Friday 18 March 2022

Superb writing: Chinese UKR paper, + 'Hatfield Girl'

You'll never read a more instructive short position-paper than this Chinese one on how China should conduct itself vis-à-vis Putin and Ukraine.  So rich, so clear-sighted, so crisp, so well stated (and well translated, we must assume).  I'm not going to summarise or extract from it: it's quite short and you should read the lot (its headline below is a link). 

Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War and China’s Choice

*   *   *   *   *

On the subject of rich, clear writing, a heartfelt lament.  'Older readers' will recall we once had an active and exceptionally fruitful ongoing dialogue here and elsewhere with 'Hatfield Girl' who blogged at Angels in Marble.  Alas, the lady left that blog frozen in its marble state some seven years ago, and if she contributes to the www anymore, I don't know under what moniker.  (And I think I'd have spotted it anyway because both her style and thinking were distinctive.)  We miss her as much as we miss Raedwald - and that's a serious compliment.  Hopefully she hasn't suffered a parallel demise.

Anyhow, as best I can summarise a subtle writer's views without pernicious distortion - perhaps a ridiculous thing to try (and I invite readers who recall her to pitch in on this: there are several of you) - HG held a position roughly as follows:

  •  there is such a thing as Christendom, however badly represented by current-day man-made institutions
  • Christendom can be a great (one of the greatest) and valuable force for civilisation 
  • Christendom is internationalist in essence (which made HG temperamentally inclined towards the EU, but she was no supporter of Brussels) 
  • Orthodox Russia would ideally be a strong candidate for inclusion in this vision
She didn't bang on very much about Christendom by name and per se, but here's a 2012 post - actually not one of her more subtle offerings, but rather a short summation piece - where she made things more-than-usually explicit. 

Read this whole thing, and the BTL thread.  It's very prescient, pointed, and poignant.
... this Europe, core Europe and its surrounding states, is Christendom ... not the 'Jesus wants me for a sunbeam' with tambourine accompaniment Christianity so dear to other parts of the world ... Europe isn't a tyranny - it has been and it could be again - but now it stands against the global, a-cultural imperialists ...
Seeing ... the destructiveness of the current EU's institutions and actions on European democracies ... I turn to Europe's cultural and strategic reason and forces for its unity in the face of uncivilised and rapacious assaults on its values and its peoples. And accept, for now, the Union with all its deficiencies and deficits. The assertion of a single 'West' led by a 'global' America and its interests is repellent. NATO has become a monstrous armed threat to European values. 
Well, I never fully agreed with her, but ...  

HG, where are you at this hour?



andrew said...

If you mean

Right now, the US is asking China to support the rest of the world and China is working out how much to ask for in return.


DJK said...

"...the US is asking China to support the rest of the world..." I think you'll find that much of the world --- the Arabs, Africa, India, much of Asia, even Israel(!) --- is staying neutral.

Anonymous said...

Russia appears to be willing to use nuclear weapons; the West does not

Russia appears to be willing to weaponize Energy policy; the West does not

Russia has used force to solve political goals; the West does not

Russia has triangulated the US vis-a-vis BRIC backlash from SWIFT overreach and resource dependence

Russia is in the process of dividing NATO into terrified Western and hubristic Eastern blocs

Russia appears to targeting security guarantees short-term and USD hegemony long-term

Russia appears to have calculated that she has little to lose in the face of Western hand wringing; and that a better opportunity to settle several geopolitical policies in her favor will not arrive for perhaps many a decade.

That said, China is being wise to play both ends to the middle. By that I mean, holding the West tacitly for ransom via logistics and manufacturing weaknesses without open warfare.

The real wildcards are Turkey and Saudi Arabia…and would be the Crown Jewels if Putin could peel the, away from satrapy to the West.

Don Cox said...

Thanks for the link to that Chinese paper. As you say, it's very well written.

Let's hope that Xi has advisers of that quality and listens to them.

Don Cox

Scrobs. said...

I used to like chatting to Hatfield Girl!

She was up there with the 'gooduns' all those years ago, and her posts were always worth a good read, and possibly a comment too!

Like you, Nick, I hope she's coming along just fine these days; we need more like her as one or two have dropped off the Radar!

Now, I'll check your links and I'll try and fathom what she was on about...

(Tuscan Tony did the same, and emigrated to 'Twatter' or 'Bookface' or summat...)!

(So did 'Ed', and 'Blue Eyes'...)!

dearieme said...

