Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

How Xi and Biden can broker peace in Ukraine

| April 8, 2022

At the dawn of the 20th century, as the Russo-Japanese War grew increasingly violent, the leader of a nation that had never played a role on the global stage stepped forward to become the peacemaker. After more than 100,000 Russian and Japanese soldiers died in the bloody battle of Mukden, Russia’s czar and Japan’s emperor were ready to respond to Theodore Roosevelt’s proposal. He invited each man to send a representative to the United States to negotiate a peace treaty.

Could Chinese President Xi Jinping take a page from Roosevelt’s playbook to end the war in Ukraine? Many differences separate Roosevelt’s United States of 1905 and Xi’s China today. And historical analogues are not cookbook recipes that one can simply follow step-by-step to produce the desired result.

Nonetheless, similarities between these two leaders and opportunities presented by history are instructive. In the early 1900s, the United States was a rising power exercising its influence in the Western Hemisphere, but it had never taken center stage in international affairs. Although Roosevelt had no personal relationship with either the emperor or czar, he was confident that he could deal with any leader as an equal. The United States had not yet become a major military power, but Roosevelt had plans to sail the American fleet around the world, including through the seas between Russia and Japan. And the United States was emerging as a major trading nation.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Allison, Graham and Fred Hu.“How Xi and Biden can broker peace in Ukraine.” The Washington Post, April 8, 2022.