HomeAsiaCommentary: Why is China reticent on the Ukraine crisis?

Commentary: Why is China reticent on the Ukraine crisis?

CLAREMONT, California: Beijing could also be 6,500km away from Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, however the geopolitical stakes for China in the escalating disaster over Ukraine’s destiny couldn’t be greater.

If Russia invades Ukraine and precipitates a drawn-out conflict with the United States and its Western allies (although a direct army confrontation is unlikely), China stands to profit.

America might want to divert strategic assets to confront Russia, and its European allies might be much more reluctant to heed US entreaties to hitch America’s anti-China coalition.

But if US President Joe Biden defuses the disaster by acceding to a few of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calls for, China will seemingly find yourself worse off strategically. While Putin will reap the advantages of his coercive diplomacy, and Biden will keep away from a possible quagmire in Eastern Europe, China will discover itself the sole focus of America’s nationwide safety technique.

Worse nonetheless, after Putin has skillfully exploited the US obsession with China to re-establish Russia’s sphere of affect, the strategic worth of his China card could depreciate considerably.

For Putin, capitalising on Biden’s worry of being dragged right into a battle with a secondary adversary (Russia) with a view to extract essential safety concessions is a dangerous however sensible transfer.

But ordering an invasion of Ukraine – and thus successfully volunteering to be America’s main geopolitical adversary, at the very least in the brief to medium time period – is hardly in the Kremlin’s curiosity.

Crippling Western sanctions and the excessive prices of combating an insurgency in Ukraine would virtually definitely weaken Russia considerably and make Putin himself each domestically unpopular and extra dependent on Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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