The Straits Times says

Intelligence brief Trump should heed

The United States Intelligence Community's 2019 assessment of threats to US national security, presented on Jan 29, is, by its own description, the "nuanced, independent and unvarnished intelligence" that policymakers, security agencies and domestic law enforcement need to protect American lives and interests around the world. While the cantation about threats from China and Russia is entirely predictable, this year's assessment is noteworthy for observing that the two powers are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s, and that the relationship is likely to strengthen as some of their interests and threat perceptions converge in the face of perceived US unilateralism and interventionism.

This much is not entirely unexpected for any careful observer of global politics. At the 2017 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Russian and Chinese delegations held their own meeting on the sidelines of the security conference, reflecting their swiftly building strategic relationship. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin, responding to a question on Chinese behaviour in the South China Sea, praised China as "a good country... a big country and a peace-loving country", saying that the Russian assessment arose from careful consideration of the global circumstances. At the time, Moscow was chafing at the US decision to base the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missile system in South Korea.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'Intelligence brief Trump should heed'. Print Edition | Subscribe