The Case of Russia

When Russian and Japanese foreign and defense ministers met in Tokyo in mid-March for their 2+2 discussions, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sensed the presence of a third party obstructing Russo-Japanese friendship. He told Japanese colleagues of his “concerns regarding consistent tendencies to a bloc approach” to Asia-Pacific security. Russia, Lavrov explained, promotes measures “with China and other states…to ensure security on a non-bloc basis, on the basis of indivisibility, security, without interference in internal affairs, and through multilateral efforts.”1

Lest anyone fail to understand Lavrov’s complaint about Japan’s “bloc approach,” he turned to a critique of the United States in Asia, including its military buildup and cooperation with Japan on missile defense. A key problem in relations between Tokyo and Moscow, it turned out, was not the two countries’ domestic politics, nor their foreign policy disputes, but rather Japan’s relations with the United States. Lavrov’s argument that the United States is at least partially to blame for the persistence of disagreements between Russia and its Asian neighbors is far from new. Since the establishment of the US alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region after the World War II, many Russian analysts and political leaders have blamed the United States for Moscow’s inability to establish deeper relations with Asian neighbors. Many Russian analysts have also blamed Washington for the persistence of the region’s dangerous conflict over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

In some instances, Russian assessments of the American role are accurate. In other cases, though, they overestimate US influence and underplay the independence of regional actors such as Japan and South Korea—countries that have deep ties to the United States, to be sure, but are also influential actors on their own. In each of the three issue areas discussed here—relations with Japan, China, and the Korean Peninsula—such is the case. This article examines Russian critiques of the United States in Northeast Asia, focusing on perceptions of Washington’s role in the following spheres: Russo-Japanese relations, the Korean question, and US-Chinese relations.

Russian foreign policy circles are home to differences of opinion occurring along different axes. Yet, even if there is no elite consensus, it is possible to describe general trends in foreign policy analysis, and to suggest how these ideas may shape Russian foreign policy. Analysts have often overestimated US influence in Asia and underestimated the independence of other actors, which has had a negative impact on relations with various countries and continues to do so. This was evident, for example, in the recent 2+2 talks between Russia and Japan.

Russo-Japanese Relations

“Asia has witnessed many attempts to achieve peace on the basis of bilateral and multilateral military alliances and blocs,” wrote Soviet author and policy overseer for Japan I. I. Kovalenko in 1979, at a time when the Soviets were scrambling to maintain their position in Asia. Before the 1970s, the division of Asia into blocs had benefitted the USSR. Even when Sino-Soviet relations hit their nadir in 1969 amid armed conflict over a disputed border, the sharp divide between the US-led anti-communist bloc and the PRC guaranteed that the USSR would not be confronted by a combination of China and other powers. In the 1970s, that began to change, as an array of leading capitalist countries—from Japan, the United Kingdom, and West Germany—to important mid-sized Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand recognized the PRC. After Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, the US-led bloc was ready to work with China, and Moscow feared that both sides would target the Soviet Union.

Facing this context, the USSR redoubled its opposition to “blocs” in Asia. As Kovalenko wrote, “formally all blocs were created ‘in the name of peace,’ but in practice they divided Asia, leading to confrontations of countries and groups of countries which sought to resolve their disputes by armed force….only collective efforts can produce an atmosphere of intolerance to cold war  concepts and thus create the most favorable conditions for a constructive dialogue.”2 The United States claimed that its alliances with Japan, South Korea, and other countries provided a foundation for peace, but Soviet writers argued, “military-political blocs….remain an instrument of imperialist aggression and as such restrict the improvement of the political climate in Asia.”3

In Moscow’s view, no “bloc” has proven more disruptive to its policy in Asia than the US-Japan alliance. The continuity on this issue from Soviet times is remarkable but understandable.
Given the history of US involvement in the territorial problem between Tokyo and Moscow, one can understand why analysts often blame Washington for the dispute. Yet, even as Soviet officials recognized the strategic rationale of better ties with Japan, Moscow struggled to address Japan’s territorial claims. Nikita Khrushchev, for example, understood the logic of rapprochement with Tokyo. “Who benefits from our absence in Tokyo?” he asked. “The Americans, that’s who! The United States is in control of Japan. Our return to Tokyo would benefit the Japanese, especially the progressive people there.”4 Yet, though relations between the USSR and Japan were restored in 1956, the two countries made little progress in resolving their differences over the islands. After it became clear that Japan was ripe for neither communist revolution nor an exit from the US alliance, Soviet foreign policy did not focus on Japan.5 Simplistic explanations refused to recognize Japan’s potential as an autonomous actor in regional affairs.

