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China’s Eurasian Dilemmas

Roads and Risks for a Sustainable Global Power

R. J. Ferguson

Providing a timely analysis of China’s engagement with Eurasia, R. James Ferguson focuses on the challenges obstructing China’s path to becoming a sustainable global power. Engagement across Eurasia presents China, its leaders and policymakers with intensified contact with regional and national conflicts, posing environmental, developmental and strategic dilemmas.
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Chapter 5: The Putin timeframe: the limits of geopolitics

R. J. Ferguson


Vladimir Putin sees Russia as a unique Eurasian power with special security, resource and civilization claims. Domestic governance uses a narrative of national greatness and external threats, leading to a consolidating mix of authoritarianism and nationalism. Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China see themselves as leading the PRC, and Eurasia as a whole, towards a new period of prosperity and global influence. Therefore, Russia and China will need to deepen their ‘comprehensive partnership’ or face a pattern of cross-cutting agendas leading to intensified strategic competition. Their relationship is moving beyond an ‘axis of convenience’ towards a mutually-enhancing and transformative collaboration that falls short of a formal alliance. Recent trade and investment flows, arms sales, and bilateral military exercises suggest some increased alignment. Problems have been moderated by the ‘warm’ relationship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, whose legacies will shape the coming decade. To balance this relationship, Moscow needs to leverage its strategic importance to major Eurasian states, including Germany, India and several middle powers, sustaining a central role in regional governance.

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