There are plenty of worrisome global trends to be on the lookout for in this modern day and age, not the least of which is the rise of authoritarianism in the eastern hemisphere.
This sort of tyrannical retrograde has been ongoing for some time, with pronounced instances of authoritarian lurches occurring in places like Beijing and Moscow, and with no end in sight.
Now, as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping prepare to solidify their new axis of authoritarianism, they are doing so with the express purpose of diminishing America’s influence on the world at large, as the concept of freedom threatens their very ethos.
In the almost 1,000 days since Xi Jinping last ventured abroad, China has found itself increasingly isolated within the US-led world order. He’s finally reemerging this week alongside Russia’s Vladimir Putin to showcase his vision for a viable alternative.
Thursday, Xi and Putin will hold their first in-person meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the Kremlin, in a sign that Beijing sees the relationship as crucial to countering the US. It will occur on the sidelines of a Chinese-founded security forum in Uzbekistan that gathers countries ranging from India to Iran — a grouping that aims to accelerate the formation of a multipolar world.
Prior to that, Xi on Wednesday will stop in Kazakhstan, where he unveiled what would be become his signature Belt-and-Road trade-and-infrastructure plan nine years ago. That foreign-policy initiative has since become a focal point of the US and its allies in the Group of Seven, which in June announced plans to raise $600 billion in financing so lower-income countries have an alternative to Chinese cash.
There was no denying the reason for the allegiance.
“Xi Jinping is trying to reorient global affairs in a direction that de-centers Western institutions and promotes groupings and institutions that are more favorable to China’s interests and worldview,” said Trey McArver, co-founder of research firm Trivium China. Xi’s meeting with Putin, he added, “sends a very clear signal that China continues to tilt toward the side of Russia in that conflict.”
The news comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to falter, and as concerns over China’s potential invasion of Taiwan linger.