As prospects of Soviet-Japanese relations improved during the 1970s, the Kremlin declined to compromise over the disputed islands even as Japan concluded that its growing strength entitled it to a better deal. The 1970s ought to have been a transformational decade for ties between Tokyo and Moscow. The collapse of the Sino-Soviet relationship meant that Moscow was looking for allies, while Japan was emerging from its postwar focus on domestic reconstruction to play a larger diplomatic role in Asia. The Soviet Union took the view that there was no dispute, while Tokyo refused to let the issue lie. Any US role in encouraging Japan to stick to a hard line played a secondary role behind the force of Japan’s belief in its territorial claims.

Under Vladimir Putin and Abe Shinzo, Japan and Russia have tried again in recent years to address the island dispute and improve their ties, but Russian analysts have blamed Washington for preventing better relations. One article by a former Russian diplomat in Kommersant recounted the US role in dissuading Japan to deal with Russia during the Cold War as evidence that Washington continues to obstruct the Russo-Japanese rapprochement today.6 After Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, Japan joined US and European economic sanctions on Russia intended to punish the annexation and compel the Kremlin to withdraw from the Donbass. Some Russian analysts interpreted Japan’s willingness to participate in anti-Russian sanctions as further evidence of Japan’s subservience to US foreign policy interests. Washington has certainly encouraged Japan to implement and enforce sanctions. But Tokyo also believed that it had an interest in upholding the principle that borders should not be changed by force, particularly as the seizure of Crimea happened just as tensions between China and Japan over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands were growing. Yet, blaming Washington proved easier than exploring whether compromise with Tokyo might be possible.

Russian analysts continue to blame the United States for obstructing cooperation with Japan. One frustration is the failure in investment projects, which is explained by what many analysts perceive as Tokyo’s need to coordinate with the United States whenever Japanese firms consider investing in Russia.7 US political disapproval explains low Japanese investment in Russia, readers are told.8 Whenever Japan’s government promises to invest more at a summit with Russian leaders, some analysts presume that investment will increase.9 These hopes are regularly let down, because the real driver of low Japanese investment is the perception that it is more difficult to make money in Russia than in other countries.10

A second issue for which the United States is blamed is Japan’s decision to join the TPP, which now appears dead. Many Russian analysts see the pact as designed not primarily to boost trade between the members but as an attempt to contain China.11 (Barack Obama often described it as setting the rules of the road before China could do so itself.) Analysts even hinted that the pact may not be economically beneficial for Japan, which is joining it primarily to show its loyalty to the US-led Asian security order.12 This view that TPP was primarily a political pact to contain China may have been shifting once some in China expressed an interest in joining TPP.13

Since 2014, Tokyo has sought to boost relations with Russia, in accord with the clear rationale, that China is a long-term threat to its security, and hoping that Russia can be peeled away from what Tokyo sees as dangerously close ties with Beijing. In early 2016, Abe met with Putin over Washington’s objections, telling Western journalists “appropriate dialogue with President Putin is very important.”14 Yet, despite Abe’s willingness to ignore Washington, the two sides have not managed to resolve the territorial dispute, which Moscow often blames on the United States. Many Russian analysts often focus not on the distance between the two parties’ negotiating positions but on what they see as Tokyo’s fixation on retaining close ties to the United States.15

The Korean Question

In Korea, too, Russian analysts criticize Washington for pursuing policies that heighten confrontation while downplaying differences that Seoul and Tokyo have with Pyongyang. A divided Korea may have been inevitable, given the divergent ideologies and competing power centers of the Cold War. Yet the continuation of the Korean conflict—which after 1991 has focused on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs—was far from inevitable, many Russian analysts believe. True, Pyongyang behaves viciously at home and violates norms abroad. Yet many explain its behavior by what they see as Washington’s continued threats of regime change.

