Russia and China have studied the end of the Cold War and how the US ultimately defeated the USSR by bankrupting it. They may now seek to repay the US in kind
According to Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev, 2013 was “a year of harvest” for Sino-Russian relations. It was also a year of new lows for the countries’ relations with the West — and from the look of it, things could get worse in 2014.
Much has been said in recent years about how two difficult wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a sagging economy cut the U.S. at the knees and created space for China. During this same period, China was enjoying double-digit economic growth and a relatively stable security environment, emerging as a hegemon in Asia. As the U.S. was struggling to extricate itself from, and was pouring billions of dollars into, unwinnable wars, Beijing was reaping the benefits of its “peaceful rise” by building its economy, resolving longstanding territorial disputes with neighbors, consolidating ties with smaller powers within the region, and neutralizing Taiwan as a potential source of armed conflict.
Thus, when China began flexing its muscles in the East and South China Seas, Beijing was not cowed by the U.S. “pivot,” or “rebalancing,” to Asia.
My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.