Just who’s threatening and bullying over Taiwan and Ukraine?
**Chicom propaganda pumping out the same well-rehearsed kremkrapp that has been seen since 2014 and adding their own Chicomprop into the mix
Western political opportunism at exploiting the tensions and instabilities in both places has been explained away by an unquestioning media while portraying outside interference as self-evidently justified and politically necessary
Alex Lo+ FOLLOW
The Group of Seven developed nations has castigated China and Russia over “threats, bullying and rights abuses” against Taiwan and Ukraine. But seen from the perspectives of Moscow and Beijing, it’s the West, led by the United States, which has been far more threatening and provocative.
By interfering in the relations between mainland China and Taiwan, and between Russia and Ukraine, the West has deliberately inflamed their situations and made them much more difficult to resolve. In many ways, Ukraine is to Russia what Taiwan is to mainland China.
Given their respective historical and cultural connections, nationalistic identification, and economic and geopolitical importance, the stances taken by Russia and China are far more justified, or at least understandable.
But of course, the rational and nuanced aspects of Chinese and Russian policies towards Taiwan and Ukraine are rarely explained in the mainstream Western press other than as belligerence, intimidation and threats. Instead, Western political opportunism at exploiting the tensions and instabilities in both regions is explained away while portraying intervention as self-evidently and morally justified, and politically necessary.
Whatever the rights and wishes of the Ukrainian and Taiwanese people, Russia and China have legitimate interests which deserve to be addressed rationally and peacefully without Western governments adding fuel to the flames. That’s even harder to do when the mainstream Western media will not even address those core concerns.
The ties that bind Russia and Ukraine run deep into historical times and forward into the present. Economically and strategically, Ukraine was the most important of the Soviet republics to communist Russia. It generated the equivalent of almost one-fifth of Soviet Russia’s gross domestic product, 60 per cent of coal reserves, 40 per cent of agriculture and most titanium for steel production. Geographically, Ukraine was, and still is, crucial to Russia’s access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.null
Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Konstantin Chernenko all had family roots in Ukraine while Yuri Andropov was the head of KGB, the Soviet secret police, there. In other words, every post-Stalin Soviet leader had a deep Ukrainian connection before Mikhail Gorbachev.
Historically, as far as Russian patriots are concerned, medieval Kievan Rus marked the origin of Russia and its empire. “The Russian state,” wrote Francis Fukuyama in The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, “originated in the area around Kiev at the end of the first millennium when it was a major trading depot connecting northern Europe to the Byzantine Empire and Central Asia.”
Post-Soviet Russia remained Ukraine’s most important trading partner, at least until the collapse of the Moscow-friendly regime of Viktor Yanukovich in 2014. Since then, Russia has been conducting economic and open warfare, including the annexation of Crimea, which has long been the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet.
More impartial Western political scientists, such as John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, have argued Russia was pushed into such “defensive” actions by Western incursions to the edges of Russia’s borders, despite a promise not to.
In February 1990, to convince Gorbachev to agree to German unification, then US secretary of state James Baker promised that Nato troops would not be allowed to move beyond 300km east of Poland. That promise was obviously broken long ago. To add insult to injury, Washington had for a long time denied any such promise being made; only recent archival retrieval has proved the existence of the American guarantee.
Today, Ukraine’s army is on a “convertibility” programme of operations and command with Nato, and is on a waiting list to join the Western military alliance. Is it any wonder that Russia is nervous? As Mearsheimer once said, imagine Russia setting up military bases in Canada or Mexico. You can be sure the US would invade its neighbours without a second thought.
Many readers of this newspaper know far more about Taiwan-mainland relations than me, so it’s hardly worth repeating here.
Like most people in post-Soviet eastern European countries, many Ukrainians see Russia as in the past and the European Union as their future. That’s perfectly understandable. Likewise, many Taiwanese, especially the younger generations, do not want to consider mainland China as part of their future. But things are even trickier with Taiwan than Ukraine, because of the “one China” policy on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and for the US.
An independent island joining an Indo-Pacific military alliance extending along two oceans led by the US would create a chokehold on mainland China. Even without the question of national unification, it presents not just a security, but an existential threat to Beijing that no rational government could possibly accept. That is why many military experts have argued Beijing will take pre-emptive actions should Taiwan threaten such an eventuality.
Every time or every move Washington makes to encourage the island down such a path will push everyone closer to war, one that would have catastrophic consequences not just for Taiwan and the mainland, but the entire region and the world economy as well.
China and Russia will not go away. Their legitimate security and economic interests cannot be ignored if peace and stability are the goals. Of course, one should never assume those are Washington’s policy; but rather, perhaps, the opposite.