Russia holds its presidential election on March 4, in which — surprise, surprise — Vladimir Putin is expected to return to the top office after a one-term hiatus as prime minister.
On Thursday, I was on CCTV News Dialogue discussing the election and the key issues Putin will face in its aftermath, including stymied economic reform and the tense US-Russia relationship. We also talk about Russian and Chinese opposition to UN sanctions against Iran and Syria. You can watch the program here.
I was happily surprised to see the show posted online, given the observation I made at one point about the risk that, in blocking UN action on Syria, both Russia and China might find themselves “on the wrong side of history.”
I could sense the silent gasp in the studio when I said it, since this is a highly sensitive topic in China right now.
But regardless of what one thinks of the Chinese position, given the fallout from Libya’s regime change, and the negative backlash towards China in Syria’s streets, this is a reality that, pragmatically, China cannot really afford to ignore.
(The reason I say I’m happily “surprised” is because when last year, on a live show, I offered a similar observation about how China needs to consider whether North Korea’s belligerent behaviour actually harms China’s regional interests, that show was hastily re-taped without me for subsequent rebroadcast, and the original version was never posted online, as if it had never happened.)
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