Who is the Greater Threat: Russia or China ?

 

In Europe, we also have had the ‘pleasure’ of hearing about President Trump’s two-hour meeting with Putin, and the subsequent press conference.  We have also heard about his advice to UK Prime Minister Theresa May to “just sue the EU,” and that garnered a few laughs, especially here in Switzerland.  We have our own problems with the European Union.

But, here is my humble question: Shouldn’t China’s behavior be getting more of the media’s attention than Russia?

If you start to look at some of the information made public from only the last twelve months or so, then you can only come to one conclusion:  The number of serious challenges to Western Civilization and its democratic allies is probably a hundred times greater from the People’s Republic of China than from Russia.

Take a piece of paper, and quickly jot down current issues dealing with China.  No doubt you will list “huge trade imbalance” near the top.  Keep writing.  Personally, after about fifteen minutes, I came to this conclusion: The trade imbalance is a mere manifestation of a very large number of issues and causes.  China has destroyed much of our industrial base and is now eating our lunch.

Consider just these points, and they are by no means exhaustive:

  • The original assumption in allowing China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was that it would lead to their smooth and peaceful integration into the global trading system, and thereby cause their democratization.  False assumption.  Also false: the assumption they would follow WTO rules, e.g., about currency manipulation and worker human rights. In fact, China is in violation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rules.
  • The Chinese population is sealed off from the rest of the Internet by a censorship apparatus that is the most sophisticated the world has ever seen. About 800 million Internet users are in China, except they really are using more of a China Intranet.
  • Facial recognition technology is becoming a key method to control who is meeting with whom, where and when in China.  These are communists.  Remember?
  • Technologies, both military and civilian, of our latest aircraft, shipping and communications systems have been and are continuously compromised and used to shorten the time for the Chinese to build the same equipment faster and at far less cost.  The fact that the US has 300,000 Chinese students in the USA, many earning technology degrees and then going to work for large US firms, is very likely a contributor to the problem.
  • Take a look at the artificial islands China has built in the South China Sea, in spite of the International Court of Justice ruling in July 2016; now these seven islands are armed with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and the Chinese have declared others must seek their permission to fly near the islands.   All of this is in violation of international law.
  • China’s “New Silk Road” will become an advanced mercantile system of Chinese-controlled roads and seaports between China and Europe, the Americas and Africa…all to make the future purchase of Chinese manufactured goods ever more advantageous than those from other industrialized countries.
  • China is the largest manufacturer in the world of synthetic opioids, like several versions of fentanyl.  These chemicals have killed about 64,000 Americans in 2017 resulting from 142,000 overdoses.  Most come through the mail from China and pass over the US-Mexican border.  Should this be considered an Act of War?
  • Chinese prisoners are producing goods exported to the USA and Europe: their use of slave labor is highly problematic.
  • Chinese citizens, working, living and marrying in factories, including with their children who go to factory schools, produce many of the common household articles you buy every day.  Example: Eüpa Factory City in Shenzhen.
  • Human organ harvesting appears alive and well in China.  Prisoners are often involved.
  • China has a number of ways it secretly supports North Korea, including factories in China across “Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge” from Sinuiju.  North Korean workers make products, e.g., for the NFL, stamped “Made in China”.

So now, look at what Russia is engaged in:  Meddling in US and others’ elections, including spreading disinformation via social media.  Bad, and it must be countered, perhaps in kind until Vladimir gets the point.  Then there is the Crimea and issues with Ukraine.  There is a potential threat, as yet unrealized, to the Baltic states.

But, who is a greater short and long-term threat to our Western civilization and our allies:  China or Russia?

There are 57 comments.

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  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Fantastic post. Thank you.

    Also the ChiComs have nukes.

    Also they are extending their influence all over the world, throughout the Pacific and Africa especially.

