About the speaker
Stephen Blank is an internationally recognized expert on Russian foreign and defense policies and international relations across the former Soviet Union. He is also a leading expert on European and Asian security, including energy issues. Most recently, he was a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, www.afpc.org.
From 1989-2013 he was a Professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. Dr. Blank has been Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute since 1989. In 1998-2001 he was Douglas MacArthur Professor of Research at the War College.
Dr. Blank has consulted for the CIA, major think tanks and foundations, chaired major international conferences in the USA and abroad In Florence, Prague, and London, and has been a commentator on foreign affairs in the media in the United States and abroad. He has also advised major corporations on investing in Russia and is a consultant for the Gerson Lehrmann Group. He has published over 1300 articles and monographs on Soviet/Russian, U.S., Asian, and European military and foreign policies, including publishing or editing 15 books, testified frequently before Congress on Russia, China, and Central Asia for business, government, and professional think tanks here and abroad on these issues.
Prior to his appointment at the Army War College in 1989 Dr. Blank was Associate Professor for Soviet Studies at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education of Air University at Maxwell AFB. He also held the position of 1980-86: Assistant Professor of Russian History, University of Texas, San Antonio, 1980-86, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian history, University of California, Riverside, 1979-80.
Dr. Blank’s M.A. and Ph.D. are in Russian History from the University of Chicago. His B.A is in History from the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert R. Reilly:
I’m particularly pleased to have tonight as our speaker Dr. Stephen Blank, who’s an internationally recognized expert on Russian foreign and defense policies and international relations across the former Soviet Union. We share a friend in common at the Naval Post Graduate School, who informed me that Dr. Blank is the best informed person about the Soviet Union and Russia, and he didn’t qualify the remark. Period. So it’s wonderful to have him here.
He was most recently a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in DC. For a long time, 1989 to 2013, he was Professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He’s taught at a number of other defense and secular universities on the same subjects of Russia and national security affairs. So far, he’s only published some 1,300 articles on this subject matter, and he’s also published or edited fifteen books. I won’t go through his many other qualifications other than to mention he received both his MA and his PhD at the University of Chicago in Russian History. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Stephen Blank who’s going to talk to us about “How does the Russo-Chinese Alliance Threaten U.S. Interests and Allies?”
Dr. Stephen Blank:
Thank you for that generous introduction. I have to say that the reason our common friend said that to Bob about me is that my mother was his high school English teacher. I want to thank you all for coming out on this beautiful night, especially to forgo game seven of the World Series. I mean that shows true devotion to the topic. I’m going to talk about the Sino-Russian alliance, particularly its military dimension. That’s where the real threat is to the United States and its allies, not only in Asia by the way, but also in Europe.
And the word ‘alliance’ is not something that I alone have thought up, although I believe that there was an alliance for several years now. Mr Putin three weeks ago – and God bless him, he keeps us all busy – stated at the annual Valdai Conference that ‘we have an alliance with China’, and he defined alliance as multi-faceted cooperation: military, economic, political, so if you don’t like the term alliance, blame him, not me. It’s his word. Although he’s right, and by making this announcement, Putin also simultaneously stated that Russia is now helping China with a missile defense system that is ground-based launch detection, ground control, and that goes with the collaboration in space that they’ve already talked about and which has been mentioned in public for some time now.
So beyond economic and political diplomatic cooperation or collaboration and conventional military collaboration that we’ve seen in arms sales and exercises and in inter-military and inter-governmental exchanges, which are extensive between Russia and China, we now have an alliance that is to some degree involved in nuclear weapons as well, and that ought to sink into people. To add to that, in August, soon after the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, INF Treaty, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoygu, got up and said, ‘you know, it’s not our fault, we had nothing to do with us’, which is another sign of the Russian government’s devotion to the truth, and stated that if the United States as intended wants to put intermediate-range missiles in Asia because of the threat from China, which is building them as fast as it can, then we too will put those missiles in Russian Asia to threaten American forces not only in Alaska or maybe Hawaii, but South Korea and Japan, in other words, our allies.
When they use the word alliance, they don’t mean just simply a meeting of the minds. There is serious political, economic, and, clearly, military planning going on because the Russians by Shoygu’s statement and he didn’t just get up one morning and decide to say this, basically said we will help defend China against the United States.