China & Russia: Recapitulating the Hitler : Stalin Pact?

A Pact Between Back-Stabbers:  Will History Repeat Itself? Source:  Tiffany Gabbay

A Pact Between Back-Stabbers: Will History Repeat Itself?
Source: Tiffany Gabbay

In an agreement that is likely to become known as “A Pact Between Back-Stabbers Version II,” the presidents of China and Russia signed a 30 year energy deal, and began laying out plans for a division of power over Asia which is intended to exclude US interests from most of the continent in the future.

The original Hitler-Stalin pact was meant to divide Eastern Europe between Germany and the USSR — and we remember how well that turned out.

After decades of denial, the Kremlin conceded for the first time today that ”without a doubt” the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany secretly and illegally divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence before the start of World War II. __NYT

The current pact between China and Russia must be seen in the light of President Putin’s failure to win friends and influence people in his European theatre of operations.

Five weeks of Russian inspired separatist violence in eastern Ukraine has left over 130 dead so far and the fighting continues. Russian plans to annex eastern Ukraine (the Donbas region) are not working as they did in Crimea. In Donbas the locals as well as the Ukrainian government are fighting back. The Russian supported separatists are outnumbered and in danger of being crushed. Russia cannot really afford a defeat like this, but is faced with growing anger in Ukraine and around the world. Russia makes light of Western sanctions over the Ukraine meddling, but the economic damage to Russia is already being done and there is nothing Russia can do to halt that short of getting out of Ukraine. Thus for the last few days the Ukrainian government has been holding talks with the pro-Russian separatists but these do not appear to be going anywhere, apparently because Russia has not decided what to do next. _Strategy Page

Putin is struggling for more bacon to bring home to the folks in the Gulag, and hopes that this particular Russia : China pact will at least carry him through the summer.

Unfortunately for Putin, China has no intention of sticking to the letter of this pact or any other pact. Asia is full of natural resource booty, and China intends to have it all. Let Putin grin for the hometown cameras like the KGB version of Alfred E. Neuman. China knows what it wants, and when the time comes it will veer from the agreed-upon path to take it.

Neither China nor Russia are known for openness at home, nor straight dealing abroad. Signing agreements is one thing, but sticking to agreements is a matter of convenience. In the real world of dictators, lying, cheating, stealing, and back-stabbing are de rigeur.

What is portrayed for the cameras, and what is done behind the scenes, are typically as different as fairy tales and prison cells. China has abundant natural gas reserves, and is rushing to develop the expertise to tap into them. China is also negotiating with energy suppliers around the world for better prices than the ones that Russia is — even now — willing to offer. New gas pipelines and LNG import terminals are being built to completely bypass the Russian supply lines. And China will never quit working to acquire interest and control over large sections of Russia’s Siberian oil & gas fields.

The USSR was famous for stealing western technology and copying it. But China is much better at stealing technology, and turns that skill against its Russian “allies” at every opportunity. Such double-dealing by the Chinese against its overseas “partners” has become too numerous to list. Which is why it is always naive for any outside interest to expect to get what it is bargaining for from Beijing.

While Putin is desperately playing a “tough guy” role to the folks back home and naive admirers overseas, China is playing a leisurely long game to gain all the chips in the high stakes game, despite any pieces of paper which may be signed on any particular day.

A tale of two backstabbers, reprised from the 1930s and 1940s. This could end badly.

Bonus: Which are the better hackers: Russians or Chinese?

Update: The EU begins to make provisions for possible Russian gas-supply mischief


The tortuous history of Russia-China relations shows that their long-term interests are not complementary. Putin won’t want Russia to depend on China any more than he wants it to depend on Europe. Anyway, the gas exports in the new pact, once onstream in 2018, will be about a quarter of what Russia sells to Europe. Even if the deal is enlarged later, the idea that Russia can now get along fine without the European market is nonsense.

… it’s always cause for concern when two tyrannical governments, presiding over such big and powerful countries, deepen their ties and find new ways of cooperating. In this case, however, the new alliance is unlikely to change the underlying logic of a longstanding rivalry. _Bloomberg

New China-Russia gas deal makes Putin and Russia look weaker

Following up on this deal, the Chinese are negotiating for part ownership in Russian LNG terminals and other assets: “Now China will not only have an energy partnership with Russia, but Beijing is also in talks to acquire a stake in Gazprom’s Vladivostok liquefied natural gas terminal and a 19 percent stake in Russian oil company Rosneft, according to Stratfor.” source And that will only be the beginning of China’s aggressive encroachment into Russia’s economic and natural resource assets.

Combined with aggressive Chinese migration into Siberia and rapid takeover of local business interests there, this larger-scale movement of the China dragon into the under-belly of the Russian bear foreshadows a dismal future for Russia in Siberia. And since Siberia is where most of Russia’s wealth lies, a larger shadow is cast over the whole of Russia, as it is currently known.

Update: Bloody Putin thuggery the world should not ignore

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15 Responses to China & Russia: Recapitulating the Hitler : Stalin Pact?

  1. bob sykes says:

    There won’t be any mass armies slugging it out on the Eurasian plains this time. This time it will be nuclear and brief, and there won’t be any Marshall Plans or recovery.

  2. XVO says:

    To be fair it’s not just dictators, it’s all nation states. Agreements are only good as long as interests align.

