Aug 18, 2008 11:48 am


While American analysts focus on the European response to the Russian aggressiveness (including a threat to nuke Poland , former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar notes with interest the uneasy Chinese response. While Russia stood by China during the Tibet crisis, China is not willing to stand by Russia. Bhadrakumar writes:

Commentary offered so far in the People's Daily on August 12 called for a cessation of hostilities in the spirit of the Summer Olympic Games and disapproved of the Russian intervention, which, it said,"rapidly escalated the tension and raised international concerns and public anxiety".

It underscored,"Some analysts even showed the concern that military antagonism could evolve into a new version of the Cold War." There was some advice to the Kremlin:"War is not the way to settle conflicts. The only way to effectively resolve disputes is to disregard old grievances, cease hostilities and negotiate for peace. Only in the backdrop of peace and in the framework of constructive negotiation can a win-win deal be reached."

Significantly, Beijing does not figure in the list of capitals that the Russian Foreign Ministry has been in touch with during the past 10 days.

Reciprocity would have meant a Chinese endorsement of the Russian stance. Indeed, that was how Moscow reacted when trouble broke out in Lhasa in Tibet and China found itself at the receiving end of Western opinion, especially in the US's estimation.


As Beijing would see it, Moscow has already entered a dangerous"no-go" zone by conducting military operations inside Georgian territory, by putting conditionalities on the withdrawal of its forces from Georgian soil and by loudly speculating on the (lack of) realism in laboring to preserve Georgia's territorial integrity.

In the Chinese perspective, independence of South Ossetia or Abkhazia is unacceptable, as separatism is evil and self-determination is a dangerous principle. Period.

Shades of Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet. There are other considerations. China would see that US-Russia relations are entering a turbulent period. On the contrary, there is reason to hope that neither Senator John McCain nor Senator Barack Obama, if elected president, would substantially alter the benign trajectory of the China policy set during the Bush era. Historically, in the highly complex matrix of US-Russia-China equations, it only worked to China's advantage if US-Russia relations frayed. A chill in ties with Russia almost reflexively prompts Washington to cultivate China. Some signs of it are already there.

As I have already pointed out , for China Russia is simply the gift that keeps on giving.

Isn't Putin brilliant?!

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