Despite the fact that the world has crumbled and with Russia's military operation in Ukraine still ongoing, the Valdai Discussion Club's annual convention this year is therefore more important than ever, and the fact that it has still gathered over 100 participants from 41 countries alone has shown the due respect towards the club by experts, diplomats, politicians alike from around the world who care about not only the current crisis but also the way forward for us humanity, writes Nelson Wong, Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Centre for RimPac Strategic and International Studies, for the 19th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Coming from China, I would take this opportunity to share some of my personal observations and also my urge to encourage a better understanding of China’s role and perhaps its contributions to hopefully make the world a better place for us all.
Keep offering financial support and sending weaponry and mercenary troops to Ukraine by the West is adding fuel to the fire and will only make the situation worse. The massive scale of sanctions against Russia by the West that are meant to deter, weaken and possibly bleed out Russia are counterproductive and have resulted in almost all of the EU countries having now found themselves as victims and suffering collateral damage. And if this conflict gets dragged on with more countries getting directly involved, the growing fear and resentment among the general public may eventually turn into a widespread antagonism, thus making the final outcome of the war even more unpredictable. To prevent the situation going from bad to worse, attention of the international community must be called upon to take immediate action to bring the conflict to an end.
The isolation of Russia by the West on the economic front has prompted Russia to turn towards the East to expand its export of energy to India, China and other Asian countries in exchange for everything Russia needs to import. The global supply chain built up over the last few decades has boosted the economic growth of so many countries around the world, and any effort to disrupt the globalisation process, no matter who is starting this, is definitely on the wrong side of history.
It is not justifiable for any country to use the term of “rules based order” to manipulate the world when there is actually no such list of rules to be found anywhere under that title.
What we must also admit is that in this fast changing world, seeking an absolute security may not be a realistic pursuit for any country including Russia, nor is it realistic for the US to expect itself to act as the world’s policeman forever. For either side of the conflict, pushing the envelope too hard or trying to drive the other side to the very corner will only lead to reckless reactions, thus bringing disasters to humanity. Disputes among nations are always better to be settled through peaceful negotiations and that’s where diplomacy comes into play. And if the official channels get blocked due to increasing tensions and conflicts among the parties, then we must use second and third channels whereby the contributions of unofficial exchanges between and among strategists, consultants, and even scholars can also be very important.