China & Russia Throw Down Gauntlet

Benjamin Norton reports on the meeting in Beijing between China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin designed to deepen the integration of the two Eurasian superpowers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bejing on Feb. 4. (Xinhua)

By Ben Norton  

(Se puede leer este artículo en español aquí.)

Feb. 4, 2022 may very well be remembered in history textbooks as an important date in the shift of global politics.

That day was not only the inauguration of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing; it also saw a historic meeting between the presidents of China and Russia.

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin signed a series of important economic and political agreements, deepening the integration of the two Eurasian superpowers.

Among these was a major 30-year deal in which Russia will supply gas to China via a new pipeline, with both sides of the energy transfers managed by state-owned companies. And in a sign of their mutual efforts to challenge the dominance of the U.S. dollar, they decided to settle the sales in euros.

Following the Xi-Putin reunion, the Chinese and Russian governments released a lengthy joint statement declaring a “new era” of multipolarity, proposing a new international political model that will leave behind the unipolar hegemonic order dominated by Washington.

At more than 5,000 words in length, the joint declaration was in some ways a kind of manifesto. It was obviously carefully drafted before the meeting, and it clearly defined the contrasting ideological lines of the new cold war: On one side is the United States and its NATO allies, which are defending a status quo based on unilateralism and interventionism (that is to say, imperialism); on the other side are China, Russia, and their allies, which are building a new system rooted in multilateralism and sovereignty.

“The world is going through momentous changes, and humanity is entering a new era of rapid development and profound transformation,” the joint statement declared.

In this “new era,” a “trend has emerged towards redistribution of power in the world,” the Eurasian powers wrote. That center of power is no longer concentrated in the capitals of trans-Atlantic Western colonialist powers; the East and the South have risen.

Beijing and Moscow could hardly have been any more straightforward in what they were proposing as an alternative: they “condemn[ed] the practice of interference in the internal affairs of other states for geopolitical purposes,” and instead called “to establish a just multipolar system of international relations,” using the word “multipolar” four times, and “multilateral” 11 more.

Message to NATO 

NATO leaders watch a multimedia tower display visualizations of the military alliance’s adaptation through the NATO 2030 agenda, June 14, 2021. (NATO, Flickr)

The historic Chinese-Russian statement was marked by its appeal for de-escalation, and its insistence that NATO must stop expanding and “abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries.”

The fact that the joint statement employed such language (it warned three times of the U.S.-led bloc’s “cold war” mentality) is an obvious acknowledgement by the Eurasian powers that Washington is waging a second cold war, and that it seeks nothing less than the overthrow of the governments in Beijing and Moscow.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made this goal clear as day in a bellicose 2020 speech at the Richard Nixon library, in which he declared, “We, the freedom-loving nations of the world, must induce China to change.” The former CIA director insisted, “Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time.”

Then in 2021, NATO’s de facto think tank the Atlantic Council published “The Longer Telegram,” modeled after the “long telegram” of cold warrior George Kennan, who crafted U.S. containment policy toward the Soviet Union. The Longer Telegram stated that Chinese President Xi must be replaced and Beijing should be forced “to conclude that it is in China’s best interests to continue operating within the U.S.-led liberal international order rather than building a rival order.”

The governments in Beijing and Moscow are closely following these developments, and can see where they are headed. The statement they released on Feb. 4 was their joint response, calling “for the establishment of a new kind of relationships between world powers on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation,” instead of conflict.

It is no coincidence that this meeting between Xi and Putin in Beijing — their first face-to-face reunion since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic — and the accompanying joint statement also came at a time of heightened tensions between NATO and Russia.

The manufactured crisis in Ukraine in late 2021 and early 2022, coupled with the Western bloc’s flagrant refusal to acknowledge any of Moscow’s security concerns, showed that NATO believes it has the right to permanently expand and militarily encircle Russia.

So while the joint declaration requested de-escalation, “reiterat[ing] the need for consolidation, not division of the international community, the need for cooperation, not confrontation,” it also emphasized that Beijing and Moscow are prepared to defend themselves.