Faced with the threat of a military attack or non-military subversion, Russian analysts ask, is it any surprise that North Korea has built a nuclear weapons program? If only Washington genuinely recognized its right to exist, and offered credible security guarantees, North Korea might transform from a rogue state into a government that—though still despotic—accepts at least basic rules governing Northeast Asia. The true source of the dilemma, many suggest, is not the Kim family, but the refusal of the United States to recognize their right to rule.16

In the Cold War context out of which this argument emerged, the Russian position is understandable. Moscow insisted that the communist Korean government was legitimate and the “fascist” South Korean regime was not. This argument has persisted, though in changed form. Today, Russians do not take seriously North Korean ideology or believe the Kim family has found an effective model of government.17 But Russians continue to believe that Washington poses a threat to the Pyongyang regime, and that this explains much of its reckless behavior.

Mainstream Russian analysis believes the US-North Korean relationship is at the center of the Korean question, and it interprets this in the context of what many Russians see as a trend of regime change in US foreign policy. Russians do not see the Iraq War as a one-off event. Instead, analysts believe that US-backed regime change efforts occurred across the former Soviet space during the 2000s, including the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia, the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the 2005 Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan. This trend has only intensified, as Washington toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya in 2011 and backed the Maidan revolution in Kyiv in 2013-2014. Indeed, it is the Libyan example that shapes views of North Korea’s strategic choices. In 2003, the Libyan government offered to surrender its nuclear program in exchange for great diplomatic recognition from the West as well as economic benefits. Eight years later, when Gaddafi wanted to brutally suppress a rebellion that sought to topple him, the West reversed course, leading a bombing campaign that helped drive him from power. He was eventually killed by rebels.

What lesson did Pyongyang draw? Russian analysts are nearly unanimous: the lesson was that North Korea would not be wise to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for paper promises. “Some accuse Pyongyang of paranoia, but its reputation as a hell-raiser gives it a fighting chance now that interventions in rogue countries have become routine,” writes Fyodor Lukyanov. “The North Korean leadership is doing its utmost to show that it would go to any lengths if threatened. Knowing what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, whose fates are proof that bluffing is not a wise policy, North Korea has created a nuclear and a missile program. It may have few nuclear missiles, but their very presence makes the price of potential foreign interference unacceptably high.”18 Given US regime change policy, Russian analysts believe, the continuation of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is understandable.

Whenever negotiations between North Korea and the other members of the Six-Party Talks have helped to reduce tension, Russian analysts have credited the improvement to a softening US policy rather than changes in North Korea. Pyongyang’s interests are seen as immutable and even legitimate, whereas Washington’s are subject to change. For example, in 2008, when the Six-Party Talks appeared to be making progress, a leading expert on North Korea argued that “the situation eventually improved thanks to Pyongyang’s offensive—and often provocative—policies toward the world’s only remaining superpower.” The reason was that North Korean policies “resulted in an about-face in U.S. policy that ranged from pressure and attempts to bring down the North Korean regime to engagement.” It was Washington’s decision to stop threatening a regime change that improved ties. Nonetheless, this analyst noted, “there are well-grounded doubts as to whether influential forces in Washington have fully renounced the strategic goal of replacing the North Korean regime, albeit by milder methods than through the use of force.”19 The key variable in dialing up and ratcheting down tensions is US policy.

The reason analysts see US policy as the key to stability—or instability—on the peninsula is because Pyongyang’s policies are seen as frustrating but essentially legitimate. Many American analysts, by contrast, believe the North Korean government is illegitimate because of both its brutal methods of rule at home and its reckless behavior in the region. Russian foreign policy experts, however, tend not consider a government’s domestic policies in assessing its legitimacy: if it has established power at home, it must be recognized abroad. Foreign policies, meanwhile, are interpreted in the context of a perceived US threat. Lukyanov has noted that “Pyongyang usually takes reactive rather than proactive steps…Unlike Iran, which has huge ambitions and a specific view of the geopolitical architecture in the region, North Korea has just one vital goal—to prevent anyone from encroaching on its interests.”20

It is Washington’s fault for pushing North Korea into a corner where it believes it has no options besides recklessly lashing out at its neighbors. North Korea is not about to give up its nuclear program, and it has no obligation to do so, most Russian analysts think. The US attempt to force Pyongyang to disarm, coupled with continued American efforts to delegitimize the Kim regime, are the root of the peninsula’s tension. Analysis plays relatively little attention to the role of South Korea and Japan in demanding change in North Korean behavior and, thereby, contributing to escalated tension. Interpreting the North Korean question solely through the lens of Pyongyang’s ties with Washington fails to account for its terrible relations with other neighbors.

