US’ Rising Anxiety as Russia Survives Attrition by the Entirety of NATO
The Chinese, quite possibly, are genuinely perplexed at the US and European strategy: Why does the US not back-off now from this Ukraine war?
President Macron and EU Commission head, Von der Leyen, are back from China. Their visit achieved little that was tangible (except for a few contracts for French businesses), but the atmospherics were terrible. And von der Leyen reportedly cut her trip short.
President Xi was as courteous and patient as ever, but even he failed to hide his grimaces, as Macron went on, and on, about China’s responsibility to roll back President Putin over Ukraine. Xi’s frustration showed plainly when Macron did not seem to hear his repeated response that both Russia and Ukraine have their security concerns, and that ‘no’, China is not about to intervene in the conflict. Macron however, just persisted — and at length.
So what was this visit all about? Well, essentially, it related to the fact that Secretary Blinken has been unable to reinstate the visit to Beijing that he cancelled in the wake of the US shoot down of the Chinese weather balloon. And nor has the White House been able to schedule a phone call between Presidents’ Biden and Xi. Beijing remains non-responsive to both.
So Macron took up an earlier invite to Beijing, and Von der Leyen tagged along to show EU ‘solidarity’ (but was largely ignored).
Ostensibly, Macron’s message was that France wanted to keep some commercial links with China open (in spite of US pressures to isolate China economically), but the European pair travelled essentially as American emissaries.
Their tasking was well understood by China. This sentiment was succinctly framed by the former editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times, Hu Xijin, who is close to Central Committee thinking, who gave us the ‘Big Picture’:
“The US repeatedly claims that China is preparing to provide “lethal military aid” to Russia in the ongoing Ukraine conflict. China has firmly denied the allegations: I believe the US is engaging in a ‘pre-emptive accusation’ to prevent China from weighing in on the conflict”.
“[The] Ukraine war has been going on for more than a year: And according to the West’s previous calculation, Russia should have already collapsed by now. They didn’t expect that Russia can still sustain it until now – and in recent days, Russia is advancing the encirclement of Bakhmut, a key hub for the supply route of the Ukrainian troops.
“It is a war of attrition between Russia and the West. Ukraine provides the troops. It is receiving all its military supplies, including ammunition, from NATO. And whilst NATO is supposed to be much stronger than Russia, the situation on the ground doesn’t appear as such – which is why it causes anxiety in the West.
“The West has found it much more difficult than expected, to defeat Russia. They know that China has not provided military aid to Russia. But the question that haunts them is this: If Russia alone, is already so difficult to deal with, what if China really starts to provide military aid to Russia, using its massive industrial capabilities for the Russian military? Russia alone … is more than a match for the Collective West. If they [the West] really forces China and Russia to join hands militarily – the question that haunts them is that the West will no longer be able to do as it pleases. Russia and China together, would have the power to check the US”.
In short, Hu Xijin is expressing this paradox: The US and Europe know that China is providing no military aid. In China’s view, Russia is managing handily in confronting the entire West in Ukraine — ‘singlehandedly’. It therefore does not need China’s help, so why, has the US effectively pursued a policy of forcing “China and Russia to join hands”?
The answer, Hu says, is that that were China and Russia to join hands militarily – well, that would be paradigm change. US hegemony would no longer be able to do as it pleases. Russia and China together would have the power to check the US, whenever it oversteps its boundaries.
The Chinese, quite possibly, are genuinely perplexed at the US and European strategy: Why does the US not back-off now from this Ukraine war? For, should the West continue to escalate, with more and more NATO military support, ‘what if’ this ultimately does result in China and Russia militarily ‘joining hands’. Bang! Paradigm change will be done.
Does the US want that? Clearly not. It would result in the humiliation of the US and NATO. So, why persist with a project which looks to end badly — and which shamefully is sacrificing so many lives?
Is there some unperceived strategy here, or is it just about having favourable 2024 US Presidential ‘optics’, irrespective of strategy: i.e. placing a short term Presidential ‘look’ above a long-term US strategic loss?