When I penned "The Danger of 'Great Power Competition' with Russia and China," my first piece for the Libertarian Institute, I warned that increased US and NATO bellicosity against China and Russia would inevitably lead to closer cooperation between those two countries.
As I noted, it is not a foregone conclusion that Russia and China must be bedfellows, despite the fact that Trump’s 2018 National Security Strategy named them as the primary enemies of the US Empire.
Historically speaking, Russia and China have had a stormy relationship. The 1950s Sino-Soviet alliance was short-lived. In the decades that followed, tensions flared between the two countries. These tensions were punctuated by a siege of the Russian embassy in Beijing, an undeclared border war, and a nuclear standoff.
Despite their tumultuous past, when I wrote my March article, those tensions already seemed consigned to the dustbin of history.
For instance, in October 2020, Vladimir Putin stated it was “quite possible to imagine” a military alliance. This comment came soon after joint military drills took place between the two countries. Those drills, and others like them, are an outwardly stated response to diplomatic tensions instigated by the US and NATO.
Fast forward to earlier this month and Russia and China’s military cooperation has progressed. On August 13, the two countries conducted joint military drills which saw a total of 10,000 troops from both nations share a command and control center. This drill was the first of its kind between the two countries and is also the first in which Russian soldiers used Chinese military equipment.
They are the stated counter to NATO interoperability drills of the same type, which this summer escalated to a scope unseen since the height of the Cold War.
China, Russia, and Iran, have also announced a series of joint naval drills to be held in the Persian Gulf by late 2021 or early 2022. Although this set of naval drills are an annual occurrence, the timing of this year's announcement was maximized to combat western confrontation against Iran.
US economic sanctions against China and Russia have also led to increased trade between the two countries. This month, the first railway bridge between Russia and China will begin stress testing with the goal of becoming fully operational next year. The bridge crosses the Heilong River in the far-eastern end of the Russia-China border. It is certified to handle 8 million tons of coal and iron freight each year—coal and iron being the main raw materials used in steel manufacturing. The connection is promised to be a boon for Chinese and Russian industry.
If the US and its allies ceased conducting massive military drills in Eastern Europe and the Indo-Pacific and ceased imposing economic sanctions against China and Russia, the two countries would lack a massive motivation for their “strategic cooperation.” If their troubled 20th-century relationship is any indication of what Sino-Russian diplomacy might look like absent western confrontation, a military alliance would be unlikely.
Indeed, outside the context of diplomatic pressure from the US and its allies, there is no problem with Russia and China cooperating economically—fear of the Red Menace be damned.
If you’d like to hear more of my coverage on this topic, I just released a bonus episode of the Liberty Weekly Podcast for my paying subscribers on Odysee, Patreon, SubscribeStar, and Rokfin. I will be starting a subscription-based arm of Substack too if you’d like to access this content through this platform. Find the links immediately below.
US Policy Drives Russia and China Together [Liberty Weekly Bonus Episode]
Rokfin ($10/mo for premium content to me and MANY other creators
If you hate and fear China because Tucker Carlson and Tim Pool told you to, check out these articles:
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Mises Wire: “China Will Not Be Taking Over the World” by: Joseph Solis-Mullen
Substack: “A Cult, a Fake Gov't & US-funded NGOs Hold Panels Panning China” by: Alex Rubinstein
Mises Wire: “China: The Regime's Managed Economy Is Stagnating” by: Daniel Lacalle
Antiwar.com: “Why They Hate China” by: Justin Raimondo
Corbett Report: “Echoes of WWI” by: James Corbett