    Actually this is true in all walks of life. From the personal to business all the way up to the nation state. You should only trust someone insofar as your interests align. Maybe I’m just a cynic?

  3. Stephen says:

    Does Al Fin think a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia is likely in the future? If so, is individual survival possible (at least say in the Southern Hemisphere) and the claims of nuclear human extinction deliberate exaggerations put out by the disarmament crowd during the Cold War (who where financed by the KGB) or would this be it for humanity? I ask because I want to prepare for the worst if possible.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Al Fin is not necessarily an expert on surviving nuclear war, the Society for Creative Apocalyptology notwithstanding. provides links to several sources of an instructive document, with PDF download links. is a good site for free online HTML ebook access to the document.

      Most people who succumb to a large or medium nuclear war and its aftermath, will die for lack of simple preparations, lack of precautions, and lack of common sense — not from radiation exposure or blast effects. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and being a type I diabetic can also be difficult to overcome when supplies run short.

      Russia’s rich raw underbelly is exposed to an overcrowded resource-hungry China — a China that can never be trusted. Russia would be foolish to instigate any large-scale war against the west without eliminating any threat from China first. Instead, Russia is helping China to quickly build its arsenals at cut-rate prices and is facilitating technology theft by the Chinese against Russia itself.

      Still, Russia’s neo-imperialist oligarchy is growing desperate as its fading infrastructure and decaying demographics look to be unable to support the oligarchy’s boundless ambitions, without some type of violent action or very large scale intimidation.

      • Stephen says:

        “Russia would be foolish to instigate any large-scale war against the west without eliminating any threat from China first. Instead, Russia is helping China to quickly build its arsenals at cut-rate prices and is facilitating technology theft by the Chinese against Russia itself.”
        Which to continue your Russo-German analogy would be a repeat of Treaty of Rapallo type relations in the 1920s between Germany and the USSR (with China playing Germany this time), which the USSR came to regret later.

  4. hell_is_like_newark says:

    If a war is going to be started it will involve China. China’s military is starting to appear to what Japan’s was in the 1930s: Extremely aggressive, itching for a fight, and not under civilian control. The latest aggression was planting an oil rig in Vietnamese waters, which is added on top of land seized from the Philippines and threats against Japan.

    • alfin2101 says:

      HILN: China’s military culture does resemble the 1930s Japanese military culture in some ways. Things may play out as you suggest.

      On the other hand, China’s political leadership understands that the use of cat’s paws for doing mischief can be more effective in many ways, until outright conflict is necessary. Simple intimidation is also effective, and becomes more effective the stronger the military grows.

      Russia has a dragon by its tail, and is very likely to be dashed and burned.

  5. neilfutureboy says:

    When making the comparison remember that the original pact came about because the western powers (Britain & France) refused to a Russian alliance offer leaving Stalin no real choice. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    • alfin2101 says:

      I understand your implication, but rather than to argue about the infinitely different ways to interpret history, I will suggest that the more salient point is whether Putin can learn to let go of his insatiable power-hunger.

      It is likely that Putin will never learn, he is programmed by neo-imperialist ambition. Unfortunately, he is playing with forces that he is not equipped to understand, and is as apt to trigger a widespread catastrophe as to survive the next 10 years.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        I said very much the same about the EU/NATO during their wars against Yugoslavia. I think it could also be said of that stupid US secretary who boasted of how the US had spent $5 billion paying the Ukrainian anti-Russian “democrats” who recently overthrew the elected government.

        There’s a lot of it about. My guess is Putin is a lot smarter than Obama.

        • alfin2101 says:

          Comparing Putin’s intelligence to Obama’s is not complimentary to either man. Both are dolts. Face it, if you had billion dollar spin machines trying to boost your popularity, you could win a lot of fans around the world. Anyone could.

          What we truly know about these clowns is close to zero, except the harm that they do every day, and the harm they could possibly do that will last a long, long time.

          • neilfutureboy says:

            Putin, if our own media are to be believed, has a major spin machine in his own country. However it doesn’t reach you or I. The media in Britain (state owned BBC) is most definitely spinning against him, rather than for, & I assume the same applies in the US. Obama’s spin machine works fine here. I stand by the opinion that Putin is way smarter than Obama – perhaps the smartest running a major non-oriental country since Vaclav Klaus retired.

          • alfin2101 says:

            Russian media has had strong influence inside western media for close to a century. RT is just one of the more obvious Russian voice-boxes in the west. But that is neither here nor there.

            Whether Putin is “way smarter than Obama” is a conjecture on your part which is not supported by much of anything that I can see. A lot smarter than a dunce is still a dolt. Russia could have been so much more if a hard-headed but intelligent and practical ruler had succeeded Yeltsin. Too bad.

          • neilfutureboy says:

            As a free market believer I agree that Russia would be better off if it had freer markets and less crony capitalism (us too), However some of the blame for discrediting western capitalism among ordinary Russians must lie with the Harvard Business School types America friendlily sent them to organise the sell offs – who assisted most of the money to go to dodgy dealers/now oligarchs and got quite a bit themselves.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:


      The first thing to understand about free markets and capitalism is that they are not necessarily represented by the so-called American bastions of capitalism (e.g. Havard Business School, Goldman Sach, etc.). Of course these entities helped the oligarchs loot Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, in return for their “pound of flash”. It is entirely understandable that many Russians are dubious of the “free market capitalism” as practiced by these entities (which can really be described as American oligarchs and crony capitalists).

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