From the American perspective, Ukraine, Russia and China are increasingly interpreted as part of the same geopolitical puzzle.

Blinken told Australian reporters on Friday that Ukraine matters not only for itself, but also because of “very fundamental principles” such as “territorial integrity and sovereignty, independence…If we allow these principles are challenged with impunity, even if it’s half a world at the other end of Europe, it will have an impact here too.”

In other words, China is monitoring what Russia does (or is allowed to do) in Europe.

If Russia is allowed to invade Ukraine, then – the theory goes – China will be emboldened and more likely to invade Taiwan.

Blinken’s comments followed remarks by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Australia in January, who said ‘I don’t think we can rule this out…the abusers are working in concert’ when asked. on China’s potential to launch a war in Indochina. Pacific if Russia takes similar action in Europe.

Proponents of the ‘two fronts’ theory feel bolstered by the bonhomie exhibited between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping at the Beijing Winter Olympics – with Putin calling Xi ‘my dear friend’.

The two released a 5,000-word joint statement in which Xi backed Putin’s opposition to further NATO expansion and Putin reaffirmed that Russia considers Taiwan an integral part of China.

The problem with the two-front theory – which effectively describes a potential World War III – is that it oversimplifies things in the quest to create a single, chilling geopolitical narrative.

Reuters reported on Saturday that Taiwan had detected “no unusual maneuvers” from China as the crisis between Ukraine and Russia escalated. The report added that Taiwan’s presidential office viewed the situations as “fundamentally different” and that people should not believe “false information” that confused what was happening in Europe with Taiwan’s own situation.

In other words, Taiwan is not Ukraine.

A more plausible explanation for the two-front theory is that it is used to try to convince those in the West who fail to see why what Russia does or does not do in the Donbass matters.

This is particularly important in the United States, where a wide range of voices have argued that the United States should stay completely out of the Ukrainian conflict, in part because they believe it is a distraction from competition with the China.

Yet it is undeniable that Moscow is forging increasingly close ties with Beijing.