The basic feature of US foreign policy during the Cold War was inclusiveness — a willingness to embrace any country that opposed Communism, whatever its type of government. The US contested the Soviet system and held the line militarily, and its consistent and comprehensive approach eventually led to the Soviet Union’s implosion. After the Cold War, came the “War on Terror” during which the United States has not been as inclusive as it was in its war against Communism. Aside from those in the “coalition of the willing,” even most European countries have distanced themselves from Washington. Iraq also has exposed the weaknesses in American policymaking. All these factors have brought the US at a crossroads.
Every year on May 9th millions of people throughout Russia and the former Soviet republics commemorate their victory over Germany in World War II. Foreign leaders attend the ceremonies in Red Square, as George W. Bush did in 2005. This year Western leaders did not, but the significance of their absence is not what corporate media would make people believe. Barack Obama, David Cameron and Francois Hollande weren’t in Red Square in 2015, but Chinese president Xi Jinping was, and he never left Vladimir Putin’s side. While Americans suffer from government and media propaganda telling them that Russia is isolated, their country is isolated too because it insists on being the world’s biggest bully.
The United States has woven a tangled web with its continued commitment to the imperial project. Barack Obama may not have been in Red Square but just three days later Secretary of State John Kerry met with Vladimir Putin in Sochi. That meeting is proof of, at least, a partial defeat for the United States.
In 2014, Washington used Ukraine’s internal crisis as an attempt to kill two birds with one stone. The Western backed coup not only put a pro-NATO president in office but sanctions enacted after Russia annexed Crimea were also a blow to its position as a leading energy producer.
The United States behaved like the schoolyard bully accustomed to stealing lunch money from the weaker kids. The sanctions and the removal of Russia from the G8 were meant to neuter the gas-producing giant. Russia not only stood in the way of American energy-producing supremacy but also speaks out against Washington’s mischief carried out around the world.
The sanctions and the removal of Russia from the G8 were meant to neuter the gas producing giant. Russia not only stood in the way of American energy producing supremacy but also speaks out against Washington’s mischief carried out around the world.
Russia used its status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to prevent a “no fly zone” over Syria that could have meant defeat for President Assad. Western wishful thinking would have a compliant Russia doing their bidding and giving up its sovereignty and prerogatives. To quote an old saying, “Dream on.”
The dream of an easy Russian smack down is at least partly over. Kerry and Foreign Secretary Lavrov have met and spoken repeatedly since the Ukraine Crisis began, but there haven’t been any high level meetings with president Putin. The fact that Kerry wanted to speak with the President and that Putin agreed indicates that both sides know they need the other.
Washington hasn’t completely surrendered, as its attempted rapprochement with Iran proves. Obama is pushing to end sanctions with Iran in order to make it an energy supplier to Europe, supplanting Russia in the process. But Putin has not been wringing his hands in the Kremlin, hoping for mercy from the United States. He has been forging new economic and military alliances with leaders all over the world.
The Chinese haven’t been passive either while Washington tries to make the whole world bend to its will. They have forged ahead with their Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to compete with the World Bank and IMF. Washington has to watch as allies such as France and the United Kingdom are among the 57 founding members of the AIIB.
Xi Jingping and Putin were literally cheek to cheek during the Victory Day parade. While American media made fun of the paucity of people they considered important, Russia and China strengthen their alliance. The two nations are holding war games in the Mediterranean Sea and have announced energy partnerships while the United States props up the failed state of Ukraine with billions of dollars. Russia has also announced pipeline deals with Turkey, another US ally. Turkey may have joined in the effort to defeat Bashar al-Assad in Syria, but that doesn’t mean it will be an American puppet in every circumstance.
The United States has worn out its welcome even among its friends. Angela Merkel may have missed the parade but she met Putin the day after and repeated her belief that the only solution to the Ukraine crisis is a diplomatic one. America’s bullying may have gotten the Europeans to agree to sanctions but they have harmed their own economies by doing so. Merkel and other Europeans are facing pressure to stand up to the Americans and stop cutting their own throats.
President Obama is like a circus juggler with many balls in the air. He wants to hurt Russia by helping Iran but Israel and the Arab gulf states were all committed to regime change, something they could count on Washington to uphold. Now that Obama wants to make nice with Iran its other enemies are very unhappy. Of course, King Salman of Saudi Arabia wouldn’t show up for a meeting at Camp David. He sees no reason to go along with Washington’s attempt to have its cake and eat it too.
So while friends are angered about the move toward Iran, nations like Russia and China act in their own interest and watch the United States with wary curiosity. America will always turn friends to enemies and suddenly declare that enemies are friends because it is not a true friend to anyone else. One day destroying Iran is the top priority, then propping up the failed Ukrainian state, then destroying Syria, then making friends with Cuba but still imposing sanctions on Venezuela. It is a litany of deceit and dishonour among thieves.
Putin and Xi prove that it is possible to stand up to the United States. Even though Obama succeeded in keeping other leaders away from Moscow’s celebration it didn’t really matter. When it counted they had to come and show their respect and that is a victory for the entire world.
Basic Facts about China-Russia Relations
Following are some basic facts about China-Russia relations:
On Dec 27, 1991, China and Russia signed a memo to ensure Russia would inherit the diplomatic relations between the former Soviet Union and China established on Oct 2, 1949.
In December 1992, China and Russia signed a joint statement on the foundation for bilateral ties, calling on China and Russia to regard each other as “friendly countries.”
In September 1994, China and Russia signed the second joint statement, announcing the two countries are resolved to establish a constructive partnership with a perspective toward the 21st century.
The two sides also signed a series of important agreements, including a joint declaration to the effect that the two countries will not be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other and shall end the targeting of each other with strategic nuclear weapons.
In April 1996, the two countries declared the establishment of a partnership of strategic coordination based on equality and trust and oriented toward the 21st century.
In July 2001, China and Russia signed the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, which has laid a strong legal foundation for the two countries to develop a strategic partnership.
In May 2003, the two countries signed a joint statement in which both sides agreed to develop good-neighborly and friendly relations and a strategic partnership.
In October 2004, the two sides signed a joint statement and approved the guidelines for implementing the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, which stipulated that the two countries would launch a “Year of Russia” in China in 2006 and a “Year of China” in Russia in 2007.
In June 2005, China and Russia exchanged the ratification of the Supplementary Agreement on the Eastern Section of the China-Russia Boundary Line, ending border problems between the two countries.
In June 2009, the two countries signed a joint statement and approved the programme for China-Russia investment cooperation planning.
In September 2009, China and Russia approved a 10-year programme on planning for regional cooperation between China’s northeastern region and Russia’s far east and eastern Siberia region.
In September 2010, the two sides signed the China-Russia joint statement on comprehensively deepening strategic partnership of coordination, and also published a joint statement on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
In June 2011, the two countries issued a joint statement on a broad range of key international issues.
In 2012, Putin included China in his first overseas trip after assuming the Russian presidency again.
In March 2013, Xi, as China’s head of state, chose Moscow as the first stop of his overseas visit.
During the past two years, the two heads of state have met nearly 10 times, reaching a series of important consensus on bilateral cooperation in all areas.