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China and Russia: BFF (Best Friends Forever)

Written by Luke Burgess
Posted August 18, 2005

China and Russia have launched a cooperative eight-day war exercise called "Peace Mission 2005."

Hold on just a minute. It's a war exercise called "Peace Mission"? That's makes as much sense as a Gloria Steinman wing at the Bunny Ranch.

Some 10,000 Russian and Chinese troops will be involved in the exercise which starts today in the far eastern Russian region around Vladivostok.

The former Cold War foes, who share a 2,600-mile border, say that the two countries would like to begin warming ties, cozy up as it were, since the end of the Cold War.

Military leaders from both countries were quick to announce that the operation is not designed to intimidate other nations. But if you believe that, I've got some prime swamp land for condominium development in Florida I'd like sell you.

They say the exercise is intended to improve the ability of the former Communist giants to thwart terrorism and separatist uprisings on their borders. What a bunch of BS.

Colonel Lai Bin of the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Sciences said, "For China, the real threat to national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the mission of national reunification is a large and powerful potential foe with high-tech weapons." This is an obvious reference to the US.

The exercise involves mostly Chinese air, sea, and ground troops. Naval ships, bombers, fighter planes will be massing on China's northeast coast for maneuvers.

Russia also will be showing off their new military toys, including the Tu- 95MS fighter, the Tu-22M3 bomber, the A-50 amphibious reconnaissance plane, an IL-78 tanker aircraft, an upgraded Su-24M attack plane, a Su-27SM fighter and four Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers.

Forgive me for the scepticism, but warplanes that are able to carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles are not usually part of peacekeeping operation.

Russia will also deploy air-launch cruise missiles as part of the exercises.

The exercise will conclude next week with an amphibious and paratroop landing on China's Shandong peninsula in the Yellow Sea.

I don't know. Maybe the hippies had it all wrong. Instead of endorsing peace by having sit-ins and music festivals, maybe they should've bought guns and practiced their kill shots.

One thing's for sure and two's for certain. This exercise has nothing to do with peace and little to do with terrorism. This "Love-in" is just a justification for both sides to flex there military muscle.

Earlier this year China enacted a controversial law permitting the use of force, if necessary, to prevent the formal breakaway of Taiwan.

By law the US is committed to defend Taiwan against unprovoked aggression.

Russia certainly doesn't want to be involved in Chinese-Taiwanese tactical rivalry.

But the war games also present a great commercial opportunity for Russia. Russia just happens to be China's biggest supplier of arms and weapons technology. The country sells as much as $1.5 billion to China every year.

The exercise maneuvres are more of a sales pitch than a demonstration to the Chinese for Russian-made arms.

China would be interested in buying or at least developing its own long-range bombers and air-launch cruise missiles.

Currently China has medium-range bombers capable of reaching targets under 600 miles and a rudimentary air-launch cruise missile system.

Aircraft are most likely at the top China's shopping list also both to deter U.S. assistance to Taiwan in the event of a conflict and project Chinese strength across the region.

These military maneuvers come just weeks after Chinese Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu said China should use nuclear weapons against the U.S. intervention on Taiwan's behalf.

The United States isn't officially sending observers to the exercises. But make no mistake about it, the maneuvers are being watched closely by Washington.

The U.S. Defence Department said in a report last month that China's military was increasingly seeking to modernize and could become a threat to America.

The sum of this exercise is frightening.

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want two potential political and economic superpowers, who just happen to have it in for the US, getting all buddy-buddy. Count me out.


- Luke Burgess

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