China, Russia must not be allowed to disrupt international order

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s threats against Taiwan are challenging the stability of the international order. The United States and its allies need to strengthen unity and overcome the struggle against autocracy.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has released a national security strategy that will serve as the basic guideline for U.S. foreign and national security policy.

Russia and China are increasingly hostile toward the United States, trampling on rules and trying to expand their territories and interests. The prestige of the United States and its resolve to defend the international order have never been put to the test more than now.

The U.S. security strategy defines Russia as “an immediate threat to the free and open international system” and China as “the only competitor” with the intent and ability to reshape the international order.

This may mean that after first containing Russia’s acts of aggression in Ukraine, the United States will make competition with China its top priority in the medium to long term. The security strategy emphasizes that the next decade will be decisive in determining the future of competition.

If China takes the lead in shaping the international order, it is inevitable that laws and rules will be changed at its convenience, and human rights violations will increase. The current situation in Hong Kong is a stark illustration of this argument.

The United States must maintain its military, economic and technological superiority over China and repel any challenge. In doing so, it will find support in a network of alliances that China and Russia do not have.

The security strategy positioned relations with allies such as Japan and other partner countries as the United States’ “most important strategic asset and an indispensable element contributing to international peace and stability.”

Japan should recognize the reality that U.S. expectations for its allies are growing as it becomes increasingly difficult for the United States alone to maintain the international order.

The administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to revise by the end of the year three security-related documents: the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Medium Term Defense Program.

In light of the drastic changes in the international situation, Japan must deepen discussions on strengthening the alliance with the United States and its defense capabilities so that it can play a greater role in regional and global stability.

Going forward, the balance between nuclear deterrence and nuclear disarmament will also be a challenge. The U.S. security strategy has made ensuring nuclear deterrence a top national priority, stating that the United States will have to deter “two major nuclear powers” for the first time by the 2030s.

This may be an indication of the serious sense of crisis facing the United States, which would have to cope with the rapid expansion of China’s nuclear weapons in addition to Russia’s arsenal. It is important to explore a new framework for nuclear disarmament among the United States, China and Russia while strengthening the nuclear capabilities of the United States.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 15, 2022)