Russia-China relations: ‘forewarned is forearmed’

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice President Han Zheng tour an exhibition at the 8th Russian-Chinese EXPO in Harbin, China, May 17, 2024. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice President Han Zheng tour an exhibition at the 8th Russian-Chinese EXPO in Harbin, China, May 17, 2024. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS.

Published May 19, 2024



Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to China this week has left Nato reviewing its next move, as evidence mounts that Western sanctions against Moscow have failed.

Attempts by the Western powers to break the close-knit ties between Moscow and Beijing were once again at play as recently as a fortnight ago when President Xi Jinping visited Europe.

The “no-limits” ties between Russia and China – the world’s leading nuclear powers – are the last remaining stumbling blocks to the US-led total domination of the international world order.

Russia and China are often brazen in their dismissal of Nato and Western threats to isolate their nations. The growing self-expression of the entire Global North and the no-more-fear stance of the non-alignment states have weakened the Western programme of unilateralism.

On the other hand, it has buoyed Beijing and Moscow, projecting the two superpowers as the mainstay of the modern anti-Western imperial expansionism.

Russian authorities have often indicated that the existential threat posed by Nato’s menacing expansion eastward to the door-step of Russia could trigger a nuclear World War III.

Over the past two years, Russia has been involved in what the Kremlin refers to as the Special Military Operation in Ukraine in an effort to thwart Nato’s expansion through the indirect incorporation of Ukraine into an offensive – and not defensive – military bloc.

The Nato bloc has accused Russia of invading Ukraine and threatening its sovereignty.

Ideological differences and competing geopolitical interests have divided the international community into one side, led by the US-controlled Nato, and Russia and China on the other.

Although it has become abundantly clear that Russia and China will not hesitate to act in self-defence against any iota of existential threat to either nation, the leaders of the two nations were trying hard to play the polite game of diplomacy when they met in Beijing.

Putin said: “Our co-operation in world affairs is one of the main stabilising factors on the international stage. Together, we defend the principles of fairness and the democratic world order based on the multipolar realities and international law.”

The blatant hypocrisy of the US-led Western world has been on display over the past seven months of Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip, where more than 35 000 people have been killed by the Israeli Defence Forces and illegal Israeli settlers alike.

More than 80 000 Palestinians have been wounded, many left with permanent physical disability and the rest with mental scars.

Additionally, more than 10 000 are said to be trapped beneath heaps of rubble, unable to be rescued amid a relentless wave of Israeli bombardment and shelling that is now coupled with a ground invasion of Rafah, where more than 1.3 million Palestinians are trapped.

Despite the harrowing evidence of genocide, Israel cannot be held accountable, as the US has unleashed a blanket of diplomatic protection.

At the UN Security Council, where resolutions condemning the war and calling for ceasefire were drafted on numerous occasions, none succeeded as the US used its veto power to block their adoption.

As if that were not enough, Washington has also blocked the adoption of a resolution for the establishment of a Palestine state, insisting that Israel and Washington would rather handle the matter outside the realms of the UN authority.

Worldwide, particularly in the circles of the US-dominated G7 nations, Israel continues to be treated with cotton wool, and any attempt to criticise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his War Cabinet is swiftly dismissed as anti-Semitism.

In the US, more than 100 university campuses that have embarked on pro-Palestine solidarity encampments have been criticised by the political establishment across the ideological divide.

The popular student protests, calling for their universities to cut all ties with Israel or companies doing business with Israel, have had to content to a barrage of smear campaigns, including by the traditional mainstream media.

The ideological divide and appraisal of Israel’s conduct in Gaza has exposed the schism between America’s political old guard and the young generation that is globally interconnected by technological development and ubiquitous social media.

It is this headache of internal revolt by students and academics in the US, France, the UK, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Japan and a growing list of other countries that seem to have shocked the political dinosaurs that seem to believe Israel can do no wrong.

Amid the Western political upheavals that have been going on for weeks, Russia and China have kept their focus on building on their “no-limits” bilateral relations.

The two nations, seen as the final stumbling blocks to the domination of Western hegemony across the globe, remain resolute and determined to defend each other’s interests against growing Western aggression.

In Beijing this week, Putin was rather more diplomatic, saying: “It is absolutely crucial that Russian-Chinese relations are not ad hoc contacts and are not aimed against anyone.”

Diplomacy, by its very nature, can be an art of misleading.

The truth is, the US is regarded as the singular biggest existential threat to China and Russia, and neither country will allow such threats to materialise.

Constant attempts by the US to isolate China in the Indo Pacific, and a sly and uncouth programme to support the separatist elements in the Chinese self-governing territory of Taiwan, are examples of Washington meddling in the internal affairs of states seen as adversaries.

Also this week, US President Joe Biden announced a new batch of economic restrictions on the Chinese electric vehicles and other tech goods, a move seen to counter China’s meteoric economic rise that threatens America’s global domination.

Like Russia’s fearless posture against Western threats, China has minced no words in condemning what it refers to as US-led “Cold War mentality” that is the root cause of threats to international peace and stability.

But the arrogance of the West knows no limits.

Repeatedly, Nato members have attempted to pressure China to join in their sanctions regime against Moscow.

See, the West has shifted the make-up of the international world order from a multipolar system that is based on the founding UN Charter to a unipolar one that they describe as a “rules-based world order”.

Ironically, they and they alone draw the rules, and the rest must just fall in line, or else? Well, Russia and China have long dared them to try their luck with them.

During Putin’s state visit to China this week, the Foreign Ministry of China announced in a statement that unbreakable relations with Moscow “are conducive to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world at large”.

Who can blame them? They have seen too many instances and illustration of double-speak and hypocrisy from Washington to the EU, NATO to G7.

In a world of deep mistrust, it is better to stay with trusted allies in whose company there is no need to watch one’s back. Such unwavering trust between Moscow and Beijing has not only brought about stability and security guarantees within their national borders, it has in addition seen their respective economies prosper despite notable moves thwart such progress.

The story of Russia and China is akin to “brothers-in-arms”, like the letter “T” – “totally connected”.

They know that together, they possess the power and the military might to face any external threat from Nato or the US, and that they are confident the enough arsenal in their storage.

As Miguel de Cervantes cleverly puts it: “Forewarned is forearmed.”

The West can, if reckless enough, attack Russia or China at their own peril.

Abbey Makoe is the founder and editor-in-chief of Global South Media Network.