China’s President Xi will visit Russia’s President Putin this week. No secret are the topics of conversation – how China can help Russia avert Western sanctions, and provide weapons, ammunition, and political cover to Putin; how Putin can formalize his land grab in Ukraine, under the guise of a “peace deal;” how public opinion can be swayed to use the Chinese yuan not US dollar as the world’s reserve currency; and how the Chinese-Russian Axis can sideline historic Western leadership and values around the world.
Not likely to be discussed are Putin’s recent – largely symbolic – arrest warrant, issued by the “international court” for war crimes, including kidnapping Ukrainian children; China’s oppressive human rights record, accountability for COVID, violations of military, trade, and international legal norms, or how both countries can adopt CRT (Critical Race Theory), ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance priorities), DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), and transgender sports role models.
China and Russia – Xi and Putin – are on a quest for power. They are using the West’s internal divisions, sown – not coincidentally – by leftist rabble rousers across Europe, and especially in the US, to accelerate their push for dominance. If they can divide Western populations, as the Soviets did with the “nuclear freeze,” they can seize public attention with calls for order and claim moral equivalency.
More to the point, they want to dominate the airwaves, with Russia borrowing international legitimacy for their immoral Ukrainian war from the global economic power – and growing military might – of China, while China seeks legitimacy for a future capture of Taiwan, and a newly prominent role on the world stage from Russia.
Although fictional, China has recently offered “American-like” peace, economic and diplomatic plans for the Middle East, Far East, and as a phony “broker” of peace between their “no limits” ally Russia, and the decimated, Western-aligned Ukraine.
Of course, no one in their right mind – even third world countries – yet take seriously either Russia’s claims of legitimacy in Ukraine, or China’s bid to be an honest broker of peace anywhere. China is a transparently illegitimate communist nation, founded by Mao on the Stalin model, led by an unapologetic admirer of Mao – Mr. “President for Life” Xi.
The whole notion of a non-human rights, openly oppressive, take what you can get, damn the West “new world order” is a bad joke, an abomination premised on the Marxist- Maoist notion that morality and individual rights, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” do not matter and must be sidelined.
Truth is, individual liberties and equal opportunity for all individuals – not between groups, not equity, not mass redistribution of wealth, not reparations, or Marxism, or Maoism, but God-given rights – are timeless. They are part of Mankind’s unending, irrepressible quest for sovereignty of the soul.
The American Bill of Rights embodies this idea. No wonder it exists in 50 languages and is codified and revered in almost 200 countries. This document – and the American model – stands in direct opposition to the crave quest for personal and party power personified by Putin and Xi.
So, now we have a much-ballyhooed “summit” between Dictator One and Dictator Two, like Dr. Suess’s Thing One and Thing Two, only more dangerous. Their goal is to start a wave, formalize their – well – axis of evil, and bring two seemingly evil empires into alignment to contest Western power.
And what will come of this? Not much. The two leaders will jawbone and confirm that all they are doing is appropriate, should be understood to be great power prerogatives, and is historically justified. China will parrot Putin’s default to history, hoping the message will catch on, justifying his conquest of Taiwan. Putin will puff and strut with the leader of the world’s other big economy, basking in Xi’s presence.
The real question is what will the West say? What will R’s and D’s in Congress say? What will Mr. “China is our friend” Biden say? Likely answer is, not much.
The right answer, however, would be for every American and Western leader to take a page from Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II – and make clear, this is an evil empire times two, a Communist nation and an autocratic, ideological despot, both on a beeline for American and Western power, both entirely illegitimate.
Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the 40th anniversary month of Ronald Reagan’s bold “Evil Empire” speech – and this would be a remarkable time to see R’s and D’s, perhaps even Mr. Biden, finally wake up, stand up, and step up to identify Communist China and invader Russia as inheritors of the mantle. If Soviet Russia was an “evil empire,” Communist China and Putin’s leadership seem equally qualifies.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.