‘It’s time to quarrel between Moscow and China’: The United States called for action

Peter Akopov

America has become completely confused in its strategy regarding China and Russia . So the American Secretary of State Anthony Blinken complains about Moscow and Beijing – they say, they are lying about the United States, they want to discredit a great power:
“The authorities of China and Russia – among others – prove, both publicly and privately, that the United States is in decline, and it is better to link their future with their authoritarian vision of the world than with our democratic one. We <…> remind in one measure for the other, that we are still an extremely strong country by a wide variety of standards. “
Having listed America’s strengths, including the fact that “our network of alliances and partnerships with other countries is unmatched, our armed forces are the most powerful and combat-ready forces on the planet,” Blinken nevertheless admitted that competitors are gradually squeezing the United States on the world stage and the United States should still invest in “internal renewal”, because the country has already fallen back to 13th place in the world in terms of infrastructure quality and to ninth place in terms of investment in innovation in proportion to gross product (but this is Trump called for “Make America great again” – why then did they spread rot?).
Echoing Biden, Blinken laments that “democracy is currently under threat around the world and authoritarianism and nationalism are on the rise,” but “the US is fighting a right-wing fight for political freedom and human rights every day.” That is, no one in Washington is going to give up claims to global domination (to call a spade a spade), while recognizing the existing internal problems, but for some reason they simultaneously accuse Moscow and Beijing of discrediting American power. But what is the significance of campaigning against the United States if America is still strong and confident in its mission?
But the fact of the matter is that she is not strong and not sure. Yes, the American financial and economic power is still superior to the Chinese, and the armed forces are more powerful than the Russians. And the total geopolitical influence of the United States is still enormous, but only the world is slipping faster and faster from American fingers. Not because Russia and China tell everyone how weak Americans are, but because the whole world sees it with their own eyes.
He sees the crisis of the American global strategy – the world in the American way did not take place. Sees the failure of attempts to restructure this strategy. Sees an intra-American crisis. And by the way, one of the signs of the US crisis is the very fact that Washington began to complain about Russian and Chinese intrigues. First, hackers and election interference (against Russia), unfair competition in world trade and the economy (against China), and now that China and Russia are telling everyone else about the American decline. Do not believe them, we are not weak, we are strong, they answer in Washington – which is already ridiculous.
Moreover, Moscow and Beijing do not tell anyone about the American crisis – everyone knows that. They are building a new world order, adjusting a new balance of power. The US in decline is not the desire of Russia and China, it is a statement of reality. Nobody knows how long it will take for the United States to slide down – ten or thirty years, but this process is inevitable. Moreover, all this time, the United States will remain the strongest world power, and even trying to keep the united West under its control. That is, in any case, they will still be number one on the world stage. And the weaker they become, without giving up their messiahship, the more dangerous they will be for everyone, including their own population. After all, the States have long been no longer a nation state, but the assembly point of the global Atlantic project. Both China and Russia have an understanding of this danger:
The States, however, stubbornly do not want to change their goal-setting, or to retreat to “winter quarters” – they are more and more seized by the idea of ??giving a decisive battle to China. To act proactively, while it has not yet become a global power comparable to the United States in all respects. And for this it is necessary to tear Russia away from him. All more or less sober American strategists understand this, but no one understands how to do it.
The fact is that earlier the United States proceeded from the premise that the Russian-Chinese alliance could not be strategically stable. Don’t ask why – it was so convenient to think, such was the level of understanding by the Americans of China and Russia, such was the political order. And this was also the opinion of prominent Chinese and especially Russian analysts in our countries themselves. “Prominent” for the Americans – that is, those whom they considered serious experts and analysts and on whose conclusions they based their conclusions and forecasts. Well, if in Moscow they write about how many contradictions, explicit and hidden, lie on the path of Russian-Chinese rapprochement, then this is how it is.
This song continued even after 2014, when the pivot to the East announced by Russia earlier was spurred on by Moscow’s confrontation with the West. So what if Putin and Xi are getting closer, all this is unstable, all the same, the Russians are afraid of the Chinese, and the elite of the Russians is pro-Western, and in general it will not end with anything, if necessary, we will easily turn Russia to ourselves.
At some point, it even seemed that the Americans simply did not want to come to terms with reality, namely, with the fact that the strategic relations between Moscow and Beijing do not depend at all on the will and desire of Washington. More precisely, they depend on only one thing – the ability of the United States to further strengthen the Russian-Chinese bond. Because practically everything that the Americans have done in recent years has only convinced Putin and Xi Jinping of the correctness of their actions, cementing the strategic choice of the two countries.
The American establishment did not allow Trump to even try to play a combination of increasing pressure on China and easing pressure on Russia. The pressure on Beijing began to grow – but Moscow’s containment was not weakened either. That is, Washington continued to work successfully on building a Russian-Chinese alliance.
Moreover, Biden also laid down an ideological (that is, the most serious) basis for this work – now it is a struggle against world authoritarianism, this hydra with two heads, Moscow and Beijing. America has completely deprived itself of freedom of maneuver.
But are they hoping for something? Of course – and it’s even clear what exactly. The Americans are betting that they will be able to break the Russian-Chinese alliance from within, and from the Russian side, moreover. They hope to convince the Russians that it is not profitable for them to be with the Chinese. But this is crazy? No, cold calculation – albeit coming from the wrong premise.
