The Moving Wall of China’s Red Dragon Empire

Beijing views India, Japan, and Russia as strategic rivals, where India must be checked by the geopolitical alignment of China with Pakistan and trade routes must be secured by the so-called “String of Pearls” for the acquisition of vital resources, such as petroleum and gas.


By Marek Jan Chodakiewicz | March 15, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, post-Maoist China has been moving. Quite a bit. China’s ubiquity is jarringly palpable, for instance its demographic and economic presence in all major maritime chokepoints save for Gibraltar. This is the logic of a waxing empire. A growing economy demands raw materials; goods produced require markets. Supply and trade routes as well as sources of minerals necessitate military and diplomatic protection. Each outpost must be shielded: on land, sea, space, and cyberspace. Protecting entails securing neighboring space. Each new outpost requires further protection. Hence, we are witnessing multidimensional Chinese expansionism everywhere. It is not spontaneous but, instead, follows a grand imperial strategy. For now, China is ostensibly satisfied with a status of a regional empire in eastern and southern Asia, but its ambitions are obviously global.

However, most observers view China as stationary. Its serpentine land borders are supposed to be set in stone as is “the Great Wall,” but in fact they are increasingly porous and flexible as evidenced by Beijing’s robust meddling among its contiguous neighbors along the great crescent running from Vietnam to South Korea. The Chinese satellite system is sometimes referred to as “the Great Wall in space,” notwithstanding its dynamic, aggressive attributes. And the Chinese government’s muscular naval policy is, of course, dubbed a “maritime Great Wall.” This allegedly defensive naval feature has a capacity to project Beijing’s power well beyond the country’s territorial waters. Many observers seem to overlook the fact that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) with a modern war fleet – which includes its freshly acquired first aircraft carrier – is no longer just an ancillary to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with its primitively ruthless human wave attacks. A large navy is a sure sign of imperialism, or at least an ability to operate globally. So is a nation’s ambition to project its power into space via missile and satellite systems, both evident in Beijing’s growing arsenal.

China’s progress

Everywhere, China is on the march. Yet, the standard trope has it that the Chinese are just trying to protect themselves; they are merely maintaining a defensive perimeter. There is nothing to worry about: Beijing carries on as it always has. Well, it really doesn’t anymore. This mainstream Western thinking on China reflects common knowledge about the isolationist and defensive stance of the Middle Kingdom as evidenced in several thousand years of immobility and insularity. The Great Wall of China was put up to shield the Dragon Throne from the outside world. “Fight the barbarians with barbarians” was the by-word, as the successive emperors maintained their Olympian distance from foreigners. Periodically, they’d lose the Mandate of Heaven and the outsiders would pour over the ramparts only to be absorbed into the Chinese mainstream within two generations.

Throughout, China did stay put. The only exception to the rule was the Dragon Throne’s great fleet which sailed perhaps all the way to Latin America and Australia under its eunuch admiral Zheng He in the first half of the 15th century. The Emperor decided, however, that the world had nothing to offer to the Middle Kingdom and his policy reverted to the isolationist mode. Mao’s Communists continued that tradition to the extent that they hermetically sealed off their country to prevent virtually any inflow and outflow of people and ideas. On the other hand, however, Red China became vigorously involved in the world. Beijing fiercely competed with Moscow to spread the Red revolution internationally.

Even at its most isolationist peak, China in the 1950s and 1960s made serious inroads in several parts of the globe. Its main export was Maoism, a brand of Marxist revolutionary ideology that promised to succeed in taking power violently in woefully undeveloped peasant countries and, later, in modernizing them to achieve a people’s paradise on earth just like it putatively had in China. The contemporary Red Chinese strategy builds on this legacy, offering to the Third World this time around an economic modernizing formula that combines a statist central command over an economic hybrid incorporating crony capitalist solutions to benefit the top comrades under the tyranny of the Politburo. This is a post-revolutionary form of post-Communism. It is still grounded in Marxist dialectics as the post-Maoists’ main ideological tool to maintain themselves in power.

