Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

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Just a little musing on something which occurred to me this morning…….

I am a fan of history, and a fan of analogs. Those two interests combined this morning, when I wondered to myself if there are any parallels between the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 and what the U.S. and China are going through right now.

As a refresher, the 1939 agreement was a non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia. Simply stated, they agreed not to attack one another, not to ally themselves with any enemy of the other, and (secretly) to define their spheres of influence over Europe.

This was a high water mark for the relationship between the two powers. As you well know, Germany and Russia became the bitterest of enemies during World War 2, killing off countless millions of one another. Thus, the signers of this non-aggression pact became the most fearsome of aggressors in the end.

Allow me to remind you of another “pact” between two great nations, this one quite recent:

Seems like a million years ago, doesn’t it? But it was only four months ago!


I think we can all agree that the era of good feelings between these two countries has gone right into the toilet at this point. Every day, the war of words escalates. Indeed, I was stunned today to read that Trump was publicly musing about the notion of “cancelling” the debt China holds with the U.S. (which I suppose means to default on their holdings, which would kinda piss ’em off).

A knowledge of history can help inform our probabilistic assessment of the future. I’d suggest keeping 1939 in mind.