With each passing day, the war in Ukraine becomes a great tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it also poses a greater threat to the future of Europe and the world at large. Is there a way to end it?
To answer this question, the veteran American writer Thomas Friedman emphasized that the one side that can stop this war immediately is not the United States, but China.
In his article in the New York Times, Friedman tried to provide justifications that he believed were sufficient to make China play a pivotal role in ending this war.
Friedman considered that if China, instead of remaining neutral, joined the economic boycott of Russia or even if it strongly condemned Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine and demanded its withdrawal, that would shake President Vladimir Putin enough to stop this fierce war, or on At least it would make him pause, since he has no other important ally in the world now than India.
“Why should Chinese President Xi Jinping take this position, which seems to undermine his dream of seizing Taiwan in the same way that Putin is trying to take over Ukraine?” Friedman asked.
The short answer to this question, Friedman says, is that the past eight decades of relative peace between the great powers have led to a rapidly globalizing world that has been the key to China’s rapid economic rise and has lifted nearly 800 million Chinese out of poverty since 1980.
He added that peace has been very good for China, whose continued growth depends on its ability to export to this integrating and constantly modernizing world of free markets and its ability to learn from it.
Friedman stressed that the steady improvement of the economic level of the Chinese largely depends on the stability of the world economy and the trade system.
The writer warned Chinese strategists, immersed in old assertive thinking, that any war that weakens the two main adversaries of modern China, America and Russia, must be a good thing, saying that each war brings with it new ways of fighting and surviving, and the war in Ukraine will be no exception. According to him.
He pointed out that 3 “weapons” were deployed in this war in ways that we have not seen before or have not seen for a long time, and it would be wise for China to study all these means.
He added that if China does not help stop Russia now, these weapons will either eventually bring Putin into submission, which means that they may be used against China one day if they seize Taiwan, or they will harm Moscow so badly that the economic effects will sweep over everything in Russia. These weapons may push Putin to do the unthinkable with his nuclear weapons, which could destabilize and even destroy the global foundations on which China’s future rests.
The most important innovation in this war, according to the writer, is the use of the economic equivalent of a nuclear bomb, which is being deployed at the same time by a superpower and by people with supernatural abilities.
He explained this by saying that the United States, along with the European Union and Britain, imposed sanctions on Russia that would cripple its economy, severely threaten Russian companies, and destroy the savings of millions of Russians with unprecedented speed and scale that makes one invoke the effect of a nuclear explosion.
He added that Putin has discovered this now, and he openly said last Saturday that these sanctions led by the United States and the European Union are “like a declaration of war,” which Friedman commented on by saying, “Vladimir (Putin) has not shouldered half the burden yet.”
As for the second innovation, Friedman said about him: Since the whole world is now closely connected through modern means of communication, this has given individuals, companies and social activist groups the ability to intensify their sanctions and boycotts, without any government orders, thus amplifying the isolation and economic suffocation of Russia beyond what they might Nation-states do. These new actors—a kind of global pro-Ukrainian resistance and solidarity movement—collectively isolate Putin and Russia, and rarely has a country so large and powerful been politically obliterated and economically paralyzed so quickly.
As for the third weapon, according to Friedman, it is new and old, and it is spiritual and emotional. This war made the West rediscover itself. The Russian onslaught on Ukraine awakened the West, and “America and liberal societies in general can look and act stupidly and divided, but they can change.” Overnight, “Ask Adolf Hitler,” says Friedman.
These weapons should be a lesson to China, according to the writer, especially as it sees what happened to Russia, its financial sector and its banks. The writer gave a blatant example of the astonishing market value destruction of Russian financial institutions, which happened to the shares of Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia. It has collapsed by more than 99% since mid-February, when its stock was trading at about $14, and last Wednesday in London trading, its stock fell to a cent.
He stressed that Russia and the Russians are now excluded from everything, as their flights are suspended and they are not allowed to participate in international games, in addition to the intense Internet campaigns launched by hackers and other influencers of social networks to harm Russia, and they are not subject to any particular party, even if the shooting stops. Through a certain deal, these people have no guardianship over them.
From the above, Friedman concluded that Putin was completely ignorant of the world in which he was living, and so he made a losing bet that did not take into account the rules of casino globalization for the 21st century.
There are indications, according to Friedman, that China is aware of some of these new realities, and that no country is too big to be isolated in this highly entangled online world, but its initial instinct seems to be to try to isolate itself from this reality, rather than step up to help… Reversing Putin’s aggression, Friedman warned that China was not immune to the same fate.
The writer concluded by saying that he hoped that instead of closing in on itself the West and much of the world in opposing Putin, China, if it did, would emerge as a true global leader, but if it chose instead to ride with outlaws, the world would be less stable and less prosperous unimaginably in extent, especially China, as he put it.