While the American public and our political leaders are not surprisingly focused primarily on the strategic implications of the Biden administrations rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan, two other events have recently taken place that could also have profound long-term implications for US National Security. They are a five-day Russian Chinese joint military exercise in China and a conference on Middle East challenges that was held in Baghdad, Iraq.
While exercises between the two countries have been going on for more than 15 years, this was one of the largest and the first one held in China. They aim to improve the military capabilities of both countries, and most importantly enhance interoperability between their militaries and institutionalize and deepen bilateral defense ties even though there is no formal alliance. These exercises benefit both sides. They are especially useful for the PLA, which has not engaged in large combat operations since its 1979 invasion of Vietnam, to learn from the Russians who have and continue to conduct military operations in Europe Asia and the Middle East. The Russians also benefit because the Chinese currently produce more sophisticated weapons than they do. The Russian troops used Chinese equipment during every stage of the exercise and fell under Chinese command.
The above excerpt was originally published in Military Times.
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