Ukraine invasion: What would it take for Russia’s current allies to abandon their support?

It logically follows. If Russia uses nukes in this current war of conquest, and there is no reply from the international community… then what is to stop Pakistan from using nukes on India? They would have gotten the message that there is no negative consequence for doing so.

Well for starters, INDIA HAS NUKES OF ITS OWN.

Was the US threatening to use nukes if they were losing there? Refresh my memory.

So? The US has nukes and we don’t want use of nukes to become normalized either.

Do you intend to use them against someone who also has them for shits and giggles like @Euphonious_Polemic is suggesting?

I wonder if you could point out exactly where I suggested anyone should use nukes for shits and giggles.

Warning for AK84: Putting words in another users mouth is not allowed on this board. Do not do this again.

Even assuming Russia eventually loses the war (which, even with as lackluster as their performance has been, is not guaranteed), it’s not necessarily true that supporting the losing side goes against China’s strategic interests. Arguably, simply prolonging the war serves China by diverting US military spending and US policy makers’ attention towards containing Russia and away from containing China.

Note that I am not defending the morality of what Russia is doing (which is indefensible, IMO), or of China’s support for it. I’m just saying, China supporting Russia to the degree they’re doing seems completely in keeping with China’s foreign policy in general. I mean, look at their support for North Korea. Surely, they don’t think that North Korea will ever win a war against the West, but what they do is divert US attention and resources that could otherwise be focused elsewhere. And observing how the US responds to foreign policy challenges such as these helps inform China’s strategy going forward, e.g., in a potential future conflict over Taiwan.

You’ve made some excellent points. You should post more often! I love posts like this that dig into the details make me re-think.

I wonder if this is completely true though. There’s a weird thing about military spending (milspend), it tends to grow. Obviously, during long peaceful period it declines over longer periods of time, but, in the short term, an increase in milspend, begets MORE milspend.

Why is this relevant to the current conversation? We (the US) are expending our munitions at a currently unsustainable rate in the Ukraine. The logical answer to the rapid drawdown of our strategic reserve is to build more.

Those weapon systems, shells, missiles, etc. are, generally, made in America, by Americans. Those Americans have Congress-critters. Congress-critters tend to like their jobs as Congress-critters and want to keep them. So, we will buy more to keep all those Americans+Congress-critters employed.

BUT, enterprising businesses can now say “holy hell, we just gave these to another country and look how fast they got used up! What if WE actually get directly involved in a war? We’d need EVEN MORE!”.

And so we won’t just replace them, we’ll develop the capacity to make them faster/in greater quantity. Which will cost money, a lot of it. But the Americans/Congress-critters involved in the transaction won’t care about that because that money will become (to some extent) THEIR money.

So, to sum up, increased US military spending does NOT benefit China since it will result in a generally increased US capability and, let’s face it, if they’re going to fight any peer/near-peer, it’s us.

I don’t think “diverting” works that way in this case. Most of America’s military spending works just as well for Pacific purposes as European purposes. The development of the 500-kilometer range Precision Strike Missile for HIMARS, for instance, works just as well for hitting China from Okinawa as it does for hitting Russia from Ukraine. NASAMS is as useful in Asia as in Europe, etc.

If anything, by wearing down Russia, the Ukraine war will let America worry less about Russia and focus more on China, all the more so given that it has spurred European NATO allies to finally increase their own defense spending as Washington has long requested.

OTOH … Chinese leadership appreciates that nuclear weapon use could make the conflict escalate out of hand very quickly, which is … bad for business. China is a much larger and more globally dependent economy than Russia’s is. Getting Russia weak enough that they are completely beholden to China is a good thing for China. Having the United States’ attention and resources focused there - good thing for China. Conflict escalating to more direct NATO/American involvement crossing borders and causing global recessions and depressions? Bad for China. Very bad.

As Putin’s desperation increases, and this terror assault is clear evidence it has, the risk of his using a tactical nuke increases. Any nuke use will provoke some response from America, not nuke, but a more direct confrontation response than had been done to date with nukes on stand by, and some of each side scared to press the trigger too late. I doubt China likes that there is real risk of getting there now.

My thought is that while China and India may not care what Russia does generally, nuclear use (which a lot of folks in the home thread were concerned about) is probably another thing entirely, for reasons already pointed out. If it seems like Russia is getting too serious about it, China and India may feel motivated to toughen their stance a bit.

(Partly ninja’ed, but keeping anyway.)

China is taking this opportunity to buy russian (and rebadged Ukrainian) commodities at a steep discount. Russia isn’t getting market price for the oil it sells to China.

More importantly, China is using this opportunity to clearly rebalance the Sino-Soviet relationship with China as the big dog and Russia increasingly becoming the lap dog of the relationship. China still thinks of Outer Manchuria (Siberia) has having been part of Greater China, and a weakened Putin State certainly helps the stealth moves there.

It depends. In case of a country like India, almost all of India’s military supplies come from Russia. Russia is a key strategic counterweight to Pakistan and China for India. Also, India imports nearly all of its oil and India’s foreign exchange reserves are very sensitive to oil prices. The current war has meant that India has a sweet deal to get cheap oil from Russia. So, net net, not supporting Russia has very little political or economic upside other than feeling morally superior. Supporting Russia is economically, politically and militarily advantageous.

To dissuade India from supporting Russia, the US and allies would likely need to compensate India economically and militarily. Frankly, its unclear that the US and allies would be willing to do so, or that they would have the credibility to make the promises.

If Russia were to expand the theater of war or escalate by using nuclear weapons, the calculus might change.

This situation highlights a fundamental question, what is morality in a nation state? The responsibility of a government is to its people. At what point is a government responsible for putting higher human ideals ahead of the self interest of the people the government represents. The calculus of governments, like the Indian government, is that currently, their responsibility to their citizens and their self interest outweighs the broader moral considerations. I am not advocating for the view, just elucidating the position.

In addition to the financial considerations already addressed: the longer this conflict goes on and NATO weapons get tested in combat, the US learns what does and doesn’t work in a modern theater with regard to strategy, tactics and weapons. Potentially they will learn enough to simply arm Taiwan to defend itself. The flip side of that is they might learn the wrong lessons, and only learn enough to help defend Taiwan if they were in the same position as Ukraine.

I dunno, if I were China, the calculus of “How weak do I want Russia?” and “How much intelligence do I want the US to gather about their own system’s weaknesses?” would be hard to figure out.

India must be watching how crappily Russian stuff has been performing in Ukraine. I would guess and hope that they are pivoting towards buying Western arms only from now on.

I wonder. Russia’s poor performance is likely not because their equipment is worse. Also, there are reasons why India is reluctant to rely on the US and the West (although they are buying more arms from France, Israel, etc recently).

The US is not known to be a very reliable supplier in case of war or threats for third world countries. The US is conflicted between its role as a moral beacon, its own self interest, and its role as a colonial / hegemonistic power. Countries that relied on the US have often found themselves in a pickle in case of a war, depending on which of those instincts the dominates in the US. China and Russia have no illusions of being moral beacons, so are more reliable as arms suppliers.

Could you please provide some examples of this–especially related to the later part of your sentence. I can think of counter examples that were to the US’s detriment and I can think of high-horse examples not involving imminent military threat.

Seconding GWF_Hefel’s request. Examples, please. Specific ones, not “everybody knows” kind of stuff.