"The assertion of a single 'West' led by a 'global' America and its interests is repellent."

Enoch was of like view, I remember. Indeed there used to be quite a few Conservatives who were suspicious of American imperial ambitions. Were they bought off, was it a generational thing, ...?

Anyway, France. This morning's Telegraph recounts reports of French arms sales to Russia after an embargo was announced in 2014. Stone the crows!

dearieme said...

"Russia has used force to solve political goals; the West does not" Good Christ!

Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, bombed seven countries in pursuit of his political goals. Dubya attacked Iraq based on nothing more than a pack of lies. Slick Willie bombed Serbia for domestic political reasons and likewise instructed a cruise missile strike on Sudan.

The Blessed Margaret used force to liberate the Falklands from a bunch of South American fascists. A succession of UK governments used force against a bunch of Irish fascist terrorists (who had some support from the USA).

Et bloody cetera.

Matt said...

I actually went into that paper assuming it'd be the usual claptrap that analysts produce that parrots the view of the intended audience.

However, it's very good as ND states.

dearieme said...

That Chinese paper: I'll grant it's well written but the best bit was plagiarised from Palmerston.

DJK said...

The Falklands war was to protect British subjects in British territory that had been overrun by a foreign power. Northern Ireland likewise, these are British subjects in the UK itself that were being attacked by terrorists trying to overthrow the state. What else are our armed forces for if not to defend British people from attack? And yet despite all that, the terrorist bases in Eire were never attacked.

It's hard now to remember the reason for the attacks on Serbia/Libya/Iraq/Sudan/Afghanistan etc., but whatever it was, it wasn't to protect British or American citizens being directly attacked by those countries.

As a gentleman once said when giving a reason for refusing to fight: "No Vietcong ever called me n****r".

Nick Drew said...

@ ...quite a few Conservatives who were suspicious of American imperial ambitions. Were they bought off, was it a generational thing, ...?

Remember that the USA post WW1 (and all through WW2, and after) was on an explicit anti-imperialist kick, mostly meaning vs British Empire: and that many 'empire loyalists' (though not Churchill) were close-to-hostile to the USA for that reason

'Even' Eisenhower had no real sympathy for the Anglo French position on Suez: US quiescence on the empire-bashing score really comes with Macmillan - who clearly closed down the empire on the one hand, and cozied up to Kennedy on the other, with a subordinate role being adopted (monkey-presents-posterior style, for all the "Athens to their Rome" stuff)

DJK said...

ND: American hostility to Britain and its empire was a big theme of the late Alan Clark. I can't remember if it was Clark or Powell who thought that the CIA had assasinated Lord Mountbatten.

The anti-British sentiment was still there at the time of the Falklands war when Jean Fitzpatrick tried to get the US to come down on Argentina's side. Luckily, Reagan was pro-British. Indeed, that sentiment is arguably still there with Biden and his pro-Irish, anti-English instincts.

DJK said...

Sorry, make that Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Nick Drew said...

DJK - yes to all of that. What works in our favour now in Washington, is (inter alia) six decades of serious military / mil-related cooperation of the closest kind imaginable (Wilson's refusal to play in Vietnam notwithstanding)

the senior personnel are deeply enmeshed, with strong personal ties

yer Fitzpatricks come and go ...

DJK said...

>the senior personnel are deeply enmeshed, with strong personal ties...

You made me think of Al Haig, who had been a US Army general, and had presumably worked closely with British colleagues at the time when we had a strong BAOR presence. Yet Wikipedia says that documents released here under the 30-year rule show that he planned to tell Argentina of British plans for the recapture of South Georgia. Documents in the Reagan library reveal that he tried to persuade Reagan to side with Argentina.

So despite Scottish ancestors and a NATO career working with British colleagues, he still sided against Britain when our vital interests (attack on British territory) was concerned.

Bill Quango MP said...

The Falkland for the USA was like a war breaking out in Europe between France and Turkey.

Both key allies in containing the spread of the USSR. By far the best bet would be to remain neutrals and ensure a peace deal immediately. Especially as the conflict was of no interest to anyone but those two nations. And the loss of two carriers and fleet ships would devastate the Northern Europe Fleet defences.

There is no good outcome for the USA at all and best the war ends as soon as possible. Those papers need to be read in the context of the times of the real Russian threat and turmoil in Europe the Middle East and Latin America.

IF Mrs T had said, “ It’s the UK or Argentina, make up your mind, “ the USA could only back the UK. Which is sort of what happened.

