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The Myth of a Sino-Russian Challenge to the West


In recent years, there has been a lively debate on "the end of the West" with the rise of authoritarian capitalist powers and the challenge they pose to the values and institutions of the West. The debate has to be qualified in two important respects. First, China and Russia have - albeit for different reasons - major stakes in the preservation of the current world order, thus making it unlikely that they will be able or willing to launch a sustained assault on it. Second, and perhaps more importantly, despite certain current similarities in their international outlook, China and Russia are in fact far from natural and permanent partners in the creation of a new anti-liberal world order. Therefore the future challenge for the West is to find ways to deal constructively with these countries so as to reinforce the liberal and multilateral elements of the present world order rather than undo it. Instead of galvanising a strong resistance against the rise of China, and to a lesser extent Russia, the West should seek to tie the new powers more closely into the existing world order. This will necessarily require a moderate and constructive stance from China and Russia, one that can plausibly be expected in the natural course of events, provided they are given a chance to voice their legitimate concerns.