Early in his Sword of Honour series, Evelyn Waugh’s autobiographical hero rejoices in the purity of his country’s cause: all the big dictatorships of Europe are on the other side. The Soviet Union is actively aiding the Axis – vitiating the British blockade with megabushels of raw materials, freeing up the Wehrmacht to attack Western Europe, divvying up Poland, having the local Communist parties strike defense plants and argue for surrender. The Soviets even asked to join the Tripartite Pact.
And Guy Crouchback thinks that this is just the greatest thing in the world.
No compromise !
Because he’s an idiot.
So. Why is Russia the “real threat” to the US, rather than China? Do we want to make absolutely sure that they never get close enough for us to catch their cooties? Have the members of the Establishment in Washington never played a single game of Risk?
Well, maybe they’re idiots too. Probably a different kind of idiot.
I am long past even trying to make any sense out of US foreign policy.
US foreign policy is readily understood if you assume that it is formulated by a cabal of the USA’s enemies.
It only makes sense if you think of it not as US foreign policy, but as a “who/whom” tribal grievance game for the disloyal eskimos who actually run it.
It seems that US policy is based on the idea that if you go to war, kill a few bad guys and dump a ton of money on the vanquished, you will win their undying devotion. The success rate since 1945 is not encouraging.
The members of the establishment also thought attacking Iraq is a good choice. And they considered islamic terror as a threat. Now they are aiming at consistency
Islamic terror – that is, Islam – absolutely was a threat. Still is.
Islam is less of one now, but up until ISIS’s defeat the black banner proved a potent ideological motive for mass murderers.
I agree Islamic terror was – and is – a threat, but it is not one of those “we need to spend a lot more money on overseas bases and develop new weapons” type of threat. We could’ve combated it on the cheap with a few sensible measures.
Instead, we got this Cold War redux where our strategic thinkers were talking about the importance of maintaining large American bases throughout the Middle East and remaking the political systems of the Muslim states in that region, apparently because that’s the only way they could think of to make us safe from men in caves and murderous gangs seeking political power in a handful of unimportant states that we had helped destabilize.
I think Beijing breathed a huge sigh of relief when 9/11 happened and it saw our response.
Seems to me the Dems hate Russia because 1) Trump sees value in having Putin urinating out from inside the American tent, rather than in; 2) because Putin IS an authoritarian thug whose oligarch pals are looting the country; 3) because Russia isn’t attempting to become progressive (doesn’t have identity politics): Russia nationalist in other words; and 4) to pivot to the real threat — China — would make Trump look correct/wise/shrewd.
If Biden wins, Russia won’t matter much. Suddenly.
Not sure about that, Susan Rice was apparently shocked that Michael Flynn didn’t think that Russia was a bigger threat than China was like she did. Additionally, points 2 and 3 you could say about China as well, Xi Jinping is a dictator too and China is not progressive, at all, although not above trying to use our political correctness against us.
After the US helped the Oligarchs loot Russia under the puppet Yeltsin, Putin brought the country back from the dead with some very wise policies, and a return to nationalism….That wasn’t supposed to happen, and State. threw a prolonged tantrum which involved, amongst others, wrecking the Ukraine with neo-Nazi mercenaries and cooking up Hillary’s Russia-gate hoax…..Idiocy and criminality at work…
Putin just centralized the looting, Russia’s recovery tracks the price of oil rather suspiciously, and if State orchestrated the Ukraine affair I would be very impressed.
Looks like you’ve swallowed some Russian propaganda.
The oil price has collapsed, but Russia hasn’t, so it’s not just the oil. The looting is less severe now, than it was in the 1990s, and there’s some effort to genuinely improve governance. In a sense, Putin’s bandits have slowly been becoming stationary bandits, while those of Yeltsin were purely roving bandits.
