Several revisions on this post:
(1) Yeltsin's overtures to China as of yesterday - 12/6/99 - see reference b. This may be Revelation's Red Dragon - the 'Red Dragon' being an anti-American mindset of a Russia/China alliance - agree???
(2) My vacillation between Mary and Diana as the Woman that threatens the Unholy Trinity. Politically, as mentioned in Rayelan's book (c), there is motive for the NWO to murder Diana but religiously, suppose Diana was pregnant with the second Christ - the implications being that she was murdered by the order of one of the Unholy Trinity - my guess would be the Antichrist and that the Antichrist is the boss of the NWO - agree???
(2a) Letter to Rayelan Allen: ‘Raye:
???I am working on a hypothesis that Diana was pregnant with the second Jesus and that the second Jesus was murdered by the NWO via the orders of the Antichrist. At a web site called "The Coming Chastisement" - have to see if it still exists - it was suggested that the Antichrist will be a descendent of the thirteenth tribe of Israel - the extinct tribe of Dan. I am on recall mode here so have this distributed for verification. My guess is that The NWO wanted Diana dead and the Antichrist wanted the second Jesus dead and they wanted to be empowered by symbols so the "assaccident" was staged to strike the thirteenth pillar in the Pont d L'Alma (see reference c)???
(3) My vacillation between the 'Red Dragon' allied countries of either Central Asia or ASEAN. I can't decide here but ASEAN seems to be united and ready to get behind the Asian Monetary Fund - agree???
***revised thoughts on Revelations -
'....when i searched the bible for dragon, i found it only in one book - revelations. i spliced together the verses and assumed sequentiality. i interpreted the red dragon as the 'motives' or 'mindset' of china or china/russia (see references a and b) or perhaps a world government. i interpreted a satanic trinity of evil; the first beast (satan) and the second beast (son of satan - Antichrist) and the false prophet (anti-pope). i interpreted the Woman as a reincarnate Mary [or a reincarnate Diana Goddess (see reference c) - does the Diana Goddess (c) or Mary revive the Christ consciousness - a 'mindset' in Renaissance form and precedent? - a merger of science and spirituality? - is this an Faction 4 intuit?).
i interpreted the child as the second, born-again jesus. i concluded that the dragon attempts to prevent a Mary or Diana (c) from conception; that the second jesus may be born but does not come as an adult during this sequence of events. this, in my opinion is the deception of antichrist - ac will try to convince us that jesus will come to save us perhaps as a reincarnate adult. this may be the third secret of fatima - ie jesus doesn't come to save us because russia is not consecrated into the catholic church.
my conclusion is that humanity is responsible for our own actions in the prevention of the war of souls; that it is our turn to give our faith; love and efforts back to mary or Diana (c) and jesus and to set precedents based on a modification of what was interpreted as the mindset of 'Christ consciousness' ie mediation, as one example, for the resolution of conflict and the establishment of a lasting peace.
IMO - it is time to pay very close attention to giving; to unify; to solidify relationships. perhaps it is this love that provides us with a path to an unexplored consciousness that we strive for - the discovery of a quantum mind. as difficult as it may seem, i think it is time reevalute our paradigms as evalution of New Millennium paradigms and their following precedents.
IMO - this tough evaluation requires a stripping of one's belief system followed by acquisition of the new knowledge - the essence of the Age of Aquarius - the water-bearer interpreted as the coming forth of new knowledge - mostly as an expansion of a Woman's knowledge as - IMO - Women will finally breakdown the barriers and lead for a period of time as an experiment of cultural evolution...'
--- the putative analysis below places a lot more empathsis on developments in asia. the middle east conflict may be used to divert our attentions from russia and china. many prophecies point to the middle east for the origin but the origin and implementation of the war of the souls may be a product of the failure of second fatima secret - the consecration of russia (1999? or 1999+1 = year 2000).
