Is the United States creating a ‘Legion of Doom’? Liberal-news

This leaves all three countries under varying degrees of US-led sanctions regimes, and unsurprisingly, they are starting to work more closely together. Iran is in the final stages of achieve full membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security forum led by China and Russia. china helped entente corridor between Iran and Saudi Arabia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is “increasingly worried” that China could supply Russia with weapons to help Ukraine. The relationship between Iran and Russia has multiplied during the course of the war in Ukraine, with NSC spokesman John Kirby calling it “a large-scale defense association.”

The United States has valid reasons to oppose all three countries. China is a peer competitor that has behaved in an increasingly autocratic and bellicose manner under Xi Jinping. Iran’s regime remains wildly illiberal and pursues policies that have threatened America’s allies in the Middle East. Russia’s actions in Ukraine speak for themselves. Still, when you throw accusations like North Korea alleged arms sale for Russia, it sometimes seems that the United States has inspired its own Legion of Doom less comical.

This nascent alliance fuels an American predilection for lumping all of America’s adversaries into the same basket. During the height of the Cold War, many American politicians assumed that the communist bloc was monolithic. In this century, parts of the foreign policy community have frequently postulated that the United States is dealing with an Axis of Something. In January 2002, George W. Bush called on Iran, Iraq and North Korea in his state of the union address, warning that “states such as these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming themselves to threaten the peace of the world.” While none of these countries were paragons of virtue, neither were they cooperating with each other or with al Qaeda. A decade later, during the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney’s foreign policy warned of an emerging axis of authoritarianism. Romney’s warning was dismissed at the time, but over the past year observers of everything he political spectrum they have embraced the idea wholeheartedly. The vague unease among American observers that most of the Global South disagrees with the sanctions on Russia fuels this fear that much of the world is uniting against the United States.

At the present time, it is hard to deny that Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and others they are taking actions that go against US interests. However, it is not obvious that the cooperation between these countries is more than tactical in nature. For Iran and North Korea, any opportunity to pinch the United States out of its current economic isolation is a welcome move. Similarly, Russia is desperate for help from anywhere as a means to combat the toll that sanctions and war are taking on the Russian economy. All the historical grievances and anxieties that Russia, China and Iran have in dealing with each other have not magically disappeared, they have simply been sublimated by their collective resistance to US pressure.

The United States can respond to this emerging coalition in one of two ways, both unappealing. One approach is to embrace the Manichaean worldview and continue to adopt policies that oppose these groups of countries for the foreseeable future. When one examines each country in this nascent Legion of Doom, the United States has valid grounds for sanctions and other forms of containment. Iran has been running a nuclear weapons program and a ballistic missile program, and spent considerable funds to destabilize US allies in the Middle East. Russia has repeatedly invaded its neighbors and bears the responsibility of starting the biggest national war in Europe since World War II. Beyond that blatant fact, Vladimir Putin has been quite willing to do mischief in NATO countries, ever since campaigns from disinformation to assassination attempts on dissidents. from China wolf warrior diplomacy Abroad and increased repression at home are at odds with being a responsible actor. North Korea is… well, it’s North Korea.

While grouping the United States’ adversaries may seem conceptually appealing, it also creates complications. First, it makes it much more difficult to build containing coalitions. India might be okay with containing China, for example, but historical ties will make it harder to oppose Russia. America will have no choice but to rely on ad hoc coalitions that are not quite in sync.

The biggest problem is that the Manichean worldview overlooks the myriad ways that US foreign policy has prospered when it divided rather than united opposing coalitions. A key element of George Kennan’s containment doctrine was to exploit fissures in the communist bloc. This led to stronger ties with Tito’s Yugoslavia in the 1950s and Mao’s China in the 1970s. Neither of these countries looked anything like a liberal democracy, but the United States found common cause with them to focus on the biggest threat: the Soviet Union. (In a strange way, this point is at the root of the GOP’s opposition to supporting Ukraine against Russia. To some in the MAGA crowd, China is the biggest threat and therefore any opposition from Russia is either a wasted effort or a rapprochement of Asia’s two greatest land powers).

The paradox for American politicians is that, of all the countries that oppose the United States, China is simultaneously the greatest threat and also the country that would be most ripe for a more positive outreach. By any metric, China is the only country that comes close to being a competitor to the United States. Opposing China is one of the few foreign policies that inspires genuine bipartisan support. At the same time, compared to countries like Russia or North Korea, China is the Legion of Doom member with the largest shares in the current international system. The main reason China’s support for Russia has been limited to date is because Beijing benefits much more from its trade with the rest of the world than it does with Russia. This week’s summit between Putin and Xi should offer some clues as to how strong their partnership is growing.

For US lawmakers, the question going forward will be choosing between a set of unpleasant options. They can continue to implement a foreign policy that breeds an anti-American coalition. They can prioritize containing China and soften their focus toward countries that pose the closest threat to the United States and its allies and partners. Or they can decide that China is the devil they know best and try to foster a new balance in the Sino-American relationship.

Given the unstable state of the world, repairing the Sino-US relationship is the most promising option. However, given the shaky state of American politics, it is sadly the option both President Joe Biden and his Republican opponents are least likely to adopt.

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