In response to a question submitted by a Russia Direct subscriber, a Russian foreign policy expert comments on the implications of a Russia-China coalition for America.

Video by Pavel Gazdyuk

Viktor Sumsky, Director of the ASEAN center at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), discusses the implications of a hypothetical China-Russia coalition that might be created in response to the U.S. reluctance to cooperate with either China or Russia.

Sumsky answers the following question submitted by Graham Westbrook, a Russia Direct subscriber from Franklin, Tennessee: “Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think tank, suggests that an ‘anti-American axis’ may be forming between China and Russia. Is there any truth to this suggested collusion between China and Russia, and, if so, would this (hypothetical) Chinese-Russian alignment counterbalance any aspects of U.S. power?”

According to Sumsky, the U.S. is unlikely to reassess its policy toward China and Russia. At the same time, he expresses hope that a team of American experts will be able to influence major decisions makers on foreign policy to engage in geopolitical dialogue both China and U.S.

Viktor Sumsky, Director of the ASEAN center at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University):

An article that recently appeared in the opinion section of The New York Times prompted a reader question about the possibility of the formation of an anti-American axis between Russia and China. 

Although the title of the article – “A New Anti-American Axis?” – sounds somewhat alarmist, it is well balanced, carefully worded and highly realistic. And what the article basically says is that, if this alliance [a Russian-Chinese anti-American coalition] ever becomes a reality, America has no one to blame but itself. There is a serious shortcoming in American foreign policy and that is an open disregard for the legitimate interests of China and Russia.

The authors of the article - Leslie H. Gelb and Dimitri K. Simes – are courageous enough to point out that something is fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy toward China and Russia. They are also well aware of the problems in Russia-China relations and the impediments that prevent them forming an alliance in the real sense of the word.

Importantly, China and Russia are worthy of becoming priority partners of the United States. Moreover, both of these countries share a genuine interest in maintaining a fruitful partnership with the U.S. and the West in general.

Without Russia and China, no serious potential and existing conflict in the world - including Syria, North Korea or Afghanistan - can be solved. If this advice is ignored it will be “a folly of historical proportions,” something that will be so important for the question about the possibility of Russia and China creating a genuine counterbalance to American power in the world.

Will this advice be followed? To be frank, I am not too optimistic about it. But as long as professionals of this caliber [like Gelb and Simes] are there and ready to provide advice and do it in such a powerful way, I think there is still a hope for the better.