Prior to the 1980s, China lacked the dialectical flexibility to export anything but its rigid ideology and crude weapons. Frankly, it was too poor to sustain even that effort for too long. Hence, after the mid-1970s, it increasingly freed itself from its revolutionary commitments abroad and concentrated on reforming itself through a local version of Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP). Until the reforms proved economically successful, Beijing’s relations with the outside world, and even its immediate neighbors, were quite unimpressive. Most often, China ignored its neighbors. At best, limited official exchanges took place, involving most consistently North Korea. At worst, China fought border wars with India (to delineate the border to its benefit in 1962); the USSR (to defy the Kremlin openly in 1969); and Vietnam (to chastise a wayward upstart in 1979). The Korean conflict of 1950-1953 was likewise a border war for Beijing to support a client on the orders of Stalin.

From revolution to water, minerals, and trade

Aside from cannon fodder and ideology China had very little to offer her neighbors in those times save for fear magnified by the sheer size of its population. Its high standing in the Communist movement and its nuclear belligerence were the main bargaining chips in the country’s relations with the world. Currently, China’s post-Communist post-Maoism offers so much more than just revolutionary violence. First, Beijing seeks minerals and other natural resources from its neighbors. Second, it wants to trade with them. Third, it provides aid, promises investments, and extends credit, often redeemed for Chinese arms and other goods. Fourth, it desires to influence governments and even dominate them, if possible. Fifth, it delivers its own migrant workforce, when necessary, as is the case, say, in the Russian Federation’s depopulated Siberia. China covets mainly minerals there, although it does not mind tapping Siberian water resources as well. Same applies to Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, where Beijng has also undertaken great infrastructural investments. Afghanistan both benefits and loses least because of China’s neighborhood (at least until the imminent withdrawal of the United States). Both unilaterally and as a part of the so-called Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an association of mainly Central Asian post-Communist states, the Red Middle Kingdom has pushed into the post-Soviet zone, annoying and challenging the Kremlin. And it brazenly pursues a two-Korea policy. It trades with South Korea; and it aids and abets North Korea.

Elsewhere, among the bordering states, China is mostly interested in water. It has dammed and rerouted rivers, violating the riparian rights of India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia. Beijing practically owns the waterways and waterworks of Burma. And, internally, on Chinese territory, the dams and electricity generating plants are constructed to the great detriment of water accessibility of the country’s southern and south-western neighbors. Although the Politburo’s water policy generates serious conflict, its aid and investments can somewhat soothe the irate neighbors, as has been the case with Cambodia, which also was once repulsed by China’s pivotal role in installing and maintaining in power the genocidal Khmer Rouge.

The states abutting China on land figure prominently in the Red Dragon Empire’s maritime strategy in Southeast Asia. And that strategy derives partly from Beijing’s general approach to the Third World. In the middle of the 20th century Mao took advantage of the “Bandung movement,” which originated in a conference of the so-called non-aligned countries in 1955. Emerging freshly from colonial dependency or direct rule by the West, most of them were, in fact, pro-Communist. They distrusted the West. Therefore, the Chinese totalitarian dictator targeted newly independent nations, and a large Chinese Diaspora was always a bonus for Beijing. His first targets were usually in China’s Asian vicinity. Others were mostly in Africa.

Beijing succeeded in facilitating revolutionary victories in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and, lately, Nepal, but failed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Of the nations which succumbed to Communism only Vietnam managed to shake off China’s heavy hand, and, by extension, Laos. On the other hand, after a stint under Vietnam’s thumb, Cambodia remains again subdued by China, albeit for the most part economically. Further, North Korea and Burma, if not outright satellites, should be treated as dependencies for they have relied, on and off, on Beijing’s largesse and protection, direct and indirect, since the 1950s.

China’s “near abroad”

China would like to be supreme everywhere in Asia. In fact, in an unguarded moment, its top foreign affairs official has stated publicly that it was natural for the strong to lord it over the weak. And the weak, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and others, should just get used to it. Generally, from the 1990s, for the most part, the Chinese leadership has dialectically suspended its ideological inhibitions and does brisk business with everyone. That includes not only the lap dog of American imperialism, South Korea, but also the historical arch-nemesis, Japan. But the dialectic has also dictated that brisk business must serve the waxing power of China.

The Chinese leadership has pursued a two pronged strategy in Asia: economic and military. Economic transactions predominate in dealing with lesser nations, but often they are deployed as a weapon in political warfare. For example, Phnom Penh is almost wholly aid-and-investment-dependent on Beijing, which undercuts Western donors and financiers. A few years ago, Manila was shaken by a corruption scandal with the Chinese attempting to buy millions of acres of land under a false flag and bribing parliamentarians to legalize the deal.

