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Foreign Policy

U.S.-Russia Summit Effects

Jul 02, 2021
  • Su Jingxiang

    Fellow, China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations

Since at least 2013, the U.S. and Russia have been at war. It is of course not war in the traditional sense but rather a sort of fourth-generation, or hybrid warfare, according to the American strategic community.

About 80 percent of the war has been conducted through misinformation and political propaganda, like the color revolution in Ukraine, the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 incident, the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, the ban on Russian athletes for alleged doping offenses, the Russian intervention in the U.S. presidential election, the expulsion of diplomats, the pro-democracy movement in Belarus, political sanctions, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and other incidents. Economic warfare, by way of various economic sanctions, accounts for about 15 percent, such as the sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Direct use of military force accounts for only about 5 percent.

Since 2013, the U.S. has experienced a sharp decline in its economic strength and increased internal political and social crises, while Russia has significantly increased its military, political, economic and social strengths. Russia recaptured Crimea in 2014 and later built a huge bridge connecting the peninsula to its mainland. In 2017, Russia intervened militarily in Syria, demonstrating a remarkable military capacity and a special diplomatic value in helping to clean up the mess. In 2020, to maintain the stability of its southern border, Russia seized an opportunity to deploy a peacekeeping force and put an end to the Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

During World War II, the Soviet Union lost nearly 20 million civilians. The bitter lesson has forever shaped Russian military doctrine: The next big war must be fought on enemy territory. Therefore, if the U.S. attacks Russia’s homeland, Russia will return the attacks in kind.

The American military spends nearly $1 trillion a year and is equipped with the world’s most advanced weapon systems, not to protect the security of its own country but to threaten other countries and maintain American hegemony. Weapons research, development and manufacturing in the U.S. are extremely costly. They are the means for corrupt politicians and defense contractors to make money at the expense of popular interests.

For Americans, war is about killing people in other countries from a greater distance, from a greater height, without harm to themselves, and preferably earning a lot of money. The Russians, by contrast, have real war experience and a better understanding of the true meaning of war, which enables them to proceed from realistic military missions and to design, manufacture and use more effective weapons systems.

Most American strategists even acknowledge that Russian combat forces are powerful enough to counter the U.S. and NATO and that Russia has superior long-range subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic cruise missile technologies. American military and intelligence reports also suggest that through such high-speed missile attacks, cyberwarfare and inside sabotage, Russia is capable of destroying in a short time span most of the critical infrastructure in the U.S., such as power grids, the financial system, rail and highway hubs, the aviation system and oil and gas pipelines.

If the data centers of the Federal Reserve, major banks and credit card companies were destroyed, American society would be unable to function. As power grids are highly integrated, even though there are thousands of large power transformers connecting the grids in states in the western, eastern and southern United States, tje destruction of a few key facilities would paralyze the entire power system.

It has been an American phenomenon that any prolonged blackout in any major city automatically triggers mass looting and chaos. Then it will be up to the American people to try tp solve the problem by punishing the war criminals at home and demanding peace talks.

Russia recalled its ambassador to the U.S. and suggested the U.S. do the same after Biden called President Vladimir Putin a “killer.” Normal diplomatic relations were interrupted.

In April, NATO launched the largest military exercise in history, targeting Russia, which quickly massed troops along its western border and issued a stern warning. The U.S. soon retreated. In May, the Biden administration announced it would no longer block Nord Stream 2, and the Pentagon said that “nobody has labeled Russia the enemy.”

In his meeting with Putin on June 16, Biden acknowledged that Russia and the U.S. were equal and that the U.S. should no longer talk to the Russians from a position of force. For the first time in a long time, the U.S. has engaged in dialogue with another country without threats or ultimatums. The presidential joint statement reaffirmed the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought. This is extremely important. It indicates a recognition on the part of the U.S. that it cannot defeat Russia through a nuclear war.

The real outcome of the summit remains to be seen. Some Russian strategists believe that the U.S. may have been forced to tone down its arrogance simply because it needs to devote more resources to containing China. There will be no fundamental change in U.S.-Russia or China-Russia relations for some time to come. As long as the U.S. seeks hegemony, it will be ready to deny any commitment at any time. More important, the U.S. has virtually nothing that Russia wants or needs, while China and Russia need and depend on each other.

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