Friday, March 28, 2014

A Sino-Russian Alliance?

Many Republicans, and some people who are not Republicans, want to fight back against Vladimir Putin’s Russia by imposing sanctions. Even President Obama likes to threaten Russia with sanctions.

One suspects that Republicans are using the crisis in Ukraine to score a few political points. Who was it who said: never let a good crisis go to waste?

For his part Spengler is appalled by the short sightedness of his “conservative colleagues.”He is encouraged that German Chancellor Angela Merkel does understand what is happening and what is at stake.

Merkel sees that Western sanctions against Russia would push Russia into an alliance with China. If there is one thing that American national interest should fear, it’s a Sino-Russian alliance.

Spengler writes:

Sanctions would throw B’rer Putin into the Briar, er, Bamboo Patch.

A specter is haunting Europe, and that is the specter of a Russian-Chinese alliance at the expense of Europe. China is dynamic, and its dynamism is transforming the “Silk Road” countries that lie across Russia’s southern border. China is building high-speed rail and high-speed internet south to Rangoon and eastward to Istanbul, intent on transforming its neighbors into an export market for high-value-added manufacturing and high-tech products. It’s one of the most remarkable ventures in world economic history, and the most underreported story of the year. My conservative friends have been predicting China’s economic demise every year for the past dozen, and have been wrong each time. They notice the elephant dung, but ignore the elephant.

China’s appetite for Siberian resources, including hydrocarbons and perhaps including water, is limitless. The Russians and Chinese have every reason to suspect each other. But if they put their differences aside, the economic synergies would be extensive. What should worry the West is the prospective synergies in military technology as well. Russia is rolling out the S500 air defense system. We shuddered at the prospect that Russia might provide its 20-year-old S300 system to Damascus or Tehran; we really don’t know how much better the new iteration is, but it might be a great deal better. Chinese rocketry already is good enough to sink any American ship within several hundred miles of its coastline. We really don’t want them to get together.

That’s precisely what may happen if the West succeeds in “isolating” Russia, as Germany’s leading news organization Der Spiegel has been warning.

Since this aspect of the situation has largely been ignored by the media, it deserves special emphasis:

Presently, we may undo the work of the Cold War era and stand godfather to a new Sino-Russian alliance. This without doubt would be the stupidest move in the history of American foreign policy. Russia’s economy is weak, but Russia has considerable latent resources in military technology. Russia has a limitless market for natural resources in China and a prospective partner in military technology. If we continue to dismantle our defense capacity while Russia and China nourish theirs, we will be in deep trouble.


Anonymous said...

The Goldman article is here:

I think everyone (outside of political spin) sees this as Europe's problem not the U.S., since they're the ones who are at risk if Russian gas shuts down, whether as a response to sanctions, or long term risk of a new alliance with China.

I like the analysis that said the falling oil prices of the 1980's helped lead to the fall of the USSR, and that their oil and gas are the only reason the Russians are a political force at all.

It would be interesting to try to imagine how China and Russia see each other, but again, Europe should be the one worried, not the U.S.

I wonder how economic warfare like sanctions would play out, if Russian natural gas suddenly wasn't flowing. They should be worried, but in the siege world, perhaps Europe can make do faster on less energy faster than Russia can make do on less revenue.

Its not the sort of thing any country wants to play with, unless you're far away and are happy when your rival powers are fighting each other.

It seems all good to me, until the bombs start dropping, and at least we can be glad we helped get rid of the majority of the Russian Nukes in the 1990s!

Anonymous said...

So, rhetorical question: What makes you think Russia and China will become BFFs when they aren't now and never really have been? They have reason to fear one another as well, since they share a rather long border.
We had sanctions on them in the Cold War. The USSR and China were both communist, but they weren't friendly even when they were both officially communist.