Russia’s attempt to invade Ukraine and China’s struggling economy have had significant consequences for both countries, according to analysts. The aftermath of Vladimir Putin’s ill-fated invasion has resulted in a significant decrease in Russia’s military strength, with some estimating it to be halved. Meanwhile, China’s once booming economy has slowed down, delaying predictions of when it will surpass the United States in terms of current dollar terms. This combination of events has led to speculation about the state of the relationship between Putin and Xi Jinping.
Sarah Paine, a professor of history and grand strategy at the US Naval War College, argues that it is crucial to understand the motivations behind the actions of China and Russia. She highlights that both countries are continental powers in a global order that was historically shaped by maritime powers such as Britain and the United States. Maritime nations are primarily focused on trade, which attracts allies and fosters the development of international rules, leading to the creation of wealth. In contrast, a continental world order based on spheres of influence often leads to territorial conflicts that destroy wealth and value.
The implications of this analysis are significant for Putin and Jinping’s ambitions to reshape the world order. Their previous meeting in China, just three weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was seen as a declaration of their intention to challenge the dominance of the United States and its allies. However, the consequences of their actions have not played out as they had hoped.
Russia’s military strength, once considered a formidable force, has been weakened by the consequences of the invasion. This not only has implications for Russia’s defense capabilities but also for its standing on the global stage. Meanwhile, China’s economy, which was once hailed as a superpower, has faced a significant slowdown. The projected timeline for China’s surpassing of the United States in terms of current dollar terms has been pushed further into the future.
This raises questions about the strength of the bond between Putin and Jinping. While it may be tempting to imagine their reunion as a humbling experience for both leaders, Paine warns against underestimating their motivations and intentions. To fully understand their actions, it is essential to recognize the historical context and the differing priorities of maritime and continental powers.
As Putin and Jinping continue to navigate the complexities of global politics, it remains to be seen how their ambitions to reshape the world order will unfold. The consequences of their recent actions have undoubtedly had a significant impact on their respective countries. Whether they will be able to recover from these setbacks and successfully challenge the established order remains uncertain. However, one thing is clear: the decisions made by these leaders have far-reaching consequences that will shape the geopolitical landscape for years to come.
More detail via CNA here… ( Image via CNA )