The new cold war

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin smile as they shake hands prior to their talks in Beijing, on Thursday. [Sergei Bobylev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]

The warm climate that Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin made a point of cultivating during the Russian president's official visit to China confirms that we are at the beginning of a new cold war. "Together we are defending the principles of justice and a democratic world order reflecting multipolar realities and based on international law," Putin told Xi. This, coming from the leader of a nuclear power which invaded a neighbor, causing the death of untold thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, plunging the world into the uncertainty of a war with no end in sight, shows that as in the 1947-1991 Cold War, the opposing sides can both claim that they are defending peace and democracy against their rivals' aggression. The others' actions always "justify" our suspicions and validate our own choices. Russia and China can therefore present themselves as defenders of international law even as...

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