The Bear and the Dragon, 2018 Edition

Via Alexander Gabuev.

Incidentally, Gabuev has long been skeptical about the possibility of a strong Russia-China relationship, especially on account of Russia’s weak understanding of China (see my article on The State of Russian Sinology, where I cover his arguments). So it means something when he says that China and Russia are moving closer to each other than at any other time since the 1950s.


Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Spisarevski says

    Ukrainian battle barge USS Hetman McCain spotted near the South China Sea, ready to support their American allies.

  2. Felix Keverich says

    Isn’t it cute how he worries about “dangerous complacency” on the part of US war machine? Not taking Sino-Russian cooperation, that is “moving beyond symbolism”, seriously enough.
    Also, the “infamous Zapad-2017”. lol

    There is a good case for shuttering Carnegie-Moscow and imprisoning Mr Gabuev and his collegues on spying charges. Why would we want our CLUELESS adversary to have adequate sources of information on Russia? The good news is that the adversary is probably too clueless to notice Gabuev anyway.

  3. Wouldn’t imprisoning him though just draw attention to his poasts?

  4. Felix Keverich says

    Perhaps, but it will also permanently eliminate him as a source of up-to-date information for American policymakers. It will discourage other people from becoming American informants.

    And besides, hurting the enemies feels good, we should do it more often.

  5. Polish Perspective says

    OT: OpenAI played a match in a 5 vs 5 in DOTA2 the other day against a team of human pros. Last year they went 1 vs 1. Spoiler alert: the AI lost. There was some confusion over at /r/machinelearning over whether the AI had ‘sentient’ consciousness, in the sense that it controlled all five players at the same time. But apparently, there was a separate AI for each player and these AIs communicated with each other, but each had an autonomous zone of control only of one player.

    The AI team did better in some technical (especially reaction time, as well as discipline on countdowns/timings etc) areas, but still lagged in overall strategy. Still, it did lead in kills for most of the game, but it lost at the end. It was hardly a walkover for team human.

    Once games like DOTA2 and Starcraft 2 are mastered, the potential applications in the ‘real’ world will truly be interesting, precisely because of the imperfect information nature of both games, whereas in chess and Go you can always see what your opponent is doing (and not doing). Life is not so simple.

  6. I know this lack of understanding of China by Russia has been mentioned a few times here before, but is this really so important? The USA wants to destroy Russia (they may use weasel words such as “maintaining international norms”, but destroy is really the end goal), the USA is also becoming increasingly hostile to China, seems to me that under these circumstances that Russia having closer friendly ties with China is a no brainer.

  7. The Big Red Scary says

    Why would we want our CLUELESS adversary to have adequate sources of information on Russia?

    Because the point isn’t to win a war that can’t be won, but to present such a strong deterrent that the war will never have to be fought.

  8. Felix Keverich says

    The point is to push American influence out of the Ukraine and other Eastern Europe, while shielding Russian economy from the impact of American sanctions. It would help, if American policymakers had no idea how Russia works.

  9. Should be called; the bear and the panda – to keep with the bear theme. But maybe pandas are just too cuddly and lazy to be taken seriously. That graphic with the bears is very cute. That’s the most serious-looking panda I’ve ever seen.


  10. AnonFromTN says

    Not to worry. I seems that no matter how much good info the US elites have, they remain pathetically clueless. US actions in regards to Russia, China, Iran, and pretty much all other countries for quite a while now are so misguided that you can’t make them more so. In the last year even US actions towards its spineless vassals are misguided. Looks like collective dementia. It would have been even funny if the US did not have nukes.

  11. Gerard1234 says

    It would help, if American policymakers had no idea how Russia works.

    These Carnegie effeminate pricks like Gabuev, Trenin, Baunov have no idea how Russia works either.
    All they are is liberasts who indulge in “strategic” thinking over Nato and Russia as some sort of cover for their retarded liberastism.
    5th columnists..they should be shot on the spot, in an idealistic world

  12. Aren’t you being an apostate by saying that a Muslim country should not regulate marriage, when the Koran says that the separation of church and state should not exist, and is it not funny that the only Muslim who is well liked is an apostate?

  13. Que? What does this have to do with pandas?


  14. Clancy didn’t write that trope namer though.

  15. Ah OK. Was not familiar with the origin, thanks!


  16. Daniel Chieh says

    We should make a new trope of the right to bear defiance against unbearable world conditions.

  17. At a 1000+ pages, it probably would have been a hard sell if it had been named “The Bear and the Panda”, though I have heard pandas can be vicious creatures.

  18. The Big Red Scary says

    Off topic, but you keep talking about escaping to Hong Kong. Never been there, but is it really significantly less pozzed than western countries? And how long can that last? Do you think the PRC can pull off such a balancing act?

