Happy anniversary, Xi and Vlad

How time flies. A mere 10 years ago, Xi and Vlad were happy newlyweds.

Xi had just been elected to his first term, and marrying Vlad was his first priority. Hence Russia became the first country Xi visited – he had to check out his bride. Vlad met his expectations, and conjugal bliss ensued.

By way of trousseau, Vlad (in his female role) offered the alpha male Xi some Russian gas at throw-away prices. And Xi offered Vlad undying love for better and for worse, in sickness and in health… well, you know the drill.

Actually, such nuptials are usually called ‘strategic partnership’ in geopolitical, but a rose by any other name, and all that. Nor was there any doubt as to who played the man’s role and who the woman’s in that new marriage – or, again in geopolitical, who was the senior partner and who the junior one in that partnership.

Xi brought into the marriage a GDP 10 times the size of Vlad’s and, though in matters martial it’s not always the size that counts (as the Ukraine is showing), there too Xi’s was definitely bigger than Vlad’s. Both same-sex spouses were in no doubt about that.

But then, the very next year, in 2014, Xi’s ‘in sickness and in health’ vow got severely tested. Vlad did the dirty to the Ukraine by grabbing her jutting attraction, the Crimea. That gave Xi food for thought, for he was playing big-time economic footsies with the West, while at the same time lusting after Taiwan.

The West began to impose sanctions on Russia, at first only hinting, without saying it outright, at what it would do to China if Xi did you-know-what to Taiwan. Eight years later Vlad really went for broke. He tried to rape the Ukraine so she stayed raped, and the West’s language became more straightforward and eloquent.

It started to support the Ukraine with just enough weapons for her to repel the rapist, without yet being able to bring him to justice. That sent a message to Xi: you do to Taiwan what Vlad is doing to the Ukraine, and you know what will happen. Watch your step, Xi.

So watch his step Xi did. While still trying to keep his marital vow by buying Russia’s raw materials and sending Vlad armaments, if on the sly and through third parties, he still keeps an eye out on the West. One wrong move towards Taiwan, he fears, and the West may well dump on him the way it’s dumping on Vlad – or worse.

But anniversaries are important milestones that must be commemorated. Hence, Xi is going to Russia again, having won his third term and effectively becoming president for life. He’ll also talk to President Zelensky on Skype or some other video link. The message is entirely predictable: Yes, I know Vlad tried to rape you. But now is the time to kiss and make up. Or just make up, and never mind kissing.

If that message isn’t hard to predict, no one knows what Xi will be telling Vlad. There are three possibilities: 1) We’ll supply arms, 2) We won’t supply arms and 3) We’ll supply them, but on the quiet. You spill the beans, and it’s divorce time.

Considering that China’s economy is in dire straits at the moment, it’s possible Xi wants to reiterate his marital vows with Vlad before trying to rape Taiwan. Military aggression is a time-honoured way for tyrants to stay in power in spite of economic difficulties.

If that’s the case, Xi won’t care about the West’s sensibilities. He may well throw his military largesse at Vlad, making sure there’s enough left for his own playing away from home should the Americans decide to take their treaty with Taiwan seriously.

One way or another, the situation is worth watching. The happy couple may yet succeed in blowing up the world.

Speaking of which,  I must have put the jinx in. No sooner had I sung DeSantis’s praises the other day than he said some awful things about the Ukraine.

Awful they may be, but they are certainly not new: the two sides must settle their differences and sue for peace in what DeSantis ignorantly called a “territorial dispute”. After all, both sides are exhausted. And to make sure the Ukraine’s fatigue is really bad, America should stop giving her “a blank cheque”. That’s a coy way of saying ‘no cheque at all’.

My advice would be for Ron to read the history of the 1930s, at least. He’d learn that dictators bent on expansion never stop at the first piece of estate ceded to them. They regard any such concession as a sign of weakness and press on. Since most of Russia’s other European neighbours are Nato members… well, you know what will happen. Americans will start paying with red blood, not just green banknotes.

DeSantis insists he isn’t a Wilsonian, which is another way of saying he is an America First isolationist. That role had already been written out of the script even by the 1930s – and there’s no conceivable way of putting it back in.

If America renounces her role as the leader of the free world, before long the dollar will lose its position as the world’s reserve currency, possibly to be replaced wholly or partly by Xi’s yuan. Then all those trillions of the national debt will come crashing down on the US economy, burying it under.

Really, DeSantis should get a foreign policy adviser who understands such things. And no, I’m not volunteering.

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