China uses russia to wear down the West – Portnikov
“It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice” – this Chinese proverb became a symbol of the economic reforms carried out in China by the actual founder of modern China, Deng Xiaoping. The former general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China used this simple idea to prove the possibility of a market economy in a socialist country. Deng Xiaoping’s approach – complete control over political life and information, but market mechanisms for the economy – is considered a successful alternative to the approaches of Mikhail Gorbachev. The former general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU agreed with the possibility of “glasnost” and public discussion, but never dared to pursue market reforms, writes Ukrainian journalist Vitaly Portnikov for zbruc.eu.
Not only political experts, but ordinary people too, consider Deng Xiaoping to be a tough pragmatist, while Gorbachev is considered to be a failed romantic. But, in fact, Gorbachev was a tough pragmatist. He understood that the market economy leaves no room for undivided power, whereas “glasnost” in a society where there is no property creates the necessary illusion of freedom. Sooner or later, the market creates free people, freedom of speech without property keeps people dependent on the state and gives them an opportunity to let off steam.
They will tell me that China and russia are a real refutation of my thesis. But maybe totalitarian regimes that exist at the expense of market mechanisms are simply coming to the logical conclusion of their existence? That is why we observe the “tightening of nuts” and bursts of aggression – this is historical agony. Refusal to allow the change of those who are in power, readiness to use force, brutal punishments of those who disagree – but at the same time forced preservation of an economic model that requires coexistence with the civilized world.
As it usually happens with dictatorships, neither Beijing nor moscow want to understand that the crisis of the regime is connected with the internal contradiction of its existence. That you have to choose one thing – either to abandon undivided power and move to democracy or abandon the market and move to the liquidation of private property, to the state economy, to the planned economy. Dictatorship and competition cannot coexist forever, sooner or later the cauldron will explode and blow up the whole mechanism. But in the eyes of the Chinese or russian rulers, the problem is not with them, but with the West. If the West does not interfere in their affairs, if the West does not prevent them from establishing “spheres of influence,” if the West ceases to be attractive to their compatriots – then they can breathe a sigh of relief.
Therefore, the main goal of dictatorships is corruption, weakening and marginalization of the West. And in this sense, China is much more dangerous than russia. putin has already demonstrated all the incompetence and stupidity of his regime during the first year of the war with Ukraine. But putin is a fraud without an obvious nomenclature and political career, a gray nobody who has surrounded himself with mediocrities. But China is still ruled by a select nomenclature that has gone through all the necessary educational and career paths. Yes, these people are dogmatists, but they are also professionals. And they know what they are doing.
Once, in the days of the Ukrainian Maidans and Belarusian Square, I told the participants of the protests that they should not rejoice. That the very attitude that our main enemy is only Yanukovych’s regime or Lukashenka’s regime is wrong. putin is behind Yanukovych and Lukashenka, and whoever defeats the puppet will inevitably meet its master. And so it happened. But this is not the end, it is only the beginning.
Behind putin stands Xi Jinping. China uses russia in cold blood as a tool to weaken and exhaust the West, so that if Beijing decides to go to war, the West will have neither the determination nor the ability to help Taiwan. Deng Xiaoping’s belief about the cat can now be applied to russia. putin is the cat that should catch mice in a dark room for Xi Jinping, chase his own shadow, bite those with whom the Chinese leader intends to speak politely at bilateral summits. That is why Beijing cannot allow the defeat and weakening of moscow.
This is the true existential meaning of the conflict that began on 24 February 2022. This is not only a war between russia and Ukraine. Ukraine is only the first fragment of russia’s battle for the restoration of its lost empire and for the right to restore this empire contrary to international law and the West’s opinion about the priority of international law. But behind this war lies the main conflict – the conflict between China and the United States. China wants russia to wear down the West. The United States wants the Ukrainian resistance not only to lead to the preservation of our state and the restoration of international law, but also to put an end to the aggressive ambitions of dictatorships. Thus, it is a conflict between democracies and dictatorships with a similar form of ownership and nuclear weapons. And at the same time, market dictatorships are pregnant with an internal crisis and are trying to prevent internal collapse with the help of escalating external confrontation.
Perhaps, this is the greatest drama in the history of mankind. And it should not be surprising that the starting gun was discharged on Ukrainian soil. After all, the shot that led to the First World War was fired in Sarajevo, far from the world’s political centers, not in Vienna or Paris. And the Second World War began on Westerplatte in Gdańsk, not in London or Berlin. When the democracies win – and I know they will win – Ukraine will forever remain a symbol of this victory in world history. Victory, which is necessary for the survival of humanity.