A Second Cold War? U.S. Relations with Russia and China

United States relations with both China and Russia have been dysfunctional at best in recent years. From Russia allegedly manipulating our democratic election to our unsteady trade relations with one of the largest economic outsources in the world, President Biden inherited an international relations issue that proves pivotal to solve.

US Flag in front of government building Photo by Brandon Mowinkle from Unsplash

One of the largest maneuvers currently causing conflict between America and China is China’s relentless effort to regain Taiwan. This isn’t a newfound desire for China either. China originally thought of Taiwan as a part of their own country and a group of Mainland Chinese politicians ruled Taiwan for years with much resistance from locals. Relations between the two countries were beginning to improve in the 1980s when China promoted a ‘one country, two systems’ policy where Taiwan would be allowed to have much autonomy over themselves as long as they accepted a plan for Chinese reunification. This effort was rejected by Taiwan, but they did officially proclaim for the war against China on the mainland to be over.

While they experienced mutually formal relations for a brief period, China has begun placing more pressure on Taiwanese officials for reunification. They even took on the business sectors pressing for international companies to list Taiwan with China on their websites. The current administration elected in Taiwan is a part of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which advocates for full Taiwanese independence from China. Taiwan residents have been protesting against the influence of mainland China as it grows increasingly assertive.

While this seems like a land conflict in a whole other continent, this has become an issue heavily intertwined with United States relations with both countries. While the U.S. has sought to improve trade relations with China, it has also had an agreement to provide Taiwan with defensive support through the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty. There has been every indication from both the Trump and Biden administrations that the terms of this treaty will be upheld. Not only this, but both Presidents have expressed their concerns surrounding an attack from China.

In a recent call with Chinese correspondent, Xi Jinping, Biden expressed his concern regarding human rights issues on the mainland, trade and the escalating tensions with Taiwan. While meetings between American and Chinese diplomats haven’t been promising, Chinese and Russian diplomats met just days after an especially heated conversation between the US and China proclaiming their joint friendship. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, elaborated on how Chinese and Russian “...cooperation in the international arena will have a stabilizing effect on the global and regional situation.”

Their ever-progressing allyship comes at a time where Russia has expressed its desires for a U.S. territory: Alaska. While their sentiments towards the land they once held have been expressed for years, concerning actions have been taken in recent months. Air Force General, Glen VanHerck reported that “NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War.” Their demonstrations in conjunction with nationalist longings for Alaska all provide perfect conditions for an allyship with China against the U.S. The extent of their allyship hasn’t been proven as of yet. However, how the Biden administration chooses to handle this national security threat will be pivotal to the makings of a successful presidency.

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