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Big developments in Beijing

Written By: - Date published: 4:44 pm, February 7th, 2022 - 31 comments
Categories: China, Iran, kremlinology, leadership, Peace, political alternatives, Russia, United Nations - Tags:

The meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping is likely to set the geopolitical direction for the 21st century. If ‘divide and rule’ was the mantra for the US’s hegemonic rule in the 20th century, ‘unite and share’ looks like setting the tone for the 21st. Co-operation rather than competition is the mantra, and “friendship between the two states has no limits.” A truly remarkable turnaround.

Some are dismissing the statement of the two leaders as boilerplate virtue-signalling. That in my view is a mistake. The statement is accompanied by a work programme and other initiatives, and as recent history shows both countries place an emphasis on delivery. Andrei Graevsky provides a useful breakdown of the significance of the various section of the statement here.

In an article in the Observer titled ‘Biden rattles his saber at Putin…but its Xi he really wants to scare” Simon Tisdall begins by saying:

If, as seems probable, Russia decides not to launch an all-out invasion of Ukraine, tub-thumping US and British politicians who have spent weeks scaring the public with loose talk of looming Armageddon will have some explaining to do.

The military build-up directed by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, is real enough. But suspicion grows that the actual as opposed to the hypothetical threat of a large-scale conventional attack is being mis-read, misinterpreted, over-estimated or deliberately exaggerated.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

How true that is. I well remember General Colin Powell’s display at the UN about Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. But the money quote in Tisdall’s article is this:

The birth of this Sino-Russian axis, conceived in opposition to the US-led western democracies, is the most globally significant strategic development since the Soviet Union collapsed 30 years ago. It will define the coming age.

We hear very little in our media, dependent as it is on the Anglosphere, about the Shanghai Co-Operation Organisation, which has now admitted Iran to full membership, and  the Eurasian Economic Union,  who link the Eurasian landmass with road, rail and pipeline. They will not be easily contained by the 19th century maritime colonising powers US and UK, no matter how much these tell us they are ‘back’ or ‘global.’

This strategic link-up between China and Russia at the poles of Eurasia with the associated rapidly developing real and political networks is something we should be paying close attention to, and not just listening to the Western voices. For a start, it would do us well to pay attention f=to former Indian diplomat V,. K. Bhadrakumar, who writes at “Indian Punchline.” He notes that the Russian/China friendship does not fit the traditional definition of an alliance:

the Russian-Chinese partnership does not fit into the definition (of an alliance.) For a start, It is not about wartime contingencies. Rather, it is built on commonality of interests dating back to the early years of the post-cold war era and is far from a time-serving alliance of limited objectives. It is built on the principles of equality, mutual respect and on the complementarity between their political economies. Unsurprisingly, an exceptional “closeness” developed in course of time between the two countries.

 

 

31 comments on “Big developments in Beijing ”

  1. francesca 1

    Interesting that even Simon Tisdall is starting to get real .The US crying wolf one too many times is wearing thin

    No matter how many times Peng Shuai says she was not sexually assaulted, she was not "disappeared" and that she deleted her original post herself, western tennis officials and media can not give up on their sensationalised allegations

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport/2022/02/tennis-china-s-peng-shuai-makes-gives-first-foreign-media-interview-after-2021-disappearance-backtracks-on-sexual-assault-allegations.html

    That link itself is also slanted but there are plenty of others since Shuai's interview with French outlet Equipe

    • Andrew Miller 1.1

      Awwww bless.

      Yes, of course she just withdrew it herself, what possible reason could we have to think the CCP may have coerced her?
      .

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Classic triangulation – against USA primarily.

    For those eager to see cracks in the China-Russia bonhomie, Xi had a message: “China and Russia have stayed committed to deepening strategic coordination of mutual support… The two countries have never and will never waver in this choice.”

    Likewise, Putin proclaimed that “Russia sees in China the most important strategic partner and a like-minded friend, and hails the Russia-China relationship as an example for international relations in the 21st century.”

