Putin + Xi = Potency

“The USSR’s poor economy made it much weaker in reality.

No matter how much the Western press tries to gloss over it, the historic three-day meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping is a game-changer of epic proportions. To use a colloquial expression, it is a huge “up yours” to the United States, whose influence has held sway over most of the world since right after World War Two.

The US has always been the leader of the free world, leading the globe’s democracies against the group of nations allied with the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which had communist regimes.

In the previous bipolar scheme, it was an “us versus them” setup, the free nations against the authoritarian regimes, as the US called them, whose redoubt was termed “The Iron Curtain.”

In that world order, the USSR was always a poor second. Although it had marginally more nuclear weapons and a bigger military quantitatively speaking than the US, the USSR’s poor economy made it much weaker in reality. And the other big communist country, China, had fundamental differences with. Thus were the US and its allies able to chip away at the USSR, and it dissolved in 1991. At that point, it would appear the US and its clique would reign supreme.

But things began to happen. China, whose economy then was smaller than its tiny ideological rival, Taiwan, began to develop by leaps and bounds. Now it is the second largest economy in the world, and some experts even say that, based on Gross Domestic Product, the biggest. Its military, too, once primitive, has been modernizing incessantly. Faced with a jealous US, whose political and moral arrogance makes it wont to bully other nations when it doesn’t get its way, China wants to be a world-class superpower. But the way to do it is to get around US power based principally on two things: the US dollar as the world currency which allows it to control world financial systems, and the strong US military.

The meeting, coming as it did in the wake of the International Criminal Court’s issuance of a warrant for Putin’s arrest, relieved Russia of the isolation the US and its European allies had imposed on it. The ICC warrant — largely believed issued due to US influence — was part of that policy. By visiting Russia, China seemed to be saying, “Never mind if they have a warrant against you, we, the world’s largest economy that also has considerable diplomatic clout, choose to ignore it and we stand beside you.”

The visit also has a great global military impact which is a direct challenge to US military supremacy, especially in Asia. With Russia’s landmass being 2/3 in Asia, and with its powerful military allied with China’s economy and nuclear arsenal, the US will have to think twice before trying to project its martial powers into Asia.

Perhaps the greatest concern of the US-led world order regarding that meeting is the impending solidification of an alternative world economic system not based on the US dollar but on the yuan, the strengthening of an alternative to the US-funded World Bank which is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and a parallel banking system to the SWIFT, or Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunications. Fortifying the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries with the inclusion of the world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, will enhance their hold on world energy resources.

Since the start of the Cold War, a lot of the US diplomatic initiatives were focused on driving a wedge between China and the USSR, as an alliance between them would pose a nightmare for the US and its allies. Now the nightmare has come true. Russia and China together have a potency that will spell a serious challenge to the US in the years to come. Let us see where this leads us a decade from now.

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