By Anthony L Hall
China signed a landmark deal Wednesday to buy Russian natural gas worth about $400 billion, giving a boost to diplomatically isolated President Vladimir Putin and expanding Moscow’s ties with Asia.
(The Associated Press, May 21, 2014)
I’ve been forthright in pointing out foreboding analogies between what Hitler did in Europe during the late 1930s and what Putin is doing in Europe today – as I did in commentaries like “Putin as Hitler, Crimea as Sudetenland,” February 26, 2014.
Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at http://ipjn.com
It is in this vein that I proffer the analogy between Putin signing this gas deal with China and Hitler signing the 1939 Non-Aggression Pact with Russia. Not least because, like Germany and Russia back then, Russia and China have common cause today in collaborating to counter what they see as Western powers imposing their political values, while forging economic ties and military alliances, all over the world.
Incidentally, Prince Charles caused a diplomatic kerfuffle last week, during a state visit to Canada, when he too analogized Putin’s actions in Crimea to Hitler’s in Sudetenland.
But reports focused far too much on Charles breaking protocol that constrains royals from opining publicly on political matters; notwithstanding that his opinion in this case was shared in (what he thought was) a private conversation with an elderly Polish refuge whose family barely escaped Nazi occupation.
Instead, they should have stressed that his observation was as much an indictment against Putin’s military aggression as it was a rebuke against European leaders’ failure to stop him; that is, just as their predecessors failed to stop Hitler … before it was way too late.
In any event, given the totalitarian way Russian and Chinese leaders govern at home and the mercenary way they conduct relationships abroad, it was only a matter of time before Russia and China struck this existential deal. But here, with respect to Syria, is how I characterized the fearful consequences a Russo-Sino axis portends:
Russian and Chinese leaders are expressing solidarity with Assad because he happens to be emulating the brute force they have used, and intend to continue using, to hold on to power in their respective countries.
(“Now Houla: Assad of Syria Continues to Massacre with Impunity,” The iPINIONS Journal, May 29, 2012)
This is also why, when the rest of the world voted at the United Nations to condemn Russia for annexing Crimea, China abstained.
That its own brutal dictatorship compels China to sit on the sidelines as democratic revolutions reform and reshape the Middle East demonstrates, yet again, why – even if it eventually supplants the US as the biggest economy in the world – China will never replace the US as the world’s only indispensable superpower.
(“Libya: UN Approves No-Fly Zone [China Abstains],” The iPINIONS Journal, March 18, 2011)
Indeed, I’m on record warning that Russia and China would veto a resolution calling for UN intervention even if a genocidal maniac like President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan were exterminating six million Christians the way Hitler exterminated six million Jews. The logical extension of their governing principles, at home and on the world stage, really is that self-interested and morally bankrupt.
Mind you, this is not to say that Russia and China will live happily ever after. They are forging nothing more than a marriage of convenience, and there are bound to be irreconcilable differences. Not least because both will continue vying to replace the former Soviet Union as the undisputed challenger to the United States in a return to a bipolar world of two super powers.
In the meantime, I hereby call on the United Nations to amend its Security Council’s voting scheme to divest the veto power now vested in the five permanent members, namely, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China.
Instead, all Security Council resolutions should be based solely on a two-thirds vote of its full 15 members. This would prevent the spectacle of permanent members exercising their veto not on the merits of the resolution itself, but on how that veto might protect allies or advance their own hegemonic interests.
At long last, a “United” Nations cannot and should not mean that one member can veto collective action by the other 192 members to, among other things, condemn Israel’s apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians or authorize military intervention to prevent crimes against humanity in places like Sudan and Syria.
Putin as Hitler….
World condemns Russia, China abstains…