In my recent op-ed for The American Spectator, I analyze the growing Sino-Russian alliance and how the United States helped to create it.
“Yes, dear neocons, history has returned. But your playbook is hardly helpful in these tough times. Acting tough (and ensuring that lesser well-connected American citizens pay the prices for your overreach) is not a solution to difficult problems. Trump must stop being cowed by the Russian investigation and act according to his instincts (make deals, not war). Great power politics is ruthless, but it is also surprisingly simple: those who want respect give respect.”
“Washington cannot lose its head on this matter. This isn’t Hitler marching into Poland in 1939. This is more akin to the Agadir Crisis in 1911. The Agadir Crisis was an outgrowth of German and French competition for greater influence in Morocco. The crisis was ultimately settled by slow negotiations which ratcheted down tensions. Of course, this event was one of those moments in history which set the proverbial stage for a far nastier event—the First World War—but the Agadir Crisis itself was small and ameliorated with shrewd diplomacy between the affected powers.”
“While it might harm Washington’s ego to treat Moscow as an equal partner in world affairs, the only way to mollify the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – without a major war against Iran (and absent another silver bullet to use on Iran, like the Stuxnet cyber-attack) – is to grant Russia the respect Putin believes he and his country deserve. Thanks to the restrictive sanctions regime that President Trump has imposed on Russia, the United States has leverage. By dangling the prospect of a grand bargain between Moscow and Washington over key disagreements, the United States would likely be able to get Russia to work with it on ending the threat posed by Iran.”
“A similar descent is in store for the United States today—though very few recognize it. Just as the airy assumptions of the last world order (the European-led one) came crashing down on the heads of those who believed them the most, so today are the assumptions about our current world order about to come caving in on us.”
“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).
It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”
“Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev’s greatest hope was for the United States and Russia to be partners in peace, not rivals in war in the 21st century. We can fully realize that dream today—and we should give peace a chance. If nothing comes of it, we are right back to where we started. In other words, it’s no real loss for the United States. But if Trump can manage to make progress with Putin, he might further reduce the threat of great power conflict, which would help to keep America great.”
“Since the United States has reaffirmed its strength in Putin’s eyes, the White House should pivot and offer Putin a gracious way of saving face with his people. If the Trump Administration fails to reach out and build off its displays of strength, then all of this posturing will have been worthless, and we might have helped formalize a Sino-Russian entente cordiale.”
“Russia is not our friend (and we need to always be on guard when dealing with them, and interact with them from a position of strength). However, Russia is not our enemy…unless we make them our enemy. The Russians have indicated with this recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that they are looking for a more amicable, stable solution to the cauldron of chaos that is the Mideast. Now is the time for President Trump to buck the idiotic orthodoxy of the Washington establishment and go to Moscow to make the deal of the century.”
“However, much like how the British and French Empires of old managed to keep relative peace and prosperity between their two countries, the United States and Russia must learn to balance each other peacefully–and work together more often and more amicably.”