Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
NVIDIA (NVDA) GPU King For AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 17th Feb 20
Stock Market Bubble - No One Gets Out Of Here Alive! - 17th Feb 20
British Pound GBP Trend Forecast 2020 - 16th Feb 20
SAMSUNG AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 16th Feb 20
Ignore the Polls, the Markets Have Already Told You Who Wins in 2020 - 16th Feb 20
UK Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic WARNING! Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham Outbreaks Probable - 16th Feb 20
iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF IBB AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 15th Feb 20
Gold Stocks Still Stalled - 15th Feb 20
Is The Technology Stocks Sector Setting Up For A Crash? - 15th Feb 20
UK Calm Before Corona Virus Storm - Infections Forecast into End March 2020 - 15th Feb 20
The Growing Weaponization of Space - 14th Feb 20
Will the 2020s Be Good or Bad for the Gold Market? - 14th Feb 20
Predictive Modeling Suggests Gold Price Will Break Above $1650 Within 15~30 Days - 14th Feb 20
UK Coronavirus COVID-19 Infections and Deaths Trend Forecast 2020 - 14th Feb 20
Coronavirus, Powell and Gold - 14th Feb 20
How the Corona Virus is Affecting Global Stock Markets - 14th Feb 20
British Pound GBP Trend and Elliott Wave Analysis - 13th Feb 20
Owning and Driving a Land Rover Discovery Sport in 2020 - 2 YEAR Review - 13th Feb 20
Shipping Rates Plunge, Commodities and Stocks May Follow - 13th Feb 20
Powell says Fed will aggressively use QE to fight next recession - 13th Feb 20
PALLADIUM - THIS Is What a Run on the Bank for Precious Metals Looks Like… - 13th Feb 20
Bitcoin: "Is it too late to get in?" Get Answers Now - 13th Feb 20
China Coronavirus Infections Soar by 1/3rd to 60,000, Deaths Jump to 1,367 - 13th Feb 20
Crude Oil Price Action – Like a Coiled Spring Already? - 13th Feb 20
China Under Reporting Coronavirus COVID-19 Infections, Africa and South America Hidden Outbreaks - 12th Feb 20
Will USD X Decline About to Trigger Precious Metals Rally - 12th Feb 20
Copper Market is a Coiled Spring - 12th Feb 20
Dow Theory Stock Market Warning from the Utilities Index - 12th Feb 20
How to Get Virgin Media Engineers to FIX Hub 3.0 Problems and NOT BS Customers - 12th Feb 20
China Under Reporting Coronavirus COVID-19 Infections by 66% Due to Capacity Constraints - 12th Feb 20
Is Coronavirus the Black Swan That Takes Gold To-Da-Moon? - 12th Feb 20
Stock Market 2020 – A Close Look At What To Expect - 12th Feb 20
IBM AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 11th Feb 20
The US Dollar’s Subtle Message for Gold - 11th Feb 20
What All To Do Before Opening A Bank Account For Your Business - 11th Feb 20
How and When to Enter Day Trades & Swing Trade For Maximum Gains - 11th Feb 20
The Great Stock Market Dichotomy - 11th Feb 20
Stock Market Sector Rotation Should Peak Within 60+ Days – Part II - 11th Feb 20
CoronaVirus Pandemic Stocks Bear Market Risk 2020? - Video - 11th Feb 20
Facebook (FB) AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 10th Feb 20
The US Constitution IS the Crisis - 10th Feb 20
Stock Market Correction Continues - 10th Feb 20
Useful Tips for Becoming a Better Man - 10th Feb 20
Will CoronaVirus Pandemic Trigger a Stocks Bear Market 2020? Part1 - 9th Feb 20
Could Silver Break-out like it did in 2011? - 9th Feb 20
The End of the Global Economy - 9th Feb 20
Fed to Stimulate in Any Crisis; Don’t Let Short-Term Events Bother You - 9th Feb 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

Trump’s “Great Game”: Playing Russia Against China? 

Politics / GeoPolitics Jan 18, 2017 - 03:47 PM GMT

By: Dan_Steinbock

Politics

Trump has pledged to reset the White House policies on “America First” basis. In Asia, it may mean an effort to balance with Russia against China – the reverse of US China approach in the 1970s.

After inauguration, Donald Trump will move from Trump Plaza in mid-Manhattan to White House in Washington, where he will enjoy extraordinary execution power. Today, Republicans will control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.


Consequently, whatever the administration will decide to do is likely to be bigger and bolder, move ahead faster and have greater consequences.

In Asia, that may translate to a double pivot.

Pivoting away from China

Through his campaign, Trump voiced strong opposition against Obama-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while labeling the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a “disaster.” He has also suggested that he would renegotiate or reject other US international commitments.

