Western politicians ignore cruelty of war as they benefit from it
Published: May 08, 2022 08:11 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

When mentioning May 9, one may readily think of Russia's Victory Day of the Great Patriotic War. Western public opinion is full of speculations and comments about the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and even has portrayed a picture of Russia alone fighting the "40-member coalition of countries aiding Ukraine" led by the US. But perhaps it is forgotten that May 9 is also the victory day in another historical battle, the Battle of Megiddo, which is the first battle to have ever been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail. 

On May 9, 1457BC, Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III defeated a large rebellious coalition of more than 330 Canaanite vassal states, and won many battles thereafter, eventually creating the Egyptian Empire, the first transcontinental empire in world history. 

It's by sheer coincidence that the two victories happened on the same day, which, however, can offer some realistic lessons. Egypt won by a strength difference of 1:330, showing that wars are not just won by the sheer number of people involved. 
In terms of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US and NATO seem to have been menacing, as if they are ready to put Russia to death. However, Russia may not lose, even with a strength difference of 1:40. The most important reason for this argument, in the opinion of many Chinese people, is that the US-led NATO is fighting a proxy war, consuming the lives of Ukrainians, trying to achieve the purpose of weakening Russia, but igniting the war itself aims at defending the hegemony of the US and NATO. 

While on the surface, Western media outlets continue to shape and elevate a righteous image of the US and NATO, they are cunning and hypocritical in the eyes of numerous Chinese. The so-called moral high ground of the West has completely collapsed. From wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya to the one in Ukraine, too much bloodshed and too many disasters have been created under the so-called justice of the West.

I would like to recommend Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail,a new book by Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, the world's largest hedge fund. After having made profits for nearly half a century, Dalio tries to explore in his book, not the nature of wealth, but the cycle of the rise and fall of world empires, as well as reasons behind victories and defeats in wars. 

In the book, Dalio uses beautiful curves to describe the almost consistent cycles of the rise and fall of multiple empires in history. In the ascending phase, an empire has multiple victories as its ladders go up. In the descending phase, defeats in wars become inevitable. The "Dalio curve" can explain imperial wars throughout history, and it can also explain why the American Empire, which has been on a downward curve since 2000, has brought tragedy in every war. Things went athwart. And reasons for that are imaginable.

When it comes to external conflicts, the first thing the Chinese people pay attention to is the "timing." When the timing is not right, no matter how strong the military force is, it will inevitably fail in the war. From this perspective, there would be no winner in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Although the US has taken advantage in the short term, but in the long run, it is also a loser.

As a Chinese scholar, I have no intention of defending Russia. I just don't like the seemingly righteous moral superiority of Western politicians when they talk about Russia.

Chinese people don't like wars. More than 2,000 years ago, the school of Mohism, founded by Chinese philosopher Mozi, put forward viewpoints such as "universal love" and "non attack." Ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu also said, in his immortal book The Art of War, that the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. There were many peasant rebellions in Chinese history, but China is indeed the world's major power that has launched the least military operations against neighboring countries.

In the eyes of Western politicians, war is profitable. As a result, they completely ignore the cruelty of war. More than 14,600 wars have occurred in human history over the past 5,000 years. Tens of billions of people died due to these wars. If the lost wealth is converted into gold, a hugely golden belt, about 75 kilometers wide and 10 meters thick, can circle the Earth.

Just imagine, if there is no war, what kind of prosperity would human beings have had today?

The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. wangwen2013@ruc.edu.cn