    I upset my graduate student nephew a lot this summer when I mentioned that one should expect all Chinese students studying in this country with the permission of the PRC to be expected to spy for the PRC, or they wouldn’t be allowed to be here. He was very upset and defended his Chinese national friend, and I let it go pretty quickly because I didn’t want to cause distress at a family thing.

    • #1
  2. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    The problem isn’t “could China start a war with the US?”

    The problem is “could China start a war with the US in the Pacific, while Russia starts their own war with Europe, and the Islamic countries start fighting everyone else?”

    Admittedly, the biggest single threat to Russia is that China might decide to go north and take Siberia (for the resources there) – but if China’s going to be fighting the US and the rest of the nations in the Pacific, it would free up a lot of Russian power to look west.

    One of the smartest things we could do would be to ramp up the Russia vs China paranoia, so China won’t get a free pass in that regard.

    Our biggest long-term aim is to keep China stalled until their old-age demographic bomb hits in the next decade or so, and their surplus of males gets old enough to want stability instead of war.

     

    • #2
  3. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    cirby (View Comment):
    their surplus of males gets old enough to want stability instead of war.

    Will that be before or after they get access to females for those surplus males?

    • #3
  4. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I think China is the main threat.  I try to listen to the John Batchelor radio show (and podcast) and when he has Gordon Chang on to talk about China and the Far East, I am guaranteed to learn at least one more thing the MSM isn’t covering.  Generally, it scares the [COC] out of me.

    • #4
  5. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I agree that China tops the list.    I believe their aspirations are global in scope, across purposes with the interests of the US, and antithetical to freedom everywhere.    Moreover, they certainly seem willing to cross swords with the US.   

    Russia’s aspirations are more regional.  But more current day.   I do think they are determined to take Ukraine.    Russia has a near term demographic crisis.    Their population is stagnant or declining overall.   And the ethnic Russian population is falling precipitously.   Their Muslim population, however, is rising dramatically.   Putin has taken steps to encourage ethnic Russian birth rates and is considering banning abortion.(Russia is one of the few countries where there are more abortions than live births).  But that won’t be enough.    Some demographers forecast that Russia – and its nuclear arsenal – will be a Muslim majority country by 2050 – 2060.   Putin needs the ethnic Russian populations in Ukraine and Belarus to make up the difference. For Russia, it’s an existential crisis.    At least that’s how I think Putin sees things.   

    • #5
  6. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I don’t think China want a war, not in the traditional sense.  They make too much money off us Americans and they aren’t about to disrupt that.  Having said that, they are now, and have been for some time, engaged in an economic war, trying and succeeding at stealing our technology.  

    I see Russia and China as equal but different “threats”.  

    • #6
  7. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    By the way, I am reading a fascinating history covering George Marshall’s special trip to China 1945-1947 to try to win the peace between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung. He failed, by the way…

    The China Mission by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

    Here’s a review by the Washington Post. And here’s one in the South China Morning Post.

     

    • #7
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Fantastic post. Thank you.

    Also the ChiComs have nukes.

    Also they are extending their influence all over the world, throughout the Pacific and Africa especially.

    I upset my graduate student nephew a lot this summer when I mentioned that one should expect all Chinese students studying in this country with the permission of the PRC to be expected to spy for the PRC, or they wouldn’t be allowed to be here. He was very upset and defended his Chinese national friend, and I let it go pretty quickly because I didn’t want to cause distress at a family thing.

    I’m sure the PRC would like to have 350,000 spies in the US and however many thousands more in Australia, Canada etc. but I just don’t see them being able to pull it off.  Even just training 350k spies to send to grad school doesn’t seem feasible?

    • #8
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Spin (View Comment):

    I don’t think China want a war, not in the traditional sense. They make too much money off us Americans and they aren’t about to disrupt that. Having said that, they are now, and have been for some time, engaged in an economic war, trying and succeeding at stealing our technology.

    I see Russia and China as equal but different “threats”.

