Why Biden Snubbed China’s Ukraine Peace Plan

Posted on

There’s something irrational about President Biden’s knee-jerk dismissal of China’s 12-point peace proposal titled "China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis."

"Not rational" is how Biden described the plan that calls for de-escalation toward a ceasefire, respect for national sovereignty, establishment of humanitarian corridors and resumption of peace talks.

"Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis," reads the plan. "All efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be encouraged and supported."

Biden turned thumbs down.

"I’ve seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia if the Chinese plan were followed," Biden told the press.

In a brutal conflict that has left thousands of dead Ukrainian civilians, hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers, eight million Ukrainians displaced from their homes, contamination of land, air and water, increased greenhouse gasses and disruption of the global food supply, China’s call for de-escalation would surely benefit someone in Ukraine.

Other points in China’s plan, which is really more a set of principles rather than a detailed proposal, call for protection for prisoners of war, cessation of attacks on civilians, safeguards for nuclear power plants and facilitation of grain exports.

"The idea that China is going to be negotiating the outcome of a war that’s a totally unjust war for Ukraine is just not rational," said Biden.

Instead of engaging China – a country of 1.5 billion people, the world’s largest exporter, the owner of a trillion dollars in US debt and an industrial giant – in negotiating an end to the crisis in Ukraine, the Biden administration prefers to wag its finger and bark at China, warning it not to arm Russia in the conflict.

Psychologists might call this finger-wagging projection – the old pot calling the kettle black routine. It is the US, not China, that is fueling the conflict with at least $45 billion dollars in ammunition, drones, tanks and rockets in a proxy war that risks – with one miscalculation – turning the world to ash in a nuclear holocaust.

It is the US, not China, that has provoked this crisis by encouraging Ukraine to join NATO, a hostile military alliance that targets Russia in mock nuclear strikes, and by backing a 2014 coup of Ukraine’s democratically elected Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych, thus triggering a civil war between Ukrainian nationalists and ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, regions Russia has more recently annexed.

Biden’s sour attitude toward the Chinese peace framework hardly comes as a surprise. After all, even former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett candidly acknowledged in a five-hour interview on YouTube that it was the West that last March blocked a near-peace deal he had mediated between Ukraine and Russia.

Why did the US block a peace deal? Why won’t President Biden provide a serious response to the Chinese peace plan, let alone engage the Chinese at a negotiating table?

President Biden and his coterie of neo-conservatives, among them Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, have no interest in peace if it means the US concedes hegemonic power to a multi-polar world untethered from the all-mighty dollar.

What may have gotten Biden unnerved—besides the possibility that China might emerge the hero in this bloody saga—is China’s call for the lifting of unilateral sanctions. The US imposes unilateral sanctions on officials and companies from Russia, China and Iran. It imposes sanctions on whole countries, too, like Cuba, where a cruel 60-year embargo, plus assignment to the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, made it difficult for Cuba to obtain syringes to administer its own vaccines during the COVID pandemic. Oh, and let’s not forget Syria, where after an earthquake killed tens of thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless, the country struggles to receive medicine and blankets due to US sanctions that discourage humanitarian aid workers from operating inside Syria.

Despite China’s insistence it is not considering weapons shipments to Russia, Reuters reports the Biden administration is taking the pulse of G-7 countries to see if they would approve new sanctions against China if that country provides Russia with military support.

The idea that China could play a positive role was also dismissed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said, “China doesn’t have much credibility because they have not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine."

Ditto from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who told ABC’s Good Morning America, “China has been trying to have it both ways: It’s on the one hand trying to present itself publicly as neutral and seeking peace, while at the same time it is talking up Russia’s false narrative about the war.”

False narrative or different perspective?

In August of 2022, China’s ambassador to Moscow charged that the United States was the "main instigator"of the Ukraine war, provoking Russia with NATO expansion to Russia’s borders.

This is not an uncommon perspective and is one shared by economist Jeffrey Sachs who, in a February 25, 2023 video directed at thousands of antiwar protesters in Berlin, said the war in Ukraine did not start a year ago, but nine years ago when the US backed the coup that overthrew Yanukovych after he preferred Russia’s loan terms to the European Union’s offer.

Shortly after China released its peace framework, the Kremlin responded cautiously, lauding the Chinese effort to help but adding that the details "need to be painstakingly analyzed taking into account the interests of all the different sides.” As for Ukraine, President Zelinsky hopes to meet soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping to explore China’s peace proposal and dissuade China from supplying weapons to Russia.

The peace proposal garnered more positive response from countries neighboring the warring states. Putin’s ally in Belarus, leader Alexander Lukashenko, said his country “fully supports” the Beijing plan. Kazakhstan approved of China’s peace framework in a statement describing it as "worthy of support." Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán – who wants his country to stay out of the war – also showed support for the proposal.

China’s call for a peaceful solution stands in stark contrast to US warmongering this past year, when Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a former Raytheon board member, said the US aims to weaken Russia, presumably for regime change – a strategy that failed miserably in Afghanistan where a near 20-year US occupation left the country broke and starving.

China’s support for de-escalation is consistent with its long-standing opposition to US/NATO expansion, now extending into the Pacific with hundreds of US bases encircling China, including a new base in Guam to house 5,000 marines. From China’s perspective, US militarism jeopardizes the peaceful reunification of the People’s Republic of China with its breakaway province of Taiwan. For China, Taiwan is unfinished business, left over from the civil war 70 years ago.

In provocations reminiscent of US meddling in Ukraine, a hawkish Congress last year approved $10 billion in weapons and military training for Taiwan, while House leader Nancy Pelosi flew to Taipei – over protests from her constituents – to whip up tension in a move that brought US-China climate cooperation to a halt.

