I usually try to drill down on one issue. Not today. There are several items that may not warrant a full article but merit your attention and commentary.
CHINA and UKRAINE — The western media completely missed the boat on last week’s phone call between Xi Jinping and Volodomyr Zelensky. The CNN commentary is a prime example of the misinterpretation of this call:
A long-awaited phone call between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday has received a tentative welcome in Washington and parts of Europe for its potential to increase dialogue toward resolving Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.
It also marks the most concrete step made to date by China to take up the role of mediator that it has for months alluded to playing.
But the hour-long conversation, believed to be the first between the two leaders in the fourteen months since Russia invaded Ukraine, also comes with few tangible proposals for how China might help to bridge the devastating, war-torn divide between the two countries.
Let us start with some facts. Zelensky called Xi, not the other way around. And Zelensky reportedly did this without consulting Washington, which left the Brandon foreign policy team fuming. More telling is that Xi did the conversation with a Russian translator. Got it? China supposedly could not find a single Chinese linguist who spoke Ukrainian. Are you buying that? I’m not. China, a nation skilled at diplomacy and the talent of sending powerful messages with subtle gestures, deliberately forced Zelensky to deal with Xi using the Russian language. While it is possible that the Chinese were just being kind to Zelensky, who is not a native Ukrainian speaker and his grasp of that language is awkward at best, it is more likely that China was reminding Ukraine that it is in a new partnership with Russia.
Xi Jinping, according to the Chinese readout, was very direct with Zelensky bywarning him not to support the U.S. policy towards Taiwan. If Ukraine fails to heed that warning, then China will treat Ukraine with the same disdain it reserves for the inept Brandon Administration.
The West foolishly believes that Xi Jinping views Vladimir Putin as his personal organ grinder’s monkey — an insignificant, second class toy of no import. Wrong. Putin has defense technologies that Xi does not. The recent summit in Moscow between the Russian and Chinese leaders, not just Xi but his Foreign and Defense ministers as well, delivered a powerful message to the world — Xi came to Putin, not the other way around.
Saudi Arabia Accelerates its Break with Washington:
One of the other consequences of the summit between Putin and Xi Jinping is Saudi Arabia’s volte-face on foreign policy and total rejection of letting America call the shots in the Middle East. Looks like Brandon won’t be getting an invite to do a sword dance with the Saudis:
The Saudis, by words and deeds, have put the kibosh on the U.S. policy to isolate Iran and destroy any regime friendly to the Mullahs in Tehran. Here are two of the latest headlines:
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to establish formal relations with Hezbollah – Al Akhbar
Saudi Arabia, Iran to reopen embassies ‘within days’: Minister
Announcement comes after the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic relations during talks in China last month.
Establishing relations with Hezbollah, identified by America as one of the most virulent terrorist organizations in the world, is the Saudis sending Washington a stark message that it is no longer going to play the game of pitting Sunni against Shia muslims. This is one more piece of evidence that the Saudis are serious about forging a new relationship with Iran. The rapprochement between the Saudis and Iran also is bringing an end to the 8 year civil war in Yemen and opening the door for Syria’s Bashir Assad to be welcomed back into the Arab League. In short, the foundation of U.S. policy in the Middle East has been blown up.
The Anticipated Ukrainian Summer Blockbuster is Going to Be a Flop
The public relations build up for the long awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive to drive Russia out of the Donbas and Crimea reminds me of the Walt Disney Company hyping a the release of a woke Cinderella reboot, which features a transgender Princess and a LGBTQ Prince Charming. No amount of advertising and media campaign will take the stink off of that turd. The Times of London apparently has gotten a secret memo that the expected Ukrainian offensive may be lacking:
American intelligence does not believe in the success of a possible counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Ukraine is unlikely to achieve major successes in the event of a counteroffensive, it is not ready for it, the Times newspaper writes, citing US intelligence data that previously got into the Internet.
“Leaked US intelligence assessments show that Ukraine (during the counteroffensive. – Editor’s note) is unlikely to achieve anything more than modest territorial gains from entrenched Russian troops,” the publication says.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal in early April stated that the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine could begin in the summer. He later said that it would take place “in the near future.” The American media, in turn, wrote that the Ukrainian offensive was allegedly scheduled for April 30. One of the directions is called the Zaporozhye region in order to reach the coast of the Sea of Azov.
There is always the possibility, albeit remote, that this is a piece of propaganda designed to lull the Russians into complacency. Could it be that Ukraine and the West are playing dumb in the same way that Ronald Reagan, the Mastermind, was portrayed in this iconic Saturday Night Live sketch?
Nah. They are not that good or clever. We are dealing with a malevolent clown show — incompetents who are not entertaining. The failure of the Ukrainian counter offensive is going to exacerbate tensions in Europe. Poland already is sending up a warning flare:
The head of the General Staff of the Polish Army, Rajmund Andrzejczak, spoke about the dangerous situation with national security in Poland.
“We simply do not have ammunition. The industry is not only not ready to supply equipment to Ukraine, but also cannot replenish our own reserves, which are rapidly melting,” he admitted.
Poland’s allies do not understand the seriousness of the situation and are “under illusions,” which is “surprising and even shocking,” he added.
I totally agree with General Andrzejczak.