China and Russia–the New Axis Powers?

Deepening coordination between Beijing and Moscow threatens U.S. power on a scale not seen since World War II

Commentary

Are China and Russia conspiring powers, the way Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were conspiring together against Poland before the former invaded the latter in World War II?

History Repeating Itself?

Before we go further, a caveat is in order. It’s often said that history repeats itself, or at times, tends to rhyme. But making facile historical parallels when interpreting current events is often a trap because no two eras or event setups are identical. Each time period and event are unique.

That said, nations with similar interests often cooperate with one another. Today, the current alignment between the world’s most aggressive, totalitarian powers—China and Russia—against the world’s democracies in general and the United States and Israel specifically, has begun to take shape.

Beijing and Moscow’s Similar Interests

Both nations have similar interests. One would have to be a fool to not see it. To that point, what do both China and Russia intend to accomplish?

In a word, “expansion.” Both nations are seeking to expand their regional and global footprints at the expense of the United States. Both are actively seeking to replace the United States as the dominant global power.

China’s Top Priority

In China’s case, it has already acted decisively against Hong Kong, a West-facing democracy that enjoyed a special trading status with the United States and was the financial center of Asia. But under the diversion of the CCP virus pandemic, Beijing has expanded its influence in Hong Kong, arresting hundreds of democratic protesters and instituting new laws and restrictions. Today, Hong Kong is no longer free and democratic, but is effectively under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Next on the Chinese regime’s agenda is Taiwan. Conquering the democratic island nation, a staunch ally of the United States, is the CCP’s top priority. In fact, some military experts believe that a Taiwan invasion will be sooner than later.

Recall that under the Trump administration, major arms deals were made as a deterrence against military intimidation and perhaps even invasion by the communist regime. It’s also worth noting that former President Donald Trump linked Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong with tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump’s hardline against Chinese expansion bolstered by arms deals and tariffs, made Beijing think twice about their actions.

But under the Biden administration, the resolve to protect Taiwan appears to be lessened. The current weakness in the U.S. leadership is certainly no deterrence. At the first summit between the two nations under President Joe Biden, Chinese diplomats openly ridiculed and insulted the U.S. delegation, with little pushback from the U.S. side.

More recently, Chinese warplanes routinely violate Taiwan’s airspace, prompting Taipei to conduct war games with the assumption of a Chinese invasion. The CCP’s attitudes and actions have underscored that potential, warning the United States that it was, “playing with fire by interacting with Taiwan.”

Russia’s Play Against US Influence

Likewise, Russia sees the same weakness in the U.S. leadership. Biden is mistreating our allies and coddling our enemies in the Mideast while begging Iran to agree to a new nuclear weapons agreement. Russia is watching very carefully how this unfolds.

That’s because countries in the region are preparing for a “total U.S. collapse” of its Israeli-centric security strategy policy. Under Trump, multiple peace treaties between Israel and Arab states were possible because the United States was steadfast in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

But now, Biden’s urgency to return to the negotiating table with Tehran tells all of them, and Putin, that the United States under Biden doesn’t have the will to respond to strength with strength with regard to Iran or other nations. That fact is demonstrated in Putin’s mobilizing 40,000 troops on the Russian-Ukraine border and his concurrent warning to Biden to not interfere.

The key point here is the clear coordination between Beijing and Moscow, as both warn the United States not to interfere with events that may transpire in Taiwan and Ukraine. It seems likely that both nations have coordinated plans in place to synchronize potential actions against Taiwan and Ukraine respectively.

An Absent President

Such an outcome would force the United States to confront its most powerful adversaries at the same time—or not. It may well be the case that, with the apparent inability of Biden to function in a dynamic public setting, that our adversaries are convinced that there will be no consequences for either invasion.

If either or both invasions occur without serious response by the United States, American prestige around the world would fall, and rightly so. This is particularly true with Taiwan, as a CCP takeover would cause doubt to spread across the Asia Pacific region. Either or both may also weaken the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, as confidence in the United States as an active global power that protects its interests and its allies, wanes.

It is worth noting that traditional analysis of geopolitical actors typically includes three factors: intentions, capabilities and the will to realize a goal or perform an action. Those three factors apply to all nations, including the nation(s) that would oppose the provocative actions that both China and Russia are apparently contemplating.

It’s not clear that anyone in the Biden administration understands this reality, or for that matter, history.

James R. Gorrie is the author of “The China Crisis” (Wiley, 2013) and writes on his blog, TheBananaRepublican.com. He is based in Southern California.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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