How to stop China and the US going to war | Kevin Rudd

As images of destruction and death emerge from Ukraine, and refugees flee the country in their millions, the world’s attention is rightly focused on the horror of what many once thought an impossibility in the 21st century: a large-scale modern war in Europe. In this grim moment, however, it is all the more important to think through and coldly reassess the dangers presented by other potential conflicts that could be sparked by growing geopolitical tensions. The most significant among these is the risk of a war between the United States…

The Guardian view on Putin and the world: it’s not just about China | Editorial

When Vladimir Putin recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics, days before his invasion of Ukraine, one of the most powerful denunciations came from Kenya’s envoy to the UN. Martin Kimani cited his country’s own history as he warned against irredentism and expansionism: “We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression,” he said. On two general assembly resolutions – the first denouncing the invasion, the second blaming Russia for creating a…

China’s decisive turning point: will it side with Russia and divide the world?

Joe Biden is due to make a phone call to Xi Jinping on Friday at a potential tipping point in China’s role in the world as it decides how far to go in backing Russia’s war on Ukraine. While China has abstained on United Nations security council resolutions on the invasion, it has sided with Moscow rhetorically, echoing Russian talking points blaming Nato, and recycling conspiracy theories, and the Biden administration believes it has already decided to bail Russia out economically. At a meeting in Rome on Monday between the…

How Ukraine has become the crucible of the new world order

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been described by politicians and commentators as a watershed moment in modern history, a turning point comparable in importance to the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and even the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963. Whether this portentous view of the war turns out to be justified, only time – and future historians – will tell. But there’s no doubt that in the violent, tumultuous days after 24 February, the established international order has…

American muckrakers: Peter Schweizer, James O’Keefe and a rightwing full court press

The official investigation of Hunter Biden’s dealings in China and elsewhere rests in the hands of David Weiss, a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor in Delaware, and the US justice department under Joe Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland. Politically speaking, we now have Red-Handed by Peter Schweizer, who would very much like to help us digest the business past of the 46th president’s troublesome son. Schweizer’s works include Clinton Cash, a compendium of opposition research that helped shape the presidential election in 2016. These days, he is president of the Government Accountability…

The Biden doctrine: Ukraine gaffe sums up mixed year of foreign policy

Joe Biden marked his first anniversary in office with a gaffe over Ukraine that undid weeks of disciplined messaging and diplomatic preparation. The president’s suggestion that a “minor incursion” by Russia might split Nato over how to respond sent the White House into frantic damage limitation mode. Officials insisted Biden had been referring to cyber attacks and paramilitary activities and not Russian troops crossing the border. That failed to entirely calm nerves in Kyiv and other European capitals, especially as Biden also raised eyebrows by predicting that Vladimir Putin would…

China hires western TikTokers to polish its image during 2022 Winter Olympics

An army of western social media influencers, each with hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok, Instagram or Twitch, is set to spread positive stories about China throughout next month’s Winter Olympics. Concerned about the international backlash against the Beijing Games amid a wave of diplomatic boycotts, the government has hired western PR professionals to spread an alternative narrative through social media. In November, as Joe Biden contemplated a diplomatic boycott, Vipinder Jaswal, a US-based Newsweek contributor and former Fox News and HSBC executive, signed a $300,000 contract with China’s…

China attacks ‘US-style democracy’ prior to Biden summit

China has launched a campaign to discredit what it calls US-style democracy in advance of the first of Joe Biden’s two “summits of democracy” later this week. Over recent days, official Chinese media outlets and diplomats have made a string of scathing attacks on the US governing system, calling it “a game of money politics” and “rule of the few over the many”. They also touted China’s one-party governing model, calling it “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics” and “a whole-process democracy”. On 4 December, Beijing issued a lengthy paper entitled…

The Guardian view of US foreign policy: the case for democratic dominance | Editorial

Joe Biden’s foreign policy doctrine views the future relationship between democracies and authoritarian regimes as a competitive one, accompanied by a battle of narratives. Nondemocratic regimes have become brazen in their repression and many democratic governments have regressed by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law. The US, under Donald Trump, was not immune to such trends. One European thinktank warned last week that there remains a risk that the US could slip into authoritarianism. The Biden administration has announced the first of two…

Biden-Xi summit highlights tensions – and desire for cooperation

The much-awaited meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping achieved its admittedly low expectations when the two finally met and showed a willingness to move the bilateral relationship in a positive direction. Progress began to show soon after the meeting, for example on journalist visas. But the two sides also provided a list of existing grievances following the three-and-a-half-hour talks. The US said it raised its concerns over China’s human rights record, its “unfair trade and economic practices”, and its behaviour in the South China Sea. On the issue of…

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