The Ukraine crisis proves that while the 'Eurasian bloc' continues to solidify, the West is increasingly more unsure of its unity and strength when confronted with potential opportunities that China and Russia offer, whether economic or political, that jeopardize Transatlantic foreign policy. In this case, Ukraine, a longstanding point of contention between Russia and the United States, is used to provoke a conflict, which in theory, should weaken Russia and reaffirm its global status as an 'aggressor.'
However, as some know, NATO's expansion eastward has been a problem for Russia since the 1990s. Further, Washington's consistent and shameless engagement in overt support for color revolutions, regime change, and the financing of rebel groups in countries critical to its adversaries, which concerns Moscow and Beijing. Thus, China can predict its future by examining the treatment of Russia in the global media, the threats made to impose sanctions on Moscow, the promises to cut off Russia from SWIFT, and so on. This is a prelude to what is to come for China if it pursues its national security concerns with too much conviction. Therefore, nothing has solidified the Eurasian alliance between China and Russia more than Washington's blatant intention to turn the entire Western world against these two countries. However, they still do offer Europe serious energy, economic, and technological benefits.
Europe's connections to China and Russia are becoming increasingly problematic for the United States, prompting Washington to demand more sacrifices from NATO and other allies. Despite President Biden's persistent claims that the Ukraine issue is a bipartisan issue that gains support from the entire Western world, there was a significant amount of hesitancy around the Ukraine crisis during its immediate beginnings. Some NATO members, like Croatia, immediately stated they would not provide troops in a Ukraine conflict, and Hungary expressed its support and understanding for Russian security demands. Germany, the most crucial U.S. ally in the Ukraine crisis context, expressed profound reluctance to 'pick a side,' resulting in many symbolic troop and equipment shipments. At the same time, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he saw scope for more diplomacy to avert a war between Russia and Ukraine. However, the EU has not been 100 percent unified, nor has the U.S. political scene been unified on the topic.
China and Russia have made no small effort to systematically deconstruct Washington's 'soft power' among the U.S. and European citizens. However, it is unclear whether their smears have taken effect or if the Biden administration’s own missteps in terms of foreign policy have done them in, while the standard of living in the U.S. is declining rapidly due to inflation. Economic pressures, combined with pandemic fatigue, have led many Americans and Europeans feeling exhausted and frustrated with an administration engaged in foreign policy adventures that go wrong, like in Afghanistan.
The Eurasian bloc has produced the New Silk Road, Russia's expanding hypersonic weapons arsenal, demands for security guarantees, and the birth of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China and Russia have produced results working together, and China supports Russia in Ukraine, arguing that the U.S. is instigating conflict to corral European states back into place. Germany, the most crucial ally, is perhaps the most intertwined with both Russia and China for energy and economic purposes, respectively. Washington effectively wants to ban interaction between Europe and the East, even though all parties involved have real material benefits.
Moscow and Beijing have regularly discussed and made joint statements on 'aggressive' U.S. and NATO rhetoric, which become more relevant as the Ukraine crisis evolves. Thus far, the concerns around Ukraine have been characterized by overreaching media reactions to political statements, troop movements, and leaked intelligence. Regardless of whether Russia invades Ukraine or not, the coverage of the political crisis has been sloppy and irresponsible, with even President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky repeatedly criticizing American media and President Biden for generating hysteria over an 'imminent invasion.' This is because the imminent invasion narrative hoped to develop a concrete punitive response against Russia, with European allies taking on most of the burden.
While most U.S. criticism of Russia has been on its troop buildup on the Ukrainian border, NATO members continue to criticize China over alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. Since President Biden's inauguration, diplomatic pressure, media aggression, and hybrid warfare between the world's superpowers. There is no doubt that China will receive similar treatment in due time.
Despite the objective realities concerning Ukraine, the West provides billions of dollars of military equipment and support to both Ukraine and Taiwan, which overtly ignores, dismisses, and rejects the national interests of China and Russia. These moves likely harm the countries that receive support because they are intimately connected with China or Russia, giving up a healthy relationship with neighbors to arm oneself indefinitely against an adversary they cannot beat.
Once Taiwan or Ukraine crosses a set 'red line,' and either Beijing or Moscow reacts, China and Russia will become 'aggressors' globally. This logic does not argue that either China or Russia are perfect and moral nations, but it does illuminate that the West is particularly successful in controlling the global narrative. Thus, Moscow has resorted to evasive military maneuvers and contradictory statements to keep the U.S., Europe, and the United Kingdom guessing at all times.
The Eurasian partnership between China and Russia is held together because of their opposition to Washington's overt dismissal of security guarantees. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently emphasized the agreements reached within OSCE in 1999 in Istanbul and in 2010 in Astana, where OSCE members (including all of NATO) pledged not to take steps that will "strengthen the security of any state at the expense of infringing on the security of others."
In short, the West can afford to reject these agreements because they do not view Ukraine joining NATO as an infringement of Russian security, which is rather rude considering NATO was formed to develop a treaty of alliance and mutual alliance in the event of a Soviet invasion of Germany. The Soviet Union no longer exists, and NATO is currently leaning on Russia's front gate with the intent of entering, walking right through the screen door onto the porch. Therefore, respect for Russian national interests is nonexistent, as Washington and London continue to hope for a Russian invasion so that Moscow breaks its teeth fighting in Ukraine and provides a reason for the complete cutting off of Russia from the Western financial system. Further, Ukraine has failed to honor the Minsk agreements and has essentially become a pawn in greater competition between superpowers. If anything, Ukraine's position has revealed a lot about how western alliances can utilize China and Russia's neighbors, which feel wronged by either Beijing or Moscow, to undermine their respective national security or regional power arrangements. While this is undoubtedly more common in the Russian example in countries ranging from the Baltic States to Ukraine to Poland, it is also increasingly more likely for China as the U.S. will likely use governments in places like Japan or Taiwan to undermine Beijing's positions on international relations. China and Russia undoubtedly share mutual economic and political interests. Still, nothing has brought them more together than Washington's relentless and continuous efforts to apply pressure on Beijing and Moscow via its allies in the immediate backyards of both countries. The push by Washington and its European allies has led to understanding contingency plans in Moscow and Beijing to counter eventual sanctions.
It will be exciting to see if Washington will give in to security demands regarding Ukraine, and it is unclear if Washington would change its views on Taiwan.
China and Russia have entered into a "strategic partnership of coordination" and a "new era," reaching an "unprecedented level" and becoming a "model of efficiency, responsibility, and aspiration for the future." These words described the Sino-Russian relationship just as the situation in Ukraine began to heat up, signaling that China would back Moscow's positions concerning security guarantees. We will need to wait, but it will be clear how Washington will treat China when it enters similar situations in due time.