War to conquer as much of Ukraine as it can get has shattered decades of Russia’s commerce with NATO states. And, as the outlook for a speedy settlement of that conflict recedes ever further into the distance, Moscow has been wrestling with alternatives, however costly. The high rhetoric about turning to China and away from the West while it is blockading Russian commerce has given way, as extravagant hopes have deflated on Beijing’s extreme caution, if not cynical indifference, to the grand idea of focusing instead on opportunities in South Asia; hitherto regarded with monolithic hostility as the source of menacing Islamism, still an object of extreme concern in former Soviet republics like Turkmenistan and Tadzhikistan. Relations with Iran are something of a model, because here common hostility to the United States has lubricated the joints of commerce.
Thus deep state tv appears with a documentary on Russia’s opening to the South, emphasising the critical importance of constructing a major railway line through to Kabul and on to Peshawar. It is hoped that, in spite of severe differences with Kabul over its ambitions for a global Caliphate, the north-south trading route is a practicable option, carrying much needed coal, for instance, direct to Pakistan in return for textiles. Typically, and reflecting its longstanding western orientation, the Russians oddly refer to this as a “U-Turn to the East”.
Разворот на восток
Какие выгоды России сулит новый торговый путь?