Mackinder Forum Virtual Seminar #77: “A Marriage of Convenience, Not of Affection”

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On Sunday, April 30, at 1:30-3:00 p.m. (Eastern U.S. Time), the Mackinder Forum hosted a panel discussion on significance of the Xi-Putin meeting. The title of our seminar, “A Marriage of Convenience, Not of Affection,” is taken from Admiral John Kirby’s remark provided below.

“These are two nations who chafe and bristle at the idea of U.S. leadership or U.S. influence around the world.  They don’t … like playing by the rules that the world order has in place. And they want to challenge U.S. leadership.  This is a marriage of convenience, not of affection.”  — Admiral John Kirby (ret.), National Security Council Spokesman, March 20, 2023:  

“’Right now there are changes – the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years – and we are the ones driving these changes together,’  Xi told Putin as he stood at the door of the Kremlin to bid him farewell.  The Russian president responded: ‘I agree.’” —

Topic:               Was the meeting of Xi and Putin a portent of significant geopolitical change, a punctuation point of changes that had already occurred, or merely a ephemeral event?  Some years ago, a geopolitical observer claimed that there are times of “geopolitical transition” when passing events reveal profound structural changes in the international order.  The discussants have been asked to address the following questions: What structural changes in the international arena, if any, produced this event? What is the geopolitical significance of this meeting? How should the United States and allies react?  What, if any, is the correct geopolitical perspective from which to view this event?

The discussants:  

Mr. Rodger Baker, executive director of the Stratfor Center for Applied Geopolitics at RANE, a global center of excellence for geopolitical intelligence and analysis.  (For a more complete biography, see

Dr. Robert Destro, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from September 2019 to January 2021 and currently Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C.  (For a more complete biography, see

Dr. John Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago.  (For a more complete biography, see

Rear Admiral Dr. Chris Parry (UK, ret.) now runs a strategic forecasting and trouble-shooting company, proving accurate assessments to governments, leading commercial companies and financial institutions about geo-political and strategic issues, future trends and systemic risk.  (For a more complete biography, see

Readings: No assigned readings for this Mackinder Forum Seminar.