Russia's 'Asia pivot' causing concerns, but ...

Main Russian Main Village in Shikotan, Kuril Islands (Надежда Голумбиевская)

Main Russian Main Village in Shikotan, Kuril Islands (Надежда Голумбиевская)

Russia has made what is called a small ‘Asia pivot’ according to Western sources:

October 26, 2015

SEOUL—Russia’s plan to build a military base on the disputed Kuril Islands, that were seized from Japan at the end of World War II, is a small part of Moscow’s own “Asia pivot” to increase and protect trade with the vibrant economies in the Pacific region.

“If Russia really wants to be a player militarily in Northeast Asia, the military presence in the Kurils is very helpful,” said security analyst Grant Newsham, with the Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo.

The United States has used the term “Asia pivot” to describe President Barack Obama’s efforts to place greater strategic importance on this region to counter China’s growing military presence and economic strength.

Kuril Islands base

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s announcement to build a base on the Kuril Islands along with four Arctic bases is part of President Vladimir Putin’s plan to build up his country’s military presence in the region.

Russia has reportedly increased spending by over $600 billion in the last decade to modernize its military that includes deploying new nuclear submarines, jets and helicopters.

Russia’s Pacific Fleet currently consists of 73 vessels, including 23 submarines and 50 warships.

Moscow is also developing closer ties to Beijing. The two militaries recently conducted a joint naval exercise that the Russian state news agency TASS described as the largest “in the modern history of cooperation” between Russia and China.

While locating a military base on the Kuril chain of islands near key shipping lanes connecting Russia to the Pacific has some strategic value, Newsham said other factors like national pride and the political projection of power also play a part.

Potential reserves

In addition the potential of offshore reserves of oil and gas, as well as rich fishing grounds has increased the value of the islands.

Building a Russian military base on the Kurils will likely further undermine relations with Tokyo, which lays claim to the southern islands in the chain, known in Japan as the Northern Territories.

The Soviet Union seized the islands in 1945, shortly before Japan’s surrender in World War II, and expelled the 17,000 Japanese residents living on the islands. The two countries have been unable to agree on a post-war peace treaty because of the ongoing dispute over ownership of the islands.

Japan and Russia have had discussions about these islands in the past.  There are over 19,000 people on those islands, and they are mainly Russians and others peoples that have ties to Russia.

Russia has probably decided since the USA has made its own “Asia pivot’ (which is a policy that Hillary Clinton takes credit for when she was Barack Obama’s Secretary of State), it needs to take steps to protect what it has defined as its own interests there.

I do NOT expect that either the USA’s or Russia’s Asia pivot will result in any major war between the USA and Russia over these islands.

It remains my view that the efforts and actions of Russia, combined with the USA’s Asia pivot strategy, combined with certain USA actions and inactions, are encouraging the Europeans to arm.  And it is no secret that Germany, in particular, wants a European army independent of the USA as I reported here a little while back (see Germany military looking to be ‘Independent of the USA’). While many in the USA see Russia and China as major threats, the Bible does not describe anything that resembles massive war between the USA and the forces of the East.

The Bible shows that the USA will be eliminated by a power based in Europe (Daniel 11:39), and that is NOT a prophecy about Russia (Is Russia the King of the North?).  The more that the USA focuses on Russia, China, and other parts of Asia and the more it has military budget constraints, the less it will end up being prepared for the military power that is starting to arise in Europe that will astound the world (Revelation 13:4).

News Presenter: John Hickey