The Russians seriously need to make peace with America and NATO before they get left standing when the music stops.
Russia hopes that friendship with China can preempt a Chinese threat to Russian interests and territory; and keep America occupied in Asia, unable to fully oppose Russia in the Middle East and Europe.
But Russian hostility toward America risks a pact between America and China that focuses on Russia. After all, how solid can a Russian-Chinese understanding be when Russia controls so much land that the Russians took from China?
American defense of allies that China threatens pales in comparison, really, as prizes to fight over.
And we're a tougher opponent to fight than Russia would be, if it comes to war.
America and China have an interest in a stable Middle East that exports oil to China and America's friends and allies.
America has an interest in helping China gain influence at Russia's expense in Central Asia.
This would tend to divide Chinese military resources and lessen the pressure on our military and our allies in the western Pacific.
With Russia alone in Asia, Japan might gain some maneuvering room to get their Northern Territories seized by the USSR at the end of World War II.
And of course, Russia would find a greater need for more air and ground power in Central Asia and the Far East, reducing the threat to NATO and associated states in the West.
While an American-Chinese deal seems unlikely as a bilateral matter because America would have to abandon allies to give China something, when you make it a game of musical chairs that includes Russia, suddenly options open.
I'm certainly not saying that we should ally with Russia against China. After all, economic ties between America and China rise above any other pair in this triad, so rejecting and isolating China in favor of Russia makes little sense for America. But America has little interest in stoking tensions with a state like Russia that has so many nuclear weapons.
We must prepare to resist Russian aggression. But it would be nice to settle that conflict.
While Russia cannot hope to get American help to fight China over Russian interests, Russia could at least get a peaceful western front from a peace deal with America and NATO.
And the risk for Russia of continuing their stupid hostility toward the West that would never pose a threat to Russia absent unrelenting Russian hostility is clear.
If China resets relations with America at sea, China would have a free hand to exploit gains inland at Russia's expense. As long as Russia remains hostile to America and NATO, that's a good deal for America, our allies in Asia, and China.
I've long wanted such an approach to China.
If we manage that kind of deal with China, Russia will be alone. For a state that is so paranoid that it can have only vassals or enemies around it, that seems fitting.
And from Russia's point of view, fully expected.
UPDATE: Russia is alone, which makes it understandable that they'd want to divide NATO to move the correlation of forces in their direction and enable them to cut away one or two from the herd.
But it would be far easier for Russia to stop being an aggressive paranoid pain in the ass and make peace with the West, which would make it far easier to defend the vast Russia from threats.