Exposing Western Media’s Narrative Agenda In Spinning The Sino-American New Détente
The Mainstream Media is exploiting indisputable evidence of ongoing discussions over a Sino-American New Détente for politically self-serving narrative reasons related to artificially manufacturing the perception that Russia and China nowadays supposedly have irreconcilable differences even though that’s not the case. If their talks are ultimately successful, then these information warfare efforts would have served the purpose in hindsight of explaining the US’ potential series of mutual compromises with China in spite of the prior “official narrative” claiming that the People’s Republic is an irreconcilable systemic rival.
The Financial Times (FT) just published a piece about “Xi Jinping’s plan to reset China’s economy and win back friends” (paywalled but republished here), which represents the most high-profile report yet from the US-led West’s Mainstream Media (MSM) about China’s desired New Détente with the West. What generated the most attention wasn’t this outlet’s observations about China’s policy recalibration per se, but the comments that it attributed to unnamed Chinese officials who were very critical of Russia.
Provided that those sources are really who the FT claimed that they are, then the impression that the reader is left with is that the MSM’s “official narrative” up until this point alleging that Russia tipped China off about its special operation ahead of time was just a lie. The “no-limits” partnership that their leaders declared in Beijing last February isn’t what Western observers imagined it to be, implies the FT, since it’s apparently nowadays characterized by an increasing degree of mistrust instead.
For a variety of reasons, including those connected to the global systemic consequences catalysed by the Ukrainian Conflict, China decided to change its approach to the US-led West’s Golden Billion. Instead of continuing to fiercely compete with this de facto New Cold War bloc, the People’s Republic has decided to seriously explore the parameters of mutually beneficial compromises with its members. I was among the first to identify this trend last year and analysed all its dimensions in the article series below:
* 30 November: “Russia’s Energy Geopolitics With China & India”
To summarize my insight for those who don’t have the time to read all my pieces or at least skim through them, China’s grand strategy had hitherto been predicated on the assumption that globalization will more or less remain on track for the indefinite future, but the cascading crises brought about by the trade war, COVID-19, and the Ukrainian Conflict derailed the basis for all of Beijing’s long-term plans. This in turn prompted the People’s Republic to reconsider everything that it earlier took for granted.
As luck would have it, this conveniently coincided with the run-up to October’s National Congress, which served as the pretext for President Xi to reshuffle leading positions in a way that facilitated his government’s recalibrated approach to the global systemic transition to multiplexity. The Chinese leader then symbolically met with most of his Western counterparts during November’s G20 Summit in Bali, which preceded the resumption of talks with the US ahead of its top diplomat’s upcoming trip to Beijing.
These fast-moving diplomatic developments were foreseeable like my analytical series last year proves, but it wasn’t until the FT’s latest piece that discussion about the Sino-American New Détente went mainstream and could no longer be denied by Western observers. Instead of playing dumb by claiming that no such process is in the cards or that it’s perhaps just so-called “Russian propaganda” to even speak about, they’re now enthusiastically endorsing it, albeit for self-interested political reasons.
These stem from the very critical statements of Russia that were allegedly made by the FT’s unnamed Chinese diplomatic sources, which Western perception managers realized could be opportunistically spun to drive a wedge between them, at least in the public consciousness. It doesn’t matter that the reality of their interstate relations is that they continue comprehensively strengthening since all that these ill-intended forces are concerned about is manipulating their targeted audience’s perceptions.
The sole purpose behind the Golden Billion’s latest information warfare offensive is to artificially manufacture the narrative that China and Russia have irreconcilable differences nowadays, which in turn legitimizes their de facto New Cold War bloc’s potential volte-face towards the People’s Republic. If the prior “official narrative” remained in place falsely alleging that Russia and China are “allies” in the sense that average Westerners perceive this as meaning, then no New Détente would be possible.
Put differently, the FT is taking the lead in dismantling the same earlier narrative that it contributed to creating alongside its MSM peers because doing so serves the US’ larger interests at this point in time with respect to seriously exploring the parameters of a series of mutual compromises with China. The intent behind the US reciprocating President Xi’s initial outreaches is to see whether it’s possible to temporarily delay the end of the Sino-American bi-multipolar superpower duopoly.
They both have a stake in preserving this world order characterized by their disproportionate influence over International Relations but which was unexpectedly threatened by Indian–driven tripolarity processes over the past year that the reader can learn more about in the preceding hyperlinks. India isn’t against either superpower since it pragmatically cooperates with both on shared interests but simply wants to accelerate systemic reforms that make global affairs more democratic, equal, and just.
The black swan of India’s rapid rise as a globally significant Great Power throughout the course of the last year’s unprecedented chaos across the world caught China and the US off guard since neither’s strategists accounted for this possibility when formulating their country’s long-term plans. They’re not against India just like India isn’t against them, but they have a shared grand strategic goal in “managing” its aforementioned rise, ergo why they’re seriously exploring the contours of a New Détente.
Any tangible success in this respect, which is still far from certain owing to deep distrust between the superpowers, would go a long way towards that end by helping them restore a semblance of stability to their fading bi-multipolar order and thus perpetuate it for as long as possible. This potential outcome takes priority for the US right now over continuing to frame its counterpart as that declining unipolar hegemon’s supposedly irreconcilable systemic rival, hence the decisive shift in the “official narrative”.
To be clear, the failure of their efforts to clinch a New Détente would predictably result in that aforesaid prior narrative instantly snapping back into the public consciousness after the US’ MSM proxies concoct a “politically convenient” pretext for explaining why the emerging “new narrative” is no longer relevant. The top two sticking points in the ongoing Sino-American discussions seem to be Beijing’s implied demand that the EU never “decouple” from it and Washington’s one that China recognizes AUKUS+.
The first-mentioned is gleaned from FT’s detailed reporting about China’s re-energized outreaches to Europe while the second is discerned from the US’ continued attempts to expand this de facto NATO-like regional military bloc to new members like Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Korea. Neither wants to agree to the other’s implied demand since they’re calculating that their counterpart needs the New Détente more than they do, hence why they’re hoping for unilateral concessions.
It’s unclear whether either of them will unilaterally comply with the other’s demand or if they’ll each agree to their counterpart’s as part of a compromise, but these top two sticking points are why nobody can confidently predict the outcome of their ongoing discussions over a New Détente. Pending further clarity, which might not happen until right before or after Secretary of State Blinken’s upcoming trip to Beijing in the coming future, everything remains uncertain.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that the MSM can’t exploit talk about a Sino-American New Détente for politically self-serving narrative reasons related to artificially manufacturing the perception that Russia and China nowadays supposedly have irreconcilable differences even though that’s not the case. This explains the gusto with which key influencers are amplifying the related messages contained in the FT’s latest piece, which is intended to revive the discredited claims about Russia’s so-called “isolation”.
If the New Détente is ultimately successful, then these information warfare efforts would also have served the purpose of explaining the US’ potential series of mutual compromises with China in spite of the prior “official narrative” claiming that the People’s Republic is an irreconcilable systemic rival. Even if those talks fail, however, then this latest campaign might still at least temporarily succeed in confusing their targeted audience about the objective reality of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.