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United States Putting Pressure on Italy & Turkey Not to Deal With China & Russia

Michael East, Red Revolution

The United States is said to be putting increasing pressure on its allies not to deal with Russia and China.

Speaking at a NATO meeting in Washington, United States Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey over the country’s defensive cooperation with Moscow, indicating that such coopertion would have consequences for Turkish-American relations.

“Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?”

Mike Pence

The Turkish response was strong and swift, accusing the United States of supporting terrorism in a likely reference to the Syrian conflict.

“The United States must choose. Does it want to remain Turkey’s ally or risk our friendship by joining forces with terrorists to undermine its NATO ally’s defense against its enemies?”

Fuat Oktay, Turkish Vice President

The latest spat comes days after the U.S. stopped shipments of F-35 jet related equipment to Turkey over Ankara’s deal for the S-400 Triumph air defense system with Moscow. Despite pressure to cancel the deal, Turkey has said they will proceed with the S-400 Triumph purchase.

President Donald J. Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey at the United Nations | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Meanwhile, Italy has come under similar fire from U.S. Officials for signing up to China’s New Silk Road, an endeavour to connect over 56 countries through infrastructure development under Chinese leadership.

“We are warning many countries to be aware of the risks posed by supporting the Belt and Road Initiative, especially those who are actively seeking direct foreign investment. But Italy is a special concern because it is a strong ally and a member of the G7”

Garrett Marquis, U.S. National Security Council spokesman

Proposed five years ago by Chairman Xi, the Belt and Road Initiative is a priority in Chinese foreign policy, with investments increasing to over $15 billion in the previous year. The Initiative will see investment in ports, roads and power plants across the globe as China seeks to improve its trade links with 152 countries in total. The final value of Chinese investment in Italy could rise as high as 22 billion dollars, but is limited to strategic trading ports in Genoa and Trieste in the initial phase.

Participants of the Belt and Road international forum. | Kremlin

The U.S. National Security Council also warned states about doing business with Russia, saying that “Russia is creating incursions in the Italian political landscape and we strongly encourage Rome to take these activities seriously.”

The latest developments come following a series of foreign policy disasters from the current Trump administration, including widely condemned moves to recognise the Golan Heights and sow political instability in Venezuela, the latest moves are seen by critics as further evidence of waning U.S. power, the state hitting out in an attempt to revitalise its world hegemony in the face of Russian and Chinese ascension.

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