Without any exaggeration, it can be argued that the talks between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping that took place the day before, albeit in the now traditional virtual format, were perhaps the most anticipated and important event of this difficult time. Too much is “tied” on a global scale to the relationship between the two superpowers - both politically and economically, and, of course, in the military-strategic respect. The fate of the world really depends on the decisions of two people who were on opposite sides of the videoconference line that day.
The meeting (if I can put it this way about the conversation "at a distance") was held "in a warm, friendly atmosphere", fortunately, not overshadowed by any pronounced confrontational demarches on both sides. There is no doubt that today exchanges and markets around the world will react to it with unambiguously positive dynamics. And, nevertheless, this summit, of course, did not become any "breakthrough" or even "step forward". It can hardly be said that as a result of it, at least one of the serious problems darkening relations between Beijing and Washington received its resolution. The confrontation will continue and is likely to grow. Why? Let's try to figure it out together.
The miracle did not happen
Here at this very place, in fact, the question arises: "And what, it should have been ?!" And what is it, this is the most "miracle", which would mark a radical turning point in the multifaceted, which has been going on for many years, which has a great variety of components - from ideological to economic, the conflict between the United States and China, should be expressed? The head of the White House and President Xi, having at once rejected all the fundamental contradictions that exist not just between the states they lead, but the dividing systems that both of them personify, would suddenly be filled with mutual love and complete trust? Would you immediately agree on the abolition of all restrictive duties, protective tariffs and customs barriers that you managed to pile up among themselves at least for a relatively recent time? Would they amicably "settle" the issue with Taiwan, while recognizing as wrong the reciprocal steps to build up their own military presence, at least in the waters of the South China Sea?
All this, of course, is utter absurdity and dreams that are completely unrealizable in practice. The confrontation between the United States and the Celestial Empire is not some list of mutual claims, consisting of a finite number of clear and unambiguous points, "removing" which one after another can completely exhaust the very subject of contention. Rather, we have before us a very complex mechanism, like a watch, where some "wheels" cling tightly to others, others, and so on. But at the same time there are also hidden "springs" invisible to a simple glance that bring it into action. Where is here policyWhere is the ideology, where is the economy, and where are some hidden motives in general that cannot be easily explained, it is extremely problematic to figure it out.
Joe Biden, however, in the good old American manner, tried to reduce everything to elementaryism: they say, between our countries there should be exceptionally "healthy direct competition", in no case turning into conflicts of a more serious nature, above all the military. Sounds great, as did the "clearly expressed reluctance to deepen the confrontation" by the US President, seen by the journalists of the PRC Central Television. There, by the way, in the behavior of Biden during the summit they also saw "the absence of a desire to strengthen anti-Chinese alliances." This already sounds, at least, strange - against the background of the recent creation of AUKUS, a military bloc that is clearly directed exclusively against the Celestial Empire. Biden was very vague about the fact that Washington's "one China" policy "remains unchanged" despite everything, adding to this "serious concerns about the" Chinese military preparations "going around the island and even" warning "Beijing against" unilateral attempts "to change its state status.
In turn, Xi Jinping was much more frank and specific. According to him, "Greater China" is still willing to wait patiently for the amicable return of the "lost brothers" and "peaceful reunification" with them. However, if the "Taiwanese separatists" decide to stage provocations or, even more so, "go beyond the red line", Beijing will not be alarmed - they will expect the most "decisive measures" in response. So, in fact, we talked ... One might think that China does not know for certain how the Americans are pumping up Taiwan with weapons and what advances are being given to its leadership regarding "guarantees of protection in the event of open Chinese aggression"? Sooner or later, it won't get you any good.
Who does the time work for?
