Sunday 20 March 2022

The view from China: the most interesting thing I have read about the war


I forgot to link to this essay, which is eye-opening, published on March 12 by the deputy head of what the English would call a think tank, advising the very top of the Chinese regime. It was sent to me shortly after it appeared, by a retired US diplomat.

The essay was later withdrawn and an apology was issued.

Three excerpts:

At this point, Putin’s best option is to end the war decently through peace talks, which requires Ukraine to make substantial concessions. However, what is not attainable on the battlefield is also difficult to obtain at the negotiating table. In any case, this military action constitutes an irreversible mistake.

At present, public opinion believes that the Ukrainian war signifies a complete collapse of U.S. hegemony, but the war would in fact bring France and Germany, both of which wanted to break away from the U.S., back into the NATO defense framework, destroying Europe’s dream to achieve independent diplomacy and self-defense. Germany would greatly increase its military budget; Switzerland, Sweden, and other countries would abandon their neutrality. With Nord Stream 2 put on hold indefinitely, Europe’s reliance on US natural gas will inevitably increase. The US and Europe would form a closer community of shared future, and American leadership in the Western world will rebound.

China cannot be tied to Putin and needs to be cut off as soon as possible. 


  1. A more likely explanation of what is happening is that the Ukrainians have been manipulated into provoking a Russian invasion. Unless things run out of control, there will be no NATO intervention on their behalf. Instead, they have been armed to make some resistance, and they will continue receiving arms until they have been conquered. After that, arms will continue flowing into the country to enable a civil war and insurgency. Boris Johnson is crying this up as a cartoonish version of the French Resistance – never once admitting that an insurgency and a terrorist campaign are different names given to the same thing, and that any Russian willingness to avoid civilian casualties will not survive the first wave of car bombings. But the purpose is to suck Russia into a financial and military trap it is too poor to afford. The preferred outcome of that is to replace Vladimir Putin with someone as pliable as Boris Yeltsin. Even otherwise, Russia will have been made impotent. Syria will then be first on the list of countries to have done to them what was done to Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. After Syria, it will be Iran. After that, the Chinese may smile stiffly and give up their ambitions to be a great power.

    The Ukraine War: Arguments for Non-Intervention
    Alan Bickley

    1. Very interesting. I don't think this was the conscious American plan from speaking to a retired State Department official.

  2. Chinese article urging country to cut ties with Putin gets 1m views

  3. Putin’s speech got 1.1 billion views within 24 hours in China only:

    A translation of Mr. Putin’s speech on Thursday by a Chinese nationalistic news site went viral, to say the least. The Weibo hashtag #putin10000wordsspeechfulltext got 1.1 billion views within 24 hours.

    “This is an exemplary speech of war mobilization,” said one Weibo user, @apjam.

    “Why was I moved to tears by the speech?” wrote @ASsicangyueliang. “Because this is also how they’ve been treating China.”

    The day before Russia’s invasion a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said in a daily press briefing that the United States was the “culprit” behind the tensions over Ukraine.

    “When the U.S. drove five waves of NATO expansion eastward all the way to Russia’s doorstep and deployed advanced offensive strategic weapons in breach of its assurances to Russia, did it ever think about the consequences of pushing a big country to the wall?” asked the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

    The next day, as Ms. Hua was peppered with questions about whether China considered Russia’s “special military operation” an invasion, she turned the briefing into a critique of the United States. “You may go ask the U.S.: they started the fire and fanned the flames,” she said. “How are they going to put out the fire now?”
    She bristled at the U.S. State Department’s comment that China should respect state sovereignty and territorial integrity, a longstanding tenet of Chinese foreign policy.
    “The U.S. is in no position to tell China off,” she said. Then she mentioned the three journalists who were killed in NATO’s bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999, a tragic incident that prompted widespread anti-U.S. protests in China.
    “NATO still owes the Chinese people a debt of blood,” she said.

    That sentence became the top Weibo hashtag as Russia was bombing Ukraine. The hashtag, created by the state-run People’s Daily newspaper, has been viewed more than a billion times.

    Why the Chinese Internet Is Cheering Russia’s Invasion
    By Li Yuan, NYT