Lessons for China to learn from Ukraine conflict for Taiwan scenario


SlothmanAllen

Junior Member
Registered Member
One of the lessons that I am leaning towards for China is that Russia is completely useless and the idea that they can contribute any useful knowledge (scientific, political, military theory, etc) is nonsensical. Personally I think China should drop Russia like a bad habit.

The war in Ukraine has been a disaster for them militarily, politically and economically. This is absolutely not the way in which China would want any action in Taiwan to go. Period. So it's time to realize that outside of Soviet legacy, Russia is incapable of being a true military or economic power. As time goes on, this will only become more apparent and the disparity between China and Russia will grow. The reality is that Russia will have to come to China for assistance in the future, especially after this Ukraine debacle winds down (likely in a humiliating way for Russia).

So yeah, if China wants to continue a strategic relationship with Russia it must be on Chinese terms. Meaning that China will determine if Russia can invade a country and weather those actions are in China's best interest.
 

5unrise

Junior Member
Registered Member
One of the lessons that I am leaning towards for China is that Russia is completely useless and the idea that they can contribute any useful knowledge (scientific, political, military theory, etc) is nonsensical. Personally I think China should drop Russia like a bad habit.

The war in Ukraine has been a disaster for them militarily, politically and economically. This is absolutely not the way in which China would want any action in Taiwan to go. Period. So it's time to realize that outside of Soviet legacy, Russia is incapable of being a true military or economic power. As time goes on, this will only become more apparent and the disparity between China and Russia will grow. The reality is that Russia will have to come to China for assistance in the future, especially after this Ukraine debacle winds down (likely in a humiliating way for Russia).

So yeah, if China wants to continue a strategic relationship with Russia it must be on Chinese terms. Meaning that China will determine if Russia can invade a country and weather those actions are in China's best interest.
I disagree with the assertion that Russia is destined to be a junior partner in the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. There is a strong interest for China to continue to work with Russia, comprehensively and indefinitely. Ever since the end of the Cold War, Chinese leaders have held the view that the support of Russia is pivotal in shifting to a multipolar world. Russia may have lost the potential to sustain a bipolar competition with the United States, but it continues to hold many cards that are so important as to place them in a kingmaker position.

The Russian economy may appear to be small when viewed as an aggregated nominal GDP, but this is totally misleading when it comes to representing its capacity for supporting a military and exerting hard power. The nominal GDP of Russia is only around the level of South Korea, because of the enormous fall in the ruble exchange rate since 2014 and the low nominal wages in Russia. However, the Russian economy in purchasing power parity terms (PPP) is larger than France or UK, and on par with Germany. Most geopolitical analysts will agree that, when it comes to assessing the potential for an economy to build a military, PPP is a far better measure than nominal USD GDP.

Furthermore, the composition of one's GDP matters in terms of hard power implications - this is often overlooked by Western economists. The nominal GDP of South Korea may be large for its population, and the United States obviously has a massive economy, but what exactly are these economies composed of? The truth is they are heavily service, entertainment, and finance based economies, at least relative to the industrial and resource based economies of China and Russia. South Korea has great K-pop entertainment and e-sports. The US is really good at making Justin Bieber CDs, Angelina Jolie movies, pornography, consultancy for Wall Street, political adverts, so on and so forth, and these goods are very expensive and therefore contribute greatly to GDP. In contrast, Russia produces base commodities like oil, natural gas, grain, aluminium and titanium, along with a sizable industrial, shipbuilding and aerospace sector, while Russia exports very little entertainment goods. Tell me, which country will be better at transforming their economic power into hard military power? (It's Russia)
People who dismiss the military potential of the Russia economy often ignores these two key nuances - PPP measure and composition, and they often get a misleading picture.

The West has burned all bridges with Russia and created in that country a multi-generational enemy, and for no good reason. China should not pass on this opportunity. China has always been concerned about the potential for a distant US blockade in the event of a conflict. While China may be well-placed to hold its own militarily in the Western Pacific, it can do very little to lift a distant US lockade, for example in the Indian Ocean. This would disrupt the flow of natural resources that are needed to sustain the Chinese war effort. However, with the support of Russia, a US-led naval blockade would lose its teeth. Russia can fill the gap in Chinese demand for raw materials that are not met by domestic production, thereby sustaining the Chinese military industrial complex under a blockade.
So let me tell you something: Russia is not China's burden. Russia still holds a considerable reservoir of hard power that often gets missed by surface-level analysis. The enmity of Russia would hinder China's capability to wage a long war, while the support of Russia is critical for moving towards multipolarity. The West has chosen to burn their Russia card as a result of incompetent foreign policy, and this will be their undoing.
 