Nice theory, and maybe there’s some truth to it. Big problem in Russia is that there’s way too many of those quasi-stationary bandits. So, paying off to one agency doesn’t guarantee safety from others. Also, people still lose profitable businesses to sons of police, so the problem is real. Arbitrary edicts and huge amounts of thefts and corruption. 70%+ of the population is on the payroll of central government. And most of Russian income is from selling minerals, oil, gas, and weapons. Consumer-oriented industrial base is minimal. And somehow most of those patriotic “stationary bandits” choose to keep their personal money in overseas accounts and properties, including in the US. Their children tend to be educated overseas (and try to stay there after graduation). Revealed preferences of Russia’s elite speak for themselves.
The rise and power of Russia is a load of BS.
Russia improved significantly over the last decade. Don’t mistake exports for the economy. Export is indeed mostly oil and minerals. However, they have the whole industrial stack and produce most of the needed stuff for themselves. The agriculture and food industry is in the top shape.
Moscow looks every bit a European capital, cleaner and safer than most. The provinces are catching up, too. I came for a visit 2 years ago after an 8-year break and was blown away.
The data disagree. Take a look at real gdp per capita:
Over the last 25 years: rapid growth through 2008 (tracking the price of oil), and fairly flat since.
Also, I disagree about trade. I think looking at what a country imports and exports can be quite informative. If a country mostly exports primary products and imports manufactured goods, that tells you quite a bit.
One big export of Russia isn’t shown here: people. Many of the smartest and most capable Russians are in Europe or the US these days. Not a good sign for the country’s future.
The Dems hate Russia (and/or Trumps embracing Russia) b/c the Russians are white and work&PC-free and have the sense enough not to tolerate Anfit/BLM insantiy.
Oh, the blessings of dictatorship protecting Russian racial purity…
Because USG and MIC need an enemy, more credible enemy than some ragged guys on technicals in the desert, but not actually dangerous enemy like China could be.
Russia, country that looks big on the map but is seen by them as “gas station with nukes”, 100% qualifies.
I’ve been asking this for more than twenty years.
Are we just that concerned about the strategic significance of Abkhazia and Crimea? Do our leaders really believe that if we lose eastern Ukraine, we will lose all of Europe? Or even Poland?
Or perhaps we’re upset that Russia is spoiling our grand plan to remake the Middle East into our image by doing … what exactly? Again, I have no idea. Just opposing our stupidity in the region with a few troop movements and some rhetorical flourishes, I suppose.
China is much more obvious potential threat to America’s interests. The Chinese population is ten times larger than Russia’s. The Chinese economy is ten times the size of the Russian economy. Last time I looked Russia had a smaller national economy than Canada. Imagine trying to turn a country into our top global competitor when it can’t even outproduce the Canadians
The Chinese economy is also growing faster than Russia’s economy. It’s more diverse, which is a sign of strength. The Chinese economy is more integrated with our economy than is the Russian economy – which presents an interesting domestic political problem we’ve never had to worry about since our 19th-century strategic rivalry with the British.
The Chinese are smart, industrious and filled with the kind of national indignation about their place in the world which usually makes for a bad geopolitical mix.
What’s more, East Asia and Southeast Asia are far more important to America’s national interest than are Ukraine, the Caucasus and the Baltic states. Those two regions of Asia might even be more important geopolitically than all of Eastern Europe, although that’s arguable. They’re certainly more important economically to us than Eastern Europe.
Russia is no longer a serious threat to all of Eastern Europe – and hasn’t been for some time. Putin’s military responses along Russia’s borders over the last two decades have been more reactions to Western meddling than strategic advances that indicate Putin has some secret plan to take Kiev, Warsaw and finally roll back into Berlin.
Russia probably still has better military equipment than China – the one positive legacy for Russia that remains from the Soviet Union. But that could change in a hurry if Beijing decided to go on a crash course in upgrading its military, given the technological and economic improvements China has made over the last four decades.
Of course, many Eastern European countries are happy to have NATO membership and play host to a US military presence, but other than the countries right along the Russian border, I don’t sense that any of them truly fear Russia. Putin possibly invading Warsaw doesn’t keep most Poles up at night.
On the other hand, most countries along China’s eastern and southern borders, with the exception of the two Koreas, are worried about its rise. I think even Russia would be worried about the Chinese if we hadn’t been so determined over the last fifteen years to make them worry about us more.
