This article appears in the August 6, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
U.S. Dialogue with Both China and Russia Gives Hope for Sanity
July 30—U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held high-level meetings this month with the Chinese and Russian governments respectively, marking a hopeful move towards sanity in a world being driven toward confrontation between the leading nuclear powers. The mass of lies and slanders thrown at both Russia and China during the Mike Pompeo years at the State Department under the Trump Administration, with military provocations literally on the Russian and Chinese borders becoming a daily reality, have unfortunately been continued under the Biden Administration, bringing the world ever closer to war.
The Sherman meetings—July 26 in Tianjin, and July 28 in Geneva, come at a critical moment in history, as the U.S. is finally withdrawing its military forces from Afghanistan, ending the longest, and perhaps the most pointless, war in its history. As EIR has documented in a , “Will Afghanistan Trigger A Paradigm Change?” meetings between all of the nations of the region, and including the U.S., took place during the past weeks, to address the future of Afghanistan. The meetings demonstrated that there is a unique opportunity for the U.S., Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and the other nations in the region, to overcome geopolitical divisions, joining forces to address the true universal interest of mankind to end the role of Afghanistan as a center for terrorism and drug production, through a “peace through development” policy, to restore Afghanistan’s role in antiquity as the crossroad for the Silk Road, connecting the Asian and European sides of the Eurasian continent. As a model, such a development could end the era of “regime change wars” internationally.
The meetings of U.S. Deputy Secretary Sherman in Tianjin with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 26, while only finalized at the last minute, could become the beginning of a thaw in U.S.-China relations, although it is likely to be a rather long, drawn-out affair. Scholars on both sides had been looking forward to this meeting as the first glimmer of hope that at least some members of the Biden Administration really do want a constructive relationship with China. That this is only a potential shift was demonstrated when, just days before the expected meeting, the United States imposed new sanctions on Chinese officials who were held responsible for the crackdown in Hong Kong against those who were part of the attempted color revolution by outside forces, including the United States, in the mass riots of 2019.
A further provocation came from State Department Spokesman Ned Price, who said that the Sherman meeting would be another example of the United States approaching dialogue with China “from a position of strength,” the mantra that nearly disrupted the first encounter with Biden representatives in Anchorage in March.
Also, Sherman visited all the “allied countries” in East Asia before arriving in China—Japan, South Korea, Mongolia—where statements about Chinese “aggression” were bantered about.
But in Tianjin, China was the host, and the Chinese had the opportunity to first air their criticisms of U.S. policy—and Vice Minister Xie Feng, who is responsible for the U.S.-China relationship at the Foreign Ministry, did not mince his words. Minister Xie said that the stalemate in U.S.-China relations was solely due to the policies of the U.S. government, which manifested a whole-of-society campaign to bring China down. He lambasted the U.S. notion that they would proceed in their negotiations “from a position of strength” as “arrogant and demeaning…. Such an attitude did not succeed in Anchorage,” he told Sherman, “and it will not succeed in Tianjin.”
Debunking U.S. Claims
The U.S. talks about setting up “guard rails” in its relations with China, Xie said, but any such “code of conduct” must be negotiated by both parties. The U.S. “rules-based international order,” he added, simply means that certain countries wish to turn their own “family assistance programs” into international rules that regulate and suppress other countries. “China has never bet on the U.S. being a loser, much less making this its ‘grand strategy’,” Xie said, relegating the entire idea to the realm of “conspiracy theory.” He castigated the U.S. for its claims about the Wuhan Virology Institute, and its claims of “genocide” and “forced labor” in Xinjiang. “In the past 40 years, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has doubled, life expectancy has doubled, life is becoming richer, and the level of education is continually increasing,” he said. “How can this be ‘genocide’?” he asked. He also said that the U.S. is “playing with fire” in regressing on the issue of Taiwan. Xie gave Sherman a list of 16 points on which China felt the U.S. should correct its policies, and a list of 10 issues which were of importance to China.
At the same time, Xie said that the world needs most to unite, cooperate and help each other, as “we are all in the same boat.” The Chinese people love peace, he said, and actively promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. “The U.S. should change course and choose to meet China halfway, respect each other, compete fairly, and coexist peacefully,” he said.
Sounding a Different Tone
Although Deputy Secretary Sherman did present the usual laundry list of U.S. “concerns,” reiterating “privately what the U.S. has said publicly,” as the State Department readout put it, she also made significant steps to address China with respect, and to address real issues. She expressed condolences to the people affected by the flooding in Henan, and praised China’s great achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction, stating clearly that the United States does not seek to contain China’s development. She reiterated U.S. adherence to the one-China policy, saying that the U.S. does not support “Taiwan independence.” She also said that the United States and China, as permanent members of the Security Council, are responsible for maintaining world peace and security, and that they therefore have a great responsibility.
The meeting lasted for more than four hours, which itself indicates the seriousness of the dialogue. Both sides said they believed that the talks were “frank” and “in-depth” and that they are willing to continue to maintain such open and honest communication. They also discussed issues of mutual interest, including the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean peninsula, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and drug control.
