Ukraine Crisis Kicks Off New Superpower Struggle Among U.S., Russia and China – by Michael R. Gordon (Wall Street Journal – February 23, 2022)

Beijing and Moscow now hold a stronger hand in confronting the West than during the Cold War

Russia’s audacious military assault on Ukraine is the first major clash marking a new order in international politics, with three major powers jostling for position in ways that threaten America’s primacy.

The challenges are different than those the U.S. and its network of alliances faced in the Cold War. Russia and China have built a thriving partnership based in part on a shared interest in diminishing U.S. power. Unlike the Sino-Soviet bloc of the 1950s, Russia is a critical gas supplier to Europe, while China isn’t an impoverished, war-ravaged partner but the world’s manufacturing powerhouse with an expanding military.

In deploying a huge force and on Thursday ordering what he called a “special military operation,” Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding that the West rewrite the post-Cold War security arrangements for Europe and demonstrated that Russia has the military capability to impose its will despite Western objections and economic sanctions.

To do this, Mr. Putin shifted military units from Russia’s border with China, showing confidence in his relations with Beijing. The two powers, in effect, are coordinating to reshape the global order to their advantage, though their ties stop short of a formal alliance.

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