American Efforts to “Contain” China

Russian analysts argue that the US policy of “containing” China increases risks in Asia more broadly. As during the Cold War, the two main threats Russians perceive in the Pacific theater are China and the United States—and then as now, there is disagreement about which country poses a larger challenge to Moscow’s interests. Some analysts today argue that the Kremlin should focus more on the long-term economic and potential security risks posed by growing Chinese power. Most experts, however, say that the United States represents a more pressing threat to Russian interests, particularly after the Maidan revolution in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. US efforts to “contain” China pose two dilemmas for Russia. First, the United States is seeking to strengthen an economic order in which China is forced to play by rules written by Washington. In such a system, Russia plays at best a secondary and contingent role. Second, US efforts to bolster its military presence in Asia, especially via missile defense systems, are interpreted as threatening Russia’s interests and regional stability.

Washington’s strategy of establishing a US-centric economic order in Asia has sparked concern as Russia looks set to be left behind. Despite many promises from Russian leaders that the country is beginning to take Asian economic exchanges seriously, the reality looks rather different. Not only was Russia not a party to the TPP negotiations, it is also left out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations. Some analysts interpreted Russia’s non-participation in TPP merely as evidence that it is unwilling to sign such deep multilateral trade deals. As Sergey Afontsev pointed out, joining TPP was “impossible both politically (due to its priority orientation to a ‘multipolar world’), and economically—given the growth of protectionist tendencies and the official fashion for import substitution.” Claims that Russia would have lost out from TPP overlooked the fact that it would never have been willing to join had it been invited.21

Other Russian analysts interpreted initiatives such as TPP as a deliberate attempt by Washington to lock Russia out of Asian trade. Alexei Portansky noted how “Washington openly emphasizes its dominant role in the project: speaking of the TPP in the spring of 2015, President Obama stressed that the U.S. could not allow countries like China to write the rules for the global economy. The absence of China among TPP members is evident proof that one important goal of the TPP is to neutralize China’s power in global trading.”22 Russian leaders were no less explicit in seeing it as an effort to bolster US hegemony in the region. In November 2016, Putin argued that “the Trans-Pacific Partnership is just another US attempt to build an architecture of regional economic cooperation that the US would benefit from,” criticizing the fact that “this initiative is carried out behind closed doors, even businesses and the public of the contracting states have no access to it, let alone other countries.”23 Given many Russians’ belief that Asian countries are forced to tolerate US-backed economic sanctions on Russia thanks to their reliance on Washington, Russia’s fear of the expansion of a Washington-led economic system is understandable.24

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from TPP and its skepticism about multilateral trade deals means that the perceived risk from US efforts to restructure Asian trade patterns has decreased. Yet, analysts believe that not all is well in the Asia-Pacific region. Despite rhetoric that Hillary Clinton was a warmonger, some Russian experts have concluded that the Trump administration has increased the likelihood of a US-China confrontation. Most analysts argue “containment” is forcing a sharp dividing line through Asia and driving China toward war. Obama’s “Asian pivot” is interpreted as a policy intended to “check the growth of China’s power and influence” while retaining the US “superpower predominance,”25 whether this is primarily about diplomatic, economic, and military maneuvering in East and Southeast Asia, or even war that may result from containing China. Vassily Kashin has argued that the United States, no longer believing that “China will inevitably, gradually and relatively painlessly transform into a loyal member of the US-led world order,” has embarked on an irreversible policy of containment.

Kashin argues, “the scope of China’s containment is broadening, while the scope of US-China cooperation is narrowing.”, Kashin adopts the approach of a so-called realist, discounting “high volumes of US-China trade or the great enthusiasm for American popular culture among the Chinese as evidence that war might be avoided.” He writes, “In the 1920s and early 1930s, Japan’s main trading partners were the United States, the British Empire, China, and the Dutch East Indies… precisely the countries that Japan later attacked.”26 A military clash can only be averted, Kashin implies, if the United States abandons its policy of containing China, which few analysts perceive as likely. Taking China’s policy of expanding its military influence and militarizing the South China Sea as a given, they ask Washington to change its ways.

