Russia and China’s Dirty Partnership

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The leaders of Russia and China are joining forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing for the Winter Olympics to show solidarity with his largest trade partner at an event that the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia are boycotting diplomatically. The statement that Putin signed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping confirms their overlapping interests, their joint insistence on the right to do whatever they like within their own borders, and their disgust over the destabilizing nature of various U.S. military actions.

There’s much high-flown language in the statement about democracy, economic development, and commitment to Paris climate goals. But the timing of the statement suggests that it’s really about hard power. Putin didn’t travel all the way to Beijing and Xi Jinping didn’t meet with his first foreign leader in two years just to hammer out a general statement of principles. Putin wants China to have his…

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