In an article published in the latest issue of International Politics (Issue 53 Vol. 3), I look at self-restraint and adaptation as strategies deployed by China and Russia in their mutual dealings. I ask how these strategies worked against the background of Russia’s engagement in the Ukrainian crisis:
Despite growing asymmetry in material capabilities, Russia has not decided to hedge against China. On the contrary, as has been particularly visible in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, Russia turned to China not only for political but also economic support. This article argues that Moscow’s adaptation to China’s pre-eminence has its roots in the 2008–2009 global economic crisis and has been accompanied by Beijing’s self-restraint in its dealings with Russia. The ever-growing power imbalance did not prevent Moscow from closer co-operation with Beijing. Both states forged an energy partnership and deepened their security collaboration encompassing a revival of Russian arms export to China. Self-restraint, on the one side, and adaptation, on the other, made it possible to avoid conflict in Central Asia, where both actors have potentially incompatible interests and pursue competing projects. In the global realm, the strategies of both states towards the US converged.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to read the full text of the article.