Giorgio Spagnol
Date de publication: 


Moscow and Beijing have just affirmed that their tightened relationship is superior to any political or military alliance of the Cold War era, will have “no forbidden areas of cooperation” and is aimed at countering the influence of the US.

In January 1917 Germany proposed to Mexico a military alliance against the US: Mexico in exchange would recover Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.  Such a move pushed the US to declare war on Germany.

The US is now seeking to include Ukraine in NATO (notwithstanding Moscow objections to such attempt) so that NATO would have a common border with Russia.

The Monroe Doctrine holds that the US reserves the right to national self-defense and any potential adversary that attempts to place strategic weapons within the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico or immediate neighboring countries will be subject to military intervention if necessary to prevent that from becoming a reality.


The Zimmermann Telegram was a secret diplomatic communication issued in January 1917 that proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico if the US entered World War I against Germany. Mexico would recover Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The telegram was intercepted and decoded by British Intelligence. The failure of United States troops to capture Pancho Villa in 1916 and the movement of President Carranza in favor of Germany emboldened the Germans to send the Zimmermann note. The telegram enraged Americans and generated support for the American declaration of war on Germany in April 1917.

The United States still resorts to what is known as the “Monroe Doctrine” which issues back, in the most recent application, to the 1960s when the Soviet Union attempted to place nuclear ballistic missiles in Cuba, resulting in the naval blockade and the world being placed at the brink of WWIII.

Secretary of State James Baker proposed a  bargain to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall: “If you give up your part of Germany, NATO will not shift one inch eastward.”  Gorbachev let his Germany go, but Washington rethought the bargain, not least after the Soviet Union’s own collapse in December 1991. Washington realized it could not just win big but win bigger. US new approach: not one inch of territory need be off limits to NATO.

Background Russia's Sphere of Influence 

Russia - whether Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, or post-Soviet Russia - views the security of its frontiers as essential for the security of the homeland. In Moscow’s view, security can be ensured only if Russia maintains a reliable sphere of influence over bordering countries thus having an important bulwark against foreign aggression.

Russia, just like the US, has regions where it has its privileged interests.  These “priority regions” are those that border on Russia and that Moscow considers its own “sphere of privileged interest” and “sphere of influence”.

For a continental power such as Russia, the importance of controlling the periphery based on an acute sense of vulnerability and insecurity has driven its leaders to pursue foreign and security policies by attributing importance to the factor of geography and strategic depth. The terrible trauma of June 22, 1941 (when Nazi Germany launched its attack on the Soviet Union) demands that the forces of a potential enemy be kept as far away as possible from the country’s most important political and economic centers.  This dictated the current need for the Soviet Union to create a buffer zone between itself and NATO.

Russia wants to minimize its traditional fears and insecurities and to recast a foreign and security policy from one developed over centuries - often through painful experiences and cataclysmic events - into one centered on Eurasia in which Russia emerges as  a powerful military force.

This is why Russia after losing Eastern Europe and the Balkans, considers Ukraine the last barrier able to physically and geographically separate itself from   NATO. The possible transition of Ukraine in the “Western Orbit” would surely intensify Russia's “encirclement syndrome”.

Current situation

China has put on a united front with Russia as the Ukraine crisis escalates, with President Xi Jinping joining Vladimir Putin in opposing further NATO expansion.

In a joint statement issued on 4 February after the Russian president met Xi in Beijing, the two powers called on NATO to “abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War”. “Friendship between the two States has no limits” Russia and China  declared , announcing plans to expand collaboration in a host of areas including  climate change, artificial intelligence and control of the Internet.

Both expressed opposition to the AUKUS alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, which they said increased the danger of an arms race.

China joined Russia in calling for an end to NATO enlargement and supported its demand for security guarantees from the West, notably regarding Ukraine.

Both expressed concern about the US’s plans to develop missile defence and deploy it in various parts of the world.

They also criticised attempts by US to establish global hegemony and impose their own standards of democracy.

China and Latin America

After a 20-year hiatus since the fall of the Soviet Union, the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) identify a new great power competition as the priority security threat to the United States.

As both Russia and China continue to invest in Latin America, if we focus on Europe with Russia and Asia with China, this great power competition is just as applicable in Latin America where China is aggressively using the economic instrument of power.

With an economic crisis in 2001, Argentina became a target of opportunity for China’s new type of debt “colonization” as it defaulted on nearly $22 billion of loans to the IMF,

Most concerning for US national security is the growing influence that Argentina’s economic reliance is buying in the security domain. Through these stronger economic ties, China is attempting to forge a military foothold in Argentina through arms sales, increased military cooperation, and promises to increase their strategic relationship in the future.

Significantly, in 2012, China signed a 50 year, no rent, lease to build a space station in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Allegedly designed to support China’s aggressive space exploration efforts, this new station is shrouded in secrecy and well positioned for dual use for military operations in space.


The US is opposing Russia's requests for  Ukraine, but the US would have reacted badly had Moscow helped overthrow a Washington-friendly government in Mexico as the US did with the Moscow-friendly government in Ukraine. Ukraine will matter much more to Russia than to the US, just as Mexico will always matter much more to Washington than to Moscow. Putin acted to defend what he saw as Russian interests, not to challenge US security.

The Russian and Chinese governments both understand that their existence is threatened by US hegemonic ambitions. This is why,  to defeat US plans to marginalize them, Russia and China, the Bear and the Dragon, are closely cooperating on the economic and military fronts. In 2018 they have also joined their efforts in the energy, space and nuclear sectors

It is worth mentioning that in two separate events Russia and China have publicly heralded a new age of diplomacy between the two countries: with the Vostok 2018 Exercise and the Joint Sea 2019 Exercise, Russia and China signaled to the West that they are working closer together to counterbalance the US imperialism.

In particular, Vostok 2018, a massive Russian-Chinese military exercise, involved more than 300,000 troops, 1,000 planes and several warships, while Joint Sea 2019 involved numerous submarines, ships, airplanes, helicopters and marines from both countries

The United States has a short-term view of the world. They do not see themselves as responsible for their legacy. Unilateral, irresponsible decision-making has been endemic in US foreign policy for decades, but America’s economic and military dominance created an international environment that was extraordinarily forgiving of American mistakes even as they ruined the lives of millions of people in the countries directly affected.


If Russia and China attempted to ally with Mexico, it could cause a serious crisis between the US and that country. China is already negotiating to establish a naval and air presences also in  Venezuela; that would have grave consequences.  Russia is again considering bases in Cuba; that would easily cause a very severe military confrontation with the possibility of unintended consequences from such a miscalculation which could lead to military conflict.

In either case, or if a foreign adversary attempted to place military bases in Mexico, the US government would call in the ambassador to fully explain the consequences of such an action, in no uncertain terms.

But it is hypocritical of the US government to be taking a stand against military bases on its borders or in its near-area zone of national security interests, since  the US has its own military bases or port of call agreements, or rotating force agreements in place which impact China and Russia.

Nevertheless, should China and Russia ally with Mexico, the United States would take every measure: economic, political, diplomatic and if need be, a military one to prevent that from happening.