Ganging up on Uncle Sam
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
24 October 1999

Clinton policies may spark anti-U.S. alliance overseas
By Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly is national affairs writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.
His e-mail address is

Robert Hayden, director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies  at the University of Pittsburgh, recently returned from a conference in Novgorod, Russia, sponsored by the Berlin branch of the Aspen Institute, but paid for by NATO.

What he learned there appalled him.

"The purpose [of the conference] was to send a message to the Russians," Hayden said. "It was more polite than Khruschev's 'We will bury you,' but it was essentially the same.

"The NATO guys said, in effect, there are no rules [of international law].  We will do whatever we want to do, and you can't stop us," Hayden said.

This approach is unlikely to win friends or influence people even among the dwindling band of pro-Western moderates in Russia and in other non-Western countries, Hayden opined.

"The idea that we can mess up other peoples' countries because nobody can hurt our planes will cause them to retaliate in other ways," he predicted.

The most ominous outgrowth of the Kosovo war has been discussions among the Russians, Chinese and Indians about forming an anti-American alliance.

"Russia and China will move closer to each other and become more antagonistic to the United States," Stratfor, a private intelligence
service, predicts.

There are indications chilliness between Russia and China during the Cold War has been supplanted by a shared hostility to the United States.

On Aug. 17, China announced Russia and China would work together to build a  nuclear power plant for China.

Russian sales of military equipment to China and India now total about $2 billion a year, said the director of Russia's state-owned arms company.

"Cooperation with China is one of the main sectors of Russia's military-technical cooperation with foreign countries," Alexei Ogaryov said.

In both Russia and China, hostility to the United States is driven chiefly by  domestic political considerations. Among ordinary Russians and rank and file Chinese, "resentment of American power is huge, and many hold the United States  responsible for their economic problems," Stratfor said.

But the view in both Moscow and Beijing, aggravated by the Kosovo war, of the United States as a bully and an aggressor has exacerbated anti-American feeling,  and is driving the remarkable détente opening between China and India. Russia and India have been friendly for decades, but relations between China and India  have been frigid, chiefly because of past Chinese support for India's archenemy, Pakistan.

The incipient anti-American entente may soon be joined by Indonesia, if that nation's military concludes that Western intervention in East Timor could  trigger the breakup of their country.

The Far Eastern Economic Review reports Indonesia, in the wake of cancellation of the Indonesian-Australian defense agreement, has made overtures  to China about purchasing weapons and spare parts. A Chinese-Indonesian alliance  likely would dominate the South China Sea.

NATO's actions in Kosovo, which were contrary to both the U.N. and NATO charters, have turned public opinion outside of Western Europe and North America  strongly against the United States, Hayden thinks.

"One thing that the Kosovo war ensured is that countries like India and Pakistan that have developed nuclear weapons will build all they can, and the  systems to deliver them," Hayden said. "They need to have a counterweight, some kind of protection against what they perceive as American aggression."

Hayden makes an important point. Wars don't start because nations say:  "Hey, we've got all these neat weapons. Let's go kill somebody." Nations build weapons because they have enemies, or think they do.

China and India are the world's most populous nations. Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous, and the largest Muslim nation. Russia has  more nuclear weapons than we do. Thanks to lax security and export policies, China  now has the know-how to build nuclear weapons as capable as ours. India has nuclear weapons, and can improve them rapidly if China shares with India the  secrets it stole from us.

The feckless foreign policies of the Clinton administration are on the verge of creating an anti-American alliance potentially more dangerous than the threat communism presented at the height of the Cold War. But the 10,000 journalists in  Washington, obsessed with Really Important News like Jesse Ventura's Playboy  interview, are paying little attention.