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The Dynamics of China-Russia-Iran Axis



The potential for a strategic partnership between China, Russia, and Iran has been raised by their respective rises. While a formal alliance like NATO is unlikely to be formed, their collaboration in a number of areas points to a situational alignment based on mutual interests.


China and Russia have had a complicated relationship in the past. The fall of Imperial China in the 19th and 20th centuries was exploited by the Russian Empire. However, Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated after supporting Mao in the Chinese civil war, sparking an armed battle on their border.


Russia and China's relations have progressively improved since the fall of the Soviet Union. The founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has evolved into a forum for military, economic, and energy cooperation with other powerful Asian nations in addition to Russia and China.


On the other side, in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region, Russia and Iran have long been adversaries. The fall of the Soviet Union and Russia's anti-Western attitude, however, pushed these two nations closer together. Likewise, historical relations between China and Iran were not particularly noteworthy due to their geographical separation. Nevertheless, bilateral ties improved in the twenty-first century, especially as China consolidated its place as a major player in the world.


Trade ties between Russia and China have improved recently on an economic level. China has surpassed $100 billion in trade with Russia, making it its largest trading partner. China's enormous infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, has been instrumental in establishing a link between Chinese and European markets via Russia. Russia and China tried to lessen their reliance on the US dollar in commercial dealings in reaction to western sanctions, which led to agreements to trade in their respective currencies.


Russia and China's collaboration has been progressively growing in terms of their military cooperation. China has purchased powerful military hardware from Russia, including Su-35 fighters and S-400 air defence systems. Both bilaterally and inside the SCO's framework, joint military drills have been held. Senior Chinese officials have proclaimed that there is "no limit" to the military cooperation between China and Russia, signalling a developing strategic alliance.


These nations disagree with Western ideologies, especially those that promote democracy and human rights at the expense of national sovereignty. On the foundation of the concepts of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, they advocate for a state-centric view of the international system. Their convergence has become stronger with opposition to the American-led world order.


China, Russia, and Iran have reasons to band together internationally in order to defend their respective perceived domains of influence and balance out American power in Eurasia. With these three nations forming as a new power bloc, the balance of power in the world has been shifting away from the US and towards this region.


Despite not being a formal alliance, the China-Russia-Iran axis has become more unified due to their similar goals in military cooperation, economic cooperation, and hostility to Western ideologies. Their relationships do not, however, come without difficulties, and each nation will continue to put its own national interests first. In the years to come, the global landscape will surely be shaped by the dynamics of this axis.

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