China’s unilateral approach to her lesser neighbors usually tallies with its grand strategy and involves threat preemption, in particular as far as its major regional competitors. Beijing views India, Japan, and Russia as strategic rivals. India must be checked by the geopolitical alignment of China with Pakistan. Beijing currently soothes Moscow with soft power of trade and cooperation. Japan requires a more sophisticated and complex approach. It is handled with a carrot of economic exchange and stick of a military and active measures offensive. On the one hand, Beijing conducts a shrill propaganda campaign constantly rehashing Tokyo’s crimes during the Second World War, and, on the other, it indulges in periodic spats of bellicosity (“spontaneous” soccer fan riots, sanctions, or military swaggering) either directly or indirectly through its North Korean proxy. For example, in 2010, Japan was rapped on its knuckles by denying it rare earth minerals, elements indispensable for Tokyo’s electronic manufacturing industry.

More dangerously, an ongoing Sino-Japanese altercation over Senkaku/Diaoyu in the East China Sea has even the United States concerned. The Chinese have trespassed on Japan’s territory with planes and ships. A Red Navy vessel even trained a guided weapons system radar on its Japanese counterpart. Jets buzzed each other and a Chinese general publicly offended the Japanese brass at a recent military conference in Australia, causing the Japanese to walk out. Hope for adjudicating the quarrel at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, as was the case with the 1913-2012 Columbia-Nicaragua San Andres and Providencia islands dispute, is at the moment slim to none.

These are all serious signals; not only are Asian cultures more prickly and averse to losing face but also we are dealing here with a simmering battle of wills of the world’s second and third most powerful economies. Tokyo is, further, quite jittery because of the on-going demonstrations of nuclear belligerence on the part of Pyongyang, widely perceived in Japan as a Chinese client.

Yet, China does not seem to mind destabilizing the area, some. In fact, its actions appear calculated to make moderate waves. Beijing chuckles avuncularly and tacitly encourages the South Koreans, when Seoul presses its claims against Tokyo for the Takeshima/Dokdo islands. It barely expresses disapproval at North Korea’s missile adventures and nuclear tests. Further, the Chinese Politburo probably welcomes rumors that Japan will soon bring up once again with Russia the issue of Etorofu and other islands of the Kurile island chain occupied by the USSR in 1945. Reopening dormant territorial disputes plays very conveniently into Beijing’s hands. It does not only provide a smokescreen and sideshow for China’s own designs in the region, but also creates a precedent for a challenge to the status quo issuing from America’s victory in the Far East.

Beijing also visibly enjoys Taipei’s backing in its adventurism. Taiwan holds a position identical to China not only on the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue but also on the multilateral disputes over the Paracels and the Spratlys, which pit most of Southeast Asian nations against China. Quite simply, both states claim to represent the legacy of China since at various times in history the Middle Kingdom either controlled the disputed islands or laid a claim to them. Beijing briefly fought Hanoi over the islands in 1974. In 2012, and earlier, the Forbidden City leadership fomented altercations between Chinese and Filipino fishermen. These included fisticuffs, water hoses, and chains to deny access to certain areas. Occasionally, there is saber rattling and military posturing. Men-of-war prowl the waters menacingly; garrisons are set up on specks of land.

To make its position clear, China issued a map, and decorated its passports with it, which includes the near abroad and all disputed islands in Beijing’s jurisdiction. The official map showcases the “String of Pearls,” a maritime area known as the ‘Sea Lines Of Communication’ (SLOC) extending from Taiwan to Sri Lanka, and even through the Strait of Hormuz to Port Sudan in the Red Sea. The Chinese -routinely utilize the SLOC, consisting mainly of ports and coastal bases, which they aim to dominate. As the main conduit for energy, crude oil and gas flowing to China, Beijing must first achieve supremacy over the Strait of Malacca before the Chinese control the more distant Strait of Hormuz. In addition to its indispensability for an insatiable stream of raw materials sailing for China, the Strait of Malacca is a strategic chokepoint funneling over 70% of all world trade yearly. Until the 1990s, it was protected by the U.S. Navy out of its Filipino base at Subic Bay. We left, partly because of the misguided “peace dividend” in the wake of the Cold War and partly because of shrill pressure from native nationalists. Many now wish us back. But China will not relent easily. It needs to command the SLOC to reach Africa.

