Over the past few years, the United States has been going beyond itself in a bid to somehow demonstrate its military prowess to the rest of the world, thus forcing a number of international players into surrendering their national interests and submitting to the American will through its never-ending saber-rattling. Washington’s demonstration of its readiness to deploy even more American troops to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and a great many other countries of the world to promote its policies and support its satellite-states has not just led to a massive pushback, but also sparked the desire to create a counterbalance to the existing US hegemony, shared by a great many of sovereign states across the globe.
These days, Washington would typically describe China and Russia as its major geopolitical competitors and launch operations in the Asia-Pacific region and East Europe, which violate the territorial sovereignty of China and Russia and threaten the regional security. This pretty much explains how the military relations between Beijing and Moscow have reached an all time high and continue to develop, a signal experts said demonstrates the two countries‘ determination to safeguard regional and international peace and stability.
In 2017, the two countries held their first joint naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, that was followed by Chinese forces participating in the largest military exercise on Russian soil in four decades that was held the following year.
Then, for the first time, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces jointly conducted a long-range aerial patrol involving two Chinese Xian H-6K and two Tupolev Tu-95MS long-range, nuclear-capable bombers in the Indo-Pacific region. It’s been noted that the impact of the recent flight of four nuclear-capable bombers on regional strategic stability in East Asia should not be underestimated.
The scale of this cooperation is unlike anything most other international players have shown us so far, as there’s a certain historic background and geopolitical urgency that military planners in those two states are clearly taking into consideration.
According to the assessment made by the former director of US National Intelligence, Dan Coats, the two Eurasian super-giants are as close as they were in the 1950s. From Venezuela to Syria to Serbia, they are working hand-in-hand to counter the advance of Western militarism. They are also increasingly cooperating in sub-Saharan Africa.
In late July, the Information Office of the State Council released the first comprehensive defense white paper, titled China’s National Defense in the New Era, that covered the defence policies adopted by Beijing in the time-span since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The white paper ranks Russia as the principal ally of the PRC, with the US coming second on the list only to be followed by China’s neighbors and European countries.
And there’s a very good explanation for this state of affairs in the world, since Russia, unlike the US, poses no threat to regional stability in most any corner of the world, as it promotes cooperation over alliances and dialogue over confrontation.
At the recent BRICS summit in Brazil, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi announced in the presence of his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov that Beijing is fully committed to protecting the national interests of the two states hand-in-hand with Russia, along with maintaining peace and stability on the international stage. The senior Chinese diplomat would put a particular emphasis on the notion that against the backdrop of the growing global tensions and instability, the bilateral ties between Moscow and Beijing will serve as a major positive factor.
Those who have been following the international events for a long while are fully aware of the fact that the godfather of US foreign policy, Henry Kissinger would at some point insist that Washington had to rebuild diplomatic ties with the PRC and put the breaks on the military race with the USSR, as, in his opinion, it was of paramount importance that Washington was on a better footing with each of these players than they would be with each-other. However, these days the notion went right out of the window.
What Obama and Trump have essentially achieved was the reversing of the progress that was made by the Nixon administration back in the 1970s. In a bid to improve the geopolitical standing of his country, Richard Nixon would find a way to seek rapprochement with Mao Zedong, a politician most historians would compare to Joseph Stalin, thus leaving the USSR isolated. These days, Moscow is a step away from repeating the success of Richard Nixon by rebuilding its ties with China at a record pace, leaving the US in isolation.
Therefore, it is not surprising that American analysts are anxiously observing the Russian-Chinese rapprochement, Stern notes. At the beginning of the year, US intelligence agencies have already warned Donald Trump about the emerging alliance between the two superpowers. China and Russia are indeed closer to each other than in the 50s, Bloomberg says, quoting an unnamed source in the US intelligence community. It argues that both of these powers will build even stronger bilateral ties to counteract Washington’s unilateral polices.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”