A US willingness to work with China on a peace plan for Ukraine might not only help stop the daily loss of lives in Ukraine and prevent a nuclear confrontation, but also pave the way for cooperation with China on all kinds of other issues – from medicine to education to climate – that would benefit the entire globe.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK, and author of several books, including War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict.

Marcy Winograd serves as Co-Chair of the Peace in Ukraine Coalition, which calls for a ceasefire, diplomacy and an end to weapons shipments that escalate the war in Ukraine.

Wei Yu is the China Is Not Our Enemy campaign coordinator for CODEPINK.

21 thoughts on “Why Biden Snubbed China’s Ukraine Peace Plan”

  1. The U.S. wants this war, so of course Biden rejected China’s peace plan out-of-hand.

      1. Incredible. Yet another one who thinks Russia today is like the Soviet Union, and “evil capitalist America just wants war!”

        The Soviet Union was communist, while the U.S. was conservative. It’s the exact opposite today. Biden is in a Democrat party taken over by radical cultural Marxism. Meanwhile Russia is conservative, which infuriates the Left. Putin banned homosexual propaganda in the schools, so leftists now say “ultimately this war is about LGBTQ rights”. He condemns the mass immigration to the West that the Left depends on to win election – no national election would have been won by leftists after the 1990s without importing voters.

        And still we have people thinking this conflict is the same as when the Soviet Union existed. If anything Ukraine is more like they Soviet Union, with men being banned from leaving the country and Biden-financed Zelensky banning 12 opposition parties, making himself a de facto dictator.

        1. “no national election would have been won by leftists after the 1990s without importing voters.”

          Thank you for explaining why no national election has been won by leftists since the 1990s (or, for that matter, in the 1990s).

    1. Which “peace plan”? I’m sure you didn’t read it, and even Medea Benjamin here admits it’s not actually a peace plan, but she still uses it to score points.

      Still, she admits this far down:

      Other points in China’s plan, which is really more a set of principles rather than a detailed proposal,

      It’s not a peace plan, it just says the parties should negotiate. I have opposed Biden in this from the start, but there is no “plan” here for him to either accept or “snub” as Medea writes.

  2. Biden wants the war to continue and hopes to be re-elected. Since he can’t stand up to warmongering Republicans like George W Bush, he acts like them.

    1. Biden has always been a war monger for U.S. empire. I’m pretty sure he voted for every war when he was in Congress, and he’s largely responsible for getting the Ukraine situation to the point it was just before Russia invaded.

      1. He voted for the so called “War On Terror” including the Iraq War when he was a Senator.

    2. Um, are you saying George Bush is in politics today? And Biden “can’t stand up” to George Bush, so therefore he surrenders to Bush?

      Which year are you living in?

      The Democrats supported war against Afghanistan and Iraq as they were pro-Palestinian. Biden was instrumental in making the wars bipartisan. As the head of the Foreign Relations Committee he blocked testimony that would have shown Iraq had no nukes. But sure, it’s WARMONGERING REPUBLICANS that are behind this.

      No mention of Trump, the latest Republican president. He opposed Ukraine’s aggression against Donbass. If he had still been president there’d been no war, as he wouldn’t have supported Zelensky’s increased artillery attacks, which reached even 2,000 per day in February 2022, obviously in preparation for an attack with the 60,000 soldiers he had amassed. It was Biden who approved that. It was also Biden’s main donor Sam Bankman-Fried who channeled U.S. taxpayers’ money between Ukraine and the U.S. via his FTX crypto exchange, something we still don’t have the full details of, but where Biden was no doubt involved, as he has a history of making money from his political seats.

      1. Both parties (actually, more like gangs than political parties) are war mongers. The people who created the list of countries they wanted to attack before 911 were all Republican (John Bolton, etc.). Defending Republicans gives you no credibility on this issue, though Trump wasn’t as bad as the rest regarding some countries. Cheney was as evil as it gets.

  3. I would like to learn more about the European Union’s loan deal to Ukraine and why Yanukovich chose to go with the loan offer Putin gave him. Was it because the terms of the European Union’s loan deal were so harsh that Ukraine would be forced to sell of parts of Ukraine to meet the terms?

  4. This could be the answere, Ukraine turns to China, China offers to help rebuild Ukraine, Russia provides security for the region and offers to help rebuild and provide necessary resources, everybody gets a good job, The US and NATO goes back home and starts rebuilding their own country’s .

  5. I would bet that most of the world supports China’s peace plan. Even most of the European nations would voice support if they were not so intimidated by the United States. Only the United States and a few outliers truly oppose it. That tells us just who is the problem. It’s not Russia or China.

    1. The dominant empire is always the problem. But Americans are the most propagandized people in the world, so the vast majority of them don’t have a clue.

      1. You’re correct. The vast majority of Americans are only interested in virtue signaling, and not in knowing what is actually going on.

        1. I don’t know what they’d be interested in if they weren’t so brainwashed. One of the problems here is that we’ve created a society that’s so ridiculously complicated (see the movie The Gods Must be Crazy for a comedic view of this) that the vast majority of people have no way to know what’s actually going on because they’re not political junkies like we are. Most people are concerned with their daily lives, anything beyond that I don’t know.

    2. Which “peace plan”? Even Medea Benjamin here admits it’s not actually a peace plan, but she still uses it to score points.

      Still, she admits this far down:

      Other points in China’s plan, which is really more a set of principles rather than a detailed proposal,

      It’s not a peace plan, it just says the parties should negotiate. I have opposed Biden in this from the start, but there is no “plan” here for him to either accept or “snub” as Medea writes.

      1. The title of the article refers to it as a peace plan. And it is a sort of peace plan. It basically infers that if a certain nation (we all know which one) would follow international law as laid out in the UN charter, then there would be peace.

Comments are closed.