Any NATO-imposed economic sanctions against Russia will have minimal impact since China would provide relief in an attempt to embarrass the United States, a former defense official told Fox News Digital.
Diplomatic talks stalled this week after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken provided a handwritten response to Russian demands. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday the response offered “little cause for optimism” but acknowledged “prospects for continued dialogue”.
The United States has threatened to hit Russia with sanctions — both against the state itself and against individuals, including President Vladimir Putin — if it proceeds with the invasion of Ukraine.
But Robert L. Wilkie, undersecretary of defense for personnel and preparedness in the Trump administration, said such economic sanctions would not have the kind of impact that U.S. officials believe they will. because of the close ties between Russia and China.
“A lot of the economic sanctions talk is really pie in the sky because China is now Russia’s banker,” Wilkie explained. “Xi Jinping will support Putin if sanctions from the West come.”
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“It’s a safety net that it probably didn’t have 10, 15 years ago, and China probably wasn’t able to strengthen the Russian state as it is today,” he said. he added.
US sanctions on Russia – which could include cutting off Moscow’s access to SWIFT and related global banking funds – could simply push Russia to increase oil and gas sales to China instead: Russia in 2020 accounted for 15.5% of crude oil imported by China, according to The World’s Best Exports. This currently makes Russia the second largest exporter of oil and gas to China.
“[China] would start buying a lot more energy from Russia,” Wilkie explained. “If we moved to the SWIFT lending system that allows Russia to access Western capital, China would pick up the slack with that.
“Even if the Germans were to turn around on Nord Stream 2, China would take over – they need as much energy, if not more, than Europe. That’s how I would see it playing out,” did he declare. .
Xi said this week that China’s ambitions to meet low-carbon targets should not come at the expense of “normal life”, saying such energy cuts could endanger food and other everyday values. Xi told party leaders on Monday evening that China needed to “get over the notion of quick success”, The Guardian reported.
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“We must stick to comprehensive planning and ensure energy security, industrial supply chain security and food security while reducing carbon emissions,” Xi said, noting that dependence on gas and oil won’t go away – providing Russia with its much-needed backdoor.
The dynamic between Russia and China has shifted dramatically over the past 50 years: They remained tenuous allies after World War II at best, and tensions between the two nations reached a boiling point under the administration. Nixon, whom then-President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger exploited to bust the union.
But that “old animosity” has been “buried”, according to Wilkie, with Putin now the “junior partner in the arrangement” due to China’s economic might.
“China is ready to help anyone as long as it diminishes the United States in the eyes of the world,” Wilkie said.
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Wilkie argued that the United States had not taken the necessary steps to bring Russia into the Western fold after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the same way it had with Germany and Japan after World War II. Instead, officials did a “victory dance” for two decades, creating a very bitter attitude that allowed Putin to push forward a very aggressive agenda to overhaul the military and the state.
Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping now have regular calls, with the last meeting taking place on December 15 last year in search of ‘mutual support’ in their disputes with the West, according to the New York Times. .
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This dynamic could even impact Putin’s invasion plans: Recent intelligence suggests that Russia could take military action by mid-February, but some have pushed back on those suggestions thinking Putin wouldn’t want to upset China by doing it during the Beijing winter. Olympic Games.
China has jumped through a number of hoops and gone to great lengths – including mass lockdowns to quell the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing – to ensure the games go forward.