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July 28, 2020

The Ominous China/Russia Alliance

Our most powerful geopolitical foes are forming a very troublesome partnership.

America is enduring troubling times at home that are being compounded by the growing alliance between Russia and China. In fact, much of the economic and social discord in this country may very well be caused by these two countries working in tandem to undermine America and the established international order. America’s leftist intelligentsia want to downplay that worrisome prospect as a paranoid conspiracy theory, but rest assured it is very real.

During the height of the Cold War, one of America’s biggest foreign policy fears was the unity of the communist bloc. The Soviet Union and China represented an outsized chunk of the world in terms of land, population, and natural resources. It was believed that by working together, the communist superpowers would swamp the free world by virtue of their size alone.

In reality, the alliance between the two communist dictatorships was not as strong as we were led to believe. Differing opinions on the future of communism, how to proceed with the world’s communist revolution, and violent border disputes almost brought the Soviets and the Chinese to war in 1969. President Richard Nixon took advantage of the Sino-Soviet split and brokered agreements that changed the face of geopolitics.

Unfortunately, those well-crafted gains have long since evaporated. Russia shed communism but remains a potent authoritarian force in the international order. China, though still communist, dabbles in a state-directed market economy while pursuing cruel dictatorial policies at home and abroad. Both countries may have started down different paths, but they remain committed to shaping a world order that includes a diminished United States.

In fact, as foreign policy analyst Thomas Jocelyn writes, the relationship between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping is “arguably the most dangerous relationship on the planet today.”

Jocelyn examined a recent phone call between the two leaders in which they heaped praise on one another for their mutual cooperation on combating the COVID-19 pandemic, a pandemic for which China is at fault for spreading. Xi went so far as to say that the work of China and Russia “added strategic substance to China-Russia relations in the new era.”

What does that new era look like?

The new era of the Xi-Putin partnership includes praise and support for each other’s domestic power grabs. Putin recently pushed through a slew of amendments to Russia’s frighteningly malleable constitution that included removing term limits, enabling Putin to stay in office well into his 80s, assuming he keeps winning rigged presidential elections. Putin’s currently 67 and by outward appearances healthy as a horse, so he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. For its part, China has tightened its grip on Hong Kong, shedding any pretense that the region will remain “semi-autonomous.” China is also famous for pushing its people around, sometimes literally, forcibly relocating people by the millions to suit its various domestic aims. Its gulags are full of people who have been rounded up for all sort of “unpatriotic” religious and political activity.

The two countries are also lying about their global intentions. During their call earlier this month, Xi spoke of moving “China-Russia relations to a higher level, advanc[ing] development in both countries, and deliver[ing] more benefits to the two peoples.” This means exercising power beyond their borders to enhance their geopolitical standing. Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia and 2014 annexation of Crimea and China’s bold moves to gain dominance of the South China Sea are just the beginning. Since taking power, Putin has pushed Russia into extra-judicial adventures in Syria, Iran, Libya, and Venezuela, while China has leveraged its technological prowess to spy in the U.S., Great Britain, and Europe.

During the call, Xi and Putin spoke of working for “closer coordination and cooperation at the United Nations and other multilateral frameworks, to uphold multilateralism, oppose hegemonism and unilateral actions, and jointly defend international equity and justice.” This is a laughable notion, as it is these two nations that are the biggest threat to international equity and justice. Unfortunately, Russia and China have managed to worm their way into the UN and other international institutions to use them as bulwarks against freedom and democracy around the world. Russia’s pushback against the growth of NATO has led to frayed relations among NATO allies like the United States, France, and Germany. Russia and China together have used their permanent seats on the UN Security Council to stymy America’s effort to extend an arms embargo on Iran, and they have managed to help turn the UN Human Rights Council into a den of thieves representing the worst human rights abusers in the world.

China and Russia are clearly acting in tandem as a counterweight to the United States and its allies. Together they are doing the work that neither nation would be able to do alone, that is to destabilize the established international order and plunge the world into a dark age where the totalitarian regimes would reign over international relations. It is a partnership that is dangerous to Liberty, and it is dangerous to America.

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