    Did you see Trump’s interview by Joe Kernan of CNBC this week? An interesting point the President made was that, in his talks with China’s Xi Jinping,  Xi said that over time, when the Chinese placed a barrier on American imports, no American officials talked or complained, so they just continued to add various barriers.

    • #9
  10. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Zafar (View Comment):
    I’m sure the PRC would like to have 350,000 spies in the US and however many thousands more in Australia, Canada etc. but I just don’t see them being able to pull it off. Even just training 350k spies to send to grad school doesn’t seem feasible?

    I said they would be expected to spy, meaning if asked to.

    Undoubtedly some of them are professional spies, but more, they are all Communist Party members who will do as they are told to do.

    • #10
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Is China a bigger threat than Russia.  Yes, in that it is a bigger, more economically powerful country.  

    Will our elites rise to the challenge that China represents?  Unfortunately as usual our elite admire those they should not.  China is an ordered communist country.  Our elites tend to fall in love with such places and prefer them to the messiness of democracy.

    • #11
  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Did you see Trump’s interview by Joe Kernan of CNBC this week?

    No, I didn’t, but I will watch it now:

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    • #12
  13. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    cirby (View Comment):
    their surplus of males gets old enough to want stability instead of war.

    Will that be before or after they get access to females for those surplus males?

    Unless they start a huge war in the next couple of years (to literally bleed off some of those males), a lot of men in China are never going to be able to marry – and once you get past 30 or so, the impetus to leave your current life, no matter how uncomfortable it might be, tends to fade.

     

    • #13
  14. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Trafficking of women from neighboring countries into China for marriage within the context of gender imbalance

    • #14
  15. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    An interesting point the President made was that, in his talks with China’s Xi Jinping, Xi said that over time, when the Chinese placed a barrier on American imports, no American officials talked or complained, so they just continued to add various barriers.

    I mentioned this sort of thing to a lefty earlier this week. He thought our bailing on the Trans-Pacific partnership was an unalloyed mistake. I told him that it was terrible, and that we were on the short end of a lot of tariffs.

    He flatly refused to believe that the TPP wasn’t fair and even. When I told him about things like China’s car tariffs, he was so confused he changed the subject and wouldn’t talk about it any more.

     

    • #15
  16. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    By the way, I am reading a fascinating history covering George Marshall’s special trip to China 1945-1947 to try to win the peace between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung. He failed, by the way…

    The China Mission by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

    Here’s a review by the Washington Post. And here’s one in the South China Morning Post.

     

    Just finished reading it.  Quite good.

    • #16
  17. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Just finished reading it. Quite good.

    I picked it up at the library on the “Re-shelve these books” cart near the checkout/return desk. I like picking books from there…

    • #17
  18. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    cirby (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    An interesting point the President made was that, in his talks with China’s Xi Jinping, Xi said that over time, when the Chinese placed a barrier on American imports, no American officials talked or complained, so they just continued to add various barriers.

    I mentioned this sort of thing to a lefty earlier this week. He thought our bailing on the Trans-Pacific partnership was an unalloyed mistake. I told him that it was terrible, and that we were on the short end of a lot of tariffs.

    He flatly refused to believe that the TPP wasn’t fair and even. When I told him about things like China’s car tariffs, he was so confused he changed the subject and wouldn’t talk about it any more.

    China, particularly under Xi, is the bigger threat.  All Putin is doing is playing a weak hand, though quite well for now.  There is where we need a more sophisticated overall strategy, including one on trade.  The TPP was an effort to create a coherent front against China.  Our current trade strategy seems to be to take on the entire world simultaneously, where what we will need are allies.  If China is indeed the greatest threat we need to better think through tactics and priority.  I also found this piece by Spengler on our strategy re China thought provoking.

    • #18
  19. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    I’m sure the PRC would like to have 350,000 spies in the US and however many thousands more in Australia, Canada etc. but I just don’t see them being able to pull it off. Even just training 350k spies to send to grad school doesn’t seem feasible?

