Russia and China vs. the United States The Coming End of the Unipolar World

In the most recent iteration of the National Security Strategy of the United States which was published in late 2017, two nations are singled out for particular attention as shown here:

China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”

…here:

China and Russia are developing advanced weapons and capabilities that could threaten our critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture.

…here:

China and Russia want to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests. China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor. Russia seeks to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders.

…here:

China and Russia began to reassert their influence regionally and globally. Today, they are fielding military capabilities designed to deny America access in times of crisis and to contest our ability to operate freely in critical commercial zones during peacetime. In short, they are contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor.”  

…and here:

China, Russia, and other state and non- state actors recognize that the United States often views the world in binary terms, with states being either “at peace” or “at war,” when it is actually an arena of continuous competition. Our adversaries will not fight us on our terms. We will raise our competitive game to meet that challenge, to protect American interests, and to advance our values.

In fact, China is mentioned in the document 33 times and Russia is mentioned 25 times whereas the bogeyman of Islamic terrorism is only mentioned twice.

Recent news out of China as reported by the Global Times, China’s English-language edition of the People’s Daily newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China should send shudders through the hallowed halls of Washington.  Since the current administration is showing little interest in co-operating with either nation and, in fact, is making significant motions to restrain trade and impose sanctions, the two nations are increasingly being driven into “each others arms” in an effort to create a multipolar world, one in which America no longer has a monopoly on world events.

Here is the report from the Global Times at the end of May 2018:

The armed forces of China and Russia held their 20th round of strategic consultation in Beijing on Wednesday.

The two sides exchanged views and reached broad consensus on current international and regional hotspot issues and on further deepening China-Russia military cooperation under the new circumstances. 

They pledged to firmly implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, boost bilateral military cooperation and make new contributions to pressing ahead with military strategic cooperation.

Here is the report from the English language version of China Military Online:

Major General Shao Yuanming, deputy chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), and Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, co-hosted the consultation.

The two sides indicated that they will firmly implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Putin, further enhance the level of bilateral military cooperation and make positive efforts to help the strategic cooperation between the two militaries to take new steps in the new stage.”

Let’s look at the might of the world’s number two and number three military powers.  In combination, the two nations have the following military might according to Global Firepower with U.S. capabilities in brackets:

Active Personnel: 3.197 million (1.282 million)

Reserve Personnel: 3.203 million (0.801 million)

Reaching Military Age: 20.905 million (4.22 million)

Fighter Aircraft: 1,943 (1,962)

Attack Aircraft: 2,943 (2,830)

Attack Helicopters: 792 (973)

Combat Tanks: 28,016 (5,884)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: 36,400 (38,822)

Rocket Projectors: 5,866 (1,197)

Self-propelled Artillery: 7,970 (950)

Aircraft Carriers: 2 (20)

Destroyers: 42 (65)

Submarines: 135 (66)

Mine Warfare Vessels: 76 (11)

Here is a graphic showing how much the top 15 nations spent on their military in 2015:

While spending on America’s military is nearly three times what Russia and China spend in combination, sometimes you get more for less, particularly in America’s highly profitable military-industrial complex.

As you can see from these statistics, there is no doubt that a combined Russia – China military would be a force to be reckoned with, particularly in a two-front battle, a situation similar to the two-front reality that Germany faced in 1944.  The evolving ostracization of both nations by the United States has the potential to create a unified powerhouse that will make it increasingly likely that the unipolar world of the 1990s and 2000s will come to a painful end.

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