The Black Continent cornered, Latin America engaged

Under Mao, the Chinese strove to be ubiquitous in Africa from Algeria to Rhodesia in the 1960s. In most places, the Politburo sent experts and aid, which resulted in rather crude infrastructural investments. But it also armed and assisted red revolutions, in the Congo for instance. (Some even view Joseph Kabila’s successful bid for power in the 1990s as stemming from having learned his guerrilla warfare from Mao). Nearly everywhere pro-Communist and Marxian regimes cropped up, but China was overextended and withdrew to the core in the immediate post-Mao period. However, even in the 1980s, at the nadir of its influence, Bejing still maintained a foothold on the Black Continent in Benin. Now, China is back – flush with money and hungry for minerals.

Unlike previously, the Chinese have re-appeared in Africa in substantial numbers: about 750,000 by some estimates. Their influence varies: from a cozy relationship with Angola’s post-Communist kleptocratic dictatorship to an uneasy balancing act with Zambia’s angry citizens fed up with Chinese abuse. China is a cruel mistress to its African workers. Hence, it finds it often necessary to bring its own slaves, including from North Korea.

Many African regimes prefer the Chinese over Westerners not so much because of the legacy of colonialism but because Beijing could care less about human rights violations and other sordid affairs inherent in instability and dictatorship, as evidenced by China’s long-time love affair with Sudan. And, as South Sudan, Darfur, and Libya demonstrate, the Chinese Politburo is indifferent to the outcome of various power struggles as long as the winner continues to sell China what it wants. Once in a blue moon, Africa allows the Chinese leadership to show off its newly found prowess. Such was the case last year in Libya when the People’s Liberation Army Navy evacuated thousands of Chinese guest workers stranded there because of the civil war. This was a rescue operation-cum-swaggering utilizing a tool of statecraft showing the Red Middle Kingdom’s capabilities.

China has also been expanding into Latin America, although at a somewhat slower rate. Until the 1990s, the Forbidden City’s influence there was negligible by comparison with Africa. Beijing did inspire the Maoist Sendero Luminoso in Peru and the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist, CPB-ML) in Bolivia. But the inspiration was more ideological than logistical. China had insufficient wherewithal to support the South American revolutionaries successfully. It also lacked a substantial Chinese immigrant community to anchor itself upon. Now the Chinese government spreads its American greenbacks throughout the continent. Chinese business interests are ubiquitous. In places like Bolivia or Cuba, they bank on old revolutionary connections; they also approach new radicals, for instance in Venezuela and Ecuador. Elsewhere they spread their accumulated trade wealth around to make friends and influence people, as is the case in Brazil and Chile.

In a minor show of influence, China woos one Caribbean nation after another with aid and investments, differentiating between them and their needs, the only condition being the non-recognition of Taiwan. Yet, the eyes of the Chinese are always set on strategic minerals and strategic locations. The most obvious example of the latter is the Panama Canal which has now been leased and operated largely by Chinese companies. Thus, Beijing has taken over one of the world’s most important chokepoints that Washington flippantly vacated in 1999 (as per treaty negotiated with Panama in 1977).

America penetrated and off-shored

Meanwhile, in the United States, our citizens of Chinese extraction were plenty but they were also conflicted about cooperating with their Old Country. On the one hand, sentiment and tradition (along with Communist agents) demanded aiding and abetting Red China, especially when relatives remained in the People’s Republic. On the other hand, American patriotism and government policy militated against involvement with a power hostile toward the U.S. On our campuses, of course, Mao competed with Che Guevara for the title of Miss Congeniality in the 1960s. But the revolution of villages failed to materialize on these shores. Yet the love affair with China continues, if in a different form. Now, on the one hand, American scholars vie for Chinese government grants and, more importantly, official visas, the denial of which bans the disobedient professors from entering and ensures a happy choir of U.S. intellectuals shilling for Beijing, thus creating wonders for perceptions management. On the other hand, American academia competes for tuition-paying Chinese foreign students. There are about 200,000 of them per year. It is unknown how many come on intelligence assignments. But one hopes that when they return home they bring back with them something else besides intellectual property, including defense know-how. If not freedom and democracy, perhaps these Chinese scholarly visitors drag back with them some MTV spirit and other subversive attitudes: something Gangham style.

