Xi and Putin Sitting in a Tree
Xi Jinping is currently visiting Vladimir Putin to improve the relationship between China and Russia. The two have been flirting for a while now, meeting almost 30 times in the span of 6 years. So far, they unveiled two pandas, shared a few shy glances and Xi even called Putin his best friend. A blushing Putin notes, “when we speak about pandas, a smile always appears on our face”. Putin also said the loaned pandas are a “sign of special respect, of a special trust in Russia”. Having said that, leaving anything with a pulse in Russia is a sign of unconditional trust.
The meeting couldn’t have come at a better time, as both leaders are recovering from major breaks ups. Russia has been in hot water for annexing Crimea, funding right wing EU politicians, rigging elections, supporting Assad and shooting down a passenger airplane. We could go on, but Tinder bios are much more effective when short and sweet. The EU couldn’t accept Russia for who they are and put sanctions in place, expelled several diplomats and froze funds from Putin’s friends. Typical EU, to drag friends into this mess.
The US response was much less hostile, as none of this phases the Donald. This, could have something to do with the reason he got elected, but that can’t be all there is to their great relationship.
What Trump can’t live with is China. His beef comes from the fact that China has been outcompeting the US in trade. This was ok when Trump had his fluorescent ties produced there, but now it is America first. Trump recently put tariffs on China, just like he did to the EU allies he’s currently commemorating D-day with.
Whoever said you can’t mix business with pleasure, this power couple has countries to run. Now that both China and Russia are at risk of being isolated from the rest of the world, they need to combine forces of exploitation if they are to remain relevant. To get the attention of democracies that actually count their votes, both leaders have promised to work on closer economic and military ties, which could come in handy when it’s time for payback. They also signed several business deals, such as allowing Huawei to develop a 5G network in Russia. This could get in the way of Trump’s Putin cuddling, as the government no longer allows any US firms to cooperate with Chinese firms. If this extends to Russian ones too, this is bad news for anyone banking on a second Trump term.
With the two charmers now single, in the prime of their autarchic lives, we all know who’s going to be jealous. Wonder how many tubs of Haagen Dazs Trump will need to go through to recover from this betrayal. What are the alternatives? Nigel Farage is a bit keen, so maybe a good time to patch things up with Kim again. If that fails, he could ask Duterte if he really cured himself from being gay (yes that happened) and see where that gets him.
What Xi and Putin have shown is that there are plenty of alternatives to Western democracies and that every pot eventually finds its own lid. Riding a bear shirtless into the sunset, Xi and Putin can now go on to the business of enslaving North Koreans, imprisoning journalists, supporting authoritarian regimes and if an airplane disappears once in a while, thats ok too.