|No Real Agenda||
16 September 2022
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met in Samarkand for the their first face-to-face meeting since Mr. Putin ordered the Russian army into Ukraine. The reason was ostensibly a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a pointless body invented by China as a way to pretend the Western economies can be counterbalanced. Other members are India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran (accession started a year ago). The reason the two met was because they had to meet. The world would have assumed there was serious trouble in the Sino-Russian relationship had they not met. As it is, the trouble is notable but not yet serious. So, they met to little purpose with no real agenda.
"We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis," Mr. Putin said in televised remarks at the start of the meeting. "We understand your questions and concerns in this regard. During today\'s meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before."
"China is ready to work with Russia in extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests," Mr. Xi was quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying, without referring to Ukraine.
The Chinese attitude appears to be one of ambivalence, passionately tepid. Just before the invasion, the Chinese and Russians spoke of a partnership "without limits." Now, after Russia has failed to defeat a third-tier military power by European standards, Chinese support extends to anything Russia might need short of actual help. Russia is getting artillery shells from North Korea, which shows how desperate the situation there has become. Yet, President Xi appears unwilling to do anything that President Putin would find useful.
Hence, Mr. Putin sought to play up all the other aspects of their partnership. "We jointly stand for the formation of a just, democratic and multipolar world order based on international law and the central role of the U.N., and not on some rules that someone has come up with and is trying to impose on others, without even explaining what it\'s about," Mr. Putin told Mr. Xi. One of the rules the UN has is that one member will not invade and occupy another. That is quite easily explained.
China has its own problems, and those may be weighing on President Xi and his attitude toward Russia\'s war of aggression. His zero-Covid policy is a failure. He continues to lock up entire cities in a desperate attempt to stamp out the disease, but it persists. His economy suffers for that, but his economy also has a massive debt bomb that could explode at any moment. The local banks have lent money irresponsibly, and repayment under these conditions is unlikely to happen in full and on time.
Then, there is the matter of Taiwan. Mr. Xi is desirous of annexing the island, and the islanders of desirous of being left alone. Mr. Putin brought the West together with his cack-handed management of the crisis he created. Were Mr. Xi to move against Taiwan now, the West would not take more than 2 seconds to react with crushing sanctions and arms sales. It is what the West has done with Russian and Ukraine. Mr. Putin has queered the pitch for Mr. Xi quite badly.
The two nations are close politically because there is no one else they can cozy up to. India and Pakistan might be junior partners to the two of them but never the main ally. They are stuck with each other.
© Copyright 2022 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.