Posted by Jack Heslin on 20:09:08 06/02/23
History is filled with irony and unintended consequences.
On July 15, 1971, the Republican President, Richard Nixon, shocked many by announcing, on live television, that he would visit Communist China in 1972. He did visit China for a week in late February 1972.
His historic visit had many purposes, but in general terms, it was designed to create a rift between the Soviet Union and China. The Soviet Union and China had been supporting North Vietnam with the Soviet Union providing heavy weapons, especially tanks and anti-aircraft systems, while China provided small arms weapons and manpower to help with repairs etc. inside North Vietnam.
China, under Mao Zedong, held a very strict Stalinist view of Marxist communism and the Soviet Union had been softening their Communist ideology which was a stressor on the Sino / Soviet political relationship because of this ideological split. The Nixon visit was an attempt to stress the relationship even more and to create a way forward to grow an economic relationship with China.
We are all aware of the economic growth of China in the intervening years and its impact on America and the world. The rise of its military strength has been more gradual but steady with an accelerated growth in the past eight to ten years.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian economy suffered greatly, and it has taken years to build it up and to overcome enormous debts. The late 90 s saw Western business go into Russia and, in many ways, exploit them. When the huge government owned industries were privatized in the capitalist model of the West, a few Russian and Western business people became extremely wealthy. We call them oligarchs. Even though Russia remained a superpower because of its substantial military capabilities, especially its nuclear weapons, it was not an economic powerhouse in any way. It had huge natural resources but the biggest product it had to sell to the world marketplace was high end weapons.
Throughout this period, it was important to the Western leaders to keep Russia oriented toward the West and not to have it form a close relationship with China. For years, that Western strategy worked, until now.
Because of the Ukraine conflict and the Western reaction to Russia, especially the European leaders and the Democrat Administration of America, Russia has been forced out of the Western sphere of influence and into China s orbit. With each passing day, the Russian Chinese relationship grows stronger in both economic and military arenas.
With the increasing use of sophisticated NATO weapons being thrown into the Ukraine conflict, it is self-evident that the Russian military is learning a great deal about the technology of the Western weapons and how to defeat it. If anyone does not think this information will be shared with potential enemies of the West they are delusional.
We are now witnessing the collapse of decades-old international relationships because of miscalculations on the part of the Western leaders with a new order emerging which will test old assumptions of what the world should look like.
It is ironic to me, that the high-risk decision President Nixon took to separate the Soviet Union / Russia from China is now being completely undone by the poorly thought-out strategies of the Biden White House and the long-term consequences will be felt for many years to come.