US media outlets beat war drums while China, Russia move closer
Published: Jun 28, 2021 11:39 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Prior to and following President Biden's trip to Europe, prominent US media outlets speculated about outcomes of a possible military conflict between the US and either China or Russia. Although they vary on the political spectrum with Bloomberg leaning left, while the National Interest staying centric - the rhetoric and conclusions are markedly similar. They speak of crystalizing anti-China/Russia consensus on not only among the country's political establishment, but also in the media. 

In a rare  - for politically plural US media - unison of positions, conservative National Interest agrees with the pro-liberal Bloomberg. They argue that the US conflict with China and Russia would be long, "big [and] grinding" with Beijing "invading" Taiwan island and Moscow launching a "Baltic blitz" and testing NATO's defenses. 

The true origins of the menacing confrontation may lie within revamped ideological acrimony promoted by Biden as "democracy against autocracy". Indeed, this restores Cold War realties. 

Bloomberg stresses that the Pentagon "is getting serious about prevailing in the opening stages of war."

The Pentagon is currently considering to set up of a permanent naval task force in the Pacific region to challenge China's growing military assertiveness with the authority bestowed upon US defense secretary to infuse extra money if needed. In March, US Indo-Pacific Command asked $4.68 billion for 2022 fiscal year to finance China-aimed Pacific Deterrence Initiative and was seeking even larger budget for 2023 - 2027 FY. 

The US defense department was also looking in May for a 2 percent uptick in defense spending from what was allocated to the Pentagon in fiscal 2021  in order to address "advanced and persistent threats", including those emanating from Russia. Inclusion of the US two main antagonists in the defense budget bill is a symbolic of the Biden administration's priority to prepare for dragging out and intensifying a rivalry with both of them. 

The above-mentioned measures compliment the Biden administration's moves to counter China and Russia. They feature the creation of the largest defense department task force dedicated to China, several rounds of sanctions against Moscow, rallying of democracies and a worldwide promotion of shared values as an opposition to authoritarian regimes - namely China and Russia. 

President Biden embarked on a mission to coalescence allies around the same objective but on global scale. His recent trip to Europe with gatherings of closest friends under the auspices of G7, NATO and EU-US summits can be considered efficacious. All three high-profile summits produced harsh rebukes of Moscow and Beijing with earlier announced goal to "confront the harmful activities of [their] governments." 

NATO for the first time branded China as presenting "systematic challenges," while haranguing Russian "aggressive actions" as constituting "a threat to Euro-Atlantic security." 

If Trump institutionalized China as his administration's top foreign policy priority four years ago, President Biden moved further by internationalizing China's threat by weaving it into an agenda of all US-led multilateral platforms. The US has listed newly EU-US co-launched trade and technology council to outcompete Beijing, revamped Quad as well as G7-inspired "Build Back Better World" plan. The latter is a reference to Biden's domestic economic megaproject "Build Back Better" aimed at challenging Beijing's flagship Belt and Road initiative. 

As US-Russia Geneva summit with its priority of "strategic stability" has implied - Washington is not willing to wage a war. Nevertheless, it stays preoccupied with growing Russia-China entente. This serves as extra insurance as its security forces prepare for worst case scenarios. 

Thus, recent publications in the US leading media and Biden's administration adopted anti-China/Russia policies on domestic and global scale unveil its current preparations for long-term confrontation if not a war. 

Such a cohesive Western march tilts Moscow and Beijing closer together, making them foresee such a scenario by deepening full-fledged cooperation and recognizing "attempts at destroying the relationship" - as President Putin claimed on NBC. However, that is unlikely to happen since the Chinese MFA highlighted, "there is no cap" for Russia-China cooperation. 

The author is expert at the Russian International Affairs Council. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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