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The New Cold War: The West vs. the Authoritarian Axis

China, Russia, and Iran have formed a new Axis that poses a serious threat to the West and the world's liberal and democratic states. This Axis is united by its opposition to Western liberal democracy and its support for authoritarian regimes and terrorist groups.

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Joe Biden delivered a shock to Xi Jinping by proposing a bilateral summit -- with Vladimir Putin. (Nikkei montage/AP)

The rise of the new Axis is a direct challenge to the post-Cold War international order. China is now the world's second-largest economy and is rapidly militarizing. Russia is a nuclear power and is waging a war of aggression against Ukraine. Iran is a nuclear-armed state that is developing ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist groups throughout the Middle East.

The three countries of the new Axis are also increasingly coordinating their activities. They have held joint military exercises, exchanged intelligence, and cooperated on economic projects. In 2021, the three countries signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement.

The new Axis poses a threat to the West in a number of ways. First, it could lead to a new Cold War between the West and the East. Second, it could embolden authoritarian regimes around the world. Third, it could increase the risk of conflict in the Middle East and other regions.

The West needs to take the new Axis seriously and develop a comprehensive strategy to counter it. This strategy should include a mix of military, economic, and diplomatic measures. The West should also work to strengthen its alliances with other countries that are threatened by the new Axis.

Here are some specific steps that the West can take to counter the new Axis:

  • Increase military spending and modernize its armed forces.
  • Strengthen its alliances with NATO and other countries in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
  • Impose tougher sanctions on China, Russia, and Iran.
  • Support pro-democracy movements in these countries.
  • Work to reduce the West's dependence on Russian and Chinese energy.

The West must act now to counter the new Axis. If it does not, the world could face a new era of instability and conflict.

In addition to the steps listed above, the West should also focus on promoting its values and ideals around the world. The West stands for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. These values are essential for building a peaceful and prosperous world. The West must make it clear that it is committed to defending these values and that it will not stand by as authoritarian regimes try to undermine them.

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