Russia: Cuddly Bear
Russia was widely known as the “Evil Empire” in America all throughout the Cold War. No one will still call Russia: Cuddly Bear 30 years later. Yet, come 2020, Russia is no longer what it used to be because, first, it does not have to be. More importantly, it must not be.
In fact, in the next decade, Russia only has to enter into an interdependent existence with Germany on one hand. On the other hand, it must also put up with New Turkey. Only then, it will regain strength and become viable again.
In that sense, it is nonsense for anyone to suggest that there is still a Russian Bear to worry about. Russia is not a threat against America in the 21st century. If only Americans were to wake up and see what is going on around the world their problems will be over.
Instead, so long as they will continue to look at a Cuddly Bear as if it is a threat, they will ridicule themselves. In the meantime, Russia will happily try to capitalize on this dynamic and gain time.
Russia has to live with New Turkey and Germany
Russia used to be the second-biggest economy and military in the world. Today, it still has oil and military platforms to sell. Oddly, neither can be sold without Germany and New Turkey in play since they are the two biggest consumers in proximity.
Militarily, Russia depends on New Turkey and Germany for many reasons. Development and mass production of sophisticated military platforms require partners in the competitive markets.
Today, while Germany is constantly losing military markets as rapidly as Russia, New Turkey is looking for partners to develop and produce more. Hence they all complement one another in a funny way.
New Turkey and Cuddly Bear Russia: Entangled Relationship
Turkey and Russia make a powerful, but not a natural, combo. Together act is temporary and suits them until the time is right. While Turkey does not need the Cuddly Bear in Russia cannot do without New Turkey. Idlib, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh debacles proved it.
New Turkey will sustain this cooperative relationship until the Turkic Council becomes totally independent. Yet, it also has to become formidable enough to stand alone. As the quasi-leader of this council, New Turkey, in the interim, will use Russia as leverage against the US or China.
That will suit Russia well because in the short term it also needs New Turkey as a bulwark against the US. In the long term, Russia will naturally face double pressure when China also becomes a superpower. This transition period with New Turkey will prepare Russia for the challenging future.
Bigger Eternal & Existential Problems: Muslims
Russia has a bigger eternal and existential problem than what the US or China represents. Demographic and geographic complexities are not manageable in the long run. The 21st century sure to replicate the 20th century when it comes to the further disintegration of Russia.
30 percent of the population in the Federation is Muslim. There are 9 Turkic republics that would like to declare independence. They are likely to jump ship when the time is right. Further development of the Turkic Council into a formal entity will also determine their timetable.
Countries with Muslim soft bellies
In a decade, Russia will find itself in an unlikely company. Not that being in bed with Germany and New Turkey is anything but normal, the future does not offer Russia a clear path.
In the next 30 years, the population in Asia is projected to rise by 1 billion people. More than half of them will be Muslims. China and India will be the two countries with the biggest Muslim soft bellies in the world. Russia will then be in the company, yet another, unlikely company. All three will ponder how to handle their Muslim minority which will become too big to handle.
Will then the Cuddly Bear still be around or not, only time will tell. Not until then, there is nothing for Americans to worry about when it comes to the Russian Bear. It will not be around for another decade even if then!