Figure into seven | Latest news The Moscow Post
03 March 2024

Figure into seven

Testing the strength of his European-Asian colleagues may go sideways to Biden.

The upcoming meeting of the presidents of Russia and the United States in Geneva will be an important episode of the sluggish current changes in world affairs. Its results are unlikely to become sensational, but the orientation of the changes is obvious, they are not in favor of the West. The summit seems to crown Biden's European agenda, which has gathered all his allies in all available formats, reports The Moscow Post correspondent.

EuroNATO Union meetings are conceived by Washington as a springboard for a meeting with Vladimir Putin. Biden planned to position himself in Geneva as the leader of the entire West while his own country is split and maybe not all its citizens are ready to see the former senator as president.

"Euro-Atlantic Biden," for starters in the form of the "Group of Seven," called on Russia to stop "destabilizing behavior and malicious actions," declared interest in stable and predictable relations. For persuasiveness, he sent his strategic bombers to try on to the Russian borders, and ships with missiles on board to once again study the shores of the Black Sea in the Crimea region.

We are all for "stability and predictability," especially in relation to Sevastopol, which some ancestors of the G-7 leaders have already stormed, and more than once. Then they also wanted a relationship of "predictability and stability," but on their own terms.

Biden "to the studio"!

No matter how fantasized the Western media about Russia and its intentions, the leaders of the "indigenous countries" of NATO and the European Union understand that Moscow does not encroach on the "alien," but is not ready to give "its" despite the way Brussels sees the borders of Ukraine.

The main conquest is security in relations with NATO neighbors, recognizing the results of the Great Patriotic War and the agreements of the Soviet period. With neighbors who will not prevent Russia from unleashing its potential in peace for the benefit of its own citizens. Moscow for the status quo, if there are no other proposals.

The West also believed that, despite provocations and pressure, Moscow is not ready to use superiority in strategic weapons for the "first strike," as is customary with them. Capitalist Russia, with its socially-oriented political leadership, does not carry a strategic threat to NATO, provided that NATO is also behind the status quo. Germany seems to have defended its "gas independence," Paris remains the capital of fashion, London will have to continue to live with fog, without sunny overseas possessions. Ahead is the fight against carbon dioxide emissions, electric vehicles and the era of hydrogen! As well as Iran and North Korea, but this is after Geneva.

Another thing is China, the very logic of economic exaltation, which, under the status quo, poses a real threat to the West, and the United States threatens to lose undivided economic and financial dominance. During a meeting with Vladimir Putin, the "collective Biden" will also try on the upcoming negotiations with Beijing. With applause from old friends, relatives and wards from the Group of Seven, he definitely intends to test the strength of Russia's special relations with China. Who knows what he thinks he doesn't joke?

Chinese roulette

The return of Hong Kong "to its native harbor" was a step towards the international rise of China, opened up additional opportunities for the economic and political strengthening of China. Then, in 1997, Chinese exports amounted to $97 billion, but over a quarter of a century this figure approached $2,500 billion. The share in exports of high-tech products reached 31%. During the same time, China's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) increased from $2.8 trillion to $24 trillion, exceeding US figures back in 2016.

In 2020, the United States GDP in current dollars amounted to $21 trillion, China's GDP - $14.8 trillion. GDP (PPP) per capita increased from $2.2 thousand to an "average well-off" $17.2 thousand. Beijing's international reserves, amounting to $146 billion in 1997, exceeded $3.2 trillion and were placed, including in treasury bonds. But Beijing reduced the dollar's share of reserves from 79% in 1995 to 58% in 2014. According to the US Treasury, by mid-2019, China owned US government bonds worth $1.11 trillion and was America's largest foreign lender.

With the loss of a dominant role in the world economy, the English-speaking leader and the multilingual European Union, together with Japan, will have to moderate ambitions and adapt to less comfortable conditions of competition. All this, provided that the board of "geopolitical chess" will not once again be turned over, which is unlikely, but the fuses are ready. In the case of Russia, this is Ukraine with a Kiev elite sliding towards radical nationalism. In the Chinese direction are Taiwan and the South China Sea.

In the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué, the United States refused to use terms other than "one China." In 1979, Washington ended diplomatic relations with Taipei, the "Law on Relations with Taiwan" reaffirmed the US commitment to the "one-China policy," but did not eliminate ambiguities. In a 1982 joint communiqué, the United States pledged to limit arms sales to Taiwan.

