- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2000

The Clinton administration's failed policies toward Russia have created a growing anti-American alliance between Moscow and Beijing based on arms sales and joint efforts to curb U.S. power and influence, according to a congressional report.

"To challenge America's dominance, Russia today cultivates its strategic partnership with the People's Republic of China a partnership explicitly targeting American policies and interests around the globe and founded on increasing both the PRC's and Russia's military capabilities against the United States," the report said.

The report by a panel of House Republican national security specialists stated that "mismanagement" of U.S. policy toward Russia "has led to a growing military and political relationship between Russian and the [People's Republic of China] that is meant to seriously challenge the United States, our allies and existing security arrangements in the Pacific."

Russia, which at one point in the early 1990s cooperated with the United States on missile defense, no longer looks to any kind of strategic relationship with the United States and has increased military and intelligence sharing with China in a true strategic partnership, the report stated.

Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, a member of the panel formed by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, said in an interview that the Russians in 1992 declared they wanted a strategic partnership with the United States, but that failed administration policies ended any chance for close ties.

"We drive Russia and China together," Mr. Weldon said. "The level of high-technology weapons transfers has never been higher."

Arms sales from Russia to China were limited in the early 1990s by Moscow's fears of enhancing China's military capabilities and arms export potential. They increased from about $1 billion a year in 1993 to a major weapons-buying program that will be worth about $20 billion between now and 2004, the report said.

"It is not only deeply ironic but tragic that this state of affairs follows $112.2 billion in Western assistance to Russia," the report said. "After eight years of a Clinton administration policy that has yet to place highest priority on the basic steps needed to create a free enterprise economy in Russia, the U.S.-Russia relationship is in ruins, characterized by deep and growing hostility and divergent perceptions of international realities and intentions."

Russian weapons sales have undermined key U.S. strategic assumptions about the emergence of China as a threat, the report says.

"The sale of increasingly sophisticated Russian weaponry and technology to the PRC, and the establishment of close security cooperation between Beijing and Moscow, calls into question the fundamental prediction undergirding much Clinton administration security planning: that the United States will face no peer competitor in the military field during the next two decades," the report said.

"Any truly thoroughgoing combination of Russian and PRC technology and resources would surely produce a peer competitor for the United States more quickly than is otherwise commonly supposed."

The anti-U.S. alliance was cemented following NATO's recent expansion, which Russia opposed, and the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, during operations in Kosovo. China viewed the bombing as a deliberate attack; the United States insisted the air strike was accidental based on faulty intelligence.

The most visible sign of the new alliance is increasing arms sales. Russia has sold two advanced Sovremenny-class missile destroyers with SSN-22 anti-ship missiles that were designed to sink U.S. aircraft carriers.

Other state-of-the-art Russian weapons sold to Beijing include advanced Kilo-class attack submarines, Su-30 long-range attack jets, MiG-31 fighters, airborne warning and control aircraft, T-80 tanks, advanced air defense missiles and rocket engines.

The report also states that the Russian military has made "far-reaching" commitments to aid Beijing in the event of a war between the mainland and Taiwan.

If the U.S. Seventh Fleet were dispatched to defend Taiwan from a mainland attack, Russia's Pacific Fleet would be ordered to stop them, the report says.

"Today, Russia and the PRC coordinate their policies across the spectrum of sensitive foreign policy and security issues," the report said. "Both vehemently oppose U.S. national and theater missile defense programs, and U.S. efforts to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

"Both oppose NATO expansion, despite the evident lack of a PRC national-security interest in Central Europe. Both bitterly denounce the sanctions and U.S. use of force against Iraq. Both oppose NATO policy in Kosovo. Both reject any outside scrutiny of their human rights abuses in Chechnya, Xinjiang, and Tibet. Moscow supports Beijing's position on Taiwan, and Beijing supports Russia's war in Chechnya," the report continues. "After eight years of Clinton policies designed to woo both Moscow and Beijing, the United States is the odd man out."

The report blamed Clinton administration policies for ignoring Chinese threats and bolstering its economy while prompting Russia to turn toward China's model of development and reject American-sponsored reforms.

"The perceived contrast between America's aggressive economic engagement with the PRC and its virtual disengagement from Russia strengthened those in Russia and in the PRC who argued that a harder line against the United States in the foreign policy and security spheres does not hurt in the sphere of economics and trade, and possibly might help," the report said.

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