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Spengler

The New Sino-Russian Alliance

May 21st, 2014 - 6:39 am

China and Russia evidently have concluded a 30-year gas deal which shifts the balance of Russian hydrocarbon exports eastwards, but that’s not the thing to focus on. Pravda reports:

The central themes of the talks between the two leaders will be two projects in the field of aviation – the creation of a joint wide-body long-haul aircraft and the production of Mi-26 heavy helicopter in China, the Kommersant reports.

Russia, entering into such cooperation with China, indicates that it is ready to open access to Russian aircraft technologies, despite the fact that China previously resorted to building unlicensed copies of well-known Russian aircraft.

Energy is important, but military and aerospace technology may be even more important. As the Russian newspaper observes, Russia had restricted exports of its best equipment to China because of intellectual property violations. Two weeks ago Putin approved sale of Russia’s new S400 air defense system to China; this reportedly will give China air cover over the whole of Taiwan, among other things.

Russia always has had first-rate designers, but its production capacities never matched the ideas. Merge Russian designs with Chinese engineering, and the likelihood that the Sino-Russian combination might challenge US technological superiority is high. It’s not surprising that Russia responded to US sanctions by cutting off exports of the rocket engines on which the US depends to launch spy satellites. Bloomberg reports that it will take the US six years to build replacement capacity.

Meanwhile, reports the South China Morning Post,

China and Russia started a week-long naval exercise in the politically sensitive East China Sea yesterday.

Chinese and Russian units taking part in the Joint Sea-2014 drill will be combined rather than operating separately during the exercise, the first time the Chinese navy has worked so closely with a foreign maritime force, according to Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie. “The mixed confrontation and drill means the exercises will operate more like a real battle,” said Li. “It shows the two countries’ strategic partnership has entered a high level of cooperation and coordination, even though both Beijing and Moscow insist they are not military allies.”

I may have lost most of my remaining Republican friends for ridiculing the sanctions and saber-rattling at Russia over Ukraine. We spoke loudly and carried a small stick. What do you propose to do now, big talkers?

We have much, much bigger problems than Ukraine. Here’s what I think we should do after we finish wiping the egg off our face.

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Top Rated Comments   
China is also getting the latest, most cutting edge American technology. Every one of our engineering and natural science graduate programs is loaded with Chinese PhD candidates, even our most elite schools like MIT and Cal Tech. And in many departments they are an absolute majority of the graduate students.

Some of these students want to stay in the US, and some do. But most go home and take their skills with them. And even some who stay often go home. E.g., a major researcher in the Mars Rover program just mysteriously resigned his faculty post for no apparent reason and went back to China. The FBI has been all over his offices and labs and home. No reason given.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
They say the meek shall inherit the Earth. The truth is the meek shall inherit the West. With no political correctness to stay their hand, Russia and China will deal ruthlessly with failure, internal or external.

Due to those meek in the West, say good-bye to the Pax Americana. In reality China and Russia are standing tall in the future, not the West, which is immigrating itself into bankruptcy and distraction.

The third player to stand tall may be any empire-builder in Africa that can coalesce there and take over. But they'll have no external force for decades.

Russia and China can act to mutually support the exploitation of resources in their spheres of interest - by force if necessary.

In my opinion, China will eventually innovate a new form of imperialism: they'll swoop into the Philippines or Indonesia, militarize a specific tiny zones for resources, kick everyone out, and take those resources out. Conquest is messy and expensive and vulnerable to rebellion and terrorism.

The only solid game plan within the American zeitgeist which is working overtime is to immigrate our success out of existence. Our daffy political correctness still allows us to pick the best men for sports teams, but not for national interests, because racially, we have decided we don't like where success emanates from. Russia and China have no such goofy delusions that they need messiahs to diversify them due to historic guilt, and therefore into cultural suicide.

Even the PC will tell you they'll take the American know-how of our military to protect them over Brazil's, and then turn around and import the entire thing one person at a time.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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Its the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact all over again. I wonder when they will divide up Central Asia.

http://alfinnextlevel.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/china-russia-recapitulating-the-hitler-stalin-pact/

I'm also wondering if there is any connection between David Goldman in and the "Al Fin" blogger I have linked to in here. They both espouse a "get your act together" Heinleinien conservatism (which is the only kind of conservatism I can relate to).
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a little bit skeptical that Russia and China will actually be able to cooperate on military hardware. Russia may have good designers, but are they going to send their best designs to the Chinese? Chinese engineering is still debatable, though of course I am not counting them out entirely.