The Eurasian powers stressed “that the new inter-State relations between Russia and China are superior to political and military alliances of the [first] Cold War era.”

 ‘Well-Being for All’

In an unambiguous reference to the foreign policy of the United States, the Chinese-Russian joint statement declared that Washington’s policies of unilateralism and interference only represent a “minority” and must end:

“Some actors representing but the minority on the international scale continue to advocate unilateral approaches to addressing international issues and resort to force; they interfere in the internal affairs of other states, infringing their legitimate rights and interests, and incite contradictions, differences and confrontation, thus hampering the development and progress of mankind, against the opposition from the international community.”

Beijing and Moscow juxtaposed these interventionist practices of U.S. imperialism with a proposal of multipolarity and “well-being for all”:

“[China and Russia] call on all States to pursue well-being for all and, with these ends, to build dialogue and mutual trust, strengthen mutual understanding, champion such universal human values as peace, development, equality, justice, democracy and freedom, respect the rights of peoples to independently determine the development paths of their countries and the sovereignty and the security and development interests of States, to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order, seek genuine multipolarity with the United Nations and its Security Council playing a central and coordinating role, promote more democratic international relations, and ensure peace, stability and sustainable development across the world.”

The declaration’s use of the phrase “international law-based world order” was important, because it was a rejection of the vague “rules-based international order” that the U.S. government has tried to impose on the world.

China’s and Russia’s ambassadors to the United States published a joint article in November 2021 that emphasized a similar point, writing:

“There is only one international system in the world, i.e. the international system with the United Nations at its core. There is only one international order, i.e. the one underpinned by international law. And there is only one set of rules, i.e. the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter. Flaunting the “rules-based international order” without referencing the U.N. and international law and attempting to replace international rules with the dictums of certain blocs falls into the category of revisionism and is obviously anti-democratic.

The February Chinese-Russian statement echoed much of what the ambassadors wrote in November, while further fleshing out the Eurasian perspective.”

Both declarations strongly defended democracy, but in a more comprehensive, expanded definition of the term that reflects real people’s democracy, not just a superficial system in which “people are only awakened when casting their votes and sent back to hibernation when the voting is over.”

In a strident rejection of the “liberal interventionist” ideology of the U.S. government, the Chinese-Russian statements condemned the cynical “abuse of democratic values and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights.”

Strengthen International Institutions

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit 2015. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Beijing and Moscow hope to defend concepts like multilateralism, non-interference, and respect for national sovereignty by democratizing and strengthening international institutions such as the U.N., BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Eurasian Economic Union.

While calling “to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order,” the February Chinese-Russian statement urged a democratization of the body, to “seek genuine multipolarity with the United Nations and its Security Council.”

Beijing and Moscow likewise wrote that they “aim to comprehensively strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and further enhance its role in shaping a polycentric world order based on the universally recognized principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, joint, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security.”

Moreover, the Eurasian powers said they “support the deepened strategic partnership within BRICS,” the framework bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, to “promote the expanded cooperation in three main areas: politics and security, economy and finance, and humanitarian exchanges.”

Part of this global realignment also involves merging China’s massive global infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, with the Eurasian Economic Union, the Russia-led economic bloc.

Beijing and Moscow wrote:

“The sides are seeking to advance their work to link the development plans for the Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU] and the Belt and Road Initiative with a view to intensifying practical cooperation between the EAEU and China in various areas and promoting greater interconnectedness between the Asia Pacific and Eurasian regions.

The sides reaffirm their focus on building the Greater Eurasian Partnership in parallel and in coordination with the Belt and Road construction to foster the development of regional associations as well as bilateral and multilateral integration processes for the benefit of the peoples on the Eurasian continent.”

Countering External Interference

Following the meeting between Presidents Xi and Putin on Feb. 4, China’s Foreign Ministry published a readout summarizing the main points of their discussions.

