The Washington Post Has It All Wrong: China Doesn’t Want Anyone To Win In Ukraine
To be absolutely clear so that the insight shared in the present analysis isn’t misunderstood, no value judgement is being implied about China’s Machiavellian grand strategy. All countries should rightly prioritize their objective national interests as their leaderships understand them to be, which is precisely what the People’s Republic is doing. The means through which it’s advancing those same interests are arguably the most effective possible considering the complex global context.
The Washington Post published an opinion piece earlier in the week by Max Boot declaring that “Xi Jinping doesn’t want to wind up on the losing side in Ukraine”. He correctly assesses that the People’s Republic is practicing a balanced policy towards the Ukrainian Conflict wherein it doesn’t formally support either side over the other, but he’s incorrect in concluding that it wants to end up on the winning side. The reality is that China doesn’t want anyone to win in Ukraine.
The US prioritized “containing” Russia over China because it wrongly predicted that Moscow would either capitulate to Washington’s strategic blackmail via Ukraine or would quickly collapse as a result of unprecedented proxy warfare and sanctions if it militarily intervened to defend its interests there. Either outcome was expected to result in Russia failing to function as China’s pressure valve from the subsequent maximum pressure campaign that the US-led West’s Golden Billion was plotting against it.
This series of grand strategic outcomes would have thus enabled the US to successfully reassert its declining unipolar hegemony over International Relations, thereby indefinitely delaying the global systemic transition to multipolarity. Everything went awry, however, after Russia failed to collapse over the past year like the US expected. To the contrary, Kiev is now warning about another major offensive sometime very soon and the New York Times (NYT) just admitted that the sanctions failed.
Russia’s resilience resulted in a strategic dilemma for the US since its military-industrial complex (MIC) can’t keep up the pace, scale, and scope of armed support for Kiev without NATO countries dangerously depleting their stockpiles below the minimum threshold required for maintaining their national security. Furthermore, the indefinite perpetuation of this proxy war would consume untold amounts of military equipment that could otherwise have been used for more effectively “containing” China in the future.
Therein lies the cynical reason why China would actually prefer for the conflict to drag on as long as possible without any clear-cut winner since it degrades the Golden Billion’s military capabilities and thus preemptively averts them from being directed against its regional interests in the Asia-Pacific. With a view towards that end, Beijing has balked at meaningfully supporting Moscow since the Kremlin’s victory would end the indefinite proxy war scenario that serves China’s interests as explained.
Nevertheless, China also doesn’t want to see Russia lose either for the earlier mentioned reason related to the Golden Billion ensuring that its neighbor fails to function as Beijing’s pressure valve from the subsequent maximum pressure campaign that this de facto New Cold War bloc is plotting. There’s thus far no credible indication that this scenario will transpire, especially considering the comprehensive robustness of Russia’s economic, military, and political resistance under unprecedented pressure.
In the extremely unlikely event that the strategic dynamics decisively shift against Russia, however, then China would be expected to provide some more meaningful support to Moscow in order to prevent its neighbor’s collapse and thus continue perpetuating this proxy war for the purpose that was explained. Since that hasn’t yet happened and likely never will, China sees no interest in giving Russia a decisive military-strategic edge over the Golden Billion, which could trigger crippling sanctions against it too.
That’s why the People’s Republic tacitly complies with the US’ anti-Russian sanctions exactly as President Biden declared last September, which wasn’t publicly refuted by Chinese or Russian officials like could have been expected had he spewed a blatant falsehood. Moreover, it’s recently begun seriously exploring the parameters of a New Détente with the US with the intent of normalizing their relations and thus delaying – if not outright offsetting – its subsequent anti-Chinese “containment” plot.
There’s no such thing as a so-called “Sino-Russian alliance” unlike what noted Indian intellectual C. Raja Mohan claimed exists in his latest opinion piece, but nor for that matter is there an emerging “Sino-American alliance” either. Rather, what’s happening is that the People’s Republic is attempting to deftly balance between Russia and the US for the purpose of relieving as much pressure upon itself as possible from the cascading crises of the past few years that derailed its superpower trajectory.
To explain, China requires reliable access to discounted Russian resources to continue its economic rise, with this aforesaid reliability being endangered by Russia’s unlikely loss in the Ukrainian Conflict while the aforesaid discounts would evaporate if Russia indisputably wins. Similarly, China also requires the US to remain militarily bogged down in “containing” Russia in Europe in order to relieve related pressure upon it in the Asia-Pacific, ergo the New Détente aimed at reducing threat perceptions of China’s rise.
By functioning as one of Russia’s valves from the West’s sanctions pressure through its increased consumption of Moscow’s discounted resource exports simultaneously with holding back on providing any meaningful support for its special operation, China advances the Russian dimension of its grand strategy. Likewise, by holding back on providing the aforementioned support simultaneously with negotiating a New Détente with the US, China advances the American dimension of this strategy too.
To be absolutely clear so that the insight shared thus far in this analysis isn’t misunderstood, no value judgement is being implied about China’s Machiavellian grand strategy that was just described. All countries should rightly prioritize their objective national interests as their leaderships understand them to be, which is precisely what the People’s Republic is doing. The means through which it’s advancing those same interests are arguably the most effective possible considering the complex global context.
Observers should keep this modus operandi and its related motivations in mind if they sincerely aspire to analyze Chinese grand strategy as accurately as possible. There are forces within both the Alt-Media Community and the Mainstream Media that have vested interests in either falsely presenting Russia and China as “allies” or as seemingly inevitable “rivals”, both perceptions of which are wrong. The reality is that they closely cooperate whenever it’s mutually beneficial, but they won’t go any further than that.