In a surprising admission from the White House, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said the administration welcomes negotiation efforts by China to end the war between Russia and Ukraine. He added Brazil and any other willing country to the list.
Speaking in Helsinki, Finland, Blinken’s talk was to spotlight how “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been a strategic failure.” But he deviated down a different path in rolling out the red carpet for Beijing’s involvement.
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After touting U.S. efforts to bring an end to the conflict, he laid out his invitation.
Blinken told the gathering, “To be clear, the United States welcomes any addition that helps bring President Putin to the table to engage in meaningful diplomacy. We support efforts, whether by Brazil, China, or any other nation” in the move towards “a just and lasting peace.”
The secretary spotlighted Russian failures in the war but then claimed that the U.S. wants what is best for the country.
He also contradicted his boss’ statement last year in Warsaw when President Biden demanded that Putin be removed from power. Blinken said that it was not an outcome sought by Washington.
It was just February when Blinken charged that China was considering providing weapons and ammunition for Russia’s war effort. Beijing emphatically rejected the notion, but he further claimed that Chinese firms were supplying “non-lethal support for Moscow.”
Blinken warned that such an act would bring “serious consequences” for China.
A short time later, reports circulated concerning China supporting a plan to bring peace and stability to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron was at the center of these rumors as he went back and forth to Beijing.
Washington largely downplayed the idea, though the Biden administration did not reject it out of hand.
Thus far, the White House’s role in the conflict has largely been confined to writing checks. The administration has overseen the supply of billions in both hardware and funding to the Ukraine war effort, and diplomacy has been in short supply.
Being on the center stage for negotiating an agreement is a position the U.S. once enjoyed internationally. But current leadership faltered in that role, and Washington is now forced to implore others to take on the responsibility.