Why America Can't Play Russia off Against China
A perverse struggle is underway now within the âBlob.â Half of Washington (or slightly more) is convinced that Russia has undertaken a brazen attack against Americaâs democratic institutions and that liberalism everywhere, but particularly in its Euro-Atlantic core, is under sustained assault from the Kremlin and its army of âbots.â But the other half believes such claims are mostly malarkey intended to undermine the current presidentâs electoral legitimacy. They contend, by contrast, that Russia is merely one âchess pieceâ in the larger struggle against China. Recent references on the right to Beijingâs âinterference in American domestic politicsâ illustrate how willing one side of this asinine debate takes up the dubious ammunition deployed by the other.
In a somewhat cynical way, the current administrationâs sudden announcement that the United States intends to withdraw fr om the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is an attempt to square this circle. In what seems on the surface to represent a robust diplomatic demarche aimed at the Kremlin, the reality is an attempt to apply heavy diplomatic and strategic pressure on Beijing. Yet, the move has the rather convenient, simultaneous impact of mollifying (or at least briefly quieting) the many Kremlin-baiters on Capitol Hill. Indeed, the subtext of National Security Advisor John Boltonâs recent visit to the Kremlin appears to have been an attempt to suggest to Russiaâs leaders that China constitutes the biggest threat to Russia, as well as to America.
One Russian-language article in the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta [ÐÐµÐ·Ð°Ð²Ð¸ÑÐ¸Ð¼Ð°Ñ Ð"Ð°Ð·ÐµÑÐ°] (NG) covering the Bolton visit to Moscow appeared under the headline âThe Kremlin is Advised to Keep Away from Chinaâ [ÐÑÐµÐ¼Ð»Ñ ÐÑÐµÐ´Ð»Ð°Ð³Ð°ÑÑ Ð"ÐµÑÐ¶Ð°ÑÑÑ Ð¾Ñ ÐÐ¸ÑÐ°Ñ ÐÐ¾Ð´Ð°Ð»ÑÑÐµ]. To my estimate, the withdrawal from IMF is more a political stunt that laid the groundwork for the second Putin-Trump meeting coming up in France, rather than a well thought out strategy. But first letâs consider a timely October 2018 analysis in Military Review [Ð'Ð¾ÐµÐ½Ð½Ð¾Ðµ ÐÐ±Ð¾Ð·ÑÐµÐ½Ð¸Ðµ] by Ilya Polansky, which asks the vital question in the headline: âWho is the Main Enemy for the USA: China or Russia [ÐÑÐ¾ Ð³Ð»Ð°Ð²Ð½ÑÐ¹ Ð²ÑÐ°Ð³ Ð¡Ð¨Ð: ÐÐ¸ÑÐ°Ð¹ Ð¸Ð»Ð¸ Ð Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸Ñ]?â
Polansky observes that following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow was simply too weak to stand up to Washington. He explains that âit was an era of a unipolar world, in which the USA dictated its will to the rest of humanity. [Ð±ÑÐ»Ð¾ ÑÐ¿Ð¾Ñ Ð¾Ð¹ Ð¾Ð´Ð½Ð¾Ð¿Ð¾Ð»ÑÑÐ½Ð¾Ð³Ð¾ Ð¼Ð¸ÑÐ°, Ð² ÐºÐ¾ÑÐ¾ÑÐ¾Ð¼ Ð¡Ð¨Ð Ð´Ð¸ÐºÑÐ¾Ð²Ð°Ð»Ð¸ ÑÐ²Ð¾Ñ Ð¿Ð¾Ð»Ð¸ÑÐ¸ÑÐµÑÐºÑÑ Ð²Ð¾Ð»Ñ Ð²ÑÐµÐ¼Ñ Ð¾ÑÑÐ°Ð»ÑÐ½Ð¾Ð¼Ñ ÑÐµÐ»Ð¾Ð²ÐµÑÐµÑÑÐ²Ñ].â After the Georgia War in 2008, he contends that âour country returned to its usual spot for Americans â" enemy of the progress of humankind.â Then, the Ukraine events of 2014 meant Russia became the âmain enemy of âAmerican democracy.ââ After that, he asserts, ââ¦ a real information war against our country began.â By contrast, Polansky suggests that Americaâs problem with China is more economical than ideological. For instance, he illustrates that America has very good relations with its former enemy Vietnamâ"still very much a communist state. Moreover, Polansky writes: âIn the White House, Chinaâs policy is considered to be expansionist [Ð' Ð'ÐµÐ»Ð¾Ð¼ Ð´Ð¾Ð¼Ðµ Ð¿Ð¾Ð»Ð¸ÑÐ¸ÐºÑ ÐÐ¸ÑÐ°Ñ ÐºÐ²Ð°Ð»Ð¸ÑÐ¸ÑÐ¸ÑÑÑÑ ÐºÐ°Ðº ÑÐºÑÐ¿Ð°Ð½ÑÐ¸Ð¾Ð½Ð¸ÑÑÑÐºÑÑ].â
