Russia’s war performance reflects badly on China, a major buyer of Russian arms, even as it risks an energy-led recession in Europe that will hurt Chinese trade. But the greater danger is that a war-weakened Russia will expose China’s border as military frictions throughout Central Asia reignite.
From the heyday of the British Empire to the present, sea powers have set the global order and land powers have contested it. While China has traditionally been a continental power, its capabilities at sea have grown in recent years. Choosing to side with Russia would be a step backwards into the land power paradigm.