The world’s leaders will gather this week for the G20 Summit in Japan. All eyes will be on President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated meetings with Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin. But as observers look for indicators of how relations between the United States and its strategic rivals will evolve, another less appreciated dynamic is progressing. Tensions between the United States and both Russia and China continue to run high; meanwhile, Xi and Putin are drawing closer. The two leaders have been strengthening ties in ways that will make it more difficult for Washington to compete with either country. In this great-power triangle, Trump increasingly looks like the odd man out.
It’s not that Trump has written off efforts to improve relations with Putin and Xi; to the contrary. Trump has shown an affinity for both strongmen and regularly speaks of his desire to befriend them. But despite Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s policies—a simultaneous trade war with China and ever-mounting sanctions on Russia—have pushed Putin and Xi closer together. Putin has called Xi his “best and bosom friend” and Xi just celebrated his sixty-sixth birthday with Putin. The camaraderie between the two leaders has been a key driver of the growing cooperation between the two countries.
At the heart of the alignment between China and Russia is their shared interest in undermining U.S. influence globally. The two countries are united in their mutual displeasure with the United States and the U.S.-dominated international order that they feel disadvantages them. But while Russia and China may have initially banded together in discontent, their repeated engagement on areas of mutual interest is fostering a deeper and enduring partnership. It is clear that China will pose the greatest challenge to U.S. interests for the foreseeable future, but Beijing’s increasing collaboration with Moscow will amplify that challenge.
Read the full article in The National Interest.
More from CNAS
PodcastLive Episode: Europe Responds to the COVID Crisis with Constanze Stelzenmüller and Nathalie Tocci
In this week's episode of Brussels Sprouts, Constanze Stelzenmüller and Nathalie Tocci join Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, and a live virtual audience to discuss lessons...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Constanze Stelzenmüller & Nathalie Tocci
PodcastPopulist Politics and the COVID-19 Pandemic with Daphne Halikiopoulou and Paul Taggart
Daphne Halikiopoulou and Paul Taggart join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche to discuss the populist response to the crisis and what type of political blowback we can ...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche, Daphne Halikiopoulou & Paul Taggart
CommentaryHow China Is Exploiting the Pandemic to Export Authoritarianism
The Chinese Communist Party is now undertaking its most audacious effort yet at shaping international perceptions....
By David Shullman
PodcastMacron and France's National Security Policy with Benjamin Haddad and Alice Pannier
Benjamin Haddad and Alice Pannier join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend on the latest episode of Brussels Sprouts to discuss France’s foreign policy and Emmanuel Macron’...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Dr. Alice Pannier & Benjamin Haddad