Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World
By Graham Allison, a professor of government at the Harvard Kennedy School. March 23, 2023
It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decision to visit Moscow this week in his first trip abroad since his reelection comes as no surprise to those who have been watching carefully. When one steps back and analyzes the relationship between China and Russia, the brute facts cannot be denied: Along every dimension—personal, economic, military, and diplomatic—the undeclared alliance that Xi has built with Russian President Vladimir Putin has become much more consequential than most of the United States’ official alliances today.
This is now a combined adversarial superpower that does not only threaten the United States but most of the world’s countries dedicated to live in peace and let those live in peace and prosper. We have already witnessed the kind of war crimes and severe damage their alliance has done to Ukraine and they won’t stop there. Russia now plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. ~ Natalie Keshing
Many observers still find this alliance hard to believe. As former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis put it in 2018, Moscow and Beijing have a “natural nonconvergence of interests.” Geography, history, culture, and economics—all the factors that students of international relations focus on—give both nations many reasons to be adversaries.
On today’s map, large swaths of what was in earlier centuries Chinese territory are now within Russia’s borders. This includes Moscow’s key naval base in the Pacific, Vladivostok—which on Chinese military maps is still labeled by its Chinese name, Haishenwai. The 2,500-mile border between the two nations has repeatedly seen violent clashes, most recently in 1969. On the Russian side, the land east of the Ural Mountains is full of natural resources but has a population of just 32 million people, while on the Chinese side, hundreds of millions of people live with few natural resources.
On the broader canvas of history, Russia was a prime antagonist in China’s “century of humiliation,” joining forces with Western imperialist powers to put down the Boxer Rebellion and forcing China to sign eight “unequal treaties” during the second half of the 19th century. In recent decades, the status inversion resulting from Russia’s decline from its position as the second superpower in a bipolar world, combined with China’s meteoric rise, must cause a leader as status-conscious as Putin some consternation.
It turned out after a year of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine of heavy bombing and destruction, Xi’s nefarious plan and advice perhaps worked out exactly as he had planned. Putin backed himself into a corner exhausting most of his supreme military troops on the ground. Putin’s last alternative was to send 30,000 Russia prison inmates into battle with absolutely no military training and old shovels in hand to fight..and fight for what cause but only Putin’s maniacal insistence on committing the most atrocious war crimes and destruction that has not been seen since the days of World War II. ~ Natalie Keshing
But while history deals the hands, human beings play the cards, and Xi has defied expectations to masterfully build a relationship with Putin that matters deeply to both. Putin was the first leader Xi visited after becoming China’s president in 2012. Since then, the two have held 40 one-on-one meetings, twice as often as either has met with any other world leader. Putin calls Xi his “best and bosom friend,” who, as Putin noted in 2018, is the only world leader with whom he has celebrated his birthday. When Xi awarded Putin China’s Friendship Medal in 2018, he called the Russian president his “best, most intimate friend.”
As a determined new strategy, U.S. officials have now sent aging A-10 attack planes to swap for more advanced combat aircraft in the Middle East as part of a Pentagon effort to shift more modern fighters to the Pacific and Europe to deter China and Russia’s new superpower aggression when they determine the hour to start World War III. This is not hyperbole but the true facts facing our nation’s inability to defend itself.
Former President Obama and President Biden purposely decreased United States military funding and capability in military warfare artillery and weaponry to protect the United States National Security.
Setting in motion was President Biden’s debacle in 2021 when he made an egregious ineffective call to pull out all United States military capability out of Afghanistan. Leaving behind thousands of American lives at stake and $90 billion dollars worth of the most advanced military weaponry behind.
Jake Wood, a former US Marine and Afghan war veteran, said to the American public and world stage, “It is a stain on our nation’s integrity and honor that just a few months ago, we were not meeting our obligation to the men and women, our Afghan allies who served alongside us in Afghanistan.”