Moscow fears a US military buildup in Asia more than Chinese rearmament. The United States maintains a technological edge over Russian forces, while China’s defense spending surge has benefitted Russian arms producers, which have sold advanced technologies. Yet, Russia fears that a US buildup in the Asia-Pacific to “contain” China could be easily deployed against Russia. The recent deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea, which Washington says is designed to counter a potential North Korean missile attack, is seen as upsetting the regional balance. Decades of complicated history have left nearly zero trust between the United States and Russia on questions of missile defense, and Moscow sees THAAD as threatening an arms race. Russia’s ambassador to South Korea has argued that “THAAD deployment may have a dangerous impact on the peninsula… We regard it as part of the U.S. global missile defense system.”27 At a time when many Asian powers are expanding their militaries, Russian analysts believe that America’s “rebalancing” toward the Asia-Pacific region is uniquely destabilizing.

Many Russian experts see Sino-US confrontation as good for Russia, because it guarantees that China will be more interested in seeking Russian cooperation and that the United States will not be able to focus fully on Europe and the Middle East, the two regions in which Russo-US interests are most contradictory. One significant shift in recent years is the extent to which long-term concern about China’s rise now looks far less important than the benefits of cooperating with China against the West.28 Experts note frustration at the extent to which Russia has failed to benefit from its ties with China economically.29 The relationship remains one focused on foreign policy questions, of which there are many where the two agree. The stronger the antagonism between Washington and Beijing, the more likely Beijing is to side with Russia on regional questions. This makes it easier for Russia to negotiate with Beijing, which by most measures is a stronger power. Russia’s critiques of US strategy toward China, in other words, comes with a significant irony: the American politics that many Russian experts blame for destabilizing Asia make it easier for Russia to manage its own relationship with Beijing.


Russia’s “turn to the East” has been stymied, to a considerable extent, by factors blamed on the United States. Japan and South Korea, it is said, have yielded to US pressure, rather than acting in accord with what Russians contend are their national interests. The US containment of China and drive for “regime change” in North Korea are causing tensions that undermine Russian aims for a multilateral security framework and geoeconomic realignment, including a north-south axis of energy and transportation corridors along the Korean Peninsula. Russian sources cast blame on US policies since the end of the Cold War in ways reminiscent of earlier Soviet accusations. Russian analysis of three key dilemmas in Asian security—the Japan-Russia territorial dispute, the Korean question, and the rise of China’s military strength—emphasizes the role of the United States in each of these spheres. Washington plays a significant role in each of these diplomatic knots, both because its decisions helped to create them and because it retains interests that clash with one or several other regional powers.

However, Russian analysts tend to overstate the US role at the expense of other regional actors. A long tradition in Soviet and Russian thinking discounts the independence of US allies such as Japan and South Korea, interpreting their decisions in light of US preferences rather than their internal considerations. Yet, the alliances between Washington and its partners in Seoul and Tokyo have persisted primarily because each country perceives a significant overlap in interests. In the case of China’s rise, meanwhile, Russians often see Beijing’s expansive policies as immutable, whereas Washington’s are subject to debate and potential revision. In reality, both sides face a combination of domestic constraints coupled with genuine room for maneuver. The tendency in Russian analysis toward overstating US influence is coupled with a proclivity to understate other powers’ room for maneuver. This may be an understandable legacy of a bipolar Cold War followed by a quarter century of US primacy, but in an increasingly multipolar Asia—which these analysts say they welcome—a more multifaceted analytical lens will be necessary to make sense of the region’s diplomatic dilemmas. Russia’s “Cold War” thinking led it astray in the 1970s-80s as East Asia grew more diverse, and it is narrowing its options just when many states seek new cooperation.

The problem is not just transferring blame to the United States, as during the Cold War, but also failing to recognize other regional dynamics. For example, many regional actors believe that North Korea is the driving force in threatening stability. Japan is inclined to strike a deal with Russia if shared interests can be identified and pursued. China, meanwhile, has alienated most of its neighbors via an assertive policy that has caused many countries to reemphasize relations with the United States. Placing disproportionate attention on the US role is not a basis for sound strategic thinking, because it underestimates the autonomy of the US allies, understates regional opposition to Chinese policies, and misunderstands Russia’s options in the region.

