No war would have been simpler to avert than this one, according to Winston Churchill, who stated it memorably. (During World War II.)
There is no genuine expectation of conflict between the United States and China or Russia in the sense of a declared war that would be pursued until one side surrenders, but the worsening of ties with those nations may be halted, according to some analysts.
Following Hitler’s relentless acts of bad faith and obsessive aggressiveness, combined with the savage incivility of Japan’s surprise assault on Pearl Harbor and across the Pacific region, a world war was declared, with ultimate triumph for the Allies, at least on their side of the Pacific Ocean.
It is true that Stalin would have signed a separate peace with Hitler and would have implausibly restored the Nazi-Soviet alliance, which Hitler had breached by launching 200 divisions into Russia with no notice and no alleged provocation, but this is a stretch of the imagination. In the event that Stalin had come to the conclusion that the Western allies were not serious about creating a second front and guaranteeing Germany’s eventual defeat, he would have taken this step. He was not prepared to go to war with Germany in order to appease the Anglo-Americans’ appetite for blood and treasure.
What we have now with China and Russia are two distinctly different cases of countries aggressively seeking greater influence in the world, particularly on their own borders, and steadily flexing their muscles while attempting to avoid provoking a confrontational response from the United States and its bedraggled alliances.
China is a much greater threat than Russia in terms of strategic significance. It has already performed the greatest feat of economic self-elevation ever done by any country in human history, according to the World Bank. Of course, this has been a highly unevenly distributed achievement. Li Keqiang, China’s premier, reportedly said that 600 million people live on less than 1,000 yuan ($157) every month. At the same time, huge wealth is concentrated in the hands of Communist Party members who are well-placed in society. Economic expansion has been achieved at the expense of severe environmental degradation, and it has been accompanied by widespread human rights abuses and the establishment of a police state that is much more broad than any that has before been contemplated.
It is the only country that has been one of the world’s great powers at various times in the past, then plunged into disorganization, weakness, and foreign condescension, only to emerge from such a condition of vulnerability to regain its position as a global power once again.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the United States’ much-touted “Open Door policy” toward China was actually simply an open door to allow the United States to join Japan and the European powers in the exploitation of a beleaguered China.
Following his victory in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 and the subsequent occupation of Beijing, Mao Tse-tung famously said, “China has risen up.” That is certainly true; nevertheless, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an interview last week, “China is not a 10-foot-tall country.”
Due to the disparity in leadership and political cohesion between the United States and China, the apparent narrowing or even elimination of superior American power and influence as China seeks to undermine and surpass it is a function of this disparity in leadership and governmental cohesion between the two countries.
As a result of the bipartisan political establishment’s fanatical obsession with defeating and evicting Donald Trump and his supporters, a coalition was formed for that purpose that was so broad that it included extremist anti-American elements generally grouped under the rubric of “wokeness,” and specifically included African-American extremists seeking massive transfusions of outright Dane geld to compensate them for what Mr. Lincoln refers to as “their own fault.”
The leaders of Black Lives Matter New York have recently said that if they do not get what they want, “riots, arson, and carnage” would result. The reflexive allegation of “racism” is leveled against these radicals whenever they are refused anything.
That this anti-Trump coalition failed was a result of its attempt to bridge traditional centrist Bush-McCain-Romney Republicans with anti-Trump Republicans, and then to extend that bridge all the way out to a large swath of the media, the Academy, big sports, and Hollywood who are overtly anti-American, and from there all the way out to a significant minority of white-hating African-Americans.
The ruling coalition is a Tower of Babel that has enormous difficulty reaching an agreement on anything, a situation that has been exacerbated by President Joe Biden’s apparent decline in concentrating abilities. Biden was only picked by the Democratic Party elders after he struggled in the early primaries, in order to avoid the seemingly unbeatable Senator Bernie Sanders, who is an outspoken socialist who is running for President of the United States.
A lengthy history of being pro-Chinese can be traced back to Vice President Joe Biden, even before taking into consideration the large and extremely improper money that the Biden family has received from China for unclear services.
Despite the fact that these are only temporary circumstances, they have emboldened the Chinese to renounce the treaty it had signed with the United Kingdom, one of the world’s most respected nations, and they have shown no sign of relenting in what amounts to a long-term genocide against their Uyghur minority and constant persecution of all religions, or to refrain from engaging in aggressive military skirmishes in the Himalayas with India, or to make absurd claims of sovereignty over the South China Those terms emphasized the idea of a unified China, which included Taiwan, but with the guarantee that China would not attempt to reunify China by coercion and that the United States would not advocate for Taiwan’s full separation from the rest of the country.
Even so, the facts remain that China is resource-poor and chronically old (due to their insane one-child policy), that it lacks effective political institutions that can be trusted both within and outside of China, and that there is no official statement or number published by the People’s Republic of China that is reliable. It is well on its way to become the most technologically authoritarian state in history, with the capacity to find every single individual in the nation in a matter of minutes using sophisticated surveillance technology.
It continues to be a corrupt government with all of the long-term instability associated with a dictatorship, which is exacerbated further by the fact that it claims to be a communist society while encouraging state and monopoly capitalism at the same time.
The significance of Defense Secretary Austin’s statement that the United States will not be frightened by the Chinese’s unrelenting bellicosity over Taiwan is heartening to hear. Although the United States looks to have slipped behind China and Russia in the development of hypersonic missiles and in the production of competent aircraft carrier defenses, these inadequacies may be rapidly remedied and compensated for in other areas where the United States remains dominant.
To convince the Chinese that an attempt at coercive absorption of Taiwan will result in unjustifiably costly consequences, not to mention an attack on what would be a very vulnerable invasion force trudging across 130 miles of open water, is all that is required, as Winston Churchill stated during World War II.
When it comes to Russia, the situation is much different and easier since the country has a GDP that is far lower than Canada’s and could not sustain a general war in Ukraine against real resistance for an extended period of time. There is some validity to the Russian allegation that Ukraine is not really an independent state, just as there is some truth to the assertion that China and Taiwan are not truly independent states. It was a part of Russia for almost 200 years, and its ethnicity is a mash-up of foreign elements that has not been totally homogenized.
A legitimate vote should be held to determine if there are as many as ten million Ukrainians who would want to be Russians. If this is the case, a genuine poll should be held. Seeing as how the majority of Russians in Ukraine live near the Russian border, the most logical solution would be for Russian Ukraine to join Russia and the balance of Ukraine to join NATO and the European Union, and then for Ukraine to accept and discharge the responsibilities that come with acting like a sophisticated and accountable Western democracy, which Ukraine has not yet achieved.
For such a compromise to be realized, more dynamic and purposeful leadership than is now available in Washington will be required, as would some resuscitation of Germany from its present role as the “pitiful, helpless behemoth” of Europe, to use Nixon’s phrase.
All that is necessary is a little toughness, which is not something that the Biden administration is known for. It will be necessary to increase the transfer of advanced munitions to Ukraine and Taiwan in order to achieve this. It may also be necessary, given the apparent breakdown of negotiations with Iran, to put an end to this creeping Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons with a conventional military attack that eliminates their nuclear weapons program. These measures will provide enough peace-through-strength to keep the globe under control until the next American presidential election results in a more purposeful government in Washington.
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