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Review Essay

The Unbalanced Triangle

What Chinese-Russian Relations Mean for the United States

In This Review

Axis of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing, and the New Geopolitics
Axis of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing, and the New Geopolitics
By Bobo Lo
Brookings Institution Press, 2008, 277 pp. $32.95 Purchase

Bobo Lo, a former Australian diplomat in Moscow and the director of the China and Russia programs at the Center for European Reform, in London, has written the best analysis yet of one of the world's more important bilateral relationships. His close examination of Chinese-Russian relations -- sometimes mischaracterized by both countries as a "strategic partnership" -- lays bare the full force of China's global strategy, the conundrum of Russia's place in today's world, and fundamental shortcomings in U.S. foreign policy.

China's shift in strategic orientation from the Soviet Union to the United States is the most important geopolitical realignment of the last several decades. And Beijing now enjoys not only excellent relations with Washington but also better relations with Moscow than does Washington. Lo calls the Chinese-Russian relationship a "mutually beneficial partnership" and goes so far as to deem Moscow's improved ties with Beijing "the greatest Russian foreign

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