Ukraine Will Expose The Fascist Putin-Xi Axis.
By Anna Keller, 14th April 2022.
Getting Real about Chinese foreign policy towards Russia.
The Western media often feature experts who talk about autocracies as if they were normal countries and not dictatorships. Autocracies are run for the benefit of the autocrat’s elite. A benefit for the country controlled by the autocrat may be a disadvantage for the autocrat if it weakens the autocrat’s dominance. A disadvantage for the country controlled by the autocrat may be a benefit for the autocrat if it strengthens the autocrat’s dominance. So the benefit or disadvantage of an autocrat’s action to their country may be irrelevant. This obvious point is often ignored by experts who attempt to predict the behavior of autocracies like Russia and China. Their impressive and hard earned knowledge is too often matched by myopia.
It is argued that Xi Jinping’s Chinese regime will not support Putin’s Russian regime when the Russian economy is crippled by sanctions resulting from its invasion of Ukraine, because this would lead to secondary sanctions by the West on the Chinese economy and so reduce China’s lucrative export trade to the West. However a defeat for Putin’s brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine will weaken Putin’s autocratic rule, and may well lead to his overthrow. This in turn will weaken the general belief among ruling elites in Moscow and Beijing that aggressive autocracy is the long term path to success. Putin’s downfall will obviously directly remove the support from Xi of a major autocratic ally. Xi may therefore calculate that supporting the Russian economy clandestinely (in a way that is superficially deniable) is to his advantage, even if it is a major disadvantage to the Chinese people and nation as a whole.
Xi’s Approaching Progression to Full Totalitarian Control.
Near the end of 2022 (October or November) Xi is expected to be re-elected as General Secretary of the CCP at the 20th National People’s Congress. Xi has increasingly made China into an autocratic fascist state since coming to power in 2012. Xi’s third term is going to be the most traumatic and decisive with the pressures of the global growth of autocracy and the imminent climate crisis. Xi may calculate that his third five term will be critical in advancing his destructive fascist nationalist agenda, which will not be possible against the backdrop of Putin losing in Ukraine and being deposed.
So it is reasonable that Xi’s regime will support the Russian economy, and deflect criticism that this will harm China’s economy, by saying they are taking the long view and are defending an ally, while making no judgment about its dispute with Ukraine. In public Chinese companies will distance themselves from Russia, while in private trading and financing will continue.
The chaos caused by the Covid crisis with its suspect origin in Wuhan has only seemed to have strengthened the hold Xi has over China. Xi may calculate that the economic chaos caused by secondary sanctions can be manipulated by his regime’s extensive apparatus of censorship, propaganda and repression to his advantage.
Post Cold War Blues, Communism becomes Fascism.
The path from communist dictatorship to fascism, of the nuclear superpowers of the Soviet Union (centered on Russia) and China, is being driven by a clear mechanism – although many still resist the terrible reality that this is happening. In both cases the communist elites ensured the transition to fascism, as a means to control and harvest the wealth resulting from these economies opening to the world. This transition was achieved by allowing or promoting chaos, and offering an ideology of aggressive nationalism as the only alternative. This nationalist seed has then been developed into a type of fascism based not on race but the spiritual supremacy of the nation, that completely transcends the individual.
The audacious hypocrisy of the motivation of this ideology is evident. It justifies and requires the implementation of the fully totalitarian state that has nothing to offer but violence and repression. A state that can only prosper by promoting client dictatorships abroad, where the benefits of their economies can be stolen from their citizens and shared between their hierarchy of masters. A state that can only prosper by exploiting corruption in democratic countries, and stealing technologies.
Putin’s war on Ukraine will escalate and he will unleash aggression and terror beyond its borders.
The support China will continue to give to the Russian regime will mean Putin’s war machine can continue to smash Ukraine (and continue on to neighboring ex-Soviet ex-Warsaw Pact countries) long after the regime’s 6 month of reserves would have run out. The success of the Ukrainian armed forces in using modern defensive weapons and clever tactics to inflict major damage on the Russian armed forces is a huge hit to the credibility of Putin’s brutal regime. Putin will respond by ordering the targeting of Ukrainian civilians with a massive growth in the scale of the horror inflicted. Putin will order the use of weapons that produce terror on besieged populations, in particular nerve agents and tactical nuclear weapons. Putin will increase the level of threats of the use of strategic nuclear weapons against the West in order to deter indirect and direct intervention designed to stop Russian military advances.
It is obvious that autocracies have an advantage in waging risky wars of aggression against stronger opponents, especially when both sides have nuclear weapons. In an autocracy public opinion has less power to stop the dictator. The regime can start wars that kill more soldiers, commit greater atrocities, create more domestic hardship and attract higher risks of serious retribution. It is true that the dictator could also suffer with some forms of retribution such as an exchange of strategic nuclear weapons. Yet it is also true that the benefits of the aggression (like any other benefits) will be concentrated at the top of the hierarchy with the dictator and his elite. This changes how the dictator views the cost-benefit analysis, even without the tendency of the dictator to receive biased information from flunkies whose positions depend on pleasing him.