Not because of the special relationship and long alliance. But because the UK was, and is, a much bigger world power than Argentina. And was, and is, essential to a maritime and air defence of north west Europe and the northern and central Atlantic.

That doesn’t even include the BAOR and NATO other forces the nuclear deterrent.

dearieme said...

A question for the military men here: how did Russia fight its war in Syria? By which I mean: which country or countries gave it overflying rights for military aircraft?

I can see that they'd have taken troops, tanks, and artillery in by sea but how did they get their aircraft there?

E-K said...

I did say a couple of weeks ago that Putin would only listen to Xi and that Xi would exact a cost against us.

The former head of MI6 is now saying so too.

The end of the Petro Dollar as global currency. This is the Xi price. Putin has been told to hold off the red button and wait for a dish served cold.

This is what Putin meant when he said this week "America needs to be put in its place."

Ukraine is to stay out of the EU and Nato and get the Belt and Road treatment as reward. Only China is able to rebuild her.

Of Hatfield Girl. I concur. As esteemed as Raedwald. Christendom was just another ruse to attain superiority, control the masses and set tripwires. No better than any others. It works up until the point that those using it discard it as we did.

It's principal magic was to make the poor feel sorry for the rich. Genius ! No wonder Constantine adopted it.

Russia will turn Eastwards and China will take her vast mineral resources in exchange for a better standard of living for Russians.

The wise leaders.

Only China has them.


Is the tank now obsolete ? I don't think even Red Army tactics would have beaten stinger missiles supplied in abundance by a lying fat bastard keen on protecting everyone else's borders but his own.

Further reason why we are in for a diabolical revenge - cyber, virus, economic and an attempt at cultural destruction, as though we need any help.

Nick Drew said...

dearieme - you used to fetch up at HGs, didn't you?

@ how did they get their aircraft there?

convoi exceptionnel

Planes can routinely be stripped down to the fuselage in maintenance. Ship + truck if needs be. Back of a cargo plane with civvie markings would be quicker.

E-K said...


I used to work at Field Airmotive in Croydon.

I was a metal surfacing technician on (among other things) commercial and military jet engines. I started out as a cleaner on a four week contract !

Exactly WHAT air forces I was working on were top secret.

I also worked on a few WW2 refurbs including Spitfire/Merlin parts.

E-K said...

Everything arrived in bits on the back of trucks.

dearieme said...

HG's: yup. It all seems a long time ago, the blogging Golden Age.

There was even a favourite blog (by James Hamilton) on which I reported my deduction of which school my father had attended. (My father almost never mentioned it: I interpreted that to mean he'd been unhappy there.)

The deduction is long forgotten by me and the blog has vanished.

A different blog managed to lose many short things I had written about early jazz - they don't matter a hoot to anyone else but I do wish I'd had the sense to keep copies.

It also lost a few remarks of mine about Haydn but that matters not at all since they were just rewordings of "I like the music of Papa Haydn." Hey ho.

Don Cox said...

It really is a pity that blogs have become rare. The blog was one of the best inventions of the Internet.

Your tastes in music seem to be the same as mine -- early jazz (lots of CDs on the Frog label), Haydn and other civilized stuff.

There is still a forum called HaydnesqueII with a few members. Unfortunately I've just lost my password and can't get back in through an impenetrable barrier of Capcha.

Don Cox

Don Cox said...

Correction -- haydnesqueiii, not ii.

Nick Drew said...

... the blogging Golden Age ...

dunno about jazz & Haydn, and without wishing to wallow in pure maudlin mush; but another writer (mostly BTL) I miss is Paul 'Newmania' Newman whose balance of wit, wisdom & breezy contrarian contributions on heavy subject matter was v. refreshing

Paul quit for good reasons - it was patently obvious by the volume of his writing that he couldn't have been giving much time to work or family: but notable how many of the great BTL-ers of 12-15 years ago are actually dead

(OK, let the floodgates open ... it's the weekend)

jim said...

Very interesting article. In places it reads like the work of a beltway think tank, the word provenance comes to mind. But does it describe China's best interests?

The style of the article feels western journalistic, maybe a result of translation or maybe intention. Is it intended to inform us of Chinese thought or to mislead us. The article was written on March 5th and declares China had two weeks 'wriggle room'. That time is long past and we still see no clear indication. Maybe this squib is spent already.

