China often conducts itself like a leopard that is sitting in a tree, waiting for the right moment to leap down on its prey. In the tug-of-war between Russia and the US over Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, China did not take sides. Until recently, when it announced that it will not join the sanctions against Russia, and has promoted “the biggest-ever natural gas supply deal” with Russian gas exporter Gazprom.
At the same time, China directly threatened the US regarding America’s attempts to embolden Taiwan. On two occasions, China sent offensive, almost vulgar warnings to the US. On the first occasion, they said, “We must sternly warn the United States that whoever plays with fire will burn himself. If it plays the ‘salami-slicing’ tactics on the Taiwan question, it is their fingers [sic] that will be cut off.” On the second occasion, a Chinese official stated, “If the US wants to embolden the ‘Taiwan independence’ … the US will pay a heavy price for its adventurist act. If the US tries to intimidate and pressure China … the so-called military deterrence [American army] will be reduced to scrap iron.”
On the face of it, China seems to have indeed chosen sides. But I would not draw conclusions prematurely. Like a leopard, they are very clever. In my opinion, they have joined the side they actually want to weaken.
Despite its audacious proclamations, the Chinese government has no interest in fighting against America. China is too dependent on American purchasing power to risk going to war with it. They would go to great lengths to avoid a military conflict with the US.
With Russia, the situation is different. China has its eyes set on the vast, ore and oil rich, and nearly empty lands stretching from Siberia to the Ural Mountains—an area several times bigger than China itself. With Russia’s current strength, China cannot conquer it. However, if Russia were to become weak and exhausted, it would be much easier for China to take over the land without much resistance. The longer it continues, the weaker Russia will become, and the easier it will be for China to bite off chunks of Siberia for itself.
Wars bring about changes. Big wars bring about big changes. World War I led to the creation of the United Nations and the Treaty of Versailles, which helped seat Hitler at the helm of Germany. World War II created the communist bloc under the Warsaw Pact, and the Western bloc under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which set off the Cold War.
The current conflict is not a world war, at least not yet, but its impact is nevertheless profound. The war in Ukraine is exposing the futility of ego-wars, and in the end, every war is an ego-war. The crisis in Ukraine proves that if we want to coexist peacefully, we must learn how to rise above our egos on the personal, social, political, and international levels.
Now, after millennia of serving our egos, we are on the verge of realizing that the only thing that is bad in our world is our own ego. The ego has promised us the world, but it has destroyed it. We must counter it with an equal force of positivity, or it will end us all.
This realization will have a profound impact on society. Until now, all our institutions catered to our egos. They attempted to moderate and streamline the interests of countries in a way that enabled them to coexist. Now that egoism has reached such levels where it cannot accept the existence or independence of others, we have no choice but to add another force: a positive force to counter the power and intensity of the ego.
In the coming years, we will witness the establishment of new institutions of a new nature. Their focus will not be on catering to the ego, or even on securing food and water supply. Rather, they will focus on creating social cohesion and solidarity. They will work from the understanding that if people are united, they care for one another and see to each other’s needs.
Instead of treating symptoms of alienation, these new organizations will work to eliminate it and create connection, bonding, and a sense of mutual responsibility. We are just beginning the transition, but the fact that the old world is falling apart means that we must hurry, so the new order is not born through more pain than necessary. The sooner we realize that in today’s reality we cannot let the ego set the tone, and we must balance it with caring, the easier and smoother will be the transition.