China is a mountain of malinvestment sitting on a mountain of debt. Russia is a demographic disaster. While both countries swing a lot of weight in their own territories, they are not, according to Danny Sjursen, the threat to US security that they are sometimes portrayed. From Sjursen at antiwar.com:
“[Rome] pretends to aspire to peace but unerringly generates war…there was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger…Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors…the whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies.” ~ Joseph Schumpeter (1918)
Some readers will barely finish reading the title of this piece before the ad hominem attacks commence. They’ll surely label me a Putin crony or a China apologist before reaching the second paragraph. Such is life in this age of militarism, hyper-partisanship and American hysteria. Sure, Russia has been accused of meddling in the 2016 elections; and, yes, China is flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and investing heavily across Eurasia and Africa. Maybe its even fair to consider Russia and China as competitors on the world stage. Still, none of that justifies war or the threat of war. The U.S. has seen darker days (like two world wars and a Cold War nuclear showdown) and there’s little cause for panic. Instead, the rhetoric of the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy (NDS), which refers to China and Russia as “revisionist powers,” reads like 1950s anti-Soviet-alarmism.
President Trump lacks anything close to a consistent foreign policy doctrine or dogma, which, well, can be both a good and a bad thing. His generals, on the other hand – Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster – are all hyper-interventionists bent on perpetual American exceptionalist hegemony. And, for these true believers, there are only two countries standing in the way of a new Pax Americana: China and Russia. Seriously, read the NDS summary and you’ll see what I mean. Look, I don’t know exactly what occurred between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016 – honestly, no one does. But for me, the Trump team’s hardline defense rhetoric and combative posture towards the twin Eurasian powers of China and Russia, has never jived with the MSNBC-Russia gate-collusion narrative. Of course, I could be wrong.