So why is the focus on Putin and Russia instead of Xi and China? I think there are three main reasons:
1) American business interests help tamp down anti-China sentiment for obvious reasons.
2) 9/11. I’ve read that Bush was planning to shift the focus to China as America’s most important strategic competitor – and then New York and Washington were attacked.
3) China’s lack of an exportable ideology or obvious military threat. Beijing is no longer an ideological competitor, as it once was during the Mao Era when it played the sometimes reluctant wingman to the Soviet Union.
And Beijing isn’t militarily threatening its neighbors to nearly the same degree it once did when Mao was in charge. Yes, Sino-Indian military clashes have been in the news recently, but keep in mind that from 1949 to 1979 Beijing engaged in either war or low-level military engagements with nearly every one of the fourteen countries along its borders – including Korea, the Soviet Union, Burma, India, Vietnam, the ROC, and Tibet. Since 1979, China has kept a low-profile, choosing instead to focus on economic growth.
That might be changing.
Russian military technology is by far the best in the world, while China continues to have problems with innovation…So more likely that China will buy Russian tech than create its own….
China has already taken almost all Russian military technology worth taking and began to manufacture it in Chinese factories. It is now the second largest arms producer in the world, behind the U.S. but ahead of the Russians. I agree the Chinese have a serious problem with innovation and their copies tend to be inferior to the original on important parts like jet engines, but how long is that going to continue? The Chinese have both the brains and now the money to develop these weapons. And they are developing them.
Besides, isn’t the point of Greg’s piece above that America’s actions have driven China and Russia together? I would say that almost anything China wants right now from Russia’s military it can get.
“Russian military technology is by far the best in the world”
At least you’re consistent.
The Tsar being mean to a certain people who have a great deal of pull in US policy making likely explains at least a fair part of this.
I suppose with Hitler AND Stalin against you you could at least feel like like a veray parfit gentil knight if you took up arms. And yes I suppose that is idiotic.
Not much relationship to the establishment in DC or London though, they’re not idiots but they are evil, and no more think that Russia is the real threat than they believe any of the BLM and diversity stuff they make passionate speeches about. Crooks.
For some reason I’m reminded of something I read in Auberon Waugh’s autobiography. His father had been away at the war, parachuting behind enemy lines in the Balkans etcetera, the gov’t in UK where there was severe rationing issued one banana for each child on the ration, Waugh Senior, Evelyn, took the children’s bananas, chopped them up, poured cream over them and ate them!
Same reason the media sees the small nation of Hungary as a threat, but not any other country the same size, many of which go completely unmentioned.
I suspect the real reason Russia is the big bad exclusively has much more to do with what happened with the looting of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Lots of bigwigs all over the world, including in our government, got their hands in the till and started stripping the country for all its worth. At the same time, the fall of the USSR spurred the creation of the new doctrine of US hyperpower, where we would unquestionably rule the world for Liberty and Justice for All in a new global egalitarian world order (though, of course, with some animals quietly more equal than others).
Putin and his kleptocrat order ruined all that, kicking out all of the other kleptocrats he couldn’t subordinate, and being savvy enough to recognize Western influence as the threat to his kleptocracy it really is. So here we are with a lot of people high in government and money (same thing really) who are, to be crude for a moment, still butthurt about Russia’s actual recent path through history not aligning with their visions of its glorious future as an American puppet state and specifically upset that Putin bested them at their own game. They have a personal, and by now institutional, desire to make Russia and Putin pay.
China, not so much. China never presented the opportunity of collapse that the USSR did. Yes, it’s true, USG tried to do the same thing regardless with the Clinton-era Chinese development and trade plans, but while China took the bait they were always very careful to reject the hook. China doesn’t represent the same scope for wounded dignity and revenge.
Can you recommend any books on those Clinton-era Chinese development and trade plans?
The shift in elite opinion on Russia has been something to watch. Back in 2012 Mitt Romney was mocked by Obama for calling Russia America’s greatest enemy. Then again, rather a lot has changed in 8 years.
