In the history of communist rhetoric, the word “peace” has always been extremely important. It appears to express the idea that a new international order based on harmony and equality should be built. But, in fact, it has always been used to conceal a strategy of domination. This misuse of the word “peace” and the movements that have fallen for it have long been communism’s most important weapons.
Now, the old cycle is repeating itself with Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, ostensibly in an attempt to broker “peace” between Russia and Ukraine.
The real purpose of the meeting was obvious: To demonstrate that the world’s foremost superpower, the United States, is on the decline and its enemies have now forged a strong alliance against it.
U.S. presidential candidate Nikki Haley, a former ambassador to the U.N., was right when she wrote in The Wall Street Journal that, if Russia succeeds in conquering Ukraine, Putin’s best friend and supporter Xi will share in the victory, setting up China to overtake the U.S. militarily, economically and culturally.
It seems very likely that the meeting between Xi and Putin included much talk about China supplying arms to Russia—which Russia needs in order to defeat Ukraine—and it is unquestionably a victory for Putin that China is set to remove all sanctions on Russia. It would not be at all surprising if the two leaders also discussed Xi’s plan for “peace” with Taiwan.
The truth is that China’s “peace” is nothing more than a war of position, a peace of war. Xi’s meeting with Putin in the name of “peace” is simply an attempt to plunge the West into a confusion that is even deeper than U.S. President Joe Biden’s usual confusion. Xi likely believes that this is his moment to strike, to take advantage of an opportunity to further his strategy of replacing the U.S. as a superpower.
Xi may be right. The U.S. has abandoned the Middle East, the Iranian uprising is receiving no support, the ayatollahs keep enriching uranium without consequences, and then, on March 10, Xi brokered Iran and Saudi Arabia’s agreement to reestablish ties.
This was a massive blow to the U.S., which after the horrendous missteps of the Obama administration had come back under Donald Trump’s leadership by brokering the Abraham Accords between nations threatened by Iranian aggression. Biden squandered all of this by alienating the de facto Saudi leader Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) over the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, never missing an opportunity to express his contempt for the crown prince.
Xi’s success shouldn’t be surprising. For example, he persuaded the Iranian to stop the Houthis in Yemen from attacking Saudi territory, while Biden refused to put the Houthis on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. China’s position of strength clearly persuaded MBS that Xi would be far more useful to him than Biden, and much more likely to protect Saudi interests.
The White House, instead of summoning the Israeli ambassador in defense of Palestinian interests, should be very worried about the fact that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah have expressed great satisfaction with China’s “peace.” Clearly, the forces of terror and war have been emboldened.
Whether the Iranian-Saudi agreement will damage the Abraham Accords is difficult to know. Israel remains a valuable ally due to its economic, technological, and defense capabilities, and the Arab countries are well aware of this. Thus far, the Saudis have not expressed renewed hostility towards the Jewish state.
If there is any silver lining to all this, it is that it is hard to imagine that China’s “peace of war” has much of a future. Putin is unlikely to give up his imperialist ambitions and submit to becoming a vassal of China. Saudi Arabia and Iran are unlikely to maintain friendly relations in the long term. The damage a dominating Iran could do to Saudi Arabia is written in the long history of the Middle East.
Nonetheless, scandalous episodes like the Biden administration’s abandonment of Afghanistan and failure to stop a Chinese spy balloon from floating over the U.S. for days must have been a source of great amusement to the “peace” brokers in the Kremlin over recent days.
Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies. She served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including Israel Is Us (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is the author of Jewish Lives Matter.