--- a possible relevant quatrain for the year 2000:
"The year 1999, seventh month, From the sky will come a great King of Terror: To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols, Before and after Mars to reign by good luck..."
--- events in the middle east may actually cut off our view of the russia/china dragon's role and we in the usa may not see it happen. i think early warning prophecies are important for this reason: nostradamus mabus as mahmoud abbas is one example. farrakhan's matched quotes with Revelation may be another:
***The Attempted Analysis (interpretation and questions in brackets):
Revelation 12:3: Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon [china or china/russia or a world government] with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads [china or a russo/china complex - possibilities include some combination of Central Asian countries - Islam united - OR perhaps the ASEAN countries united with the Asian Monetary Fund ]
Revelation 12:4: His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth [china or china + russia population = 1/3 of the earth's population] The dragon stood in front of the woman [a Mary or Diana] who was about to give birth [to a second jesus - note - Princess Diana may have been pregnant at the time of her death - she was killed by the NWO; Faction 1?], so that he might devour her child the moment it was born [antichrist war against second jesus - this could be the 3rd secret of fatima because of the failure to consecrate russia into the catholic church].
Revelation 12:7: And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
Revelation 12:9 : The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him [antichrist will have minions].
Revelation 12:13: When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman [a Mary or Diana] who had given birth to the male child [assumes a second jesus is not here - a false hope that the second coming will occur in our time - a deception created by antichrist].
Revelation 12:16: But the earth helped the Woman [a Mary or Diana and a second jesus will survive the antichrist?] by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
Revelation 12:17: Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring [war of the souls?] --those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus [antichrist war of the souls].
Revelation 13:1: And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast [this beast implies a satan/lucifer - the antichrist may be the son of satan?] coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name [the son does the dirty work but son and father of are of the same ilk and alliance].
Revelation 13:2: The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion [this new alliance puzzles me - the bear is russia; the leopard - may be Greece; the lion - may be England - info provided ]. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
Revelation 13:4: Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"
Revelation 13:11: Then I saw another beast [the satanic equivalant of the trinity??? - an Antichrist, if you will, to round it out], coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon [this alliance puzzles me as well: lamb?].
Revelation 16:13: Then I saw three evil  spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon [antichrist], out of the mouth of the beast [satan] and out of the mouth of the false prophet [satanic version of the anti -pope.]
Revelation 20:2: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. [satan/antichrist eventually self-destruct???]'
december, 1997; revise december, 1999
(a) ***Global Intelligence Update Red Alert January 4, 1999
1999 Annual Forecast: A New and Dangerous World
* Russia will begin the process of recreating old Soviet empire in 1999. The most important question of 1999: will Ukraine follow Belarus into federation with Russia?
* Russia and China will be moving into a closer, primarily anti- American alliance in 1999.
* Asian economies will not recover in 1999. Japan will see further deterioration. So will China. Singapore and South Korea will show the strongest tendency toward recovery.
* China will try to contain discontent over economic policies by increasing repression not only on dissidents, but the urban unemployed and unhappy small business people. Tensions will rise.
* Asia will attempt to protect itself from U.S. economic and political pressures. Asian economic institutions, like an Asian Monetary Fund, will emerge in 1999.
* The Serbs, supported by the Russians, will test the United States in Kosovo. There is increasing danger of a simultaneous challenge from Serbia and Iraq, straining U.S. military capabilities dramatically.
* The main question in Europe will be Germany's reaction to the new Russia. The Germans will try to avoid answering that question for most of the year.
* Latin America appears ready to resume its economic expansion, beginning late in 1999.
The Post-Cold War world quietly ended in 1998. A new era will emerge in 1999. It will appear, for a time, to be not too dissimilar to what came before it, but looks can be deceiving. In fact, we have entered an era with a fundamentally different global dynamic than the previous era. We should not think of the period 1989-1998 as an era. It was an interregnum, a pause between two eras. 1999 will see a more conventional, natural world, in which other great powers in the world will unite to try to block American power. In 1998 the United States worried about Serbia, Iraq and North Korea. In 1999, the United States will be much more concerned with Russia, China, France and Japan. The world will not yet be a truly dangerous place, but it will begin the long descent toward the inevitable struggle between great powers.
