Col Ikram Ullah Khan

US strategy vis-a-vis China-Russia duo

The disappearance of the erstwhile USSR from world’s map as a superpower following its disintegration in 1991 and the emergence of the USA as the lone superpower thereafter, created a unipolar world that has seriously disturbed the balance of power thus jeopardizing the world’s strategic balance. 

During the past three decades Russia has managed to emerge as a formidable military might following the demise of USSR as a superpower, and China has risen as a great economic giant and is likely to become world’s number 1 economy leaving USA behind in near future.
What is more alarming for the USA is the growing friendly relations between China and Russia that has recently culminated into an undeclared alliance between the two countries. This has created a nightmarish scenario for the USA who is found seriously engaged in devising strategy to counter the joint threat from China-Russia duo. 
Here, as a passing reference we need to remember the military alliances called NATO representing the Western block led by the USA, and WARSAW Pact representing the Eastern block led by the erstwhile USSR, the former was established in 1949 and still continues and the latter was created in 1955 and ended in 1991 with the dismemberment of USSR. 
In such a dismal scenario, the US leadership, as part of US strategy, has decided to focus on the Middle East and engage the Gulf States and Israel at the same time in order to counter the joint economic and military threat both real and perceived emanating from China and Russia.
President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia despite intense opposition from forces both from inside and outside the USA may be seen in that context. In this connection, Joe Biden is making a courageous yet perilous attempt to bring Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries closer to Israel. Besides, sensing India drifting away from its camp, US is trying to minimize India’s dependence on Russia and keep it away from Russian influence by offering various economic and military inducements so as to use it as a bulwark against China to contain its influence because the strategy of containment of China makes US foreign policy’s cornerstone. 
While dealing with China and Russia, the United States has adopted different strategies. Responding to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the United States along with G-7 countries has launched an ambitious economic project called “The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) aimed at mobilizing 600 billion US dollar. This gigantic and seemingly too ambitious economic project has been launched to secure preferential access to the world’s largest markets, the industrialized countries of Europe and Asia to ensure connectivity with the world economy.
How far it would succeed remains anybody’s guess. As for Russia, the US has adopted the strategy of sweeping economic sanctions to cripple its already tottering economy instead of going for direct military confrontation. 
According to Western scholars and security analysts, Russia and China both being great military and economic might respectively pose distinct challenges to US national security. Russia, according to US defence analysts, makes a formidable military might with huge nuclear arsenal at its disposal and also makes its expansionist ambitions known to the world.
Although, it poses a great security threat not only to the US but to the world at large yet is not viewed as a threat to the US as a prospective superpower. In contrast, China is a peer competitor aspiring to become a world superpower and wants to shape an international order that could replace the much-trumpeted US new world order. Both China and Russia make an alliance to counter USA and other Western powers and want to alter the status quo. This has made the US and its Western allies have sleepless nights fearing that their dominance over the globe may cease to exist sooner or later as it is destined to happen because the world is badly feeling the heat of US hegemony and unipolarity. 
US Security analysts are of the firm view that while Russia furthers its expansionist designs by attacking neighbouring states like Ukraine and annexing conquered territories and supporting insurgent forces seeking to detach yet more territories, China is focusing on trade, investment and development projects like Road Belt Initiative (RBI) in order to rise as an economic giant because China realizes that in the years ahead it is geoeconomics rather than geopolitics that would play decisive role to contest for world leadership. This makes China a less immediate threat to US but a much greater long-term challenge that could ultimately snatch away from the US its long-held status of superpower. 
Lastly, those who do a regular read of Western print media like Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times and Wall Street Journal etc can comprehend the US concerns about an emerging alliance between China and Russia posing a joint threat to US hegemony over the world that has deeply rocked the balance of power in the absence of a challenging force.
Nonetheless, the US painfully realizes its gradually dwindling influence as a lone superpower and China’s meteoric rise as an emerging world superpower that is likely to supplant the US. This has made the situation scary for the US and its allies, and is certainly a matter of grave concern for the US and its Western allies thus impelling the US to devise a strategy which ordinarily is not preferred to avert such like threats.

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