The absence of Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Indonesia indicates Russia’s loneliness on the global geostrategic tableau and the consolidation of Xi Jinping as the representative of a China that disputes commercial, scientific and political hegemony with the United States, Europe and all west.

President Xi held a three-hour conversation with Joe Biden establishing the framework for bilateral relations, which will be tense and with red lines such as Taiwan’s belonging to China and the United States’ defense of the independence of the island, which was a main ally of Taiwan. Washington in the Pacific until Nixon traveled to China in February 1972 at the behest of strategist and maneuverer Henry Kissinger.

The cards between the United States and China are cast and the game will be long and uncertain with Taiwan as a trophy or bastion of resistance, according to each of the two parties. President Xi has made a display of soft diplomacy at the Bali summit. He has also met with Macron, with Pedro Sánchez and other European leaders. A few days ago Chancellor Scholz officially visited Beijing. China, unlike Russia, does not want to promote revolutions or subject other countries to the obedience of Beijing. It is enough for it to invest, colonize commercially, export its technology and be an essential agent of progress in Africa, Latin America and also in the developed countries of the West that actively and passively depend on China.

The unquestionable penetration of the United States into Western culture in the last century is intended to be exercised in a different way by China in this century. With one very notable difference: Americans live in the freedom of an imperfect democracy and the Chinese are controlled by more than 90 million members of the Communist Party who monitor the lives and activities of their fellow citizens.

However the war in Ukraine ends, it is not within the framework of Chinese priorities that the conflict continue in the form of an old, clumsy, imperial war and with the use of brute force. Putin not only lives in isolation in the Kremlin but does not have a prosperous and modern country behind him. The loss of the city of Kherson and the advances of the Ukrainian troops in the Donbass show the inconsistency of the Russian army, which did not count on the patriotic fervor of the Ukrainians when facing an unjustified and unprovoked invasion.

The United States and Europe will continue to support Zelensky in his fight against Russian aggression. But, at the same time, they will try through diplomatic channels to stop the war that endangers the planet’s food supply, increases the cost of living and destabilizes politics in democratic nations.

The wars that Russia has won have always been in alliance with other countries, which, subsequently, each one has followed its own course and interests. Putin is alone and if Zelensky continues to reconquer territory, this loneliness may lead him to act desperately and make the ultimate mistake that could lead to a palace coup in the Kremlin.

Eternal Russia will last and will condition world politics, although with less intensity than in the last two centuries. The center of gravity has shifted further to the East, where China is trying to dominate Asia and be an essential global player. The struggle between the liberal democracies of the West and the authoritarian systems of China, India and Russia, each in their own way, is the great battle ahead.