The Russian-Chinese lunar exploration agreement highlights Moscow’s split from the United States

The Russian-Chinese lunar exploration agreement highlights Moscow's split from the United States

The photo taken by the Yutu-2 rover (Jade Rabbit-2) on January 11, 2019, shows the Chang’e-4 lander. China announced Friday that the Chang’e-4 mission, which realized the first smooth landing on the far side of the Moon, was a complete success.

Xinhua News Agency Xinhua News Agency Getty Images

He called it the Lunar Politics.

This week, the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Occurred An agreement with the Chinese National Space Administration, to establish an international scientific lunar station “with open access to all interested countries and international partners.” It has been the most dramatic sign yet that Moscow sees its space future with China rather than the United States, further emphasizing its growing strategic alliance with Beijing.

This comes after a quarter of a century of space cooperation between the United States and Russia, launched by those who dreamed of a post-Cold War reconciliation between Moscow and Washington. The high point was build and operate International Space Station.

This week’s agreement also marked a clear rebuke of NASA’s call for Russia to join Artemis project, Named after Apollo’s twin sister, and aims to place the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024. With international partners, Artemis will also explore the lunar surface more comprehensively than ever before, using advanced technologies.

“They see that their program is not international, but rather similar to the NATO program,” Dmitry Rogozin mocked Last year, Director General of Roscosmos, who previously mocked a lot in Brussels as a former Russian ambassador to NATO. “We are not interested in participating in such a project.”

Rather than delving into what all this means for the future of space, it is perhaps more important for the Biden administration to consider how to consider this latest news in its emerging approach to Putin’s Russia.

President Biden has no illusions about Putin, as he is showing that he will intervene when he concludes that it is in the interest of the United States and punish him when necessary. His first foreign policy win was a deal with Putin to extend new strategic arms control talks abandoned by President Trump.

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Saint Petersburg, Russia – June 6, 2019: Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at a ceremony held at St. Petersburg University, in which Xi Jinping was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from St. Petersburg University.

Alexey Nikolsky | Tas | Getty Images

However, Biden also imposed new sanctions on Russia, in coordination with the European Union, after poisoning and then imprisoning opposition leader Alexei Navalny. It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will act on new or existing US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the currently most active issue that divides the European Union and even German politics.

Whichever path Biden chooses, it would be wise not to compound the mistakes of previous administrations due to misconceptions about Russia’s backsliding or an excessive focus on Beijing.

“Putin does not have the same strength as his Soviet predecessors in the 1970s or that of Chinese President Xi Jinping today.” Writes Michael McFall, US ambassador to Moscow to President Obama, on foreign affairs. “But Russia is not the weak and ramshackle country it was in the 1990s. It has re-emerged, despite negative demographic trends and declining market reforms, as one of the most powerful countries in the world – with more military, electronic and economic power, and more ideological power than most estimate The Americans. ”

McFall notes that Russia has modernized its nuclear weapons, while the United States has not, and has significantly modernized its conventional military. Russia has 11YThe largest economy in the world, with a greater per capita GDP than China.

“Putin has also made significant investments in space weapons, intelligence, and cyber capabilities, which the United States learned the hard way about,” McFall wrote, referring to Great cyber attack It was revealed earlier this year after it infiltrated multiple parts of the US government and thousands of other organizations.

At the same time, Putin is showing less restraint in how he confronts tough domestic opponents, defying Western powers, and appears willing to take risks for a dual motive: restoring Russia’s stature and influence and diminishing the stature of the United States.

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This weekend, Henri Foy, Financial Times Moscow bureau chief, puts forth a compelling account of Russia today under the headline,The third atrocity of Vladimir Putin.

“After 20 years in which Putin’s rule was supported first by economic prosperity, then by quarrelsome patriotism, his government has now turned to repression as the central tool for maintaining power,” writes Foy.

The world witnessed this clearly in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and then his arrest upon his return to Russia after recovering in a German hospital. Foy also reported a “storm of laws” passed late last year that is clamping down on current and potential opponents. The last step came today (Saturday) by the Russian authorities detained 200 local politicians, including some prominent opposition figures, protest in Moscow.

Some see Putin’s increasingly brutal lure of opposition and widespread arrests, amid the scale and breadth of protests in support of Navalny, as a sign of Putin’s growing weakness.

However, others see his actions from the capture of Crimea in 2014 until the recent apparent cyberattacks, as evidence of his growing capabilities. They warn of more impudent measures in the future.

Both views are correct – Putin is both more weak and capable. His persecution on the inside and his assertion on the outside are two sides of the same man.

So how do you do it?

The Atlantic Council, the organization in which I serve as president and CEO, has had an extraordinary situation General dust From the feuding staff voices this week over the correct course of engagement with Putin’s Russia.

The arguments have focused on the prominent role human rights concerns should play in shaping US policy toward Moscow.

When it comes to this issue, what is difficult to disagree about is that Russia’s growing strategic relationship with China, which was underscored by the beginning agreement this week, is just one among a growing body of evidence that the Western approach to Moscow over the past 20 years. The past failed to achieve the desired results.

What is urgently needed is the Biden administration’s review of Russia’s strategy that begins with an acknowledgment that misconceptions about Russian retreat have overshadowed the need for a more strategic approach.

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It had to be one that would combine more engaging elements to share with more complex forms of containment on the side of partners. It will require patience and partners.

What is needed is the strategic context of the set of actions and policies related to Russia: new or existing economic sanctions regimes against Russia, a possible response to recent cyberattacks, more effective ways to counter disinformation, and a more creative response to the growing Sino-Russian strategy. cooperation.

Overreacting is never a good policy, but underestimating Russia for now is the far greater danger.

The long-term goal should be what those at NASA hoped for 25 years ago – reconciliation and cooperation between the United States and Russia. Then put that in the context of a whole, free and at peace Europe, where Russia finds its rightful place, the dream Articulated By President George HW Bush a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Whatever Putin wants, it is hard to believe that the Russians would not prefer this outcome even to the moon landing between China and Russia.

Frederick Quimby is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist, and president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on global affairs. He worked for the Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor, and as an editor, spending the longest serving on the newspaper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth” – was a New York Times bestseller and was published in more than a dozen languages. Follow him on Twitter @FredKempe and subscribe here to our reversal points, an every Saturday look at the last week’s top news and trends.

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