If Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin organize an economic alliance of their own, they could bring in other countries to shield themselves from Western sanctions – a tool all recent US presidents have used.
“Your interdependence can be weaponized against you,” said Dani Roderick, professor of international political economy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “It’s a lesson I imagine many countries are starting internally.”
The Ukraine war, he said, has “probably put a nail in the coffin of hyperglobalisation.”
China and, increasingly, Russia have taken steps to shut down their societies, including installing strict censorship mechanisms on their Internet networks, which have cut their citizens off foreign viewpoints and some commerce. China is on a campaign to make critical industries self-reliant, including technologies such as semiconductors.
And China is in talks with Saudi Arabia to pay for some oil purchases in Chinese currency, the renminbi, The Wall Street Journal reported; Russia was having similar talks with India. The efforts show a willingness by governments to move away from dollar-based transactions, which are the foundation of US global economic power.
For decades, leading US officials and strategists insisted that a globalized economy was a pillar of what they call a rules-based international order, and that trade and financial ties would prevent major powers from going to war. The United States helped China at the World Trade Organization in 2001 to bring its economic behavior – and, some officials hoped, its political system – more in line with the West. Russia joined the organization in 2012.
But Mr. Putin’s war and China’s recent aggressive actions in Asia have challenged those assumptions.
“The whole idea of the liberal international order was that economic interdependence would prevent this kind of conflict,” said Alina Polyakova, chair of the Center for European Policy Analysis, a research group in Washington. “If you tie yourself to one another, which was the European model after World War II, then if you go to war no one will do what no one in their mind will do. Well, Now we have seen that it has been proved false.”
“Putin’s actions have shown us that the world we live in may be, but it is not the world he or China is living in,” she said.