    The joint statement issued after their meeting made clear what China and Russia have in common. Both see a world moving “towards redistribution of power,” where “the international community is showing a growing demand for the leadership aiming at peaceful and gradual development.” China and Russia intend to fill that demand by providing alternative global leadership for any countries unhappy with the status quo.

    As U.S. President Joe Biden has made defending democracy a watchword of his administration, China and Russia have responded by attempting to claim the mantle of global democratic leadership. In his meeting with Putin, Xi even congratulated both China and Russia for having “safeguarded the true spirit of democracy.”

    The joint statement goes much further. Its first point is a lengthy (re)definition of democracy, culminating in the claim that “Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on thousand-years [sic] of experience of development, broad popular support and consideration of the needs and interests of citizens.”

    https://thediplomat.com/2022/02/what-putin-and-xi-said-and-didnt-say-about-ukraine/

    If I were Biden's political advisor, I'd advise him to issue a media release citing that last paragraph of the joint statement, then appending this US response: laugh (Lol).

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Russia seems inclined to put the Ukraine invasion on hold – at least until Nordstream comes on line. But neither country has much patience for relationships where they are not the controlling partner. Shirvan has a discussion of some of the issues Unpacking the China-Russia alliance – YouTube but neither country likes to bend the knee. Both are exploiting a xenophobic nationalism for domestic consumption. I wouldn't bet the farm on the alliance proving very robust.

    • Blazer 3.1

      Interested to know how Russia put the invasion of Ukraine on 'hold'.

      Putin and Lavrov have stated on a number of occasions they do not intend to…invade.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        One shouldn't repose much confidence in Putin's statements – he said he wasn't going to invade in 2014 either.

        His real object is perhaps discernable here: to the extent that he believes the lines that have gone out under his name, it is not acceptable to him that Ukraine remain separate, no matter what democratic processes may have resolved without him.

        • Blazer 3.1.1.1

          I thought he was worried about Ukraine joining Nato,and just wanted the Minsk Agreement and the guarantees of 1997 followed.

          As Ukraine is on the border of Russia,the West tooling' up Ukraine seems a legitimate concern.

          Do you think the U.S revelation that Russia was engineering a false flag incident in Ukraine has any credibility?

          I note there are alot of miles between the U.S and Ukraine.

          Also since the end of the Afghanistan moneymaker for U.S defence contactors …profits are on..a slide.

          • Stuart Munro 3.1.1.1.1

            For a long time Russia depended extensively on dirty tricks, having less in the way of force of arms and materiale to achieve their aims. We see signs of this continuing with cyber attacks, and it would not be out of character for them to create a false flag pretext. But the US is no stranger to such tricks either.

            It is less the tricks than the preparations for invasion, and the rhetoric for internal consumption, that spell out Russia's intent. NATO however had no particular plans to expand eastward. The fall of Ukraine, and subsequently Poland, however, would oblige them to keep standing armies of Cold War proportions – an expense they would rather avoid.

            No doubt the military industrial complex will find a way to profit – but the instigator of current tension is certainly Russia – Germany has had to be dragged to hold up its NATO commitments – it was looking forward to cheap gas.

            • Blazer 3.1.1.1.1.1

              As Ukraine is not a member of NATO and european nations signed the Minsk Agreement,what are those commitments ..exactly?

              • Stuart Munro

                I could not say – but they no doubt amounted to more than contributing a few helmets. It is Russia that has broken the Minsk agreement, by renewing hostilities, for the cessation of which they received the Ukrainian nukes in good faith.

                • Blazer

                  What are these hostilities?

                  Seem like allegations.

                  Russia can parade its military within its borders every day of the week ,if it wants to…surely.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Oh it's doing a little more than that – and the insurgency it has sponsored in the eastern Ukraine continues to produce casualties.

