Fake News vs. the Russian-Chinese Alternative


April 20, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

Ruslan Ostashko, Live Journal – translated by J. Arnoldski –

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Immediately after Donald Trump’s administration launched its strike on Syria, numerous comments appeared on social media saying that Trump had reached an agreement on everything with China, that Xi Jinping had betrayed Putin, that the Americans and Chinese had already agreed on everything over North Korea, and that everything is bad, awful, and will only get worse. In general, the thesis that the Americans or reptilians have bought everybody, that we are surrounded only by enemies, and that the end has finally come, is very popular among some social network users, but this time the hysterics acquired rather catastrophic proportions. 

When Trump moved a carrier battle group towards North Korea accompanied by a gesture of bellicose statements, the number of those who believed that some kind of total betrayal had taken place, exceeded all reasonable limits. Interestingly enough, the Chinese leadership’s official statements were completely ignored, since they conflicted with the hysteria fueled by some media and pseudo-experts for whom clicks and attention are more important than truth. 

For example, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly calls Assad the legitimate president of Syria and points to the need to politically settle the conflict, but pseudo-experts continue to allege that China has betrayed Putin in Syria. Official Chinese media and senior officials deny the fake that China supposedly sent 150,000 soldiers to the border with North Korea, but this did not divert the media’s attention, because this news doesn’t frighten readers and viewers. It’s much more interesting and brings more clicks and hits to talk about China and America tearing the North Koreans apart.

In these circumstances, it is even somewhat uncomfortable to talk about what is really happening, because reality becomes boring amidst the horror stories of Russian media. In fact, Western establishment media are also filtering their view of the world, but they at least understand that they are doing so on the basis of concrete elite groups’ interests, whereas in the case of Russian journalism, there is the feeling that the problem is one of terrible laziness and incompetence. Sometimes there is even the suspicion that we are witnessing consistent ideological sabotage. Who benefits from federal media audiences being in permanent panic is an open and very interesting question.

Conflict between the US and People’s Republic of China is inevitable. Both sides are now actively saying that they are committed to constructive cooperation and do not wish for a trade war, but any compromise is unlikely to last in the long term. Both sides have very different and sometimes incompatible interests. Donald Trump is trying to force even his closest allies to kill those sectors of their economies that compete with American companies. For example, Trump is now demanding that Canada remove subsidies from milk producers and thereby destroy their dairy production, freeing the market for American agricultural holdings. He’s also trying to impose a tribute in the amount of $330 billion a year on the EU for maintaining the American military-industrial complex. In the case of China, Trump needs to kill not one sector, as in the case with Canada, but the country’s entire economy. 

In these circumstances, it is very difficult to believe that American-Chinese negotiations on a comprehensive economic agreement will lead to any positive result. With China, Trump simply has to act extremely cautiously given that the American and Chinese economies are tightly linked and any sharp movements are contraindicated. As for the talks already held between Trump and Xi, journalists from The Financial Times were right to use the expression that Xi “threw a bone” to Trump and nothing more. 

Fortunately, our Chinese neighbors have long understood that something has to be done with the existing scheme of globalization, because it is not too favorable to developing countries, and if some Trump starts changing it in accordance with his own ideas about beauty, then there will be no globalization but some kind of “colonialism 2.0” If someone else isn’t working on this, then you need to build up your own project, and Beijing does not hide that the New Silk Road project is a replacement of American globalization which not only Beijing, but also Moscow and some European politicians have had enough of, such as those who recently disrupted negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the US.

Very roughly speaking, the New Silk Road is a project for building a single economic and infrastructural space from Lisbon to Shanghai – necessarily with Moscow’s participation. The Chinese hope that even some African countries will catch on to the project. Overall, the Chinese need to eliminate the dependence of their economy on the maritime routes that are easily covered by the American navy. It is not difficult to predict that if such a trade-economic block is constructed, then the US will be, well, maybe not exactly superfluous, but it will become clear to everyone that America can be avoided in this configuration. 

No American administration likes this prospect. Hence, the creation of points of instability in Central Asia, Iran, and China itself is a top priority for Washington to thwart this grandiose project threatening to create an alternative model of globalization. China knows this and is trying to counteract this with the help of its allies, the most important of whom is Russia.

With undisguised pleasure, the Chinese state agency Xinhua published an interview with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin who spoke with Chinese journalists ahead of the President of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang’s visit to Russia. The main thesis of the interview was in the headline: “Relations between Russia and China do not depend on the international situation.” The editors of Xinhua also noted that the State Duma speaker positively appraised the New Silk Road project as a counterweight to the world’s economic fragmentation. Translated from diplomatic language into Russian, this means that we benefit from Chinese counterweights to American attempts to force the entire planet to work for themselves. The visit to Moscow by the leader of China’s parliament  is needed to coordinate the two countries’ tedious legislative work on both the Russian globalization project, i.e., the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Chinese New Silk Road. Putin and Xi themselves have agreed to linking the two, and now the work in this direction is to be carried out by our countries’ governments and parliaments.

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It’s great that this work is ongoing independently of Washington’s attempts to undermine the fragile peace on the planet and seduce Moscow and Beijing with some kind of diplomatic carrots and promises which nobody believes in. And all of this regular work on the creation of a Russian-Chinese, correct, and just globalization is underway right now, right before our very eyes. But for some reason, Chinese media are interested in this while Russian media are not. This situation needs to be corrected, for otherwise we will continue to live in an information space determined by internet fakes and CNN editors. And after all, we want a very different future. 

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