What Accounts for Putin’s Assertiveness on Ukraine? By Ray McGovern

Putin is tired of U.S. and European blather and he’s got China in his corner. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s well choreographed decision yesterday to recognize the independence of the pro-Russian Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk points to two key realities: (1) Putin despairs of persuading U.S. allies, Germany and France, to press Ukraine to honor its commitments under the Minsk accords that provide for regional autonomy as well as a ceasefire; and (2) Putin feels assured of very strong backing from China (as long as he is not stupid enough to invade Ukraine).

What about this China factor? Why do Western pundits/savants pay so little heed to this game-changer? It should not require my half-century of studying/reporting on Russia-China relations to notice that China and Russia have never been so strategically close as now. Putin and Xi have done their part to demonstrate that. Why cannot most Western pundits and savants see it and recognize the implications?

There are, happily, notable exceptions – for example, Edward Wong’s Bond Between China and Russia Alarms US and Europe Amid Ukraine Crisis.

Wong writes of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s speech on Feb. 21 in Munich: “It was the latest instance of what Western officials say is China taking a bold new swing at the United States and its allies by wading into European security issues to explicitly back Russia.” Wong includes quotes from a PR person, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, and a true expert on China, former prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd.

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