Ukraine continues to dominate and not much is happening in China, apart from rigorous lockdowns to stop the virus in its tracks. So let’s just think a little about the implications of what is happening there. There are surely several lessons to absorb from what we have seen so far. First, the West is not necessarily as weak and divided as has been the dominant narrative in many circles over the past five years, the Russians are not necessarily reliable friends and the best-made plans can go terribly wrong. This is a tricky time and maintaining a public perception of neutrality is likely to get tough. We are now in week four and at some point Mr P is presumably going to reach out and request concrete assistance of some sort. It is then that the rubber hits the road, because if the decision is to provide it, then it will be noted. And if it is not to, with negative consequences for Mr P as to how things play out in Ukraine and back home, then that will also be noted. Perhaps it’s a choice between backing away without looking like they are, and not backing away while giving the impression that they are.
China is vastly more integrated into the global economy than is Russia, but the last three weeks have shown that principles seem to play a role, too, in many circumstances. Which is a surprise. Regardless, the current sense we have is that Those in Command will hold to their original stance of solidity with the bear, come what may. So how all this plays out is anyone’s guess. Keep your eye on the news this weekend, and also on any spring blossoms in the vicinity.