The shift hasn’t been completely arbitrary — it’s partly in reaction to Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria. But that’s consistent with Russia being a regional power, not a global rival.
I can’t help but think that a lot of the anti-Russian sentiment is just about domestic politics. Putin is seen as having backed Trump, and indeed many on the left think Trump owes his position to Putin’s meddling. If that were true their view would make sense — a country that successfully interferes in your domestic politics is certainly a serious enemy. But it’s not true, of course.
And yet neither Mitt Romney in 2012 or the Democrats more recently were right.
Two historical notes regarding British and French diplomatic stupidity:
(1) Just before the British and French made an absolute commitment to the aggressive dictator Pilsudski hat they would come to the aid of Poland in the event of a German invasion, Churchill had described Poland as a European hyena after Pilsiudski took the opportunity to carve out a piece of Czechoslovakia when Hitler occupied the Sudetenland. Poland really didn’t deserve the kind of absolute support Whitehall and the Quai d’Orsay provided her. Furthermore, both A J. P. Taylor and B. H. Lydell Hart, among other prominent historians, thought this was a foolish commitment that forced war upon the two allies long before they were ready and/or circumstances, e.g., a falling out between Hitler and Stalin, might have made the allies involvement unneccesary. (It’s too bad the Clintons and the Bushs were apparently unaware of this before expanding NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, a move that George Kennan described as one of the great blunders of 20th century diplomacy.)
(2) In an attempt to guard Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) and his right flank from eventual German invasion, Stalin offered the Finns an “offer they couldn’t refuse) involving an exchange of territory that would have given Stalin some strategic parcels cut from Finland in return for an area twice the size of Russian land. Finland refused and three months after Britain and France declared war on Germany, the USSR invaded Finland, which was an ally of Hitler’s Germany. The British immediately came to Finland’s aid. Providing support for an ally of Hitler, the enemy of England and France, against the USSR, which everyone realized would soon perforce become an ally of Britain and France.
Terminal diplomatic stupidity wasn’t confined to England’s Guy Crouchbacks but held sway over most of the British ruling class.
The USA’s foreign policy since the mid-1990s has been governed by the stupidity of the of the NATO expansion and the the stranglehold Israel has on the USA’s domestic politics. It’s no surprise that this foreign policy is even stupider than Britain’s and France’s in the leads up to and early days of WW II.
Hitler was going to force war on France and britain before they were ready.
Pilsudski died in 1935. Poland was an autocracy in 1938-39, but Pilsudski was still dead at that time.
At the time of the USSR’s invasion of Finland, Finland was not an ally of Germany. It became one when Germany breached its alliance with the USSR by invading. And they never shared any of the ideology; they were just in an existential fight for their lives. So, no: the UK was not supporting an ally of Hitler against the USSR. They were supporting an innocent party against Hitler’s ally.
My enemy’s enemy………..
Out of curiosity, since I have no intention of reading the novels, does Guy Crouchback come to realize that he was an idiot? Given the author and when the novels were written I might think yes, but hey, fiction.
“Sword of Honor” is a trilogy worth reading. IIRC, Crouchback eventually sees that the military is a natural refuge and facilitator for dangerous social climbers, bloody fools, vicious sociopaths, and all combinations thereof. WW II is a blighted enterprise on all sides.
“It seemed there was a will to war, a death wish, everywhere. Even good men thought their private honour would be satisfied by war. They could assert their manhood by killing and being killed. They would accept hardships in recompense for having been selfish and lazy. Danger justified privilege. I knew Italians- not very many perhaps- who felt this. Were there none in England?” “God forgive me,” said Guy, “I was one of them.”
Dolf and Iosif, now back together after the breakup. “We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far.”
@greg I posted a comment on O-rings which went through and then an hour later a comment on this post which did not, for no reason I can see. I hope your filter isn’t blocking me for some reason.
Like most other partially sane people, I’ve been puzzled by this drumbeat against Russia from the Dems and the MSM. I’ve decided that there are multiple reasons (descending order):
1) Most important, Europe is still the ancestral homeland, and we want to be the power that dominates Europe. When the Germans (e.g. Gerhard Schröder) became too tight with the Russians, we panicked.
