Unveiling the Global Threat: China, Iran, Russia and North Korea as the Axis of Upheaval

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Unveiling the Global Threat: China, Iran, Russia and North Korea as the Axis of Upheaval

28 May @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The world is witnessing a seismic shift in geopolitical dynamics. The second Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has brought to light a newly formed alliance—one that transcends borders and ideologies. China, Iran, and North Korea’s support of Russia’s war effort has underscored the emergence of this alliance, which shares a common goal: to challenge the existing world order.

But what exactly is this alliance? How did it come into existence, and what drives its members? Join us at the Henry Jackson Society event as we delve into the genesis of this enigmatic geopolitical formation. Our expert panelists will explore its origins, motivations, and potential implications for global stability.


This photo is a property of https://www.cnas.org/people/richard-fontaine


Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of CNAS. He served as President of CNAS from 2012–19 and as Senior Fellow from 2009–12. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain and worked at the State Department, the National Security Council (NSC), and on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Fontaine served as foreign policy advisor to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign and subsequently as the minority deputy staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Prior to that, he served as Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs at the NSC from 2003–04. He also worked on Southeast Asian issues in the NSC’s Asian Affairs directorate.

At the State Department, Fontaine worked for the deputy secretary and in the department’s South Asia bureau. Fontaine began his foreign policy career as a staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. He also spent a year teaching English in Japan.

Fontaine currently serves as executive director of the Trilateral Commission and on the Defense Policy Board. He has been an adjunct professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

A native of New Orleans, Fontaine graduated summa cum laude with a BA in international relations from Tulane University. He also holds an MA in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, and he attended Oxford University. He lives in Virginia with his wife and their four children.


This photo is a property of https://www.cnas.org/people/andrea-kendall-taylor


Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS. She works on national security challenges facing the United States and Europe, focusing on Russia, authoritarianism and threats to democracy, and the state of the transatlantic alliance.

Prior to joining CNAS, Kendall-Taylor served for eight years as a senior intelligence officer. From 2015 to 2018, she was deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In this role, Kendall-Taylor led the U.S. intelligence community’s (IC) strategic analysis on Russia, represented the IC in interagency policy meetings, provided analysis to the National Security Council, and briefed the DNI and other senior staff for White House and international meetings. Prior to joining the NIC, Kendall-Taylor was a senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency where she worked on Russia and Eurasia, the political dynamics of autocracies, and democratic decline.

Outside CNAS, Kendall-Taylor has been a CNN national security analyst. She is also a Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy at Yale University’s Jackson School of Global Affairs and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Her work has been published in numerous political science and policy journals, including Journal of Peace Research, Democratization, Journal of Democracy, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, The Washington Quarterly, and Foreign Policy.

Kendall-Taylor received her BA in politics from Princeton University and her PhD in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was a Fulbright scholar in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, where she conducted dissertation research on oil and autocracy.



Aliona Hlivco is a Managing Director at The Henry Jackson Society and a member of the Advisory Council at Coalition for Global Prosperity.

She is a foreign policy expert with background in global affairs and strategic communications. Aliona is a guest lecturer in various UK and US academic institutions and a regular expert voice on global affairs for international media.

Aliona has had an extensive career in Ukrainian politics, serving as an adviser to the former Prime Minister of Ukraine and holding positions in Chernivtsi Regional Parliament and the Ministry of Infrastructure. She focused on international cooperation, public-private partnerships and decentralisation. She held a public office and was a member of regional parliament in 2015-2018 before she moved to London.

Aliona holds MA in Political Science and MPA from Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine. She is a recipient of the Order of Merit for her service in supporting democracy in Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014.





The Henry Jackson Society hosted an event featuring Richard Fontaine and Dr. Andrea Kendall-Taylor, chaired by Dr. Aliona Hlivco. Richard began by discussing the alliance among China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea, emphasizing their opposition to the Western-dominated global order and their enhanced cooperation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Andrea provided historical context, highlighting the long-standing but evolving ties, despite underlying distrust. She noted that their common goal to undermine the West has strengthened their partnership. The speakers also discussed Putin’s recent visit to China, signaling deeper institutionalized cooperation, especially in the military domain. In the Q&A session, questions focused on the broader implications of this alliance for global security and the strategic responses required by Western alliances.




28 May
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm




Richard Fontaine, Dr Andrea Kendall-Taylor


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