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Why Xi and Putin think "the West is in free fall"

Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin are strategizing how to reposition themselves for a new, more powerful future amid a rapid deterioration of the U.S.-led global order.

What we're hearing: Xi and Putin, meeting Friday in Beijing and again yesterday in the city of Qingdao, don't appear to think they have the cachet — even combined — to create an entirely new system. Nor is it clear that at the moment they would want to trash the U.S.-led institutions that have anchored the global economy and political order since World War II.