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8 Aug, 2023 01:36

US response to Russia-China naval patrol exposes glaring hypocrisy

Washington believes it has a divine right to send its warships wherever it wants, but when ‘rivals’ do the same it’s deemed a threat
US response to Russia-China naval patrol exposes glaring hypocrisy

Last week, the US sent a group of warships and a reconnaissance plane to waters off the coast of Alaska after Chinese and Russian vessels conducted a joint naval patrol in the area.

A former US Navy captain and analyst for right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation described the patrol as “highly provocative.” Because the US and its allies would never, ever do something like that, right?

The US is engaged in the full-blown militarisation of the peripheries of both China and Russia in a manner that implies it has an unconditional right to do so. This behaviour has not only provoked one war, in Ukraine, but risks triggering a second one, over the Taiwan Strait, too. The reality, of course, is that neither Russia nor China poses any threat to Alaska whatsoever, because the conflict, or risk thereof, is at their own front doors, not America’s.

The US is the most militaristic and aggressive country in modern history. It has established a global military presence that spans every single continent with hundreds of military bases. In doing so, it claims it supports the freedom and self-determination of others. In reality, it provocatively encircles states that it deems rivals to its own global dominance, escalates tensions, and then when these states respond to the situation, subsequently brands them as the “aggressors,” thus affirming and even expanding its military footprint in these given regions.

With Russia, the US has pursued a relentless expansion of NATO eastwards since the Cold War, absorbing former members of the Soviet Union’s alliance system even when Russia had no will to compete with it. NATO has evolved from a unit of collective self-defence in a specific geographic region into an increasingly global ideological crusade which serves the goals of the US. The words “North Atlantic” in its name are increasingly redundant as Washington even endeavours to broaden its reach to Asia and the Pacific.

Which leads to the next point, China. The US is pushing for a full-scale military and naval encirclement around China’s eastern periphery, deliberately using the Taiwan independence issue as a wedge to ramp up tensions despite the One China Policy and giving the island region more and more arms. While doing this, it is forcing more and more countries to accept a greater American military presence. This recently included the Philippines, where the US gained access to a number of bases, as well as Papua New Guinea, where a defence cooperation agreement was recently signed. At the same time, the US constantly sails warships through the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, citing so-called “freedom of navigation” from a law which it does not even ratify. China’s retaliatory actions are then branded “aggressive” and threatening the peace of the region.

If this constitutes normal behaviour and a sovereign right of the US, why can China and Russia not sail patrols up to Alaskan waters? Why is one behaviour described as “freedom of navigation” but the other is labelled “highly provocative”? The reality is that because both countries are concerned about the US on their doorsteps, they have little interest in ever waging war as far afield in Alaska. The same cannot be said about US actions on their doorsteps, whereby the threat of war is very, very real and is being cranked up even higher by Washington. The US deems it has rights which other countries do not, which leads to the double standards voiced in the media regarding these seemingly equal actions.

China-Russia military cooperation is a product of the US antagonising them both, rather than so-called “provocative behaviour.” In the geographic sphere of Northeast Asia, the two countries have shared strategic interests which concern checking the expansion of US military power in Japan and the Korean Peninsula. This extends to the Northern Pacific. Neither country has any specific ambitions regarding Alaska. Neither China nor Russia is attempting to foster an independence or separatist movement there, unlike what the US is doing with Taiwan, and then groom it into a military partner hostile to Washington. Therein lies the difference between the two sets of military behaviour. China and Russia may cooperate for common strategic objectives, but they are not exerting aggression in the process. On the other hand, the US’ military presence and patrols are designed to upend a region and turn countries against other, provoke strife, and of course advance its economic goals. The irony is that media discourse presents this as entirely normal and justified, but then depicts Russia-China cooperation as a potential threat to Alaska.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.