03:28 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during a signing ceremony after a meeting with his Russian counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 8, 2015

    West's Hard Line on Russia Driving Moscow Into Beijing's Arms

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    In an interview for the RT television network, Prosperity Capital Management founding partner Mattias Westman explained that the West's hardline stance on Russia has had the effect of driving Moscow ever closer to Beijing, with improving relations between the two countries effectively coming to pose a serious threat to Western global hegemony.

    The successful fund manager explained that he finds it very difficult to see how Western sanctions, and the threat of even deeper sanctions, "could have any beneficial effect on Russia or on the situation in Ukraine," ostensibly the country over which the crisis in relations between Russia and the West began.

    Moreover Westman, whose Prosperity Capital is one of the largest fund managers in Russia, argued that even US President Barack Obama's assertion earlier this year that sanctions have left the Russian economy 'in tatters' is "not entirely correct." 

    "I mean, of course the sanctions have had some negative impact," Westman explained, "but the slowdown we've seen in Russia in the last year, I think has a lot more to do with the price of commodities; the price of oil has fallen by 50 percent, which inevitably was going to have an effect on the Russian economy, particularly on the ruble. And I think the Central Bank did the right thing in terms of allowing the ruble to fluctuate and to decline with the terms of trade in order to preserve the margins and the competitiveness of Russian industry."

    Commenting on the premise of a recent op-ed article he wrote for conservative German news magazine Focus last month, Westman argued that the West has made a fundamental miscalculation in conceiving of Russia to be "a threat to the [Western dominated] global system or [to] global security." Westman explained that he believes "the real challenge to the global balance of power" to come from "China, which is a rapidly rising power."

    "And by taking this aggressive stance against Russia, a confrontational stance I should say, you have the effect of Russia and China cooperating further, and that only strengthens this more serious threat to the global dominance of the West," the investment manager explained.

    Westman noted that while growing economic integration between the Russian and Chinese economies "is to some extent inevitable, because the Chinese and Russian economies are very compatible…I think this [attempt] to politicize the relationships, and driving a conflict, is speeding up that process. And I think that seeing Russia and China as strategic allies is not really in [Western leaders'] interests, but that's the effect of the policies that they are pursuing."

    Suggesting that it will be difficult for Washington and for the EU's hawks to continue to "bully" other nations into prolonging the sanctions war forever, Westman noted that if stability in Ukraine can be maintained, and the costs of Russian countersanctions continue to mount, particularly on southern Europe, "I think that increases the likelihood of lifting sanctions," at least as far as the European Union is concerned.

    The investment specialist concluded by voicing his hopes that people in Western countries begin to attain "more awareness" over the fact that the civil conflict in Ukraine "is not as simple as it might have looked from the beginning," noting that he has already "seen some signs" of this taking place.


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    diplomatic relations, bilateral relations, partnership, alliance, sanctions, Mattias Westman, Russia, United States, Europe, China
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