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The Next Sino-Russian Split? Beijing Will Ultimately Come to Regret its Support of Moscow

Author: Odd Arne Westad

Affiliation: Yale University

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: April 5, 2022/New York, USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 2300


Keywords: Russia, China, Ukraine, Alliances, Putin,


The author contends that China can assist the West in forcing Russia to return to the status quo. The Russian attack on Ukraine can only sustain for a long time if China continues to incentivize Russia. The author claims that China’s incentivizing Russia would result in a highly competitive and unstable international order. He argues that the Chinese tilt towards Russia is driven out of self-interest as Russian invasion is being seen as the cornerstone of a more just international order. Moreover, Western sanctions on Russia will make it more dependent on China. He argues that this is wishful thinking by the Chinese. The unreliability of Putin, China’s Economic relations with the West, Russian ties with India, and the historical difference of approach of the two countries will likely see Central Asian countries (like Mongolia and Vietnam) relying on Russia to back them up against Chinese pressure. If the war in Ukraine turns out to be a failure, it might make Russians resentful towards the Chinese for not giving ample support to win. In his view, the Sino-Russian Alliance is not a natural alliance, if they are together to off-balance the West. However, this ambition does not assure the durability of relations, because there are many issues that have a history and capacity to crack the relation between the two powers. In his vision, the best option for the US is to wait for the crack and exploit that opportunity to drive them away from each other. The only way the West could deal with the situation is by putting maximum pressure on Russia while trying to convince China that how the Chinese support will not serve Chinese interests, since China is in good terms with Europe and the US could potentially bring more incentives to it.

By: Hammad Siddique, CIGA Research Associate



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