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Axis of convenience

Axis of Convenience
Bobo Lo
London : Chatham House, 2008
JZ1616 .A57 C45 2008

Few internatonal relationships have provoked such polarized views as the "strategic partnership" between China and Russia. Both nations portray it as the very model of positive-sum cooperation, offering the promise of a more equitable world order. But many western observers see it as an alliance of authoritarian states that threatens the global leadership of the United States and the dismantling of democratic norms. In Axis of Convenience, Bobo Lo shows that the true picture is more complicated than such interpretations would suggest.

Lo argues that the dynamic between these two emerging powers is one of strategic convenience rather than strategic partnership. It is shaped not by a shared vision of the world, but by expediency, pragmatism, and cold-eyed perceptions of national interests. Axis of Convenience evaluates the current state and future prospects of the Sino-Russian relationship against the backdrop of a disordered global environment.

The Bush presidency has witnessed a spectacular decline in the moral and political authority of the United States, but it will be decades before other powers are able to challenge America's primacy. For all their rhetoric about a new multipolar order, Beijing and Moscow understand this reality. Their partnership reflects a new geopolitics characterized by flexible and opportunistic arrangements. Lo examines the implications for the security environment in Central and East Asia, the geopolitics of energy, and the strategic triangle between Russia, China, and the United States.

The convergence between Russia and China is one of the success stories of post-Cold War international relations. Yet their interaction continues to be dogged by mistrust, geopolitical rivalty, and competing priorities. Ultimately it is a throwback to the nineteenth-century model of great-power relations, defined as much by its limitations as its strengths. The big question in coming decades is not whether the Sino-Russian "strategic partnership" will undermine the established international order, but whether it can continue to prosper in an increasingly interdependent world.

Quoted from dustjacket.