                    It has assembled a force sufficient to overwhelm its peaceful neighbour, conducted cyber attacks and a disinformation campaign about NATO creep. We could perhaps think about Russian rights had they not invaded in 2014, after sending in the insurgents.

                    Ukraine was probably Russia's test of the new president, who, in the wake of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, looked relatively weak. In the event however, he was able to rapidly find a consensus with traditional European allies, none of whom want a recrudescence of the Iron Curtain. Russia's gains under Trump proved not to be enduring – he couldn't do soft power to save himself, which is no doubt why he readily made common cause with Kim Jong Eun and Putin,

                    • Blazer

                      There is alot more to it than that.

                      Sure Russia annexed Crimea,to ensure Black Sea access for its navy.Ukraine renegged on their agreement.

                      Ukraine also had nuclear capability.

                      Not surprisingly Russia regarded that as a threat,just as the U.S would not accept the same near its borders.

                      With Nato having 30 members and Russia's Western front encircled it is not surprising that military initiatives are live concerning her national security.

                      My guess is Russia if it wanted to,could take out Ukraine quite easily.

                      A diplomatic solution needs to be found,U.S threats are not helpful.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    A diplomatic solution needs to be found,U.S threats are not helpful.

                    In the absence of US and NATO threats, Putin would by now have butchered Ukrainian civilians just as he did Chechen, Georgian, and most recently Kazakstanis.

                    You might want to consider whether the expansion of a criminal autocracy that has no rule of law is likely to be in any way better than US adventurism. Talk to some Polish people – they know what Russia is, and why even the US is infinitely better.

                    Russia has modernized its army at considerable expense for their marginal economy. They mean to use it – and if not deterred will recover all their European and Central Asia occupied territories. Without the figleaf of a new liberating system of governance, which is what Stalinist Communism pretended to be, Russian invasions are no more legitimate than Hitler's. Putin has even built a Hitler youth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAaoEFHlLqk, trying to paint Ukraine, which bore the brunt of WWII German aggression, as fascists. There is no lie too dirty for Putin.

                    • Blazer

                      ' they know what Russia is, and why even the US is infinitely better.'-Talk to some Iraqi people,they may have a different viewpoint,along with dozens of other countries who have had the misfortune to deal with U.S hegemony.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Quite.

                    But it is not the US invading this time, but Russia.

                    The Russian history of invasion is, if anything, worse. The Russian invasion halved the population of Chechnya – and illegal and immoral as the US invasion of Iraq was, they didn't go quite that far.

      • Andrew Miller 3.1.2

        We’ll, that settles it then. Putin has proved time and time again he’s a man who’s word we can trust and it’s obvious he only wants to see agreements stuck to….

        Good grief!

        • Blazer 3.1.2.1

          So you think the U.S cares less about the people in eastern europe!

          Good grief alright….a million died in Iraq='sorry,our intelligence …failed ..us'!

  4. pat 4

    Its built on the (years ago stated) desire to replace US dollar hegemony

  5. adam 5

    Watch Russia get back on it's feet by selling it's resources to China. And watch Europe freeze, without Russian natural gas it's all going to turn to shit next winter for the average European. Gas prices are completely crazy this year, next year are going to be much worse.

    Putin does not have to invade, he just needs to turn the tap off, and China have just made that possible.

    • Blazer 5.1

      Agreed.

      The sun is setting on the U.S empire.

      I think it is a good thing for the world.

      People are much the same,we can still respect them ,even if they don't speak ..English.

      • Blade 5.1.1

        ''The sun is setting on the U.S empire. I think it is a good thing for the world.''

        Who do you think will become the world's next sheriff?

        And how can that be good for NZ?

        • Blazer 5.1.1.1

          Who needs a self appointed Sheriff?

          The U.N is meant to be the forum to resolve international disputes.

  6. Ad 6

    The media could hardly be accused of not commenting on Russia and energy (via Ukraine), and China and energy (via blackouts for weeks last year).