Section III para 4 advises China should not help Putin and actively prevent him. Is this realistic or merely what a pro-Westerner would want as opposed to what will actually happen. I am sceptical, its wishful thinking. Which brings me to HG's piece on Greece and by implication how far we - Europe - should help Ukraine. My feeling is that Western governments have been cynical hoping this tiresome problem will go away - whichever way. But slowly slowly the ante is hotting up, the US may supply kit and probably China will supply a little. We can all supply kit and watch the fireworks - everything short of actual help - for now. Meanwhile Raytheon shares have been going up nicely.

Looked up the HG reference, a bit like memory lane, all those old familiar handles.

Bill Quango MP said...

Thought the same as Jim.
Read very much as a best outcome for the west.
Doubt the Chinese see it that way.

But with Covid and slump and inflation, Xi might prefer Putin to put a stop to the conflict.

Also, I’m still surprised at news stories like this.
On the news today.

“Fears that Putin peace talks may only be a delaying tactic for resupplying his armies”

D’uh! Do you think?

The North Vietnamese spent YEARS in negotiations that resulted in nothing. And were never intended too. Were only intended to allow time to resupply their guerrillas for the next offensive.
Middle East talks, similar.

The Warsaw Pact has been gone for twenty years. The people who would remember, and reported on these commonplace tactics must have moved on to other meeja jobs, or retirement.

Tv coverage seems very naive. And most oddly, very one sided.
Even in the Gulf War 1 against Saddam, there was some coverage from his side. Comical Ali, etc. Even the Gaddafi depose had some coverage for his lot.
Same with The last Balkans war. Syria. The Taliban even.

Couldn’t be accused of that now.

It must be a funny old war for a veteran correspondent.

Caeser Hēméra said...

That article has been doing the rounds, saw it via a BBS (another thing, along with blogs, somewhat strangled by social meeja.)

With regards to Russia and China vs The West:

Both are still highly dependent on the West, Huawei and SMIC ending up on the Entity List should have made that abundantly clear to Xi. They're at least a decade, maybe even decades, away from being able to pull up planks, and that includes their military capability.

Putinomics, on the other hand, introduced the concept of buying handles from Germany and brush heads from France, then having someone outside Moscow put them together and proclaim it was a sweeping brush made in Russia. Sanction away the brush heads and handles, no more Made in Russia brushes. Which is why the sanctions are going to hurt.

This is why China is wobbling on the fence, they're not condemning the invasion, but not supporting it either. They're allowing pro-Russia views within China, so if Putin pouts, they can point that out, if the West moans, they can shrug and just say "social meeja, innit?"

They're also getting a ringside view of how an invasion of Taiwan might go down, and of Xi can park his ego for a minute, what happens when you decided to surround yourself with Yes Men too scared to speak the truth to you.

I don't see any value for them coming off the fence, the longer the war goes on, the more fucked Russia becomes. Which suits China, they go lease more Russian land to mine on the cheap, get more oil and gas on the cheap, keep in with the West. The only way I can see them throwing Putin under a bus is if he starts demanding they help, in which case the geopolitical math leads towards the US.

And the war itself, for Putin, now it is all about saving face and selling a victory to the Russian people, a victory which will look about as kosher as one of Arthur Daleys second-hand motors.

On the plus side, with quite a lot of Russian state and oligarch money currently in the grip of the West, ain't going to be quite as taxing for us to help rebuild Ukraine.

DJK said...

Dominic Cummings has an interesting take on current events:

"If you care about ‘preserving western values’, I strongly advise that you focus on regime change in London and Washington, not in Moscow. Otherwise we will face these recurring problems with rotten systems and leaders like Boris and Trump."

dearieme said...

"leaders like Boris and Trump": rather them than the likes of Biden or, God save us, Hellary.

I'd have more time for Cummings if his judgement about Covid hadn't been so ruddy stupid.

jim said...

Poor old Cummings, a fine example of Artificial Intelligence. Hired as licenced fool and thought he was there to be taken seriously. Of course our system is rotten, that is a feature not a bug, it does what it is intended to do.

lilith said...

I used to have Hatfield Girl's email. Sadly I accidentally deleted ALL my emails and she wasn't saved to contacts.....very sad about it. The only person I can think of who might know how to get hold of her is Tuscan Tony? I'd love to know her take on everything too. She had an eco retreat in Italian mountains in the eventuality that it "all goes off". My bloody memory is so crap.

Elby the Beserk said...

A jump into the past. And I stand by what I wrote back in that day. The disappearance of HG from Blogistan was and is a great pity.