Conrad Black: West collapsed over belligerent Russia and China

There has been no clear statement from NATO or the United States or any serious source on the response that there might be to Russia’s direct aggression against Ukraine or Chinese aggression. against Taiwan.

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The growing mess in post-Trump major power relations is best illustrated by the Russian threat against Ukraine and the Chinese threat against Taiwan. A profound reassessment of the Western alliance system will soon be necessary. The United States is in a continued collapse of sane government, which will not be resolved until the current administration and its allies in Congress are permanently ousted. Western Europe is in a worsening torpor, represented more accurately by the muddled state of Germany, which is still trying to form a government almost two months after the last election. Aside from some of the countries recently emancipated from the joys of Russian rule in the Cold War, in Europe, Britain and France are the only countries acting as serious powers. In this state of confusion, we could have hoped for exemplary leadership from Canada which, if it behaved in a serious country, could exert a certain influence, as in the time of Mackenzie King, Louis Saint-Laurent, Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper. But it is evident that despite Chrystia Freeland’s admirable support for Ukraine in the past, the Trudeau government is unwilling to do anything but continue to inflict its empty views of a brotherhood on the councils of the world. global weapons against the climate.

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The only serious problem Russia could pose for the West is precisely the one that the American Democrats have created: instead of outbidding on Russian goodwill (without giving in to the expansionist ambitions of Russian President Vladimir Putin), constant demonization of Russia by the American left, and even some Republicans, are pushing him into the arms of China. This will allow China to alleviate its poverty of resources and reposition part of its surplus population by allowing it to exploit part of Siberia’s resources, which the Russians have generally failed to do, apart from the oil. This would put most of the Eurasian landmass in the hands of a hostile anti-Western alliance and allow China to add a giant geopolitical cubit to its stature. The American Democrats, who invented the complete fraud of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia in the 2016 election, almost achieved the astonishing feat of reuniting the two natural rivals and former enemies, China and Russia.

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For good measure, the US military hierarchy, which has received hundreds of billions of dollars from the Trump administration and its supporters in Congress to modernize the US military, missed the potential of hypersonic missiles and was preceded in this. capacity by China and Russia, and the overly decorated chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, decreed that the revelation of Russian and Chinese capabilities in this area would be “a Sputnik moment.” Milley has a slim combat record, but wears more ribbons than the victorious WWII generals and statesmen, George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur combined. All of these three held the highest positions in the greatest war in history, but other than their five-star insignia, they rarely sported military decorations. Milley looks like Ruritanie’s Principal Marshal as he attempts to explain what he has done by forcing critical race theory nonsense on the US military. Milley dodged responsibility for the abandonment of Afghanistan – the most humiliating military fiasco in American history since General William Hull returned Detroit to General Isaac Brock in 1812. Milley is now the flabby personification of the high command American – he called up his Chinese analogue in January promising that he would warn him in advance if the supposedly “mad” commander-in-chief for whom he served decides to order a nuclear attack on China.

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There has been no clear statement from NATO or the United States or any serious source on the response that there might be to Russia’s direct aggression against Ukraine or Chinese aggression. against Taiwan. In the Shanghai Communiqué at the time of US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, China pledged not to attack Taiwan as long as the US accepts the concept of China’s ultimate and non-coercive reunification. . The results of the violation of this agreement have never been specified. With the current reckless and irresolute US administration, the Beijing government, which has not hesitated to tear up a formal treaty with the UK on Hong Kong, cannot trust the Shanghai Communique, as its conduct demonstrates. current belligerent. The Kremlin never formally accepted the right of the former Soviet republics to separate from the USSR. Ukraine was the largest of these republics and Russia already took over Crimea, but it was only part of Ukraine after 1954. Ukraine did not master autonomy very well during over the past 30 years, but it is a country of over 41 million people and although it is not in NATO, if Russia were to invade it, the West would have to take serious action or admit that NATO has become an empty envelope and it is now every man for himself. With a little help, Ukraine and Taiwan could give an invader a terrible welcome.

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Most European NATO countries have allowed their armed forces to wither away, as Canada has, implicitly relying on the deterrent power of the United States. Russia’s strength is no longer comparable to that of the United States and its GDP is lower than that of Canada, but its leader, Vladimir Putin, is determined to at least partially restore Greater Russia; Putin openly contests the independence of Ukraine and claims that “Russia has been robbed”. Putin resurrected Catherine the Great’s claims that control of Ukraine is essential to Russian national security. Yet, at this point, there is little reason to believe that the United States or European NATO countries have the will to respond vigorously to any outrage unless there is a direct attack on themselves. The painful fact is that if America had a serious foreign policy apparatus, it could easily conclude that Russia was a more useful ally than Germany. Russia at least has a will for national assertiveness and is, along with India, South Korea and Japan, the single biggest key to China’s containment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who could have put Germany at the head of the European powers, leaves after 16 years of ineffectiveness, after having subordinated her country to the Kremlin in energy and military terms.

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Normally, with such paralysis and weakening in the Western alliance, Canada could play a vital role. But we have been perhaps the biggest slacker in all of NATO, have no foreign policy except cheerful post-national naivety and an absurd infatuation with the grossly distorted issue of climate change. At the end of the Cold War, the West was ruled by Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand and Brian Mulroney (and Saint John Paul II). British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have their moments but they need American reinforcements. The Trudeau government, especially after the inelegant landing of Marc Garneau, is more like a sophomoric club of Greenpeace enthusiasts than the government of a G7 country. We are inundated with mediocrity and hardly anyone, government or opposition, says anything sane. The world doesn’t pay attention to us, and with good reason. It is surely time that we did better.

National post

Note: In last week’s column, editorial inadvertently, it was ambiguous whether a quote was from Thomas Carlyle or Walter Russell Mead. It was Mead.

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