I don’t follow politics.  I have more interest in the fact that apples came from the plains of Central Asia than the fact that China and Russia are now struggling to secure the energy resources beneath those same plains.  If you told me that China and Russia share political stances on “opposition to Kosovo’s independence and U.S. missile defense plans, and taking a similar approach to the Iran nuclear issue”, I would have very little idea what the details of those shared ideas entailed.

However, there are a few things I do know.  I know that at one time, when Communism was still young in China, there were strong ties between the two governments.  I know it because Chinese schoolchildren still study Stalin, in addition to Marx and Mao.  I know that at one time, Russia was seen as China’s economic partner and friend.  I know it because of meeting one witty and gnarled old man, who tried to speak to me in Russian due to my fair face.  He had studied Russian as a child because it was a means to economic independence, just as English is now, though it did not serve him well.  I know, according to the article referenced earlier, that China and Russia were cold war enemies, but I would’ve never guessed it otherwise from my own experience.

And yet, there is something going on between them now.  And yet they are both countries covering huge tracts of land, both suffering from some of the economic impacts of such vast and varied countries.  And yet they are both worried about the unilateral power that we, the U.S., have in world affairs.  Even if we are doing a good job, is that kind of power right?

With renewed political contacts between these two powers, the focus of power may shift.  My guess would be, however, that economics will play a stronger role than political force (isn’t that what communism says, after all?).  The Chinese still study English, to trade with us and others.  A true power shift will begin when we all race to study Chinese – not merely a few in colleges and upper middle class prep schools, but many of us, in middle school and elementary.  Then the logistics of China as a huge, almost unlimited market for our goods will have been realized.


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