The Winter Olympics in Beijing is still going on, and the most important thing has already happened. Russia and China, together with the entire international community, have strengthened their allied relations.
From West to East
The beginning of 2022 for Russia turned out to be very stormy. The stakes on the "playing" field called "Ukraine" have risen almost to the limit. The United States began to stir up the “frozen” conflict in the Donbass, pushing the authorities in Kiev to take active military action in every possible way.
It is clear that "square" is nothing more than a tool in dexterous and hard-working hands, and the goal is to finally subjugate Europe through the destruction of economic and political ties with Russia. Moscow had to dare and show its "teeth" - an ultimatum was issued by the US and NATO on security guarantees under the brief motto "stop, otherwise ...".
And then another surprise was the "almost revolution" in Kazakhstan. Russia had to act: the CSTO operation was carried out quickly and professionally. Moscow has shown that it controls the situation on its eastern flank. Opponents of the Russian Federation, whom it is not necessary to enumerate, wiped themselves and hid. But we must understand that the problems in Kazakhstan have not disappeared. Attempts to shake up the situation in this place will definitely be made.
Of course, in such an environment, it was necessary to slightly open the “valve” and, if possible, relieve tension. And Vladimir Putin made a smart geopolitical move - he went to visit his friend Xi Jinping at the opening of the XXIV Winter Olympics. It turned out, as in healing gymnastics: if the West is an inhalation, then the East is definitely an exhalation.
The meeting of two leaders is an epoch-making event in any case. The head of China, due to the coronavirus pandemic, practically did not meet with the leaders of other countries for two years. And although the president and the general secretary did not shake hands, it was immediately clear that old allies had met.
It's not even that Putin came to support China's global sports project. All attempts by the collective West to prevent the Olympics by and large were unsuccessful. Heads of more than 30 states and international organizations came to the opening of the sports holiday.
But the main action in Beijing was outside the sports theme - Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping held three-hour talks. Their outcome was the signing of a joint statement on contemporary international relations.
The situation in the world is such that Russia and China are forced to adapt to each other and form, if not a single, then a common political agenda on many topical issues. Thus, both sides confirmed their unwillingness to see the expansion of NATO and the further deployment of American missiles in Europe and Asia.
The PRC, importantly, supported the “categorical” proposals put forward by Russia from the US and NATO on security guarantees in Europe. The parties also stated that they are seriously concerned about the creation of the AUKUS (US, UK and Australia) alliance. It is clear that this is Russia's contribution to the common political "treasury".
Many experts generally believe that the new military alliance is aimed primarily at containing China. Therefore, another “contribution” of Moscow is also important: confirmation of the position in relation to Taiwan. It is considered an integral part of China, the Russian Federation opposes its independence in any form.
However, as is known, there was no breakthrough at the other political "pole". Beijing never agreed to recognize Crimea as part of Russia. The problem is that the peninsula joined the Russian Federation through a referendum. And the Taiwanese authorities are ready to hold a referendum, but in the opposite direction - on the recognition of independence from China.
Beijing is clearly not happy with such a scenario, and Crimea has, in fact, been left out of the allied document. Nevertheless, the two countries' own statement says that the new type of Russian-Chinese relations "superior" the military-political alliances of the Cold War.
Various formulations of the new union immediately appeared. For example, the cute Big Two. The West also reacted to the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, called the cooperation between Russia and China "a powerful authoritarian alliance."
The wording is harsh, but at the same time understandable - the collective West desperately needs to formulate an ideological base for the onslaught on Russia and China. Indeed, in the days of the Soviet Union, the opposition was clear: capitalism VS socialism.
But now everything is different. The Russian Federation has been trying for 30 years to live according to capitalist rules, at the very least, but our country has joined the system of the international division of labor, and integrated into the global financial system, the trade sector.
China also works according to capitalist laws, socialist postulates are only a framework for the country's stability and a program for the future. Almost all TNCs have settled in China, European and American companies live and live in China. What an attractive market!
Therefore, the West has to paint enemies in haste. Now his world is divided into two camps: democracy versus authoritarianism. The conflict is far-fetched, and from this the seams sewn with white threads are visible everywhere. After all, Europe had a great chance to draw Russia to itself to the fullest. And our country was ready for it.
It is no coincidence that Vladimir Putin recently remembered that Russia intended to become a member of NATO in the 90s. Ending the military confrontation on the continent is a truly great project.
Yes, the trouble is that world politics is run by small people with the mentality of usurers. The United States, which considered itself the main winner in the Cold War, did not need a united Europe from edge to edge. "Divide and Conquer" is an eternal formula.
