For more than five months now, it seems as if every world leader and their dog has been traveling back and forth trying to find some sort of diplomatic solution that might end the war in Ukraine. The leaders of France, Germany, Great Britain, Turkey, and more have met with Zelensky and various Russian officials, all to no avail. But now a new face has entered the scene with a different strategy. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is working to end the hostilities. And rather than talking to either of the primary combatants in the conflict, she’s asking China to put a stop to all of this. So how would that work, exactly? Nobody seems to know. (The Hill)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday urged China to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “use its access and influence to help bring an end to the conflict.”

Ardern, speaking at the China Business Summit in Auckland, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression posed a threat to her small nation, a major trading partner with China.

“As history shows us repeatedly, when large countries disregard sovereignty and territorial integrity with a sense of impunity, it does not bode well particularly for small countries like New Zealand,” Ardern said.

You may find yourself wondering what the China – New Zealand connection is in all of this. You’re not alone. But you will notice that Ardern is hosting the “China Business Summit” in her country. And Ardern has some experience in this area because New Zealand has been doing a lot of business with China. Dating back to at least 2017, China has been aggressively buying up property and investing in businesses with the Kiwis. The growth of China’s role in the region has brought a lot of New Zealand citizens to the point of being alarmed by the cozy relationship. A survey conducted in June of this year found that only 13% of citizens saw China as “a friend” while 57% saw China as “a geopolitical threat.”

Laura Ingraham issued a warning about this situation on Twitter this morning, cautioning Ardern that her country would need to get used to begging the Chinese for mercy going forward because they probably won’t be getting much help from the United States if things keep going the way they are.

Right up to this day, Ardern continues to insist that her nation’s trade relations with China have “benefitted both countries.” Perhaps so, and the Kiwis certainly don’t want to trigger a conflict with China. But why would she assume that any help is on the way from Beijing?

China is one of only a few nations that hasn’t condemned the invasion of Ukraine. During a meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping back in February, they both reportedly agreed that they wanted to “halt the expansion of the NATO alliance.” So it’s true that Ardern is correct in believing that the CCP has Putin’s ear and probably holds some influence with Russia, particularly in terms of future economic relations. But Beijing has absolutely no incentive to suddenly start pressuring Moscow to pull out of Ukraine and it would be bizarre to see them even consider it.

Is Ardern simply trying to position herself as a powerbroker here to look “concerned?” Or does she really not grasp the geopolitical realities of these relationships? She has no hammer to hold over Xi Jinping’s head in this matter. If anything, China could threaten significant damage to the already stumbling New Zealand economy if they wished to. I’d love to see someone make some progress in ending the war in Ukraine, but Jacinda Ardern just seems like she’s out of her league in this instance.

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