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Russia: The War With China
   Next Article → MORALE: Stranded In Paradise

February 21, 2008: So far, the attempt at getting back into the superpower business isn't going so well. A flotilla of Russian warships conducting exercises in the Mediterranean were observed to be hesitant and uneasy as they went through their paces. These were crews and officers who were out of practice. One of the support ships broke down and had to be towed to port. The increased number of long range bomber flights are mostly for show. They serve little military purpose. It's all about rebuilding some respect for the Russian military.

 

The government is making a lot of noise about rebuilding the armed forces, and another Cold War with the U.S., but this is all talk, to make the government appear like it's doing something. The military would need massive amounts of money (over $100  billion a year, for a decade or more) to restore any meaningful amount of military power. Nothing near that amount is forthcoming. The government is trying to get the population stirred up, so there is less resistance to the purchase of many expensive warplanes and ships. A lot of this necessary because China is buying less, and starting to offer their own stuff, often containing stolen Russian military technology, on the world market. China is threatening to offer its copy of the Su-27 (the J-11). Currently, half of Russian weapons export sales are Su-27s. The Chinese ignore Russian complaints about the stolen technology. To keep Russian weapons manufacturers in business, the Russian military has to buy more, to make up for the lost Chinese sales. Western firms are also going after the lucrative Indian arms market, which Russia has dominated for decades.  Last year, Russia sold $7 billion worth of weapons overseas, and may have a hard time topping that this year.

 

While there is less kidnapping and gunfire in the streets, Russian criminals are still in business. Computer crime is increasing, apparently under the protection of the government. Large scale assaults on foreign banks, corporations and governments are traced back to Russia, yet Russian police refuse to cooperate in rounding up the suspects. At the same time, a former senior intelligence official, who defected to the West, explained how, in the 1990s, Russia stole half a billion dollars from the UN "Oil for Food" program that was supposed to be feeding Iraqis. Russian officials are still known to be ready to deal, if the payoff is big enough. Back home, the government is increasingly making up the rules as it goes along, sliding back to the customs so common when the Soviet Union existed. Those who make a lot of noise in opposition either flee the country, or get prosecuted on some trumped up charge.

 

The Caucasus continues to be a dangerous neighborhood. Corruption and police with a "license to kill" are causing more unrest. Not that corruption and random violence are new to the region. But Islamic radicalism is becoming attractive to many young men, especially those who can't get attached to one of the many successful criminal gangs. These outfits use the Caucasus as a base, and operate throughout Eurasia. This is a growing problem. The Russians fear that some crime bosses will support Islamic terrorists, just to get back at the government for some recent loss (arrests, scams disrupted).

 

The recent American shoot down of a failing spy satellite, using a SM-3 anti-missile missiles fired from an Aegis cruiser, upset Russia. U.S. military technology has been the bane of Russian military planning since World War II. Back then, billions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment was shipped to Russia, and a generation of Russian officers came away impressed at the casual (technical) competence of the Americans. During the Cold War, Russian planners were constantly in fear of new U.S. technology breakthroughs. These happened frequently enough to remain real to the Russian generals. Now this satellite shoot down just reinforces the feeling of technological inferiority. The Russians passed this attitude on to the Chinese, who tend to see the U.S. lead as more of an opportunity than as an obstacle.

 

 

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sclayton    Stealing?   2/21/2008 4:54:29 PM
The StrategyPage writers throw the word "stolen" around a lot
when it comes to China.

Acquiring a product, particularly a high tech product, operating
it to determine  exactly how it works and then taking it
apart and copying it is the time tested technique known
as reverse engineering. 

All competent industrial and high technology companies worldwide
use reverse engineering to one degree or another. It is a common sense
way to know what your competition is doing, get a good guess as to
how they are doing it,  and to make sure your own products are
state of the art - or at least competitive.

Example: When Ford built its first minivans, its team of designers
openly stated that they have bought Dodge Caravans and studied
every aspect of them including taking them apart and evaluating the
details down to the smallest component.  This was seen as a smart
move by a respected competitor  tying to get into a market dominated
by a strong market leader.

