by Rob Macon
Remember the saying, The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world? During this 2016 presidential election, concerns about the next elected president of the US being able to maintain a diplomatic relationship with two of the world’s other great powers; Russia and China.
As President Obama prepares to leave the White House here’s where the US relationship between Russia and China lies:
RUSSIA: The US and Russia have a bilateral relationship, but the relationship has been tense. The Ukraine/Crimea crisis and the Syrian Civil War can be blamed for the worst deterioration between the two countries, causing mutual trade and investment being significantly restricted by US-led sanctions. But somehow Russia and the US are still willing to cooperate and partner on international issues such as international peace and security.
On July 8, 2008, Russia had threatened that if the US anti-missile shield was deployed near the Russian border, they would react militarily. Russian Foreign Ministry had said, If a US strategic anti-missile shield starts to be deployed near our borders, we will be forced to react not in a diplomatic fashion but with military-technical means. Then Vitaly Cherkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations clarified, military-technical meansî does not necessarily mean military action, but more likely a change in Russia’s strategic posture, maybe to redeploy their own missiles.
Fast-forwarding, Russian-US relations continued to deteriorate, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down on July 17, 2014 by a suspected surface-to-air missile in the Eastern Ukraine, near the Russian borders. Peace talks were held in Vienna in October and November 2015 for the first time with Iran, a diminishing of US hostility perhaps related to the Syria settlement between the US and Russia. But a Feb. 2015 Gallup poll showed a significant rise in anti-Russian sentiment in the US. The military, the media and thus public opinion consider Russia a ìcritical military threat.î
CHINA: China-US Relations refer to International relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. As of 2014, the US still had the world’s largest economy but China was right on the heels of the US with the second largest economy. The International Monetary Fund estimates that Chinaís economy has overtaken the US in terms of GDP (gross domestic product). But the US economy will remain larger than China’s in nominal and per capita GDP until the end of this decade. The relationship between China and the US is regarded by each as a potential adversary and yet as a strategic partner, as well. The relationship has been fairly stable, with times of conflict, since the end of the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Now China and the US elites have mutual security interests, such as prevention of terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and mutually reinforced economic and political interests. China remains the largest foreign creditor of the US holding about $1.8 trillion of the US national debt, as the US went from a creditor to a debtor nation. The two countries have a dispute over territorial issues in the South China Sea, but both countries confirm that they want to improve their relationship. Chinese president Xi Jinping has stated that a confrontation between the two countries would be a disaster.
Editor’s Note: China and Russia have been pursuing their own bilateral relations apart from their relationship with the US, and are part of the developing BRICS bloc of nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that are beginning to create their own international banking agency, and pose an economic challenge to US corporate global interests.
by Rob Macon