2) Second, inertia. During the Cold War, technical expertise and personnel were devoted to a focus on Russia. Vested interests kept the focus there when the Cold War ended.
3) Third, gays. Putin is a homophobe. Gays are a bigger force in Washington than one might think.
My list stops here, but others would add the following, and who knows?
4) Fourth, Jews. Descendants of pogrom victims remember unto the nth generation.
5) Fifth, Russia is really a threat, to democracy, in America. Hilary would have won, had it not been for Russian interference.
Simpler explanation: they like being wrong. Ever consider that possibility?
Not that they like being wrong, but they don’t mind being wrong, as long as the rest of us are so stupid as to not notice. Concern for the truth isn’t in their balliwick.
President Putin is not a homophobe. His attitudes were normal in the USA in the 1980s and liberal for any time in human history before that.
It wasn’t just the Democrats.
Mitt Romney in 2012: “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”
John McCain in 2017: “Putin’s Russia is our adversary and moral opposite. It is committed to the destruction of the post-war, rule-based world order built on American leadership and the primacy of our political and economic values.”
McCain, by the way, was also the source of the bogus anti-Trump Russian dossier that both the FBI and Democrats ran with, so the “drumbeat against Russia” which you mention above really started with him.
There were also other Republicans in on hyping the threat from Moscow.
And they were wrong. It’s been clear to me for at least two decades that China is our top geopolitical foe. Perhaps I was ahead of the game, but if Romney couldn’t see in 2012 and McCain couldn’t see in 2017 that Beijing was a bigger long-term threat to American interests than Moscow and that we should adjust both our diplomacy and military posture accordingly, what could they see?
Why is Russia the “real threat” to the US, rather than China?
Because Russia did absolutely terrible things to the Gypsies for centuries. And we must never forget it. Nor will we, thanks to all those high-Q Gypsy humanitarians keeping us on the True Path to a Better World. See Iraq, Libya, Syria etc for further details.
I still sympathize with Crouchback’s aristocratic/romantic view of it- he aimed to be fighting “the modern world in arms”. Such values and men seem to me of some baseline value. Within limits. Same as other strands of the Western/Anglo political tradition.
It was just convenient that the Germans were fool enough [or perhaps recognized a certain inevitability to such a confrontation and probably a clock ticking on any chance at all they had to win] to arrange it otherwise in a way the allies could not have.
We just need some more machiavellian types to arrange it so that the the next versions of Germany and Russia fight each other to a standstill.
The psychotic hatred of Russia as Russia, rather than the USSR, is weird. I have to conclude these people are sick. It’s like you’re not allow to criticize anyone but for Russians and Rednecks so all the hatred gets funneled into those directions. If you’re a general and want to get some sweet action being a consultant for Raytheon when you retire, ok, I get it, you need an enemy. China is plenty of enemy. Too much enemy to screw around like this.
We badly need Russia if we hope to resist the Celestials even in the medium term. Russia would be more valuable as allies than all of NATO, Japan and Australia combined. Russia should be given total sphere-of-influence privileges within the former USSR, including basing rights in the Baltics. Reunification with Novorossiya and Belarus. Whatever they need. US has to give them something big and irreversible to start repairing the relationship.
Also I should be added to the diplomatic team and given a swanky place near the Kitai Gorod metro stop.
This really isn’t too hard to figure out. Russia is the biggest threat to the western democracies, and China is the biggest threat to Asia democracies. Since the US is historically aligned with Europe and western democracies in general, and not so much in mainland Asia, it’s natural that Americans who care about the future of democracy would be more concerned with Russia’s influence than China’s. That doesn’t mean that Russia is overall more powerful than China, but it targets our own interests more directly, plus there’s more we can do about Russia than China.
Russia rejected western democracy in favor of Putin’s alliance with the Russian mob, and autocratic kleptocrcy altogether. The US is partly to blame for that in the post-cold war re-alignment, but blame doesn’t matter. What matters is that Russia’s intent is to break up the western alliance. Installing Trump is a fantastic intelligence coup on Putin’s part, largely unanticipated to be successful, but it’s greatly helped to weaken both the US and the alliance of western democracies altogether. And whether or not he leaves office in January, the damage has been done, and will take a long time to repair. During which time Russia expects to deepen its influence, and eventually, they hope, re-establish the influence of the USSR throughout it regions and eastern Europe.
