In what looks like a 180-degree turn from its previously declared policy of providing military aid to Ukraine “indefinitely,” the Biden Administration is now apparently seeking a peace settlement in the Russia-Ukraine war, according to reports last week.
And the potential peacemaker to which Biden is so eager to cede leadership? It’s none other than Chinese President Xi Jinping, a documented human-rights abuser who’s now positioning himself as an angel of peace devoted to ending this devastating war.
Xi’s dovish shift began in February when Beijing launched a diplomatic charm offensive featuring a 12-point document titled “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis,” followed by outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
But a peaceful solution is the last thing that Beijing really desires. To the contrary, China is incentivized to keep this conflict going as long as possible as Xi continues to outmaneuver Biden.
China views the United States and Russia as its top geopolitical adversaries whose military and economic power Beijing hopes to weaken. And the conflict in Ukraine is doing just that by embroiling Moscow and Washington in what now looks to be a protracted proxy war.
China’s grand strategy includes two primary goals: replace the United States as the dominant economic and military power by 2049 — the centenary of the People’s Republic of China’s founding — and become a “One China” nation by securing control over Taiwan.
Only US military might can prevent this. But having poured billions of dollars in military aid into Ukraine, the Pentagon has depleted crucial US weapons stockpiles to dangerous levels, eroding American combat readiness.
A 44-page report recently released by the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that US forces could run out of existing precision weapons in less than a week in a potential war with China.
Last November, Xi directed his military to get ready for war. Then, as now, Xi can only benefit from Washington’s hyper-focus on Ukraine as China aggressively eyes Taiwan.
Xi is masterfully playing a “peacemaker” charade, portraying China as a neutral mediator. In March, Xi visited his “dear friend” Putin, touting the rendezvous as a “peace mission” aimed at getting the buy-in from his fellow dictator to end the fighting in Ukraine.
Then, the following month, China’s strongman ramped up the game, holding a video conference call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky, ostensibly to promote “peace and talks,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
Behind all the theatrics, however, China is fueling the conflict by shipping military equipment to Russia via third parties in foreign locations to avoid US economic sanctions.
According to Politico, Chinese companies have exported assault weapons, drone parts, and body armor to Russian distributors through Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Russia also is using Chinese and other foreign navigation equipment, satellite imagery, and vehicle components in its war on Ukraine.
But China’s help for Russia is actually – if not perversely – designed to harm it. Beijing is delighted to see Moscow’s military hardware expended by war and weakened by US and European sanctions.
Despite casting themselves as “strategic partners,” Russia and China are not true allies. While they share an anti-US agenda, they’re both competing for influence in Eurasia, where China hopes to gain leverage over crucial trade markets through its massive “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.
China and Russia also have a history on the battlefield, most notably a series of border disputes that brought them to the brink of a nuclear confrontation in late 1960s. Indeed, Russian military strategists view China as Russia’s second top security threat after the US and NATO.
An additional benefit that China derives from a protracted war in Ukraine is the oil that it has been buying from Russia at deep discounts. Russia circumvented Western measures to choke off its petroleum revenues by redirecting oil exports from Europe to China, India, and Turkey, making them available at markdown prices.
There’s a shrewd Chinese allegory that captures the essence of its thinking on the war in Ukraine: “As two tigers are fighting ferociously in the valley, a sage monkey is sitting on top of the mountain, looking down and waiting to see how it will end.”
The two tigers are Russia and the United States, while. China is the wizened monkey patiently waiting as Moscow and Washington erode their respective combat power in Ukraine.
Plagued by incompetence and wishful thinking, Biden’s foreign policy has created a new world disorder which has emboldened US enemies to act against our best interests.
Removed from reality, Team Biden is about to be outmaneuvered yet again by one of America’s top adversaries. And Biden has only himself to blame for being constantly bamboozled by Putin and Xi.
Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.” Twitter: @Rebekah0132
This story originally appeared on NYPost