While the United States hypocritically assailed Russia for its “aggression” in Ukraine – and worked (unsuccessfully) to isolate the nation diplomatically from the rest of the world – Russia was busy putting the finishing touches on a major economic deal with China.

Under the terms of the agreement reached this week, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom natural gas company will supply China’s state-owned National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with at least 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually beginning in 2018 – a figure representing approximately 25 percent of the nation’s annual consumption.┬áThat total could climb above 60 billion cubic meters, though, depending on Chinese demand – which is expected to more than double in the coming decades.

The gas – which represents roughly a quarter of Russia’s gas exports to Europe – will flow through a new pipeline linking the two countries, yet another symbol of the strengthening alliance between Moscow and Beijing.

Reduced dependence on coal is also expected to improve China’s pollution situation.

The deal – which will net Gazprom at least $400 billion over the coming three decades – is a coup for Putin. It’s also yet another geopolitical embarrassment for the United States, which urged China not to do anything to diminish the impact of global sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Yeah … because rhetoric from a dying superpower is clearly going to trump core national interests.

Even more troubling for Washington, D.C. is the possibility China will pay for all that gas using its own currency, the Yuan, as opposed to petrodollars – which would dramatically weaken the status of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

“A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States,” writes┬áPepe Escobar for Russia Today.

Indeed … check the rearview mirror, America: That’s your global relevance growing smaller.