Country Reports

An aura of bravado pervaded Russian publications at the end of 2019. Putin had succeeded in diplomacy around the world, reestablishing Moscow as a decisive voice in world affairs. The relationship with China was solid with scant concern and that with the US was indefinitely on the rocks. Strategic stability had again risen to the top of the global agenda, resuscitating an environment in which Washington had to deal with Moscow as an equal, this time with Beijing a third force. Completion of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline gave new reason to boast of ties with China, just as the Sino-US trade war, whatever the short-term ups and downs, reassured authors that this relationship would remain confrontational to Russia’s advantage. Moscow and Beijing were taking charge on North Korea, siding with Pyongyang on the need to ease sanctions and awaiting Trump’s next move. The China-Japan-ROK summit in late December had positive implications for Moscow in weakening the US position in the region. There was no sign of dark clouds on the horizon, as both the US and China appeared unidimensional in such narratives.

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