Manila Bulletin

Em­brac­ing Rus­sia’s pivot to Asia


(Re­marks of for­mer speaker Jose de Vene­cia, found­ing chair­man of the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence of Asian Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties (ICAPP), co-chair­man, In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans for Peace (IAPP); and spe­cial en­voy of Pres­i­dent Duterte to the Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) and for In­ter­cul­tural Di­a­logue at the In­ter­na­tional In­ter-Party Fo­rum, Moscow, Rus­sia, Oc­to­ber 22-23, 2020.)

Our gen­er­a­tion is liv­ing through his­toric trans­for­ma­tions in global pol­i­tics. Nowa­days it is dif­fi­cult even to re­call how rad­i­cal so­cial­ism — then en­shrined in Moscow — had once in­spired so much ideal­ism, de­vo­tion, and self-sac­ri­fice through­out the world.

And those of us who lived through World War II must re­mem­ber the heroic Rus­sian armies that, at unimag­in­able hu­man cost, stopped the Nazi blitzkrieg short of Len­ingrad, and ul­ti­mately brought Stalin with Roo­sevelt and Churchill to Yalta in the Crimea as one of the vic­to­ri­ous “Big Three.”

Even to­day, much more to­day, it is our fond­est and strong­est hope that Rus­sia, the US, China, and the ma­jor pow­ers in the Euro­pean Union who were al­lies dur­ing World War II — United King­dom and France

— and their for­mer en­e­mies, but to­day, their staunch al­lies — Ja­pan, Ger­many, and Italy — to form a gen­uine global al­liance in con­cert with and un­der United Na­tions (UN) aegis, to con­tin­u­ously work, with­out dead­line, on a long-term global agenda for peace and for hu­mankind.

Im­pos­si­ble dream, maybe, but the op­ti­mists and the stu­dents of his­tory be­lieve as we do, that the work must go on and in­deed the dream should never die.

Rus­sia as an Asian power Rus­sia has opened to the world com­mu­nity at an epochal time. The cen­ter of global grav­ity is mov­ing away from the At­lantic — where it has been dur­ing these last 200 years — to the Pa­cific.

And it is do­ing so, not so much be­cause the West is weak­en­ing, whether eco­nom­i­cally or mil­i­tar­ily, as be­cause other power cen­ters are grow­ing in rel­a­tive strength — in Africa, Latin Amer­ica, and Asia.

Ex­perts say that by 2025, the Asia Pa­cific will be home to the largest economies, the most pow­er­ful mil­i­taries, and the most at­trac­tive cul­tures. And Rus­sia — geo-po­lit­i­cally both a Euro­pean and an Asian power — will be prin­ci­pal among them.

So it is in the in­ter­est of all our coun­tries that Rus­sia should reen­ter the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in the best pos­si­ble light.

I n mod­ern times, the new

Rus­sia first ap­peared as an Asi­aPa­cific power in Novem­ber, 2012, when Vladi­vos­tok — cap­i­tal of the Rus­sian Far East — staged the APEC fo­rum of 21 Pa­cific Rim states.

In­deed to­day, Rus­sia is a coun­try of con­ti­nen­tal di­men­sions — just as ex­pan­sive as the Rus­sian peo­ple are in their zest for life.

By it­self, the Rus­sian Far East (RFE) is nearly as large as the con­ti­nen­tal United States and 60% of Rus­sian ge­og­ra­phy is Asian.

In­te­gra­tion of the re­source-rich RFE into the Asia-Pa­cific econ­omy will en­able Rus­sia to take a full part in the af­fairs of the world’s fastest­grow­ing re­gion.

Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin — hav­ing pulled the Rus­sian state to­gether — is work­ing to re­store his coun­try to great-power sta­tus. Rus­sia’s recla­ma­tion of its Asia Pa­cific role will boost mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism — par­tic­u­larly in manag­ing con­flict and in spurring re­gional growth.

Per­haps, Pres­i­dent Putin may go on state vis­its to Asian coun­tries as part of Rus­sia’s re-en­try into the Asia-Pa­cific con­cert of pow­ers.

(To be con­tin­ued)


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