This year, Russia and China announced a ‘no limits’ partnership at the dystopian winter Olympics. At the time, most of the world assumed that those words were meant in the context of an economic alignment. China’s Belt Road Initiative and its various trade agreements with Russia have made Putin’s regime more resistant to sanctions. Something beneficial to the Russian president with his invasion of Ukraine.
The Biden Administration had previously threatened incremental sanctions against Russia to try and dissuade it from the invasion to no avail. Interestingly, in the months before Putin’s move, the Biden Administration shared intelligence with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), hoping that Xi would intervene. China did the exact opposite. They shared the intel with the Russians while telling America that they did not believe it.
This move by the Administration was a mistake because they were relying on the region’s history instead of the current geopolitical climate. Although Russia and China have indeed had a strained, if not an outright hostile relationship, their current interests in decreasing the hegemony of the United States are in alignment. China has the second-largest economy globally, so it is not threatened by an assertive Russia financially, and its military is a peer to the US.
Furthermore, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine creates discord and sets the stage for China to make moves of its own. Notably, reclaiming Taiwan as part of its One China policy. President Biden’s feckless and impotent response on Ukraine’s behalf will only accelerate the CCP’s timetable to make a move on what China calls the renegade province.
Xi Jinping is more than happy to buy all the oil Russia will sell them, while at the same time condemning the United States for escalating tensions in the region and forcing Putin’s hand. Although there is not an Article 5 agreement of collective defense like NATO, Russia and China are acting as if they stand together in all respects. The United States should govern its actions accordingly.