    I said they would be expected to spy, meaning if asked to.

    Undoubtedly some of them are professional spies, but more, they are all Communist Party members who will do as they are told to do.

    All of the Chinese interns in our department at the large company I worked at before retiring were party members.  Their memberships were suspended while in the U.S.  Many of them joined for career, rather than ideological reasons – they know the way to get ahead is to be a party member – and they are subject to being debriefed by security police upon their return.  For the most part, I think during the period when this happened they were being sent for technical training in the U.S. to build their abilities for their return to China.  My sense was that most do not want to be spies but if they were to receive such directives, also know their futures are at risk if they do not obey and if they plan to return to their home country.

    My experience is also pre-Xi.  Since his accession, ideology has been stressed much more, policy become more aggressive, and control of communication within China much stricter.

    • #19
  20. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I think you underestimate the pernicious nature of Putins support for nationalist parties across Europe and the threat that poses to our alliance structure. The EU is our biggest trading partner and NATO is our most important alliance. Russia is directly pushing to undermine both specifically to recapture Eastern Europe. Russia is also actively engaged in military operations to this effect. China is troubling but they dont have troops in the field shooting at American allies and propping up anti American regimes from collapse like in Syria. 

    China may be stronger but Russia has proved more aggressive and violent of late. P

    • #20
  21. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    Tokyo denizen here — American-born and -raised, passionately Zionist Jew.

    China is no friend whatsoever to Japan, the US, or Israel, but the problem is that:  Japan is locked in an uneasy dependency (economic, and security as it relates to the North Korea threat), partly of its own making (at least in the economic realm); the US is constantly tripping itself up, in the corporate sector which refuses to take on internal training responsibilities it used to shoulder as a matter of common-sense business strategy, and at the Federal government level with entitlement budgets that are poisonous to national security, economic growth and domestic investment, and to civic cohesion and self-reliance; and meanwhile Israeli elites appear to be both utterly delusional about the economic opportunity that is genuinely to be had within the domestic China market, and in thoroughly dangerous denial as to what influence Israel can exert over the PRC with regard to the latter’s facilitation of Iranian interests.

    There are obviously more than a few heroically dissident Chinese out there, but the Chinese nationals walking free and easy around the highways and byways of America, Japan, and Israel (to the extent they bother to travel there) are overwhelmingly *not* cut from that cloth — often, quite the contrary.  Unless and until the CCP/PLA regime is somehow eliminated and replaced with a government that values civic freedom and disdains hostile hegemonic aggression, I’m determined to keep my distance from expatriate Chinese nationals.  

    • #21
  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    China may be stronger but Russia has proved more aggressive and violent of late. 

    I’m not so sure of that.

    https://www.voanews.com/a/chinese-missiles-challenge-us-in-south-china-sea/4389362.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/27/world/asia/china-us-navy-paracel-islands.html

    The UK is reportedly thinking to send an aircraft carrier to support the Australian navy. 

    • #22
  23. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Here’s an article about the takeover by the ChiComs of media in Australia. 

    We at R had a recent discussion about China in which I shared these videos, also about growing Chinese influence in Australia.

     

     

    • #23
  24. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Iran.

    • #24
  25. DonG Coolidge
    DonG
    @DonG

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    one should expect all Chinese students studying in this country with the permission of the PRC to be expected to spy for the PRC,

    Students are not good spies.  They learn from textbooks and there are no secrets in text books.  The real “spying” is done two ways (1) buy small companies with interesting technology/force big companies into joint ventures, and (2) industrial espionage.  I think #1 has greatly passed up #2 these days.  It is also perfectly legal, BTW.

    • #25
  26. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    DonG (View Comment):
    Students are not good spies. They learn from textbooks and there are no secrets in text books. The real “spying” is done two ways (1) buy small companies with interesting technology/force big companies into joint ventures, and (2) industrial espionage.

