The Ukraine War: How U.S. support is less about Ukraine and more about Russia

Bianca Zanini

i24NEWS Correspondant | @_BiancaZanini

5 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington DC, U.S.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFPU.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington DC, U.S.

And China's message is less about the war and more about its interests in Taiwan

As Russia’s destructive war in Ukraine continues on the ground, the stakes are getting higher in the geopolitical arena as well.

With rare combative rhetoric from China’s new foreign minister, saying the war is driven by an invisible hand and warning the U.S. to back off. Tensions have been rising recently between the two giant world powers, and the war in Ukraine is at the center of it all - in several ways.

In recent weeks, China has been trying to position itself as a potential key player, a neutral mediator to help resolve the war in Ukraine. China insists it has no interest in taking a side, but the new foreign minister did defend the friendship between Beijing and Moscow, as a “driving force” in the world.

China proposed a 12´point plan towards peace, and did not mention Russia as an aggressor. Instead echoed Beijing’s repeated rhetoric of blaming the West for fanning the flames of the war and taking sides, by supporting Kiev financially and militarily and sanctioning Russia. 

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The plan received a cool reception in the West - but for China, the plan was just as much about something happening in its own backyard. Because apart from geopolitical and economic interests, China’s focus on diminishing U.S. interference in the war arguably is a message to prevent Western meddling in Beijing’s future plans with Taiwan. Which it sees as part of Chinese territory. 

China’s new foreign minister Qin Gang set the tone this Tuesday and said clearly that what is happening in Ukraine should not be repeated in Asia.  

"The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations.”

He continued:

“The U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy boasts of freedom and openness, but in fact, it is ganging up and engaging in various closed and exclusive cliques. It claims to maintain regional security, but in fact provokes confrontation and plans an Asia-Pacific version of NATO. It preaches the promotion of regional prosperity, but in fact is engaged in decoupling and breaking the chain, undermining the process of regional integration."

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Chinese President Xi Jinping joined in on the harsh tone, and said the United States is main threat to China’s development

“Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-around containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our country’s development,” said the President, according to China’s official news agency.

Apart from the recurring issue of Taiwan, tensions between the two countries have been escalating recently, with China’s closening relationship to Russia, but also over the Chinese spy balloon saga and trade issues.

Beijing’s message to the Americans was uncommonly blunt this Tuesday, setting perhaps a new tone: 

"The United States’ so-called competition is total containment and suppression, a zero-sum game in which you die and I live,” said the foreign minister and added:

"If the United States does not hit the brakes but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing or a crash, and there will surely be conflict and confrontation."

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But according to some analysts, the U.S. interest in the Ukraine war has less to do with China and everything to do with Russia.

Brian Berletic, an Asia-based geopolitical analyst and former U.S. Marine said that the U.S. is waging a proxy war against Russia through Ukraine, and that this is something that has been a long time coming.

“The reason why there is not going to be any negotiations is because it's not up to the administration in Kiev, it is up to Washington. There's no motivation or incentive for Washington to come to the negotiations."

Since the war began a little over a year ago, the U.S. has led the efforts of support for Kyiv, criticizing other countries - including those in the Middle East - for not taking a sharper stance against Russia. Meanwhile one question keeps appearing again and again - is the West and NATO, guided by America, doing enough to help Ukraine win the war, or is it just keeping Kyiv from losing? At least for the moment? 

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