SlothmanAllen

Junior Member
Registered Member
I disagree with the assertion that Russia is destined to be a junior partner in the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. There is a strong interest for China to continue to work with Russia, comprehensively and indefinitely. Ever since the end of the Cold War, Chinese leaders have held the view that the support of Russia is pivotal in shifting to a multipolar world. Russia may have lost the potential to sustain a bipolar competition with the United States, but it continues to hold many cards that are so important as to place them in a kingmaker position.

The Russian economy may appear to be small when viewed as an aggregated nominal GDP, but this is totally misleading when it comes to representing its capacity for supporting a military and exerting hard power. The nominal GDP of Russia is only around the level of South Korea, because of the enormous fall in the ruble exchange rate since 2014 and the low nominal wages in Russia. However, the Russian economy in purchasing power parity terms (PPP) is larger than France or UK, and on par with Germany. Most geopolitical analysts will agree that, when it comes to assessing the potential for an economy to build a military, PPP is a far better measure than nominal USD GDP.

Furthermore, the composition of one's GDP matters in terms of hard power implications - this is often overlooked by Western economists. The nominal GDP of South Korea may be large for its population, and the United States obviously has a massive economy, but what exactly are these economies composed of? The truth is they are heavily service, entertainment, and finance based economies, at least relative to the industrial and resource based economies of China and Russia. South Korea has great K-pop entertainment and e-sports. The US is really good at making Justin Bieber CDs, Angelina Jolie movies, pornography, consultancy for Wall Street, political adverts, so on and so forth, and these goods are very expensive and therefore contribute greatly to GDP. In contrast, Russia produces base commodities like oil, natural gas, grain, aluminium and titanium, along with a sizable industrial, shipbuilding and aerospace sector, while Russia exports very little entertainment goods. Tell me, which country will be better at transforming their economic power into hard military power? (It's Russia)
People who dismiss the military potential of the Russia economy often ignores these two key nuances - PPP measure and composition, and they often get a misleading picture.

The West has burned all bridges with Russia and created in that country a multi-generational enemy, and for no good reason. China should not pass on this opportunity. China has always been concerned about the potential for a distant US blockade in the event of a conflict. While China may be well-placed to hold its own militarily in the Western Pacific, it can do very little to lift a distant US lockade, for example in the Indian Ocean. This would disrupt the flow of natural resources that are needed to sustain the Chinese war effort. However, with the support of Russia, a US-led naval blockade would lose its teeth. Russia can fill the gap in Chinese demand for raw materials that are not met by domestic production, thereby sustaining the Chinese military industrial complex under a blockade.
So let me tell you something: Russia is not China's burden. Russia still holds a considerable reservoir of hard power that often gets missed by surface-level analysis. The enmity of Russia would hinder China's capability to wage a long war, while the support of Russia is critical for moving towards multipolarity. The West has chosen to burn their Russia card as a result of incompetent foreign policy, and this will be their undoing.
What a great response. Thanks for this 5unrise!

I just don't see how Russia can be anything other than a junior partner. The ideal of a multipolar world is not realistic in my view, as China and the United States will continue to dominate military, economic and political matters for the foreseeable future. Also, allowing Russia to have totally independent foreign policy is a liability as their actions could come back to hurt China, especially if they are seen as complicit in enabling them.

Outside of that, China is going to continually gain scientific and economic superiority which will translate into economic and military superiority. I don't see how Russia can be much more than a Great Britain to the United States for China. I also don't place much faith in purchasing power parity in this case. Especially if at best it places them on par with Germany.

China and the United States are global superpowers which due to geographic, political, historical, economic, etc factors have a tremendous impact on global matters. I doubt we will ever have a truly multipolar world in our lifetimes as China and the United States will continue to dominate all relevant areas.

In the end, I just want to thank you for your thoughtful and well written response. It was challenging to write a somewhat coherent response to your excellent counter points.
 

foxmulder

Junior Member
One of the lessons that I am leaning towards for China is that Russia is completely useless and the idea that they can contribute any useful knowledge (scientific, political, military theory, etc) is nonsensical. Personally I think China should drop Russia like a bad habit.

