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Daily News Analysis

Repercussions of Canada-China detainee exchange

Crescent International

Canadian media’s overly dramatized and emotional reporting of the detainee swap between Beijing and Ottawa ignores its broader repercussions for global politics.

Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and China’s reciprocal arrests of two Canadian citizens was clearly political in nature.

Viewing the arrests on both sides primarily through the legal lens is sticking one’s head in the sand.

Even the British regime’s sophisticated propaganda outlet the BBC chose not to hide behind the veneer of “international law” to justify the action of Britain’s NATO ally and evaluated the case primarily through a political angle.

So, what are the wider global political repercussions of the captives’ exchange?

First, it clearly indicates that the days when a NATO member state could do as it pleased and exert political pressure on countries using methods they deem appropriate, are over.

The days when citizens of non-Western countries could be used as bargaining chips with no repercussions are slowly but surely coming to an end.

China’s response to the arrest of one of its citizens shows that there is no longer an exclusively Western club of privileged treatment of people before international legal norms.

Second, Canada’s uncalculated involvement in the US-China global standoff by detaining Meng Wanzhou will probably serve as a lesson to other states.

Hopefully, they will not interfere in tensions which have very little to do with them directly.

Beijing’s response will make others more reluctant in executing Washington’s arrogant policies.

This will affect America’s relationship with other countries.

The US request to others to execute its policies are now more likely to be dismissed, because there is clearly a cost in following such demands.

Third, the entire saga exposed the reality that we live in a global order where force and power are the primary pillars of international relations.

Not international law, unfortunately.

Legal technicalities used as a veneer to exert pressure on China due to its independent economic relations with Islamic Iran were quickly “fixed” once it was understood that Beijing is not going to passively accept Washington’s diktat.

Plethora of legal intricacies used to mask the political nature of Meng Wanzhou’s detention quickly got resolved, as if they were rules of an outdoor volunteer club.

China-Canada friction will now be used as a political precedent to resolve disputes.

It is one more example demonstrating that power and coercion are more effective than legal nicities.

This has been a reality of international relations for centuries but which now might either significantly decrease or increase.

If Western nations continue to refuse to accept the reality that the current multi-polar world order imposes significant restraints on their actions and instead forcefully attempt to hold on to their imperialist privileges, cases like Meng Wanzhou’s detention and that of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig might increase globally.

On the other hand, if politicians learn from their mistakes—a big if—and realize the new deterrence mechanisms of the current multi-polar world order, force and coercion will no longer be the dominant tool in international relations.

This would be the desired outcome and ordinary people will not have to endure years in detention as a consequence.

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