As per Hollywood, any story which is about an increase in Chinese power should be accompanied by ominous Chinese music. For maximum effect, I recommend letting this video play in the background while you read.
So it seems we’ve already seen another Tiger uppercut to the balls of this claim about how China will save Russia. In several recent articles I gave examples of this, from China paying for recent deals in dollars to reasons why Russia won’t be able to waste Chinese investors’ money without serious consequences. What I learned yesterday, however, I never would have predicted. According to Gazeta.ru, China is more than happy to extend credit to Russian firms, but it comes with a lot of strings attached.
China is lending the money, on the condition that it be spent exclusively on Chinese goods. According to the article this condition is similar to their lending practices in Africa and Central Asia. I’m aware that the US has similar practices with its client states, including Israel. Russia and its banks need financing, and thus China is their only realistic option at the moment. China sees its obvious advantage and is clearly pressing it from the very beginning. Russia’s giving them raw materials, China furnishes the products and sells them back, reaping that revenue plus interest on what they lent. The relationship is practically colonial.
As stated before, China has been using similar tactics in Central Asia. They have been referring to this process as the construction of a new “Silk Road.” Like Russia, they are planning their own customs union type of agreement. Of course they have talked about inviting Russia into this union, but its clear who the leader will be. As Russia seeks to dominate Belarus and Ukraine via their own proposed union, China seeks to dominate Central Asia and Russia. Of course Russian officials speaking about this relationship always present it as an agreement between equal partners, but we also know from experience many Russian officials live in a magic fantasy land where up is down, houses are made from gumdrops, and hamburgers eat people.
Long story short, China’s got Russia by the balls and they’re going to do everything they can to press this advantage. Putin put Russia in this position as he scrambled for short-term, low-gain methods of preserving his power. If at any point Russia balks at China’s demands, the Chinese can merely withhold investment. If they attempt to cheat China, the Middle Country can join the sanctions against them and even threaten military action. This is the reality of the situation in spite of how many Russian officials cluck their tongues about their “equal partnership.” This is the price of living in fantasy land while you rob your nation blind.