Putin, Xi running circles around Biden’s hybrid war

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin spent an hour and 14 minutes in a video conversation on Wednesday. Geopolitically, paving the way for 2022, this is the one that really matters – much more than Putin-Biden a week ago.    

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who generally carefully measures his words, had previously hinted that this exchange would be “extremely important.”

It was obvious the two leaders would not only exchange information about the natural gas pipeline Power of Siberia 2. But Peskov was referring to prime time geopolitics: how Russia-China would be coordinating their countercoups against the hybrid war/Cold War 2.0 combo deployed by the US and its allies.

While no substantial leaks were expected from the 37th meeting between Xi and Putin since 2013 (they will meet again in person in February 2022, at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics), Assistant to the President for Foreign Policy Yuri Ushakov did manage to succinctly deliver at least two serious bits of information.

These are the highlights of the call:  

  • Moscow will inform Beijing about the progress, or lack thereof, in negotiations with the US/NATO on security guarantees for Russia.
  • Beijing supports Moscow’s demands on US/NATO for these security guarantees.
  • Putin and Xi agreed to create an “independent financial structure for trade operations that could not be influenced by other countries.” Diplomatic sources, off the record, say the structure may be announced by a joint summit in late 2022.
  • They discussed the Biden-hosted “Summit for Democracy,” concluding it was counterproductive and imposed new dividing lines.

Of all of the above, the third point is the real game-changer – already in the works for a few years now, and gaining definitive momentum after Washington hawks of the Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland kind recently floated the idea of expelling Russia from SWIFT – the vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to make money transfer instructions – as the ultimate sanctions package for the non-invasion of Ukraine.    

Putin and Xi once again discussed one of their key themes in bilaterals and BRICS meetings: the need to keep increasing the share of the yuan and ruble in mutual settlements – bypassing the US dollar – and opening new stock market avenues for Russian and Chinese investors.

Bypassing a SWIFT mechanism “influenced by third counties” then becomes a must. Ushakov diplomatically put it as “the need to intensify efforts to form an independent financial infrastructure to service trade operations between Russia and China.”