A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘china

[LINK] “Who’ll Win the Fight Between Russia and Ukraine? Maybe China”

leave a comment »

Vice‘s Ryan Faith argues that one beneficiary of the emergent Russo-Ukrainian war will be China. The disruption of the Soviet-era military industries shared by Russia and Ukraine will leave China, inheritor of much Soviet technology, in a great position to expand its market share in the arms trade.

The once-mighty Soviet Union has fallen on hard times, and has fragmented into a motley collection of countries, enclaves, vassal states, and fiefdoms. As a result, the vast network of factories, technical expertise, and supply chains that once powered the Soviet military machine has disintegrated. Previously intertwined industries are now divorced, living in different countries. Entire supply chains vital to one national military are in countries completely out of the control of that military.

In some cases, old armament factories operated as if little had changed except for the drop in production volume. Russia was, until this year, the biggest single export market for Ukrainian defense manufacturers, just as Ukrainian imports were the single biggest share of Russian defense imports. For example, most of Russia’s helicopters are powered by engines made by the Ukrainian company Motor Sich. Conversely, the biggest use of Motor Sich’s engines has been in Russian helicopters.

But once fighting broke out between Ukraine and Russia — or more accurately, a few months after fighting broke out — the defense trade between the countries ground to a halt.

Although China has grown in technological sophistication, a lot of the old standards and technologies have left their mark. Much of the equipment and parts still in production are compatible with Soviet-era standards, and China has close relationships with the defense industries of both Russia and Ukraine. But the rupture between the two countries — the engines powering the remnants of the Soviet military-industrial machine — has, as Jane’s points out, put China in a very advantageous position.

First, Ukrainian and Russian manufacturers alike are eager to replace revenue lost from the end of their relationships with one another, and will be looking to sell to China instead. In fact, Ukrainian and Russian companies could find themselves in competition for business while their governments compete on the battlefield and in the international political arena. This competition means it’s a buyer’s market for China, and may give Beijing access to a lot more technology and design expertise at lower cost than was previously possible.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO notes the continuing problems of Toronto’s food truck project.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the differences between transit and radial velocity detection methods for planets and the relative advantages for detecting planets in stellar habitable zones, and links to a paper describing how hot Jupiters can become super-Earths.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the changing strategic situation of Australia.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that most of IKEA’s photo shoots are actually computer-assembled from stock imagery.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the impending retirement of Berlin’s gay mayor Klaus Wowereit.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that anti-Obamacare red states are hurting their poor citizens.
  • New APPS Blog considers the question of what makes happy children.
  • Towleroad notes anti-gay persecution by Lebanese police and quotes the mayor of Kazakhstan’s capital city talking badly about non-heterosexuals.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the emigration of Kazakhs and even Uighurs from Xinjiang to Kazakhstan, touches upon Western disillusionment with Russia, notes the possible impending defection of most of the Ukrainian churches of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and reports on the relocation of a Ukrainian factory to Russia.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

leave a comment »

  • io9 argues that it’s time to survey Uranus, notwithstanding its name.
  • blogTO describes the attractive-sounding art-friendly Harbord Laundry.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes archeological evidence suggesting that Vanuatu was settled three thousand years ago.
  • Joe. My. God. has comments about the Burger King-Tim Horton’s merger that really bring American outrage over the shift of the resulting company to Canada for tax purposes home.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the creepy locker-room homophobias of ESPN.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that China is now officially building much more housing than it actually needs.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers various designs for probes to Jupiter’s moon of Europa.
  • Torontoist and blogTO note that Yorkville institution the Coffee Mill is closing down.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reacts critically to a survey claiming three-quarters of whites have no non-white friends.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian concern that support for federalism in Ukraine might spread to Russia, observes the prominent role of Tatars in fighting for Russia in the First World War, and refers to the explicit concerns of Nazarbayev that Kazakhization not be carried too quickly lest the country risk Ukraine’s fate.

[LINK] “Putin’s Threat to East Risks New Market Russia Has Cultivated”

leave a comment »

Writing for Bloomberg, David Tweed and Ott Ummelas describe how Russian moves in Ukraine are undermining its relationship with non-Chinese East Asia, particularly Japan but also South Korea. (China, conversely, may do nicely.)

As a convoy of white trucks heading from Moscow to Ukraine raises alarm about a potential Russian invasion, Vladimir Putin is opening up a new front on his global chess board.

Putin sparked outrage in Japan with a military drill along Russia’s eastern frontier this week, reigniting a territorial dispute with his Asian neighbor that has festered since the Soviet Union occupied the Kuril Islands, which Japan calls its Northern Territories, at the end of World War II.

The move risks upending years of rapprochement and rising trade with Japan, according to analysts from Tokyo to Washington. It also suggests that Putin is willing to take his European playbook to Asia and subordinate Russia’s economic interests to the calling of power and prestige.

“The military exercises are about projecting confidence and strength,” said Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “Putin wants Russia to be seen as a great player in the Pacific, otherwise it’s going to be eclipsed by China.”

[. . .]

