Firebird wrote:The good side to China is that I understand they've never tried to invade anywhere outside the (former!) 7 kingdoms of China.
Of course you can't base future predictions off past history - but it holds a lot of relevance nontheless. You can certainly gain a better understanding of a country's likely actions, phobia, vital interests, etc.. by looking at how it has behaved in the past.
For example you could always count on Russia to want to acquire buffer states and allies on its Western borders with Europe.
And likewise you can count on China to be insular, fixated on their economy, and keep themselves mostly to Asia, rather than attempting to colonise Siberia; after all they never even wanted to risk allocating the resources required for that at any time during their several thousand year history; even when those lands were just inhabited by scattered tribes as opposed to a nuclear power with a huge military as now.
BUT with 1.4 billion people, huge ec power, and shit stirrers (America's republicans etc!) backing them, I dont think vigilance and caution does any harm. Even Hitler tried the "Mr Nice Guy" routine in the early days.
America's neo-cons are still raging today - that they can't get Russia and China to duke it out or even display the slightest signs of public distrust or disagreement with each other
It means Russia and China are on the ball - their joint diplomacy and publicly united front in the UN and elsewhere are what enable them to both gain a lot of influence and respect though organisations such as BRICS and the SCO.
Were they bickering in public - countries in Africa, South America and Asia would definitely think twice before moving closer to them and forgoing some preferential terms or partnerships with the IMF and G7 instead.
Nor does China show any respect for intellectual property.
They're communists (nominally), why should they?
Persoanlly, I think their mentality, their obsession with "face" (ie status and pride) means that its not really possible for Russia to become real friends with them.
You have this sort of thing in all East Asian countries but I don't think it's all that important; at the end of the day they can be counted on to act as pragmatically as Russia. China right now is acting very pragmatically and diplomatically in relation to the wider-world; it's more careful to avoid conflicts and involvements in this or that than Russia is.
Natural alliances I believe are the CIS, India, Slavic Europe, and the more advanced European countries. And places like Brazil, Venezuela etc
The Europeans are obsessed with expansionism into the former USSR and the Middle East, and trying to interfere in Russia politically.
The Slavic Europeans are obsessed with their own Russophobia; enough said.
The CIS can be good but equally some countries like Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, etc... are just too unpredictable, unstable or easily swayed - they can be counted on only to change their positions vis-a-vis Russia every few years; which of course does no-one any good in terms of trying to build long-term economic partnerships.
India and the South Americans are good partners and hold plenty of potential; the trouble is that they are just a lot further away and thus trade between Russia and them will never be as high as between Russia and the CIS, China or Europe.
As you can see, there are downsides to every one of these countries. And China too.
But on balance - China is no worse a partner for Russia than any of them.
Fortunately Russia is a very powerful country and we are not burdened with the decision to have to make a choice between one or the other. We can be partners with all of them at once.
Trade is fine (within reason), tech transfer and weakening the Russian position... NO THANKS!
A weakening of the Russian position for the sake of ANY one of our partners is unacceptable.
That sort of goes against the idea of partnership (i.e. mutual benefits and interests)
OK the gas deal is fine. Provided it doesn't take Russia away from doing things with Europe. The question is...what will Russia's long term relationship with China be like.
I'd like to be optimistic. No-one can say about 50-100 years from now; the world then will be a different place. But for the next 15-20 years it will probably be fine.