Turkey is mulling buying missiles in China and nuclear power plants in Russia. Meanwhile, China and Russia are holding military exercises in the Mediterranean. The West has to get used to it, says DW's Frank Sieren.
DEUTSCHE WELLE - 04.05.2015
It sounds dangerous to Westerners: For the first time, at the gates of
the EU in the Mediterranean, Russian and Chinese military forces are
practicing "joint action in distant seas." And they're doing it with
This is perceived as a provocation and a concentrated demonstration of
power, but the fact that American soldiers are exercising together with
the Philippine army off the coast of China is, on the other hand, viewed
as a settled matter.
That maneuver is the largest joint exercise in 15 years and is called
Balikatan, which translates to should-to-shoulder in Tagalog. How this
is perceived, however, is illustrated by the perspective. Beijing does
not find the maneuver any less menacing than the EU finds the
There are three questions that arise: Are they allowed to do that? Who
started it? And most importantly, how can the risks of this development
There is a quick answer to the first question: Anyone can practice with
whomever they choose in international waters – even with live
ammunition. What is new here is that the US is no longer the only global
player that can afford to do this, as there are now others, like Russia
and China. In the case of the Philippines, at least a neighboring
country has asked the USA for support. Russia and China do not have
direct access to the Mediterranean. So, in this respect, their maneuver
in mid-May is even more irritating, although legal and legitimate.