Last week the Chinese Premier Chou En Lai had a telephone conversation with United States president Joe Biden. The Chinese have provided an extensive report on the conversation. It appears that the main reason for the telephone call, initiated by Biden, was to pressure the Chinese not to assist Russia its present confrontation with Ukraine. It appears from the Chinese account of the meeting that the threats issued by the Americans were not well received.
It is extraordinary that the Americans could feel that they were in any way entitled to put pressure on China. China has a sovereign government that makes decisions based on its interpretation of its own best interests. They have clearly made a decision that their alliance, there is no better word for it, with the Russians is more important than capitulating to any American demands.
In the telephone conversation the Chinese made it very clear that they would conduct their own foreign policy, and it was not up to the Americans to dictate with whom, and under what conditions, that foreign policy would be conducted. It would not have enhanced the Chinese view of the Americans that United States newspapers have been publishing stories about Chinese assistance to the Russian government in its confrontation with the Ukrainians.
Xi would also have been very conscious of his last telephone conversation with Biden, in which the American made various promises about their views on the status of Taiwan. None of these promises have been kept, a factor the Chinese, who are sticklers for complying with their promises, would have been very conscious of.
The Chinese are also very conscious of what is happening in Ukraine and the role of the Americans and their allies, including Britain and Australia, are playing in providing material military support to the Ukrainian regime. The use of the term “regime” is entirely appropriate. It is impossible to call them a government, because that term implies a body that governs on behalf of all its citizens.
The blunt truth of the matter is that the regime in Kiev has waged war on a significant part of its population ever since the coup d’état overthrew the legitimate government in 2014. What is extraordinary about the present situation is that Russia has been so patient with the manifest non-compliance of the Kiev regime with the promises that were made in the Minsk agreement of 2015.
Part of the outstanding hypocrisy of the French and German governments, who were also parties to the Minsk agreement, essentially did nothing since 2015 despite Ukraine’s manifest non-compliance with its obligations under the Minsk agreements. For both countries to now join in the sanctions against Russia is the height of hypocrisy.
For the Americans, the war between Russia and Ukraine is a golden opportunity for it to oppose yet more sanctions on Russia. It needs to be remembered that sanctions were first imposed on Russia following the return of Crimea to Russia. This is almost invariably described in the western media as an “annexation” which is a blatant misrepresentation of the actual facts. Following the undemocratic coup in Ukraine the Crimeans held a vote as to their future. An overwhelming majority opted for a return to Russia from whom they had been arbitrary separated in 1954.
The Australian media are equally guilty disregarding the actual history. They have completely sent down the memory hole the fact that their troops participated in the Crimean war the 1850s when they fought none other than the Russians in that particular war.
A similar historic blindness applies to the Americans and their attitude toward China’s claims to the island of Taiwan. They conveniently forget that from 1949 to 1972 China’s seat on the United Nations Security Council was held by the island of Taiwan which was happy to represent itself is the legitimate representative of the billion plus Chinese people on the mainland but on whom they exercised the least control. The United States, along with Australia and other European countries, actually voted against the mainland taking China’s role on the Security Council and as a member of the General Assembly.
The Chinese have long memories. One is reminded of Chou en Lai’s comment when asked by a French reporter of his view of the effects of the French Revolution. He replied, “too soon to tell” which is a perfect illustration of the difference between the Chinese view of history and that of the Americans and their European allies.
That difference of view is a major reason why the United States will never accept China’s claim to the island of Taiwan (as it is now called) as a legitimate part of China, despite their nominal service to the “one China” principle.
In fact, the United States’ attitude to China constitutes the greatest threat to world peace, far-outreaching their contemporary differences with the Russians. It is the Chinese who represent the greatest threat to United States pretensions to world hegemony. The Chinese economy, in parity purchasing terms, is already larger than that of the United States. The Chinese originated and inspired the Belt and Road Initiative which is by far the world’s largest trading group. United States claims to world hegemony rest to a large degree on the role of the United States dollar as the world’s largest trading currency.
In a relatively little noticed development this past week the Saudis and the Chinese have agreed that China’s payments for Sandi oil (and they take 15% of the available supply) are to be traded in Yuan rather than the United States dollar. The implications of this are huge. The role of the dollar as the world’s largest traded currency has been central to United States control of multiple countries and its control of the world’s financial system. This is now changing at a pace that a few years ago would have been unimaginable.
The demise of the role of the dollar represents the demise of United States control of much of the world’s economy. This is not a process the Americans are likely to take lightly. It would not be surprising to see the Americans take action against the Saudi government, perhaps extending to an invasion or some other means to enforce regime change.
That will be a process that will expose to the whole world the truly hypocritical and self-serving nature of the whole United States enterprise. It is an exposure that in this writer’s view cannot come soon enough.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.