For Vladimir Putin, the state visit to Russia by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which begins on Monday, provides a giant morale boost and a chance to showcase the much-vaunted new world order that the Russian leader believes he is forging through his war on Ukraine — in which the United States and NATO can no longer dictate anything to anyone.
Xi’s visit to Russia, just after cementing his precedent-breaking third term in power, brings together two men who have positioned themselves as leaders for life — and it sets the scene for global confrontation, with Beijing willing to use its partnership with Moscow to counter Washington, even if that means granting tacit approval to Putin’s brutal, destabilizing war.
“The grim outlook in China is that we are entering this era of confrontation with the U.S., the gloves are off, and Russia is an asset and a partner in this struggle,” said Alexander Gabuev, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
It remains to be seen whether this confrontation will heat up, pushing three nuclear powers to the brink of World War III, or merely marks the opening chords of Cold War 2.0. But Xi’s visit shows sides being taken, with China, Russia and Iran lining up against the United States, Britain and other NATO allies — in a competition for global influence and for alliances with nations such as South Africa and Saudi Arabia, which seem ambivalent but up for grabs.
In an article published Sunday evening in China’s People’s Daily, Putin gushed about the brotherly friendship between Russia and China, which he said were standing “shoulder to shoulder,” including against Western hegemony. [Continue reading…]