    Perhaps you don’t understand what graduate students are up to in engineering labs. They are not studying text books.

    • #26
  27. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    In the cold light of day, Russia is a problem for Europe. In theory, the EU has the resources to oppose Russia. In practice they don’t appear to have the will. Sadly, it seems to fall to the US to support the countries in Eastern Europe who should, in theory again, benefit from membership in the EU.

    In Asia the Chinese threat is serious because while Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are important economic powers, their combined military forces are relatively small. And more importantly, not organized into a military alliance. Plus we are the only ones with the trump card of nuclear weapons. (Britain and France have independent nuclear forces.)

    This is not an either or situation. It’s a question of priorities and resources. If I look closely enough I can see the outlines of a Trump strategic policy.

    Force the Europeans to create and resource a strategy to manage relations with Russia while maintaining US involvement through NATO.

    Confront Chinese adventurism indirectly through economic actions. Maintain a strong US naval presence to reinforce the idea of free navigation and reassure our regional allies.

    Reduce the importance of the Middle East by increasing the free world supply of energy resources.

    It is, to put a name on it, a foreign policy strategy for the 21st Century. 

    • #27
  28. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    To add to what @stevec just wrote:

    And what you really do not want to do is to drive the Russians into the arms of the Chinese, which is what our brilliant neocons would do. They are brilliant at uniting people against us. They even managed to unite Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey against what we were doing in Iraq.

    Trump was worried about Nordstream II. It is a double-edged sword though. Russia is dependent on export of hydrocarbons. After the pipeline is built that can be used to bring Russia farther into line if properly managed. It isn’t as though Russia is the only source of oil and gas.

    The EU is totally unworkable because different European countries have different interests when it comes to Russia. Trying to amalgamate them into one foreign policy is insanity. Eastern Europeans fear Russia. Germany doesn’t and wants to trade with the Russians while keeping the rest of the European countries as vassals. Germany isn’t going to defend Eastern Europe. It will take them for free, i.e., while Americans are picking up the defense tab, but don’t ask them to pay for it because they won’t. The EU will get all moralistic about Ukraine, but in the end, it’s hot air with no muscle to back it up. What Eastern Europe gets out of the EU is free movement of people. 20-25% of their populations have moved west and they send money back home. EU policy stifles the economic development of these countries while receiving subsidies that allow the political elites to keep core constituencies happy. The EU is all a shell game.

     

     

     

    • #28
  29. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Spin (View Comment):

    I don’t think China want a war, not in the traditional sense. They make too much money off us Americans and they aren’t about to disrupt that. Having said that, they are now, and have been for some time, engaged in an economic war, trying and succeeding at stealing our technology.

    I see Russia and China as equal but different “threats”.

    That the Chinese are so economically dependent on the US (and many other Western countries) keeps me from getting too worried about their threat potential. On the other hand, if the Chinese convince enough useful idiots like NYTimes columnist Tom Friedman and academic know-nothings that a centralized command and control world is a good idea, China may be able to take over in practice without the formalities of going to war.

    Russia is a risk in that it has little to lose by becoming overtly aggressive. On the other hand, my understanding that its internal economy is a mess leaves me doubting that Russia could maintain enough of an external aggressive campaign to have much long term effect.

    • #29
  30. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    I think you underestimate the pernicious nature of Putins support for nationalist parties across Europe and the threat that poses to our alliance structure. The EU is our biggest trading partner and NATO is our most important alliance. Russia is directly pushing to undermine both specifically to recapture Eastern Europe. Russia is also actively engaged in military operations to this effect. China is troubling but they dont have troops in the field shooting at American allies and propping up anti American regimes from collapse like in Syria.

    China may be stronger but Russia has proved more aggressive and violent of late. P

    You make very good points but I think Putin’s successes are more attributable to the West’s inept and fragmented response rather than to his inherent strength.

    • #30
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