    This article makes the situation look not so promising:

  19. I have heard pandas can be vicious creatures

    Gibs me dat jacket punk!!!


  20. With the Trump tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs against Alaska LNG, I think there will be a more solid commercial basis for bilateral relations because China will immediately buy all the gas Russia can export when the Power of Siberia pipeline opens next year.

    Also US is going to sanction Nord Stream 2 to stop its construction. Altai gas pipeline to western China will be hastened.

  21. Daniel Chieh says

    Hard to say – still getting my work visa. Part of it is economical – the pay differential is actually in my favor there though I’ll have to live in a tiny place for awhile due to crazy housing costs. It seems like it’ll be an adventure.

    As for PRC, well, they can’t allow same-sex marriage because the hukou will be instantly abused, so there’s a very practical reason not to permit that. As for poz, yeah, of course, due to informal controls and the like but that’s pretty much the same everywhere except in the West. HK, like a lot of other modernized East Asian places, has its own liberal elite but they’re not as capable of advancing their agenda.

    The Western systems of formalism/transparency has a lot of advantages; its very efficient and gets things done. This can be good when the goals are positive, and not so great when the goals are negative.

  22. The Big Red Scary says

    because the hukou will be instantly abused

    Are there any good arguments for maintaining that system? I know of no good arguments for retaining propiska in its current form.

    But I thought the poz was the thing that was driving you to Cameroon over Taiwan. So what is the central issue? I guess in Hong Kong you are still allowed to speak out against the poz without being sent to reeducation camp.

  23. Daniel Chieh says

    I’m pretty certain the schools and city services wouldn’t survive if it was invalidated; its unfortunate, but I do think that the hukou is necessary for now. It should be reformed, and it is getting reformed – the real solution is to increase the number of teachers, doctors, etc, but that’s a harder problem.

    And yeah, in Taiwan its probable that you’ll get gender ideology in schools soon too. Part of the entire poz thing is that it is an industry, a profitable one, and it can thrive in places that are busy cargo culting – Taiwan being a really good example, since it can’t do anything else economically/politically/militarily, so they try to virtue signal harder. Taiwan is just really moribund, you can feel it in the air.

    Singapore might be getting that bad soon too in terms of poz, but I don’t have too much personal experience yet, but it does seem like it could be given some people I know there. Its one reason why it was lower on my list. You hear a lot of “we’re just like Americans here” and so they want to mimick anything Western.

    Japan really seems to be the best example of modernization and high function without sacrificing their own identity, probably because they have a fairly strong cultural basis not just tied in materialism, etc. Not perfect, of course, but what is perfection? Something that doesn’t exist in reality.

  24. There are about 20,000 asylum seekers mostly from South Asia piling up in Hong Kong. Government not doing much to stop the flow.

  25. Daniel Chieh says

    What are they seeking asylum from, low wages?

  26. AnonFromTN says

    They aren’t worth a bullet. Besides, they fool not only themselves, but their puppet-masters, as well. Feeding false intelligence to a known foreign spy is a time-honored practice.

  27. The Big Red Scary says

    I was going to mention that I’ve heard the availability of slave labor in Hong Kong off-sets the high price of rent.

  28. I think Singapore and HK are pretty interesting places. Clearly, there are a lot of people who want to live in both places. I guess I may be naive but that frankly surprises me because of the high cost of living. I know there are some positive differences, but I think I would personally rather live in mainland China than either HK or Singapore, and I am not exactly a fan of the CCP.

    The city-state model is an interesting one to contemplate, but one wonders if either place could really function without immigration from China. I’m not sure a really family-friendly city-state is even possible, without colonies or some other place to put the excess population. And, if modern city-states are doomed to be population sinks, maybe that is not such a good model given current world affairs.

  29. sudden death says

    That is really great news, because it just accelerates the process of RF’s becoming an object (not subject) in international arena and a satelite of China. You can use such euphemisms as “allies” or strategic partnership” instead but they have as much sense as calling Belarus so in relation to RF whereas in reality Minsk is nothing but a satelite of Moscow. Chinese top military men probably are laughing quietly because it just saves them money for military inteligence because they can study RF military machine from the very closest possible distance without much effort 🙂

  30. A long standing svidomist fantasy.


    Apparently evolution favors the lazy.

    Makes a great deal of sense. The modern West has been for the past 500 years the most active and energetic civilization the world has ever known, but it only had a 500 year run – which is very low compared to civilizations (even medieval civilization lasted around 1,200 years).

    East Asia, otoh, has famously adopted a philosophy of “non-doing”, Chan, Zen, Taoism, etc – and lasted longer and been more stable than any other civilization.

    China seems today to have switched to a Western philosophy of “energetic doing” – which may mean China won’t last very long.


    Apparently the secret to ant efficiency is idleness.

