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Commentator warns against new Cold War

December 29th, 2021

A pro-government analyst advises the Western world to open a new, blank page in its relations with Russia and stop waging what he describes as a Cold War against two eastern giants, Russia and China simultaneously.

On Mandiner, Mátyás Kohán argues that in civilisational terms, Russia is ‘the extreme version of the West’, while China is its ‘antithesis’. Russia’s rulers, he explains, run a system that is European in character. To support his point, he points out that Russia has a political opposition (‘of its own kind’), a plurality of news outlets (‘of their own kind’), freedom of religion, freedom of economic enterprise and ‘a juridical order’. Anyone travelling to Vladivostok, Kohán remarks, will notice that Europe ends at the shores of the Sea of Japan, rather than in eastern Poland, as many believe.

By contrast, Kohán continues, China knows no such a thing as an opposition or an independent press. Instead of free citizens, it runs a ‘social credit’ system to punish individuals who ‘misbehave’ with throttled internet speeds and flight bans. Instead of religious freedom, Christians and Muslims experience persecution; instead of free enterprise, people live in a sort of state capitalism where billionaires can easily disappear from the scene if the authorities deem them ripe for prison. Meanwhile, Kohán remarks, the system is incredibly efficient and produces items that are vital for Western industries. What is this if not a rival model? he asks. He deems it therefore crazy for the West to put Russia and China in the same basket and fight against both. The West should stop destroying itself ‘from luring masses of migrants to banning nuclear energy’, roll back its dependency on China and, as a first step, it should choose between China and Russia, Kohán recommends.

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