A wary China keeps its distance from Putin the gambler

By Jonathan Haslam, past George F. Kennan Professor (2015–21) in the School of Historical Studies:

"Just a few weeks before Vladimir Putin launched what he intended as a two-day Blitzkrieg in Ukraine, taking by surprise even some of his inner circle, he met Xi Jinping for a summit in Beijing. It appeared to the world as if the Chinese might have been implicated in what is the foreign policy gamble of Putin’s political career.

Had Putin succeeded, it might not have mattered so much. The fait accompli would have driven a wedge through Nato, sparking recriminations across the Atlantic and on either side of the Rhine. But Putin’s catastrophic failure is embarrassing to Xi. For China, the ferocity of Putin’s revenge and the risk of the slightest association with it have made the crisis decidedly worse."

Read more at Financial Times.