Can the United States Discourage Sino-Russian Alignment?


Preventing adversaries from dominating the Eurasian landmass is a strategic imperative for the United States.  Although Washington has recently awakened to the dangers that growing Chinese power poses in this regard, another threat has received comparatively little attention: the emergence of an increasingly anti-U.S. partnership between China and Russia.  The combination of China’s economic and technological heft with Russia’s abundant resources and potent military could produce capabilities far greater than the sum of either country’s individual strengths.

Is Moscow intent on strategic alignment with Beijing regardless of U.S. policies?  What is driving Chinese policy toward Russia? And what, if anything, can the United States do to discourage Sino-Russian alignment against American interests?   

The Center for the National Interest assembled an all-star panel of experts on November 1, 2021 for a discussion of these important questions.

*            Emma Ashford is a resident senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on grand strategy, international security, and the future of U.S. foreign policy.

*            George Beebe is Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for the National Interest, a former head of Russia analysis at the Central Intelligence Agency, and a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on Russia policy.  

*            Paul Heer is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and a non-resident senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He is a former China analyst and member of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Senior Analytic Service, and served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia from 2007 to 2015.

*            Fyodor Lukyanov is one of Russia’s foremost experts in foreign affairs, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs, and research director of the Valdai Discussion Club, where he recently moderated a session featuring a much discussed speech by President Putin.   

Dimitri K. Simes (President & CEO of the Center for the National Interest) moderated the discussion.