China realized the scale of the catastrophe in the Ukrainian war from the beginning, so it worked to take cautious and pragmatic positions, calling on the parties to calm down and return to dialogue.
A year has passed since the Ukrainian war, a war that affected the whole world greatly, to the extent that not a country remained that was not affected by the repercussions of that war and its economic repercussions, at the very least.
Perhaps the most important common denominator between the parties to that war is miscalculation, as no one believed in the developments and continuity of this war. The Russians considered it a “special operation” that would end with the implementation of the objectives entrusted to it quickly, betting on the inability of Western countries to antagonize Moscow due to their great need for Russian oil and gas.
While the United States and Western countries bet on Moscow’s inability to challenge Western sanctions, especially on the economic level, as the most powerful sanctions in history were imposed on Moscow.
However, Beijing seems to have realized the scale of the disaster from the beginning, so it worked to take cautious and pragmatic positions, calling on the parties to calm down and return to dialogue, which is consistent with the principles and directions of Chinese politics. And based on the idea of ”turning the crisis into an opportunity,” Beijing has defined its goals from the war in 3 things, namely:
– Reshaping the existing international order to lead to a “more just international order”.
– The American preoccupation with China, and the postponement of any possible confrontation between the two parties, especially since time is in Beijing’s interest and enhances its strength and prestige.
– Enhancing cooperation with Russia, to be subservient to Beijing, which will be a lifeline for it in this war.
Since the start of the war, the Chinese position seemed closer to adopting the behavior of a superpower, perpetuating the idea that China is greater than being with or against only, as it is a country that has its own position, which seemed consistent with the principles and directions of Chinese politics, and responded to the pragmatic tendency that Beijing does not hide in its many of its positions.
Beijing has shown its understanding of Russia’s concerns about the threats posed by NATO to Moscow’s national security. However, at the same time, it opposed the Russian invasion of Ukrainian lands, based on its respect for the principle of state sovereignty and refusal to interfere in its internal affairs.
The Chinese position was not enough for the West, as Beijing was asked to take more stringent positions and reject that war, and to declare its position of solidarity with Ukraine. Beijing, which has very strong economic relations with the United States of America, Ukraine and Western countries, as the rate of trade exchange between it and the United States in the year 2021 reached ($755.6 billion), while with the European Union it amounted to $828.1 billion, while it did not exceed $140 billion. dollars with Russia.
At the same time, however, it sees itself as politically closer to the Russian position that rejects American unipolarity. Therefore, it must calculate its positions accurately, seeking to minimize losses and maximize gains as much as possible, or at least invest in the course of the war and hold the stick from the middle as much as possible.
Hence, it sought to be a “lifeline for Russia”, in return for obtaining oil and economic concessions from Moscow, and absolute Russian support on the political and military levels.
The course of events indicates that Beijing’s interest lies in weakening the two parties to the conflict as much as possible, and not achieving a sweeping victory for one party over the other. The defeat of the Western camp means the dominance of Russia, which is adjacent to Beijing, which has had many border disputes and ideological competition between them for decades. As for the defeat of Russia, if it happened, it would herald the start of the war against China by the United States, a war that Beijing is working to avoid as much as possible, especially as it is fully aware that time is in its favour, as China is moving towards more power, while the United States is moving towards More contraction, stagnation and weakness, even if not in the short term.