China, not Russia, the greater threat
Ten weeks of protests, some huge, a few violent, culminated Monday with a shutdown of the Hong Kong airport.
Ominously, Beijing described the violent weekend demonstrations as "deranged" acts that are "the first signs of terrorism," and vowed a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators.
China is being pushed toward a decision it does not want to make: to use military force, as in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, to crush the uprising. For that would reveal the character of President Xi Jinping's Communist dictatorship, as well as Beijing's long-term plans for this semi-autonomous city of almost 7.5 million.
Yet this is not the only internal or border concern of Xi's regime.
Millions of Muslim Uighurs in China's west are in concentration camps undergoing "re-education" to change their way of thinking on loyalty, secession and the creation of a new East Turkestan.
In June, a Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Philippine fishing boat, leaving its 22 crewmen to drown. The fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese boat.
President Rodrigo Duterte's reluctance to resist China's fortification in the South China Sea of the rocks and reefs Manila claims are within its own territorial waters has turned Philippine nationalism anti-China.
China's claim to Taiwan is being defied by Taipei, which just bought $2.2 billion in U.S. military equipment including Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles.
Any Taiwanese declaration of independence, China has warned, means war.
While Taiwan's request to buy U.S. F-16s has not yet been approved, in a rare visit, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen stopped over in the U.S. recently, before traveling on to Caribbean countries that retain diplomatic relations with Taipei. Beijing has expressed its outrage at the U.S. arms sales and Tsai's unofficial visit.