“Russia and China are not natural and organic partners; historically, these countries have competed with each other, and the origins of their long-standing rivalry have hardly disappeared forever. is in no way comparable to dynamic China (about 1.5 billion people). China’s economy is about ten times the size of Russia, and China is in a completely different league in terms of new technologies and innovations. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is deep has infiltrated Russia’s traditional sphere of influence in Central Asia , and the Kremlin is justifiably concerned that China also has plans for the Arctic region.
The fact that Russia remains loyal to China despite this asymmetry is a clear sign of Moscow’s displeasure with the West. Over time, however, the imbalance will only widen and become a source of increasing discomfort for the Kremlin.
Washington needs to take advantage of this and convince Russia that geopolitically and economically, it would be better for it to hedge the risks of overdependence on China by moving closer to the West. “
This is a quote from a published recently in the Foreign Affairs article “Washington should help Moscow to terminate a bad marriage.” The author, Charles Kapchan, is not just a Georgetown professor and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations – he is also a former National Security Council official during the Obama presidency. That is, we can say without much exaggeration that we are dealing not only with expert opinion, but with the position of an important part of the “Washington swamp”.
No, Kapchan does not harbor illusions that Russia can be easily torn away from China, but he is convinced that this is necessary and can be done. It makes no sense to analyze specific examples of pain points in Russian-Chinese relations that Kapchan proposes to put pressure on. Some of them are simply ridiculous, like, for example, the myth about the threat of Chinese settlement in the Far East and the Russian fear of it. Here, however, the Americans were held hostage by their own propaganda – our, domestic, Westernizers are so zealous in promoting the topic of “Chinese expansion” (hoping thereby to create a negative attitude towards the Chinese in Russia and discredit Putin, who “sold everything to China”) that Washington is simply unable to distinguish truth from fiction.
Many other statements of Kapchan are also erroneous. For example, that Russian-Chinese cooperation “rests on a shaky foundation and lacks mutual trust, like the Sino-Soviet partnership at the beginning of the Cold War.” Or that “the relationship between the two countries is highly personalized and highly dependent on the unpredictable relationship between the two leaders – Xi and Putin.” It is strange to call the relationship of the two leaders unpredictable, who have repeatedly emphasized their trusting and close character. And it is just as strange to complain about the lack of mutual trust between the two countries, which made a deliberate strategic choice in favor of strengthening their ties.
But what is interesting in Kapchan’s article is how he proposes to persuade Russia to the side of the West. There is a whole host of steps the US must take to “change the Kremlin’s broader strategic calculus, demonstrating that closer cooperation with the West will help Russia shed its growing vulnerabilities stemming from its close partnership with China.” What is there not!
And the refusal to formulate the US strategy “in black and white tones like” democracy versus autocracy “-” if everything is reduced to the rivalry of ideologies, then this can bring Russia closer to China. ” And “find common ground with Moscow on a wide range of issues, including strategic stability, cyber security and climate change.”
And “to put pressure on their democratic allies so that they too would build a dialogue with Russia in a similar way.” Moreover, we are talking not only about Europe , but also, for example, about India , which is able “more than others to succeed in conveying to Moscow the advantages of maintaining strategic autonomy and the potential dangers of too close relations with Beijing.” In order to “encourage India to help Russia distance itself from China,” Kapchan advises “to lift sanctions against India for buying the S-400 air defense system from Russia .”
It is also necessary to “help Russia reduce its growing economic dependence on China” – and to do this by the entire Western world. Here Kapchan praises Biden for the green light for Nord Stream 2 , calling him “a wise investment in encouraging deeper trade ties between Russia and Europe.”
And Washington must “encourage Moscow to help contain China’s growing influence in the developing world, including Central Asia, the Greater Middle East and Africa.” Why do Russians need it? Why why – after all, “as Beijing expands its economic and strategic influence, it begins to dawn on Moscow that it is not the United States, but China that regularly undermines Russia’s influence in many regions.”
Here, of course, Kapchan gives out wishful thinking – more precisely, deliberately substitutes concepts. Russia and China may have contradictions in certain regions – but they are of a completely different nature than their contradictions with the United States. And because neither Russia nor China is betting on containing each other, and because they are interested in squeezing the United States and the Anglo-Saxons out of Eurasia as a whole.
On the whole, there is nothing revolutionary about Kapchan’s advice – they stand out only for their understanding of the extremely danger of an ideological war with Moscow and Beijing, on which part of the Biden administration is betting. Kapchan’s realism does not negate the unrealistic nature of his message as such, because Washington has no way of separating Moscow from Beijing or Beijing from Moscow.
Except for one – the one that Kapchan mentions almost at the very end of his article. This opportunity is as simple as three kopecks: it is called “betrayal of national elites.”
No, Kapchan doesn’t call her that. He writes that:
“Russia may well stay on course – perhaps until Putin eventually steps down from office. But in light of the impressive pace and scope of China’s geopolitical rise, it’s time to start sowing the seeds of discord between China and Russia, especially among the young generations of Russian officials and civil servants who will take over after Putin leaves the political arena. “
Yes, everything is so – it is necessary to ensure that the post-Putin generation of Russian power exchanges strategic partnership with China for rapprochement with the West. That is, it abandoned national interests, betrayed them, changing the course of the country. Here we can only say one thing – this will never happen. For one simple reason. Because the new national elite, which is being formed by Putin, will be deprived of dependence on the West and will not acquire dependence on the East.