Two forces are converging to create this world. The first is the recoil of Russia from its experiment in liberalism. The other is the descent of Asia into an ongoing and insoluble malaise that will last for a generation and reshape the internal and external politics of the region. In a broader sense, this means that the Eurasian heartland is undergoing terrific stress. This will increase tensions within the region. It will also draw Eurasian powers together into a coalition designed to resist the overwhelming power of the world's only superpower, the Untied States. Put differently, if the United States is currently the center of gravity of the international system, then other nations, seeking increased control over their own destinies, will join together to resist the United States. Russia will pose the first challenge. Asia will pose the most powerful one.
Russia Begins its Quest to Recover Great Power Status
The die has been cast in Russia. We wrote in our 1998 Forecast http://www.stratfor.com/services/giu/1998.asp: "Whether or not Yeltsin survives politically or personally is immaterial. The promise of 1991 has become an untenable nightmare for the mass of Russians. The fall of Communism ushered in a massive depression in the Russian economy while simultaneously robbing it of its global influence." In 1998 we saw the consequences of this. The reformers in Russia were systematically forced out of power. Power seeped out of Yeltsin's hands. Finally, a new Prime Minister was selected -- the former head of the KGB's international espionage apparatus. A restoration of sorts is well under way in Russia.
Personalities are unimportant. What is important is that in 1998, the massive failure of the reformers resulted in their being forced from power. The West, which had invested in Russia, realized that it would never recover those investments nor many of the loans they made. As a result, investment and credit ceased flowing into Russia and, therefore, Western influence plummeted. There was no reason to appease the West if no further money was forthcoming. The Russian love affair with the West came to an abrupt halt. As so many times before in Russian history, the pendulum is moving from adoration of the West to suspicion and contempt. As before, the Westernizers who dominated Russia for the past decade are being replaced by Slavophiles, who will seek to root out Western influence while they liquidate the Westernizers.
Russian politics has searched for a center of gravity ever since the reformists began to lose credibility. In December 1998, that center of gravity emerged in the form of Russian chauvinism and anti-Americanism. When the United States bombed Iraq without even consulting the Russians, the lid suddenly came off of the pent up anger Russians felt at their loss of great power standing. The one thing that every significant faction in Russian politics agree on today (save for the dwindling band of liberals) is that the loss of great power status is intolerable. Primakov, Zhirinovsky, the Communists and even Yeltsin agree on little save this -- Russia must recover its great power status. It is the only unifying principle left in Russian life.
The corollary to this is a growing Russian consensus that Russia has been victimized both by Western investors and by the United States. Investors are seen has having taken advantage of Russia's eagerness to please the West, exploiting it shamelessly. The United States has treated Russia as if it were a third world country, subjecting it to continual humiliation. All of this has tapped into a deep vein of Russian chauvinism and xenophobia. In a country that has become virtually ungovernable, this powerful nationalism is now the only means of uniting the country. No one can govern Russia any longer except on a powerful, nationalist platform.
The situation in Russia reminds us of the last days of Weimar Germany. Unable to provide either prosperity or national security, Weimar Germany was replaced by a regime that used national security issues as a means to unite Germany and revive the economy through military spending. Yeltsin's Russia has lost all credibility, failing to provide either prosperity or national security. Where Germany focused on the Rhineland, Sudetenland and the Danzig Corridor, Russia will focus on the Baltics, Ukraine and Central Asia. We expect to see massive increases in defense spending, intended both to increase Russian power and stimulate the Russian economy.
