Russia and China, increasingly disconnected | Opinion | The USA Print

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For very different reasons, Russia and China are increasingly withdrawing from the world. It is an isolation that has to do with the political, the energetic and the economic, but also with the sentimental. And that’s why we all lose.

In less than three months, the time that the Russian invasion of Ukraine lasts, Moscow has gone from being an interlocutor of the West, regardless of differences, to blowing up the bridges with the outside world. Putin has put his country in a hole of shame and horror. The Russians cannot publicly deny the bombs that the Kremlin drops in their name because doing so costs up to 15 years in prison. They also do not have the option to pay with cards that have not been issued by Russian banks. In the last 90 days, foreign brands of clothing, cars, furniture have left there… It has even gone to junk food that hooked more than any policy. Russia is being sanctioned, boycotted and canceled abroad. Its inhabitants suffer from it and Putin takes advantage, speaking of Russophobia to ignite patriotism.

China’s retreat comes from another side. The pandemic has caused them to have been practically closed for two and a half years. From the beginning, Beijing has opted for a zero covid policy: eradicate the virus instead of getting used to living with it. If we look at the death figures with respect to the West, they have done well. That was the argument of the Communist Party to sell itself as a strict but effective government. Until in March the infections began to skyrocket and for many it was back to the starting line. The 26 million inhabitants of Shanghai have been confined for seven weeks; people, desperately looking for life to buy food and medicine. The port is half stopped and the delays are noticeable all over the world. The question is how long they are going to maintain the restrictions because the economy is suffering. They don’t have it easy either: it is a huge country with areas without hospitals that support massive infections. In addition, many older people still do not get vaccinated because, for fear of fraud, they do not trust it. This whole situation has made it very difficult to enter and leave the country. And that’s why more and more foreigners who adore him are deciding to leave.

The fact is that two regional powers, one of them the second largest economy in the world, are increasingly self-absorbed. Although this started long before the pandemic and the war: Russia and China have been staging for some time that they have their model and that they do not seek the approval of the United States or Europe. Nor do they need Westerners who know how to decipher them. Both countries have embarked on a path linked to the fate of two men, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Two opaque leaders who modulate nationalism with one hand and censorship with the other. @anafuentesf

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