The United State has entered the arena of unrestricted warfare with China, almost on all fronts. The US had started out in early 2018 as a trade war over tariffs, intellectual property theft had by the end of the year metamorphosed into a technology war over the global dominance of the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. in 5G network telecommunications, then an ideological confrontation in response to Beijing’s treatment of the Uighur minority in China’s Xinjiang region, the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong; and an escalation of old frictions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.
On the other side, Donald Trump has also rocked “liberal international order” with which Cold War II become the only one of the adverse consequences of his “America First” strategy. Yet that view attaches too much importance to the change in U.S. foreign policy since 2016, and not enough to the change in Chinese foreign policy that came four years earlier, when Xi Jinping became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. And the decline and fall of Chimerica began in the wake of the global financial crisis, as a new Chinese leader drew the conclusion that there was no longer any need to hide the light of China’s ambition under the bushel that Deng Xiaoping had famously recommended.
“We are in the foothills of a Cold War.”
Those were the words of Henry Kissinger at Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing last November. He is sure that the secret negotiations with China that set up the historic visit by President Richard Nixon is now unraveling. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has done more than intensify Cold War II. It has revealed its existence to those who last year doubted it. The Chinese Communist Party caused this disaster, first by covering up how dangerous the new virus SARS-CoV-2 was, then by delaying the measures that might have prevented its worldwide spread. So Kissinger’s observation was not wholly startling. It had seemed obvious since early last year that a new Cold War — between the U.S. and China — had begun.
But the problem is, engaging in a cold war with China while still making Russia as target of hatred and hostility is not an easy thing to do. Even in the logic of war, America is almost impossible to win against both countries at once. Therefore, America must really consider which of the two countries has the most potential to undermine America on a worldwide scale. For example, based on the facts that exist today, the answer is certainly China, not Russia, given that China is very aggressive and assertive in every foreign policy to all countries in the world, to an American allies or not.
Meanwhile, whether based on the Democrat political investigations into Russia’s role in Trump’s victory in the 2016 elections, or based on the ideal facts that Trump must realize to deal with China Aggressiveness, then inevitably, America must go hand in hand with Russia. In other words, what the Democrats accused Trump of is actually what is needed by America in blocking the Chinese world ambition. It can be imagined how difficult it would be for US to fight two marathon runner leaders whose terms of office are still very far away. Instead America must choose one to be conquered and hold the other one as a tactical or strategic partner.
If we must look for the closeness of the values and models of governance, then Russia meets far more criteria than China. At least Russia is an authoritarian state built on a democratic structure. Russia has more than one party and the parliamentarians elected by the people, although experts in America categorize it as an illiberal democracy state. While China is not a democracy at all, a one-party paranoid authoritarian state which is a modern form of North Korea. And Trump’s closeness since 2013 with several Russian conglomerates and all the story about those, as Cristopher Steel’s investigation said, could actually be the common ground that brought the two countries closer together.
But anyway, getting closer to Russia is not a free step. And Trump has likely started the steps correctly. America should certainly provide incentives for Putin, such as allowing Putin to increase Russia’s influence in Europe by withdrawing troops from Germany, then giving Putin a large room in Syria, Afghanistan, and the last but not the least, Trump has to support India in military and economic (oil) cooperation with Russia. Trump must encourage India to keep coming closer to Russia. In this context, the Indian and Chinese rivals in Ladakh also gives advantages for Trump because it makes India increasingly bound to Russia in terms of defense.
Meanwhile, in the perspective of Russia, geographically, demographically, as well as geostrategically, being an American rival on the world stage is far better and more challenging than being a rival against China in the future. Russia is directly adjacent to China, whose population is more than a billion. China is also fond of stealing patents on Russia’s advanced technology, and Xi Jinping’s tenure and power are far more infinite than those of Putin, which gives China the chance to subdue Russia in the future if they both succeeded in conquering the US in the war before.
So, considering that the two countries have almost equal military power with America, while economically, politically, and geostrategically, China continues to wrap around the earth in various ways to reduce American power, soft and hard, then there is no other way for America other than choosing Russia as a partner in waging a Cold War II with China. Because it is almost impossible for America to be hostile at the same time with the two that have the potential to make the two countries united. If there is a war, then America will be difficult to survive only with the alliances that exists today besides Russia, such as five eyes and others. Didn’t America use to partner with China to conquer the Soviet Union in the Cold War I?