What’s interesting to me is not so much the liberal response to this, but the conservatives. Back in the cold war days, Russia found it easier to find allies and useful idiots on the left. But now, they are finding that it is the right wing who is most susceptible to their influence, both ideologically and monetarily, because the right wing no longer believes in democracy. They like Putin’s model of autocratic kleptocracy. Trump loves it and aspires to institute it somehow. He hasn’t got the brains or attention span to make it happen, but after he’s gone, someone else will. I find it amusing reading the comments here where a number of conservatives seem to welcome Putin’s rise to power, and think we should ally with him to further it. It’s like the pre-Pearl Harbor GOP wanting to either be neutral or ally itself with the Nazis and Mussolini. I get it, that’s what they truly believe in.
Liberals still believe in a liberal democracy. How quaint of them. I’m one of them, so I understand why that is. And China is no friend to that either. We can see a lot of asia drifting towards that model already. Singapore is perhaps the more likely model than China itself, but that’s the general idea even China wants to promote. Strongmen leading a tightly organized government and economic order. The difference from Russia is that they don’t want the mob involved. The prefer a loose form of corruption at the lower levels, but relatively clean bureaucracy at the upper levels. To them, that’s a much more efficient system, and they are probably right. It’s why China has become such a powerhouse, and Russia a sideshow economically.
Russia hopes to change that by expansion. China doesn’t need to expand. They are big enough. They intend to dominate very much as the US dominated, by economic power, but without as much of the US’s wasteful defense spending. Which makes them less of a threat in some sense, and more of a partner, which is how it’s been played since Kissinger’s time by both parties. Trump’s anti-China tirades are a weak show for the public, it’s not something he actually believes in. He’s just trying to shake them down more, and not so much for the sake of the country, but to line his own pockets. As the recent revelation of his secret bank accounts in China reveal. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
All nonsense. Russia is not a threat to western democracies nor is it expansionist.
Tell that to Ukraine and Crimea.
Crimea was full of Russians, was historically Russian, and wanted to be part of Russia. While Russia wasn’t going to give up that naval base. The rest is fighting over a mostly-Russian border area along the river.
The picture of the world you allude to is a fantasy. Not a very interesting one, either. That a lot of what we call ‘liberals’, for lack of a better word, seem to actually believe it – I guess it’s no crazier than when they used to believe in ‘convergence’, or that the Soviet Union was the coming thing. Really, compared to a lot of other things they publicly proclaim ( and probably believe) it’s almost sane. At least Russia and Putin actually exist, unlike ‘systemic racism’ or ‘the patriarchy’.
Seriously, are you now saying that any country with Russian speakers in it or some historical/military link to Russia, can be invaded by Russia and we won’t call it an invasion? So taking half of Ukraine is okay? How about the rest of it? And Belarus? And what about Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia? Eastern Poland? Or Georgia? What about Brighton Beach?
Look, this isn’t hard. Putin has openly said the biggest mistake in Russian history was the collapse of the USSR and the loss of the empire. His ambition is to restore that empire, under mafiosa kleptocracy rather than communism. And conservatives across seem to be on board with that plan, even cheering it on, or plugging their ears pretending it’s never going to happen. It used to be that conservatives constantly were invoking appeasement of Hitler as their byword for foreign policy. Now they are cheering it on.
Always fascinating to me how so many supposedly smart people in the conservative ranks have become “useful idiots” for Russia.
You’re actually insane. The fact that it’s a shared insanity makes a difference: people that make up their own delusions are qualitatively different than those that just go along for the ride. Still, it means that you can’t understand things, and that your predictive ability is zero.
Your understanding of insanity lacks meaningful intelligence. That doesn’t make you insane, just willfully stupid. But you probably already know that, and are proud of it.
