A Scan of Critical World Developments
Russia and China recently agreed to a landmark deal in which Russia will supply China with large amounts of natural gas over the next 30 years. The deal has the potential to significantly alter the balance of power across the Eurasian continent. It reduces Russia’s dependence on Western Europe as a market for its gas and China’s dependence on Turkmenistan as a gas supplier. The already extensive gas production and transportation network stretching across Eurasia, sometimes referred to as “Pipelineistan,” will grow considerably larger in size and in reach, solidifying the Russia-China nexus as a major geopolitical force. We can see this pull in the recent UN resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, where the vast majority of Asian countries abstained. Russia and China, along with Brazil, India, and South Africa (together known as the BRICS group), have been asserting their power as an alternative pole to the US on in global affairs, with the energy trade a major facet of this effort. The contours of a multipolar world are beginning to take shape with significant but uncertain consequences.