Saturday, 2nd March 2024

Power equilibrium: Russia, China and the U.S. – Part 2

By Patrick Dele Cole
18 June 2021   |   3:06 am
Nigerians like the can-do spirit of the US, the land of opportunity where anyone can do anything and prosper. This they compare unfavorably with their country where nothing apparently works

Continued from yesterday

Nigerians like the can-do spirit of the US, the land of opportunity where anyone can do anything and prosper. This they compare unfavorably with their country where nothing apparently works. Politicians’ line up to take sides in US politics, for example, many Nigerians believe that President Goodluck Jonathan did not have much luck in dealing with President Obama who preferred Muhammad Buhari in 2015. There is little evidence for this but in these days of gas lighting politics, who needs evidence? Die-hard Biafrans believe that President Trump would work for the breakup of Nigeria and effectively create Biafra.

The US is now on a mission to discredit China over the COVID-19 Virus. The US missed the opportunity to deal with the virus when it first surfaced because Donald Trump believed that if he dealt with it then, it would cost him the election. It did cost him the election because he dallied and wasted time while the virus decimated the US causing deaths of over 500,000. He could not spin himself out of the very inept handling of the US. As usual president Trump had to blame somebody else- this time it was the World Health Organization and China. He charged that China was not transparent in telling the world about the Virus, that it may have come from a laboratory engaged in biowarfare. President Trump turned the virus and called it a political weapon. But he misfired. While US citizens were dying by the truckload, China worked to contain it, succeeded and reopened its economy in the shortest time imaginable.

Nevertheless, it is important to get the aetiology of the pathogen to help in dealing with future pathogens when they occur. A new debate has now ensured. Did the Virus jump from bat to human or was it a part of an accident in the laboratory of Wuhan where scientists were studying the Virus for use in biological warfare.

Big bad boys behaving badly

The U.S. abuses China for lack of human rights in China, Hong Kong and for denying freedom to Uyghurs in China who are moslems.

U.S. further rejects China’s unacceptable threat to Taiwan which it still claims belong to China. It resents China’s influences in other South-East Asian countries.

The U.S. has had 145 mass shootings in 4 weeks since the verdict on the murder of George Floyd. Police kill blacks’ daily. Republican States are busy disenfranchising blacks in forthcoming elections. The cases of Duante Wright, Travon Martin and many others remain unsolved. The U.S. would not allow Venezuela and Cuba to have peace and prosper; claiming that under the Monroe Doctrine those countries cannot be hostile to the U.S.

Russia would imprison Alexy Navalny, mass its armies in the Ukraine border; seize Crimea. China is on the offensive by repudiating China’s claim that the Urguyhs are not subject to ethnic cleansing as claimed by the US. Each time the U.S. attacks any nation on human rights, they retort by holding up U.S. racism and attack on blacks for over 400 years as the quintessence of U.S. hypocrisy and double standard.

An increase in demagoguery and a decline in the quality of leadership in the world.

What else can the decline into tribalism and nativeness and otherness except a refusal to want to listen to all sides and to form policy which enhances diversity and promotes all? Can we snap Nigeria out self – hatred?
Politicians are reactionaries, not leaders. They achieve and maintain power by responding to public opinion, not driving it.

U.S intelligence agencies have since nearly a decade been decrying the Cyber-attacks of Russia on the U.S. They have highlighted their vulnerability to Cyber-attacks from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran etc. They have also claimed that Russia had influenced the 2016 election that brought in President Trump by trolling millions of attacks to the targeted electoral audience- those in favour of Trump received favourable mention. Hilary Clinton, Trump’s opponent and the Democratic Party Candidate was lambasted and lampooned in hundreds of thousands of email derogatory to her – she was accused of incompetence in Libya which led to the death of the U.S. Ambassador there. She was further accused of gross negligence and cover-up in Bengazi, targeting these emails to specific groups and voting profiles submitted to the Russians by the Trump Campaign. The FBI was forced to carrying out an unending investigation of Mrs. Clinton and a private email server in her residence. Mr. Trump publicly invited Russia to publish the emails he claimed Hilary Clinton was hiding because it compromised her handling of the Bengazi fiasco. “Russia, screamed Mr. Trump” if you are listening publish the emails Mrs. Hilary is hiding through WikkiLings. Most scholars believe that without Russia interference in US elections, Trump would not have won. When Trump met Putin in Helsinki, Putin denied the charge and Trump accepted his denial. It would have been extraordinary for Putin to have accepted such a charge.

But when the U.S., the most powerful nation on earth complains, that someone outside the U.S. was spying on them, using technology to interfere in U.S. election, what should an observer take from this U.S. seemingly impotent cry for help? What else could U.S. do? When asked why it did nothing, the US replies that it could act but doing so would compromise its assets in all these countries. Russia, China, Iran, North Korea. So what is more important to U.S.? Preserving the assets it has in these countries or stopping the activities of hackers into its infrastructure. It would be naïve to believe that U.S. does not retaliate in kind by cyber means to these countries.

China through Huawei has the most advanced G5 technology which would confine all other previous technologies to the dustbin. UK and several other countries had signed up to China’s G5, which is now 10 years ahead of western prototypes. The U.S., the West, Australia and New Zealand share intelligence among themselves. Again in this arrangement, the dominant partner is the U.S. The U.S. threatened all other members of this intelligence club that if they accepted the Chinese G5 technology, it would pose a constant and imminent danger to the agreement because the Chinese would have installed a backdoor opening where G5 would be able to spy into Western intelligence and relay it to China. Britain was forced to pull out.

The US in a singular show of bipartisanship between the Democrats and Republicans has passed a law to fund research into beefing up U.S. internet ability up to 5G. What now is the difference between the U.S. and China?

Dr. Cole, OFR, is a one-time Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil.