Pentagon strategists have always divided the world into East and West, with U.S. regional forces under European Command or Indo-Pacific Command. But looking at the embrace of Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin this week, you wonder whether we may need a single “Eurasian Command” to handle an integrated threat.
A strong China is bolstering a weak Russia. That’s the real headline that describes the showy meetings in Moscow this week between the two countries’ leaders. The Chinese aren’t providing weapons (yet), but Xi certainly offered moral and psychological support in what might be described as a get-well visit to an ailing relative. White House spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday rightly called Putin a “junior partner.”
The paradox of the Ukraine war is that Putin’s bid for greater power in Europe has made him weaker. This diminished Russia will fall increasingly under China’s sway — unless there’s an unlikely turn post-Ukraine and a Western-leaning leader replaces Putin. Maybe that’s the biggest reason for Xi’s fraternal visit: He is bolstering a flank against America and the West. [Continue reading…]