Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia has been viewed through the lens of both nations’ mutual antagonism towards the United States. During the visit, Xi and President Vladimir Putin traded tributes and feasted on a lavish meal that included quail, venison, Siberian white salmon, and pomegranate sorbet.
The visit came at a critical moment in Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and at a time when China is emerging as a great power with influence stretching far beyond Asia.
As the two autocrats dined together, many observers saw the visit as a harbinger of the anti-Western compact that the US has long feared. Xi and Putin share a core foreign policy priority – discrediting and dismantling the world order that they believe is built on Western hypocrisy and denies them due respect as great global powers.
This resentment has been brewing in Putin’s mind since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he has been trying for years to reshape the international system. According to Biden’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor with “the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to” reshape the current world order.
However, the question of whether China and Russia have truly formed the kind of united anti-US front that the US foreign policy professionals have long feared remains uncertain. While both countries share a mutual antagonism towards the US, it is unclear if they have the capacity to frustrate American goals in Ukraine and beyond as they aim to discredit and even dismantle the current world order built on Western hypocrisy.
The US now faces a significant foreign policy challenge as it gears up for a potential Cold War with China and a proxy fight in Ukraine against its adversary from the 20th century. The US will need to navigate a complex international landscape as China and Russia work to reshape the world order in their favor, and the US looks to maintain its global influence.
It is unclear how these developments will play out in the long run, but they could have significant implications for the international system and the balance of power among the world’s great powers.