The war in Ukraine has been a disaster for them militarily, politically and economically. This is absolutely not the way in which China would want any action in Taiwan to go. Period. So it's time to realize that outside of Soviet legacy, Russia is incapable of being a true military or economic power. As time goes on, this will only become more apparent and the disparity between China and Russia will grow. The reality is that Russia will have to come to China for assistance in the future, especially after this Ukraine debacle winds down (likely in a humiliating way for Russia).

So yeah, if China wants to continue a strategic relationship with Russia it must be on Chinese terms. Meaning that China will determine if Russia can invade a country and weather those actions are in China's best interest.

Nonsense.

1) Russia, militarily, performing okay. It is clear to me now that their initial push was to
a) force a regime change in Kiev
b) divert forces from Donbas
c) grab as much land as possible in the south to secure whole Azov sea.

So they failed with a and b. Since then they changed their approach and doing a very solid job with limited manpower and air power use. They are doing almost a text book job of artillery war with overwhelming power.

2) Russia is fighting not with Ukraine but a proxy of whole NATO. NATO is providing everything but air cover. The amount of artillery shells NATO proxy is using daily is around 5-6,000. This is more than the artillery ammunition spent in the entirety of operation desert storm so that will give you an idea about the scale Russia fighting against. (Russia responding in epic scale with 50-60,000 shells / day)

3) Russia did an extremely epic job with economic warfare. People were expecting to ruble to collapse (including me) in couple weeks but the 180 degree opposite happen. Ruble is all time high in recent history in an environment where all other currencies are losing value against USD.

4) Russia used its power in commodities (oil, gas, agricultural products, fertilizers, other mines etc) to inflict maximum pain to EU. EU is the second biggest loser in this debacle after Ukraine.

So to wrap up, Russia did great in economy front, doing OK in militarily when you think the initial failure and the opponent it is facing. Only failure I can see is the lack of complete air dominance.


So for China....

1) If Russia can win an economic war against West, China can perform probably even better. However, it will not be the same since it will not be based on commodities.

2) Militarily, China is a much stronger country than Russia (bar nuclear deterrent) so it can perform probably better in Taiwan scenario but it is an island so calculus will be much different.

3) China can almost never trust West after this. The "sudden" uproar of sanctions against Russia has been at irrational level. I cannot imagine what it will be like for China. So that ~$3T in US bonds etc.. is a liability instead of asset from now on.
 

pmc

Senior Member
Registered Member
What a great response. Thanks for this 5unrise!

I just don't see how Russia can be anything other than a junior partner. The ideal of a multipolar world is not realistic in my view, as China and the United States will continue to dominate military, economic and political matters for the foreseeable future. Also, allowing Russia to have totally independent foreign policy is a liability as their actions could come back to hurt China, especially if they are seen as complicit in enabling them.
Russia has very different demographics that make it attractive to much larger part of world. whether its Africa/Middleast/India/Vietnam/Latin America and significant part of Europe.
I am not even going into resource and climate difference. Russia could have cut Europe from gas last december in cold even before the invasion but than Euro would have collapsed much faster and damaged Arab wealth invested our decades. thats why things are in slow motion.

do you see President of Kazakhistan going to Iran and Saudi after that Putin statement about Soviet Union.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
 

Biscuits

Senior Member
Registered Member
One of the lessons that I am leaning towards for China is that Russia is completely useless and the idea that they can contribute any useful knowledge (scientific, political, military theory, etc) is nonsensical. Personally I think China should drop Russia like a bad habit.

The war in Ukraine has been a disaster for them militarily, politically and economically. This is absolutely not the way in which China would want any action in Taiwan to go. Period. So it's time to realize that outside of Soviet legacy, Russia is incapable of being a true military or economic power. As time goes on, this will only become more apparent and the disparity between China and Russia will grow. The reality is that Russia will have to come to China for assistance in the future, especially after this Ukraine debacle winds down (likely in a humiliating way for Russia).

So yeah, if China wants to continue a strategic relationship with Russia it must be on Chinese terms. Meaning that China will determine if Russia can invade a country and weather those actions are in China's best interest.
Honestly sounds like a pretty unfair assessment of Russian performance.

Even if you consider Russian slowness as incompetence and not strategy, Russia still objectively went ahead of the much larger West in terms of economic war.

