The news comes after the deaths of more than 100 Chinese people in the four weeks since the virus began spreading and five Chinese officials were convicted on corruption charges. While the Chinese government and public officials have all been clear that they are working on a plan to contain and contain this outbreak, there were no assurances that that would be a short-term solution. Earlier I addressed the difficulty of securing the long-term control of the human populations in China in greater detail. This is also a concern as the region is highly connected by roads, railways, and other transportation options and potentially has an impact on the US by way of regional commerce and economic expansion.
The US has to move beyond its “get used to it” attitude and must be willing to engage in a serious, realistic, multi-pronged attack on China’s military and intelligence forces in order to secure the region. This effort must be made while we still have the US as our top ally and the region is still a strategic asset to us. There should be no illusions about China’s military superiority.
As a general rule, we need to maintain a balance between a “get used to it” attitude from our allies and a “go for broke” attitude from our enemies. We have to look forward and make plans for when we do “break” the Chinese. It can only be a one-way street and unless Russia (or Iran) are compelled to act in the region in a significant way to take away this advantage, the US can claim that it is the victim of this loss.
Given that we are currently engaged in a direct war with ISIS. It is clear that ISIS is primarily an Al-Qaeda related group, something which did not stop the Bush administration from trying to get them (as noted ) onto our own “watch list” (just as they later tried to get US-aligned “Islamic extremists” onto “watch list” of US and other allied interests). Indeed, at no point during the Bush administration was any attempt made to bring ISIS to heel or to do anything to end their killing fields.
Is anyone really surprised that Russia would take a tough stand against this group and that China has now taken a leadership role in stopping the spread and control of this virus? Certainly nobody is surprised that ISIS is a serious threat. We know that the US and their allies have killed over 60,000 civilians so far in Iraq. This is no mere “losing battle” as they tell us. Rather this is a war being waged on a global scale. ISIS is a huge threat, of course they are. But what is shocking is the willingness of this group to go after them, what they are willing to do to take them off our “watch list” of interests.
I know there are those who will look at this and say, “Well, this is what happens when you take an Al-Qaeda group on your watch list.” Those people are either missing the big picture, or they don’t understand that this situation is actually an expansion of Al-Qaeda to such a degree that it is now targeting China as well.
Russia is not going to be the answer to solve all of the current problems in the region. But at the same time, it has the opportunity to do major harm to some of the things the West has done when we allow our leaders to get complacent about their military advantage. The US can’t expect to be able to sit back as world leaders do all the thinking and allowing the US to move toward a “worse without having a better” strategy.
As I have noted elsewhere : There will be those who will accuse me of using a “China-centered” argument against Russia. Yes I am. However you can’t take the position that Russia is the only threat to us and then not attack. That is like taking the position that Iraq was the whole problem, when Saddam was killing American soldiers and we were attacking others in his home turf. The US should have been prepared for Russia to make this move, and Russia has done exactly as I have outlined. In fact Russia and China are having conversations right now to discuss how we can get this global conflict back to regional peace and stability. We can’t let this scenario play out in space as the US pretends it has no role within the global fight against terror. We need to do the hard work right now to work with a Russia that is willing to work with us in order to win the war on terrorism.