But Washington's real policy toward Taiwan calls into question these obligations and forces Beijing to write its own "security equation" in relations with the island and the Taiwan Strait. In 2005, China adopted the Law on Countering the Split of the State. This act involves the use of force if the authorities declare independence of the island.

At the same time, about a million Taiwanese live in China, do business. For some of them, it is not possible to abandon the continental market.

The government of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) calls for "separation" from the mainland, but Taiwanese business is moving in the opposite direction. Its investments in China exceed $100 billion. In the first half of 2020 alone, more than $3 billion was invested in projects on the mainland.

What's Uncle C gonna say?

After suppressing protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989, Washington stopped cooperation with China in the military sphere, called China an "authoritarian country." For the first time, China dubbed Bush Jr. a "strategic competitor" in 2000, saying it was necessary to restrain Beijing. In particular, the United States has always considered China's activity in the South China Sea illegal, continues to demand compliance with international maritime law, and ensure freedom of navigation in neutral waters. The US position on trade and economic relations was manifested in 2017, when Donald Trump appointed Peter Navarro, the author of Death from China: How America Lost Its Industrial Basis, as the head of the US National Trade Council.

In March 2021, President Biden held a "Four-Way Security Dialogue," including Australia, India and Japan and aimed at countering China. China, like Russia, entered the official documents of NATO and the European Union as a threat to the interests and security of the West. And China adopted the law "On countering foreign sanctions."

China, thus, in 2021, naturally found itself in the focus of meetings of the Group of Seven, the NATO session and Biden's consultations with EU leaders. Washington announced the "aggressive behavior of Beijing," Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel noted the "destabilizing activities" of China and Russia. The NATO Secretary General said that the cooperation between Moscow and Beijing presents a "new dimension and a serious challenge." The NATO 2030 Initiative, approved at the end of the alliance summit, noted the influence of China and Russia on its security.

Meanwhile, as Chinese President Xi Jinping stated: - "The confrontation between China and the United States is absolutely a disaster for the two countries and for the whole world."

How will the task of building Western relations with Beijing and Moscow be solved in the end? Everyone expects a response from the White House and its entourage, including the Pentagon, Langley and other decision centers. For example, Democrat Gregory Mix, chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bill to counter "challenges from China," proposing to increase attention to the Indo-Pacific region, the UN and APEC as platforms for action against Beijing.

The depth of the painful transformation of relations with the "autocracies" is also recognized by the military. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaking to a congressional commission, confirmed that the United States should maintain a dialogue not only with allies, but also with a potential opponent, and have a direct line of communication with him. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Committee of Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, called China a geostrategic challenge, but proposed building relations within the framework of competition, not conflict, the likelihood of which can be reduced due to US military superiority.

The Senate passed a bill on innovation and competition, approving the allocation of more than $200 billion to increase the competitiveness of its companies in the production of semiconductors, the creation of artificial intelligence, and advanced technologies. The commander of the US space forces, Air Force General John Raymond, speaking at a Senate hearing, spoke out in favor of preserving the "freedom of maneuver" of the United States in space, called for additional funds to neutralize the "growing threat" from China and Russia. A new step in the search for strategic stability?

With a "log in the eye"

The assumption of global power by Western civilization is gradually passing. There are few guarantees that the new world will be more harmonious and calmer than what happened after the surrender of Germany and Japan, as well as the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But the West, which usurped global power for five centuries, is no longer coping with change, reluctantly descending from the pedestal of its dominance.

The first sign of the erosion of global authority is the recognition by the West of its vulnerability. The illusion of security and power, based on geographical isolation, financial power, belief in technological superiority, the advantages of "advanced military basing," information dominance and the ability to neglect stability treaties, hung on a rope like a faded towel. The unconvincing concept of the superiority of "democracies" over imaginary "autocracies" remains.

But note that no other "democracy" has as much blood and conflict situations on its hands as "American democracy." We are talking, in particular, about such distant and alien territories for America as Taiwan and Ukraine. But it is these objects of unhealthy attention that are associated with China and Russia with history, culture, language, business, and family ties. And what America forgot there, it is difficult for the Russians and Chinese to understand. But these territories should also be recognized as components of stable and predictable relations.

Another critical element of predictability is in Washington itself, whose views on the concept of "stability" can change. It all depends on the counting of votes in the next election. But this is another story.

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