Also note reports of Chinese nat gas accessible by fracking, making Russia a stop-gap solution.

And really, why would China put their neck out their for Russia?

"What do you propose to do now, big talkers?"

Their policy will be the same as it has been: criticize Obama for having the same policy as them but a month behind the schedule they would have preferred.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
We should license the production of the A-10 by Brazil to all of our NATO allies and our SEATO allies. Russians rely to heavily on armor. This would be a huge deterrent to Russian expansionism at minimal cost to NATO and SEATO as well as a big profit generator and bridge-builder with the Brazilians.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neither of the above. Scare them both by throwing massive national resources into cutting-edge defense technology. That's why China pivoted to the US against Russia. And that's why Russia effectively surrendered in 1989: they knew they couldn't fight a war against American tech superiority. Well, our edge is eroding. We still have time to reverse this--barely.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a big believer in the A10, but it is extremely vulnerable to Russian and Chinese air defense systems. It's a forty-year-old technology. We need to play leapfrog, not catchup.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cooperation between Russia and China is always worth a prolonged look. But the level of concern expressed over their latest intent to cooperate in a non-energy area assumes the Chicoms will not do as they have done over and over to other countries and companies. The Russians know they’re not to be trusted and, then, who in their right mind would trust the Russians? The threat to cooperate in other areas is Putin’s way of getting back at the West over its condemnations of his moves against Ukraine. I wouldn’t worry about them producing a wide body aircraft together. The last I heard the Chicoms were trying to get into a certain commercial aircraft niche. But even if it gets an FAA certification most western carriers would never buy this aircraft and they won't be buying a wide-body they produce between them.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Force China to choose:
Either alliance with Russia against America, or access to American markets, universities, etc.
One or the other. Period.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"China and Russia evidently have concluded a 30-year gas deal which shifts the balance of Russian hydrocarbon exports eastwards, but that’s not the thing to focus on."

Why is that?
Because it exposes the shallowness of your attempting to focus exclusively on the technology projects?
And does so even as the source you cite notes that China has been stealing from the Russians for decades?
And what exactly are the terms of that deal? Do they involve China not paying up front? Is the actual price tied to that of oil, meaning it will be worth far less as the whole world moves to natural gas?
And just where is this gas being shipped from? Sources that weren't shipping west to begin with?

So Russia has made a deal that:
1. Sells gas they had no other customer for
2. Sells it at a price that may collapse
3. Sells it without upfront payments
4. Requires a $55B investment to begin with
5. Gives up additional high end technology
6. Accepts previous theft of high end technology
7. Makes more noise about abandoning any hope of a compromise with the West

As I said the last time you "threatened" us with Russia making a deal with China this is not a deal between equals, but Russia agreeing to become China's client in hopes of surviving long enough to make a comeback.
And this in the face of a continuing demographic implosion, despite it having slowed from Instant DOOM! to mere Pending DOOM! Indeed, the whole gas deal is almost certain to require Russia importing even more Chinese laborers into their empty Far Eastern districts, making problems there even worse.

"I may have lost most of my remaining Republican friends for ridiculing the sanctions and saber-rattling at Russia over Ukraine. We spoke loudly and carried a small stick. What do you propose to do now, big talkers?"

Nice straw man there.
There are many people, like myself, who opposed both your proposed policy of appeasement of and alliance with Russia as well as the useless posturing of the current administration. (Though do tell, while we were appeasing and allying with Russia, how were we to keep them away from our technological developments for the resurgence against China?)
So the proposal remains as it was then - actually do something to show Russia, and China for that matter, that their territorial revanchism will not be tolerated.

"We have much, much bigger problems than Ukraine. Here’s what I think we should do after we finish wiping the egg off our face."

So now that most of the fallout I predicted would occur as a result of Russia seizing Crimea has happened even after you boldly declared there would be no strategic consequences whatsoever, you are proposing that we . . . increase spending, just focus it on R&D. Which is nice and all, but that is a domestic policy, not a diplomatic policy.
Since you are challenging people over the failed policy of others you should actually propose a functional diplomatic policy of your own.
Or will you keep the egg on your face and stand pat on the failed predictions and recommendation that we try to appease the Russians more than the Russians are trying to appease the Chinese?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russia will provide gas to China at a level much cheaper than to Europe. That's why Chinese urea stocks are rallying (eg HK 3983). Russia had held out for higher prices for a decade, and finally conceded.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
You (BronxZionist) said, "Why is that? Because it exposes the shallowness of your attempting to focus exclusively on the technology projects?"

