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Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

March 27, 2022

Quote: “Just as the US has tried to separate Russians from Putin, it has also tried to separate the Chinese people from the Chinese leader of the Communist Party of China.”

The very final words Biden would utter on his last-minute swing through Europe ended up being the most consequential: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” US President calls for regime-change in Russia, White House immediately retracks by telling the public repeatedly that “The US does not have any plan for regime change.”

Biden has emphatically stated during the campaign 2020: ‘The words of a president matter,’ he said it more than once. But after assuming the presidency, Biden has mis-spoken often and his aides have to hastily telling the public that Biden does not mean what he just said. It is at least a big waste of time/energy that his staffs have to constantly be ready to correct their boss in front of the world.

It happens too often already; Biden has lost credibility and the US as a nation lost credibility. Because US is the recognized leader of the free world, then free world loss credibility too.

More than losing credibility, Biden’s statements, whether he personally regret them or not, inspire sentiment or resonant with some populations. Because he personally does not retract or clarify what he really means. For example, in this case, his words calling for removing Putin will have followers around the world. Secretary Blinken simply said that “US does not have any plan for regime change.” It does not explain Biden’s true intention and any “plan” can be developed quickly.

US President’s words then do not necessary represent the US as a nation. As of now, Biden’s approval rating is only around 33% nationwide. But foreign nations have to take his words seriously, juts in case. It will impact the ability of US negotiations for a long time.

It is no wonder that China reacts to Biden’s words strongly. Recently, Biden has personally denounced President Xi and China’s ruling party. USTR just announced that US will further punish China on trade disputes. The US official statements on trade war with China indicating that the US would not be satisfied until China changes her trade policy and practices to the extent that addresses US concerns. It reads very much like a demand of regime change.

Global Times

Biden makes US tensions with Russia ‘personal’; calling for ‘regime change’ in a nuclear power dangerous: expert

By Yang Sheng and Wan Updated: Mar 27, 2022 10:33 PM

The Biden administration’s real and desperate intention in the Ukraine crisis has been exposed – to turn Ukraine into a mire so that Russia keeps bleeding, and to force Russians to yield again and choose a pro-US regime, said experts on Sunday, as US President Joe Biden on Saturday said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” The remarks indicated that the US president may have been frustrated by Moscow’s resistance against US sanctions and isolation through effective countermeasures.

Biden made the shocking remarks at the end of his speech in Poland. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” he said. The US president has hurled invective at Putin throughout the crisis in Ukraine, labeling him a “murderous dictator” and a “war criminal,” but the White House is making efforts to quell the negative impact of the President’s words.

An anonymous White House official said Biden “was not calling for regime change” in Russia, Reuters reported on Saturday. “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the official said following Biden’s speech in Warsaw.

Analysts said that professional diplomats in Washington understand how dangerous it could be if the leader of the US openly calls for regime change of another major nuclear power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, so the White House has to minimize the uncertainty brought about by Biden’s words.

Moscow’s response was calm, with the Kremlin’s chief spokesman dismissing Biden’s remark, saying it is for Russians to choose who their leader should be. Asked about Biden’s comment, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters: “That’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians.”

Cold War dreams

Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday that “Biden has just said what’s really on his mind about the Ukraine crisis. All of those sanctions, stigmatizations and demonization against Putin and Russia just serve one key purpose – to make Russia collapse again, like the West did to the Soviet Union in the past. US decision-makers like Biden are expecting another ‘Mikhail Gorbachev’ to emerge and replace Putin. This is the best result that the US hopes to get.”

However, US politicians have ignored the fact that the majority of Russian people support Putin. TASS reported on March 18 that the Russian public’s confidence in President Vladimir Putin rose by 2.2 percent to 79.6 percent over the week, according to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center that published the results of a survey conducted from March 7 to 13 among 1,600 respondents aged over 18.

The survey center said, “79.6 percent of Russians said they trust Vladimir Putin, which is 2.2 percent more than the results of a poll from February 28 to March 6. The level of approval of the Russian president’s work was 77.2 percent (2.6 percent higher than the previous survey).”

Even US media such as the Washington Post also reported polls that show Russians still greatly support Putin and the decision-making of his administration. According to Washington Post on March 8, “About 58 percent of Russians approve of the invasion of Ukraine, while 23 percent oppose it,” according to a poll conducted across Russia a week into Moscow’s military operation. 

The telephone survey, carried out in early March by a group of independent survey research organizations, found relatively modest support for Putin’s decision to launch his military operation in Ukraine.

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that these data and polls explain why the US president is so frustrated. “Because his administration’s moves like sanctions and isolation against Russia are not as effective as he expected, and by expressing extreme hostility toward Putin at an international public occasion, Biden is making the US-Russia tensions personal, and this has also increased difficulties in fixing ties with Russia.”

Chinese analysts said the possibility of ties between Russia and the US being broken off still exists but is not very high, and even if the US and Russia decide to fully cut diplomatic ties, they will keep communication channels open to prevent serious strategic miscalculations and keep hopes for negotiation alive. 

Russia is a major country that cannot be bullied and intimidated, said experts, adding that the more pressure the West exerts, the more united the Russians will be. 

“The US keeps calling Russia’s demand to de-Nazify Ukraine a lie, but it cannot explain why the Russian people strongly support their president and government. They have seen ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine being killed by Ukrainian military forces like the Azov Battalion for years, and the West has turned a blind eye to this, and ignores the anger of Russians. This can explain why majority of Russians support Putin, even if they are suffering from Western-initiated sanctions,” Lü said.

Just as the US has tried to separate Russians from Putin, it has also tried to separate the Chinese people from the Chinese leader of the Communist Party of China, and has always failed, because Washington’s decision-makers just don’t understand that their hegemonic ambitions and hostile moves toward Russia and China threaten the peoples of Russia and China, not just any specific individual or political group, said experts.   

Staying away from US madness 

The situation today is very different from the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. The Russian government has great support from its people, and the West is not united while European major powers are keeping their distance from the US’ extreme stance toward Russia, analysts said.  

Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times that “Biden’s speech is a signal to US allies in Europe, especially to those who are seeking negotiations with Russia for a new security mechanism.”

The US is forcing all Western countries to isolate Russia by denying the legitimacy of the Putin administration, because its anti-Russia strategy won’t work if its European allies choose a pragmatic approach, Cui said.

“Relations between the US and Russia cannot be fixed, and will continue to worsen,” said Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University.

NATO will keep arming its member states and keep expanding eastward, so prospects for Russia-US ties remain pessimistic, Li said, noting that Russia and the EU might be able to fix ties one day, but the US and Russia won’t have a similar chance as the contradictions between them are structural. 

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was seeking more talks with Putin within the next 48 to 72 hours regarding the situation in Ukraine and an initiative to help people leave the besieged city of Mariupol, according to Reuters. 

Unlike the US, which distorted China’s objective position over the Ukraine crisis and spread disinformation such as “China supporting Russia in attacking Ukraine”, the French president said on Thursday that he believed China still wanted to do everything to stop the war in Ukraine and avoid doing anything that could escalate the situation.

“I want to believe that China will be consistent with its vision of territorial sovereignty and continue to seek to stop this war, and I want to believe that China will not participate in any form of escalation,” Macron told reporters after a G7 and NATO meeting.

The major EU powers deeply involved in the Ukraine crisis have realized that in order to minimize damages and costs, they should keep their distance from the US’ extreme hostility toward Russia, as well as the US’ unfair and untrue accusations against neutral forces like China, said experts.  

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