As the United States Navy’s Strike Group with the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson takes up position in the Korean Peninsula the world’s three Superpowers are playing a deadly game that is worrying other governments around the world. The new Cold War is heating up and the small dictatorships are using the opportunity to increase their hold on power.


After last week’s American missile strike on the Syrian airbase of Shayrat in reply to the Basher Al-Assad regime’s gas attack on the rebel held town of Khan Sheikhoum the North Korean dictatorship of Kim Jong-un replied that the American attack justified its development of nuclear weapons.

This statement demonstrates the intricacies on international politics where every player tries to lever concessions from more powerful players. At the same time the three most powerful players on the planet are circling around each other as they seek to embarrass their opponents and increase their influence on friends and foes alike.

The United States, Russia and China are dancing to a tune made up of political and economic interests.

Over recent years Russia has become ever more aggressive in its foreign policy, openly involving itself in Syria and continuing a conflict with the Ukraine that saw the Russian bear annexing Crimea from the ex member of the Soviet Union. Behind the scenes it has also working to destabilize the most important democracies and last year’s presidential election in the United States is not the only case where Russia is suspected of covert actions against democratic elections.

China is not only building an enormous economic empire but it is also overseeing a major expansion of its military forces. Its construction of artificial islands which are also military bases in the South China Sea is a source of worry for the United States and its Asian allies, especially those who consider parts of the sea as their sovereign territory.

The United States now finds itself with an Oval Office which has few foreign policy objectives besides its core belief of “America first”. In fact, last week’s attack on Syria angered many Trump supporters as he had broken a promise not to undertake such missions during his presidency. The Oval Office has also weakened the State Department with proposed budget cuts and the failure to fill all the positions required by the department, thus making it more difficult for Washington to find diplomatic solutions to difficult situations.


This dance between the superpowers has allowed dictators such as Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad to use their allies China and Russia as a buffer against United States actions in their regards.

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must now look at their political agenda and put in place precise plans against both Moscow and Beijing which also involve America’s allies who are worried by their long term intentions.

Diplomacy is not an art played in the press but an art where the most important moves are often made in discrete direct contacts or via intermediaries in situations where the antagonists have no direct contact, such as between America and North Korea.

America first

At risk is not economic profit but all too often the lives of civilians and particularly children as we saw in Khan Sheikhoum last week in the images which reportedly moved President Trump to military action.

This is the dance where America must show that it is truly the “first” of the superpowers but it cannot do so without a clear and direct policy and without an Administration that functions at the top of its capabilities. Reports of divisions in the White House even before the end of its honeymoon period only help Russia and China.

The United States will lose its first place if it does not take the lead in these matters and this is not by ordering attacks but by dealing directly with the real opponents in Moscow and Beijing. America first begins by acting first and best.