Western geostrategists are closely watching the process of Sino-Russian rapprochement: some US skeptics are expressing doubts that the alliance has a bright future; other Western observers are beating drums over increasing cooperation between the Dragon and the Bear.
"Signs of a steadily enhancing Russia-China partnership are quite readily visible. Reciprocal visits by the two Presidents to observe one another's victory celebrations (and the conspicuous lack of Western leaders at either event) seemed to demonstrate a shared contemporary isolation as well as the common history of suffering catastrophic losses in the enormous conflagration of the Second World War," Professor Goldstein wrote in his article for The National Interest.
Professor Goldstein noted that China and Russia currently have lots of shared political interests. A major turning point for Sino-Russian rapprochement was the NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, the professor remarked, citing Chinese analysts. The so-called "Arab Spring" and Ukrainian February coup of 2014 have accelerated the rapprochement process tremendously, he added.
"Additional evidence, of course, is that Putin’s first trip abroad after assuming the Russian Presidency again in 2012 was China, while the opposite journey was made as Xi’s inaugural journey abroad as Chinese President back in 2013," Goldstein underscored.
The professor hinted at the fact both China and Russia have a "legacy of hostility and mistrust" originating from the mid-Cold War period. According to Goldstein, this mistrust may potentially become a stumbling block in the way of Sino-Russian collaboration.
On the other hand the professor underscored that some important historical events involving China and Russia remain largely neglected by Western political analysts.
Citing Chinese research, Goldstein wrote: "In a chapter of WWII that is rarely discussed in the West, this article explains that Moscow did impressively provide China with almost 1,000 aircraft (and accompanying volunteer pilots) in the four years after the Nanjing Massacre in December 1937."
And that is not all. In addition to Goldstein's narrative it should be noted that Soviet Russia also contributed a lot to the emergence of the Chinese Communist Party and the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. The USSR provided the Chinese Communists and their supporters with military, technological and humanitarian assistance paving the way for the Party's victory over the Kuomintang (armed and supported by the US) during the Chinese Civil War.
"It is not at all clear, as is often suggested, that antagonism is the 'natural state' of affairs in China-Russia relations. The dual combination of the 'rebalance,' in tandem with the West’s still evolving strategic response to the Ukraine Crisis, may yet prove sufficient to solidify a geopolitically significant Eurasian counterpoise," Goldstein concluded.