The “Vostok” (East) exercises, which will be held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, take place in the context of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s threats to do the same to Taiwan.
The irresponsibility of the Ukraine invasion is clear from a Russian “warning” on Aug. 18 that a nuclear power plant occupied by Russia could fail and blanket Europe with radioactive material.
Russia and China don’t mean well. They held aggressive naval drills in the Sea of Japan in October 2021, followed by joint patrols in the western Pacific. The two countries entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) uninvited in November, forcing the U.S. ally to scramble its military jets.
In January, Iran held naval drills with both Russia and China. The Middle Eastern country is in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
These are provocative acts against the United States and its allies by the world’s most dangerous dictators. The 2022 U.S. National Defense Strategy recognizes China and Russia as America’s two biggest security threats—in that order.
The collaboration of additional countries is unfortunate. They say one best knows a country by the friends it keeps.
In this latest military exercise, the list of participating countries should be considered a rogue’s gallery of states that don’t put ethics at the forefront of their international relations; else, why would they cooperate militarily with countries that use violence against neighbors and genocide against their own citizens?
One of the biggest enigmas is India’s participation, even as China deploys its military against India’s border in the Himalayan mountains, doing violence to Indian soldiers.
Alicia Kearns, a Conservative politician in the UK, objected on Twitter to India.
“Whilst many nations won’t limit engagements w/China, military cooperation w/Russia now undermines int’l norms & values,” she wrote.
India buys discounted-rate oil from Russia, undercutting the sacrifices of other democracies to support Ukraine in its life-or-death struggle against Moscow.
Likewise, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown substantial support for the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) fight against democratic Taiwan, including a denunciation on Aug. 16 of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) responded by surrounding the island democracy in what appeared to be the testing of a naval blockade.
The United States has rightly pointed out that China and Russia are trying to overturn the rules-based international system established after World War II. The design of that system was led by the United States, which was the world’s strongest country at the time. For this reason, the main U.N. institutions are all in the United States and European democracies, including France, Italy, and Switzerland.
Yet Beijing has deftly built its influence in the United Nations because of its Security Council veto and utilization of economic influence and bribery among its 193 member states.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price rightly noted on Aug. 17 that the increased collaboration between Russia and China “is of concern because of the vision that the countries … [have] for the international order [that] is … starkly at odds with the underpinnings of the international system that have been in place for eight decades following the end of the Second World War.”
The attempt to overturn the international system goes beyond military matters to include a “new international reserve currency,” according to Nikkei Asian Review. Putin touted the global currency in June, which would be “based on a basket of currencies of BRICS members Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.”
This alternative to the dollar-based international payments system would facilitate sanctions evasion by countries such as Russia and China that seek to violate other countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity in a premeditated manner. Those countries that collaborate in this criminality are complicit.
Some politicians, at least, are raising the alarm.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) responded to the planned exercises on Twitter.
“The Chinese Communist Party is not our friend—they’re our adversary—and they’ve made their intentions clear by siding with leaders like Vladimir Putin,” Green wrote. “We cannot back down in the face of authoritarianism.”
Neither should we countenance our allies and other democracies’ collaboration—whether military or economic—with Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, or Pyongyang. Given the stakes, any country that helps these regimes should be subject to secondary sanctions. To defeat Moscow and Beijing, we need to ask more—not less—of our U.S. allies.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.