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Partnership good for peace across Asia

By Martin Sieff | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-07-19 07:01
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The announcement in June to renew the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia comes as no surprise. Unlike the wild fluctuations and rhetoric that have marked US and British diplomacy and foreign policies in recent years, Beijing and Moscow continue to handle their relations with caution and responsibility.

Yet the decision to renew the treaty is an event of the greatest importance for the maintenance of peace and security across the continent of Asia.

It is surprising that the English language media in the West have virtually ignored this important event. It seems obligatory these days for Washington to gaslight, or scapegoat, the governments of Russia and China for everything that goes wrong in the United States. And that's precisely why it is amazing to see the English language media in the West practically not comment on the strengthening of the most powerful and stable international relationship.

This is not the result of some "diabolical" Chinese or Russian master plan since the media in both countries have rightly and extensively covered the event. What we are seeing across the West, rather, is a further extension of the "infantilization" of both domestic politics and international relations: The success and enduring nature of the China-Russia friendship flies in the face of the childish fantasies of Washington's policymakers and pundits. No wonder they bury their heads ever deeper in the sand and adamantly tell themselves and their public that it is not happening.

Washington think tanks have in recent years been teeming with so much fantasy about embracing and "recruiting" Russia as a supposed "counterweight" to isolate China that they believe it is already happening.

Of course, that has not happened and will never happen: The United States and NATO are still feverishly trying to extend their "zone of instability" in Eastern Europe which has already engulfed Ukraine and Georgia.

Simultaneously, the Joe Biden administration, if anything, has intensified the in-your-face policies of brinkmanship that were so recklessly and witlessly pursued by previous president Donald Trump. Also, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is no improvement on his hapless predecessor Mike Pompeo. Worse, as Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's meeting with China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Anchorage, Alaska, in March, showed, the US' new foreign policy team may not improve at all.

The US' 20-year catastrophic misadventure in Afghanistan has left nothing but the threat of civil war, anarchy and mass violence in its wake. By contrast, Beijing and Moscow together are engaging Teheran through the mechanism of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to help save the Iran nuclear deal and resolve other Middle East issues.

And in Afghanistan, China and Russia, far from seeking to intensify the civil war and chaos in the country, are seeking to engage both the Taliban and the enfeebled US-backed government in Kabul, which the Biden administration is abandoning, to stabilize the ruling structure and restore peace.

Beijing and Moscow are seriously and patiently working to help end the dark era of the past two decades in Afghanistan, rein in drug trafficking, root out terrorism, and most of all, end Washington's wild geopolitical fantasies about Afghanistan and the rest of Central Asia. The decision to renew the friendship treaty between China and Russia is an important step toward achieving those vital, and moral, ends and ending the US' attempts to drive a wedge between Russia and China.

The treaty's renewal also shows that Beijing and Moscow are ready to continue shouldering the responsibilities of maintaining peace and stability across Eurasia. As such, the treaty's renewal provides the vital geopolitical underpinning for the continued development of Sino-Russian economic cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative as a key driver of economic growth across the Asian continent.

The Sino-Russian strong bond offers a peaceful and constructive alternative to the 20 years of war, chaos, human trafficking, enslavement, and drug trafficking on an unparalleled scale that US policies have given rise to in Afghanistan under the banners of "democracy", "open borders" and "free markets".

Little wonder that the US policymakers and media chose to ignore the renewal of the Sino-Russian friendship treaty and everything it represents. It would be far better for global peace and the future of the human race if the West ended its generations of denial and sought to work constructively with Beijing and Moscow to build a truly tolerant, multipolar and peaceful world.

But that would be a miracle.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.


The author is a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow.

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