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Reviving the Cold War, but China Could Change the Dynamics

ANALYTIC OLGA: Source; Steven Erlanger

Trump May Revive the Cold War, but China Could Change the Dynamics

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President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a ceremony in Beijing. A new Cold War between the United States and Russia has begun to emerge — with China playing a key role.

CreditCreditGreg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger

     gency and members of Mr. Putin’s military intelligence have deterred the Russians.
    But in both cases China is also lurking in the background, a powerful force in a way it never was in the first Cold War, which began just as Mao declared the creation of the People’s Republic. And while China appears to be the reason for Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of the missile treaty with Russia, it is causing new anxieties in a Europe already mistrustful of Mr. Trump’s “America First” foreign and trade policies.

    Mr. Trump argued correctly that the arms treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, left China free to build up its own nuclear and conventional missiles of all ranges. (China was never part of the negotiations, and never a signatory to the treaty.) And perhaps as part of his effort to deflect discussion of whether Russia succeeded in manipulating the 2016 election, Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have accused China of meddling, too — seeking to shape American public opinion more through investment, trade and theft of intellectual property than covert cyber-manipulation.

    The Trump administration identifies both Russia and China as “revisionist powers” and “strategic competitors” of the United States. But when it comes to countering their nuclear advances and their increasingly innovative use of cyberconflict to outmaneuver their adversaries, Mr. Trump’s long-term strategy remains a mystery — beyond promises to match every military buildup, and strike back hard.

    Whether it was real or a negotiating ploy, Mr. Trump’s declaration on Saturday that he was ready, if necessary, to plunge the world back into a 1950’s-style arms race is bound to cause yet another rift between Washington and its European allies — exactly the kind of fracture inside NATO that Mr. Putin has tried to create.

    And in cybersecurity, Mr. Trump has veered from denying Russian activity to authorizing the newly created United States Cyber Command more latitude to conduct pre-emptive strikes without presidential authorization. That raises fears of escalation with no clear reason to believe that the United States, its sprawling networks still vulnerable, would come out on top.

    The Europeans do not deny that Russia has violated the I.N.F. treaty, which Kevin Ryan, an expert on Russian arms at the Belfer Center at Harvard, noted recentlywas “negotiated at a time that was equally, if not more, contentious.” At the time, hundreds of thousands of Europeans demonstrated against the deployment of American Pershing II intermediate-range missiles on their soil as a counterbalance to Soviet SS-20s. That deployment led to the I.N.F. treaty Mr. Trump now wants to dump.

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    Most European leaders — especially the Germans, and Romanians — believe other weapons systems deter the Russians, including air- and ground-launched missiles. For them, Mr. Trump’s decision to abandon one of the few remaining treaties controlling nuclear weapons fits a narrative of “America First” at the expense of existing, long-term alliances, like NATO — and is the latest in a series of abandoned agreements, from the Paris accord on climate to the Iranian nuclear deal.

    Ex-soviet union occupied countries, like HU, and Romania, are fearing they will be invaded again by Russian troops commanded by Putin.

    In this case, they see few advantages from leaving the treaty. Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister, called the move “a gift to Russia that exposes Europe to a growing nuclear threat,” because as the United States enters an arms race, “Russia can quickly deploy new weapons in numbers.”

    The German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, called the decision regrettable, noting that it “poses difficult questions for us and for Europe” since it is the Europeans who are in range of the Russian missiles, not the United States.

    Mr. Gorbachev, unsurprisingly, decried the Trump decision as reckless, asking: “Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?”

    Moreover, the Europeans believe Mr. Trump’s strategy — praising Mr. Putin when the two appear together as they did in Helsinki, then letting his aides step up pressure — is, if anything, emboldening the Russian leader. They were stunned to see Russia send a hit squad to Britain to try to kill a former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei V. Skripal, despite having exchanged him in a spy-swap years before. And Russia continues to freely meddle in European politics, most recently trying to block the accession of Macedonia to both NATO and the European Union.

    But the European reaction has been disorganized. While NATO countries have put more troops in Baltic nations and Poland, and are preparing a huge military exercise in the North Atlantic, there is no agreed-on strategy over what red lines should be set to respond and SET BOUNDARIES to Russian activity. Nowhere is that clearer than in the realm of cyberwarfare, where Europeans are spending more money on collective defense, but NATO has no offensive capability and no agreement about what kind of interference by the Russians calls for a response.

    For his part, Mr. Putin has calibrated his actions with care. He denies that the Russian deployment of what the West calls an SSC-8 missile violates the treaty. And he has accused the United States — long before Mr. Trump was elected — of violating the treaty itself, arguing that anti-missile batteries it has placed in Europe could be used to fire other missiles that violate the ban on weapons that can reach 300 to 3,500 miles.

    If the breach with Russia opens, it will most likely rekindle the Europeans’ fear that their territory would be the battlefield for the superpowers, as it was before in WWII, against Hitler.

    “I am deeply worried,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German ambassador to the United States, said on Sunday. He urged Washington instead to try to expand the treaty, by bringing in China. “No way European allies like Germany could live through another I.N.F.” deployment, he wrote on Twitter, “a la 1980s: that road is closed.”

    OLGA LAZIN: @olgalazin I AM very worried things can get out of hand! See my recent book

    see also we like ✔@KoriSchake

    · Oct 21, 2018

    Replying to @KoriSchake

    One thing more,@NarangVipin

    IN ROMANIAN, ABSTRACT: Dar rasismul nationalist al lui Trump,(si urmasii săi, ALT-Right),au găsit o audiență în parte datorită frustrărilor economice profunde pe care mulți americani naționaliști albi le simt. Este una dintre cele mai vechi și cele mai tristă teme din istorie: Frustrarea produce fanatism religios.

    Cartea lui Pearlstein este numită “Poate capitalismul american supraviețui?” Și este plină de mult mai multă înțelepciune. Este capstone de decenii de raportare și scriere pe această temă. Graficul privind inegalitatea și polarizarea economica din cartea lui Pearlestein, o recomand din ratiune pura, dovedesc acest lucru.