Reverse engineering is  both legal and common.

 
Quote    Reply

Lance Blade    hate to slide into politics but...   2/21/2008 7:16:24 PM
"Those who make a lot of noise in opposition either flee the country, or get prosecuted on some trumped up charge. "

What opposition? The United Russia party won by a landslide - 53% if I'm not mistaken. What real "opposition" does the party have? To the average Joe Russian it's a choice between a.) a party that's provided 8 years of consistent economic growth, b.) communists (nice, but been there, done that, wanna move forward not back), c.) the ultranationalist liberal democrats (who are just gonna breed Russia more enemies), d.) parties that have not really had a chance to prove themselves so, while having decent agendas, are more of a risk than going with the centrist United Russia. At least with them you know what to expect. There are yet other parties, like A Just Russia, who are opposition in name only and ally with United Russia.

I hear lots of talk on "totalitarianism", yet have yet to hear of a viable alternative that would present a real challenge to the current administration. Yabloko's often quoted as "opposition". I go on Yabloko.ru, the front page is in English! I mean, what? Which audience are they aiming at? I tried looking round to find their proposed policies. I couldn't! Maybe I'm greatly mistaken but right now I see this "opposition" as having no clear goals, no radical new solutions to problems, and existing only to critisize the current administration. Most critisism for Putin & co. actually comes from the West. (Berezovsky & co.'s doing, perhaps?) Meanwhile, for very real reasons, he's popular at home. Ironic, isn't it?

It would be very interesting to see how Western perception of Russia will evolve if/when Dmitry Medvedev comes to power. Whatever will Berezovsky & co. think up now to chuck at the new guy?
 
Quote    Reply

00_Chem_AJB       2/21/2008 8:26:54 PM
Porbably on the lines of "he is Putin's puppet, nothing more." Lance I think what they are getting at is this stuff happens to oposition leaders, well potential leaders before they can organise any real oposition.
 
Quote    Reply

Lance Blade       2/21/2008 8:47:51 PM

Porbably on the lines of "he is Putin's puppet, nothing more." Lance I think what they are getting at is this stuff happens to oposition leaders, well potential leaders before they can organise any real oposition.

     To be fair I only read good things about Medvedev in Western media. It's amusing how confused the media seems to be about why this apparently "autoritarian" Putin supports a supposedly freedom-loving Medvedev. If I ignore the larger picture, I can understand the media's confusion. What the media doesn't see is an alternative reality - where Yeltsin-Putin-Medvedev are a natural continuation of the same basic idea. Yeltsin struggled to define the legislature of the new federation. Putin used the model hammered out by Yeltsin to achieve economic growth and drive down corruption. Paving the way for a liberal to add democracy to the stability that he'd created. Three very different leaders, three stages in history of what was essentially a brand new nation after 1991.
     Opposition is about ideas rather than numbers. What can the opposition possibly say against a 6.7% average annual GDP growth over 8 years? They play the autoritarian card, but that's about it. Until United Russia screws up badly, I see little chance of another party coming to the fore. Opposition parties, in my opinion, would benefit greatly from having clear objectives of their own, rather than merely existing to critisize the current goverment. The opposition in Russia seems to lack that (with the exception of communists and ultranationalists). Parallels can be drawn to the last US election and the Bush-Kerry standoff. In the end, Bush won largely because Kerry's main policy had been "I'm not Bush". That's despite Bush being unpopular by then.
     Having their website front page in the language of the country they're trying to win office in would help too, in my opinion.

 
Quote    Reply

JT    call it whatever you want   2/21/2008 9:35:29 PM
It's still wrong.  Hey sclayton where exactly can I go and buy a few AMRAAMs or maybe some an AEGIS radar system or say a nuclear reactor for a Virginia submarine?  Buying something widely available to all people on the open market and taking it apart to see how it works is one thing.  Taking information or paying people to take information about classified defense systems is well, treason if you are a US citizen, and espionage if you are Chinese.  Hardly just "reverse engineering".  Please don't play the moral equivalence game with commies.
 
