There has been considerable coverage in the Chinese media regarding to heightening tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and although the Chinese are playing their cards close to the vest with regard to the conflict, they are watching it very closely, including the military preparations which the Russians are taking in response to the ever-more strident voices coming from the West. The following article in Global Times by Zhang Ming, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, no doubt reflects some of the thinking going on within leading Chinese circles:
“The current international order is in a process of transformation. The U.S. hegemonic system is gradually eroding, with a new international order growing into its place. It is fair to say that the Ukraine crisis has served as a catalyst for these changes. The current order took shape after the end of the Cold War, with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Yalta system. The U.S. built up an absolute monopoly on power through the Gulf War and the war in Yugoslavia. It also exported to the world its own relations of production, social systems and an ideology of international monopoly capitalism thoroughly dominated by Washington itself.
“However, countervailing trends are inevitable once certain limits are reached. Washington’s efforts to disseminate its values and hegemonic system around the world have encountered a crisis. Washington’s power has been spent following its geopolitical expansion in the name of the war on terror. The outbreak of the global financial crisis of 2008 in particular exposed a wide spectrum of systematic and social problems that had accumulated over a long period of time within U.S. society. The decline of Washington has gone from rumor to reality, not only triggering a domestic social crisis but also accelerating the collapse of the current international system.
“Russia has gradually rediscovered the confidence it lost after the Cold War. As other regions occupied the attention of the U.S. and the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been busy reforging economic integration among the countries that were once members of the Soviet Union. When the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative expanded to Ukraine, Moscow chose to strike back. Putin managed to keep Ukraine within the framework of the Commonwealth of the Independent States through policy levers that included energy agreements and huge loans. He incorporated Crimea into Russia after the regime change in Kiev. The current crisis reflects severe mistrust between Russia and the West.
“The collapse of a unipolar world has led to new contradictions between the East and the West, leaving peripheral zones mired in constant turmoil. The MH17 incident reminded us once again of the various conflicts binding together the parties involved. It reminds us also that unilateralism and hegemony will only lead to more confrontation and that compromise and cooperation constitute the only choice for resolving the crisis.”