As with Germany, not all of the former fragments of the old Soviet empire are opposed to reintegration. On December 25, 1998, exactly six years after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Russia signed a treaty with Belarus, essentially establishing the foundations of reunification. That set, the focus for 1999 will be Ukraine. If Ukraine follows Belarus back into federation with Russia, the geopolitical essence of the former Soviet Union will have been recreated. Then the focus will be on the Caucuses, Central Asia and the Baltics. But first and foremost, the burning question of 1999 will be Ukraine. We predict that Ukraine will join Belarus in returning to federation, in spite of belated efforts by the West to keep them out.
After that, Russia will face a generation of reabsorbing its former constituents. Each step of reabsorption will bring it into greater conflict with other nations. Its move back into Central Asia will bring it into direct conflict with the United States, which has made huge investments in oil development in the region. Its move south into the Caucuses will collide with Iran and Turkey. But it is the move west that will be the most dangerous. In 1999, Russian troops will once again find themselves on the Polish border, a Poland now part of NATO. As Russian pressure grows on the Baltic States, this border area will become explosive.
But the first confrontation will come, we think, over Serbia, where we expect Russia to increase direct aid to Serbia openly, thereby challenging U.S. policy in Bosnia and Kosovo. Serbia, watching U.S. fumbling over Iraq, and emboldened by Russian support, is clearly preparing a new challenge to the United States over Kosovo. Serbia is calculating that the United States will not risk a major confrontation with Russia, and France may choose to oppose a full-scale anti-Serbian intervention. The dangers of a new confrontation with Serbia rise as Russian nationalism intensifies. There is particular danger if Serbia and Iraq challenge the United States simultaneously.
Asia Seeks Political Solutions to Continuing Economic Malaise
Russia will not represent a global threat, but it will challenge U.S. power along its periphery, in a contest that will begin in 1999, but will take a generation to play out. Nevertheless, the United States will face threats globally, owing to the evolution of the Asian financial process. Note that we say process and not crisis. Asia is no longer in crisis. It is now in an endemic malaise, from which it cannot, generally speaking, recover. Asia's economic dysfunction is no longer a crisis, but a long- term Asian condition.
Since some are predicting recovery in 1999, let us explain why we are so negative. The essence of the Asian crisis, as we have said many times, is to be found in the appallingly low rate of return on capital that Asian economies have experienced. This low rate of return is rooted in the ability of Asian governments to abort the business cycle through export-generated growth and high savings rates. Because interest rates were kept artificially low, businesses that had no business surviving actually expanded. They grew in spite of the fact that they were only minimally profitable, if at all. These businesses soaked up available credit, while continuing to erode financially. In the end, they could not even repay their loans.
Recessions are normally triggered by rising interest rates. The rising cost of money forces marginally profitable business to restructure or fail. This is an essential aspect of the discipline of capitalism. Capitalism without business cycles is a contradiction in terms. Nevertheless, Asian governments managed to avoid this discipline for almost half a century. They avoided business failures, lay-offs, restructuring and all the nastiness of capitalism. The net result is a group of economies that are breathtaking in their inefficiency.
The key is Japan. Japan led Asia into its current situation. Japan must lead Asia out. But Japan is institutionally committed to preventing the needed massive, shattering, agonizing restructuring of its economy. It cannot proceed. The huge dinosaurs of the Japanese economy must be compelled to restructure. The only force that can compel them to do this is rising interest rates. As Japanese credit worthiness continues to decline, foreign investment and loans are either drying up or available only at much higher interest rates. Internally, the Japanese government continues to protect the dinosaurs by keeping interest rates absurdly low. Japan understandably wants to prevent a massive collapse of the economy. But unless the economy is permitted to collapse, it cannot be reconstructed. In other words, Japan can neither endure the disease it has caught or the medicine that can cure it. It is not Japan's politicians that have created gridlock. It is the Japanese reality.
This is the agonizing dilemma throughout Asia. Having played with the business cycle for generations, inefficiencies have built up to such a degree that the culling that must take place will be cataclysmic. Socially, Asian societies are completely unprepared to pay the price they must pay in terms of unemployment, declining standards of living, and loss of control to foreign investors and creditors. Politically, leaders are trapped between the economic and social realities. They are therefore paralyzed. The inefficiencies continue to rise, hopes of recovery are constantly aborted by economic realities, and social tensions rise.
In weaker Asian societies, such as Indonesia, society has already essentially exploded and the government is trying to contain the consequences. In some countries, like Singapore and South Korea, owing to fortunate circumstances and skillful political action, restructuring is actually taking place within the existing political framework. In Japan, however, the government's inability to bear the social consequences of depression has paralyzed it. This is not because Japanese politicians are stupid or weak as some have charged. The paralysis of the Japanese state is built into the collision of the Japanese economy with Japanese society. There can be no solution without a radical restructuring of the Japanese political order, replacing it with a structure that is able to impose pain on a society unprepared to endure it.
This is precisely what China is trying to do. On the one hand, China is permitting economic reality to ravage its economy. It is shutting down inefficient businesses, allowing unemployment to rise, allowing standards of living to begin falling. It is also taking political steps to control the situation. Apart from its very public crushing of dissent, Beijing is shifting its political base away from the coastal regions to the interior agricultural regions, by shifting state investment patterns. It is not clear that China will succeed in this partial, politically controlled house cleaning. It may well be, as we strongly suspect, too little and too late. But the combination of powerful political repression with some degree of restructuring may well become an Asian model.
It is a model that can mitigate the economic problems, but cannot solve them. Asia cannot endure the long-term reconstruction needed to make it competitive with a rampant America. As Asia becomes less competitive, it will find that it must protect itself against American economic encroachment. Obviously, the U.S. is sensitive to Asian exports surging into the United States. But the real friction is caused by the Asian need for U.S. investment and Asia's inability to pay the price it must to get it.
Japan badly needs U.S. investment and credit. It cannot solve its problems without them. But U.S. investors and lenders require a level of transparency and a degree of control that is incompatible with Japanese social requirements. Someone lending billions to bail out a Japanese bank will want a large degree of control over that bank. American owners will want to make investments based on economic rationality rather than on the bank's keiretsu relationships. The intrusion of American capital would cause the very social chaos that Japanese politicians badly want to avoid. This holds true throughout most of Asia. Asia is unable to generate sufficient capital to solve its problems, unable to restructure its economies to generate that capital, and unwilling to allow an uncontrolled influx of American capital on American terms.
Asia cannot solve its problems. It is therefore caught in a process of mitigation, keeping things from becoming unacceptably bad. In order to do this, Asia must seek to insulate itself from the United States in particular and the global economy in general. It appears to us that the Asian solution will be to create Asian institutions to supplant the global institutions within which Asian economies are increasingly uncompetitive. We expect to see increased resistance to American demands for trade liberalization along with increased utilization of Asian solutions to problems, from using the yen as a reserve currency to an Asian Monetary Fund to Asian based security systems. We expect 1999 to be a year in which Asia begins creating Asian institutions.
The Sino-Russian Alliance Redefines the World
Asia's efforts to work around its fundamentally insoluble economic malaise will lead to increased friction with the United States on all levels. Most important immediately, we see the reemergence of a Moscow-Beijing axis designed to block unilateral American actions in Eurasia. Furthermore, this relationship will both insulate Russia and China from U.S. political and military pressure, and create politico-military counter-pressure on the United States designed to elicit greater economic cooperation. 1999 will be the year in which this alliance will take full shape.
There will be outriders to this alignment. Japan is increasingly at odds with the United States over economic policy. It also seems to be developing an independent assessment of the North Korean threat. As U.S. pressure on Japan to liberalize its markets increases, Japan's search for alternatives will increase as well. Its search for economic alternatives is already well under way. But in order to create economic alternatives to the U.S. sponsored global systems, Japan will need political traction. Japan will not join in the Russo-Chinese alliance, but it will use it to attempt to extract concessions from the United States.
There will be other outriders. France is already clearly cooperating with China and Russia. This was visible in the Iraq affair. The question is what pressure it will put on the new Europe. We were clearly wrong when we expected the Euro to fail. The Euro is here and seems likely to work in the short run. However, with French foreign policy increasingly anti-American, the question is whether the rest of Europe will follow. To be more precise, the question is whether the Germans will follow the French lead.
Germany is now deeply torn. The political instincts of the new government, forged in the 1960s, reflect a profound uneasiness with the United States and its leadership. French policy is attractive. However, fear of Russia is also a visceral feeling in Germany, and mismanagement there could quickly destabilize the government. With Russian troops on the Polish frontier, the old German nightmare, the Polish question, is about to arise. Happy to have the buffer, but reluctant to forward deploy in Poland (and unlikely to be welcomed by the Poles), the Germans need the United States to counterbalance the Russians. At the same time, a solid arrangement with the Russians is also attractive. Germany is now in the process of defining an identity and a policy for the 21st century. It is simply unclear to anyone, including the Germans, what this identity will be. 1999 will not be the year this is settled.
The United States Rolls Blithely On
Then there is the United States. We continue to expect the U.S. economy to expand. There will undoubtedly be a cyclical downturn at some point, but it will not be historically significant and it may not come for a while. We have heard a great deal from those who expect the U.S. economy to implode because of Asia. Asia will undoubtedly have some effect. But the Asian crisis has been in full swing from over a year and the U.S. economy has been only marginally affected. We just don't see indications that the expansion is about to end. We have been bullish on the U.S. economy since 1995 and we continue to see this as a massive, long-term movement driven by the restructuring of the 1980s.
We expect others, particularly Latin America, to benefit from this historical American expansion. In spite of the problems in Brazil and Venezuela, we feel that the worst has already been seen and the probability of an upturn later this year is extremely strong. We continue to feel that Latin America will see the strongest growth of any region in the first decade of the 21st Century. The 1998 downturn, while unexpected, represented the rapid cycling of capital markets in an immature economy, not the wheezing senility of Asia. Just as Latin America deteriorated with surprising vigor, it will, we think, recover. By late 1999, we expect to see a major Latin American rebound underway.
As rosy as the economic picture is in the Western Hemisphere, the foreign policies of the United States are increasingly unsettling. U.S. policy in Iraq has essentially collapsed. U.S. policy in Serbia, where we expect another crisis shortly, is now going to be challenged by the Russians, making the U.S. mission much more dangerous and much less soluble. North Korea will similarly become unmanageable. The Wye Accords between Israel and the Palestinians are coming apart at the seams. Whether Bill Clinton survives his crisis is at this point, 1999, fairly irrelevant. What is relevant is that the United States has not created a foreign policy identity for itself, and has not planned for a world increasingly resistant to its policies.
That is the key to 1999. We are in a world increasingly resistant to the one superpower. There is no second superpower, but there are several great powers. These great powers are in the process of cobbling together an alliance that, taken together, may not fully counterbalance the United States, but will serve to limit American freedom of action. Behind the shield of this alliance, built around China and Russia, we expect to see increasing Asian economic integration, designed to limit the effects of the global economy on their insulated societies. We also expect to see increasing regional Russian imperialism, increasing Chinese repression, increasing attempts by others to use the Russo-Chinese alliance for their own ends and therefore, a new and dangerous world. 1999 is the first of many years of increasing tension and conflict involving not only minor players, but also the world's great powers. It is the beginning of what will prove to be a tense first decade in the 21st century.
