Ian Lesser on the Recent Meeting between Russia and China
GMF Vice President Ian Lesser spoke to Formiche to discuss the meeting between Russia's Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was traveling to Brussels for a meeting at NATO. According to Lesser, the timing was not accidental. He noted that if we are moving towards a stronger ideological competition between democracies and regimes, it also holds true that the challenges posed by Russia and China differ. "The confrontation with Russia concerns important questions linked to security, including nuclear issues and the Baltics." However, "this is not a systemic confrontation, as Russia is a regional power," he added. Differently, "China is a global actor with global aspirations, thus the challenge is systemic." Lesser added that "for these reasons, we are not in a new Cold War, we are in multiple Cold Wars." The cooperation between Russia and China represents a challenge to the global system and to western-shaped multilateral institutions. At the same however, their relationship is asymmetrical, and some topics divide them. Turning to the possibility of a common European-American strategy toward China and Russia, Lesser said that this is not a new idea for the Atlantic alliance. But that, just like in the past, there are different perspectives.