    It seems the efficiency of ants is based on 70/30 rule – 30 percent of the ants work hard at any given time, and you can switch out the ants at random. Its not that 30 percent of ants are harder workers, but that the system functions best when only 30 percent work.

    Assuming humans are significantly like ants – a scientifically proven assumption – then societies that promote hard work across the population may be sacrificing significant efficiency gains.

    It seems all the sages from Aristotle to Lao Tzu have been right – contemplative leisure is the best way to maximize and retain efficiency gains across all sectors of society under modern industrial conditions.

  33. sudden death says

    This is just cold hard fact as countries with such population/economy size difference cannot be equal in international relationship at all and even nukes cannot change the final outcome. The only fantasy would be saying that the process of RF’s becoming a satelite of China is finished and complete now but the process of Poland-Lithuania state becoming satelite and eventually prey of Moscow tsardom was not that quick either.

  34. Apparently evolution favors the lazy.

    Tortoise and the Hare?…


  35. Apparently the old fable tellers knew it all along.

  36. Daniel Chieh says
  37. Daniel Chieh says

    This is why Singapore is a vassal state of Malaysia.

  38. Daniel Chieh says

    Shenzhen is a short trip by rail, I plan on spending a lot of time there and checking it out.

  39. I’ve heard good things about Shenzen. The heat is not one of them, of course.

  40. Lars Porsena says

    Poland-Lithuania never became a satellite of Russia. It was defeated in a war and torn into pieces with half of it occupied by Russia.

  41. Perhaps the ANU researchers – or Homo Erectus himself – were not sufficiently acquainted with the Idleness Theory Of Evolution, which is fast becoming the consensus theory among credible researchers who graduated from Ivy League universities.

    “Zero idleness, or complete ‘busyness’, is the threshold of death. The nearer any creature approaches this threshold, the more endangered its life becomes. In a time of difficulty, when all creatures must work harder, some varieties or types may be reduced to zero idleness, and driven to extinction. It is the busiest, most hard-working creatures which face extinction, and the idlest which survive. In Idle Theory, natural selection means the regular extinction of the least idle.”

  42. reiner Tor says

    Lazy man works twice as hard, you know.

    This is the koan you need to study to reach the next phase in your spirituality. Please don’t come back before you understood it. You won’t come back if you understand it.

  43. Lazy man works twice as hard, you know

    That would vindicate both Daniel Chieh and Idleness Theory – if the laziest man is actually the hardest worker, then according to Idle Theory, he would die out.

    Impressive, RT. I did not know you had such a subtle grasp of the Mystical Union Of Opposites.

    I like the cut of your jib.

  44. No point in sharing skeptical arguments here. Email people like this who try to persuade Hong Kongers that the tens of thousands asylum seekers are legitimate and should be let in:

  45. Daniel Chieh says


    blockquote>K, a Ghanian detainee, was a long-term detainee at CIC…After growing up in a tumultuous environment, K fled from debt to Mainland China years ago and set up a Chinese school there. When his visa was cancelled unexpectedly, he escaped first to the Philippines, then Togo, before finally using a fake passport to come to Hong Kong in December 2015…In the eyes of officials, K is no doubt “a troublemaker,” due to his ability to rally support from detainees

    Seems like the people China needs. And of course the writer is a shenmu. No point in trying to convince her; the Party seems to be doing what they can, which is to delay clearly annoying people for years and bore them.

    It’s not like they can shoot them.

    China even gave him a free lawyer. How great.

  46. sudden death says

    Thanks for confirming the point as Malaysia has just roughly twice bigger economy and roughly five fold bigger population than Singapore whereas China has rougly eight times bigger economy and roughly ten fold bigger population – the dwarfing of RF by China is absolutely nowhere near the levels of Singapore dwarfing by Malaysia.

  47. Daniel Chieh says

    Someone here missed the point.

  48. sudden death says

    You should study the Poland-Lithuania history more in detail, as it was nearly almost defeated at some point during the 1655-1667 war but in the end got quite favourable peace and even got to keep roughly most of the pre war territories, but kept only weakening and drifting into Moscow orbit after that as during Great Northern War (1700-1722) already became an “ally” of Moscow but those “torning into pieces” (three times!) episodes happened only during 1772-1795 without any major wars or defeats. So it was quite drawn out affair of degradation to the point where Poland-Lithuania kings became literal lovers of Moscow female imperators.

  49. sudden death says

    The point was that Singapore IS NOT the vasal state of Malaysia 😉

  50. Zero idleness, or complete ‘busyness’, is the threshold of death. The nearer any creature approaches this threshold, the more endangered its life becomes

    And here’s evidence supporting this theory:ōshi

    Karōshi (過労死), which can be translated literally as “overwork death” in Japanese, is occupational sudden mortality.

    In China, the analogous “death by overwork” concept is guolaosi (Traditional:過勞死 Simplified:过劳死), which in 2014 was reported to be a problem in the country.

