Chinese President Xi Jinping’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin is further evidence of the increasingly global threats facing the United States and its allies.
Beyond discussing Xi’s “peace plan” for the war in Ukraine, the meeting in Moscow further crystallizes the anti-Western axis of the 21st century.
Putin wrote that Russian-Chinese relations “today practically represent the cornerstone of regional, even global stability.”
He greeted his “dear friend” Xi, who expressed “deep gratitude,” adding that China’s “friendship” with Russia is “growing day by day.”
There is little joy in Kyiv over the Chinese proposals, and there should be even less in Washington, as they are little more than Chinese-Russian propaganda exercises.
Putin has described Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine as an “acute crisis,” which is certainly one way of putting it.
Beijing supporters in the West during the nearly 13 months of Moscow’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine have repeatedly misrepresented that China is embarrassed by Russia’s behavior, that China wants to “separate” from Russia, and that China is not providing significant assistance to Russia’s war effort.
These claims were deliberately false even when the apologists apologized and are now fully exposed.
Today, Western apologists for China should be embarrassed.
In fact, China is the biggest winner in the war in Ukraine, no matter how it ends.
If Russia prevails in whole or in part, then China’s ally wins, despite fierce resistance from Ukraine and substantial assistance from the US and NATO, thereby increasing the threat to other former constituent parts of the Soviet Union and to Western Europe as a whole.
And if Moscow fails, Beijing’s ally will become even more dependent on China and, therefore, even more in its slavery. It is difficult to describe a number of scenarios that C prefers.
Unfortunately, Ukraine and the rest of the former Russian Empire will not be the only targets of this new Eurasian axis.
By denying the legitimacy of the grounds on which the USSR collapsed, the Kremlin is calling into question the security of all former Soviet republics, including the three Baltic states that are now members of NATO.
In East Asia, Taiwan is urgently bolstering its defenses while the United States, Japan and other allies are considering larger collective self-defense structures to blunt any Chinese hegemonic ambitions.
Others in China’s Indo-Pacific periphery are understandably getting nervous.
Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, protected by their veto power granted by the Charter of the United Nations and recognized as legal nuclear states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, are on the move, accompanied by various hangers-on such as North Korea, Iran, Belarus . and other nations have not come out of the closet yet.
After China’s recent surprise mediation of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to repair their broken relationship, who can predict what their next diplomatic ploy might be?
What’s more, after decades of the West pretending there was a “rules-based international order” and the alleged deterrent effect of the International Criminal Court, Xi arrived in Moscow just days after the ICC issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest.
The Kremlin leader immediately ignored the order, traveling to Russian-occupied Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbass.
Neither China nor Russia are parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC and are unlikely to sign it anytime soon. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman bluntly denied the ICC’s actions, urging the court to “respect the head of state’s jurisdictional immunity under international law.” (America is also not a member of the ICC, largely because of its fundamental illegitimacy.)
Moreover, during the COVID pandemic and until today, China has shown exactly what it thinks of the World Health Organization by systematically obstructing the UN investigation into the origin of COVID and protecting China’s interests from other affected countries.
And neither Russia nor China will make a significant contribution to substantive agreements or actions in international climate change negotiations.
Even in the realm of international trade and investment, the prospects for a long-term struggle between the Eurasian axis and the West are rapidly growing.
Here are the benefits and protections of multilateral diplomacy. The only good news that could emerge from the meeting between Putin and Xi is that Westerners who previously did not understand the malicious intentions of Russia and China will wake up – and very soon.
John Bolton was National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump in 2018–2019 and U.S. Ambassador to the UN in 2005–2006.