At first sight, things look very different now. When President Xi Jinping of China took pride of place next to Vladimir Putin of Russia on Saturday, they looked like any other modern world leaders: pragmatic men-in-suits, full of smiles, temporary possessors of power rather than dictators-for-life.
Back in 1949, when Chairman Mao Tse-tung paid his first visit to Moscow to celebrate Comrade Joseph Stalin’s 70th Birthday, it was a paean of old-school Communism.
Children in Young Pioneer uniforms paraded through the Bolshoi Opera House telling of their ambition to become tractor drivers. Mao wore a “Mao suit” and Stalin military uniform. Both men looked grumpy.
But the two events, six decades apart, have a clear parallel. Once again, the Russia-China axis is the main threat to the West’s vision of peaceful and prosperous international relations.
In itself, there isn’t much new to this. China has been railing against a “unipolar world” for a decade. Mr Putin and his allies all have their reasons for disliking the West’s tendency to set a high store on open elections, a free press and “cooperative” foreign policies.
What is stark is that Russia and China are now openly stating their intention to stand together to lead such an alliance.
The history is a patchy one. In 1949, Mao felt snubbed by Stalin, who regarded him as just another leader of a Soviet-backed Communist satellite rather than an equal.
Mao’s subsequent falling-out with Stalin’s successors led to the US-China rapprochement following President Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972. The new détente helped defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11594736/A-new-world-order-Putin-and-Xi-put-friendship-on-display.html