As talk continues of a possible rapprochement between a Donald Trump led US and Russia, there has been some speculation of where that will leave Russian-Chinese relations. The big geopolitical development of the years of Obama’s Presidency is that the already emerging Russia-China alliance has now fully taken shape. What was in 2008 still essentially a diplomatic arrangement whereby the Russians and the Chinese informed each other about their foreign policy positions so as to coordinate them better with each other in places like the UN Security Council, has now evolved into a fully fledged full spectrum alliance extending to intensive military cooperation, intelligence sharing, foreign policy co-operation, and increasingly a fully fledged economic partnership.
The recent unveiling by the two countries of their joint project to develop a fleet of wide bodied aircraft to compete with those made by Airbus and Boeing is just one example of the current closeness of their relations. Though the two countries still tend to avoid – to an ever decreasing degree – calling each other ‘allies’, that is essentially what they have become. There is no doubt that the policies of the Obama administration have acted as a strong catalyst for this process. Though the bad relations between the US and Russia during the final years of Obama’s Presidency are a universally acknowledged fact, the fact that the US has been trying to position itself in opposition to China in East Asia by building up a network of anti-Chinese alliances as part of ‘pivot to Asia’ has been at least as important in shaping the current state of international relations. The result is that while it is in the interest of the US to keep Russia and China apart from each other, US policies during Obama’s Presidency of confronting Russia in Europe and the Middle East, and of confronting China in the South China Sea and in East Asia, have instead achieved the opposite – pushing the two countries closer together.
Though the future foreign policy of the Trump administration is still unclear, it seems that Trump is committed to a serious improvement in relations with Russia, but wants to take an even stronger line with China than Obama has done, with the emphasis less on military confrontation in the South China Sea and more on placing restrictions on Chinese trade with the US. Inevitably this has raised the question of whether as it mends its fences with Russia, the…
Source: The Duran