NSA, Deep State Dads, and the Coming War with China
Biden’s surprise presidential visit to Ukraine obscures the bigger conflict that’s brewing with China – the one we’re not paying sufficient attention to
Today President Joe Biden paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv to signal his support for Ukraine, just days before the first anniversary of Russia’s renewed aggression against that country. Biden executed the standard photo op with casually clad President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, while uttering the expected platitudes: “One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands,” the president stated, while the White House tweeted on Biden’s official account: “America — and the world — stands with Ukraine.”
America – or at least Washington, DC – indeed does stand with Ukraine, in a bipartisan manner, as evidenced by the recent statement by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Fox News, while wearing his Ukrainian flag-colored tie: “Defeating the Russians in Ukraine is the single most important event going on in the world right now ... there should be a bipartisan support for this.” Here McConnell is out of step with a large swathe of Republican voters, who are increasingly skeptical of giving Kyiv unlimited U.S. military and financial aid. How long GOP leaders can support Ukraine against the will of their own voters constitutes a key question as Europe’s bloodiest conflict since the Second World War enters its second year.
Moreover, Biden’s statement that “the world” stands by America’s side with Ukraine adds a bit of cheek. Looking at global opinion polling as well as who is really sanctioning Russia, it’s NATO, the Anglosphere, and some key American allies that are backing Ukraine. The rest of the planet is either neutral or on Russia’s side. Today “the world” supports Ukraine like “the world” backed invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein exactly two decades ago.
However, America’s unilateral moment of “hyperpower” has passed, pushed along in no small way by the debacle of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM that was launched 20 years ago, and for the strategically savvy the Ukraine war appears increasingly like a sideshow rather than the main event, which is unfolding in East Asia. The most significant development is Beijing’s overt signaling that it is on Russia’s side in the struggle over Ukraine – and the Chinese Communists don’t care what anybody, including America, thinks about that.
At the just-concluded Munich Security Conference, which can be viewed as the annual pow-wow of the transatlantic swamp, Wang Yi, Beijing’s foreign minister, openly mocked Biden and the United States as “near-hysterical” and “weak,” while making clear that his regime hews closer to Moscow than the West on the Ukraine issue. When directly asked by Wolfgang Ischinger, a veteran German diplomat and one of the organizers of the Munich event, if China’s top diplomat could reassure listeners that Beijing does not plan any imminent military escalation against Taiwan, he replied: “Let me assure the audience that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. It has never been a country and it will never be a country in the future.” To underscore Beijing’s intent, as President Biden headed to Kyiv on his secret visit, Wang Yi departed Munich for Moscow, clearly signaling where Beijing stands on the Ukraine issue. The conclusion of a leading Beltway pundit that the Biden administration offered its outstretched hand to Beijing in Munich, only to have it “slapped away,” seems difficult to refute.