CIA Director William Burns appeared on CBS’s Sunday evening show, “Face the Nation” where he shocked the interviewer by claiming he is “confident” about US intelligence that shows China is considering the merits of selling weapons to Russia in support of their offensive in Ukraine. Being interviewed by Margaret Brennan, she quizzed him about these intelligence reports and their legitimacy.
Burns explained “You know, and as Secretary Blinken has said, publicly, you know, we have begun to see- we have begun to collect intelligence suggesting that China is considering the provision of lethal equipment. That’s not to suggest that they’ve made a definitive conclusion about this, that they’re actually begun to provide lethal equipment, but it’s obviously something that we take very seriously and watch very carefully.”
In response, Brennan pressed him for more details about the intel Secretary of State Blinken has received about the progression of China and their steps forward, as well as what Chinese President Xi Jinping could do to change the minds of US officials.
“Well, we’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment. We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment,” said Burns in response.
Further expanding on the issue, Burns explained that this would be a “risky and unwise bet” for China to make these deals and said, “I very much hope they don’t,” because it would only result in more tension between China and the US. Brennan also asked about what benefits China could receive from prolonging the war between Russia and Ukraine. Something Burns just doesn’t see. “It’s conceivable, but I think, there’s no foreign leader who’s watched more carefully Vladimir Putin’s experience in Ukraine, the evolution of the war than Xi Jinping has.”
This kind of situation would only serve to increase the tension not just between China and the US, but China and most of the free world. While North Korea and Iran also have their own conflicts, they each also have their own agreements with China just like Russia does. This domino effect of war and the escalation of violence would only serve to bring us into WWIII.
Similarly, China is already poking the bear for WWIII with its aggression in the South China sea. With the US turning their feelings about a free Taiwan, they are more than happy to go toe-to-toe with China, if necessary, but they have been trying to avoid it. With an increased presence in the Pacific, they have underscored this stance, and are trying to deter them from further aggression.
North Korea arming Russia has been allowed to go rather unchecked simply because they aren’t providing anything new. The technology NK is shipping over is from the 50s to the 90s comparatively to what the rest of the world has designed. As such, it’s not so much of a threat as it is a crutch to keep them alive. Considering how strongly the country has been sanctioned, it’s one of the few sources of income for the hermit nation.
If CIA director Banks is this “confident” about China’s intentions, then it’s time the US step up and do something about it. Given their lack of actions thus far, we don’t need to be the first shot fired. Instead, we should be continuing to try and dissuade them from arming Russia, and instead working with them to get Russia to back off, as well as working with them to leave Taiwan alone. Both countries are big enough for everyone to do business with them.