Joe Biden delivered a semi-coherent speech in Kiev and may encore Tuesday in Poland. I am confident that he will display the same confused ideas and chaotic syntax if he takes the stage. May Winston Churchill rest in peace. Compared to Churchill, Biden’s rhetorical skills remind one of a chattering, grinning baboon. I wonder if the bookies in Vegas or London are offering odds on how many times he shouts and how many times he whispers in a speech? It must be accepted. The furry fellow below exhibits more charm and warmth than Sleepy Joe.
Which brings me to Putin. He’s not monkeying around. His much-anticipated speech to both houses of Russia’s parliament and military leadership was in stark contrast to Joe Biden’s mutterings. One issue where Biden is likely to break new ground is Russia’s future military alliance with China. So far Russia and China have participated in joint exercises but, like couples in the early stages of dating, they have not decided to tie the knot and get hitched. Not until now. The period of courtship may be over and the rise of a Russian/Chinese military alliance may be at hand.
Why do I say this? I’ve been reading the leaked tea leaves from the Biden team. This CNN piece is a prime example:
The US has recently begun to see “disturbing” trends in China’s support for Russia’s military and signs that Beijing wants to “creep up to the line” of providing lethal military aid to Russia without getting caught, US officials familiar with the intelligence told CNN. .
The officials would not detail what intelligence the US had seen indicating the latest shift in China’s posture, but said US officials were concerned enough to have shared intelligence with allies and partners at the Munich Security Conference over the past several days.
Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken raised the issue when he met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the conference on Saturday, officials said.
“The secretary has been quite reticent in warning about the consequences and implications of China providing material support to Russia or helping Russia by circumventing systemic sanctions,” a senior State Department official told reporters.
Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned China’s support for Russia in her speech in Munich.
Would China enjoy entering into such an alliance? I think this is a distinct possibility. I would like to direct you to a piece in The Diplomat from March 2022, 3 Possible Futures for China-Russia Military Cooperation After the Ukraine war, will China maintain, expand or scale back its military cooperation with Russia? by Brian Widelich. Mr. Weidlich presents three scenarios. Those two scenarios conclude that China will stick to the status quo or that Russian-Chinese relations could weaken. His third situation caught my eye:
Prediction 3: Cooperation is significantly strengthened
Unlike the two scenarios above, the prospect of strengthened Sino-Russian military cooperation may have less to do with the manner of the Ukraine conflict and more to do with China’s perception of threats in the Indo-Pacific. Such a future would see the United States and its allies increasingly align their rhetoric and actions with the goal of pressuring China over its declared interests in Taiwan, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and disputed islands in the South China Sea. China would benefit from visibly strengthening its military ties with Russia if it believes that the potential for Indo-Pacific conflict is growing and that military cooperation with Russia will amplify its deterrence message against the US and its allies.
Kudos to Mr. Weidlich. China is clearly facing increased threats from the US and its European allies. Weidlich goes on to describe what he believes a more collaborative relationship looks like:
- Potentially to include enhanced technical cooperation, ongoing Chinese purchases of Russian weapons, and the expansion of joint development projects on platforms involving key Russian technologies (eg, submarines). Amid expanded cooperation in the region, China may try to pressure Russia to reduce its arms sales to countries with territorial disputes such as India and Vietnam.
- Extended compound exercises that demonstrate high frequency, volume and complexity. Combined exercises cover high-end warfare topics such as anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare and can potentially expand to joint exercises with multiple military services.
- More targeted combined patrols to include air and maritime patrols around Japan and possibly other US allies – or the United States itself. Chinese military ships and aircraft have demonstrated the ability to operate at longer ranges in the Pacific in recent years.
- More frequent key leader exchanges, during which leaders express shared assessments of the security environment and a determination to support each other’s interests. Related readings continue to place the blame on the US and its allies for geostrategic instability from Eastern Europe through Asia.
I would add another possibility – a mutual defense treaty. No more sitting in the back seat of the car on the drive (I know, I date myself with that one). Russia and China may decide to get married and climb into bed. The bellicose language the US routinely hurls at China is taken seriously in Beijing. An American war directed at the Chinese is unpardonable speech caused by knocking back too many whiskeys at the corner bar. It’s not just Biden. American politicians, journalists and average citizens openly refer to China as “our enemy”. A survey two years ago revealed:
According to a Gallup poll, nearly half of Americans now say China is the United States’ biggest enemy—more than double the percentage who said just last year.
Ever since the rift between China and America widened into a yawning chasm. Have we reached the point where China’s leadership accepts this fact and takes steps to protect themselves? The West’s extravagant support for the war in Ukraine and the continuation of the war by supplying funds and weapons has not gone unnoticed in Beijing. Verbal attacks on China in the wake of the weather/”spy” balloon have heightened already tense relations between Washington and Beijing.
what do you think Will Putin comment on Russia’s relations with China?