A ‘New Gospel for the World’?
Sherman then went on to meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Wang Yi said that the Biden Administration had generally continued the wrong policies of the previous administration toward China, and that the sharp conflicts that have arisen are due to the U.S. having a problem with its perception of China. He underlined that it was folly to try to prevent China’s modernization, which would continue under any circumstances. He also scored U.S. attacks against the Communist Party of China and “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”: “The Chinese people have entered an irreversible historical process, and no force or country can stop it,” he said. But he added, “China’s development is to seek happiness for all Chinese people, not to challenge or replace the United States.”
Wang laid out three criteria that the U.S. must observe in order to have a good working relationship with China. First, the United States must not challenge or attempt to subvert China’s socialist road or system. “They are the choice of the people and the choice of history,” Wang said. Second, the U.S. must not try to obstruct China’s development. And third, the U.S. must not infringe upon China’s national sovereignty or territorial integrity.
“Our opinion is very clear,” said Minister Wang. “That is, through dialogue, we can find a path of peaceful coexistence on this planet for two big countries with different systems, different cultures, and at different stages of development. This would be great for the two countries, and would be a new gospel for the world,” he said.
Sherman told Wang that the U.S. has no intention of restricting China’s development, nor does it want to contain China, and that the U.S. is willing to continue its contacts with China. The two sides can develop healthy competition, cooperate on climate change, drug control, and international and hotspot issues, strengthen crisis management and control capabilities, and avoid conflicts. She reiterated U.S. support for the one-China policy and U.S. opposition to Taiwan independence. They then discussed regional issues, including Afghanistan.
Now the question remains, will the Biden Administration follow through on the opening this meeting has created, and try to meet China halfway, or will it continue the steady diatribe which makes of China an enemy to be combatted, rather than a partner to be embraced? The ball is now in the U.S. court.
Just a few days after her meeting in Tianjin, Sherman chaired a meeting on Strategic Stability with her Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in Geneva. These talks are a result of the meeting of the two presidents, Biden and Putin, in Geneva in June, and the nearly four-hour phone call between the presidents on July 9. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the meeting.
The U.S. delegation was high-powered, including representatives of the National Security Council, the Defense Department, the military Joint Staff, and the Energy Department. The readout from the State Department after the meeting described the meeting as “professional and substantive,” and asserted that the U.S. “remains committed, even in times of tension, to ensuring predictability and reducing the risk of armed conflict and threat of nuclear war.” A subsequent meeting was scheduled for the end of September, with discussions by working groups to be established in the meantime.
Deputy Minister Ryabkov described the meeting as “very down to earth, very businesslike, very focused, conscious and rational.” He told TASS: “They are ready. This is a good thing. They sent an impressive delegation representing all departments, and worked through its agenda 100%.” He noted that “we also heard critical comments from the American side, which is very normal, we also heard their opinion about the way we need to continue working. In general, we are very content about this first opening meeting at our level in Geneva.”
The core discussion was on arms control, which Ryabkov described as “very difficult,” primarily because the issue “has been long stripped of attention and we are now only in the beginning of the process of exchanging opinions about what exactly to do and how to continue our work.”
The Danger Persists
Nonetheless the attacks on Russia (as also on China) in the Congress, in the media, from both the Democratic and Republican parties, and from within the Biden Administration continue. Worse, Biden’s own often arbitrary and misguided comments undermine the positive diplomacy. Following the meeting in Geneva, Biden referred to the (unsubstantiated) accusation that Russia was responsible for cyber attacks within the U.S., adding: “I think it’s more likely we’re going to end up—we end up in a war. A real shooting war with a major power. It’s gonna be as a consequence of a cyber break of great consequence.”
As if this were not provocative enough, he added that Putin “has a real problem—he is—he’s sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else. Nothing else. Their economy is—what?—the eighth smallest in the world now—largest in the world? He knows—he knows he’s in real trouble, which makes him even more dangerous, in my view.”
The reality is known to the world—140 nations have joined with China and Russia in the Belt and Road Initiative. Both China and Russia are engaged in building crucial infrastructure around the world, while the U.S. continues to deny any infrastructure to developing nations, only demanding “Green New Deal” agreements not to develop in exchange for promises of dollar handouts. Russia and China have provided millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, and have helped build vaccine production facilities in several nations, while the U.S. hoarded its vaccines for many months, and are releasing them now very slowly.
The Afghanistan situation offers a unique and crucial moment in history to bring the major nations together, especially Russia, China, India and the U.S. Lyndon LaRouche referred to these nations as the “Four Powers,” the minimum combination necessary to change the direction of history, to establish a new global financial system, to end the regime change wars and the threat of nuclear war, and to combat terrorism, drugs and the health emergency around the world. The opening of U.S. diplomatic dialogue with Russia and China this month is a small but extremely important step in that direction. They should be encouraged to cooperate in Afghanistan as an example of “peace through development.”