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Should China Support Russia in the Ukraine?
Should China Support Russia in the Ukraine?
Of course, I would be pleased to learn that the P.R.C. denounces Putin as a vicious aggressor as he is, but I do not think it will happen. The Chinese failed to do so in the wake of the Russian shameful invasion of Georgia in 2008 and they do not seem likely to do it now.
I am not in the business of telling China what
it should do (the very question put to us is very
American). However, I can analyze what China is doing and may
do in the future regarding the crisis in Ukraine. First,
it will surely not support the West since it sees the crisis was
engineered by the West aiming at world domination. In countering
this tendency, in China’s view, Russia is a valuable ally.
A commentary by Xinhua news agency on March 7 entitled «The
West’s Fiasco in Ukraine» is very sympathetic
to Russia’s actions and critical of those of the West:
«Russia may no longer be interested in competing for global
preeminence with the West, but when it comes to cleaning a mess
the West created in the country’s backyard, Russian leaders once
again proved their credibility and shrewdness in planning and executing
effective counter moves». In short, Beijing is happy that someone was
brave and resolute enough to take effective measures against Western
«hegemonism." But it is also comfortable that this was not China, and
the Ukrainian crisis would not worsen
Beijing has already rejected any kind of sanctions against Russia and would veto them in the Security Council alongside with Russia. Generally, China sees the current situation in Ukraine as a «mess» created by the Western ineffective and greedy policy. The Xinhua commentary runs:
«For the rest of the world, once again, people see another great country torn apart because of a clumsy and selfish West that boasts too many lofty ideals but always comes up short of practical solutions.»
By «mess» Beijing usually means a situation created by Western sponsored actions aimed at undermining stable (often authoritarian) regimes all over the world which in Beijing’s opinion can effectively secure the country’s economic development and growing cooperation with China. This term was used to describe the Tiananmen crisis in 1989, «color revolutions» in Arab states, etc. Beijing’s regime sees countering this tendency even far from China’s borders as a means of protecting itself since it understands that the same tactics can be used by the West in China. From this point of view China would only welcome Russia’s growing will to counter Western expansion.
The only thing China would not officially support is Russia’s decision to annex Crimea or recognize its independence (in case such a decision is taken). Beijing’s position will be similar to that on the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia: generally supportive of Russia’s actions, but not approving undermining territorial integrity of existing states. Here China’s approach is determined by its own separatist problems in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang. Beijing, as it has already clearly stated, will also not support any kind of military action initiated by any side and will support a peaceful, diplomatic resolution of the conflict on the basis of compromise.
I. Why China will support Russian aggression:
- Because it never supports the position of the U.S. or the West, particularly when it has to do with condemning the actions of authoritarian regimes. In addition, China believes that the crisis in the Ukraine is orchestrated by the West.
- Because China’s authoritarian leaders fear that a Ukrainian «revolution from below» that overthrows the corrupt regime might serve as an example for the Chinese people. A Ukrainian revolution would be an authoritarian governments’ worst nightmare.
- Because the new Ukrainian government is
pro-Westernand is likely to join the majority of democratic nations in condemning the Chinese government’s human rights violations.
Because the Chinese government never supports international sanctions, fearing that such sanctions could be applied against their own policies.
II. Why China should not support Russian aggression:
- Because China has several regions where the rights of the indigenous population are violated and native languages are suppressed. The Crimean example might give these peoples the «wrong» ideas.
- Because of the situation in Taiwan, where China never recognized independence.
- Because a fear that Xinjiang and Tibet might be emboldened by the Crimean situation.
- Because Beijing usually does not support military actions outside the country’s sovereign borders.
«Говорят эксперты МГИМО», может не совпадать с мнением редакции портала.