Trilateral Relations: China, the US, and Russia


The friendship and hostility of the three powers are erratic and impermanent depending on the circumstances and national interests required. The three superpowers’ good relationship cannot last more than 20 years. And their adversarial relations cannot be longer than 30 years. For a balance of power, America and China, America and Russia, Russia and China, as well as Russia and the United States, must move between enmity and friendship.

This means that if one of the strongest powers, the second and third powers, unites to curb the influence of the first one, then the weakest one will begin to gain the benefit from the strong rivalry between the two powers. This tripartite relationship is like the relationship between Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. However, the rising of the emerging powers such as Japan, India, Australian, and EU, probably make Russia become less important to US in using it against China. Russia probably becomes weaker and weaker. And its weaknesses will be disregarded by NATO.

In World War II, Russia and the United States were close allies against Germany and Japan. Immediately after the end of World War II, they became acrimonious enemies, competing for influence worldwide. In 1949, China and the Soviet Union were close allies, expanding communist influence against the West and strongly supporting the Korean Peninsula War of 1950-1953 and the Second Indochina War. 

However, communist China became an opponent of the Soviet more than a decade later, in 1969, and fought against the Soviet Union along the border, resulting in deaths and injuries on both sides. In 1972, communist China, a bitter enemy of the United States, became a strategic partner against the Soviet Union, which was a former strategic partner in fighting against the United States in the Korean Peninsula and the Second Indochina War. The United States, a fierce critic of Chinese communism, attempted to reconcile and unite against the Soviet Union, it previous ally in World War II.  The enemy became friend, and friend became foe. 

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