On February 04, 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin, on an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping, attended the China Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Twenty days later Russia invaded Ukraine. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, in response to an invitation, visited Taiwan over China’s objections on August 2, 2022 and China immediately responded with massive military maneuvers around Taiwan.
Russia has now been at war with Ukraine for over six months. Ukraine has been supplied with many billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware by America before and during the war. Taiwan has recently received a pledge of over one billion dollars’ worth of military aid from the U.S. The U.S. has long supported Taiwan’s independence from China which claims Taiwan as part of China.
Russia and China share some common borders on the eastern and western edges of both countries and share one main nemesis, America. On September 15 and 16, 2022 Xi and Putin will meet face to face at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The United States is not invited.
It is possible Russia and China just want to confer on the relative merits of their national ballet companies and the ten billion cubic meters of national gas Putin promised to Xi in their February meeting. Or perhaps Putin and Xi want to compare notes on how each can continue in power beyond the traditional terms of prior Chinese and Russian presidents.
On the other hand, I suggest the two leaders may be getting together to discuss their largest common problem, us. Not much information was released from their conference in Beijing in February and almost no advanced agenda has been published for their Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit. My suspicion is the name “Shanghai” was not chosen idly. It may be that China is reminding the United States of the practice of tricking or forcing sailors to serve on merchant ships sailing to Shanghai in the 1800’s as was often done by American, British and French merchants. Perhaps it is meant as an otherwise inscrutable warning to America to butt out of Ukraine and Taiwan.
As for me, I think Pelosi or anyone else ought to have the right to visit Taiwan and, I think, Ukraine’s territorial integrity should be respected. Of course, I find it difficult to analyze the motivations of China, Russia or even my own country when it comes to engagement in foreign wars unless one is attacked. It seems to me our Constitution’s provision for military defense, not offense, makes sense. But then I am not in charge of our foreign policy. If I had been, Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan might have unfolded differently and maybe Ukraine and Taiwan too. Those are matters our elected leaders are much more informed upon, I hope.