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July, 4
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    Putin and Xi’s Imperium of Grievance

    NEW YORK – Soon after the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine flashed across my computer screen, I received an email that seemed to mark another milestone in the dismantling of the old global order. Having tickets to attend a Vienna Philharmonic concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall, I received a “Customer Service Announcement” reporting that the Valery Gergiev – described as “a friend and prominent supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia” – would no longer be conducting the orchestra. Many other orchestras have since cut ties with Gergiev as well.

    Until the Russian invasion, it was still possible to believe that a full Western “decoupling” from China and Russia was both unlikely and unwise. Yet Gergiev’s removal is a metaphor for how the newly confected Sino-Russian axis is catalyzing a rift that will now affect everything from cultural exchanges to trade.

    After all, until the invasion, many were skeptical that the European Union (especially Germany) would ever get the Russian natural-gas needle out of its arm – especially with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline offering up a fresh vein. Equally, many have wondered how the US could ever kick its addiction to low-cost Chinese-made merchandise now that so many of its own factories have closed.

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