Monday, March 10, 2014

Stomach for war?

Bloomberg's editors are calling for China to speak out "now against Putin's aggression." Which I suspect wouldn't hurt. However, I'm still thinking that Putin has traded (as in international trade) himself into a corner on this one. As I suggested the other day, the pundits who believe they know Putin have to be spot on (that he cares not about the Russian economy) if he's to go the distance in Ukraine.

Here's Bloomberg's accounting of who's beholden to whom:
If Putin continues to advance in Ukraine, forcing a military confrontation or breakup of the country, he may well push China to take a stronger stand. The truth is that in material terms, China gains less than Russia does from their relationship. The latter accounts for a little more than 2 percent of China's external trade. While volumes are growing, in 2011 China got only about 6 percent of its imported oil from Russia.

And here Bloomberg's editors tell of how Russia is playing in other sandboxes as well:
And though China is Russia's largest trading partner, Putin has also been hedging his bets. He has sought to expand rail links, pipelines and energy exports not just to China but also to both Koreas and to China's archrival Japan. Russia is aiming to sell sophisticated weaponry to India, and has deepened economic and military relations with Vietnam.

So will Russia, for all its courting, garner international support for a continued advance in Ukraine? Well, think of it this way: if there's one thing China, South Korea, Japan and India have in common, it's that they're all beholden to the economies of the U.S. and the European Union, and vice versa.

Not that it can't happen, but clearly, the more Russia looks to expand its economic interests, the less stomach it'll have for war...

1 comment:

  1. […] that this could morph into a holy mess, as I’ve suggested from day one (then here and here and here), Putin the politician, the global deal-maker, has to know better. His challenge now is […]