“‘Great power competition’ has, at least on paper, become the orienting principle for American strategy. That competition is usually defined as being between the United States and China as well as between the United States and the Russian Federation. Or it lumps them together in the vague category of ‘great powers,’ without much additional context. But a critical and underexamined factor in the current global geopolitical landscape is the relationship between Beijing and Moscow and how their ties affect US strategy toward each of them individually and together.

“To succeed in this environment, Washington needs two things. The first is a richer understanding of the relationship between Beijing and Moscow as well as how they compare in their ends, ways, and means. What are their common goals, and where are the potential fault lines? The second is policies suited for today’s global landscape. American strategists generated ideas for dealing with two Eurasian behemoths during the Cold War, namely the concept of the ‘strategic triangle.’ But many of those have become shibboleths that do more to dampen than enlighten strategic thought. The current global balance of power calls for shedding that framework in favor of one that takes into account the collective strength of major allies and emerging partners…”

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