Alfred McCoy: Ukraine War May Birth New World Order

Historians in the News
tags: China, Russia, Ukraine, international relations


President Biden reportedly warned Chinese President Xi Jinping via video call Friday that China would face “consequences” if it provided material support to Russia amid the war in Ukraine. The call was part of U.S. efforts to minimize an emerging Sino-Russian alliance, which threatens U.S. influence over the Eurasian landmass, says Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As U.S. global power declines, China and Russia “are going to emerge as the new centers of global power on the planet,” he adds.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for nearly two hours Friday, with much of the discussion focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden reportedly warned Xi that China will face “consequences” if it provides material support to Russia. It was the first call between the two leaders of the world’s two largest economies in four months.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing for talks with Xi ahead of the invasion. Earlier this month, China joined India, Iran, Pakistan and 32 other nations from the Global South in abstaining from a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine. On Saturday, China’s vice foreign minister criticized NATO as a, quote, “Cold War vestige” and criticized Western sanctions on Russia, saying globalization is being used as a weapon.

To look more at China’s evolving relations with both Russia and the United States, we’re joined by Alfred McCoy, professor of history at University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of numerous books, most recently, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change. His recent article for The Nation is headlined “Russia and China, Together at Last.”

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Professor McCoy.

ALFRED McCOY: Thank you for having me.

AMY GOODMAN: Why don’t you start off by responding to the talk that President Biden and Xi Jinping had on Friday, what we learned of what they said?

ALFRED McCOY: Apparently, what President Biden was hoping to accomplish in his phone conversation with Xi Jinping was to draw on their successful video meeting last November and kind of encourage or even pressure President Xi to back away from China’s strong support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And that did not happen. President Xi’s quote, the most memorable, the most important quote, was he wanted the United States to “untie the knot” of Ukrainian and Russian security. And that was a kind oblique reference to the idea that the United States and NATO are responsible for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by expanding NATO right up to the borders of Russia and threatening Russian security. And that’s also a reference to the historic meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping on February 4th of this year, when the two met during the Winter Olympics and they issued an historic 5,300-word declaration that laid claim to establishing a kind of new global order to attacking U.S. global hegemony and to build upon their strong bilateral alliance, their very close economic integration in the field of energy, and to simultaneously block NATO from threatening Russia and block the United States from supporting Taiwan against China’s legitimate claims to Taiwan. And so, in effect, what that meeting failed to accomplish was it simply failed to break this emerging alliance between China and Russia, which is literally shaking the current world order.

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