Win-Win Strategy: Trump 'Should Work With Both Russia and China Where Possible'

© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikThe White House on the morning of the first full day of President Donald Trump's administration, in Washington
The White House on the morning of the first full day of President Donald Trump's administration, in Washington - Sputnik International
President Donald Trump has opted for readjusting Washington's foreign policy towards greater involvement with Russia while adopting a tough stance on China. This strategy is aimed at containing Beijing, but analysts say that the US administration should make an effort to work with both countries instead of trying to drive a wedge between them.

"The Trump administration should work with both Russia and China where possible. Those efforts should seek to forge a trilateral understanding on contentious issues affecting strategic stability, such as nuclear and missile defense issues, twenty-first-century definitions of sovereignty and rules for armed intervention," Jacob Stokes wrote in an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs. "Trilateral discussions should also build practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as climate and energy, counterterrorism, and nonproliferation."

John S. Van Oudenaren, a research assistant at the National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs, shared similar sentiments.

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"An effective strategy for Trump to forestall consolidation of a Sino-Russian bloc would be to opt for selective engagement with both Beijing and Moscow," he wrote in an article for the Diplomat. "Obviously, engagement would have to be coupled with continued hedging against intensifying security competition with Russia in Europe and China in Asia."

The analyst added that Washington will also have to convince Russia and China that it does not intend to meddle in domestic affairs of both countries.

"This, rather than tilting toward Moscow, would go a long way toward assuaging the anxiety that Russian and Chinese elites feel about the United States," he said. "If Beijing and Moscow begin to see the United States as a normal state with its own interests and goals, rather than a fading hegemon bent on ideological dominance, it would help make triangular diplomacy possible once again."

Both analysts maintained that a strategy used in the 1970s by President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger to improve Washington's relations with Beijing at a time of heightened tensions between China and the Soviet Union is not applicable now.

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"When Kissinger came calling, Beijing already saw Moscow as a bigger threat than Washington. For Russia today, the opposite is true. Moscow sees Washington as the primary adversary despite hopes that Trump will repair the relationship," Stokes explained.

John S. Van Oudenaren singled out several reasons why driving Russia away from China is a complicated effort at the moment.

"First, the deep ideological fissures that drove the Soviet Union and China apart during the late 1950s and 1960s are nonexistent today. Furthermore, Sino-Russian geopolitical competition has lessened because Russia, unlike its Soviet predecessor, is a secondary power in Asia. As a result, there is little indication that Trump, despite his rapport with Vladimir Putin, can drive a wedge between Russia and China," he observed.

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