World Affairs

China Support for Russia: Is Putin Playing with Fire? Cold War Historian Warns of Potential Consequences

China support russia

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has been the country’s strongest ally – but relying on that partnership too heavily could spell trouble for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In part, the desire to curb US power drove Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping to boast about their “no limits” friendship. China has been a crucial trading partner for Russia since it was cut off by the West, and Xi has avoided criticism of Russian actions in Ukraine. It has even been reported this week that China is sending enough military equipment to the Kremlin for an entire army.

But Cold War historian Sergey Radchenko wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that Putin shouldn’t put all his eggs in one basket.

According to Radchenko, “China’s approach to geopolitics is rooted in an ancient culture of playing other nations against one another for its own benefit.”

China’s actions in the early 1970s were motivated by a desire to benefit from the US-Soviet conflict, according to a senior Chinese official in 1975. Mao Zedong’s decision to approach his “avowed foe” was made when his country was at risk of war with the USSR. During the later part of the decade however, China began to alternate between extending goodwill towards both sides and playing them off against one another, ultimately leaning more towards its former adversary – the Soviet Union.

As in the days of Mao, China remains a secretive, self-serving Communist Party state with a temporary view of global politics,” he wrote.

Russia has become increasingly dependent on China for support, and Radchenko believes Putin has made a grave mistake by ditching the West for China with reckless disregard for Beijing’s track record of instrumentalizing friendships.

It has been argued that China may also need Russia for now. In a conversation with Insider’s Tom Porter last month, Jonathan Ward told Insider that Xi has made significant investments in China’s relationship with Russia and that the partnership could be crucial to Xi’s global strategic ambitions.

“The investment of personal political capital and broader strategic effort is too big to be abandoned or lost easily,” he said.

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I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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