China will lend “moral support” to Putin in his war of words against the west. China does not want to see a nuclear war destroy the global economy which China is so deeply invested in. But if it comes to a nuclear exchange, Mr. Xi is hoping that both Russia and the US alliance will exhaust their nuclear arsenals on each other, leaving China as the sole world superpower to pick up the pieces and control what remains.
Russian officials repeatedly stress issue areas where Russia is truly a great power. This meant lots of talk about Syria, Russia’s neighbors and . . . nuclear weapons. Lots of conversations about nuclear weapons.
For the past 2 1/2 years, the world has once again been living under the threat of a nuclear war:
… a retired Russian Army General and a Military Strategies and Technologies expert, Evgeni Solovyov, … said that Russia is clearly “testing the West, particularly the United States.”
“It also seems like Russia is okay with the fact that World War 3 can be easily started any day…
World War III in the News
… 2016 Republican Party candidate Donald Trump said last week that a presidency under Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton would result in World War 3 being fought over Syria. Just a week earlier, his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, stated that electing Clinton would see World War 3 become an actuality. __ source
Ever since Putin invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Russian propaganda sources have been obsessed with the idea of an apocalyptic nuclear war, if international forces move more strongly to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty from Russian aggressors, in keeping with international treaties. Putin and his spokespersons rarely miss an opportunity to warn the west that Russia still has thousands of nuclear warheads and many working ballistic missiles.
There are a lot of indications that a nuclear confrontation between Moscow and Washington could indeed happen: Russian military aircraft have been repeatedly invading into NATO airspace, particularly the Baltic states’ airspace. Putin admitting he was ready to ready up his nuclear forces in Crimea. __ http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/04/russia-vs-us-the-world-war-3/
The US and Britain are obligated to intervene if Putin’s invasion of Ukraine comes out of the closet and becomes more overt:
A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.
Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.
And so far, Obama has pretended that Russia has not yet invaded Ukraine . . . well maybe sorta, kinda, but not that bad . . .
Putin’s Brave Talk of Nuclear Destruction Assumes that China Will Stand by His Side
Russia has No Allies for WWIII
When Kremlin propagandists talk about the prospects for a third world war or when Russians speculate about what it might look like, neither, the Russian regionalist writer points out, reflects that unlike in past wars, Russia will have no allies in a future one, a kind of state “loneliness” that will make any such conflict very different from a world war (spektr.press/odinochestvo-rossii-pochemu-ne-vyhodit-sygrat-v-tretyu-mirovuyu/).
“Who could be part of a bloc with Russia in the event of a hypothetical clash with NATO?” No one or at least no one important, Shtepa says. Not China, Belarus or Kazakhstan, but perhaps “only the unrecognized pseudo-states like the DNR and LNR, Transdniestria and South Osetia and also possibly the Pacific archipelago of Tuvalu.”
While the Kremlin talks about the possibility of a world war, its policies have so alienated everyone else that Vladimir Putin has reduced the allies Russia to the only two Tsar Aleksandr III famously described, “its army and its fleet.” And as a result, Russia is left in the position of “proud loneliness.” ___ http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/10/russia-has-no-allies-for-any-war-with.html
China will lend “moral support” to Putin in his war of words against the west. But if it comes to a nuclear exchange, Mr. Xi is hoping that both Russia and the US alliance will exhaust their nuclear arsenals on each other, leaving China as the sole world superpower to pick up the pieces and control what remains.
By egging Putin on in his conflict with the west, China is positioning itself as a neutral third party, hoping to suffer as little collateral damage as possible in any coming nuclear exchange. This is very important to China, since its economy is bloating like a bladder full of eggs rotting in the sun.
Debt in China has grown by US$4.5 trillion over the past 12 months, by far the highest amount of debt creation globally as compared to US$2.2 trillion in the US, US$870 billion in Japan and US$550 billion in the euro area. Indeed, China on its own has added more debt than the US, Japan and the euro area combined. __ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-30/chinas-debt-has-grown-45-trillion-past-12-months-more-us-japan-and-europe-combined
It is one thing for the world’s only superpower — the US — to drive up its own debt to stratospheric heights. Anyone who has read Zeihan’s “Accidental Superpower” understands the special category that North America occupies, for the time being. China enjoys no such advantages, and is sitting on a foundation of quicksand. Although the dragon is attempting to build its nuclear and conventional forces as quickly as it can do, its infrastructure is strained to the limits in all dimensions. In case of outright international conflict, China will have to hunker down and hope to occupy the commanding heights when the dust clears away.
Xi has found Putin to be easily manipulated, with ample promises of economic investment and political support, which later turn out to have been sulfur vapours without solid substance. Grand projects announced with great fanfare collapse for lack of investment. And on every side, Putin is forced to make concession after concession in terms of land and natural resources — while pushing Russia inexorably closer toward nuclear war with the west.
In Russia, propagandists set the scene, while the elites lack any positive vision for Russia’s future. But is the nuclear war painted by Putin’s propagandists truly inevitable?
Probably not. China has economically encircled Russia, forming military, political, and economic alliances with nations from Finland to Ukraine to Poland to Turkey to the Central Asian republics. Russia is isolated by the dragon almost as much as it is by NATO and the western alliance. Perhaps more, since China is the lender, customer, and investor of last resort.
To top it off, Russia is being forced to turn to China for high tech components of its most advanced weapons systems — components that it can no longer so easily obtain from Ukraine and the west. Russia has fallen so far behind in the technology and innovation race, that its weapons cannot function without components of foreign manufacture. As China fabricates more and more of Russia’s advanced weapons systems, the dragon will control when and how Russia can use these systems in any conflict.
In other words, using a wide range of economic, military, political, and technological means of leverage and coercion, China can lead Russia to the precipice of war, then turn the bear’s weapons systems off at the critical moment.
So the choice of whether or not there will be a nuclear WWIII seems to be devolving onto Mr. Xi, of the People’s Republic. It seems more likely that he will choose to coopt Russian elites to make Russia a vassal of China, avoiding all the radioactive fallout.
If China’s Debt is Swelling to Dangerous Dimensions, What is China’s Future?
Several aspects of a nation’s economy determine the value of its currency. A nation’s debt is one of the central determinants of currency worth, subject to a large number of other variables. As we have seen above, China’s debt is ballooning and careening out of control. One way or another China will need to appropriate significant assets — probably from Russia — to beef up its economic foundations. But the dragon can defer that necessity for a number of years yet, watching how events evolve as Putin ages and loses clout. If everyone is lucky, Putin will not release the mushroom clouds before he is taken down by his inner circle.
This will allow China to continue stealing western technology and Russian military mettalurgy, and strengthening its military position vis a vis its Asian antagonists. This will allow it to pick up Siberian properties and assets at bargain basement prices at its own pace.
Russia is swiftly becoming a rapidly emptying shell and facade of empty braggadocio, with an ample sprinkling of aging nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles of irregular quality on top. Putin has squandered a decade and a half of relative prosperity and goodwill in an effort to recreate the terror state of the USSR. Not a smart strategy, but then Putin’s strategic skills have never been up to his tactical improvisational maneuvering.
If the Russian elite can hold Putin’s nuclear war enthusiasm back from the brink a little longer, Putin’s time may well end peacefully.