The US Presidential polls slated for November have become the venue of a major geopolitical battle. American rivals/competitors want a man who is the least harsh on them. China and Russia- the two biggest competitors against a US-led world order have started rooting for men of their choice. The American foreign policy can make or break a global power, and the two authoritarian giants are no exception.
US officials believe that Russia is using a variety of measures to denigrate the presumptive Democrat Presidential nominee, Joe Biden because Moscow understands that the Democrats are obsessed with Russia. On the other hand, China has heightened criticism of White House, as it is facing a major onslaught from the incumbent US President, Donald Trump.
Joe Biden has emerged as pro-China and anti-Russia true to the tagline “Beijing Biden” that is being associated with the Democratic leader. The Democrats keeps hunting for Donald Trump and alleging that Republicans have a deal with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden’s camp and pro-Democrat media houses keep excavating more and more matter against Russia, in order to punish Moscow.
Recently, for example, the New York Times reported that as per intelligence inputs, Russia had secretly offered Afghan militants bounties to kill American troops. As the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was “nothing new” that Russia was acting against American interests in Afghanistan.
Russia knows that if Democrats come to power, they will punish Moscow with tough and brutal sanctions by bringing up past issues. Therefore, the Kremlin is inclined to work against the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee.
On the other hand, China is comfortable with Biden. The Democrats simply refuse to agree that China is a strategic rival and threat to American hegemony. Biden himself doesn’t have a clear-cut China policy. He has been very timid about Beijing and has tried to walk a fine line on Chinese hegemony.
Biden recently suggested that if voted to power, he would end Trump’s tariff war on China. The entire world is disoriented with Beijing and wants to lead the global backlash against Beijing, but if voted to power, Biden will try to find middle path with the paper dragon. As such, China feels that the only way out is to root for the Democrats.
On the other hand, Donald Trump has made no secret of his hate for China. Trump has successfully made China a political issue. He understands that Chinese economy is eight times larger than the Russian economy. And China is directly challenging the US-led rules based international order.
Therefore, Trump has started punishing Beijing and how? He is single-handedly engineering the destruction of the Middle Kingdom by bringing down Chinese tech giants like Huawei, Tencent and ByteDance (TikTok). The steep tariff on Chinese imports are already hurting Beijing and Trump is increasingly pushing the global supply chains away from the exports-based economy. China wants to ensure that Trump doesn’t get a second term in power.
On the other hand, Trump wants to find a workable understanding with Russia as opposed from associating closely with Moscow. He knows that it is much easier to deal with a declining Russia than a gigantic China. Moreover, the Trump supporters or traditional Republican voters are not as strongly obsessed with Russia. They are not anachronistic unlike Democrat supporters.
Consequently, Trump tends to go soft on Russia and thus Putin is tilted to back Trump for a second term. Ultimately, the Kremlin might feel that as Trump gets engrossed in fighting Beijing, he might ease out sanctions on Russia.
The big American confusion is giving rise to a clear division between China and Russia. This also discloses the cracks in the Sino-Russian “axis of convenience”, and Beijing and Moscow are trying to find their own interest in the US. On the face of it, Russia and China act as if they are the strongest of allies.
For Russia, it is practical to pretend because it is a sanctions-ridden economy that has to feed out of a gigantic Chinese economy. On the other hand, China reciprocates to the show of camaraderie because it foresees an uncertain future in which an opportunistic alliance with Russia might come in handy.
But the US Presidential polls expose how China and Russia are completely opposed to each other in strategic terms. They are rooting for different men because they have completely different goals to achieve. China and Russia have become the new battleground of the US polls, and the strategic “axis of convenience” between Moscow and Beijing might be the biggest casualty.