The 2022 Beijing Winter Games went way over budget — putting in high-speed trains and creating a wintry environment in the arid hills outside China’s capital doesn’t come cheap. But the real cost is a miscalculation that has set back Beijing’s desire to balance politics and trade and operate in a stable international environment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is known for being crafty and cunning, but he may have met his match in neighboring strongman Vladimir Putin, who invited him up onto the roof of cozy Russia-China ties during their Feb. 4, 2022 meeting in Beijing only to later pull away the ladder.

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