Technology, as it turns out, is a primary driver of many incredibly important developments in history. Because we all take technology and its continual advancement for granted this can be hard to see. Allow me to give an example:

The laundry machine single-handedly gave women the vote, and propelled them into becoming a huge cultural and intellectual partner to men in Western society. Prior to the laundry machine, most women spent, not just a little, but a very large amount of time cleaning. After the laundry machine, women had for the first time in history, *free time* -- time where they were not toiling like a slave every minute of the day leading them to exhaustion.

This time allowed them to read and learn. That led to the rest.

So that's 50% of the population which "mere technology" freed, enabling a incalculable addition to society. (in fact one could argue that this alone is the predominant defect which holds most Muslim countries back).

Everything from the communications revolution beginning with the telegraph, to the materials revolution (plastics, petroleum-derived products) has worked together to allow the United States to leverage an unbelievable per-capita income. The amount of "value" we create is astounding. It allows us to live in a world more luxurious than anyone's wildest dreams 100 years ago.

According to someone who read Alan Greenspan's book a while back, during the Reagan / Cold-War years, the US *change* in GDP (the delta, the increase alone) was roughly equivalent to (or on the order of) the GDP of the entire Soviet Union(!!) Armed with this knowledge, one can see why Reagan thought it wise to nudge both sides into spending their money at an equal rate -- there was just no way that the US would not outlast the USSR in such a situation. (If I am wrong about this, I'm happy to be corrected).

So Goldman's "focus" on technology is both adroit and prescient. Your reaction however, is neither.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Except of course this isn't a program to make a laundry machine.
Or a telegraph.
Or plastics.

It is a program to upgrade a helicopter that can lift 20 tons into one that can lift 80 tons along with a program to build a super jetliner.
This program is between Russia, which does indeed build rather good fighters and bombers - along with its fair share of rather lousy fighters and bombers - but has less than a stellar reputation in designing and building large transport aircraft that are generally stolen from Western designs in the first place, and China, which pretty exclusively turns Russian designs into third rate knockoffs.

Gee that's . . . impressive.
No wait, that's Russia working in its weakest area with China working in an area it has no ability at all, on support vehicles intended to break into an already crowded market, which is distinctly unimpressive.

Now if it meant Russia and China had agreed to cooperate on what they were both stealing from American corporations to produce this new super transport chopper and super jetliner I might be impressed and even a bit worried.
It isn't.

Not all technology is equal.
Invoking "technology" as some transcendent and discussion ending trump is neither adroit nor prescient but lazy and myopic.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spengler's assertion that there is nothing the United States can do to stop Putin's conquest of Ukraine is simply untrue. We are not carrying a "small stick." The United States has several very big sticks at its disposal, that are more than adequate to beat the beast back into its cage. The problem is that our current government is unwilling to use any of them.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Technically, I don't know who would win a full-dress military confrontation on the Russian-Ukrainian border. I don't want to find out how good the S400 ("Growler") is or whether F-22's are vulnerable. I'm skeptical about our big sticks, but I claim no special expertise.
My point is that the strategic importance of Ukraine is trivial next to the collapse of a pillar of Cold War policy since 1971, namely keeping China and Russia at odds. We should have proposed a referendum in Ukraine on federalism before Russia did: if Crimea voted for secession, who cares?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, it's not like the punch wasn't clearly telegraphed. We saw it coming, wondered when it would hit, debated its impact, but somehow did nothing to block it. I know what we need. A red line!

Yup, that should do it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
China is also getting the latest, most cutting edge American technology. Every one of our engineering and natural science graduate programs is loaded with Chinese PhD candidates, even our most elite schools like MIT and Cal Tech. And in many departments they are an absolute majority of the graduate students.

Some of these students want to stay in the US, and some do. But most go home and take their skills with them. And even some who stay often go home. E.g., a major researcher in the Mars Rover program just mysteriously resigned his faculty post for no apparent reason and went back to China. The FBI has been all over his offices and labs and home. No reason given.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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