As for your ideas about Russia; again, you’re not insane, just blind. Willfully so. Unable to see obvious things right in front of your face. The fact that many conservatives share your willful blindness doesn’t make it any less blind. But it does make it pointless to debate, when you can’t acknowledge basic facts and clear dangers, and must resort instead to vapid accusations of “insanity”.
back in the Cold War, the Soviets got up every morning determined to fuck the United States. Sometimes that meant supporting left-wing revolutionaries Like Che Guevara in Bolivia, sometimes it meant endorsing a cannibal in Uganda. Sometimes it meant sending munitions to North Korea, or North Vietnam. They weren’t always very effective, but they tried. They often found that it was amazingly hard to accomplish anything lasting in the Third world, for the same reasons that it’s hard for anyone else. Local communist parties would have ideological factions that actually were tribal (Khalq and Parcham in Afghanistan).
But they tried. Liberals liked them a lot better then than they like Russia today.
Putin’s Russia is not trying. In part, this is because they no longer have an exportable ideology ( i.e. they aren’t really all that crazy). They’re also weaker than they were, with half the Soviet Union splitting off to form new weak states, with real industrial growth now concentrated in China. But it’s fair to say that they’re just not interested anymore. Some, I think, blame such efforts for the poor economy of the Soviet Union, although it was a relatively small factor.
What is the strategic threat to the United States, other than its own crazy self? China, of course: look at the numbers. This has obvious for at least a generation. Obvious to me, anyhow.
Your analysis is half-correct. Russia has nowhere near the strength they did in cold war days. They are reduced to fighting technohacker info-propaganda wars at low cost. Though with surpisingly efficient results.
And that’s precisely why Putin’s goal is to revive the equivalent of the USSR, with mafio kleptocracy substituted for communism. You don’t understand either his goals or his ideology or his method. He believes in Russian supremacy, and he sees the US and European alliances as the primary obstacles. So he has aimed to divide and weaken these western powers, so that Russia can rise up and dominate the west. And he’s been surprisingly successful in helping Trump weaken both the US and NATO resolve. Brexit was a major step in that direction, as has been territorial claims and advances in eastern Europe. If he can help foment more chaos and division in the US and Europe, he will be able to make good on these goals. And yes, that does indeed represent a major strategic threat against the US and its power.
China also threatens US power, certainly economically if not so much militarily or even strategically. The reason is simple: everyone in Asia hates China, and no one wants to join their alliances. They also lack a desire for conquest and occupation or annexation. Their goals are economic domination and dependency. But they lack a desire for an expanded empire, as Putin does. In fact, they feel more threatened by Putin’s ambitions than they do by our stable regime. They don’t like Putin’s destabilizing efforts even when they are directed at the US, because that strengthens Russia, who they border. The US is on the other side of the world, and China is happy to have a stable trading relationship with us. Russia, on the other hand, has very little trade with the US, and so they have little to lose by antagonizing us. They are much more interested in pressuring Europe to accommodate them. And their ambition to ressurrect the old Empire moves in Europe’s direction.
To imagine that the US has no existential interest in maintaining its alliance with European democracies in the face of revived Russian ambitions is extremely short-sighted.
Btw, US liberals never liked the USSR. They were a major part of the western alliance against communism. You’re thinking of sociaists, who were never a large part of the American liberal left.
Everything you’re saying is nonsense. But about the Cold War: there was a time when liberals opposed the Soviet Union, but they gradually shed that. For example, back in the 50s, they wouldn’t let real leftists have a real role in the democratic Party – for example people who participated in the Henry Wallace campaign in 1948, actually funded by the Soviet Union. But that all changed during the Vietnam War: the real left-wingers returned. Increasingly, mainstream Democrats were unwilling to fight the Cold War – which explains things like the nuclear freeze, which explains why Ron Dellums could be head of House Armed Services. Why Edward Kennedy would try private diplomacy with the USSR, because Reagan was so horrible. Which is why Simcha Dinitz had to explain to ALan Cranston that he really should vote for teh defense authorization bill, because the US couldn’t protect Israel unless it could first protect itself.
You don’t know much.