As noted in StrategyPage
China has shown a preference for tyrants and police states, and is eager to get access to key raw materials (rare metals and oil). China does not care about criticism, and has no guilt about helping to prop up dictatorships.
Putin himself has acknowledged the distorting effect of energy exports on the national economy and urged businessmen and government officials to find ways to increase development in Russia’s high-technology sectors that will manufacture products that can compete in the global economy.
Beijing and Moscow are still setting themselves up for a Mercantilist future, and depending on exports for an economy, rather than a sustained increase of the domestic markets. Russia is the biggest sinner in this, but China’s dependence on African raw materials, and how they’re going about getting them, is a clear sign.
Trick is… mercantilism has had its day… in the 18th century. It was shunted aside in favor of capitalism, and “contemporary reformed capitalism with certain socialist/regulated characteristics” because the latter simply work better.
This does not bode well for either power, and not merely in relation to the U.S. If Iran shrugs off the nutjobs, it’s positioned to become a prime player almost overnight, and Iranians are great for business. India as well has both the cleverness, the growth, and, now, the “BBB-” investment-grade credit rating (hat tip: Samizdata), to mark them as a serious player.
No amount of state-regulated export economics can compete against that over the long haul.