The two leading authoritarians of our time have declared unprecedented common cause, perhaps even a de facto security alliance, with aspirations of shaping a new world order to replace the one fashioned by the United States and its partners after World War II.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to make sure the world didn’t miss the importance of their 38th personal meeting in Beijing on Friday, just hours before the opening of the Winter Olympics and with more than 100,000 Russian troops threatening Ukrainian independence and sovereignty.
So, they publicly released the entirety of their audacious, 5,300-word joint statement in English this weekend, declaring that “a trend has emerged towards redistribution of power in the world” – namely toward them and away from the U.S. and its democratic partners and allies.
There’s a lot in the statement worth reading and digesting, but here’s my rough executive summary: Russia and China are throwing in their lot in a gesture of cooperation that exceeds even Stalin’s partnership with Mao, in each other’s regions and around the world. For the first time, Beijing has joined Moscow in opposing NATO enlargement and embracing Putin’s vision for a new European security order. Russia returned the favor by opposing the new Australia-U.S.-U.K. security agreement, endorsing its One China Policy, embracing the Russia-India-China cooperation format, and blessing its Arctic role.
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