As Russia has become isolated globally, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official was asked if Moscow has anyone left in its corner, anywhere in the world. Her response: “Of course, we have them. Look at the reaction of world giants. Those who do not pretend to be giants, but are real giants. For example, it is China. You can see this reaction, can’t you?”

So what exactly is going on between Xi Xingping and Vladamir Putin as tensions escalate between Russia and the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

How does this inform our thinking about whether we are, indeed, in a new Cold War — and how we need to re-think our entire national security strategy, defense posture, and approach to global affairs?

Russia’s experience in Ukraine – and the West’s response – is a laboratory for the Chinese Communist Party leadership to study as Beijing contemplates its next moves in this Cold War.

To help us understand how China is interpreting events, Matt Pottinger returns to the podcast. Matt lived in and covered China as a journalist for Reuters and then The Wall Street Journal. Then, in his early 30s, he joined the US Marine Corps, and had multiple combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Later on Matt played an instrumental role in the geopolitical story of our time: reshaping the West’s relationship with China, when he served as the deputy National Security Advisor in the Trump administration, and was the architect of the administration’s strategy towards China.

Today, he is regularly called upon by policymakers on both sides of the aisle, to consult on US policy towards China.

Matt has been closely watching the evolving Moscow-Beijing relationship. He’s also just returned from Israel, where he gained fresh insights on what role the final negotiations over a new Iran nuclear deal factor into all of this. We discuss a lot in this episode – from Moscow and Beijing, to Tehran and Jerusalem, and even Caracas and Pyongyang, and how they are all tied together in Cold War II.

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