In particular, he has threatened to use 35-45% import tariffs (although currently Trump’s team has been floating a 10% tariff) to force some countries, particularly Mexico and China, to change what he calls their “unfair trade practices.” Indeed, he is likely to press talks on trade practices, while forcing Beijing to enforce intellectual property rights.

High-level trade appointments suggest that he is likely to walk the talk. He chose Peter Navarro - the author of The Coming China Wars (2005) and Death by China (2011), and What China’s Militarism Means for the World (2015) - to head the newly-created National Trade Council (NTC), which will oversee industrial policy in the White House. Navarro's fellow China critic Dan DiMicco, former CEO of Nucor, America’s largest steel company, became Trump's trade advisor. In turn, the new US Trade Representative will be former Reagan administration official Robert Lighthizer, a staunch critic of China’s trade practices.

Trump’s trade warriors will work closely with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, another billionaire investor. Trump’s trade warriors will begin by targeting those countries – China, Germany, Japan and Mexico – that currently enjoy the heftiest trade surplus with the US. In turn, the demise of NAFTA would hurt not just Mexico, but Canada.

Meanwhile, US-led free trade plans have been shelved, which has left China an opportunity to redefine trade in Asia Pacific. That effort, however, may have to cope with Trump’s double pivot.

Pivoting toward Russia

If President Obama’s major foreign policy goal was a pivot to Asia, President Trump is likely to pivot toward President Putin and Russia. Indeed, Trump’s efforts to improve relations with Russia led to a last-minute counter-attack by the US intelligence community, based in part on facts but largely on circumstantial and unsubstantiated evidence. To Trump, the intelligence dossiers, including one about him, represent the kind of neoconservative fiction that served as a pretext for the Iraq War.

Unlike Obama, Trump is open to lifting sanctions on Russia and is likely to meet Putin soon after he takes office.

In contrast to Russia, Trump has used China as a scapegoat for US trade deficit, offshoring and manufacturing decline. He has also shown willingness to challenge the basis of US-China ties since 1979, as evidenced by the recent “one China” policy debacle. Ultimately, these efforts go back to neoconservative visions in the 1990s to use imperial ‘divide and rule’ efforts in China’s special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macao), Taiwan, and certain autonomous regions ((Xinjiang, Tibet), in order to foster dissension within the mainland.

Regionally, these efforts are likely to mean greater assertiveness, most likely in the name of “freedom of navigation” (FON) operations. In his confirmation hearing, secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, said that he would take a strong stance on China’s claims over the South China Sea adding that US should "send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed."

In details, Tillerson is said to have misspoken, however. Any forceful effort of the US to circle one or all the islands would result in an open conflict with China, which is not in the US interest. Nonetheless, the new administration is opting for a somewhat new regional stance.

Playing Russia against China

Indeed, there may be a curious logic underlying Trump’s efforts to foster a pivot toward Russia but away from China. Usually, the two geopolitical moves have been analyzed separately. In fact, they are linked.

In the past few weeks, Trump has had several meetings with Henry Kissinger, who remains close to both Moscow and Beijing.

In the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon and his security adviser Kissinger sought to undermine Soviet Union’s might by making a historical opening to Beijing. What is less known is that Kissinger then observed that “in 20 years your successor, if he’s as wise as you, will wind up leaning towards the Russians against the Chinese.” He argued that the US needed “to play this balance of power game unemotionally. Right now, the US needed the Chinese to insulate the Soviets. “But in the future, it would be the other way around,” he added.

The Trump administration may presume that, from the US standpoint, such a balancing game would weaken or contain China, while, to Russia, it would ensure closer cooperation with Europe.

Yet, the assumption may prove flawed on three counts. Today, Putin’s economic, political and military ties with China are strategically too critical to endanger. Moreover, after the betrayal of its promise to avoid NATO enlargement in Russia’s regional neighborhood, US has also implemented several ill-conceived rounds of sanctions against Russia. In the process, Washington has lost all credibility among Russians. Finally, as China has been transformed in the past four decades, Kissinger himself has maintained close ties with both Russia and China.

Nevertheless, Trump’s recent geopolitical moves – non-interventionist rhetoric but neoconservative advisers, the effort to challenge “One China” principles, the stated shift toward greater assertiveness in East and Southeast China and his double pivot vis-à-vis China and Russia – indicate that his longer-term goal may be to include Putin’s Russia in a “Common European Home” from the Atlantic to the Urals that Gorbachev promoted in 1987.

The problem is that the Cold War ended almost three decades ago, however.

Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognised expert of the nascent multipolar world. He is the CEO of Difference Group and has served as Research Director at the India, China and America Institute (USA) and visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Centre (Singapore). For more, see www.differencegroup.net   

© 2016 Copyright Dan Steinbock - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules