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.