(b) STRATFOR.COM Global Intelligence Update December 7, 1999
Yeltsin Recovers - Long Enough to Ask for China's Support
On Dec. 6, the government of Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced that he had recovered enough from a bout of pneumonia to hold a long-awaited informal summit with Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Beijing. The president's sudden recovery and the summit coincide with the intensification of Russian military operations in Chechnya, particularly a new ultimatum to the people of Grozny. Russia is making a final bid to gain international political support in anticipation of a renewed offensive against Grozny.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin was released from the hospital Dec. 6 following a week-long stay for a respiratory infection. Following his release, the Kremlin announced that Yeltsin will attend an informal summit with Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Beijing December 8-10. The meeting between the two leaders has largely been ignored by the West but widely anticipated both in Russia and China. And throughout the autumn it has been repeatedly and inexplicably postponed.
The sudden visit by Yeltsin to Beijing is not likely to be a mere coincidence. Indeed, it appears to be an attempt by Russia to guarantee political backing from China for what it is about to do: make a concerted and unpopular push in the conflict in Chechnya. The announcement of the summit came as the Russian military issued an ultimatum to civilians and rebels alike in Grozny, the Chechen capital, warning that if they fail to leave by Dec. 11 they will be "annihilated with air and artillery bombardments."
Yeltsin's visit to China suggests urgency. It has been postponed several times this year. He has canceled or postponed other international trips, such as the one to Japan, which implies the importance Moscow places on China's support. The Russian Duma elections are just two weeks away, and stories of Russian casualties have leaked out of Chechnya.
Russia is likely concerned that its apparent intention to flatten Grozny will trigger a backlash from Islamic fundamentalists, particularly terrorist organizations. Opposition to the war is growing among Islamic nations, unconvinced by Moscow's diplomatic campaign to emphasize that the rebels are terrorists and that religion has nothing to do with the conflict. Fundamentalist clerics in Egypt are calling for a boycott of Russia. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has sent a delegation to Moscow and called for a peaceful solution to the war in Chechnya. If Russia and China share a worry, it is the prospect of increased terrorism and separatism in Central Asia.
Moscow is also likely to try to enlist China's support during what will surely be an even more trying economic period. Because of the war in Chechnya, the West has threatened to withhold the next disbursement of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans. Without the $640 million, Russia cannot pay off previous loans ( http://www.stratfor.com/cis/commentary/c9912020015.htm ). More important, if Russia defaults, it stands to lose the future confidence of foreign investors. The Russian government may be warning Beijing that it will forego the money to wage the war in Chechnya and is telling the Chinese government to brace itself for economic turmoil.
Or Moscow may be trying to signal the Chinese leadership that economic ties will continue - regardless of what the West and the IMF do. On Dec. 1, Russian oil giant Yukos signed a deal with China that will double the amount of exported Russian oil. ITAR-Tass reported that Yeltsin and Jiang will discuss a proposed gas pipeline, which would bring Russia $2 billion to $3 billion annually.
Like Moscow, Beijing does not want to see the West continue to intervene in internal separatist struggles.
Russia appears to be engaged in a broad effort to shore up international political and economic ties in advance of a renewed assault on Grozny. Until recently, Yeltsin has been too ill to talk to visiting dignitaries. But Yeltsin rose from his sickbed to meet with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma - and offered to restructure Ukraine's $1.8 billion debt for Russian gas. Yeltsin is also scheduled to sign the treaty for Russia-Belarus unification before heading to China. As well, Moscow has recently reinforced ties with India.
This meeting between Yeltsin and Jiang is only a precursor to re- defining the broader relationship between Russia and China. The real strategic relationship between the two nations will most likely be shaped in January at a formal summit, which will include Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Right now, the internal pressure to deal swiftly with Chechnya is strong. Russia has delivered an ultimatum and appears bent on solving the problem once and for all. In courting China, Russia is seeking support in advance of international economic and political backlash.
1999, Stratfor, Inc. http://www.stratfor.com/
(c) Diana, Queen of Heaven; Rayelan Russbacher; 1999