June 22nd, 1941 when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union was a happy day in Britain. They were no longer alone in the war against a power which could draw on the resources of entire Europe. And on December 11th, 1941 when Berlin declared war on the United States Christmas came early for the British. This is a little bit how Moscow feels right now.
Sure Russia and China have enjoyed friendly relations for a long time now (they laid their border dispute to rest in 2003), and the Chinese have been increasingly vary of Washington since at least Obama declared a “Pivot to Asia” seven years ago, but I think 2019 will serve as an even bigger wake up call to make the Chinese understand the Empire has it in for them.
2014 was a good year for Iran, Syria, and in retrospect Venezuela. The deterioration in relations between Washington and Moscow made Russia willing to cooperate with these small powers in ways that would have been beyond the pale beforehand.
Russia and China likewise moved closer together afterwards, but this was mostly driven by Moscow having no other options. China accepted the increased Russian friendship and profited from it (as did Russia) but without embarking on joint projects of the sort that would aggravate its own relationship with Washington.
In fact the Chinese business elites continued to regard their links with the US as more important than their closer, but less lucrative military-political links with Russia. I think 2019 and the way in which the US moved to use these industry links against China, may serve to shake up even the business-minded portions of Chinese leadership to realize that while Americans are useful business partners the Russians represent something much more valuable than that — the enemy of their enemy.
The US economic war on China is not as severe as its economic war on Russia, just like the latter is not as severe as the US economic siege of Iran. Nonetheless it goes to show the Empire would treat China as a rogue state if only it could. They are all under different amounts of pressure but in spirit to the Empire they’re all the same.
I don’t think China will now recklessly move to openly flout US sanctions vs Russia (just like most Russian companies don’t go out of their way to flout US sanctions on Iran) across the whole line, but a certain hardening of attitudes towards the US and greater appreciation of Russia is inevitable.
Beijing will become more open to partnering up with Russia and propping it up even when doing so comes at a certain further cost to its US relations. In other words, Chinese policies will become less tailored by its businesses and more by its military which is quite enthusiastic about Russia links.
And if Trump moves to declare the trade war on the EU he has been threatening to unleash that will be a godsend for China. Like that time when Japan in the midst of invading China bombed the US Navy at Pearl Harbor.