Biden in Warsaw distances the negotiating scenarios, while the nuclear risk rises
“Autocrats understand only one word: no, no, no.” This sentence perfectly sums up the current US position on the war in Ukraine: no peace. Words spoken by the American president Joe Biden from Warsaw, in an expected speech declaimed in front of the presidential palace of the most assertive European country against Russia. Fully in line with the needs of the US, even willing to completely forget the sovereign and anti-European inclinations of the Polish government, which in recent years has repeatedly entered into a collision course with Brussels for laws on justice and the media.
Biden then assured that “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia”, reaffirming that the NATO treaty is “solid as a rock”. A trip, that of the American president, which serves to (re) enlist the European partners partially seduced by the promises of negotiations and peace brought to the Old Continent by Wang Yi, the head of Chinese diplomacy who has been on tour between France, Italy and Germany in recent days. Songs of sirens, or rather of dragons, which will also seduce Europe (at the forefront of a conflict which in a few hours will officially celebrate one year after the invasion) but certainly not the United States.
Yes why the White House and the Pentagon do not seem inclined to favor any negotiations, at least for now. Biden’s sortie in Kiev first and Warsaw then serves, if anything, to do the opposite: to call to attention and relaunch the military effort on the ground against Moscow. The vision is clear: letting the Russian president win would mean opening up to possible new crisis scenarios in the more or less near future. The optimistic version, the pessimistic one fomented by Moscow and Beijing is another: the US wants to win a proxy war by annihilating Russia and creating a rift with China.
What is behind Biden’s desire for weapons, which undermines the Chinese flirtation with peace?
On the other hand, that in the eyes of Washington the first rival is Beijing is a full-blown fact. Perhaps this is precisely why the American counter-attack has arrived, shortly before China presented its peace proposal. In the rhetorical war between the two powers, no one wants to pass off the other as the one who is on the right side. And here are the accusations, not yet supported by facts, of Antony Blinken on the possibility of China supplying Russia with lethal weapons. And here is Biden’s trip to Kiev, just as Wang Yi is in Moscow.
The trip of the Chinese diplomat was presented as a move of responsibility by China which spokesperson for the desire for peace of European countries in the Kremlin. While reiterating that the real responsibility for the conflict lies with the USA and NATO, behind the scenes Beijing would have liked to work to bring about an end to the war. Not so much for issues of solidarity, but for opportunities. In fact, maintaining the ambiguous position maintained so far on the war is becoming increasingly difficult, and this risks alienating Beijing’s relations with the West. If those with Washington are almost lost, those for Europe are not. And Europe seems to match tooincluding Italy, as evidenced by the willingness to travel to Chinese land not only of Emmanuel Macron but also of Giorgia Meloni who appeared to be the leader most hostile to the People’s Republic.
It would be important for Beijing to reach a peace negotiation as soon as possible, to save the balance and avoid the bogeyman of Putin’s fall, which would deprive Xi Jinping of a partner increasingly dependent on him and therefore of a possible asset to be used at a political level. The increased dependency of Russia from China is bringing several benefits to Beijingstarting with discounted oil and gas imports to unhindered projection into strategic areas such as Central Asia and the Arctic.
Putin gives a signal on Start, but the risk of the conflict widening becomes more concrete
The However, the US wants to prevent these strategic advantages on the Russian front from even turning into an image of China as a guarantor of peace and stability. Hence the move by the White House which also symbolically divides the world into two parts: who is with Ukraine (and therefore who is on the “right” side) and who is with Russia (and therefore who is on the “wrong” side ). A calculated risk, aware that Beijing cannot afford to openly dump Putinbecause this would have dire consequences on Chinese security within its borders and on the Pacific “home landing”.
What risks being less calculated is instead what can happen on the battlefield. Putin gave a signal by suspending Russia’s participation in the START treaty, while reiterating that its principles will be respected. At the same time, however, the Russian president recalled Moscow’s atomic power. Also should the Tsar decide to listen to China’s negotiating “songs”.who trembles for a negotiation that can save its balancing act without jeopardizing relations with anyone or altering the global balance of power, the risk is that it will find itself faced with a wall-to-wall approach on the American side.
The fear of the Kremlin, and of Beijing, is that at this point the US really wants to overturn the Russian political system. A total defeat, that humiliation that Macron has repeatedly said should be avoided. A scenario that raises the risks not only on the Ukrainian front, but also on the possible Chinese involvement.
At Lorenzo Lamperti
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