After covering all the various aspects and dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in previous blog posts, perhaps the final aspect or dimension which needs to be covered happens to be the most important one, namely, the ‘balance of power’ element of this conflict. And as mentioned before, the psychological aspect is perhaps more important than the military or economic aspect of the ‘balance of power’ element or principle. Currently, the global ‘balance of power’ as a result of the psychological dimension is in favor of China, and Russia is closely aligned with China. While China is rising as a major economic and social power in the world, Washington is suffering from the ‘Havana Syndrome’ and political dysfunction.
And as we have seen over the course of the last few days, Washington sought to push China into exercising its “leverage” over Russia in order to get Russia to back off of its military operations in Ukraine. In the end, Taiwan is what China wants from Washington in order to act on Washington’s demand that China exercise “leverage” over Russia regarding the Ukraine issue. But in a sense, even if Washington hands over Taiwan to China at this very moment and in turn China exercises “leverage” over Russia, the reality is that Russia is largely independent. Thus, Russia can still push to get the political outcome it is seeking out of Ukraine by various means.
As a result, there are limits to what Washington can achieve from the “China Card” this time around in Ukraine, as opposed to when Washington employed the “China Card” in the 1980’s during the latter stage of the Cold War regarding Afghanistan. Moreover, in addition to the military, economic, and social power which it has garnered for itself over the course of more than four decades, China wants prestige and respect from the United States. China also seeks the recognition as an equal partner with the United States in the management of international affairs. But given the racial hierarchy which Washington is seeking to preserve in the international system, getting the prestige, respect, and recognition as an equal partner in the management of international affairs will be difficult for China, thus the potential for the parting of ways between the world’s two largest economies and perhaps the decision on the part of China to ride along with the ‘balance of power’ principle which is currently in favor of China.
Because of this ‘balance of power’ principle, we are beginning to see Ukrainian parliamentarians and government advisers give interviews to CNN and other media outlets from either Brussels or Berlin or at some border region, which suggests that the central government in Kiev is gradually breaking down under Russian pressure.
As Henry Kissinger said, in politics, one must do away with emotions and subjective feelings. Although the mainstream media stokes public emotions and then continues to play off the public emotions which they have stoked, politicians and statesmen must have the mental fortitude and the ‘nerves of steel’ necessary to avoid reacting to every ploy or tactic of the mainstream media. As Harry Truman famously said: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” And even though the bitterness one feels as a result of everything that happened due to an ill-founded policy is hard to overcome, the toll it takes and the taxing on one’s energy in order to give every person in Washington what they ultimately deserve requires balance, patience, and self-restraint.