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What Russia may seek in the long term in Southeast Asia is a position of a respected and seemingly disinterested outside power helping maintain an equilibrium in a potentially highly volatile region.
Russia badly needs to produce a long-term strategy towards India and the region of south Asia, and to stop thinking about India and Pakistan tactically and separately.
The “turn to the East” has dramatically changed Russia’s strategy towards China and many underlying assumptions. It has also dramatically influenced the mainstream analysis of Chinese security intentions in Northeast Asia. The influence of this major shift in national policy, as well as policymakers’ and scholars’ perceptions of China, was felt throughout 2015.
Russia's recent military exercises with Pakistan showed that Moscow still views many international issues through the prism of its relations with the U.S. Such a position might put Russia-India relations at risk.
Before India and Pakistan enter the SCO, Russia and China should make an effort to help them prevent future conflicts. Failing to help manage the relationship now carries a serious risk for the entire SCO project started by Beijing and Moscow 15 years ago. So, China and Russia owe it to themselves to begin defusing tensions between their partners.
So far, Moscow and Washington have proved incapable of ending Syria’s civil war. But a settlement is impossible without them.
Modern western leaders might wish to consider that, in the end, what killed the Soviet system was not Reagan’s Star Wars, or even the scarcity of goods in the shops. What actually did it was the loss of public faith in the domestic political system. So, improve or beware of exposure.
Moscow should reconsider its own position in the region and within the EEU. Central Asian republics are not passive actors anymore, vying for advantageous bargaining positions with China.
Chinese and Russians now better understand both the potential and the limitations of their relationship. They need to move ahead on concrete issues, making sure that what is agreed upon at the top actually gets implemented.
The 2016 parliamentary campaign isn’t just a test run for the 2018 presidential race. Russia’s political regime is in search of a governing model that will help it sustain the status quo for the foreseeable future.