Columns

July 6, 2021

Power equilibrium: Russia, China and the US (2)

Power equilibrium: Russia, China and the US (2)

By Patrick Dele Cole

The first part of this piece focused on the dictatorial tendencies in the US political system

HE could not spin himself out of a very inept handling of the US. As usual President Trump had to blame somebody else – this time it was the World Health Organisation and China. He charged that China was not transparent in telling the world about the virus, that it may have come from a laboratory engaged in bio-warfare. President Trump even called the virus a political weapon. But he misfired. While US citizens were dying by the truckload, China worked to contain it, succeeded and reopened its economy in the shortest time imaginable.

Nevertheless, it is important to get the etiology of the pathogen to help in dealing with future pathogens when they occur. A new debate has now ensued. Did the virus jump from bat to human or was it a part of an accident in the laboratory of Wuhan where scientists were studying virus for use in biological warfare.  

Big bad boys behaving badly: The US abuses China for lack of human rights in China, Hong Kong and for denying freedom to Uyghurs in China who are moslems. The US further rejects China’s unacceptable threat to Taiwan which it still claims belong to China. It resents China’s influences in other South-East Asian countries.

The US has had 145 mass shootings in four weeks since the verdict on the murder of George Floyd. Police kill Blacks daily. Republican states are busy disenfranchising Blacks in forthcoming elections. The cases of Duante Wright, Travon Martin and many others remain unsolved. The US would not allow Venezuela and Cuba to have peace and prosper, claiming that under the Monroe Doctrine those countries cannot be hostile to the US. 

Russia would imprison Alexy Navalny, mass its armies in Ukraine border; seize Crimea. China is on the offensive by repudiating China’s claim that the Urguyhs are not subject to ethnic cleansing as claimed by the US. Each time the US attacks any nation on human rights, they retort by holding up US racism and attack on Blacks for over 400 years as the quintessence of US hypocrisy and double standard. An increase in demagoguery and a decline in the quality of leadership in the world.

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What else can the decline into tribalism and nativeness and otherness except a refusal to want to listen to all sides and to form policy which enhances diversity and promotes all? Can we snap Nigeria out of self-hatred? Politicians are reactionaries, not leaders. They achieve and maintain power by responding to public opinion, not driving it.  

US intelligence agencies have since nearly a decade been decrying the cyber-attacks of Russia on the US. They have highlighted their vulnerability to cyber-attacks from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, etc. They have also claimed that Russia had influenced the 2016 election that brought in President Trump by trolling millions of attacks to targeted electoral audience – those in favour of Trump received favourable mention.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent and the Democratic Party candidate was lambasted and lampooned in hundreds of thousands of email derogatory to her – she was accused of incompetence in Libya which led to the death of the US ambassador there. She was further accused of gross negligence and cover up in Bengazi, targeting these emails to specific groups and voting profiles submitted to the Russians by the Trump Campaign.

The FBI was forced to carry out unending investigation of Mrs. Clinton and a private email server in her residence. Mr. Trump publicly invited Russia to publish the emails he claimed Hillary Clinton was hiding because it compromised her handling of the Bengazi fiasco.

“Russia,” screamed Mr. Trump, ” if you are listening publish the emails Mrs. Hilary is hiding through WikiLeaks. Most scholars believe that without Russia interference in US elections, Trump would not have won. When Trump met Putin in Helsinki, Putin denied the charge and Trump accepted his denial. It would have been extraordinary for Putin to have accepted such a charge.

But when the US, the most powerful nation on earth complains that someone outside the US was spying on it, using technology to interfere in US election, what should an observer take from this US seemingly impotent cry for help? What else could US do?

When asked why it did nothing, the US replied that it could act but doing so would compromise its assets in all these countries: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea. So what is more important to the US? Preserving the assets it has in these countries or stopping the activities of hackers into its infrastructure? It would be naïve to believe that US does not retaliate in kind by cyber means to these countries.

China through Huawei has the most advanced G5 technology which would confine all other previous technologies to the dustbin. UK and several other countries had signed up to China’s G5, which is now 10 years ahead of Western prototypes. The US, the West, Australia and New Zealand share intelligence among themselves. Again in this arrangement the dominant partner is the US. 

The US threatened all other members of this intelligence club that if they accepted the Chinese G5 technology, it would pose a constant and imminent danger to the agreement because the Chinese would have installed a backdoor opening where G5 would be able to spy into Western intelligence and relay it to China. Britain was forced to pull out.  

The US in a singular show of bipartisanship between the Democrats and Republicans has passed a law to fund research into beefing up US internet ability up to 5G. What now is the difference between the US and China?

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