We, and I include myself on an occasional basis, often fall into the error of thinking that all those jumped-up dictators are sharper, shrewder and ten steps ahead of the likes of 'Dim Dave' or even 'Ol' Big Ears'. For example, 'Vlad the Impaler', with keen geo-strategic insight carried out his own 'pivot to the east' by cuddling up to the Chinese and signing a new and huge pipe-line deal that will whoosh oil and gas across to his new best friends. This would be accomplished by his prize energy company, Gazprom. I am deeply indebted to the Streetwise Professor for deflating all that hot air in one deadly blog post entitled with equally deadly accuracy 'Putin's pivot to obscurity'.
On a Monday morning in which the Chinese stock exchange fell another 8% - 8%! - despite the government using emergency laws to discourage selling, it comes as no surprise to learn that the Chinese have about as much use for expensive Russian energy as we in Britain need more rain! Plus, and you can blame those damned Aussies, apparently they can supply Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) for a fraction of Russia's price - good on yer, Aussie mate!
The good Professor points to three very basic problems facing 'Vlad' and his gangsters
1: The pipeline itself is eye-wateringly expensive mostly because the crooks who run Gazprom insist on building it themselves because, well, how else are they going to skim off the top?
2: The pipeline goes to western China which is precisely where China does not want it!
3: And in any case today China doesn't want the stuff because, as mentioned above, the Aussies can supply it cheaper and also it is now obvious that the Chinese economy is in deep doo-doo and sinking fast - oh dear what a pity never mind!
Suddenly the world is a very lonely place for 'Vlad' so its just as well he has one good and true honest friend - Sepp Blatter! Here they are together, kissing in the back row: