How America Can Combat a Russian-Chinese Alliance Without Going to War

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Photo Courtesy/ Unsplash Samuel Branch

As the invasion of Ukraine continues, the issue becomes complex. This is no longer a simple territorial dispute, but rather a grim chapter in Ukrainian history. Unlike disinformation put out by the Kremlin. Russia is waging an unjustified invasion in which countless people are being needlessly killed. So far roughly three million people have fled Ukraine, with more on the way out, the largest exodus since World War II.

The conflict is now being observed by the entire world. As a result, many wonder what big powers like the United States and China will do. According to the Wall Street Journal, the United States has levied sanctions against Russia, banning imports and refusing to do business. This has resulted in many American businesses leaving Russia in protest or simply avoiding the financial loss that will come as the Russian Ruble crumbles.

China will be a deciding factor on how this conflict continues to escalate. President Biden and Xi Jinping met for two hours on Friday, March 18 to discuss this conflict. It should be worrisome to know that China insists on remaining neutral on the conflict, not even issuing so much as a condemnation of Russian cruelty. A potential Russian-Chinese alliance would instantly pose a massive threat to American and Western influence.

Though China does pose both a nuclear and military threat to Western Democracy, it holds enormous leverage in the realm of trade. Our supply chains could be even more disrupted in such a way that makes our current plight look pleasant. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Even without the conflict in Ukraine, China cripples parts of American supply chains through its zero COVID-19 policy in many of its major metros. For example, take Shenzhen, a city of more than twelve million people. That’s four million more residents than New York City has. When 86 cases of COVID were reported, the entire city was put on complete lockdown. This meant that non-essential businesses must halt operations or implement work at home where possible. As a result, Apple could not have their products assembled, and many circuit board and microchip plants closed.

This directly correlates with rising prices of vehicles, electronics and numerous other products, as well as the availability of those products. If that wasn’t bad enough, it should concern all Americans that we rely on Chinese imports for much of our generic drugs and ventilators. This problem has only gotten worse as the current administration has withdrawn a WTO proposal to reshore many of these critical products. 

China acknowledges that it holds immense power on our supply chains through state-media Xinhua. If we wish to effectively combat a potential Putin-Xi alliance, America must get its act together and reshore the manufacturing of these products. This goes for Europe as well. Resilient economies are made by what they produce domestically.

What should absolutely not be done is a direct engagement of either side. Though Ukrainian President Zelenskyy should be applauded for his courage and leadership, the U.S. is correct in not granting his request for a no fly zone. In a short Instagram clip, Queens congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outlines perfectly why such a thing would make the United States a combatant, and result in World War III.

America has a chance to rise to the occasion if it emboldens its economy by following protectionist policies, weaking that of the Chinese. Sanctions on Russia should continue, and we should be doing what we can to assist in the aid and relocation of Ukrainian refugees.