The West is very dependent on China because it has been the manufacturing center of the world…
But note the words “it has been”…
China has enjoyed incredible economic growth because they have been the manufacturing center of the world. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have seen much higher living standards, better healthcare, better infrastructure, and happier lives in comparison with their brothers and sisters in Russia. Russia remains up to its knees in mud and clay – a hundred million enjoy the sour fruits of a failed economy, while a tiny elite, like Kim & Co., enjoy the most expensive and luxurious the world has to offer.
Russia has been and will remain a fuedal country so long as the leadership remains the same.
However, many still live in abject poverty in both countries, and the effects of climate change and a deliberate and negligent decision to permit environmental destruction have created major problems like floods, drought, water and air pollution.
In the coming decades, China will not be able to achieve the growth rates they achieved during the last 30 years. There is not enough power and water to fuel faster growth… and if they decide to back Russia with military support then they will open Pandora’s box with dreadful consequences for themselves and for the rest of the world.
China and the Chinese have a long history of filial duty where education and hard work are respected as important standards of behaviour. Their political system is harsh and ever-present but it a system that allows individual freedom and encourages a high degree of entrepreneurial spirit. Russians have been down-trodden for decades and lack the spirit to work for a better future. They are imprisoned for life and those who have seen the light have left the country.
Back thirty years ago, China was a low-income economy that produced goods in a cost efficient manner. This has now changed as workers have demanded more and received more. Companies have moved factories to other countries where costs are lower in South East Asia like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, etc… Big Chinese companies have also moved into Europe and the USA only now to find that some have outlived their welcome because we suspect that they may be seeking out valuable information on patents and other industrial secrets for the benefit of their government and their own industries.
Their ambivalence with regard to Russia has also raised doubts about their trustworthiness. Seeing President Xi expressing “eternal friendship” to Putin a few days before Putin unilaterally attacked his neighbour. This neighbour harboured no ill-feelings towards Russia, and the warlord’s brutal attack was an act of lunacy by Putin, that must have surprised President Xi. We will never know if this last statement is true because Chinese presidents are not in the habit of writing autobiographies.
However, it is clearly not in Xi’s interest to back a loser. He will probably express reservations and ultimately side with reason because he cannot cut the Chinese economy off from Europe or North America. The Chinese system depends on working links – without them there would be a free-falling economy that would sink under its own weight.
Today we have seen that he is already pedalling backwards in his first meeting with Biden today 18.3.2022 where he was clearly less impressed with Putin’s acts of madness and war crimes.
We in the West can ween ourselves off dependencies with Russia. That is a necessity which is not hard to perform because they only sell us fossil fuels and salted cucumbers. We can manage in the end with less from Russia and we can manage quite well by not selling them anything that they need so long as madmen rule there.
With China, it is worth being patient and cordial. Let’s see what will happen but I suspect that they will come around because we need them and they need us more than they need the Russia economy that is already weak ad will become even weaker.
China has everything to gain from a weaker Russia – after the war they can buy raw materials, agricultural products and fossil fuels from a vassal country!