The Great Game – Wang Yi and his Wish.com Weapons
What on Earth is China up to?
In the week leading up to the first anniversary of Russia’s failed Ukraine invasion we both had reports about the Chinese contemplating supplying the Russians with weapons as well as Former Foreign Minister Wang Yi going on a European Tour with a ‘peace plan‘ in his suitcase. What to make of all this? Are the Chinese trying to help the Russians to victory or are they playing the great mediator? Here’s our take!
When we think of Chinese manufacturing, we think of cheap Wish.com goods and second-rate electronics – not state-of-the-art missile systems, military drones and tanks. This is wrong, however. China is a major arms exporter – just not to countries that can make their own weapons like the US, EU or Russia. China makes very cheap, but reliable weapons and they usually come in great bundle deals as part of Chinese investment and development schemes. It’s not that your average African Army Chief of Staff relishes the opportunity to equip his guys with Chinese-made rifles, but they are much easier to get by and often delivered at great rates with long-term financing, so the armies of the third world often have little choice.
The Russians are slowly, but surely falling into that same category. As we have discussed earlier, Russia is by know a de facto Chinese vassal state. They depend on China for their vital oil exports, they depend on China for technological imports and knowhow and most importantly they depend on China to provide some kind of international backing of the Putin regime. This will, of course, also involve succumbing to the Chinese defense industry.