Two events that separated them only a few days ago could have caused widespread concern about future scenarios that would push for a new Cold War that would not be confined to Moscow and Washington.
The first was the withdrawal of the United States from the treaty banning medium-range nuclear missiles last week, which it signed with Russia 30 years ago, under which the two sides eliminated nearly 3,000 missiles with a pledge not to produce more.
The second was Defense Secretary Mark Esper's support for the deployment of land-based medium-range missiles in South Asia within a few months.
The US national security strategy at the beginning of the Donald Trump era explicitly pointed out that China and Russia seek to challenge the power, influence and interests of the United States, in an attempt to harm the security and prosperity of the American people.
|Mark Esper announced his support for the deployment of medium-range missiles in South Asia (French)|
Escalation against China
The Pentagon's National Defense Strategy in mid-2018 explicitly referred to China as "a strategic competitor seeking to modernize its armed forces to ensure its regional control over the Pacific and South Asia, and to counter US global influence."
Trump believes that his country's relations with China can be described as "competition between major powers," and 40 years after the recent establishment of relations between the two countries, recent developments indicate that relations will only know escalation in the foreseeable future.
The trade war between the United States and China has taken a dangerous turn in the US Treasury's designation of China as a currency manipulator.
The move was preceded by Trump's imposition of customs duties on $ 300 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Washington's withdrawal from the missile treaty and the announcement by the defense minister of the possibility of deploying missiles near the Chinese border sent a message to Washington's determination to contain China's military influence and strengthen military alliances with neighboring countries.
"China will not remain idle and will be obliged to take retaliatory measures if the United States deploys medium-range missiles in this region," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear treaty with Russia makes it easier to counter China's military ambitions. Most of China's military arsenal includes weapons banned by the United States.
International arms expert Stephen Sistanovich believes that any efforts to stop the arms race should include China, but pointed out that there is no temptation for China to join at the moment, and will quietly produce more rockets without any hindrance, which may have contributed to the Russians To violate the restrictions that hold back their production.
|John Bolton warns Russia and China against backing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro|
Various regional issues complicate Washington's relations with China and Russia. The latter have veto power in the Security Council.
Washington has imposed tough sanctions on Moscow for its attempt to kill former Russian spy Sergei Scribal in 2018, after other sanctions for the annexation of the Crimea peninsula.
Neither Beijing nor Moscow has blocked Washington's diplomatic efforts against North Korea or Iran, but Syria and Venezuela have been at odds.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton this week warned Russia and China of their support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying it was "intolerable".
China and Russia are vying for influence in the Central Asian republics, which China sees as a gateway to global influence, at a time Moscow sees it as a Soviet heritage to be preserved. China's launch of the "Belt and Road" initiative reveals Russian concern about China's expansion.
There is no widespread belief in Washington that there is a return to the arms race with Russia, and observers believe that the real danger is posed by China, which continues to produce sophisticated weapons at a time when its military budget increases by large rates annually.
According to IHS consultancy data, Washington's defense budget for 2018 is estimated at $ 703 billion, China is second with $ 207 billion, and Russia is seventh with a budget of $ 53 billion.
Many experts do not see a cold war yet, but they believe that the biggest danger is the imminent expiration of the 2021 START treaty, which limits the production and deployment of long-range strategic nuclear missiles and applies to Russia and the United States.
Will China join them and expand the agreement? Or will China reject any restrictions on its weapons programs? To begin a new chapter of the arms race between Beijing, Washington and Moscow.