1. “Lavrov: Peregovory glav MID i Minoborony RF i Iaponii byly soderzhatelnymy,” TASS, March 20, 2017.

2. I. I. Kovalenko, Soviet Policy for Asian Peace and Security (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1979).

3. Ibid.

4. Kimie Hara, Japanese-Soviet/Russian Relations Since 1945: A Difficult Peace (London: Routledge, 1998).

5. Hiroshi Kimura, Kurillian Knot: A History of Japanese-Russian Border Negotiations, trans. Mark Ealey (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008), p. 80.

6. Aleksandr Panov, “I ne drug, i ne vrag. A kak?” Kommersant, September 19, 2016.

7. “Iaponia podvodit territorialnye itogi,” Kommersant, December 19, 2016.

8. Alexander Panov, “Abe Goes to Russia for Access to Energy Sources Despite Obama’s Request,” Russian Council on International Affairs, February 24, 2016.

9. Anna Koroleva, “Iaponskie investitsii potekut v Rossiiu,”, April 21, 2017.

10. “Oreshkin soobshchil o snizhenii iaponsikh investitsii v Rossiiu na 80% v 2016 godu,”, March 24, 2017.

11. Константин Саркисов, “Треугольник Япония – США – Китай и безопасность в Восточной Азии,” Российский совет по международным делам, февраля 11, 2015.

12. Natalya Stapran, “Voevat bez oruzhiia, torgovat bez pribyli…O visite Cindzo Abe v SShA,” Rossiiskii Sovet po Mezhdunarodnym Delam, April 30, 2015.

13. “Kitai v meniaiushchemsia mir: novye vyzovy,” Rossiiskii Sovet po Mezhdunarodnym Delam, July 12, 2016.

14. Lionel Barber and Robin Harding, “Japan’s Abe Calls for Putin to be Brought in from the Cold,” Financial Times, January 17, 2016.

15. “Iaponiia nachala mnogokhodovuiu kombinatsiiu,” Kommersant, September 6, 2016; “Druzhba iz-za ostrova,” Kommersant, November 11, 2016.

16. Anatolii Torkunov, “V chem znachenie koreiskogo voprosa dlya Rossii,” Rossiiskii Sovet po Mezhdunarodnym Delam, April 3, 2014.

17. Indeed, North Korea is often cited as an example of political ideology gone wrong, e.g. Dmitri Oreshkin, “Chem golodnee, chem ideinee,” Kommersant May 27, 2013.

18. Fyodor Lukyanov, “Dangers of the Korean Crisis,” Russia in Global Affairs, April 10, 2013.

19. Georgy Toloraya, “Russia’s East Asian Strategy: The Korean Challenge,” Russia in Global Affairs, March 2, 2008.

20. Lukyanov, “Dangers of the Korean Crisis.”< 21. Sergey Afontsev, “No Reason to Panic,” Russia in Global Affairs, February 13, 2016.

22. Alexei Portansky, “A Megaregional Challenge,” Russia in Global Affairs, February 13, 2016.

23. “U.S.-backed TPP to be ineffective without Russia, China – Putin,” RT, November 6, 2014.

24. Timofey Bordachev and Yevgeny Kanaev, “Russia’s New Strategy in Asia,” Russia in Global Affairs, September 23, 2014.

25. Vitaly Vorobyov, “Interconnecting Strategies: Russia and China Strengthen Partner Relations, Russia in Global Affairs, September 25, 2016.

26. Vassily Kashin, “Unity and Struggle: Why China and the U.S. are Opposed to Each Other,” Russia in Global Affairs, September 25, 2016.

27. Elizabeth Shim, “Russia warns South Korea of Consequences if THAAD Deployed,” UPI, February 3, 2017.

28. Dmitri Trenin, “China’s Victory in Ukraine,” Project Syndicate, July 31, 2014; Artyom Lukin, “Ukraine: And the Winner Is . . . China,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, March 19, 2014.

29. Alexander Gabuev, “Friends With Benefits? Russian-Chinese Relations After the Ukraine Crisis,” Carnegie Moscow Center, June 29, 2016;