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The U.S. loses to Russia-China alliance




The United States is in trouble. And although the source of these problems is Russia and China, the United States has itself to blame for its weakness. And having arrived at a situation of their own weakness, they don't even know how much will they need to get out of it, writes Dr. William Moloney, a scholar at Colorado Christian University's Centennial Institute, reports The Hill.

If a great power is defined by its ability and record of projecting military power on a global scale, there are only three great powers today. And it is becoming increasingly clear that two of them, China and Russia, are in close collaboration with the common goal of overthrowing world domination by the United States. Unfortunately, America's mishandling of its relationship with Russia has made such an outcome much more likely.

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. presidents have sought to maintain a bearable, though hardly cordial, relationship with Russia. In this century, both George W. Bush (“I looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul”) and Barack Obama (“Since my election, I have become more flexible”) sought to maintain respectful relations with the Russian president, while avoiding unnecessary provocations that might lead Vladimir Putin to conclude that his country's strategic and economic interests were better served in the East than in the West. This approach came to an abrupt halt, however, when Russia suddenly became the centerpiece of brutal U.S. partisan politics during the 2016 presidential election and continued to do so throughout Donald Trump's tenure in the White House. As a result, Russia was “designated” as the main enemy of American freedom, and American politicians had to demonstrate that they would be “tougher on Russia” than their opponents.

China has for several years seen the U.S.-Russia tensions as an excellent opportunity to advance its own anti-American sentiments by establishing even closer relations with its authoritarian counterparts in Moscow through such means as huge energy deals, a coordinated strategy in international organizations, and increasingly frequent joint military exercises around the world.

While the Russia-China axis has strengthened over time, America's main alliance system, NATO, has grown weaker and weaker. In a March poll of leading NATO member states, the European Council on Foreign Relations found that an overwhelming majority of residents of these countries view the U.S. political system as broken and believe that China will soon supplant America as the most powerful country in the world. Most disturbingly, they believe that their countries should remain neutral in any conflict between the United States and China or Russia. Needless to say, the leaders of these countries would never say such impolite things in public, but in a crisis, it is unthinkable that they would challenge the very people who elect them.

Thus, it is clear that with the end of the Cold War, the NATO alliance lost its primary reason for existence, and over the past 30 years has lost focus, coherence, and ultimately willingness to risk a real military battle with a hostile superpower. This means that Western democracies have become a confederation with weak ties in which “everyone talks rather than acts,” as Walter Russell Mead largely described it in a recent Wall Street Journal column. “The harsh reality,” Mead argues, “is that the U.S. and its allies are ceding ground to their adversaries, and the balance of power is shifting sharply against us. Claiming that the West has forgotten what it means to win but is also quite good at losing, he cites a list of defeats ranging from Nord Stream 2 to China's repression in Tibet, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang to Russia's invasion of Georgia and Ukraine. Assuming that all of this has happened without any serious reaction from allies, Mead concludes that “autocracy is proceeding at its fastest pace since the 1930s and, unless Biden begins to score some concrete victories, the progress of our adversaries will accelerate.”

To get some historical perspective on our current dilemmas, it may be helpful to look back to an earlier time, the late 1960s. Then, as now, the country was torn apart by a long and lost foreign war (Vietnam), domestic political polarization, racial polarization, strife, assassinations, and a divisive presidential election. At a critical turning point in those troubled times, President Nixon addressed the country, condemning the fratricidal battles raging at the time. He warned that if “the United States of America acts as a pathetic, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.

Today we are going through what Winston Churchill in even earlier perilous times called "the impending storm. In retrospect, we can see how well or poorly free people handled the problems of their time. But the future is hidden from us, and while we may know how high the stakes are, we cannot gauge the degree of will and fortitude with which we will face the challenges that history now poses.


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TAGS: ANALYTICS NEWS, USA, RUSSIA, CHINA

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