Implicitly criticizing the U.S. government’s superficial claims to support multilateralism and democracy, Beijing wrote,

“The two sides have taken an active part in the reform and development of the global governance system, followed true multilateralism, safeguarded the true spirit of democracy, and served as a bulwark in mobilizing global solidarity at these trying times and upholding international fairness and justice.”

The Chinese readout stressed this call for “international fairness and justice,” repeating the phrase three times.

Emphasizing the importance of “upholding sovereignty” and “defending sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Beijing added that the Eurasian powers must “effectively counter external interference” — an obvious reference to U.S. meddling and regime-change operations.

The message of the statements published by Beijing and Moscow could not have been clearer: the era of U.S. unipolar hegemony is dead, and the world is now in a “new era” with an international order based on multipolarity and principles of non-interference.

In making these declarations, the Eurasian powers were drawing an ideological line in the sand. The world already knew what political and economic model Washington, Brussels, and NATO are offering, but now it can clearly see what China and Russia are posing as an alternative.

Benjamin Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of Multipolarista, and is based in Latin America. // Benjamín Norton es un periodista, escritor, y cineasta. Es fundador y editor de Multipolarista, y vive en Latinoamérica.

This article is from  

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

22 comments for “China & Russia Throw Down Gauntlet

  1. Peter Loeb
    February 11, 2022 at 13:47


    As I pointed out in my prior remarks on The Truman Doctrine of March 1947, President Truman had
    many drafts for its presentation to Congress. Many referred to the UN which had just begun its
    work. All references to the UN were cut by Truman ( Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, “The Limits of Power”.
    Chapter 12).

    It is perhaps ironic, one might even say “clever”, that Russia and China have made the UN its lynchpin.

    This is a somewhat disingenuous as no major power really limits its activity in this way. It does serve to highlight
    the fact that in its recent policies the US in particular does not pay the slightest attention to even the
    weak restraints of the UN.

  2. Richard Coleman
    February 11, 2022 at 10:50

    I can’t help wondering, in the midst of all these wonderful-sounding words, what Russia/China are doing to help grotesquely sanctioned and Blockaded Cuba. CUBA!

    • Rob Roy
      February 11, 2022 at 12:28

      This cooperation between China and Russia and their manifesto is the best thing I’ve heard in years regarding foreign policy. Thanks, Ben.
      Richard, yes, I hope these two giants will support Cuba. I was surprised that Putin didn’t continue the support after the breakup of the USSR. Perhaps they will also support the countries seeking relief from US abuses (coups, wars, sanctions).

  3. Antforce62
    February 10, 2022 at 18:23

    China has thrown a spanner in America’s works to try & prevent Russia selling its Gas? They are actively sabotaging Nord Stream 2 & are prepared to initiate a Global Conflict & WW3 using Ukraine as it’s bunny! America’s pathological hatred for Russia has been on full display with the unprecedented Mainstream Media & Whitehouse propaganda, but this new Gas Treaty cancels out the need for Nord Stream 2? This Russian/Chinese Gas deal has completely shattered America’s plan for preventing them selling their Gas to alternative Nations? The False, Ukrainian Invasion fiction, being propagated by America, is all about preventing & shutting down Nord Stream 2, but really who cares when Russia can just sell the gas to China! Biden provided clarity, which is remarkable for a Man of his bumbling senility, as he admitted it at his Meeting with the German Chancellor that the goal is to shut down the NS2 Pipeline if & WHEN Ukraine is invaded, IMMINENTLY, probably immediately after Germany decide to sanction Russia a US false flag attack will begin! Preventing Certification of the Pipeline, which is in Sept, is the goal, so the US is going all out to stop this before that happens? Biden thinks he can dictate who a Country can or can’t do business with, so is telling Germany we OWN YOU, do as we say or else! When Ned Price, the Whitehouse staffer, talked about this False Flag film supposedly being planned by the Russians, he was talking about American ambitions, this is classic US projection of accusing others of doing what you yourself are planning! Russia has wisely got a Pipeline backup contingency Plan to sell its gas to China instead of Germany if Nord Stream is stopped, but really this is all about Sovereignty & Independence of Nations to run their own affairs? America thinks it has the right to tell other Nations, in this instance Germany, how they should govern themselves & to keep them under the heel of American Hegemony! Its the dying gasp of a declining US Empire that’s in its death throes & lashing out to maintain it’s waning Power!

    • vinnieoh
      February 11, 2022 at 09:28

      Don’t know for sure but would suspect that Russia has enough gas to sell to both Europe and China. Want to talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face? I don’t know what the situation is right this immediate day, but I did read within the last year that there is only one commodity of trade with which the US is on the plus side wrt China – LNG!

      The US hegemons seem to have only one “chess move” when it comes to Russia: create a situation where Russia is forced to lose this piece or that piece, but you can’t save both. It is beginning to look like the US hegemons have been too clever by half: Russia will supplant the US in energy delivery to China, and the Europeans will finally wise up and realize that the US is not really anybody’s friend.

  4. robert e williamson jr
    February 10, 2022 at 17:36


    Until the majority of Americans figure out that to be “Number One” there must be some agreement by the larger audience of the world that they actually sees proof of this it really doesn’t matter what Americans slogans advertise.

    After the last 77 years of proving we have the largest strongest military on earth but failed to use it to the advantage of the WORLD instead of using it to expand the wealth of the greed heads who are drunk out of their minds on ‘Power’ I want to know the answer to this question.

    Who in their right minds would even think of entertaining the thought of going to war with China?

    MESSAGE to the knuckle headed hawks in DC the pentagon and all others. These people wrote the defining work on war. See Sun-tzu The art of War.

    I have plenty of reservations about sending this because it involves Face Book or Ass Face or WTE. But here goes.

    Now let us move on to figuring out why Andrew G Huff PhD, MS on Feb * 2022 posted on facebook, ass face, or WTE that he had sent whistle blower letters to 6 government agencies blowing the whistle on the work he had been involved with in Wuhan China, the origin of the Covid virus. (This is according to0 him.) In addition to sending his complaint to the Honorable Roger F. Wicker, ranking member of the Whistle Blower Committee.

    Thanks CN

    • robert e williamson jr
      February 11, 2022 at 16:18

      THIS post was on twitter. I found my reservations were correct, since I had the source wrong.

      Thanks CN

  5. David Otness
    February 10, 2022 at 17:13

    George Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram,’ written in a flu-induced feverish burst of energy that he ever-regretted for its haste and intemperate outbursts, bearing the weight for the remainder of his life that of his own inadvertent hand in setting the stage for the Cold War that so many were already anticipating. The Long Telegram provided the official impetus—written from war-torn Moscow and uncharacteristically delivered raw and un-nuanced like a bloody steak to those already committed to the further grinding down of the U.S.S.R—even as the Soviet guns were yet firing against the Nazis, the Red Army continuing to wipe out the remainder of the 200+ divisions of the Wehrmacht sent against it in 1941.
    Kennan had a deep and enduring affinity for the people of the U.S.S.R. and recognized the further tragedy of time and lives stolen to come—all to satisfy Mars, the Roman God of War.
    Among his last and most enduring pronouncements was his straight-up warning of what expanding NATO to the east would engender—precisely this. This brinksmanship which we face today for such ‘long-ago’ brashness of foreign policy.
    Sigh… again and again… sigh.

  6. February 10, 2022 at 16:11

    Wonderful!! What a relief that China and Russia have put forth a well thought out and responsible alternative to the increasingly insane militarism the US promotes. I have also worried how we could ever go forward and improve the drastic situation we are now in, when we are deluged with lies on the part of both parties – each one having its own set of lies. Now Russia and China have simply cut through the gordian knot of all those lies and presented the possibility of a way for countries to get along and work together without constant nagging from big brother US telling them what they can and cannot do at home.

    It will take a while for Americans to understand what is being offered, but hopefully at some point we will begin to comprehend the idiocy our elected officials keep promoting. Or maybe we will never understand. I just read an article by Mike Lofgren about the fact that the Pentagon and our military academies are glued to the FOX channel almost exclusively, and absorbing their lies. He noted that too many of the neofascists who attacked Congress on the 6th were military or ex-military. A scary thought.

  7. Hans Meyer
    February 10, 2022 at 15:42

    That alignment was expected. The strange thing is that we have Biden trying to push a change of leadership in Russia (I do thing that tension in Ukraine is all about that, dismiss Putin or prepare for war). The “Centrists” around Clinton continue an anti-Russian policy reminescent of the Cold War. As if the criterion for an absolute victory is a complete subjugation of present Russia. As for China, it seems that the miscalculation of the Neo-liberals was to convert this country into a manufacturing warehouse that would fullfil their needs. They did not compute the obvious fact that China would take control of production, that they were interested in learning new technology and do not need some third party to teach them how to behave. I am at a lost here, is this the situation or do these people have a subtile plan that escape analysis from common people. We are far from the “lizard people” of conspiration theories, we do have a merchant class with some common goals and a poor understanding of their present situation. Their consistent recourse to threat or violence to solve economical problems is frightening for global stability.

  8. jane
    February 10, 2022 at 15:19

    It reminded me of our own Declaration of Independence.

  9. Carolyn L Zaremba
    February 10, 2022 at 11:59

    Exellent choice of that photo of people seemingly mesmerized by a glowing NATO monolith which gives them instructions. Like something out of science fiction.

  10. forceOfHabit
    February 10, 2022 at 10:47

    Wow! That first photo of a gaggle of NATO “leaders” standing around and gazing up at some sort of blue monolith is remarkably eerie. I can’t decide if they look more like brainless zombies entranced by bright lights and noises they can’t understand, or the apes in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 confronting the big black monolith. Either way, an excellent picture.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      February 10, 2022 at 12:00

      I agree. I automatically thought of it in a science fiction context.

      • David Otness
        February 10, 2022 at 17:21

        They are many of them identifiable from behind. Interesting how they are staged for the photo, yes? If I had slightly better resolution I might go so far as to identify Victoria Nuland (powder blue top) in the upper right, up front in prominence. Knowing she and her fellow neocon hubby über warlock Robert Kagan reside in Belgium lends at least some credence to my dark fantasy regarding this creepy portrait.

  11. vinnieoh
    February 10, 2022 at 10:31

    … “defending sovereignty and territorial integrity”

    Let’s hope that extends to the agreements/contracts made for investment and development that DO NOT contain language, latent intent, or hidden mechanisms to subvert local, regional, and state self-determination and home rule.

    The inclusion of dispute resolution mechanisms proposed by TPP and similar “trade treaties” were simply attempts to legitimate the claim that there is no superior right than that of investors to expected profit, and that any legitimate local, regional, or state law or regulation, could and would be set aside to satisfy the “right to profit” if it conflicted with that “right.” In a way it is similar to the Islamic edict that “there is no god but god” merely uttered by the investment or ownership class, in deference to their god.

    Can anyone here, knowledgeable about the tenor and nature of contracts and agreements (i.e., trade treaties) with China, offer a comparison/contrast to proposals such as TPP?

    • Jack
      February 10, 2022 at 17:25

      Excellent observation, Vinnieoch. I had a similar reaction to the implication of big words (however welcome) and what devil is likely in the details. Most of the US unilateral interest is to protect (call the shots on) “our” economic interests in competition with others.
      We, (the US) employ similar high-sounding language when, actually, undermining self-determination.

  12. Jan Chastain
    February 10, 2022 at 10:28

    This Russia China agreement is so heartening to those of us who have watched the Military Industrial Complex of criminals impoverish our United States, stealing our taxes to enrich themselves. The United States of America is not what my ancestors intended when they founded Nanticoke Plantation in Virginia, or looked forward to when my Grandpa farmed his strawberry farm with his mule and plow. The US of A is no longer us. signed, The Umbrella Lady

  13. mgr
    February 10, 2022 at 06:29

    What is there not to like?

