- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2000

Evidence is growing that the long discussed anti-American alliance between China and Russia has become a reality. China's defense minister visited Moscow in January to "intensively expand Russian-Chinese military cooperation."
According to the Russian press, the visit led to an agreement to cooperate in areas of mutual interest, such as the Western Pacific and the Balkans.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a diminished Russia was eager to export, but had little to sell except oil, military equipment and weapons technology. China was eager to buy, with plenty of hard currency earned making products for the West with cheap labor. The result: a flow of modern weapons and technology, currently 40 percent of Russian arms exports, going to China.
The naval exports, in particular, are high quality. Two modern Russian destroyers armed with supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles are now being delivered and two more reportedly are on order. The first of these ships, which pose a direct threat to the U.S. Pacific Fleet, sailed through the Taiwan Strait last week. Four quiet Russian Kilo-class submarines are in the Chinese navy, discussions to buy two or three more are under way, and Russia is helping build China's new-model nuclear missile-firing submarine.
This trade blossomed into a strategic alliance as China and Russia found common cause in curtailing U.S. power and influence. Russia opposes NATO expansion and intervention in Yugoslavia, is trying to block U.S. missile defenses, and objects to criticism of its use of brutal force in Chechnya. China objects to U.S. support for Taiwan, and resents criticism of its human rights violations, unfair trade relations, suppression of Tibet and persecution of dissidents.
American intervention in Kosovo raised fears in Beijing that Washington might also intervene to block its designs on Taiwan. Moscow has similar worries that the United States or NATO might intervene in countries or regions on Russia's borders.
This fear of a dominant United States imposing its will on Moscow and Beijing drove them together as strategic partners, shattering President Clinton's futile dream of a U.S. strategic partnership with a communist Chinese government that sees the United States as its enemy.
Moscow and Beijing now use the same script in attacking the United States. They oppose U.S. "hegemony" and missile defenses, call for a multipolar world, and continue to sell weapons and technology to states that share their anti-American views.
Last month, the CIA sent Congress a report on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that identifies Russia, China and North Korea as the main proliferators of missiles and weapons technologies. It said North Korea may already have produced one or two nuclear weapons and that Iran is actively seeking weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam Hussein's Iraq is believed to be hiding as many as 6,000 chemical weapons and is poised to build longer-range missiles to deliver them as soon as the sanctions are lifted.
Then a week ago, Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanov was in North Korea signing an agreement that the Moscow press said included a resumption of military ties. At the same time, CIA official Robert Walpole was telling a Senate hearing that North Korea is continuing to develop long-range missiles, and from North Korea came new threats to resume flight-testing them.
The Sino-Russian alliance also is trying to influence U.S. allies. Russia and China have France's support in their effort to lift the sanctions on Iraq, and most of America's NATO allies back their goal of keeping the U.S. defenseless under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
Just recently a senior Chinese official was in Germany hurling threats at the NATO allies. China's deputy foreign minister issued a blunt warning that any country that does not accept its right to seize Taiwan by force would suffer the consequences, and then repeated the Russian charge that U.S. missile defenses would start a new arms race.
Yet, President Clinton ignores the growing danger. His 89-minute State of the Union speech included only four minutes on foreign policy. His approach, based on arms control and appeasement, is reminiscent of the 1930s, when a perceived lack of Western will led first to Hitler's conquests and then to Pearl Harbor. Ambiguity concerning a willingness to use force can lead to miscalculation, as when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
The government should have a clear policy of resisting aggression; maintaining an effective deterrent, both nuclear and non-nuclear; defending the nation against all threats, including ballistic missiles; and helping allies, including Taiwan, acquire the missile interceptors and other weapons they need for self-defense. Among the current candidates for president, only the Republicans are likely to pursue such a course.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in San Diego.

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