Quote    Reply

Herald12345       2/22/2008 3:09:44 PM

The StrategyPage writers throw the word "stolen" around a lot
when it comes to China.

Acquiring a product, particularly a high tech product, operating
it to determine  exactly how it works and then taking it
apart and copying it is the time tested technique known
as reverse engineering. 

All competent industrial and high technology companies worldwide
use reverse engineering to one degree or another. It is a common sense
way to know what your competition is doing, get a good guess as to
how they are doing it,  and to make sure your own products are
state of the art - or at least competitive.

Example: When Ford built its first minivans, its team of designers
openly stated that they have bought Dodge Caravans and studied
every aspect of them including taking them apart and evaluating the
details down to the smallest component.  This was seen as a smart
move by a respected competitor  tying to get into a market dominated
by a strong market leader.

Reverse engineering is  both legal and common.


Taking proprietary knowledge through treachery such as software code or HOW to build jet engines or radars ore rockets is not reverse engineering. Its theft.

Copycatting is not reverse engineering, its theft.

The PRC bandits are thieves.

When the Russians stole a piece of US gear they engineered it out of their tech tree to the best of their ability and IMPROVED it. Its a long tortured road from Sidewinder to Atoll to an R-73, but the R-73 is a RUSSIAN rocket.

The PL-12 has more than a passing resemblance to the R-77 and Derby than it has to anything genuinely and originally  Chinese.

Herald
 

 
Quote    Reply

afrc       2/23/2008 12:38:18 PM
What opposition? The United Russia party won by a landslide - 53% if I'm not mistaken. What real "opposition" does the party have? To the average Joe Russian it's a choice between a.) a party that's provided 8 years of consistent economic growth, b.) communists (nice, but been there, done that, wanna move forward not back), c.) the ultranationalist liberal democrats (who are just gonna breed Russia more enemies), d.) parties that have not really had a chance to prove themselves so, while having decent agendas, are more of a risk than going with the centrist United Russia. At least with them you know what to expect. There are yet other parties, like A Just Russia, who are opposition in name only and ally with United Russia.

National-socialist party also won in Germany once. What does it say about anything, except people wanting to get out of depression, have stability, have national unity, have revenge for humiliating WWI peace... and here comes Adolph that promises it all? Situation not that dissimilar now, but of course I do NOT compare Putin to Hitler on ideas, only on surface.

Just because a party does not have huge opposition, does not mean that it does not have opposition at all. As I understand it, people there have problems distinguishing parties, but in this case people voted not for United Russia, but for Putin, who said that he will be the party head. People voted for the person they belied saved and continues to save Russia. But this is artificial notion. First of all many critics of the president were silenced. Independent TV station closed. Even comedy puppet show that made fun of all politicians (including Putin) was closed, primarily because they refused to obey the order to remove/change their moppet Putin. And there was constant propaganda of Putin of TV - you could not turn the TV on without seeing Putin in the news every 5 minutes (my parents have Russian TV via dish). Putin played on Russian nationalism to display himself as a person that throws challenge at the West... West that (in many people's minds) wants to destroy Russia, West that made Russia lose Cold War, broke USSR apart and separated Slav brothers (Ukraine and Belarus), humiliated the mighty Russian empire, West that getting closer to the Russian border with some evil purpose, West that bombed and destroyed brotherly Yugoslavia, and so on and so on. Putin plays the cards right and stirs up emotions. And finally there were directives to organize support meetings from schools, factories. Most people are easy to fool and in the vacuum of visible opposing opinions it really does seem as Putin is the only savior of Russia. But I sincerely do not think this. Russian ambitions are kept afloat by high oil prices... and I think that Russia is one of the reasons. It keeps feeding and supporting Iranian nuclear ambitions to drive the fear and thus oil price, as well as create weapon markets for Russia. Other than this, Russia failed in creating a serious manufacturing and technological base for itself to play a role in global economy outside oil (and whatever else it has) industry. That's why Russians are pissed - they can't play the role in the world (and they don't want to think that it is their fault) except by being an obstacle and they see it as the West's fault. West is the one that keeps the Russia down on its knees, and finally there is someone who spits in West's face, rather than being a clown like Yeltsin, and that's why they voted for one party (read voted for Putin the Savior of the Empire).