    In reality, we have a stark contrast in the outcome of decades of the US’s favored uni-polar approach with its “(US: we make the) rules based (and you follow them) international order:” A world burning with conflict that is generating countless desperate, displaced persons and destroying millions of lives and livelihoods, nation states overthrown and undermined seemingly at the whim of puerile American interests, a rabid, ecosystem destroying capitalism in which a “dead tree is worth more than a living one” that operates only to concentrate wealth into fewer and fewer hands with absolutely no regard for living things, including people, and sustainability, and has led humanity to the point of a looming environmental catastrophe that will continue to worsen for centuries.

    At this point, based on long experience, even hearing the words respect and cooperation from successive American administrations just leaves one feeling sick. The US uses the term “democracy” the way Israel uses the term “antisemitism.” In contrast, an international rules based order based on a democratic United Nations, doing what it was intended to as opposed to being a vehicle for American interests? That is a United Nations that can work. That is how it always should have worked. America just never allowed it.

    Respecting and not interfering, undermining, and overthrowing sovereign nations and peoples that are striving for their own self-determination rather than being American surrogates? Finally.

    And international cooperation for dealing with the existential crisis of human induced climate change effects instead of starting a fucking new Cold War for the sake of American financial and ego interests that make that cooperation impossible and doom us all? This is what an American uni-polar world is. And it is only getting worse. At the same time, nature herself has given us a hard and uncompromising limit to this mad behavior which America through its actions simply refuses to accept or believe.

    “A just multipolar system of international relations,” what is there not to like? We are living the American led Western alternative and it is dooming us all.

    • David Otness
      February 10, 2022 at 16:48

      “… America just never allowed it.”
      Good points, mgr. H/T for delineating those you did.
      But the Rockefeller/Dulles brothers nexus set the UN up to win—only for themselves and their class interests. Nobody else.
      It remains one of the most frustrating, among the greatest ongoing smoke and mirrors entities ever perpetrated on the world. Brimming over with “Hope and Change” since its inception, yet actually undermined from the get-go by consummate U.S. manipulators.

      “Tomorrow the World” by Stephen Wertheim along with David Talbot’s and Stephen Kinzinger’s catalogues of fine works go a long way in explaining the whys and wherefores of the UN’s ultimate failings in so very many instances. So much deviousness in our lifetimes. So many innocent people ground up in its shadowy maw, from the lowliest subsistence farmer families, to its own General Secretary, Dag Hammerskjold.
      Now how to foil this next pernicious ‘Great Reset’ by the descendants of same people while still dealing with, and exposing the actual activities of the previous perpetrators. Events pertaining to just that are coming to a clashing head as we speak. What ever can we do to turn the tide? That’s the quest for solutions sought that belong to all of us individually as we delve the bounds of our own sense of honor and integrity. May Julian be our guide forward.

      • David Otness
        February 10, 2022 at 16:51

        Dammit—that’s Stephen Kinzer! I should know—I have a number of his books within reach right now! Sorry.

      • mgr
        February 11, 2022 at 07:04

        David Otness: Thank you for the insights. They are disturbing though not surprising, more of a kind. Of course, the inertia of the status quo will resist any change. The reaction of the fossil fuel industry’s actions regarding the reality of impending climate change effects, for example, is simply to become more subtle while digging its heels in further against any attempt to reduce fossil fuel usage, all the while knowing the outcome. This is the late stage of neoliberal capitalism in which the purveyors begin eating their own children (certainly eating their future for a few dollars more in the present).

        Nonetheless, it’s hard to govern without some cooperation from the public. There is also the fact that a public with nothing to lose is likely to do anything. The effects of climate change are starting to land like hammer blows globally and this is only the start. Either we cooperate together or we die together. The Biden admin was always a lie. There was never a plan that would disturb the current status quo. There was never plan that would address the issues that make a difference, and even then Biden found a way to make it worse. The US will not unify the world, even for the sake of survival. It should be ignored. With Russia and China’s support, the UN might rise to the occasion though sheer necessity albeit with the US and its banal companions fighting against it. They should be pushed to the side as dangerously irrelevant since they no longer have a history to write (as it only ends up in extinction). We shall see…

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