He sees the Washington establishment as divided among anti-Chinese conservatives and primarily Russophobic cosmopolitan liberals. The article notes that some American conservatives sympathize with President Vladimir Putin and consider âRussia as an outp ost of traditional and conservative valuesâ¦ [Ð¾ Ð Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸Ð¸ ÐºÐ°Ðº Ð¾ ÑÐ¾ÑÐ¿Ð¾ÑÑÐµ ÑÑÐ°Ð´Ð¸ÑÐ¸Ð¾Ð½Ð½ÑÑ Ð¸ ÐºÐ¾Ð½ÑÐµÑÐ²Ð°ÑÐ¸Ð²Ð½ÑÑ ÑÐµÐ½Ð½Ð¾ÑÑÐµÐ¹].â Without rendering judgment, Polansky even admits that some of these conservatives might prefer Russia, as a country facing the common problems of ââwhiteâ humanity [âÐ±ÐµÐ»ÑÐ¼â ÑÐµÐ»Ð¾Ð²ÐµÑÐµÑÑÐ²Ð¾Ð¼].â The author then lists some of the accusations that American âcosmopolitan liberalsâ level against Russia, including âviolations of human rights, freedom of sexual minorities, [and] persecution of the oppositionâ¦â With a little bit of seeming sympathy, he allows that the liberal cosmopolitan âposition is more principled â¦ [ÐÑ Ð¿Ð¾Ð·Ð¸ÑÐ¸Ñ Ð±Ð¾Ð»ÐµÐµ Ð¿ÑÐ¸Ð½ÑÐ¸Ð¿Ð¸Ð°Ð»ÑÐ½Ð°].â
Putting aside momentarily Washingtonâs ferocious debate on which power constitutes the gravest threat, was Boltonâs recent trip to Moscow the first attempt to play the Russia card against Ch ina? This is what I have described elsewhere as a âKissinger move in reverse.â To say that Moscow is skeptical of this overture is likely a significant understatement. The sub-head of the article summarizing Boltonâs visit to the Kremlin reads âPutin will not succeed in avoiding the China theme at the new meeting with Trump [ÐÑÑÐ¸Ð½Ñ Ð½Ð° Ð½Ð¾Ð²Ð¾Ð¹ Ð²ÑÑÑÐµÑÐµ Ñ Ð¢ÑÐ°Ð¼Ð¿Ð¾Ð¼ Ð½Ðµ ÑÐ´Ð°ÑÑÑÑ Ð¾Ð±Ð¾Ð¹ÑÐ¸ ÑÐµÐ¼Ñ ÐÐÐ ],â which implies obviously this is not a subject that Putin wants on the agenda.
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That article also features comments from Fyodor Lukyanov, Chairman of the Council on Russian Foreign and Defense Policy. He comments that the upcoming summit must rightly focus on the urgent issues of nuclear weapons and arms control, Syria, Ukraine, and North Korea. As a sad comment on the state of contemporary U.S. diplomacy, he notes dryly that it matters not what is actually discussed, since âthe result will be something completely different,â given the American Presidentâs total focus is on domestic political imperatives. With regard to China, Lukyanov offers crisply: âThere are no people crazy enough to think that Russia would be willing to join an anti-China alliance [ÐÐµÑ ÑÑÐ¼Ð°ÑÑÐµÐ´ÑÐ¸Ñ , ÐºÐ¾ÑÐ¾ÑÑÐµ Ð±Ñ Ð¿Ð¾Ð»Ð°Ð³Ð°Ð»Ð¸, ÑÑÐ¾ Ð Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸Ñ Ð³Ð¾ÑÐ¾Ð²Ð° Ð ²ÑÑÑÐ¿Ð¸ÑÑ Ð² Ð°Ð½ÑÐ¸ÐºÐ¸ÑÐ°Ð¹ÑÐºÐ¸Ð¹ Ð°Ð»ÑÑÐ½Ñ].â Lukyanov explains that Boltonâs efforts are aimed at preventing Russia and China from becoming ever closer: âBolton has not hid this and is not hiding it [Ð'Ð¾Ð»ÑÐ¾Ð½ ÑÑÐ¾Ð³Ð¾ Ð½Ðµ ÑÐºÑÑÐ²Ð°Ð» Ð¸ Ð½Ðµ ÑÐºÑÑÐ²Ð°ÐµÑ].â Noting that Beijing is one of Moscowâs most important partners, he concludes, âThere is no doubt that the Trump Administration has China on their minds â" itâs their policy. Russia, of course, will not join them [Ð Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸Ñ, ÐºÐ¾Ð½ÐµÑÐ½Ð¾, Ðº Ð½Ð¸Ð¼ Ð¿ÑÐ¸ÑÐ¾ÐµÐ´Ð¸Ð½ÑÑÑÑÑ Ð½Ðµ Ð±ÑÐ´ÐµÑ].â
View the discussion thread.Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia