Saturday, July 7, 2012

Looking at the vodka and tea (Russia and China)

The crisis in Syria is now spilling into Lebanon while the US and EU seem powerless to stop short of military action.  Military forces in Syria means increased risk of war with Iran (which has already taken he ugly step of testing its missiles).

The US and NATO (which is more or less the armed forces of the EU) have demonstrated an ability and desire to launch airstrikes in Libya.  As I've pointed out before, the check for US and NATO is the alliance between Russia and China.  The former has positioned naval vessels off the coast of Syria.  The latter continues to check every diplomatic or economic maneuver the US or EU tries.

Russia has for the second time in as many weeks entered the US air defense identification zone (ADIZ), this time in the Pacific.  Whereas the first would seem to target Fort Greely in Alaska, the latest seems to target Vandenberg AFB in California.  The Obama Administration's response, in keeping with its reset policy, is to announce another cut of 1,000 to 1,500 nuclear warheads.  Reducing the number of weapons in the face of increasing aggression makes no sense.  Russia does not follow any kind of Marquess of Queensbury Rules.  Getting rid of your weapons in the face of Bear Bombers indicates you don't have the stomach for a fight.

It also makes the US position weak in the Middle East.  While both the Bush and Obama Administration have shown a willingness to go to war in the region, none of their previous targets had such a strong backing from Russia and China.

Secretary Clinton is trying to get Assad's opponents to make Russia and China "pay the price" for helping the Syrian leader maintain power.  The absurdity of this statement caused the Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Weimin to snap "Any words and deeds that slander China and sow discord between China and other countries will be in vain".  Touch√©.

Meanwhile, China has been busy in this hemisphere while the Obama Administration has been focused on the Middle East.  Argentina's defense minister spent six days in China signing military agreements and praising their military technology.  Defense Minister Puricelli calls China an economic, political, and military partner that shares a strategic position in international security that is entirely consistent.  Beijing was quoted as saying China wants to do more with Argentina.

The US has not forged any new military alliances as it heads into an uncertain future in the Middle East.  The Obama Administration may be tempted to seize re-election gold by launching an attack against Syria (likely) or Iran (frightening).  The repercussions will well outlive the elections and may be the start of a Third World War.

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