The Malta Independent 21 September 2018, Friday

Sino-Russian ambitions

Sunday, 9 September 2018, 08:55 Last update: about 13 days ago

At a conference in Singapore last June, US defence secretary talked about a "natural non-convergence of interest" between Russia and China, and expressed his belief that both countries had more in common with America than with each other.

He is absolutely wrong. His idea that Russia and China can never really be friends is just as wrong and dangerous as the Cold War dogma that portrayed global communism as an unshakeable monolith.

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US President Donald Trump, and many in the West, are ignoring the warming ties between Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China. Russia's continued rise and obvious ambition to supplant the US on a military scale is a far bigger long-term challenge for America than China. If China and Russia were to join forces, it would be almost impossible for the US president to pursue a defence strategy successfully. Mr Trump must recognize right how serious a threat the nascent Sino-Russian alliance is to US interests.

It is easy for Trump to dismiss this friendly atmosphere between Russia and China as superficial posturing, but such gestures between autocrats matter immensely to their respective systems. Mr Xi and Mr Putin are two strong autocrats who share a deep fear that they might be thrown out of office by a US backed "revolution" in the future.

 

Jos Edmond Zarb

Birkirkara

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