Meanwhile, American largesse has continued to pour into China. With great assistance from their co-ethnics in the U.S., the mainland Chinese vie for U.S. investments, benefit handsomely from outsourcing and off-shoring, and flood our markets with their cheap wares to the delight of American consumers. They even have begun strategically investing in the United States. That goes hand-in-glove with spying. High profile counterintelligence successes of the FBI are overshadowed by the voraciously omnivorous character of data-and-goods acquisition by Beijing’s operatives in the Land of the Free.

How does one prosecute an illegal technology transfer of a non-national security nature, say intellectual property theft in agricultural industry, a fertilizer formula, if it is done under the guise of scholarly research and exchange? Or how does one handle sale of an American corporation with a defense industry component to an ostensibly private Chinese firm, which is owned, of course, by the Communist nomenklatura?

The White House talks about cyber defense, while the Forbidden City has demonstrated over and over again that the best defense is offence. Cyber attacks originating from China are commonplace. The Pentagon alone experiences at least 500 attempts at cyber penetration daily. No one is safe, as evidenced by recent cyber snooping against the media. America’s popular opinion pacesetters of record, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, were hacked and their emails read.

Our Allies: Australian and European Markets

Proportionally speaking, Bejing’s multifarious activities in America pale next to China’s manifold inroads in Australia. Formerly of peripheral concern, because of its image as a staunch Washington ally during the Cold War, the Land Down Under has been targeted by the Red Middle Kingdom as a source of minerals, expertise, technology, and know how as well as a space of settlement. The Chinese Diaspora in Australia has been growing by leaps and bounds. China pants after Canberra’s energy resources, and employs Aussie talent in technical positions on the Chinese mainland. The agents of Beijing acquire local secrets and Chinese tourists buy up virtually everything, including infant formula. They feel at home confident that they will take advantage of multiculturalism to swamp Australia demographically.

Until recently, Europe has been outside of the scope of Beijing’s interest. Mao intervened there seriously only once to tweak Nikita Khrushchev’s nose in defense of Poland’s National Bolshevik leader Władysław Gomułka in 1956. Albania’s enthusiastic tutelage to China was largely episodic. The Communist tyrants in Tirana carried on like their ghastly counterparts in Pyongyang but Albania was too remote to remain permanently in Beijing’s orbit. Mao largely lost this tiny foothold in Europe by the early 1970s. China returned to the Old Continent in the 1990s. Beijing treats the post-Soviet sphere as a convenient springboard into the European Union, where it sends its children to study. The Chinese are firmly ensconced in Belarus, Slovakia, and Hungary. They had less luck in Poland, having fouled up a freeway construction contract, but they will be back. Even without Warsaw’s cooperation, Europe’s markets are deluged with cheap Chinese goods. And so is the rest of the globe.

Bejing’s neo-NEP Empire

The eruption of China onto the world scene since the 1990s bears all traces of long-range strategic planning. Beijing’s Grand Strategy, which unmistakably views America as the Number One Enemy, has based itself on a dialectical shift from rigid Marxist orthodoxy to a Lenin-like New Economic Policy (NEP), crony “capitalism” par excellence. China has benefitted from globalization and America’s absence from the world stage. The White House’s vaunted leading from behind leads nowhere. And perceiving China’s modus operandi as defensive is wishful thinking. Beijing is on the move. The strategic stationary continuity thesis ignores not only the worldwide revolutionary Maoist legacy of the 1950s and 1960s but also China’s current economic hyperactivity throughout the world. And that requires military power to secure and sustain.

China’s policy of expansion and economic and military domination is conveniently facilitated by the overseas Chinese who often provide the capital, the connections, and the expertise. They also move fluidly back and forth between their domicile and the Chinese mainland. This dynamic is most apparent with Taiwan but has been replicated multiple times anywhere from Jakarta to Los Angeles.

It is obvious that China has undertaken the construction of an overseas empire. It is an empire of colonial dependencies and developed markets joined by the SLOCs. What can the West do? If we agree that China constitutes an existential threat to the Western model of government and development, then the West should act accordingly. Led by the United States, the democracies should counteract China, where necessary, and cooperate with it when it benefits them.

