Biden and Putin will meet in Geneva on June 16. Speculation has been rife that Biden will try to draw Russia away from its deepening relationship with China. This makes patent sense – even American strategists have long realized that China isn’t just a much bigger Mexico, and in fact constitutes the one threat to its global hegemony. This shift was in fact started in the late 2010s under the Trump Administration, but Russiagate as a wedge political issue made any real negotiations on the matter impossible. As someone who is certainly not “Putin’s puppet”, Biden may have greater leeway to offer a deal.
Almost certainly, nothing substantial will come out of it. The observation that the US is “agreement-incapable” has not ceased to be true, at least so far as Russia is concerned. For every small pullback, such as the dropping of US sanctions on German firms involved in Nord Stream 2 construction (but this a favor to Germany, not to Russia), there are more counter-escalations, such as the US ban on American banks purchasing newly issued Russian debt this April.
Meanwhile, there are almost no sources of friction in the Sino-Russian relation and a great deal of scope for productive cooperation. The seething and coping of various neocons and crypto-neocons masquerading as anti-globalists doesn’t change this fundamental reality:
NATOids' wedgy tactics on the Internet:
To Russians: China is a threat to you! They want to take back Siberia!
To Chinese: Your government is a vassal to the Soviets and now Putin! Seeseepee sold out Outer Manchuria and Outer Mongolia! Overthrow Xi and take those lands back!
— Sweet Summer 4K144Hz Fully Vaxxed Shunü 🥭🍉 (@ShunuSweet) June 9, 2021
It would appear to be idiotic to give up on all that for the promise of table crumps from the Americans, and the Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov has said as much in a recent interview with The Global Times:
GT: Some analysts suggest the Biden administration may take measures to ease tensions with Russia in order to concentrate on dealing with China. Will this strategy alienate Russia from China and draw it closer to the US?
Denisov: This view is too short-sighted. It can’t happen. I think we’re smarter than what the Americans think.
He was also explicit in stating that Russia and China are much closer on a variety of issues than the US, which has been imposing sanctions on both of them in different spheres.
GT: Competition and confrontation between China and the US are escalating. If one day an armed conflict between China and the US happens, what position would Russia take?
Denisov: There will be no answer to this question because I am convinced that there will be no armed conflict between China and the US, just as there will be no armed conflict between Russia and the US, because such a conflict would exterminate all mankind, and then there would be no point in taking sides. However, if you are asking about the judgment of the international situation and major issues, then Russia’s position is clearly much closer to China’s.
In recent years, the US has imposed sanctions both on Russia and China. Although the areas and content of the US’ dissatisfaction towards Russia and China are different, the goal of the US is the same: to crush the competitor. We clearly cannot accept such an attitude from the US. We hope that the Russia-China-US “tripod” will keep balance.
Last but not least, it is especially notable that the Ambassador explicitly disavows the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis:
GT: The West has been hyping up Russia and China’s so-called “vaccine diplomacy,” claiming that the two countries are pursuing geopolitical interests through vaccine exports and aid. What do you think of it?
Besides, the West’s fabrication about the virus being a result of “a Chinese laboratory leak” is a classic case of politicizing the pandemic. These are very unfair political statements, which are not the right way to address this devastating human crisis.
Like some other people, I raised the possibility that Corona was a lab leak as early as late January 2020 (assigning it a 20% chance with most of the other 80% being assigned to a more banal zoonotic origin). For more than a year, this lab leak theory was dismissed as conspiracy theory which could get you deplatformed from Big Tech platforms and castigated as an anti-Asian racist by handshakeworthy society. Then, just a month ago, there has been a veritable 180 degree shift, with the Wuhan lab leak theory rapidly becoming the conventional wisdom. These schizoid oscillations in the Official Narrative should not much chance our preexisting probability curve on the origins of Corona, with the much more relevant question being, “why now?”, and “what are the Western elites planning?”
The answer, seemingly confirmed at the G7 meeting earlier today, is a broad Western front against China, possibly eventually escalating to reparations demands – under Trump, confined to neocon publications, but now growing in popularity in normie discourse – for “unleashing Corona” and then “lying” about it. The Chinese refusal to entertain such diktats will consequently be used as the pretext to kickstart the Great Bifurcation, whose ultimate aim is to impose a cordon sanitaire between China and as much of the rest of the world as possible.
Essentially, Russia here is sending a signal that it will not endorse this Western campaign to create a “Black Legend” targeted against China.