The Russian pessimist says things are so bad they can’t possibly get worse; the Russian optimist says, “Don’t worry, they will!”
If Western leaders think that Russia and China are aggressive now, the Russian-Chinese alliance now emerging will be a nastier combination than most Western observers can imagine.
It doesn’t have to happen, but probably will, given the West’s toxic combination of aggressive posturing and inherent weakness. The former tempts China to use force, and the latter causes China to think that it can get away with using force.
Case in point: On May 6 the hawkish Chinese policy site “Observer” (guancha.cn) led with a 5,000 word screed by Russia’s “Eurasianist” ideologue Aleksandr Dugin, the inspiration for younger officers in Russia’s military and intelligence services who think that Vladimir Putin is too soft on the West.