Ukraine War Highlights the Rise of a New International Order

March 10, 2022 Updated: March 15, 2022

Commentary

American allies, Republican officials, and policy analysts the world over are concerned that if the Biden administration countenances Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, it will signal that China is free to move against Taiwan. The fact is, it’s probably too late already.

The issue isn’t that Washington couldn’t protect its client state in Kyiv but that it has never countered Beijing itself. After all, the United States didn’t lift a finger when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) assimilated Hong Kong. Nor has it held Beijing accountable for lying about the origins of COVID-19, even as the CCP’s deceptions and actions regarding the pandemic amounted to an opportunistic campaign of asymmetric warfare.

With hundreds of thousands of Americans dead, the country’s national security establishment did nothing to counter Beijing. In an assessment published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, President Joe Biden’s spy chiefs concluded that there’s no way of knowing what happened in Wuhan—unless the Chinese themselves decide to divulge what they know. And thus, the U.S. national security establishment cleared the CCP of any responsibility for the possible release, accidental or otherwise, of a dangerous virus.

Seen in this context, Kyiv is an effect, not a cause. The issue isn’t that the war on Ukraine may lead to the Chinese capturing Taiwan, but rather that America’s repeated failures to check the CCP, especially over Wuhan, have emboldened U.S. adversaries, including Putin.

As I explain in the latest episode of “Over the Target,” the conflict in Ukraine has brought to light the rise of a new international order led by China and Russia that has taken shape in opposition to Washington’s leadership. Does the growing strength of this anti-U.S. bloc mean the Washington-led post-World War II order has come to an end?

No—or not necessarily. But it does mean the present U.S. leadership has undermined the chief strategic goal of the postwar period—to prevent the Russians and Chinese from joining forces. In other words, an era that began 50 years ago last month has come to an end.

Richard Nixon and his top foreign policy adviser, Henry Kissinger, believed that opening relations with the CCP would force further divides between the two communist powers and weaken the then more formidable regime in Moscow. And so in February 1972, Nixon visited China and helped set in motion a series of events that would leave America as the world’s sole superpower. Managing that outcome proved too much for the U.S. ruling class.

After the Soviet Union crumbled, the economic “shock therapy” counseled by U.S. and other Western consultants further weakened traditional institutions already damaged by communism and gave new life to the corrupt institutions built by the Soviets. Russia’s current ruling structure is the logical result: a former KGB officer fueled by resentment sitting atop a pyramid of oligarchs.

At the same time Putin was rising to power, the U.S. ruling class made China the centerpiece of globalism, a political and economic order dependent on a pool of cheap labor controlled by the CCP. The arrangement enriched American and Chinese elites at the expense of the American working and middle classes—and U.S. national security.

And now, half a century after the historic opening with the CCP, the geopolitical concept with which Nixon and Kissinger shaped the world to America’s benefit has been turned on its head. Beijing and Moscow are closer than ever, with the former as senior partner. And the United States, at least under the Biden administration, has assumed the part of shrinking supplicant.

According to a recent report, U.S. intelligence officials shared information with Chinese spy services about their assessment of Putin’s Ukraine plans. The United States reportedly asked China to rein in the Russian president.

It’s a strange story. And given the prestige media’s role as a platform for operations run by U.S. intelligence services, and their joint efforts to shield Biden’s blunders from scrutiny, it’s likely worse than what’s been reported. But it’s bad enough that the account underscores a strange habit among Biden officials. The White House says it sees China as a challenge and competitor but is instead treating it like a world power to which it is beholden.

Not too long ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley boasted that he’d called his CCP counterpart to promise that he’d give advance warning if then-President Donald Trump resolved to move against China. At the very least, this would seem to settle any lingering questions about America’s resolve to defend Taiwan. In publicizing his discussion with a senior CCP official, America’s top military adviser made clear that he prioritized Chinese national interests even above those of the country he’s sworn to serve and protect.

And this raises the question: Why wasn’t Milley fired, or worse? How did the U.S. national security establishment come to accept as normal a four-star general’s vow to disclose classified intelligence about U.S. troop movements to a prospective enemy combatant?

It’s because the Biden administration represents the terminal stage of a decaying ruling establishment. Whether this class drags the rest of this country into the netherworld along with it will depend on the strength of new American leadership rising to meet the rising challenges abroad.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Lee Smith
Lee Smith is a veteran journalist whose work appears in Real Clear Investigations, the Federalist, and Tablet. He is the author of "The Permanent Coup" and "The Plot Against the President."