Xi Jinping & Vladimir Putin: No trust among autocrats
Melinda Liu describes the current relationship between authoritarian buddies Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin as a "marriage of convenience."
"They've known each other a long time, so it's not entirely awkward, but it's not entirely comfortable either. There's ... not a lot of trust," says Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief in an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. "Each of them probably know[s] that down the road, a number of years from now, the tables will be turned and one of them will be aligned with America against the other ... It's always been like that, and it always will be like that."
She compares the China/Russia/US dynamic to China's ancient tale of the Three Kingdoms meets The Godfather, with Xi and Putin as two mafia dons who right now are on good terms but may not stay as cozy in the future.
What's more, Liu believes that Xi is likely as isolated and surrounded by sycophants as Putin, which makes predicting what he'll do next very hard to predict — whatever the "sobering experience" Ukraine has so far taught China about its longtime ambitions on the South China Sea and especially Taiwan.
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