The China-Russia Military Relationship
Are China and Russia aligning militarily against the United States? Scholars and policymakers alike are becoming increasingly concerned that the nightmare of a China-Russia bloc will soon become a reality. U.S. allies in Europe and Asia echo the concern that the two countries are forming a countervailing coalition against the United States and its allies. Yet, there is no consensus about whether the Sino-Russian relationship is indeed a cause for concern.
The most recent scholarship on the Sino-Russian alignment does not address China's balancing strategy because it largely focuses on secondary states' response to China's rise. In addition, most attempts to measure alignment use broad metrics based on the U.S. experience with its junior military partners, which may not apply to contemporary great power alignment.
The China-Russia Military Relationship project proposes a new framework for understanding the nature and purpose of the China- Russia strategic alignment. It outlines a new method for evaluating and weighing observations about security cooperation between great powers – one that is internally consistent and empirically valid. This line of research aims to provide a firm theoretical foundation for measuring alignment degree, scope, and impact, using metrics more appropriate to great powers. It then evaluates the China-Russia relationship within this framework.
Preliminary findings indicate that China is pursuing a limited subset of alignment activities with Russia that would impact U.S. military operations in critical contingencies and thus should not be discounted. This research has implications for Chinese foreign policy, regional security, alliance politics, and balancing theory.
In the News
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NPR, April 2022
China's Lessons from Russia's War in Ukraine
VOA, April 2022
The US and Europe Have Warned China Is Willing to Support Russia
VOA Chinese, March 2022
President Biden Presses Chinese President Xi Jinping on Russia
KTVU, March 2022
China's Place in the Russia-Ukraine War
WBUR's On Point, March 2022
Could China Invade Taiwan Like Russia Did Ukraine?
PressPlay podcast, March 2022
Are China and Russia Teaming Up on the US in the Indian Ocean?
South China Morning Post, January 2021
Is China Considering Arming Russia — 2 Years into Ukraine War?
KCRW Press Play, February 27, 2023