22 August 2022 Really interesting discussion, as always.
On East Divorces West
First, agree with the panel's sense of the future, trust is gone,
but a certain level of 'functional trust' for cooperative
interaction will emerge. It will probably be hedged about with
agreed consequences for those who break the contract. After all,
Russia needs capital for building its society, it doesn't mind where
it comes from.
Second, all countries need to avoid a 'Mexican standoff' where there
are only 2 players, and each has a gun to the other persons head.
Each participant in trade needs at least 2 zones to export to and
import from. China has no intention to become highly dependent on
Russia (so far as is reasonable) for energy, and Russia has no
intention to become highly dependent on China for an export market.
Of course, the same can be said for the Russia/EU gas/oil trade. It
is re-balancing, but someone forgot to put the clutch in before
attempting to change gears. It's not an automatic.
On The Rise of Eurasia 'plus'
First, Scott points to the stability of gas pipelines (objectively
true). He also points to sabotage, the flip side of the coin.
Blockades, whether of Russia or Taiwan, could cut shipping and
therefore LNG ships. Also a form of sabotage. Both are in the same
realm of coercion short of war. The world wide web is an example of
multiple pathways to the same destination. Re-routing. That's why
Eurasian land pipelines are important. And why LNG termina are
important. The more pipelines, and the more different countries they
travel to, the more robust the system.
Second, all this takes a lot of time as there are so many countries,
so many shenanigans, so many election turnovers, coups, etc. The
wests blockade of Russia has sped all this up.
Third, Eurasia + messy as it is, plays to Russia's comparative
strength - patient long term diplomacy.
Fourth , a Eurasian + 'common market' is not exclusive. Trade rules
have to be harmonised - of course, but tariffs etc don't have to be
universal. I suspect they will be a mix of multi-party and bilateral