Russia-China ties deepen but New Cold War rhetoric conceals more than it discloses

PLA soldier on parade
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China and Russia have pledged to deepen economic and military ties against the background of the Ukraine war. China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi met Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The summit took place just days before the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In televised remarks, Yi told Putin “a crisis is always an opportunity”. Meanwhile, Putin remarked that Sino-Russian cooperation was “important for stabilising the international situation”.

A lifeline for Russia

One commentator said that the long-standing alliance was growing as a result of international tensions over Ukraine. Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told The Guardian:

China is increasingly becoming a lifeline that keeps the regime afloat and prevents it from turning into a giant North Korea with an overly militarised industry and total destruction of normal life.

Gabuev also said:

Of course Russia is a much more robust economy, but without the ability to sell to the Chinese market or access Chinese tech, life will be harder and the war effort would be harder to sustain.

So I think it’s absolutely essential for Russia to maintain and expand these ties.

Read on...

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New Cold War?

The conflict in Ukraine has seen rising tensions between the US, its allies, and the partnership of Russia and China as the latest phase of a ‘New Cold War’. But some experts have warned that this is misleading.

Professor Mario Del Pero, a scholar of international relations, has warned that globalisation and the lack of an ideological difference between the US and its enemies mean the current tensions are very unique. Indeed, Del Pero contested the use of Cold War comparisons:

If we call the current rivalry and tensions between China and the US a new “cold war”, we lose sight of the historical uniqueness and specificity of their relationship.

Meanwhile, publications such as the Financial Times have warned that New Cold War narratives hinder climate change cooperation, among other risks:

It would be economically damaging and militarily dangerous. It would also restrict the life chances and horizons of people all over the world, who could find their opportunities to study, trade and travel restricted.

And just to take the UK as an example, a steady stream of calls for defence spending hikes in light of the Ukraine war continue. They are accompanied with dire warnings of near-future conflict and the Russian and Chinese threat – and a virtual guarantee of vast profits for arms firms.

Wrong priorities

Our priorities are wrong at a critical moment. Rhetoric around a New Cold War is getting in the way of a pressing and existential threat: climate change. Saying this doesn’t let Putin off the hook for invading Ukraine, China off the hook for its authoritarianism, or the West off the hook for its own long history of violence or exploitation.

No state on earth is fit to deal with the crises we face. For that, leadership must emerge from below, from the global movements for economic justice, against war and authoritarianism, and for a more equitable and safer world.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY 2.0.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Why do the comments disappear when I log in?
      I wanted to praise the first one which challenged the propaganda posted by what appears to be a “New Endowment for Democracy” / CIA backed group of agitators trying to overthrow Putin so that the USA can return to the pillaging they enjoyed under Yeltsin.
      On YouTube contributors like Brian Berletic of “The New Atlas” and “Garland Nixon” will explain for you in great detail the ghastly, global and centuries old horror of US hegemony and Imperialism.
      This article has cost the Canary my monthly sub because you have lost your critical faculties and are repeating propaganda.

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