PUTIN’S latest assertion signals the world imperialism’s coming tough days.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said: ‘Either Russia is a sovereign country, or there is no Russia.’
The world imperialism is not habituated to listen to such assertions. It is also a tough message to hirelings of the world imperialism. The masters and their lackeys have to review self-positions, both strategic and tactical, in light of Putin’s latest assertion: not at the cost of sovereignty.
Putin was speaking to Chinese TV prior to his China visit. His statements, observations and claims are worth-reading.
The Russian president said: ‘And, of course, the Russian people will always opt for [a sovereign Russia]. I think the Chinese people will too. We have no other option.’
The statement shows the compulsion the world imperialism has created for Russia, for China, and for countries facing imperialist ‘friendship’ — ‘sermons’, demands, pressures, interferences, intervention, conspiracies. Thence, these countries ‘“have no other option’ other than asserting sovereignty.
This signifies intensified contradiction within countries, and between countries as the world imperialism will not accept assertion of sovereignty by countries, which will lead imperialism to organise/renew/intensify conspiracy, subversion, interference and intervention. The world imperialism is going to boost up its old hirelings, hire new lackeys, engage them, and create subversion, social disturbance, ‘civil’ disobedience, political turmoil, internal strife.
Referring to sanctions, Putin said: However harsh they may be, will not force Russia to abandon its independent stance in the world, Russians will never accept trade-offs at the expense of sovereignty.
Putin specifically mentioned the world imperialism’s target: the Russian economy. He added an extra note: The sanctions will eventually backfire on those who followed the US’ lead in ‘punishing’ Russia.
Now, it is the countries following their masters’ lead to consider whether to take into account assurances from their masters or to heed to Putin. It is not in terms of pronouncements, but in terms of economic measures — trade, etc, and tradeoff.
To countries in Europe that depend on Russia to many extents including gas from the rising power, the question of being a follower of the world imperialism or not bears one type of action and consequence. To peripheral countries facing imperialist mastery, the question bears another type of measures.
To the first group, there is question of collaboration/amalgamation of capitals. There are collusion, cooption, or, competition. There is collusion in one area while competition in another. Nowadays, it is an intricate arithmetic, or an amalgamation of arithmetic, algebra and geometry.
To the peripheral group, the question is different. It is different from two aspects: from the aspect of ruling elites, and from the aspect of people. And, the two bear different meanings. In this case, the mathematics turns more intricate as opposing interests — of the ruling elites’ and of the people — are to operate within a reality of competing capitals trying to strengthen/establish respective grip. At the same time, for both the opposing interests, there is a common ground — a space to manoeuvre. Then, the question comes: which capital is the biggest/direst threat? None will differ: It is the dominating imperialist camp.
The US-led sanctions against Russia hurt a number of economies in Europe. A number of European state leaders, including Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, have expressed opinion not favouring the sanctions. The new government in Italy also bears similar position.
The European Union is not happy with its US friends on the issue of US-introduced import tariffs on steel and aluminium — a gift from a friend. It is the imperialist system’s one of the inherent problems — components’ interests very often move in incoherent way. It also creates scope for peripheral economies.
The Putin-assertion case turns difficult for the world imperialist order as the Russian leader is close to the Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Putin has described Xi Jinping as a ‘reliable partner and good friend’.
Their friendship is so strong that once they celebrated Putin’s birthday together: ‘Chairman Xi Jinping is the only one among all the world leaders to have celebrated my birthday with me’, Putin said, referring to his 61st birthday, which he marked at the 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bali.
Putin termed Xi Jinping as ‘very accessible’, ‘very sincere’, ‘very reliable’, ‘good friend’, ‘good analyst’, ‘it is interesting to discuss outstanding international issues, economy problems with him’, ‘we always strive to fulfil our obligations’.
This expression of friendship carries strong signal for all: enemy and ally. China is to be counted. It will be foolish to ignore China. And, it will be foolish to ignore the Putin-Xi friendship.
Putin said: China is and will continue to be Russia’s number one foreign trade partner.
China is Russia’s largest trading partner. Trade between the two countries grew in 2017, according to Putin, to $87 billion, and the first four months of 2018 its growth ‘equalled the figure for the whole of last year.’ It is already a 30 per cent increase. In 2016, the trade turnover between the two countries was $69.52 billion. Putin expressed the desire to accelerate it further.
There is possibility of alliance between China-led One Belt, One Road and Russia-led the Eurasian Economic Union.
The two countries are bypassing the dollar and other western currencies, and trying to make settlements in the ruble and the yuan. In 2017, 9 per cent of payments for supplies from Russia to China were made in rubles, and Russian companies paid 15 per cent of Chinese imports in the renminbi.
The two close strategic partners are coordinating their moves on regional and global issues, helping safeguard each other’s national interests, and supporting each other in taking up larger roles on the world stage.
General Wei Fenghe, China’s defence minister, said at the recently concluded Moscow International Security Conference:
‘I am visiting Russia […] to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our Armed Forces to strengthen strategic cooperation.’
The Chinese military leader added: The visit is ‘to show Americans the close ties between the Armed Forces of China and Russia, especially in this situation. We’ve come to support you.
‘The Chinese side is ready to express with the Russian side our common concerns and common position on important international problems at international venues as well.’
Wei said: The strengthened military cooperation between the two is important for international peace and security.
Reciprocating similar attitude General Sergei Shoigu, Russian defence minister, said: ‘The efforts of the leadership of the both countries […] today has reached principally new unprecedented level, and have become a critical factor in keeping peace and international security.’
The message is explicit. And, the message is for all. It is for those facing imperialist disturbance and threat, and for those searching for sources of benefit from their imperialist masters. The message is also for the greatest imperialist power: the days of unilateral dominance is going to be over.
Dmitri Trenin, director, Carnegie Moscow Centre, writes in his ‘Should We Fear Russia?’ (November 2016):
‘[M]ore of Russia’s natural and military-technological resources would be made available to China. […I]n the larger scheme of things concerning the world order, Beijing and Moscow will be on the same side.’
The scholar adds:
‘The Greater Eurasia that they are constructing will not be run from a single centre, but their continental entente will essentially be aimed at limiting US dominance on the edges of the continent and in the world at large.’
Coming days will hear more tough words, which will signal more complicated moves on the world stage.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka.
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