American foreign policy is based on treaties and coalition building, of which NATO is a prime example. When the United States invaded Iraq, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland all contributed to the invasion force, and another 36 nations participated in the subsequent occupation. It was a shit invasion predicated on lies, yet the United States cobbled together a massive international coalition to provide diplomatic cover. (And mostly, diplomatic cover is what was most important, as many of those other troop deployments were tiny and symbolic.)
China has no military allies other than North Korea, and what diplomatic support it gets is mostly focused on the Taiwan issue, which it buys with copious amounts of economic aid. Russia has the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with former Soviet central Asian countries (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), and close friendships with a handful of nations in our hemisphere built upon shared hatred of the United States (Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia-ish). But for Russia and China, those are relationships built on dominance, not on mutual respect and a spirit of partnership.
Prior to the invasion, Russia demanded to negotiate directly with the United States. Why? Because it couldn’t fathom that Europe could have its own ideas and interests in play. In Russia’s eyes, European nations are just vassals of the United States, with Washington moving the chess pieces based on its whims.
The referenced Bordachev is some foreign policy expert in Moscow, but it’s thinking that permeates the very core of the Russian government. It can’t understand why Europe can think for itself, because of projection. Belarus is now de facto Russian territory, and Russia is quick to send troops to CSTO nations at any hint that a puppet government is threatened. It’s literally the reason Russia is attacking Ukraine, claiming that only it can speak for its neighbor.
Sure, China and Russia signed an agreement, an “unprecedented” strategic alliance with “no limits,” but we found out just a few days ago that actually, there are limits. China isn’t back Russia’s war. At best, it just won’t impose economic sanctions. Unlike the United State’s multi-nation alliance on Iraq, Russia went in solo, and only yesterday dragged Belarus in with a need for more cannon fodder. (If you think Russian troops suck, just wait for you to see whatever it is Belarus is about to vomit inside Ukraine.)
The whole world order is being rearranged, with historically neutral Finland and Sweden now looking to join NATO. Other proud neutral nations like Singapore and Switzerland have also joined the sanctions regime. And today, in a UN General Assembly vote condemning Russia, we saw just how deep Russia’s isolation has become.
It lost Cuba.
The final vote was 141 to condemn, 34 abstentions, and only four backing Russia (which cast the fifth “no” vote)—Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, and Syria. Eritrea, for the record, is as hellish a violator of human rights as all the other rogue countries on that very short list. Among the abstentions were China, India, Iran, and the entire non-Russia CSTO contingent. In the Americas, it lost client states Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua to abstentions, and Venezuela didn’t even bother to show up and vote. It probably didn’t want to embarrass Russia with an abstention, but couldn’t vote “no” when it fears a United States invasion.