Putin and Xi

It’s Better to Deal with China and Russia in Tandem

February 04, 2021
Thomas Graham and Robert Legvold
This is a summary of an article originally published by Politico with the subheading: "Putting China and Russia into policy silos will be counterproductive."

The authors write that during Joe Biden's presidential campaign, he called Russia an "opponent," while China was categorized as a "competitor," a "contrast ... likely to reinforce the current tendency to deal with Russia and China independently and leave policy toward the two countries lodged in separate silos." The authors argue that doing so is a mistake that not only "distorts policy toward each country," but also neglects "the overarching challenge of the escalating strategic rivalry between the United States and the world’s two other most formidable military powers, whose polices are increasingly aligned." This cooperation complicates the U.S. response to either country separately, and tensions between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and China fuel collaboration between Russia and China. "As they draw closer economically, technologically, militarily and diplomatically, and their cooperation in each of these spheres crosses new thresholds, their combined weight in East Asia and across Central Eurasia swells the challenge far beyond that posed by either alone," the authors write. "Moreover, policy conceived in separate silos inevitably obstructs the commitment needed to formulate and address an agenda where U.S., Russian and Chinese cooperation would yield outsize benefits." From addressing nuclear arms control to climate change to global health and the global economy, cooperation between the U.S., Russia and China is vital. "And, if a new stable global equilibrium is to be established, and the tensions among diverse systems of values eased, these three countries hold the key."

Read the full article at Politico.


Thomas Graham

Thomas Graham is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.


Robert Legvold

Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman professor emeritus at Columbia University.

Photo by kremlin.ru shared under a Creative Commons license. The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.