China is the New Russia
“Russia’s military bonanza is over, and China’s is just beginning.”
That was the conclusion of a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, finding that the chickens of Russia’s foolish decision to sell advanced military hardware to China have finally come home to roost:
After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier.
The WSJ reports that not only hasn’t China placed a major defense order with Russian contractors in more than two years, it is now well-positioned to supplant Russia as an arms supplier in every market, since the Chinese are making a better product at a significantly cheaper price.
According to the WSJ:
This epochal turnaround was palpable in the Russian pavilion at November’s Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai. Russia used to be the star of this show, wowing visitors with its “Russian Knights” aerobatic team, showing off fighters, helicopters and cargo planes, and sealing multibillion dollar deals on the sidelines. This year, it didn’t bring a single real aircraft—only a handful of plastic miniatures, tended by a few dozen bored sales staff.
This is abject, disastrous failure for Russia, and the blame for it lies squarely on the shoulders of Vladimir Putin. The WSJ makes it clear: “We didn’t pay enough attention to our intellectual property in the past,” said a Russian defense official. “Now China is even competing with us on the international market.”
That is, Vladimir Putin didn’t pay enough attention. In fact, no attention at all.
So that now, China is the new Russia, doing everything Russia can do but much faster, cheaper and — amazingly — more respectfully of the rule of law. Foreigners are flocking to China to do business, it is the leader of its region, and the world of consumers beats a path to China’s door. Meanwhile, Russia languishes in a pathetic backwater, ceding leadership in its region to countries like Poland, and utterly unable to compete on international markets.
Just as surely, Chinese expansion and Russian contraction demographically will mean Russia losing its Siberian territories to China over the long term. Not so very long from now, Russia — or large parts of it at least — will actually be China.
Nice work there, Mr. Putin!