Beijing Pursues Selfish Goals Through Ukraine Policy—What Exactly Do We Pursue?

CommentaryThe European Union’s (EU) call for China to help end the war in Ukraine will go unanswered. This fact will not come as a surprise to regular readers of The Epoch Times. Beijing cherishes any and every opportunity to defy the edicts of the Western powers. The pleas for the Chinese leadership to exert influence on Russia to cease military operations will inevitably fall on deaf ears. Accordingly, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping told the partial truth when he claimed that his regime’s stance on the issue has been “consistent and clear-cut.” Beijing’s refusal to condemn Russia while castigating reckless NATO expansion has been a common refrain since day one of the crisis. The moral ambiguity toward Moscow and the negative portrayal of Western policy unequivocally serves the Chinese national interest—and only the Chinese national interest. This is why the rest of Xi’s statement on the matter was—to borrow some of his own words—a “consistent and clear-cut” lie. For example, is there truth behind his pronouncement that the Ukraine crisis is “regrettable?” Of course not: a situation in which the CCP can manipulate factors and gain geopolitical advantage could never be considered regrettable. What about the statement that China “always stands on the side of peace?” Equally untrue: the CCP always stands on the side of the CCP, whatever the surrounding circumstances of a particular situation may be. As such, there can be no contradiction in the Chinese foreign ministry celebrating the Sino-Russia relationship only a few days before the EU-China summit. On March 30, Beijing announced it is “more determined” than ever to boost bilateral ties with Moscow. On April 1, China touted that Brussels and Beijing share a “strategic interest in promoting development” and building their partnership. Contrary to the rose-tinged latter evaluation, however, EU statements on the meeting instead highlight Brussels’ pressure on Beijing to condemn Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. “China cannot turn a blind eye to Russia’s violation of international law,” said EU President Charles Michel. Beijing will suffer “major reputational damage” for its refusal to explicitly denounce Moscow, warned European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) applauds Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (L) who appears on a screen as he speaks in a video conference during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 1, 2022. (John Thys/AFP via Getty Images) The juxtaposition of statements clearly illustrates the fundamentally different goals that are being pursued by the parties involved. What the EU has referred to as “fence-sitting,” China instead views as geopolitical prudence. It will continue to be an economic lifeline for Russia, expanding bilateral ties and reaping the exploitative benefits of a largely ostracized junior partner (on its border, no less), while carefully refusing to openly flout the U.S.-Brussels sanction regime that would evoke retaliatory measures from Western powers. At the same time, the repercussions of the Russo-Ukraine war could amount to an eventual upheaval of the entire international economic system. Moscow’s demands for gas transactions to Europe to be denoted in rubles (or gold) rather than U.S. dollars directly challenge the very foundation of America’s global power. The petrodollar is the lynchpin of the latter, and it enables the U.S. dollar as the world’s foreign reserve currency. Washington can subsequently finance its enormous government deficit by selling its debt. Even if Brussels doesn’t acquiesce, its challenge will reverberate throughout the international community, with deleterious consequences for the U.S. economy (which is already experiencing record inflation levels). The Chinese yuan is the currency that is most likely to benefit from the dollar’s relative decline. Moscow may have cracked the system, but Beijing owns the crowbar to wedge in and truly break it open. Energy deals involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and India have also discussed denoting their transactions in yuan. There is also the nearly $120 billion energy deal between Russia and China that was signed at the beginning of February. A woman walks past a yuan (L) and a U.S. dollar (R) currency sign in Hong Kong on Aug. 13, 2015. (Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images) This sounds like an effective strategy, and indeed, the most frustrating part about it is that none of this is a secret to Western leaders. The unspoken truth underneath all of their ideological pronouncements and ostensible pressure on China is that our policymakers know that the CCP will never openly condemn Russia. The language of European and U.S. leaders is that of moral posturing and virtue signaling. The CCP has been simultaneously defined by its internal corruption and it

Beijing Pursues Selfish Goals Through Ukraine Policy—What Exactly Do We Pursue?

Commentary

The European Union’s (EU) call for China to help end the war in Ukraine will go unanswered.

This fact will not come as a surprise to regular readers of The Epoch Times.

Beijing cherishes any and every opportunity to defy the edicts of the Western powers. The pleas for the Chinese leadership to exert influence on Russia to cease military operations will inevitably fall on deaf ears.

Accordingly, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping told the partial truth when he claimed that his regime’s stance on the issue has been “consistent and clear-cut.” Beijing’s refusal to condemn Russia while castigating reckless NATO expansion has been a common refrain since day one of the crisis.

The moral ambiguity toward Moscow and the negative portrayal of Western policy unequivocally serves the Chinese national interest—and only the Chinese national interest.

This is why the rest of Xi’s statement on the matter was—to borrow some of his own words—a “consistent and clear-cut” lie.

For example, is there truth behind his pronouncement that the Ukraine crisis is “regrettable?”

Of course not: a situation in which the CCP can manipulate factors and gain geopolitical advantage could never be considered regrettable.

What about the statement that China “always stands on the side of peace?”