Putin will not stop at the border of Nato countries, because Article 5 of Nato’s charter gives permission to member states to request help if attacked, and leaves the members to decide the nature of the response. There is a hidden fault line between old Nato and new Nato countries (those who joined after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact).
Putin will be stopped when Nato members decide that decisive action is needed to stop complete collapse in confidence. In principle the combined military forces of Nato members would overwhelm Russian forces. Four times the number of active soldiers, five times the number of aircraft, three times the number of ships and similar numbers of tanks and artillery. Both have similar numbers of nuclear warheads. The key Nato advantage is more advanced technology, but offset by the need to get all Nato members to deploy their military.
Xi’s regime will expect to be appeased to facilitate the negotiations to stop Putin’s war of aggression, by agreeing to withdraw economic support to Putin’s regime if it continues. The peace agreement will benefit Putin’s regime and recognise the gains made by aggression. By this time it will be too late and the accelerating collapse of democracy will have begun.
The Alternative Path.
The alternative path requires an understanding that there is no difference in the situation of Ukraine between a realistic or a values based judgment on responding to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The smart pragmatic action is to give Ukraine every offensive weapon it requires, and do this as quickly as possible. To supply as much technical assistance and “voluntary” advisors as is possible without obvious large-scale direct intervention by the military of Western countries.
Puitn’s regime will threaten strategic nuclear responses and these will have to be ignored. Russian armed forces will be driven out of Ukraine. The situation of the Crimea will need to be left as a concession to future negotiations. Putin’s regime will not survive the humiliation of this defeat. This decisive action will show to the Chinese political elite that Xi is dragging them on a path of fascist totalitarianism which will be disastrous. Both Russia and China will remain nationalistic authoritarian states, but destructive aggression will give way to dealing the real issues of the climate crisis, resource management and human dignity.
This path is unlikely to be taken because the modern world does not have, for all their flaws, world leaders like Rossevelt and Churchill, who would realize the moment when outer pragmatism and the inner voice of conscience align so powerfully. And have the moral courage to be prepared to risk humiliation and deserved cat calls of hypocrisy, but still proclaim it to all.
Specialists Describe the Fascist Reality of the Regimes in Russia and China.
Lastly, still many serious observers are reluctant to describe Putin and Xi’s regimes as facist. But there are a growing number of specialists in the politics of these countries who will:
“Putin’s Russia also fits the bill [of fascism]. The political system is unquestionably authoritarian – some might say totalitarian. Putin has completely dismantled all of Russia’s nascent democratic institutions. Elections are neither free nor fair. Putin’s party, United Russia, always wins, and oppositionists are routinely harassed or killed.
The media have been curbed; freedom of speech and assembly no longer exists; and draconian punishments are meted out for the slightest of criticisms of the regime.
A hypernationalist, imperialist and supremacist ideology that glorifies all things Russian and legitimates expansion as Russia’s right and duty has been both imposed on and willingly accepted by the population.
War is worshiped and justified by the state’s mendacious propaganda machine. As the brutal invasion of Ukraine shows, war is also practiced, especially if it is directed against a people whose very existence Putin regards as a threat to himself and to Russia.
Finally, secret police and military elites, together with a corrupt bureaucracy, form the core of the political system headed by the infallible Putin, who is the undisputed charismatic leader glorified as the embodiment of Russia. One of Putin’s minions once noted that ‘if there is no Putin, there is no Russia!’ There’s a striking similarity with French King Louis XIV’s assertion, ‘L’état, c’est moi – ‘The state is me’ – and Hitler’s ‘One people, one empire, one Führer’.”
[“Yes, Putin and Russia are fascist – a political scientist shows how they meet the textbook definition.” 22/3/2022 by Professor Alexander Motyl whose area of study is Ukraine, Russia and the former USSR. He has been warning about Putin and fascism since the mid 2000s. https://theconversation.com/yes-putin-and-russia-are-fascist-a-political-scientist-shows-how-they-meet-the-textbook-definition-179063]
“The [repressive] nature of the Chinese regime had not changed since 1949, but the need to renew the legitimacy of the Communist Party in the aftermath of Mao Zedong’s death led Deng Xiaoping to ease the pressure of the apparatus on society and the economy. After the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, Deng opened the country to the world market while maintaining the dictatorship. Rapid economic development and the exploitation of grey areas by NGOs had led to loosening of controls. Upon coming to power, Xi Jinping suppressed emerging civil society and strengthened Party leadership in all areas, eliminating spaces of autonomy and establishing the cult of personality. Party hegemony over society and government, cult of the leader, nationalism, China is in no way comparable to ‘democratures’ [quasi dictatorships with democratic elements]. Dictatorship has been imposed, and his system more and more recalls fascism.”
[“China of Xi Jinping: Towards Chinese Fascism?” 2019 by Jean-Philippe Béja. Emeritus Senior Research Fellow at CERI in Paris. English translation. https://purposewithoutborders.org/2022/01/china-of-xi-jinping-towards-chinese-fascism-by-jean-philippe-beja-2/]
[Posted by Anna Keller 14/4/22]