Of course, such platitudinous advice sounds silly. There is no Western unity. Democracies prefer to deal with China unilaterally and vice versa. Each partner has particular national considerations at stake. And each of them speaks with the voices of a multitude of lobbies and special interest groups. Since these will not go away, as they are inherent in democracy, it will be, once again, America’s burden to deal with the specter of an emerging hegemon, who would like to replace Pax Americana with Pax Sinica.

America’s Grand Strategy

We need a national debate to develop a strategy to meet China’s challenge. What is our objective? The objective is to keep China from dominating the world and terrorizing its neighborhood. We must keep the Red Middle Kingdom sufficiently busy with a plethora of low intensity chronic problems, on the one hand, and a variety of incentives to desist from the present course of action, on the other. Incentives should make Beijing stay engaged with us; complications should invoke the specter of a death by a thousand cuts. It is plan minimum, but what are our options? Destroying China would go against our tradition and, incidentally, against our national interest. We benefit from stability; China’s destruction would cause destabilization. Pushing democratization on China would thus make sense Poland-style, and not Iraq-style. But there is no “Solidarity” in Beijing, yet. Of course, we should embolden the non-violent Chinese freedom fighter and counter China’s public diplomacy in the U.S. with public diplomacy of our own on mainland China and among the overseas Chinese. We should target traditional and new media; our very modest efforts in the Middle East, Iran in particular, have demonstrated that we can even train the dissidents to break all sorts of internet muzzles.

Next, we should continue to support Taiwan. It will upset Beijing’s designs on Taipei, and it will also maintain the specter of an alternative China, all talks of convergence notwithstanding. Occasional tensions between both Chinese states will undermine their solidarity on policy issues, especially regarding Japan. As far as Tokyo, we should strengthen our alliance with it. That would prevent the rise of unilateralism and militarism in Japan. Nonetheless, we should practice more robust brinkmanship here, encouraging Japan to strengthen its defenses and participate less shyly in our overseas military operations. Its navy should be allowed to grow, but not the land forces. Given the nature of Washington’s relationship with Tokyo, the U.S. cannot proceed with Japan as China does with North Korea: unleash it a bit and then cage it. That would entail the Land of the Cherry Blossom going nuclear. However, that would be a move of last resort, indicating that we are unable and unwilling to defend our Japanese ally. Instead, we should wage political warfare in defense of Japan against the Chinese propaganda onslaught. What if, say, we ask Beijing whether the native Communists killed more people in China than the Japanese occupiers?

Further, we must reassure others in the region about our firm resolve to support national sovereignty of lesser nations. This would necessitate accepting the Filipino invitation to re-open Subic Bay to be able to protect Southeast Asia against various threats with America’s naval might (but not automatically with the land forces, as in avoiding the entanglement with the Islamists on Mindanao or Aceh). We should also continue engaging the Vietnamese. Perhaps the U.S. Navy should put in periodically at Cam Rahn Bay. And we must shield South Korea into the foreseeable future. Most importantly, perhaps, India should become our geopolitical pivot of balancing China. The stronger New Delhi the better, in particular its land forces. We should thus learn how to influence Pakistan to cause it to stand down vis-à-vis India without prompting it to realign itself with China and, indeed, Russia.

A closer alliance between China and Russia would be logical in case of an American-led containment action. But such an uneasy alliance already exists and it has not removed a multitude of impediments between Beijing and Moscow. Cultural and political factors dictate that the Sino-Russian relationship will continue as fraught with difficulties and marked by impermanence. The U.S. needs to learn how to exploit the dialectical contradictions between them, as a Marxist would say. Russia is the weaker partner, at the moment. Helping it emancipate itself from post-Communism would greatly reduce the Kremlin’s desire to define itself as anti-American and, thus, to maintain links to the Forbidden City. A civilized Russia would help in our dealings with Iran, and elsewhere in the Middle East. It would also reassure the Europeans, in particular in the post-Soviet zone. Then, we would be better positioned to pursue an integrated strategy, which we have lacked since the Reagan Administration.

The Chinese Politburo’s strategy against the U.S. is patient and multipronged. So should be ours.


Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is a Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics , A Graduate School of National Security and International Affairs in Washington, DC, where he also holds the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies. Professor Chodakiewicz is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.