“Their troops are now exercising together so they are learning each other’s protocols and communicate with each other.
“I think what will happen is Russia will want to remain valued – its economy is the size of Italy and it is suffering because of its military budget.
“The only way it can sustain this is by somehow, over the next few decades, sliding in behind China.”
Mr Ellwood warned that the reliance between Beijing and Moscow could be “more” significant than what pushed the world within touching distance of nuclear catastrophe during the Cold War.
He added: “There is now a dependence on each other, rather than just liking each other, because of trade, too.
“China is desperate for minerals and resources to keep it country going and build all the things it builds.
“Half of all the stuff in the world is now built in China – that’s a colossal statement.
“To make all that stuff it needs imports and Russia can provide an awful lot of that.”
“China and Iran already have very strong links, as does Iran and Russia as they have a joint interest in Syria.
“This is a natural advance of the current strengths and something the West should recognise as something we have allowed to happen.
“The first thing to do is to rebuild the crumbling international organisations so they have some clout – the World Trade Organisation, the United Nations – these are critical if we are to lean on anything.”
Mr Ellwood called for the UK to spearhead the changes and establish stronger ties with the US.
He continued: “The next thing is to reengage with Western allies to establish what we believe in, what we stand for.
“Five Eyes could be a useful starting point – this is what Britain should be leading – we are good at thinking strategically.
“I hope that is something we can pursue.”
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