Equally untrue: the CCP always stands on the side of the CCP, whatever the surrounding circumstances of a particular situation may be.

As such, there can be no contradiction in the Chinese foreign ministry celebrating the Sino-Russia relationship only a few days before the EU-China summit.

On March 30, Beijing announced it is “more determined” than ever to boost bilateral ties with Moscow.

On April 1, China touted that Brussels and Beijing share a “strategic interest in promoting development” and building their partnership.

Contrary to the rose-tinged latter evaluation, however, EU statements on the meeting instead highlight Brussels’ pressure on Beijing to condemn Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

“China cannot turn a blind eye to Russia’s violation of international law,” said EU President Charles Michel. Beijing will suffer “major reputational damage” for its refusal to explicitly denounce Moscow, warned European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Epoch Times Photo
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) applauds Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (L) who appears on a screen as he speaks in a video conference during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 1, 2022. (John Thys/AFP via Getty Images)

The juxtaposition of statements clearly illustrates the fundamentally different goals that are being pursued by the parties involved.

What the EU has referred to as “fence-sitting,” China instead views as geopolitical prudence. It will continue to be an economic lifeline for Russia, expanding bilateral ties and reaping the exploitative benefits of a largely ostracized junior partner (on its border, no less), while carefully refusing to openly flout the U.S.-Brussels sanction regime that would evoke retaliatory measures from Western powers.

At the same time, the repercussions of the Russo-Ukraine war could amount to an eventual upheaval of the entire international economic system. Moscow’s demands for gas transactions to Europe to be denoted in rubles (or gold) rather than U.S. dollars directly challenge the very foundation of America’s global power.

The petrodollar is the lynchpin of the latter, and it enables the U.S. dollar as the world’s foreign reserve currency. Washington can subsequently finance its enormous government deficit by selling its debt.

Even if Brussels doesn’t acquiesce, its challenge will reverberate throughout the international community, with deleterious consequences for the U.S. economy (which is already experiencing record inflation levels).

The Chinese yuan is the currency that is most likely to benefit from the dollar’s relative decline. Moscow may have cracked the system, but Beijing owns the crowbar to wedge in and truly break it open.

Energy deals involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and India have also discussed denoting their transactions in yuan. There is also the nearly $120 billion energy deal between Russia and China that was signed at the beginning of February.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman walks past a yuan (L) and a U.S. dollar (R) currency sign in Hong Kong on Aug. 13, 2015. (Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)

This sounds like an effective strategy, and indeed, the most frustrating part about it is that none of this is a secret to Western leaders. The unspoken truth underneath all of their ideological pronouncements and ostensible pressure on China is that our policymakers know that the CCP will never openly condemn Russia.

The language of European and U.S. leaders is that of moral posturing and virtue signaling. The CCP has been simultaneously defined by its internal corruption and its communist ideology; however, its authoritarian control over all political, economic, and social aspects of life in China is an explicit fact of life, established in large-scale and bloody repression.

Many have alluded to a Faustian bargain made with the Chinese people, in which the government’s intolerance of dissent is accepted in exchange for economic stability and a rising standard of living.

Whether this social equilibrium can be maintained indefinitely remains to be seen.

Our leaders instead opt to pursue policies that are largely based on ideology and the preferences of their voter base. They espouse and celebrate terms like democracy and media freedom, while ignoring and altering electoral rules for their own benefit and cracking down (or at least supporting the crackdown by third parties such as tech companies) on their political opposition.

They choose to pursue energy policies that appease the climate cult rather than securing cheap and plentiful supplies of reliable natural gas and oil. They feed an atmosphere of political hysteria, and push media narratives that increase the likelihood of war and raise animosity between nations. As in the case of Ukraine, this prolongs bloodshed and decreases the likelihood of diplomatic resolutions.

Western governments currently enable Kyiv to continue fighting against Moscow without actually providing the means to obtain a definitive victory. Indeed, the only path to the latter is likely NATO and U.S. involvement, or a no-fly zone that would initiate civilization-ending war. The reality is that Washington has no influence over Moscow but does over Kyiv.

So why won’t we make it clear to Ukraine’s leaders that our primary aim is to accelerate negotiations and enact a ceasefire as soon as possible, rather than send the message that Ukraine should fight to the last man for territorial sovereignty over the entire country?

Perhaps a better question is how long until Kyiv realizes that an attack on Russia will reciprocate an overwhelming use of force against Ukraine and its cities, significantly increasing the likelihood of direct U.S. involvement?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has proven that he is a savvy political actor on the international scene who knows what plays well with Western audiences. He understands that appearances and impressions in wartime are usually more important than truth and facts—especially with an internet-imbued U.S. population that lives for the social approval and affirmation of peers.

Unless this is the goal of Western policymakers?

The goal of the CCP is obvious: gain the greatest geopolitical advantage from the conflict, thus maintaining its ability for repression and total authoritarian control over Chinese citizens.

However, deciphering the exact motive behind Western decisions proves to be a much more difficult game.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Dominick Sansone is a regular contributor to the Epoch Times. He focuses on Russia-China relations and U.S. foreign policy. Subscribe to his new Telegram channel at https://t.me/dominicksansone