Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IS CHINA OR RUSSIA THE MORE SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO US INTERESTS?
First let me address a common misconception about Russia, namely, that it is a “declining power.” [one of the respondents had stated this].
I had written before that the Russian economy is the most stable among developed nations. Compared to the US with its ballooning $23 trillion debt, Russia has almost no debt, and the little debt it has is offset completely by its cash and gold reserves, as I showed at Quora:
Declining? Last year, two gas pipelines, Power of Siberia to China, and Turkish Stream, started operation. Another pipeline to Europe, ie, Nord Stream 2, is on track for completion despite the US’s furious attempt to stop the project with sanctions.
These 3 pipelines will add billions of dollars to the Russian economy every year.
Now let’s talk about arms sales. Russia is the second largest exporter of arms behind the US.
Russia also sells cars, farm machines, trucks and just about anything imaginable, and produces almost all commodities domestically. The US does not, as you know, and this means the US – unlike Russia – is far from being self-sufficient. And course, self-sufficiency is a major factor in security, arguably more important than powerful weapons.
Russia is also the second biggest exporter of wheat in the world.
Let’s look at military capability.
Recently, Commander John Hyten of the US nuclear command stated that Russia has hypersonic missiles that cannot be intercepted and the US has no response at this time.
So should we be worried that Russia will take over the world? No, as all sentient Westerners know. And as I showed at Quora, each accusation of “Russian aggression,” from Georgia to Ukraine, was a contrivance of Western politicians and media:
As for China, unlike the “Russian aggression” allegation, the narrative of Chinese aggression is a bit more than just US hype.
One of the main worries does not so much affect the US, but rather China’s neighbours, who complain, justifiably, that China is encroaching on their territorial waters in various ways.
Economically speaking, China is being impacted somewhat by the current trade war with the US, but not as much as the US, which is shooting itself in the foot.
So how should the US react? With patience and intelligence. For a change. The more the US rails against these two powers and plays political games with sanctions and import duties, and the more the US threatens their partners and allies, the closer they come together. As a result of US threats and hostility, the two countries have been holding joint military drills on land, at sea and in the air.
The latest such event shows how impotent the US has become vis-à-vis Russia and China. This past week, Russia, China and Iran held joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman where tensions have been high amidst a US-inspired “freedom of shipping” effort involving Western warships and aircraft carriers. The three-country group warned that if any outside ships or aircraft entered the drill zone, they would be hit.
This is perhaps the first time the US has faced this powerful a challenge, and – echoing General Hyten’s statement about the Russian hypersonic missiles – there has been no response. Nor has there been any military response to the costly attack on Saudi Aramco, which the US blamed on Iran without evidence and despite the Yemeni Houthis’ claiming responsibility. China and Russia (along with much of Europe) do not buy the US narrative that Iran, essentially by its mere existence, poses a threat to Israel. It insists that, while Israel has the “right to defend itself” even with nuclear arms, Iran somehow does not enjoy this right. This narrative has been contrived as a means of preparing US minds for a possible military invasion of Iran by Israel and/or the US. The new 3-country military partnership (not yet an official alliance, but it might as well be called that) challenges this narrative in the most effective possible way, with Russia and China essentially throwing down the gauntlet: you want to attack our friend, then you’ll be attacking us. As I pointed out at Quora (https://www.quora.com/Is-the-US-just-weakening-Iran-with-more-sanctions-to-make-them-easier-to-war-with/answer/Vince-Dhimos), as the US faces challenges from major powers – instead of just small countries that can’t fight back – it has been steadily declining in terms of effective means and methods of confronting adversaries, or more accurately, perceived adversaries, and is now essentially reduced to mere bluffing and economic measures. I think that the latest US sanctions on companies involved in the execution of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project from Russia to Germany is the best example of how actual military confrontation has given way to mere economic warfare – showcasing US impotence.
Indeed, these sanctions against the Russian pipeline are included in a defence bill, an inadvertent confession by the US that it no longer dares use military means to do what it once would have done by deployment of ships, aircraft, boots one the ground and materiel.
Politically, there is simply very little to be done with the trillions of dollars’ worth of military equipment that has burdened the US with a ballooning unpayable debt. By declaring Russia an enemy, it has created a political duty to match that country bullet for bullet, so to speak, when all it would have to do is admit to itself and its populace that Russia would best be treated as a potential friend and ally. That would enable the US to cope more effectively with China. But NATO needs this fictitious enemy to maintain its high budget and put more cash into the accounts of US arms makers (https://www.quora.com/Why-hasn-t-NATO-evaluated-its-peacekeeping-experience-to-identify-and-implement-best-practices-for-transitioning-failed-states-into-functional-democracy/answer/Vince-Dhimos), and politicians need the “Russian aggressor” narrative to garner votes. They’ve painted themselves into a corner.
By wanton spending on needless arms, the US has meted out to itself the punishment it had hoped to inflict on Russia – ie, forcing it to overspend on arms. Yet, with its already superior arms, Russia has much less need than the US to strain its military budget. And that in the midst of a financial crisis that sees the Fed printing billions of unbacked dollars every day to cope with a repo market crisis of its own making.