As a geopolitical enthusiast, I continually reckon on the influence and shifts in power among the world's leading nations. In particular, my attention has been focused on Russia and its waning influence within its region. This is a pattern we commonly see in historical empires such as the Spanish Empire.

Russia, China, and the Play of Power

One aspect of international relations that intrigues me considerably is how the underpinning dynamics could shift within a span of 10 years. For instance, in the face of the growing Chinese influence, Russia might seek an alliance with Japan, if it completes its Europeanization process. Such alliances could stabilize the countries, especially in the wake of post-war turbulence.

Russia's size, akin to that in the 1800s, poses a challenge to its maintenance. I predict the upcoming decarbonization phenomenon going full throttle in the 2030s could inflict significant confidence loss for the country.

Despite these possible setbacks, it's unlikely for Russia to morph into a North Korea dictatorship scenario within a 20-year timeframe. First of all, Putin will not hold power forever due to age (the same holds true of China). The transfer of power will happen much sooner than what the West fears. Also, given Russia's abundance of resources and worldwide attention, the country has more leverage to foster international cooperation.

Countdown to a China Russia Split

While I believe China would be happy about sharing regional influence over Russia with the US, Russia might not ultimately harbor the same sentiments.

On the other hand, today's post war US sentiment is, the current Russia-US dynamic mirrors that between Canada and the US, the total economic submission towards the bigger neighbor state. Will Russia's geopolitical fate be akin to Canada's, though?

At first, it seemed plausible, given the many parallels. However, Canada's success was largely attributable to the support from a functional ally – the UK.

Comparatively, Russia only has itself to rely on, which inclined me to draw similarities with Mexico's historic journey.

Lesson from American History

Looking back, the US supported Mexico to gain independence in 1821, in the faith to remove European influence over the continent. Subsequently, the relationship between the two deterriorated when US made several offers to purchase Texas in 1928,  Mexico banning US migrants in 1930, before finally US invading Mexico in 1846.

Unlike Canada with a strong backing from still powerful British Empire, Mexico had no backing, leading them to a total defeat and territorial loss.

Fast forward to the present, there are predictions that the Chinese population in Russia could account for half the total by 2050, by some Russian newspapers. This echoed Putin's remarks about Russia's far east transforming into a hub for the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. That's a natural sentiment given that Vladivostok's port has been opened to China recently.

Whether these observations hold water, the interest China currently has in supporting Russia against NATO/US is expected to wane by 2030, when Chinese own military becomes much more powerful to withstand on its own. After all, Chinese-Russian alliance is only 20 years old.

As we see from Mexico-US conflict of the 19th century, everything starts out commercially. And then, the government tries to stop its flow forcibly only to fail in vain. That happens in the span of 20 years. Therefore, I reckon by 2030, Russia-China will deterriorate sigificantly.

Word from Japan

It's worth noting that Japan's potential cooperation towards Sakhalin is anticipated around 2030, considering their ongoing engagement with Sakhalin 2 gas pipeline which Japan collectively decided not to pull out unlike the UK counterpart in the face of the invasion. It's possible in the world when Japan 's military having weaker ties with US, the cooperation with Russia may be possible. In fact, Japan since 2020 is increasing working with other partners: it's developing new generation fighter jet with UK-Italy expected for 2035 debut, German fighter jets arriving in Japan for the first time in 2022, and the rare military equipment sale towards India.

However, in the long time horizon beyond 2040, China and Japan will likely to collaborate in the matter of Far East Russia's administration.

Russia Will Not Be Integrated

A China-Russia split is predicted to happen within 10 years with the gradual pro-China shift among Anti-West partners (namely BRICS and G20). The waning relevance of such partnerships would forge new alliances with G7 nations. While I'm not certain of Europe's direction remains uncertain which will likely become inwardly looking with Euro-centrism, Japan is expected to build ever stronger economic ties with Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and India.

However, even minimal military spending, like Russia, could still maintain their independence with all the nuclear arsenals. Forming strong alliances with nations such as Japan, South Korea, India, and Austria could serve as a strong deterrent against China to protect its eastern frontier, but they will not come onboard and pursue Russian exceptionalism until it's too late.

Managing foreign relations is a challenging task for Russia. While pro-Asia sentiment was strong among the Soviet generation, the next generation would grapple with downsizing and contending for their former imperial identity.

Ultimately– in this constantly changing and often volatile political landscape– it's crucial to keep sight of the bigger scenario as it unfolds. However, these are all based on my observations and, like so many before me, I can only predict and theorize. Only time will tell which of these scenarios will play out.