U.S. military and diplomatic leaders charged with missions involving Russia and China today are contending with unique, if disparate, challenges when it comes to managing and
understanding the way forward with these fellow major
powers — nations that are, on one hand, posturing
forcefully on the world stage while also grappling internally with economic pressures and social instability.
Given ongoing news developments, such as China’s
announcement in early March of a 10 percent increase
in its military budget for 2015, and reports of the deteriorating situation in the Ukraine where Russia is said
to be assisting separatist rebel forces, military leaders,
economists and analysts monitoring China and Russia
are proceeding cautiously, relying on data and vetted
economic prognoses as their best weapons at the current time.
In the case of China, the Department of Defense has
stated its intention to boost diplomatic ties by engaging
in military exercises, a move seen as healthy by military
experts, as the U.S. Navy deploys 60
percent of the fleet to the Pacific and
places the majority of its newest and
most advanced ships in the region,
CAPT Robert A. Newson, a Naval
Special Warfare Officer and military
fellow at the Council on Foreign
Relations, wrote in a Feb. 17 council
blog posting titled “Engage … or
“The Department of Defense
and the U.S. Navy are advocating
for a similar consistency in U.S.-
In late January, a Wall Street Journal report stated that
new military exchanges between the U.S. and China had
been “paused” as a result of Chinese fly-bys and aerial
encounters with allied aircraft, including an event late last
summer in which a Chinese jet flew “perilously close” to
a U.S. P- 8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
However, Pentagon Press Secretary RADM John F.
Kirby disputed that, telling reporters at the Pentagon
Jan. 31, “There is no pause or disruption to military-to-military engagements between the U.S. and China.
This is something we want to continue.”
Indeed, two days earlier, the Pentagon reported in a
news release that David Helvey, deputy assistant secretary
of defense for East Asia, was hosting talks on Feb. 5 with
China, Russia present unique engagement challenges for the United States
By DAISY R. KHALIFA, Special Correspondent
The Way Forward
U.S. military leaders, economists and analysts closely monitoring
China and Russia are relying on data and economic prognoses as
their best tools when deciding how to proceed with relations with
the two powers.
; The Department of Defense has stated its intention to boost
diplomatic ties with China by engaging in military exercises, a
move seen as healthy by military experts.
; China’s continued staunch position in territorial water disputes
and over Taiwan, which China considers its territory, are areas in
which Beijing will remain steadfast.
; While Russia-U.S. cooperation in the Arctic has slowed considerably, one analyst says it is not so much due to the crisis in Ukraine
but more the fact that oil prices have plummeted.