U.S. Intelligence Warns That Russia and China Are Seizing on Global Turmoil

Bloomberg News
Date January 22, 2019
By Chris Strohm

  • Document issued every four years guides collection, analysis
  • ‘Democratization of space’ cited as an emerging challenge

Russia and China are taking advantage of changes in the “strategic environment” that has prevailed for almost a century to gain influence and undermine American objectives, according to a new strategy issued by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The document released Tuesday says global trends such as the weakening of international institutions, attacks on Western democracy and isolationist tendencies within governments have emerged as major challenges.

“Russian efforts to increase its influence and authority are likely to continue and may conflict

Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Two top U.S. intelligence officials during the hearing refused to say whether they were asked by President Donald Trump to help impede an FBI investigation into RussiaÕs role in the 2016 election. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

with U.S. goals and priorities in multiple regions,” according to the strategy released by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. “Chinese military modernization and continued pursuit of economic and territorial predominance in the Pacific region and beyond remain a concern, though opportunities exist to work with Beijing on issues of mutual concern” including North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

While the concerns about Russia are at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to forge better relations with President Vladimir Putin, the worries about China are in sync with the president’s confrontation with President Xi Jinping over trade and intellectual property.

Space, Cyber Weapons
An international race to dominate space and rapid advances in technology, including cyber weapons, also pose new challenges for the U.S., according to the 36-page document, which is issued every four years to drive U.S. intelligence collection and analysis.

“The strategic environment is changing rapidly, and the United States faces an increasingly complex and uncertain world in which threats are becoming ever more diverse and interconnected,” the strategy states.

The reference to a weakened international order is a new element compared with the strategy issued in 2014. It comes amid political turmoil in the U.S. and allies, including moves by Trump to pull back from international obligations.    [FULL  STORY]