On October 9, North Korea announced its entry into the nuclear club, detonating a nuclear bomb equivalent to 500 to 1,000 tons of TNT, according to French estimates, a fizzled but somewhat successful test. Just a few hours later, China condemned the detonation. And on Tuesday, China announced that it would oppose any sanctions, let alone a military strike, on North Korea. "What we should discuss now is not the negative issue of punishment," oiled Liu Jianchao, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Minister. "Instead, the international community and the United Nations should take positive and appropriate measures that will help the process of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula."
Two days before North Korea bombed its way into the news, Russian reporter Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in her apartment. Politkovskaya, a vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was the victim of a contract killing, likely orchestrated by the Russian government. The Russian government remains as committed to dictatorship and repression as it ever has been.
Just after North Korea's bomb test, Russia announced that the bomb had not fizzled, but dazzled, yielding the equivalent of 5,000 to 15,000 tons of TNT, 10 to 30 times larger than the French estimate. Russia also signaled its unwillingness to take any sort of punitive action against North Korea, issuing a statement indicating "its readiness to participate in joint efforts by the interested parties aimed at a peaceful diplomatic resolution of the situation surrounding North Korea."
A Chinese-Russian alliance is forming. The Chinese client state is North Korea; the Russian and Chinese trading partner is Iran. Like China, Russia is a capitalism-utilizing dictatorship with a history of Marxism and a belief in its eventual historical conquest. Like Russia, China is a Machiavellian political actor willing to play both sides of the Islamic-Western conflict against the middle. China and Russia are the global beneficiaries of the Islamic-Western clash of civilizations. They remain largely outside its purview while benefiting from its externalities. Stalinist Russia and Maoist China began as allies. History has conspired to force them once more into the same bed.