The evident warming relationship between Russia and China has been causing some concern in the West. Also, some media outlets relate to the alliance between the two powers as an asset to China in its struggle against the US for world domination.
Additionally, Iran’s surprise status as a major arms provider to the exhausted Russia has added another partner to the alliance, a partner whose animosity toward humanism, and indeed toward anyone who is not a Shiite Muslim, is unsettling for many. Considering also that there is North Korea with its warm relations with China, and warming relations with Russia, the picture becomes even bleaker.
I am not saying that we should not be worried over what might materialize from such a quadrilateral alliance. I think we need to take whatever measures necessary to prevent the axis from taking shape. At the same time, I think that such an axis is unlikely. Even if it does materialize, at the moment, Russia is too exhausted to pose a threat, and its forces have been thinned down by local wars it has been conducting over the past several years. For this reason, I do not believe it is in a position to face the West.
Besides, over the past year, and especially since the start of the war in Ukraine, the United States and Europe have become much stronger. They realized that they had no choice but to boost their military capabilities, and they acted accordingly. In a sense, the war in Ukraine has benefited the Western bloc compared to the Eastern bloc.
There is another tactic that the West is using against Russia: its own pride. Russia could have gained a great deal, economically and otherwise, if it chose to make concessions in Ukraine in return for favors and support from the West. However, its pride will not let it do this, so it will continue to fight until there is nothing left of its military. The only ones who will gain from this extended slaughter is the West.
As for China, it is unlikely to sever its ties with the West. It has too much to lose, and it is too dependent on the West’s purchasing power to risk its ties with Europe and (mainly) with the US.
Although it appears robust, China is currently in a precarious situation having suffered economic setbacks following the zero Covid policy, and now the out-of-control outbreak of the virus. China will continue to maintain good connections with Russia, which provides it with cheap gas, but it will not stretch the rope with its Western business partners too tight. In short, it will continue sitting on the fence.
In my view, the most likely scenario is that the tug-of-war between Russia and the US will continue until either the US or Israel move to unseat the Iranian regime. Without Iran, Russia has nothing more to offer in Ukraine; it has exhausted its military options, its manpower, and its firepower. As a result, without Iran, it would have very few options for continuing its assaults in Ukraine.
In such a state, if the Iranian fanatic Shiite regime comes down, Russia’s supply of suicide drones will dry out, and its main assault weapon against Ukrainian infrastructure facilities will no longer be available. Surprisingly, therefore, a move in Iran could signal the end of the war in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China February 4, 2022. Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo