China is a much bigger threat to US
than Russia
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times  2017.6.3

US President Donald Trump is under investigation for alleged inappropriate contacts with Russia, and prior to that, it was revealed that Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn had spoken to Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak about the sanctions placed on Russia late last year by then-US president Barack Obama’s administration.

Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the sanctions and wait for a review of the matter after Trump took office. For this reason, he was forced to tender his resignation.

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior presidential adviser, is also being investigated as part of the FBI inquiry.

However, Trump continued to leak confidential antiterrorism information to Kislyak about the Islamic State group that had been provided by a US ally. He even fired former FBI director James Comey, allegedly to prevent the bureau from investigating further.

Trump’s “Russia-gate” is reminiscent of then-US president Richard Nixon’s mission for his national security adviser Henry Kissinger to secretly visit China in 1971, which paved the way for Nixon’s China visit and the resumption of Sino-US relations.

There are of course differences between the two cases. The biggest difference is that Nixon started pushing for a pro-China policy during his presidency, while Trump was in contact with Russia during the election campaign.

If it had not been for Trump’s unsophisticated approach, it seems to be strategically necessary for Washington to turn from the policy of working with China against Russia toward working with Russia against China.

The key issue is whether Trump gained personal benefit or benefits for his family through his contacts with Russia.

During the Cold War, many Americans looked upon Russia as their primary enemy. The thinking has to a large extent remained unchanged to this day.

In particular, the US’ European allies are looking on Russia as the greatest threat to their national security, not to mention that Russian President Vladimir Putin has displayed some of the hegemonic attitudes of the red empire.

However, from the perspective of global strategy, the primary enemy of Western democracies is China, not Russia, because China is much stronger than Russia economically and Beijing is quickly catching up with Moscow in terms of military strength.

Putin’s goal is to merely maintain Moscow’s sphere of influence, while Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “Chinese dream” is to build a “celestial empire.”

From the Soviet Union to Russia and from then-Soviet minister of foreign affairs Vyacheslav Molotov to Russia’s ambassadors to the UN, Russia often exercises its veto power at the UN Security Council and is therefore seen as a foe by Western democracies.

However, China prefers to deceive Western nations by abstaining at the UN Security Council, complying with them publicly, but opposing them in private. As a result, it has been seen as a friend by the West.

Russia finds itself at a semi-democratic stage following the collapse of the previous authoritarian regime, while China is moving toward a militarist, fascist empire, becoming the world’s main source of war.

If Trump can handle “Russia-gate” with a bit more finesse, that could serve as an important step toward changes in global strategy.

Meanwhile, China is adopting a global fifth-column strategy around the world. If a “China-gate” were to occur in the US political arena, that would pose the greatest of all threats to US national security.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Eddy Chang


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