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Threats of a Sino-Russian Partnership

The U.S. should be doing everything in its power to draw Russia away from China.

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(EA09 Studio/Shutterstock)

As China’s spy balloon drifted over the lower 48, the American people asked themselves, “Why would Beijing do something so provocative—and yet so pointless?” 

Naturally, Republicans are blaming Joe Biden. Not only does he cut a sickly figure on the world stage, his family is also deeply compromised by the ChiComs. Except for Eric Swalwell, there is really no one Xi Jinping would rather see in the Oval Office. China is just baiting us, they say, because they know the president is perfectly tame. 

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More likely, though, China is celebrating its new “'no limits' partnership” with Russia—a partnership we helped to cement. America’s support for Ukraine is driving Vladimir Putin right into Uncle Xi’s arms. And Beijing couldn’t be happier.

China, we know, wants to take over the world. But in order to do that, it needs allies. The trouble is, no one wants to be China’s ally, because…well, it wants to take over the world. Lots of smaller countries would gladly team up with Beijing against NATO, but that would mean selling their sovereignty to the CCP.

There is only one country on the planet that might be (A) willing to align with China against the U.S., but also (B) large enough to resist being totally absorbed into China’s hegemony. That country, of course, is Russia.

Russia also dreams of becoming a superpower, but it has much further to go than China does. Right now, Moscow is mostly interested in rebuilding its economy and its military. All things being equal, they would rather keep Beijing at arm’s length. Put it this way: The Chinese are about 20 percent of the world’s population. The Russians are a little less than 2.

Still, NATO undoubtedly poses a larger threat to Russia’s interests (and its internal security) than China does. Only some major provocation by the U.S. could convince Russia to risk partnering with China—especially when it’s stretched so thin by the war in Ukraine. But that is exactly what we delivered last month, when Washington pledged to help Kiev retake Crimea.

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A Chinese-Russian alliance poses a major threat to the United States and its allies. Most observers consider China and Russia to be the second- and third-most powerful countries in the world. More than that, it would serve as the basis for a global anti-NATO alliance, a new Eastern Bloc.

The U.S. should be doing everything in its power to draw Russia away from China. The good news is that—again—Putin doesn’t want a protracted conflict with the West, even (or especially) with Xi watching his back. The only thing he dreads more is the thought of Ukraine joining NATO and allowing the U.S. Armed Forces to set up shop within its borders. 

Washington could easily put the kibosh on this burgeoning Sino-Russian alliance by brokering a peace in Ukraine. The terms write themselves. First, the U.S. will pledge not to admit any countries neighboring Russia into NATO. Second, Kiev will accept Crimea and Donbas’s desire to leave the Ukrainian Republic. Third, Russia will pay reparations to Ukraine for the loss of civilian lives and damage to civil infrastructure.

Or something like that. The point is this: Were the war in Ukraine over, the United States and Russia would realize that our two nations have many common objectives—especially when it comes to China.

To be clear, a Russian-American alliance would suit neither country. It would also needlessly provoke China. But the United States and Russia both have a vested interest in quietly containing Beijing. Under normal circumstances, China poses a far greater threat to both the U.S. and Russia than we do to each other.

Of course, “normal circumstances” don’t exist. Needlessly, fruitlessly antagonizing Russia is a cornerstone of America’s foreign policy. Meanwhile, countering our needless, fruitless antagonism has become a cornerstone of Russia’s. Neither country can truly imagine a world in which we both simply drop our feud and work towards our own countries’ best interests. 

If we could, we’d see that the U.S. and Russia have far more to gain from each other than to lose. And believe it or not, such a partnership would also be in China’s best interests. Xi Jinping is badly overextending his country, both economically and militarily. The Chinese people need someone to gently check their government’s ambitions.

Again, for the U.S. and Russia to confront China would be disastrous. But if we could achieve some sort of rapprochement, it would send a clear signal to Beijing: We’re taking a break from the hunger games…and so are you.