COVID-19 and the US-China-Russia Triangle


Russia has been among China’s most vocal defenders as the United States and others have accused Beijing of unleashing the coronavirus pandemic on the world.  But will closer Chinese-Russian cooperation be an inevitable outcome of COVID-19?  Could the repercussions of the pandemic open doors for the United States to rebalance its relations with Moscow and Beijing?  

To provide a range of perspectives on such questions, the Center for the National Interest assembled an all-star team of American and Russian experts for an online panel hosted on Thursday, May 21:

•    Paul Heer recently became the Center for the National Interest’s Distinguished Fellow for China and East Asia. A former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, Dr. Heer has established himself as a key voice in our country’s public debate over rising Chinese power since leaving government service in 2015.  His book, Mr. X and the Pacific: George Kennan and American Policy in East Asia, was published in 2018. 

•    Aleksey Maslov is Acting Director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences.  He is also Professor of East Asian Studies at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. 

•    Stapleton Roy is a former U.S. ambassador to China and one of our country’s foremost China experts.  He is the founding director emeritus of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and author of countless publications on the U.S.-China relationship.    

•    Dmitry Suslov is Deputy Director at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow.  One of Russia’s top foreign policy experts, Suslov is co-author of an influential study produced in cooperation with Russia’s Foreign Ministry on new directions in Russian foreign policy.  

George Beebe, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for the National Interest, served as the moderator of this discussion.  He is a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA, former national security aide to Vice President Cheney, and author of the recent book, The Russia Trap: How the US-Russian Shadow War Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe.