yellow threat" which ostensibly loomed large over the world and over the Russian Empire in the first place at the turn of the 20th century. And although during this past century Russia, first in the form of the czarist empire and then the Soviet Union, was subjected twice to a destructive invasion from the West, and its tension with China never went further than a manageable conflict, at the turn of this new century we are again being increasingly instilled with fear about the selfsame "Chinese threat."

Admittedly, it is worth noting that the "alarm" is sounded from across the ocean. It was the Americans who were the first to launch another propaganda campaign in 1992 about the supposedly relentlessly growing threat to the world from the rapidly developing China. Little by little and at first very cautiously, some Russian political scientists, as well as influential pro-Western politicians, and certain so-called "native- soil patriots" nevertheless joined up with it in one way or another. And now not a trace is left of the former caution and cool-headedness.

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