Will China Stay Quiet on Ukraine?
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “unprovoked” and unconscionable invasion of Ukraine (the so-called “special military operation”) has underscored the deeply problematic aspects of international politics today. The war on Ukraine has once again exposed the utter ineffectualness of global mechanisms like the United Nations (UN), where Russia could forward its own warmongering by simply employing its own vote. Of course, the abstentions by China, India, and the United Arab Emirates conveyed that even war-guaranteed death and destruction are not enough to unite the world. Even as Western leaders are horrified and have now imposed more sanctions on Russia, targeting banks, oil refineries, and military exports, the West’s delayed and inept response appears rhetorical, reeking of self-interest against collective good.
Not that the Asian powers have fared well either: China and India are conspicuously silent, though Japan has joined the West in sanctioning Russia. India’s neutrality or emphasis on “restraint on all sides” and “constructive diplomacy” is primarily driven by its traditional ties with Russia. China’s “chilling” silence, on the other hand, adumbrates President Xi Jinping’s long-drawn strategic maneuver in his hegemonic power play against the United States, as also his ambitions for an enhanced presence in Eurasia.
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