American strategists are, since Kissinger’s clever diplomacy of the early 1970s, attracted to playing one Asian giant off the other. Yet they may wish to keep the recent comment of one perceptive Chinese observer close in mind: “Whether President Trump has the intention to ‘pull Russia away to restrain China’ or adopts a strategy to ‘join with China to counter Russia,’ nevertheless China-Russia relations are not going to be impacted at all [无论是特郎普总统试图采取 ‘拉俄抑华’, 还是 ‘连华制俄’ 策略, 中俄关系都没有受到任何影响].” Instead of playing juvenile geopolitical games, Beijing and Moscow are rather busy building up trade, infrastructure, and living standards in long-neglected areas.
Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected]. The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. government.