China + Russia is a very scary situation. What Russia lacks, China can supply and what China lacks, Russian expansionism can help with.
China has lots of people. Most estimate that the number is around 1.4 trillion. Russia has one hundred and fifty million. So, despite Russia having massive deposits of oil and gas, they are not able to become a manufacturing powerhouse or a powerhouse economically without selling massive amounts of oil and gas.
Europe – especially Germany – spent enormous amounts of money on Russian oil and gas. But once Putin’s aggression to Ukraine made him a persona non-grata to Europe and the West, China came in to rescue him. When China orders gas, they order in the hundreds of millions of dollars which keeps the Russian economy going. That saves the Russian economy from the so-called crippling sanctions.
But China needs Russian aggression to cover for them while they plan their invasion of Taiwan. China always has wanted Taiwan back and they know that now may be the most opportune time they will have in many years. With Russia keeping the West and especially the United States on edge, China can afford to risk an effort to swallow up Taiwan.
The US needs strong but smart leadership that will work on a triangulation strategy that tries to get the Russian and Chinese interests to be non-aligned. We are far from that situation today.