Back to Basics#32: Commonality of Interests with the Russians and Chinese
Before some obstreperous guys prominent in the US Republican Party, get the world into deeper trouble, let us review a few very basic points on the basic theme, We can't afford a new Cold War.
To start with, we can't afford a new Cold War because we can't afford it, period. We certainly can't afford a Cold War with the People's Republic of China since they can win it by declining to "roll over" our Treasury notes (etc.) and could, in complex ways, tell us to pay them what we owe them. I.e., the Chinese aren't a pressing threat to us with their navy or other weapons of mass destruction; they can, however, bankrupt us with instruments of credit.
Even if the Chinese were willing to pay us to wage war against them, we still couldn't afford it, period. Or we could but not while paying for education, Social Security, Medicare, roads, bridges, and such.
We also can't afford another round of the Cold War because we have important mutual interests with the Chinese and Russians.
The Russians were in Afghanistan fighting nationalists and radical Islamists; we helped drive the Russians out, and then went in, in a sense continuing that war. As in the 20th century, so today nationalism remains strong; unlike the 20th century, in the 21st we're returning to the potential for strong mass movements based in religion.
Communism is no longer capable of motivating a mass movement most places, and few people will kill and die for neoLiberalism, the Free Market, the Episcopal Church, and/or neoConservatism. Fundamentalist forms of radical Islam, however, are capable of generating militant enthusiasm, a desire for self-sacrifice, and armed jihad.
We Americans could try to meet jihad with crusades, but that would be a very bad idea; we would do better to work with the Chinese, Russians, and others on more subtle means of combatting the threat of Fundamentalist Islamic mass movements and forestall Fundamentalist Christian (or Jewish or Hindu) crusading movements.
We also need to work with the Russians and Chinese on nuclear arms reduction. The old Cold War may be over, but among the three great nuclear powers there are still enough weapons to bring on a nuclear winter and destroy civilization and possibly the human species. We have to get those over-kill weapons destroyed before they destroy us: before jihads and crusades start or some other catastrophe or accident starts what is so delicately called "a nuclear exchange," an exchange can very indelicately escalate into nuclear Armageddon.
"Some damn thing in the Balkans" started World War I, and there's good reason to fear that "some damn thing" somewhere could eventually start a disaster that will make the carnage of World War I look tame. We, the Chinese, and the Russians need to cooperate to remove that threat.
We also need to cooperate with the Chinese, Russians, and a substantial number of other countries to avoid a financial meltdown and a slip into "double-dip" recession that could become another Great Depression.
Etc.: Including as I'm writing needing to work out a sane approach to Iran and Syria.
So a message to ex-Governor W. Mitt Romney, presumptive nominee for President of the United States, and various members of the US Congress: knock it off.
We will compete with the Russians and Chinese, but we also need to cooperate with them. The first Cold War was bad enough, to say nothing of the horror shows of 1929-1945. We don't need another go-round on any of that.