    Since 2015 Russia has grown to be China's second-largest supplier of crude oil to China and the third-largest provider of natural gas (pipeline and liquefied natural gas combined). Russian companies are also currently increasing their supplies of high-quality coal to China: XI is simply warding off another electricity shock before his 2022 crowning.

    China and Russia have so totally screwed their relationship with their key Europe and North American markets that they can only operate within a rapidly diminishing sphere. It's threats by Russia and China that are causing the west to react with massive sanctions.

    Forget all your bile about the US or "signalling" and concentrate on the politics of energy.

    • Blazer 6.1

      Patent nonsense.

      Nordstream 2 is a multi billion dollar project,wanted and supported by Europe.

      Russia wants good relations with Europe as they supply 40% of their energy requirements.It makes good commercial sense.

      Arbitrary sanctions and threats are not conducive to peaceful co existence.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        The sanctions proposed are not arbitrary and the threat from Russia right now is real and has been so since 2014.

        • Blazer 6.1.1.1

          Might be real…just not this…real!

          By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 7, 2022 ~

          Winston Churchill once described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” The same could be said of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News, which last Friday ran the false headline “Russia Invades Ukraine.” For still unexplained reasons, the headline was left up for at least 24 minutes on the digital front page of Bloomberg News.

          • Ad 6.1.1.1.1

            Some things actually happen in reality.

            The US could, as the post suggests, simply follow China's lead and form a compact of purely mercantile survival and:

            – concede that Russia should have been able to militarily annex Crimea all along in 2014 without consequences

            – concede Russia should simply conquer the eastern quarter of the Ukraine as it continues to do with arms and finance since 2014, and

            – concede that the US simply can't adequately translate its economic heft into diplomatic effect that stops war

            – concede that total European reliance on Russian gas rather than any energy alternative is inevitable

            The Russia-China agreement is also tacit approval for China to continue aggressive moves against Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, Cambodia, North Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    The only reason Putin hasn't attacked the Ukraine is his generals are unsure of success in the face of generalised resistance from a re-invigorated Ukrainian army and civilian militia. A battlefield defeat or an attritional stalemate would be a strategic disaster for Russia. Heavy street fighting in Kharkov (for example) would tie up tens of thousands of Russian troops and result in heavy casualties amongst both military and civilian populations. He has to decide soon. Looking at the weather forcasts for Kiev online the spring thaw is beginning early (climate change).

  8. georgecom 8

    whilst the Russia-Ukraine issue has a number of faces and angles, one worth making is as follows. When Cuba acquired nuclear missiles the US had a heart attack, a huge tantrum and an existential moment. Soviet missiles 100 miles off their coast didn't sit well. Now 60 years on Russia is a bit nervous about Nato troops and armaments on their border. I think there are parallels. If the US had concerns 60 years back, I think it is reasonable for the Russians to have concerns now.

    • aj 8.1

      A quid pro quo

      Khrushchev’s memoirs suggest he would remove his missiles from Cuba in exchange for the removal of US missiles with nuclear warheads in Turkey. The Soviets accepted the terms of the agreement after Kennedy agreed to remove missile bases in Turkey.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund already delivering jobs and economic boost to the regions
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is successfully creating jobs and boosting regional economic growth, an independent evaluation report confirms. Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced the results of the report during a visit to the Mihiroa Marae in Hastings, which recently completed renovation work funded through the PGF. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure tests removed from June 20
    Travellers to New Zealand will no longer need a COVID-19 pre-departure test from 11.59pm Monday 20 June, COVID-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. “We’ve taken a careful and staged approach to reopening our borders to ensure we aren’t overwhelmed with an influx of COVID-19 cases. Our strategy has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Foreign Minister to attend CHOGM
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will travel to Rwanda this week to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali. “This is the first CHOGM meeting since 2018 and I am delighted to be representing Aotearoa New Zealand,” Nanaia Mahuta said.  “Reconnecting New Zealand with the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago