NSS translation and commentary by Vince Dhimos
There are many otherwise intelligent and “educated” Americans who have bought into the Neocon myth that Russian authors are sneaky KGB types who only seek to deceive the West. They simply can’t believe that anything written by a Russian could possibly be worthwhile or informative. Yet much of the information New Silk Strategies publishes in translation from Russian sites, for example, is based on information gleaned from US publications. For example, Russian weapons analysts, including those that we publish in translation, rely to a great extent on the US publication National Interest, which tends to show that Russian weapons are superior to and cheaper than their US counterparts or are innovations that have no analogues in the West. The Russian authors didn’t make that up. They cited US sources.
The following is our translation of an analysis from Ria Novosti which is based largely on a book by a US professor and former deputy secretary of state. We expect that this too will be treated as pure propaganda by many Americans steeped in anti-Russian myths. But if Russian authors are relying heavily on US analysts for their data, why bother reading them?
Because Russians know Russians better than anyone and their insight is valuable in assessing the current situation. Example from our translation:
“Russia cannot be broken by applying crude, straightforward pressure on it. If it breaks down, as we know from our history, it is only because of internal conflicts and confrontations. So, in the medium term, external pressure can only consolidate Russian society and power.”
Shortly after I discovered and read this gem, I happened to stumble across an article in Russia Insider which also expounds on the “Thucidides trap” mentioned by former deputy secretary of state Graham Allison in his book warning of the threat of war posed by a waning super power challenged by the Chinese upstart.
Both analyses lead to the conclusion that as long as Russia stands firm in its strategic partnership with China, all the Western machinations aimed at bringing down China and Russia are in vain.
The very fact that China has the wherewithal to challenge the US in all the ways that count – economically, militarily, diplomatically, monetarily and so forth – is due in large part to the eagerness of US lawmakers to weaken Russia. It was thought back then that China could be induced to become a reliable partner of the US and be manipulated into turning against Russia. The manipulators really should have known better.
China will force the US to change its mind about Bashing Russia
Andranik Migranyan, for RIA Novosti
The escalation of the confrontation between the United States and Russia for more than ten years, with the memorable Putin speech in Munich, remains a topic for speculation. Both American and Russian experts have long imagined that new presidents would eventually come to power in the United States (or that certain changes are about to occur in Russia), and relations between the two countries would soon be normalized. There were hopes for Obama, then for Trump. However, in practice, these relations are getting worse and worse.
This raises a natural question: is the nature of these relations the result of the evil will of the presidents Bush, Jr., Obama, Trump, or of Putin's toughness and tenacity - or are there deeper-lying reasons that do not depend on the personal and leadership qualities of the two countries’ leaders?
I can immediately answer this poignant question. We should not expect in the foreseeable future to improve relations between the US and Russia, regardless of who takes the helm of these states. The nature of this relationship is determined by more-global processes, where the relationship between Russia and the US is derived from the nature of the relationship between the still dominant US and the growing China, which challenges America and purports to be a new world leader. I will not burden readers with figures that show that China has in many respects outstripped the United States in economic, scientific, technological, military-political development or will do so in the very near future. This creates a situation that the renowned Harvard professor Graham Allison, a former US Deputy Secretary of Defence, calls "Thucydides’s trap." It is about the famous ancient essay on the Peloponnesian War (between Sparta and Athens).
Thucydides writes that Sparta, the dominant power in Ancient Greece, that made a decisive contribution to the defeat of the Persians who invaded Greece in the fifth century BC, began to feel anxiety and tension because of the growing strength and influence of Athens. Sparta believed that Athens was trying to challenge her supremacy in the ancient world. Started in 435 BC, the war lasted almost thirty years, and ended in the defeat of Athens, but debilitated both powerful states of the Ancient World.
Graham Allison, in his recently published book, "Destined for War: Can the US and China Escape Thucydides's Trap," analyses the five hundred year history of the West, highlighting 16 cases in which an ascendant state challenged the then dominant power in the world – and 12 of the 16 cases ended in war. Allison’s main conclusion: China's growth is unstoppable. It will challenge America's leadership not only in the regions of East Asia, the Indian and Pacific basins, but also in international relations in general. If this conclusion is correct and the centuries-old history shows the repeatability of "Thucydides's trap," then an escalation of the confrontation between the US and China is only a matter of time.
The US is no longer a superpower: Washington's nuclear strategy tells us this.
By now, the United States has already adopted a deterrence strategy with respect to Beijing and methodically pursues a policy of encircling the PRC with the help of its partners and allies. China has with almost all its neighbours conflicts and problems that the US traditionally skilfully uses to create an anti-China coalition. Countries that can form its core include Japan, India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia. Over time, other states may join them.
... And now - the most important thing. Against the backdrop of a possible battle between the two giants in the foreseeable future, Russia's role and significance are incredibly increasing. Obviously, having huge nuclear-missile potential, vast spaces and immense resources, Russia can, with its participation on the side of one of the giants in the battle, decide the fate of the confrontation.
I personally get the impression that Washington strategists understand this perfectly. However, they do not believe that by improving relations with Moscow, they can make it a reliable ally in the case of a head-on confrontation with China. And because the future destiny of the United States is at stake, facing an impending existential challenge, any miscalculation can prove fatal.
This is why Washington has adopted a strategy of bashing Russia. The US wants to break our country and withdraw it from the game, deprive it of sovereignty and subjectivity in world politics, as was the case in the 1990s, so that at the hour of the decisive clash, Russia was not an independent player capable of making decisions based on its interests. Thus, the minimum and maximum goals of the US are pursued: the first is to neutralize Russia, and since today it reliably covers China’s rear, create threats for China from the Russian direction. The second is to establish a power in Moscow that would act together with Washington against China in a decisive battle. In recent years, we have seen elements of the implementation of this strategy. These are sanctions in Ukraine, attempts at financial and economic strangulation, involvement in mediated wars and a new arms race in order to provoke a split in elite Russian circles, and between the masses and the leader - in order to ruin Putin's power and establish a puppet regime in Russia.
Will the Americans succeed in implementing their strategy? This is highly doubtful, despite the enormous resources that the collective West, led by the United States, can mobilize. First, the Western world and the States are not experiencing the best of times. America has overextended itself over almost the past two decades in a series of endless wars and external adventures. Secondly, Russia cannot be broken by applying crude, direct pressure on it. If it breaks down, as we know from our history, it is only because of internal conflicts and confrontations. So, in the medium term, external pressure can only consolidate Russian society and power.
Third. The history of the White House’s pressure on North Korea suggests that this huge country cannot cope even with this small state, which has taken a firm stand.
Fourth. The solidarity of Western countries with the United States also has its limits. They are unlikely to become willing hostages to the confrontation of the US vs Russia, and then the US vs China.
And lastly, I like to hope that in Beijing they understand (or very soon will realize) that the main target of the States is not Russia. Thus, the Kremlin is now resisting the White House both for itself and, as we used to say in the USSR, for the other guy.
And it seems to me that if in this confrontation China more vigorously defends Russia, then it is likely that the US will understand the hopelessness of the strategy of bashing Russia and change the paradigm of its policy. Otherwise, they themselves are at risk of being broken because of the exorbitant imperial overstrain.
No wonder Patrick Buchanan, one of the most astute patriarchs of American politics and analysts of US foreign and domestic policy, published a few years ago a book with the very characteristic title "Suicide of a superpower: will the US survive until 2025?"
RIA Novosti https://ria.ru/analytics/20180219/1514877102.html