German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has expressed concerns over the potential implications of a Russian victory in the Ukraine conflict, warning that it could embolden leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview with Fox News, Baerbock emphasized the importance of Ukraine winning the war and achieving liberty and peace. She argued that a Russian victory would send a signal to other dictators around the world, including Xi, that aggression and violation of international norms can go unpunished.
Baerbock’s remarks are not isolated, as she joins a growing chorus of Western leaders criticizing Xi and his authoritarian regime. In June, US President Joe Biden referred to Xi as a “dictator” after a Chinese balloon entered US airspace and was shot down. The incident further strained relations between the US and China, with Beijing dismissing Biden’s comments as “absurd and irresponsible.”
Baerbock’s comments also come in the context of the German government’s release of its first-ever “Strategy on China.” This document highlights Germany’s concerns about China’s assertive policies and attempts to reshape the existing international order. It calls for a reevaluation of Germany’s relationship with China, including reducing dependence on China in critical sectors such as medicine, lithium batteries, and chipmaking. Despite recognizing the importance of collaboration with China on climate change and sustainable development, Germany aims to address the challenges posed by Beijing’s assertive behavior.
In April, Baerbock had already warned against ignoring the tensions between China and Taiwan, emphasizing the potential negative impact on the global economy. The self-ruled island of Taiwan is considered by China to be part of its sovereign territory, and any conflict between the two could have serious repercussions.
Baerbock’s stance reflects a broader recognition among Western leaders of the need to counter aggressive and authoritarian regimes. By supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, the West aims to uphold the principles of liberty, peace, and respect for international law. A Russian victory would not only undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty but also send a dangerous message to other autocratic leaders that aggression can be successful without consequences. This could embolden leaders like Xi, who have increasingly exhibited assertive behavior and challenged the existing rules-based international order.
The West, therefore, must rally behind Ukraine and provide the necessary support to ensure its success in the conflict. This entails military assistance, diplomatic pressure, and economic aid to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience and ability to counter Russian aggression. By doing so, the West can demonstrate its commitment to defending freedom and democracy, while simultaneously deterring other potential aggressors from engaging in similar actions.
Baerbock’s remarks serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and international solidarity in addressing global challenges. The conflict in Ukraine is not just a regional issue but a test of the international community’s resolve to uphold the principles of peace and justice. The West must stand united and support Ukraine in its fight for freedom and independence, while sending a clear message to authoritarian leaders that their aggressive actions will not go unpunished.