By the way, the "Taiwan question" is truly the ideal embodiment of the multifaceted nature of most of the key conflicts in US-China relations. Yes, here, of course, ideology is first of all - China does not need a "clone" that denies its socio-political structure, and the United States cannot allow the "democracy" fostered and nurtured by them to perish before their very eyes. The strategic aspect is that Beijing does not "smile" at all that Taiwan has a certain military potential that can be turned against it at any moment. The Taiwanese army, despite all the supplies from the bins of the American military-industrial complex, is unlikely to be able to seriously oppose the PLA, but it will be able to “bleed” it. Who would like this? For the United States, the refusal of military support for the island, its surrender to the Chinese, in fact, will mean, if not a complete collapse, then a significant weakening of all the alliances that Washington has been building with such difficulty for decades in Southeast Asia. After the Afghan fiasco, this will become the final destruction of the image of the "world hegemon" and "the most reliable ally" on the planet, which, frankly, is already bursting at all the seams. Well, and finally, a purely economic aspect, and one that has a very cunning background.
To paraphrase the Soviet classic, "we say: Taiwan, we mean semiconductors." It so happened that almost the lion's share of the world production of these tiny and absolutely irreplaceable today in all spheres of human life, electronic microchips is concentrated on the island that serves as a "bone of contention" for Beijing and Washington. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, UMC, ProMOS, Winbond - without the products of these Taiwanese manufacturers, too many factories will arise in both China and the United States. Full control over an island means control over them.
Having given it to the Celestial Empire, the United States risks in the very near future to find itself in the role of humiliated petitioners who can be "educated" by simply cutting off the supply of super important components. To our great regret, it is the awareness of this prospect, and not touching concern for the "democratic choice of the Taiwanese people" that can push the United States to a desperate attempt to "continue politics (or, if you like, the economy) by other means." Recently, the leading Western media (and the American ones in the first place) have been savoring the possible options for an armed American-Chinese conflict over Taiwan. Vaughn, the world famous news agency Reuters "nawanged" them not so long ago, as many as six pieces. True, it should be noted that within the framework of practically any of them, events do not unfold in favor of Taiwan and its overseas "defenders" and "allies."
I must say that the Pentagon adheres to a similar view of things, although they are still trying to cheer up "in public." The same Philip Davidson, who heads the Indo-Pacific Command of the US Army, frankly admits: if the Chinese try to “take Taiwan by force,” the Pentagon shouldn't even twitch - nothing good will come of it anyway. True, Davidson paints this as a prospect for the "next five years", but more objective analysts say that today an attempt at military confrontation with China is likely to have very dire consequences for the Americans. The Chinese comrades, in turn, are demonstratively building models of US Navy aircraft carriers in the desert, thereby showing that they do not have the slightest awe in front of them, considering them exclusively as very large and, therefore, convenient targets.
However, Beijing is likely to make every effort to ensure that Taiwan went to it without firing a single shot. Who in their right mind would expose valuable assets to the danger of damage and destruction? But as for the fundamental reasons why China and the United States will remain bitter adversaries, they will definitely not go anywhere. In his speech during the summit with the head of the White House, Xi Jinping very clearly formulated three principles, following which countries could build at least a semblance of normal relations. The first of these the leader of the Celestial Empire sees not just "mutual respect" of the parties, but also the fact that they should treat each other "as equals." "Respect each other's differences" and the rights of each state to develop as it sees fit. Is something similar possible with the United States, and absolutely regardless of which party will have a majority in Congress and what the name and party affiliation of the local president will be? Never in my life ... By the way, after hearing the wonderful words of Chairman Xi, Mr. Biden immediately started a hurdy-gurdy about Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. That is, he got into the purely internal affairs of the Celestial Empire. That's all "mutual respect".
It only remains to note that for Russia this state of affairs, speaking quite frankly, is perhaps the most optimal and acceptable. Real reconciliation between Washington and Beijing (and, even more so, their close cooperation) can bring nothing good to our country a priori. There were, you know, precedents in history. No, we also do not need a military conflict in the Pacific, especially with the use of nuclear weapons. However, it should be remembered that the normalization of US-Chinese relations will mean not only a string of LNG and oil tankers that will reach from the United States to the shores of the Middle Kingdom, but also the fact that Washington will have “free hands” to the maximum for confrontation specifically with our country. No, let it be better to "compete" so that there are no forces and resources left for everything else.