I hear lots of talk on "totalitarianism", yet have yet to hear of a viable alternative that would present a real challenge to the current administration. Yabloko's often quoted as "opposition". I go on Yabloko.ru, the front page is in English! I mean, what? Which audience are they aiming at? I tried looking round to find their proposed policies. I couldn't! Maybe I'm greatly mistaken but right now I see this "opposition" as having no clear goals, no radical new solutions to problems, and existing only to critisize the current administration. Most critisism for Putin & co. actually comes from the West. (Berezovsky & co.'s doing, perhaps?) Meanwhile, for very real reasons, he's popular at home. Ironic, isn't it?

Viable opposition will not be allowed to develop. There are many parties and it is fine according to "divide and rule" principle. People's opinion is broken up in small pieces, their attention is out of focus, so the majority of people will vote for one person they know and trust. It is easy to create an image, a person to vote for in this atmosphere. And here comes Putin and his party. Ironic, isn't it?

It would be very interesting to see how Western perception of Russia will evolve if/when Dmitry Medvedev comes to power. Whatever will Berezovsky & co.
 
Quote    Reply

Lance Blade       2/24/2008 7:46:41 AM

What opposition? The
United Russia party won by a landslide - 53% if I'm not mistaken. What
real "opposition" does the party have? To the average Joe Russian it's
a choice between a.) a party that's provided 8 years of consistent
economic growth, b.) communists (nice, but been there, done that, wanna
move forward not back), c.) the ultranationalist liberal democrats (who
are just gonna breed Russia more enemies), d.) parties that have not
really had a chance to prove themselves so, while having decent
agendas, are more of a risk than going with the centrist United Russia.
At least with them you know what to expect. There are yet other
parties, like A Just Russia, who are opposition in name only and ally
with United Russia.


National-socialist party also won in Germany once. What does it say about anything, except people wanting to get out of depression, have stability, have national unity, have revenge for humiliating WWI peace... and here comes Adolph that promises it all? Situation not that dissimilar now, but of course I do NOT compare Putin to Hitler on ideas, only on surface.

But Putin has kept most of his promises, and he didn't go to war to do it. That's the difference between him and Hitler. Or between fashism and democracy. Nothing wrong with fashism as a system, apart from the fact that it needs enemies to keep itself going. United Russia didn't follow that route.

Just because a party does not have huge opposition, does not mean that it does not have opposition at all. As I understand it, people there have problems distinguishing parties, but in this case people voted not for United Russia, but for Putin, who said that he will be the party head. People voted for the person they belied saved and continues to save Russia. But this is artificial notion. First of all many critics of the president were silenced. Independent TV station closed. Even comedy puppet show that made fun of all politicians (including Putin) was closed, primarily because they refused to obey the order to remove/change their moppet Putin. And there was constant propaganda of Putin of TV - you could not turn the TV on without seeing Putin in the news every 5 minutes (my parents have Russian TV via dish). Putin played on Russian nationalism to display himself as a person that throws challenge at the West... West that (in many people's minds) wants to destroy Russia, West that made Russia lose Cold War, broke USSR apart and separated Slav brothers (Ukraine and Belarus), humiliated the mighty Russian empire, West that getting closer to the Russian border with some evil purpose, West that bombed and destroyed brotherly Yugoslavia, and so on and so on. Putin plays the cards right and stirs up emotions. And finally there were directives to organize support meetings from schools, factories. Most people are easy to fool and in the vacuum of visible opposing opinions it really does seem as Putin is the only savior of Russia. But I sincerely do not think this. Russian ambitions are kept afloat by high oil prices... and I think that Russia is one of the reasons. It keeps feeding and supporting Iranian nuclear ambitions to drive the fear and thus oil price, as well as create weapon markets for Russia. Other than this, Russia failed in creating a serious manufacturing and technological base for itself to play a role in global economy outside oil (and whatever else it has) industry. That's why Russians are pissed - they can't play the role in the world (and they don't want to think that it is their fault) except by being an obstacle and they see it as the West's fault. West is the one that keeps the Russia down on its knees, and finally there is someone who spits in West's face, rather than being a clown like Yeltsin, and that's why they voted for one party (read voted for Putin the Savior of the Empire).