Senior national security officials appeared on television news shows in an apparent effort to counter the impression that the administration had been badly overtaken by the catastrophic events and chaos that ensued. A video emerged of Afghans flooding the tarmac at the Kabul airport. A deputy national security adviser, Jon Finer admitted that the airport was crowded with “desperate” Afghans wanting to leave but he insisted that the US had the forces in place that were necessary to bring stability and security to that airport. It was evidently not the case shown to the public in a desperate attempt to bring any kind of order with everyone desperate not to be left behind.
The Americans left behind in the Embassy were trapped among this disheartening chaos was the shouting and crying echoing throughout the walls of the Embassy now a prison left behind for newly formed ISIS, the Taliban and al Qaeda circling the walls. Eventually entering never knowing what ensued and how many died or were tortured trapped in these unfortunate turn of events, turning the public’s stomachs witnessing the extreme inadequacy and inability to strategically plan a better exit out of Afghanistan.
Putting United States at a greater disadvantage is Biden’s feeble, severely cognitive incomprehensible issues and inability to stand as Commander-in-Chief against the new superpower alliance between China and Russia. Sending us further into the darkness of an abyss is the Biden family syndicate committing treasonous foreign influence peddling with Xi Jinping himself and the Chinese Communist Party. We are inundated and severely handicapped with Biden recently allowing a white Chinese spy balloon to sashay across America for six days to assess and gather the most important data hovering over United States military silos intercepting our nuclear satellite capability. This blatant inaction on Biden’s part, you would think would immediately send the strongest signal alerting all chairmen of the foreign nations, armed services and United States House Committee on Oversight and Accountability into immediate action to use the United States 25th amendment of the Constitution to immediately impeach a sitting President deliberately incapable of protecting the United States National Security. ~ Natalie Keshing
In recent years, Sino-Russian economic ties have grown. Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China had displaced the United States and Germany to become Russia’s No. 1 trading partner and top buyer of Russian oil and gas. In the past year, China has provided an economic lifeline for Russia, buying everything the West won’t and helping Russia maintain access to financial markets amid sweeping Western sanctions. Chinese purchases of Russian energy last year were up 50 percent from 2021 levels while bilateral trade hit record highs. China was not only the world’s largest exporter to Russia in 2022, but it also accounted for the largest year-over-year increase in export volume to Russia of any country in the world. Last month, the yuan overtook the dollar as the most traded currency on the Moscow Exchange for the first time ever, representing almost 40 percent of total trading volume.
And despite Western sanctions intended to eliminate Russia’s access to critical technologies, Chinese exports of integrated circuits to Russia doubled in 2022. Indeed, in every area where China can support Russia without incurring major costs to itself—unlike lethal arms sales to Russia that violate U.S. sanctions, which CIA Director William Burns recently said China was “considering” but “reluctant to provide”—it has done so.
Furthermore, while many Americans discount Sino-Russian military cooperation, as a former Russian national security advisor has put it to me, China and Russia have the “functional equivalent of a military alliance.” China regularly participates in joint military exercises with Russia that dwarf those the United States conducts with its much more publicized “strategic partner,” India. It sent soldiers to Russia’s annual Vostok exercises in September and conducts joint air and naval exercises on a near-monthly basis. Russian and Chinese generals’ staffs now have candid, detailed discussions about the threat U.S. nuclear modernization and missile defenses pose to each of their strategic deterrents. While, for decades, Russia was careful to withhold its most advanced technologies in arms sales to China, it now sells the best it has, including S-400 air defenses. The two countries share intelligence and threat assessments as well as collaborate on rocket engine research and development. More recently, Beijing and Moscow have collaborated to compete with Washington in a new era of space competition.
Their diplomatic coordination has also ramped up as Xi and Putin become increasingly convinced Washington is seeking to undermine their regimes. The two countries almost always vote together in the United Nations Security Council and reinforce each other’s political narratives. For instance, China has repeatedly refused to call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a war, instead labeling it an “issue,” “situation,” or “crisis.” Its diplomats and propaganda megaphones echo even Russia’s most extreme claims about the war, blaming NATO for ignoringRussia’s “legitimate concerns” and suggesting the United States wants to “fight till the last Ukrainian.”