It has become a commonplace of international diplomacy that Russia and China often work together on key issues. They have frustrated western hopes for sanctions or other tough action on disputes ranging from Burma and Darfur to Iran. They are blocking a solution on Kosovo. What few in the west have spotted is that Sino-Russian rapprochement has reached such a point that the two huge countries’ relations with each other are far warmer than either US-Russian or US-Chinese relations. In other words, the famous US-Russia-China triangle Nixon and Kissinger created by their path-breaking overtures to Beijing in the early 1970s is completely reversed.
China, in those Maoist days, was mired in a mixture of international quarantine and self-imposed isolation, feared by the Soviet Union and hated by the US. The two Americans dramatically broke the mould. They cleverly manipulated Mao’s ideological rivalry with Moscow to bring China back into the global arena and thereby infuriate and put pressure on the Soviets. This helped to ease the US retreat from Vietnam.
Now Russia and China are together and the US is out of the loop. It is a stark fact that Condoleezza Rice and defence secretary Robert Gates cannot ignore today as they start two days of talks in Moscow. No more easy concessions from Moscow and Beijing. Both powers are big boys and can bargain as hard as anyone from Washington, whether neocon or “realist”. [complete article]
President Vladimir Putin warned today that Russia was considering withdrawal from a major cold war arms treaty restricting intermediate range nuclear missiles unless it is expanded to include other states.
Mr Putin said that Moscow is planning to dump the intermediate range nuclear forces treaty (INF) – signed in a landmark deal between the US and Soviet Union in 1987 – unless countries like China are included in its provisions.
His comments came just before talks in Moscow today between the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the defence minister, Anatoly Serdyukov. [complete article]