Allies capable of conducting operations mostly on their own are very rare and important to have, because when the moment comes to collapse the US, if we've seen Russia's economic ability, China would be a fool to dismiss it as useless.

I would personally guess that Russia is moving slowly due to wanting to prolong the war to the winter, where they can pressure EU for greater concessions. Doing so also weakens the US from attacking in Asia, because the question of Ukraine will keep looming over any deployment they make.

If anything, the war has shown that Russia is an adequate counterbalance for China against NATO, especially economically, which means it needs to be integrated even closer. If Russia is in fact lacking militarily, that is a question which China can solve.

Of course, the greatest problem in the relationship is the fact that the Russian political system is practically ripped from America, due to being defeated in 1989, and possess the same tendency of corruption, appeal to fascistic and religious fundamental tendencies, and more systemic flaws than can be easily listed.

However, the Russian population still remembers the alternative offered by the USSR, which makes them different from those in the west who have grown up in such systems, believe such systems to be entitled to rule the world and have fully internalised acceptance to corruption and cheap populism.

China should, of course with Russian public and official consent first, promote socialism and worker liberation in Russia. This will create a stronger and higher gdp per capita Russia in the future, which also makes for a better ally than one where the people are more and more exploited.
 

zhangjim

Junior Member
Registered Member
However, the Russian population still remembers the alternative offered by the USSR, which makes them different from those in the west who have grown up in such systems, believe such systems to be entitled to rule the world and have fully internalised acceptance to corruption and cheap populism.

China should, of course with Russian public and official consent first, promote socialism and worker liberation in Russia. This will create a stronger and higher gdp per capita Russia in the future, which also makes for a better ally than one where the people are more and more exploited.
Messianism was an important reason for the failure of the Soviet Union. The United States knows that universal values are only for better plundering the world, but the Soviet Union really believes in this kind of thing.

Although I appreciate Putin's courage, today's Russian practice still has strong chauvinism.Today's Russia denies the idealism of the Soviet Union, but delusions to inherit the reputation and strength of the Soviet Union.

I see that some people believe that we should not expect too much from Russia,they showed amazing "poverty" in the war(they even need drones from Iranians and Turks), which may be able to combat the weak and chaotic Ukrainians, but they can't cope with the more intense conflict.
Therefore, the Russians must exchange more interests for our support.
 

OppositeDay

Junior Member
Registered Member
Messianism was an important reason for the failure of the Soviet Union. The United States knows that universal values are only for better plundering the world, but the Soviet Union really believes in this kind of thing.

Although I appreciate Putin's courage, today's Russian practice still has strong chauvinism.Today's Russia denies the idealism of the Soviet Union, but delusions to inherit the reputation and strength of the Soviet Union.

I see that some people believe that we should not expect too much from Russia,they showed amazing "poverty" in the war(they even need drones from Iranians and Turks), which may be able to combat the weak and chaotic Ukrainians, but they can't cope with the more intense conflict.
Therefore, the Russians must exchange more interests for our support.

Russia would be far more diplomatically isolated today without the legacy of Soviet "Messianism".
 

Overbom

Brigadier
Registered Member
I disagree with the assertion that Russia is destined to be a junior partner in the Sino-Russian strategic partnership
While I agree with the rest of the post, I disagree with this point.

No one is willingly going around and saying "Russia is the junior partner". It just a reality. A smaller economy, smaller trading power, a lagging industrial power, a lagging tech power, a relatively subpar Airforce/Army/Navy.

All these together lead to Russia naturally becoming a junior partner. Xi isn't ever going to say to Putin "you are the junior partner/brother" but the dynamics of the relationship means that Russia will naturally take over that role.


For example, the drone debacle that has menaced the Russians in Ukraine stems entirely from their belief (+ racism) that they are a militarily equal power to China.
"If Chinese did it, we can do it too, don't buy from them!". Same with their ships

Now that country is talking about buying drones from Iran lol. How can such a country ever claim or try to be equal with China? There is simply no comparison between them.



IMO a far better one (still flawed though) is Canada to the US. Russia will be to China something akin to what Canada is to the US, except it has a lot of nukes, stronger military, more resources, more geopolitically active etc (that's why I said it is a flawed comparison)

Russia will definitely be extremely important in a Taiwan scenario which is why China should be close with it and form an ever improving relationship between their leadership, political system, and people. But this doesn't mean that Russia will ever be an equal power with China in this relationship, knowingly or unknowingly.
 

Top