Do we have a political term for the situation when a weak country milks from two country which are enemies of each other?

My research includes, studying about debt-trap, and other questions here. So I am thinking if there any terms SIMILAR to "debt-trap" (they aren't same, I know) for this case.

My history is weak and I don't know about any historical examples. I can construct an imaginary example from observations and I might be wrong to make such conclusions. Still I am including it as part of my research.

Research and possible conclusion:

See the map below.


China funds Bangladaesh extensively. Recently turned Capitalist India too does it.

Details and clarity:



The String of Pearls is a geopolitical theory on potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region (IOR). The sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the Strait of Mandeb, the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Lombok Strait as well as other strategic maritime centres in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Somalia.

Details and clarity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_of_Pearls_(Indian_Ocean)

Now, say, Pakistan decides to sell their islands to China, it would not trouble the Indians. Because they are already enemies so are maybe prepared for such a situation.

Details and clarity: https://newscomworld.com/2020/10/06/pakistan-selling-bhundar-bundal-and-dingi-islands-in-occupied-sindh-to-china/

It would be a problem when this imaginary situation occurs:

Bangladaesh needs to develop their coast or port. India wouldn't want to invest because they have to feed their billion people first (They aren't completely Capitalist. They have some socialist policy as well). China is willing to do it under the condition that they may use the port as a naval base. India wouldn't have any way but to invest to keep off the Chinese.

Winner: Bangladaesh!

Losser: China

Bigger Losser: India

Myanmar could be the example too to some extent. My research used Bangladaesh as the example.

  • 2
    Not about countries per se, but there's a European proverb in various variations that might apply here, along the lines of when two fight, the third one wins. The English version is with dogs. oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199539536.001.0001/… This is a question about language, imho, not politics. Nov 25, 2020 at 7:02
  • Also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Nov 25, 2020 at 8:55
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    Several countries have successfully profited from neutral roles while surrounded by larger countries/blocks. Switzerland may be the one with the longest tradition in that regard. Germany, France, Austria and Italy (or their respective precursors) were frequently at war with each other. After World War II, Austria also adopted a neutral position, thereby avoided to be split between the blocks like Germany was, and profited by doing business with both blocks during the Cold War era. It also became a diplomatic center, with one of the UNO locations.
    – Hulk
    Nov 25, 2020 at 9:03
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangular_diplomacy is similar but generally used to refer to one special case of it. See also Balance of Power en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 28, 2020 at 22:56
  • 1
    @ohwilleke wow, yes. That is what I was looking for. Thanks again.
    – Gary 2
    Jan 4, 2021 at 13:12

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's called "playing one side against the other", and has historically happened in places such as Siam which played the Western colonizers against one another in order to maintain its independence back in the 1800-1900s.



If you want to use network theory, that would be preferential attachment. China and Pakistan are enemies with India. Pakistan can profit from this https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/indo-china-conflict-whats-in-it-for-pakistan/2084091/

  • 2
    This is an interesting answer, but I feel it lacks some details related to those connections (vertices).
    – Alexei
    Nov 27, 2020 at 10:56

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