Over the past year, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has made clear its pivot to the Indo-Pacific region, singling out China as the "only competitor" potentially able to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system.

But Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Thursday has underscored that the United States does not have the luxury of dealing only with the China challenge, while possibly complicating Biden's Indo-Pacific strategy that views Europe's engagement as a key part of the "collective capacity" Washington seeks to build in pushing back against Beijing.

"The United States can't simply return to its previous business of focusing predominantly on China," Andrea Kendall-Taylor, an expert on security issues at the Center for a New American Security, told a recent congressional hearing as she spoke about the impact of the Ukraine crisis.