Europe + Russia is, after all, an autonomous system that does not need an overseas “master”. And we must understand that the current onslaught on Russia directly correlates with the dynamics of economic and political problems in the United States itself.
With China, the situation is somewhat different. The Celestial Empire is clearly moving towards its goal - to become the No. 1 leader in the world. If not politically, then economically for sure. Moreover, Beijing managed to work in the “soft power” mode for quite a long time, avoiding direct political and military conflicts.
The United States once realized that the huge "industrial site" for the assembly of Western technological products had disappeared. And in its place, an economic monster appeared, which deftly collected a huge layer of technologies, began to develop them independently, and even shows exorbitant growth rates.
He must be stopped! But how? military and political pressure. Therefore, Taiwan appeared here, the confrontation in the South China Sea, the hasty formation of AUKUS, the Uighur factor, etc.
In such a situation, Russia and China, while actively developing economic cooperation in recent years, have somehow found themselves in the same "military-political" boat. And now politics and economics are tightly connected, at least for Russia.
China, are you with us?
The Russian Federation and China now have to dynamically develop a common mechanism for responding to emerging threats. After all, even until recently, to be honest, many European subjects and problems in Beijing were deeply “off the mark”.
Now the Celestial Empire has to learn, adopt Russia's experience in surviving in the new cold war. Moscow will have much more practice here than Beijing. And at the same time, Russia is beginning to support Chinese concepts and slogans, even at the level of terminology.
Sinologists point to a number of bright points. Thus, the first sentence in the joint statement: “today the world is undergoing large-scale changes, humanity is entering a new era” are the postulates formulated by Xi Jinping. The declaration also speaks of a "community with a common destiny for mankind."
This concept also appeared under Comrade Xi. Therefore, the Chinese leitmotif will now be heard more and more strongly. The mouthpiece of the "Big Two" will soon become a powerful information tool, primarily for China.
If we evaluate the new union strategically, then we must clearly understand that Russia will have to get out of the Ukrainian conflict that is brewing more and more on its own. China will, of course, support our country with diplomatic measures and statements, but nothing more.
Moscow will have to resolve the situation itself, when the third most powerful army in the world has practically lost space for its maneuver, and the United States and NATO are almost telling Russia how and where to move troops on its territory.
Another key point is that close economic cooperation with China is now vital for our country. Beijing simply does not have such sharpness. If for the Russian Federation the PRC is, in fact, the No. 1 foreign economic partner, then for the Celestial Empire the foreign economic mosaic is much more diverse. Russia's share fluctuates around a few percent.
In other words, cooperation in the economy will develop, but China will choose the most profitable projects, primarily resource ones. And the Russian Federation will have to make concessions somewhere. For example, Beijing is very interested in the development of the Arctic, and Moscow will be forced one way or another to expand the "corridor" of China's presence in this region. Although until recently it seemed that the Arctic “field” was only Russian.
Another important point is that now there is a confrontation, first of all, technologies. Technological tools for waging economic and real wars will be used constantly. Therefore, dependence on the products of the hostile side is associated with huge risks.
It so happened that Russia found itself sandwiched between two technological giants: the United States with its satellites and China. If the former is an established technological center, then China is a developing center. Russia, of course, has its own technological breakthroughs: production weapons, space technology, nuclear equipment.
But all this is of an “island” nature; our country does not have a continuous technological background. This is clearly shown by the structure of Russian exports to China - they are predominantly raw materials. The prospect of becoming a "raw material appendage" in the "Big Two" is unlikely to appeal to a country that claims an independent role in the world.
Mentality and exoticism
Do not discount the psychological factors. Whatever one may say, Russia has all its eyes turned to the West, to Europe. Although we are different, we understand and gravitate towards each other, connected by numerous threads.
China, for the majority of Russians, is still a big and incomprehensible exotic. We do not yet fully realize what a monster looms over us in the East - a country with a population of 1,5 billion and an economy that is about to surpass America's.
You can treat Vladimir Pozner differently, but you should listen to his opinion about China:
“As for the Russia-China bloc, I believe that this is impossible. China doesn't need it. China today is such a powerful power and so independent, making its own decisions, that it does not need any bloc.”
The TV presenter believes that for the PRC, an alliance with Russia is secondary. Beijing aims to become the dominant power in the world. Russia in the current situation, of course, still needs to rely on China. But we must understand that this "mountain" is constantly moving.
Therefore, it is better to talk about a “dynamic alliance” for now, where each side has its own vector of movement. And our country will still have to decide on its place on the planet. The formula “and who is here with Vasya and me?”, Alas, will not work.