As the Russian onslaught against Ukraine continues, the Chinese state media has become the latest political entity to advocate for U.S. intervention in the conflict, including a push for troops on the ground and the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
Following a virtual speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Hu Xijin of the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times began pushing for direct U.S. involvement in the conflict, saying the U.S. shouldn’t “just incite Ukrainians to die for American interest.”
“Just applause? it’s hypocritical,” said Xijin in a tweet responding to members of Congress giving Zelensky a standing ovation. “If the US really wants to show justice, it should send troops to Ukraine, or at least set up a no-fly zone, and fight Putin’s troops directly, even [if] that means sacrifice of US soldiers.”
In his speech to Congress, Zelensky not only begged the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to install a no-fly zone over his country, but also invoked some of the most historically horrific attacks on America to manipulate Congress into supporting such a policy.
“Ladies and gentlemen, friends, Americans, in your great history, you have pages that would allow you to understand Ukrainians. Understand us right now, when we need you right now,” he said. “Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the plains attacking you. Just remember it.”
Zelensky went on to compare the Russian invasion of his country to the deadly terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001, when evil try to turn your cities, independent territories into battlefields, when innocent people were attacked,” he said, in a plea encouraging U.S. lawmakers to make emotion-based foreign policy decisions.
A no-fly zone would require NATO to “prohibit Russian warplanes from flying through Ukrainian airspace,” which would mean NATO fighter jets engaging and shooting down “any Russian aircraft they encountered.” These actions would also leave the door open for possible Russian retaliation, which could lead to further U.S. military intervention in the region.
China’s call for U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine isn’t based on any form of compassion for the Ukrainian people, but rather on geopolitical interests. Given Chairman Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aim of making China a regional hegemon in the Indo-Pacific, it would strategically benefit them to have the United States occupied with fighting Russia in Eastern Europe.
With the attention of the United States directed towards the European continent, China would assuredly utilize such a conflict to advance its geopolitical goals throughout the region. In addition to allowing for greater military pressure on Taiwan, U.S. preoccupation with a war in Europe could provide Beijing with the opportunity to further expand its growing political and economic authority throughout the Asia Pacific region.
According to a 2020 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the United States is already falling behind China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia, with the results of the survey “paint[ing] a picture of clearly ascendant Chinese influence in Southeast Asia, complex and diverging views of China, and deep concerns over U.S.-China strategic competition and its impact on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).”
The responses from the various Southeast Asian nations were, however, collected prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China.
So, while America’s political leadership may feel inclined to embroil our country in another endless war, China’s push for U.S. military engagement in Ukraine should serve as a wakeup call to Washington’s elite that such a policy prescription is a disaster waiting to occur.