Russia and China are taking advantage of a "weak West" as they move to build more economic ties, says former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to China to offset sanctions from the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Japan that have been implemented over the crisis in Ukraine, primarily with its natural gas exports.
"Putin obviously is in a position where he's looking for friends, he's looking for investors. So right now, I think it's a relationship of opportunity," Hoekstra told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.
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"They see a weak America," he added. "They see a weak Europe, and they think, 'Hey, let's take advantage of this, and let's move as quickly as we can.'"
Hoekstra contends that "it's not only a perception" but a reality.
"We are weak in terms of influencing, and we are not exerting global leadership," he said.
Putin is set to visit Beijing next week to finalize a 30-year deal to build a natural gas pipeline from Russia to China.
Russia is also looking to China to invest in its infrastructure, real estate, and minerals, in what will be called the Russia-China Investment Fund, Forbes
Hoekstra said the move is not good for the West and not good for the United States. He explains that "a lot of American companies saw" the natural resources in Russia "as a huge opportunity for them to develop their businesses."
contends that the growing relationship between China and Russia "could lead to a seismic geo-political shift."
Hoekstra said that it is "not necessarily" a fundamental shift in the relationship, but agrees that it could lead to one.
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