As reported by Bloomberg, ties between Russia and China are strengthening ties amidst the US’ protectionist-fueled trade war.
“The U.S.-China realignment that began with President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Beijing has been reversed in the most consequential geopolitical shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall. China and Russia are now as close as at any time in their 400 years of shared history. The U.S., meanwhile, has targeted both countries with sanctions and China with a trade war.
“There is no sense of threat from Russia. We feel comfortable back-to-back,” says Fu, now chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress.
Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. was responding to “Chinese aggression” with military spending and trade tariffs. Beijing, he said, was expanding at the expense of others and trying to drive the U.S. from the western Pacific. That kind of talk won’t be easy to forget, even if Trump and Xi agree to a trade truce at a scheduled meeting at the end of November. “I just hope that if some people in the U.S. insist on dragging us down the hill into Thucydides’ trap, China will be smart enough not to follow,” Fu says.
A recent study by the National Bureau of Asian Research, a Seattle-based think tank, debated whether U.S. policy was at fault for driving Russia and China together and asked if the U.S. should correct course by accommodating one Eurasian giant to isolate the other. Some among the 100-plus participants called for Washington to prepare for the worst-case scenario the realignment implies: a two-front war.
Robert Sutter, the study’s principal investigator, said at an October panel to discuss the findings that he’s had a big change of heart since he wrote in a U.S. government National Intelligence Estimate that the Russia-China relationship was an axis of convenience. “The situation is pretty bleak for the United States,” Sutter said. “And there is no easy way to fix it.”