global times on biden’s squeeze play

Biden’s way of slamming Beijing-Moscow relations is humiliating Russia
Editorial, Global Times, Jun 18 2021

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Biden tried his best to drive a wedge between China and Russia during a press conference after his meeting with Putin. He said:

Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now .. It is being squeezed by China…. It has a multi-thousand-mile border with China. China is moving ahead … seeking to be the most powerful economy in the world and the largest and the most powerful military in the world. You are in a situation where your economy is struggling.

Biden may feel embarrassed to talk nonsense like this during the face-to-face meeting with Putin because if he did, Putin would very likely refute him immediately. Such kind of baseless provocation is a humiliation of the Russian people, treating one of the most powerful countries in the world as an idiot. Which country is squeezing Russia strategically? What is the source of Russia’s economic difficulties in recent years? A large number of facts are much too obvious. The US has caused waves of harms to Russia and Biden just wants to pass the blame to China. This is an illusion that is possible only under serious political autism and narcissism. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US carried out an incredibly brutal squeeze on Russia’s strategic space. NATO expanded eastward to include all the former Warsaw Pact countries and advanced its position to the three Baltic states which were under the Soviet Union’s influence. Russia’s strategic space was almost dug up by NATO, and the US’ policy to squeeze Russia was extreme. There has rarely been such a vicious unilateral pressure between major powers in history. In the view of many outsiders, Russia has been restrained long enough. But when the US and the West wanted to cut off Ukraine, the “umbilical cord to Russia,” Moscow chose to strike back.

Russia’s economic difficulties are directly resulted from the joint sanctions imposed by the US and other Western countries. According to Russian statistics, the US alone has imposed more than 90 sanctions on Russia. Together with European sanctions, there are currently more than 400 Russian individuals and more than 500 entities on the Western blacklist. The trade volume between Russia and Europe in 2013 was about $410b but it dropped to $219b in 2020. The US and European sanctions have impacted Russia’s energy and military industries and cut off Russia’s previous financing channels. Besides, the US and Europe also weakened the ruble, leading to its sharp depreciation. Due to the relatively big uncertainty in the Russian business environment, some Russia’s capital continues to flow out while Western investors are hesitant to enter the Russian market. The China-Russia land border is indeed long but it is an undisputed border that is highly peaceful. People from two sides of the border share active economic exchanges. China and Russia are strategic cooperative partners and their mutual trust has a solid political foundation. When facing provocative questions by US journalists, Putin responded clearly that Beijing is not a threat to Moscow and China is a friendly nation. He also said that more importantly, because of the nature and level of China-Russia relations, Russia is not “alarmed” by China’s development.

Annual trade between the US and Russia is only more than $20b, while China-Russia trade is more than $100 billion. While the US imposed a high-tech blockade on Russia, China-Russia high-tech cooperation has become increasingly active. The two countries recently released a road map for an international lunar research station. Last month, leaders from the two countries launched the China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project via video link. China imported 83.57 million tons of crude oil from Russia in 2020 and the two countries mutually supported each other in energy security. There are too many facts that reveal the US’ threats and pressure against Russia. Biden’s accusation of China “squeezing” Russia is nothing but false. Face-to-face communication between Russian and US leaders helps the two sides manage their differences, and China welcomes this. But hopefully, Biden and his administration will not expect too much from it and the stupid idea of blasting China-Russia relations. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership has gone through tests and became an irreplaceable common strategic resource of the two countries. On the one hand, Putin recognized the constructiveness of the meeting with Biden but on the other, he also said he had no illusions about relations with the US: “There are no illusions and there cannot be any.”

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