By Elijah J. Magnier: The ongoing conflict between the United States and Russia in Ukraine has rippled geopolitical shockwaves worldwide. As the war continues to escalate, it has inadvertently pushed China into the arms of Russia, forging an unexpected alliance that could have profound implications for the global balance of power. The US administration’s determination to cripple the Russian economy with maximum sanctions and isolate it from global markets seemed clear. However, as the conflict dragged on, Washington’s efforts faced unexpected challenges, particularly with Russia’s economic and military support from surprising quarters, including some of America’s traditional allies like South Africa, Brazil, and India. Alongside Iran, these countries form part of the Shanghai Economic Organisation, which has grown in influence due to the unilateral, illegal sanctions imposed by the West on some of its member states.
While China has not openly declared its strategic interest in continuing the conflict, it has become apparent that the nation has a stake in the ongoing war. For years, the United States viewed China as a strategic competitor, and their complex commercial relationship was often accompanied by fluctuating tensions. However, the war on Russia through Ukraine has heightened America’s hostility towards China, fearing a cohesive alliance between Moscow and Beijing could pose a formidable unprecedented challenge to US interests and hegemony.
The initial impact of harsh US sanctions on Russia, comprising over 6,500 sanctions covering most sectors, fell short of achieving the desired outcome. Russia had taken proactive measures before the war, forging alliances with countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, along with financial and energy cooperation. These measures mitigated the severity of the sanctions, rendering them less effective in breaking Russia’s resolve.
Notably, the Russian Central Bank acted swiftly to stabilise its currency and bypass US sanctions by integrating with the Chinese financial transfer system after being cut off from the SWIFT system. China, in turn, stepped in by providing credit card facilities to Russian citizens after the major international credit card companies (Visa, American Express, Master Card) withdrew from the Russian market. Russia also adopted domestic measures to cushion the impact of Western sanctions on various sectors.
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