The Sino-Russian relationship will continue to strengthen as a result of continuing US policy toward those two nations, and that “aggregated Chinese and Russian power” will continue to “approach, but not exceed” US power until 2022, according to a report. new Rand Corp. report.
The report’s authors describe the growing relationship between Beijing and Moscow as one of pragmatism and based on “balancing” against “American hard and soft power”. In addition, China and Russia share a desire to counter an alleged American ideology “of militarism, interventionism and the forcible imposition of American values on other countries.”
According to the report, the relationship between China and Russia has gradually developed and become closer over the course of two decades. When Beijing and Moscow launched their first joint “field exercise” in 2003, it meant the two countries had moved from a “calculation” relationship to one of “cooperation”.
Between 2012-2017, China and Russia strengthened their relationship from “cooperation” to “cooperation”, largely as a result of “Western sanctions”. Notably, following sanctions against Russia in 2014 for its annexation of Crimea, Moscow sought “much closer ties” with Beijing.
Key to this improvement in relations was the “15-year military cooperation plan”, signed by the two sides in 2002, which “expanded the supply of military equipment, technology licensing and joint research and development”. Although the total amount of equipment was not mentioned in the report, during this period China gained access to “high-end” Russian systems such as the Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft, guided missiles and technical assistance including Russian scientists working in Chinese defense factories. .
The authors expect this collaboration to continue and suggest that Beijing and Moscow only increase interoperability between their armed forces through joint training and equipment exchange. “Hands-on cooperation” between the Chinese and Russian armies has become routine, while the depth and scope of joint exercises have gradually become more complex since the first exercise in 2003.
As the US struggled to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, Moscow and Beijing held large-scale joint exercises in China for the first time in August. These exercises “reflected a ‘new level’ of military cooperation” between the two nations, according to the Associated Press.
The report’s authors suggest that one way to reverse the relationship between the US’s two main global competitors would be to reduce Western sanctions against the two nations. If done, “Russia might seek stronger relations with Europe and the United States”, which could lead to the Sino-Russian relationship “weakening or deteriorating”.
However, this kind of policy change is described as “probably undesirable” and unlikely. Without these policy changes in Washington, the report’s authors argue that the military relationship between Moscow and Beijing in particular will continue to develop, posing an increasing challenge to the US on the global stage.
“With little, other than a significant policy change, the US government can do to disrupt the growing relationship between China and Russia, the report’s authors suggested the US military is preparing for more cooperation between Beijing and Moscow.
“The US military can prepare for the results of increased Sino-Russian cooperation, including by expecting further proliferation of Chinese and Russian military equipment, additional joint planning and exercises, possible joint bases and ultimately the possibility of joint military operations.” , the report said. concludes.”
James R. Webb is a rapid response reporter for Military Times. He served as a US Marine infantryman in Iraq. He has also worked as a legislative assistant in the US Senate and as an embedded photographer in Afghanistan.