Multilateralism stressed at Xi-Putin meeting

By Finian Cunningham Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/9 21:28:40

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The US strategy has been to isolate Russia internationally, but evidently it is Washington that is becoming more isolated on the global stage. Last week in the run-up to the G20 summit in Germany, the reverse in fortunes could not be more glaring.

While North Korea was openly defying Washington with a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile test, and US President Donald Trump was embroiled in his usual tweeting antics, Russia and China's leaders were proudly consolidating their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new multipolar global order.

Western media won't acknowledge as much, but the meeting last week in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping was of historical importance. We are witnessing a global transition in power. And for the common good.

Rather than escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula, Putin and Xi put forward the eminently reasonable proposal that North Korea should freeze its missile tests and the US should likewise halt its military exercises. All sides must convene in negotiations with a commitment to non-violence and without preconditions to strive for a comprehensive settlement to the decades-old dispute.

The contrast in Putin and Xi's dignified, intelligent response with that of Trump's petulance is clear proof of Russia and China showing real global leadership, whereas the Americans are just part of the problem.

But the Korean drama was only one illustration of how American ambitions of unipolar dominance have become redundant.

The G20 summit prelude of Putin hosting Xi in Moscow was followed by the Chinese president making a state visit to Germany on Wednesday two days before the gathering in Hamburg. Xi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to work more closely together on trade.

"Relations between China and Germany are at their historic best," said Michael Clauss, Germany's ambassador to Beijing. "The economic and political dynamic from a German perspective is moving toward the east."

Of significance too was news the European Union is preparing to finalize a major trade pact with Japan.

It is also significant that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on China and Russia to help mediate the Korean crisis immediately following Pyongyang's ballistic missile test.

Evidently, Japan, despite being an ally of Washington, is reaching out to a multilateral solution as proposed by Moscow and Beijing.

In so many ways, therefore, whether on matters of security or trade and economy, the world appears to be moving inexorably toward a multipolar format as the most appropriate response to challenges.

Not so from the American point of view, especially under Trump's leadership. All nations seem to be nothing more than a footstool for the "exceptional" Americans who feel entitled to hector and browbeat everyone else to get what they want.

A Bloomberg News sub-headline put it succinctly: "Trump risks uniting Cold War allies and foes against him."

Trump's quest for "America First" through trade protectionism and his narrow-minded unilateralism toward issues of global security have put America out on a limb as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

America is seen as nothing more than a selfish, hulking giant. Its trade imbalances with the rest of the world are not because of "rotten deals," as Trump would have it, but rather because the American economy has ruined itself over many decades. The off-shoring of jobs by American corporations and gutting of American workers' standard of living with poverty wages are part of it.

When America now talks about upholding international law and security, the rest of the world just laughs with bitter irony. Washington has no answers to today's world challenges. Because simply put, Washington is the source of many of today's problems. It has not even the modesty to acknowledge its responsibility. The only thing the US seems capable of is to make current problems fiendishly worse. The Korean crisis is an object lesson.

Putin and Xi are not scheming to usurp world domination, as Washington would have us believe. Only in Washington would a vision for a multipolar, more democratic global order be construed as something threatening and sinister. That's because American ambitions of unipolar "full spectrum dominance" are actually threatening and sinister.

The world can be thankful it has genuine leaders in Putin and Xi who are forging ahead to create a multipolar global order. Fortunately, the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between Russia and China is underpinned by a formidable military capability. Joint naval exercises this month carried out in the Baltic Sea are a vital insurance policy to back up what Moscow and Beijing are increasingly bold enough to say to the Americans. That message, as Putin and Xi effectively gave to Trump last week, is that American ambitions of world domination are no longer acceptable and no longer tenable.

The author writes extensively on international affairs. The article originally appeared in

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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