Old Alliances Die Hard
"For the Chinese and the Russians, this is a message to the United States," one U.S. official said. "They want to see our bases in Central Asia and presence in Asia cut back."The "Peace Mission" against terrorists could very well be directed at Taiwan, because separatists are called terrorists by Beijing.
The fact that the United States was not invited to observe the war games is a sign of the anti-U.S. nature of the exercises, said several officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Defense officials from India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia will be present in China to observe the exercises.
"We expect that China will feature some of its latest assets alongside visiting Russian forces, showcasing their military power and credible force," said a defense official. This official said any time that nuclear powers such as China and Russia conduct exercises together "it is of international interest."
The eight days of exercises have been dubbed Peace Mission 2005 and will involve about 10,000 Russian and Chinese troops who will fight "terrorists" in a simulated regional conflict.
It's a cracked-but-scarey group of nations, this Russia, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia set-up. Meanwhile, we look at France, Germany and Korea and wonder what happened. If the exercises emerge as Taiwan-oriented, as expected, we'll look at our allies and see ourselves, once again, as pretty much alone.
Granted, India and Pakistan will not be fighting side by side anytime in this eon, and Mongolia has multiple chips on its shoulder, but the joint war exercise shows that Asia is a growing problem for US foreign policy.