Alienating Japan [. . .] raises the risk of Putin becoming even more reliant on China as a destination for Russian goods at a time when he’s running out of global allies. China is already Russia’s biggest trading partner, and three months ago the two countries signed a $400 billion gas-supply deal.

“In the case of China, it may further accelerate the process of Russian-Chinese relations becoming a China-dominated partnership,” said Arkady Moshes, head of the European Union’s Eastern Neighborhood and Russia research program at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

leave a comment »

  • 3 Quarks Daily considers the ethics of suicide.
  • Slate‘s Atlas Obscura blog shares photos of Second World War relics in Alaska’s Aleutian islands.
  • The Big Picture shares images of Australia’s doll hospital.
  • blogTO lists five things Toronto could learn from New York City.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s growing presence in Latin America and observes that apes and hmans share the same kind of empathy.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the coming out of an Irish beauty queen.
  • Marginal Revolution expects inequality to start growing in New Zealand.
  • Discover‘s Out There looks forward to the new age of exploration of Pluto and the rest of the Kuiper belt.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares beautiful photo mosaics of Neptune from Voyager 2.
  • The Search examines in an interview the use of a hundred million photo dataset from Flickr for research.
  • Torontoist notes a mayoral debate on Toronto heritage preservation.
  • Towleroad observes that a pro-GLBT advertisement won’t air on Lithuanian television because of restrictive legislation.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Ukrainian refugees are being resettled in the North Caucasus to bolster Slav numbers and predicts the quiet decline of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

[LINK] “Healthy Words”

leave a comment »

Alec Ash’s post at the London Review of Books‘ blog about the popularity of science fiction in China touches upon something I’d last mentioned in 2007 in relation to Robert Sawyer’s popularity in that country.

In 1902 Lu Xun translated Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon into Chinese from the Japanese edition. Science fiction, he wrote in the preface, was ‘as rare as unicorn horns, which shows in a way the intellectual poverty of our time’. Not any more. The Three-Body Trilogy by Liu Cixin has sold 500,000 copies in China since the first volume was published in 2006 (it will come out in English in the autumn). Liu, an engineer, is one of the so-called ‘three generals’ of contemporary Chinese science fiction, along with Wang Jinkang and Han Song.

‘Sci fi,’ Han says, ‘can express a lot that can’t be expressed in other literature.’ His most recent collection of stories, High Speed Rail, begins with a train crash that recalls the politically sensitive rail collision in Wenzhou in July 2011. In an earlier novella, Taiwan Drifts, Taiwan has broken free from its moorings and is on a literal collision course with the mainland. Unsurprisingly, much of Han’s work isn’t published in the People’s Republic.

or is The Fat Years (2009) by Chan Koonchung. Set in 2013, it depicts an ‘age of Chinese ascendancy’ following a massive global financial crash. But the month-long crackdown that launched the golden era is missing from the population’s collective memory, and the water supply is probably spiked with a drug to keep everyone mildly euphoric. ‘The people fear chaos more than they fear dictatorship,’ a high-ranking Party official says.

But not being published in China doesn’t mean not being read. A lot of ‘unpublished’ sci fi is freely available online, and censors are engaged in a permanent game of cat-and-mouse with allusive writers and readers alert to disguised meanings. ‘For a long time,’ Chan told me, ‘Chinese intellectuals used history as a fable to talk about the present. Now, the newer generation is using science fiction to write about the present.’ (There are a few venerable precedents: Cat Country by Lao She was published in 1932; an English translation came out last year. It’s set in a Martian civilisation of cat-like people addicted to ‘reverie leaves’, oppressed by both physically stronger foreigners and the architects of ‘Everybody Shareskyism’.)

Written by Randy McDonald

August 26, 2014 at 3:00 am

[NEWS] Some Monday links

leave a comment »

  • Al Jazeera notes the likely controversies surrounding a new Chinese cartoon spotlighting an Uighur concubine of a Chinese emperor, and looks at the deeper diversity of Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Bloomberg notes the risk of Israel slumping into recession, reports on Burger King’s interest in acquiring Tim Hortons, notes that Côte d’Ivoire is still trying to sell public debt, comments on the role played by Dutch anger over the MH17 plane attacl in organizing the European Union sanctions against Russia, and describes the slim hope for upcoming Russian-Ukrainian talks.
  • CBC Prince Edward Island reports on a shocking double homicide in eastern Prince Edward Island, a shooting of a father and his son.
  • The Forward wonders who leaked an Israeli cabinet consideration of the reoccupation of Gaza.
  • An older MacLean’s report suggests that Tim Horton’s depends on low-cost imported labour to sustain an ultimately unsustainable growth strategy. A much newer one reports on the defection of another Bloc Québécois MP.
  • The Toronto Standard notes that Rob and Doug Ford were the only people on city council to vote against a new practice facility for the Toronto Raptors.
  • Universe Today notes that the ESA has selected five landing sites for the Philae comet lander, and observes that NASA’s New Horizons Pluto probe has just crossed the orbit of Neptune.
  • In the realm of photography, Wired reports on Humans of New York’s new global coverage and examines street photography in New York City.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 365 other followers