Xi and Putin
© Grigory Sysoyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via APChinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk after their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 20, 2023.
The recently concluded summit consolidated Russia's and China's joint bid to challenge the US-dominated global system as well as concerted US efforts to undermine, using any means, emerging global powers. That the push to challenge this system is gaining momentum, evident from the support that both Russia and China continue to receive from the non-Western world, has left the West - especially, the US - paranoid about the future of the system they created after the Second World War. This growing paranoia is at the heart of an arrest warrant that the International Criminal Court issued last week against Putin. Ridiculous as this may sound, such actions only reveal the West's inner anxieties about the failure of their combined efforts to defeat Russia in Ukraine.

On the contrary, even as reports in the mainstream US media show, assembling enough military strength from within NATO countries for Ukraine against Russia has become an extremely difficult task, as more and more NATO countries are becoming "worried" about their own ammunition stockpiles. In addition to this, as reports in the US media show, there are growing differences between Washington and Kyiv as well with regard to the conduct of the war. How will Russia be defeated in such a case? For many Western powers - especially, the US and its old allies (the UK) - this is nothing short of a nightmare.

This nightmare is exacerbated by the Russia-China alliance. China, as it stands, has more manufacturing capacity today than the US-Europe combined. And, it is strong enough a military power to confront any western power in the Pacific or beyond. What can the West do to break this alliance? There is virtually no way the West can do any damage to this alliance; hence, the growing paranoia.

In fact, the West's combined failure to defeat Russia has given a bit more confidence to the Russia-China alliance to pursue its politics of creating a multipolar world. For decades, the combined West projected its supposed superiority over the non-West. China's rapid emergence as a global power and Russia's success against the combined strength of NATO has unambiguously proven this sense of superiority to be false. Xi, in an article he wrote for Russian media, minced no words to express the same fact:
"The international community has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order. The common interest of all humankind is in a world that is united and peaceful, rather than divided and volatile."
Reinforcing the same, Putin said,
"Our countries, together with like-minded actors, have consistently advocated the shaping of a more just multipolar world order based on international law rather than certain "rules" serving the needs of the "golden billion." Russia and China have consistently worked to create an equitable, open and inclusive regional and global security system that is not directed against third countries."
For the West, this agreement is nothing short of a shock, as many western politicians and media political pundits are known to have argued for years regarding some underlying - and seemingly irreconcilable - differences between Russia and China. These differences, the argument goes, were supposed to be exacerbated by the military conflict in Ukraine. Clearly, yet another western prediction has proven to be utterly wrong and self-defeating.

Now that Russia and China are not only allies but have no-limits friendship too, the West stands petrified.

This alliance is not passive. It is active and dynamic and is working to reshape the world. While Russia is facing off the combined military strength of NATO in Ukraine, China recently found a big success in the Middle East where it was able to broker a peace deal between two arch-rivals: Saudi and Iran. This deal has allowed the Russia-China alliance to expand the strength of the alliance into other countries and regions, thus squeezing the space for the US and its allies.

China is seeking to play the same role between Russia and Ukraine. The recent peace proposal Beijing offered is promising. Although the West has so far ignored it, the political message that this peace proposal contains is very hard for many non-western powers to ignore. In fact, its opening lines reflect the very world that China and Russia are seeking to build. The message is not only powerful but also enticing. It says:
"The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations and defend international fairness and justice. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected."
Why would countries that have traditionally been mistreated by the west reject this message and the principle of equality? Granted that absolute equality - especially in material terms - may not be possible even in the multipolar world that Russia and China are trying to build, it seems fair to emphasise that no international system can work when a few countries are able to bend rules to suit their own interests at the expense of other states. Indeed, the Iraq war would not have happened if the US had not decided to undermine the UN and act unilaterally on the basis of concocted evidence about Iraq's possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction. NATO's intervention in Libya destroyed a stable system, a fact that the British Parliament's foreign affairs committee admitted years after completely destroying the country. Who is responsible for this destruction? Will the ICC act against the proven culprits?

For the West - especially, the US - the Russia-China bid to create a new world order will create a space in which Western unilateralism would become extremely costly, especially if directed against their competitors. For them, the end of "their" world must be prevented at any cost. But the problem lies in their consistent failure in preventing this from happening and in the success of Russia and China in pushing ahead.