The Two Major Goals of Xi Jinping in Russia
The visit of President Xi Jinping to Moscow was the subject of a discussion organized by Helga Zepp-LaRouche on her Twitterspace on March 26. Her special guest was Einar Tangen, an American living in China since 2005, who is a leading fellow at the Taihe Institute, an independent, non-profit think tank based in Beijing that promotes global peace and development.
Mr. Tangen said that the visit was much needed, for various reasons. “First off, to make sure that Putin understood that he was not being forced into a corner” and that the situation was not desperate for Russia. “China has assured Russia that it will continue trading with them, that it will expand trade, and that quite frankly, Russian resources and Chinese manufacturing make them equal partners in a very dynamic partnership.”
This is significant, he explained, when one recalls how, many years ago, the U.S. was “very concerned about Russia and Europe coming together”, that is, that Europe’s ability to produce as a “peer competitor” to the U.S. (airplanes, medical equipment, etc.) would be combined with the resources and energy of Russia, which could have formed a bloc that challenged U.S. primacy. Washington acted to prevent that. In 2001 in the Bundestag, he pointed out, Putin made it “quite clear that Russia was looking westward, that it identified itself with the West and wanted to be part of the European community. Seven years later, at the Munich Security Conference, he denounces the entire Western, particularly the U.S. world order, because he says it has humiliated and lied to Russia.”
At that point, Vladimir Putin “makes it clear that he no longer believes that Russia can rise under the U.S., and he basically differentiates himself. But he doesn’t really turn toward China, until the situation starts getting very heated, especially when there was the putsch in Ukraine…”
So today, “it was very important to ensure Russia that they were not in a desperate situation, because the concern by Beijing was that this [war] could turn nuclear,” Mr. Tangen stressed.
Secondly, he went on, while there is a sense in Beijing that Washington will not change its containment policy of China, “there is some hope that the Europeans do want peace”. So, “what Xi Jinping is doing is appealing to the Europeans: The war is affecting Europe the most, it’s in their backyard. It’s a situation where the U.S. is actually benefitting, because they can pick up additional trade in energy and also in food. And at the same time, Europe is being weakened, so as a peer competitor, it is now being downgraded….
“So those are the two goals: One, take the desperation off the table; second, appeal to Europe. Hopefully set this up so that it’s clear that China wants peace, Russia’s willing to talk, Ukraine has already made clear that they want to at least have a talk with Xi Jinping. And at this juncture, you have [French President] Macron coming with [EU Commission President Ursula] von der Leyen to Beijing to talk about what the chances of peace are and how this might work”, and the Spanish Prime Minister is also planning a trip.
In respect to those two issues, he believes that Xi’s visit “has had the desired effect”. (We take note that Einar Tangen seems to have more confidence in Europe’s willingness to defy the Anglo-Americans than we do.)