    In South Korea, the term gwarosa (과로사) is also used to refer to death by overworking. South Korea has some of the longest working hours in the world………Many have died from being overworked and the issue has only begun to gain more national attention due to many government workers having died from gwarosa.

    Someone should tweet this to Elon Musk. If he really wants to die on Mars he needs to stop working himself to death on Earth.

  51. Good examples.

    The hard work craze is probably part of the death wish taking over the modern world.

    We have even begun building machines that do nothing useful but just – work.

    This is from an article on bitcoin –

    “Why are we purchasing banks of highly specialized computers and heating them up with computational burdens that tax their performance spec and then paying to cool them back down—in order to accomplish nothing useful?”

  52. Speaking of Elon Musk and the Karoshi phenomenon, does anyone else notice a bit of japanese in his facial appearance, asperginess etc?×423.jpg

    Maybe it is not a coincidence that the Tesla logo font looks japanese inspired:

  53. A lot of Boers have a tiny bit of admixture, like 2-3%. A little Malay or Bushmen.

    I can’t decide if the base population of Dutch are just an odd-looking bunch, or whether you can see a small amount like that. It’s not all of them, just one in a few that looks exotic.

  54. Who allow these people to come in? Why don’t the Hong Kong people do something?

  55. Japan deserves a lot of credit for not making critical errors like the west has regarding immigration, SJW, etc etc.

    But they only achieved a high standard of living through tremendous sacrifice that was totally unnecessary. By keeping their currency pegged to the dollar, and pursuing mercantilism, the only way they could achieve prosperity was to grind out an existance working 80 hours a week.

    If they had let their currency strengthen and turned towards inward consumption, Japan would be the most prosperous country on earth and their people would only need to work 40 hours week.

    Not a good trade off IMO.

  56. Daniel Chieh says

    Idleness Theory Of Evolution, which is fast becoming the consensus theory among credible researchers who graduated from Ivy League universities.

    Lying is bad for your soul, Aaron. Anyway, as you well know, it was “consensus” theory only a few years ago in medical books that the brain lacked a lymph network.

    Amusing theory, though.

  57. Lazy man works twice as hard, you know.

    His writing style exemplifies this maxim

  58. OT –

    Great article by Imran Khan. Talha you’ll appreciate it – I feel this kind of reasonable, pragmatic non-mystical religion may be very suitable for the Western mind at the moment.

    The one problem I notice with Western writers on religion like Bruce Charlton is that they have not yet gotten over the idea of human domination – they don’t like the idea of submitting to a higher power.

  59. I do believe Idle Theory is the wave of the future.

    I am sorry, my friend, we will not be colonizing the stars – too much work, just to forestall the inevitable end. A species that can only survive by colonizing space is one that is coming up against the death threshold (zero idleness).

    Instead, we will be sitting around doing nothing. And it will be glorious.

  60. Daniel Chieh says

    You could also save energy by not posting, but you do.

    A consideration is that animals may have more inefficient methods of storing “wealth” from effort, it might be that the conversion of ingestion to fat is much more lossy than human means of gathering wealth. A worthwhile thought is also that idleness saves energy for bursts against unexpected contingencies, such as predators; it’ll be an interesting exploration to test for.

  61. Shenzhen is a short trip by rail, I plan on spending a lot of time there and checking it out.

    Shenzhen is a good choice, as are Shanghai and Beijing, if you want to stick to the China-theme. Then make your choice, or even forego China altogether – nothing wrong there as well.

    Just bear in mind, (and this is something you already know), that everywhere in China falls under the power of the state – with all that implies, bad and good.

    You will no longer be in the lands of the overseas Chinese diaspora, you will most unmistakably be in China itself, and the norms and assumptions, not to mention the rules, will be . . . what they are.

    See for yourself, and best of luck, Daniel!

  62. When his visa was cancelled unexpectedly, he escaped

    The point of the story, as I see it, is that K had to flee from Mainland China, simply for having no visa. In Hong Kong, he is treated more leniently, with legal protection and even pro-refugee advocacy.

    In China, his prospects would have been unpleasant. Or worse.

  63. That was a good article, thanks. Imran Khan was a childhood hero of mine as a cricket superstar.

    Yeah, many people have an issue with thinking they aren’t in control. This is especially the case with people that are have made material achievements and live fairly well-to-do lives… people in difficult circumstances have a much easier time in believing in a higher power and humbling themselves since they have less delusions.


  64. Daniel Chieh says

    I lived in Shanghai before actually, though that was a different time with Jiang Zeming. The power of the state seems pretty meh then, with Shanghai openly defying Beijing and the police spending an exorbitant amount of time arguing with unlicensed street vendors about the morality of licenses versus “my family would die! do you want to kill me?!!”

    I imagine its a bit different now.


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