Krauthammer says the Sino-Russian energy deal “is huge” and adds:
By indelibly linking producer and consumer — the pipeline alone is a $70 billion infrastructure project — it deflates the post-Ukraine Western threat (mostly empty, but still very loud) to cut European imports of Russian gas. Putin has just defiantly demonstrated that he has other places to go.
The Russia-China deal also makes a mockery of U.S. boasts to have isolated Russia because of Ukraine. Not even Germany wants to risk a serious rupture with Russia (hence the absence of significant sanctions). And now Putin has just ostentatiously unveiled a signal 30-year energy partnership with the world’s second-largest economy. Some isolation.
But the deal goes deeper, which brings us to Spengler:
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.
Spengler also notes that it could take us six years to restore our lost launch capability for spy satellites.
Putin wanted a strategic partnership with the West in 2004-5, and we spurned him. Then we displayed all that “petulant impotence” over Ukraine. Now we reap what we sowed.
Over the long haul, some domestic crisis or other seems likely to rupture the new Sino-Russian alliance. But until then, we’re in a new and uncomfortable spot.