Oil itself doesn't guarantee prosperity. Look at Venezuela, Angola, Chad, Iran, Nigeria, Syria... What Russia's doing (under supervision of people like Medvedev, I believe, which is why he's quite popular), is using oil money to build up infrastructure and diversify, as well as redevelop high-tech industries so that it doesn't have to keep selling oil all the time. Apparently, Russia's weapons sales topped everyone else's last year. And, well, Kaspersky, anyone? And need I remind who ferried astronauts to the ISS for 3 years when the Shuttle fleet was grounded? So Russia is competitive in some industries. The problem is, after the collapse of the USSR everything fell into disarray, professionals left en masse and the new Russian Federation now has to rebuild many things from scratch. Maybe the current image building of a new Russia is to encourage those profess
 
Quote    Reply

sclayton    Reverse engineering and theft   2/25/2008 4:49:24 PM
Wow, this brings out the moralistic streak. The gist of the article is
China is at war with  Russia.  The example given is the Russians
sold the Chinese SU-27 s and the Chinese copied them and built
a version of their own. For some reason people think this is "bad."
A matter of right and wrong.

I remember back in the cold war we spent something  like a billion
dollars building the Glomar Explorer and using it to raise a sunken
Soviet  sub  - so our best engineers  could take it apart and study it.
Presumably if we found anything interesting, we would have copied it.
It was all super secret, mining magnesium nodules cover story, etc.
The Glomar then spent about 20 years as a $500Million rusting channel
marker in Suisun Bay. It was "right" for us because we were at war and
they "lost" their sub and we had the technology to find it. 

The tenor of Strategy Page is that the US is "at war" with China and
Congress  just doesn't know it yet., and that Russia is also engaged
in a long range war with China.  In war you do what you can to get
hold of the other side's weapons and try to make sure you have
something as good, or if you can't copy it at least develop counter measures. 
That is normally seen as "right"  and "good." China is considerably,
maybe  decades, behind the US and Russia in most  aspects of military
technology and is playing catch up in time of war.  If the Russians
sell them the technology, the Russians  should not complain that the
Chinese  take it apart. learn to service it themselves, learn to upgrade
it themselves,  learn to defeat it, and then use it to learn to make
their own.  Who do they think they sold it to, a bunch of
incompetents with no technical ability?

Saying "copycatting is theft" shows basic lack of understanding  of how
business works in free market societies around the world.  The US and
world computer industry has been  built on companies reverse engineering
and copying IBM's technology. Linux is an entire industry built on
outright  copying Unix feature by feature - reverse engineering
of software is legal under both US case law and EU statutory law. Much
of the pharmaceutical industry is built on straight out copying of drugs
that do not have patent protection.  Patents are not God granted "rights." 
they are simply government granted monopolies created by politicians
enacting statutory law  -   you could argue patents are a manifestation
of big government hindering free enterprise and perfect competition
by granting monopolies which restrict competition.  Patents  may provide
some government  created protection from copying part of a product  for a
few years,  but generally  once you put  product on the market, it is
more or less fair game for anyone else to study it and use what they
learn to build their own as long as they do not infringe what ever
intellectual property  "rights" a government may have granted.
And yes, reverse engineering of software is legal under both
US case law and EU statutory law.
 
Quote    Reply

Herald12345    You really want to go down this road?   2/25/2008 5:21:37 PM
Proprietary rights law is quite complex, but at its heart is the concept that stealing another's ideas and processes is THEFT.

That is not just patent law, it is TREATY  LAW  which the PRC bandits who signed the treaty break wholesale and retail.

Or do you think the PRC bandits have the right to steal Norwegian ocean platform technology or US  IT technology or German automotive technology or ANY French technology they can get their hands on?

Not being able to originate tech of their own design, even in their incompetent copycatting, why should not their wholesale theft be called what it is? 

STEALING.

Herald

 
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