The non-coincidence of Russian-Chinese strategic air ops, missile launches by Iran and N. Korea, and a Persian Gulf security freak-out, all the same week
If you went by Western media coverage, you’d ignore the fact that Iran test-launched a Shahab-3 ballistic missile on, specifically, Wednesday, 24 July 2019, and North Korea test-launched two missiles seemingly similar to the Russian Iskander ballistic missile on, specifically, Thursday, 25 July; and you’d probably imagine that the missile launches were spontaneous, unrelated cosmic rebukes of Donald Trump’s policies on Iran and North Korea, which the Western media don’t like.
You would certainly ignore the fact that on Tuesday, 23 July, the day before the first missile launch, Russia and China conducted a joint strategic power demonstration with bomber flights in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), clearly intended to target the will and purpose of South Korea, while rattling Japan’s cage as a collateral benefit.
Such is the strange cognitive framework you would inhabit if you went by Western media coverage.
But if you performed the simple tasks of checking the calendar and pondering – even briefly – the connections between Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, you might be more skeptical of the cosmic-rebuke analysis regarding Trump’s policies.
Add two more factors, in fact, and you’d have yourself a more coherent theory. First, any headway Donald Trump makes with his North Korea policy – such as his unprecedented presidential visit with Kim Jong-Un at the DMZ on 30 June – tends to push the course of events beyond a stale, six-decade-old status quo on the Korean Peninsula in which China and Russia are both heavily invested. They don’t want the U.S. and South Korea to negotiate a resolution with the North that isn’t controlled from Beijing and Moscow. They will try instead to divide Seoul from Washington, through intimidation and arm-twisting if necessary.
Both nations are working against Trump’s North Korea policy. This past week, they did it noisily.