Loud thunder but few raindrops Chinese proverb This proverb was used by Sergey Radchenko to describe the result of the much heralded Putin-Xi summit, which concluded on 22 March. It might also describe a general feature of Russia’s war. Much is promised with boasts and bluster but in the end the results are meagre - whether we are referring to attempts to persuade Western countries to stop supporting Ukraine or coerce Ukraine into abandoning the war, or Russia’s offensive operations. The costs, of course, of these failed efforts are anything but meagre. The losses and suffering caused by this war has been immense, which makes its utter futility even more egregious.
As far as I can tell the Xi-Putin summit was a giant nothingburger. We knew the two get on fine and China sits squarely in Russia’s corner. But sits seems the operative word. The most flaccid Ukrainian ally seems to have given more active help than China has given Russia. A post Putin Russia may well reflect how little they got out of China (who happily buys their oil at a steep discount) compared to how well paid they were when they traded with Europe.
I cannot see Putin relinquishing any of his ill-gotten gains voluntarily though I could see him offering a cease fire if he believed he had no prospect of further advances. Whether the Ukrainians would accept one it is another matter. The only thing that would stop this war would be the expulsion of the Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. We ought to give the Ukrainians as much help as they need to achieve this.
Russia is not a member of the UN or it's Security Council. That honor belongs to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which was dissolved by Yeltsin. There is nothing in the UN Charter about subsequent states succeeding to the position of former states.
I can't see this conflict ending until Ukraine can hit targets deep inside Russia and cause the same level of destruction and casualties there as it is suffering. But that may give Putin his excuse to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine
Possibly, though I suppose a member would need to bring a case. Do you know how that works and whether it would be likely?
A Xi-brockered peace would be made to look like a Russian victory against Nato encroachment on Russia. It would separate the USA from the process. Xi is much more interested in using Putin and the war to Chinese advantage. To llok like the Peace Maker adds to his prestige and power. I Xi sees that the Russians cannot win only cause more destruction he will let Putin know who his new boss, ie, best friend is
Even more risks of some sort sounds ominous
Broadcasters want action now. However the few months training with very limited supplies of new potent weapons is inadequate for a force that cannot afford to lose men for partial gains. Committing to a land offensive without state of the art AirPower, with limited range artillery, and a mere pocket of decent tanks is a recipe for defeat. Patience should be urged while Ukraine builds its forces in number and potency. Zelensky has the political capital to wait and build. He should do so.
Russia is the natural resources powerhouse of Europe and China. Having burned its bridges with Europe, they are left with a single customer paying “beggar the producer” prices.
Putin tells his people that the west seeks to break up the Russian Empire. He’s lying. The west and China see this as inevitable. Resulting the CCP see resource rich eastern Siberia becoming a myriad of client states in its sphere of influence. The US sees the end of Russia’s nuclear threat and its global promotion of anti American politics. Hence Ukraine and Russia are denied the weapons they need to get the war finished quickly. In the expectation that in Russia the centre will not be able to hold.
Rich Russians send their children to be educated, keep their mistresses and store their proceeds of kleptocracy in europe. It’s time Russia’s officer class, political, government and business elite, bring Europe home to Russia by openly discussing joining the EU.
As an aside,
For 20 years Putin has lived in the chauffeur driven personal security bubble of a national leader. Meanwhile the world of the everyday has had a personal communication and knowledge revolution with internet connected smart phones. When he entered the bubble the USSR ended only 10 years ago. Outside the bubble, only people over 55 remember the USSR.
There was one report on MSNBC about China agreeing to deliver drones to Russia. If true, and depending on what kind and amount, this could be a very adverse development for Ukraine. While I expect the Chinese capitalists can take Russia to the cleaners, the actual operational outcomes of the recent summit, both open and perhaps clandestine, need to be watched very carefully. I'm apprehensive about what was really agreed in this 3-day meeting - perhaps much we don't know, and it may be not good for Ukraine.