Bolton: Putin has only one case to use nuclear weapons but the West has been deterred


2022-05-19: [Article Link Editor: If Trump is still President of the United States, will Russia attack Ukraine? Is America’s policy toward Russia reasonable? How does the Trump government affect the policy direction of the United States? These issues have become hot spots for discussion. Former United States Assistant for National Security, John Bolton, who had recently received an interview with Japan's Assemblage News, asked journalists questions about the true state of United States diplomacy in Russia during the Trump period, and the interview was published on 14 May. Core summary: According to Bolton, NATO deterrence against Russia was ineffective. He said that deterrence would take time to accumulate and that the current situation could be avoided if the deterrent against Russia were to be more robust before the Russian army could join Ukraine. 2. Looking back at the Trump period, Bolton considered that there were many problems with his Russian policy, and that Trump had not been aware of the possible outbreak of conflict in Russia-Ukraine, which he might not care at all. All of this sends the wrong signal to Russia that Putin may have been waiting for Trump to pull the US out of NATO in order to reach the goal at minimal cost. 3. While the Biden Government's sanctions against Russia were not strong enough, he made a decisive mistake by denying the possibility of United States troops entering Ukraine, where direct involvement was no longer possible. According to Bolton, the Biden government lacks a coherent strategic framework, as well as a clear definition of the desired end of the war. The goals are unclear, and the measures necessary to achieve them are unclear. 4. Bolton also pointed out that the only possible scenario for the current use of nuclear weapons in Russia should be a major crisis for the regime, and that the status quo is far from that state. But NATO has been deterred by Putin’s rhetoric. Author: Takanochi Source: Sunshine News. Original title: Xiao Xiang, the leader of Xiang Xing, the head of Xiang Xiang, the head of Xiang, the head of Xiang Translation: Chenchen The US and NATO deterrence against Russia has not worked. Question: What are the greatest lessons for the United States of America to learn when Russia joins Ukraine? John Bolton: We need to recognize that the US and NATO deterrence against Russia has not worked. Sanctions and aid alone are not enough at this point in time. The key window of time to save Ukraine is before the Russian army crossed the Russian-Ukraine border on February 24. This situation could have been avoided if previous deterrent measures against Russia had been more robust. The Russian-Georgian war of August 2008 saw little real move in the West. Russia’s first military presence in Ukraine in 2014, the West largely stood by. In 2005, Putin called the break-up of the Soviet Union the biggest geopolitical disaster of the twentieth century, and we did not fully understand Putin’s deep intentions. What Putin is doing now is clearly to rebuild a “Russian empire.” Not just Putin, a very large number of Russians believe that “Russian mothers” are divided, and they want regions like Ukraine to return. I don’t think we can really understand that. Question: What measures should the previous United States Administration take to better address the “threat” posed by Russia? John Bolton: NATO’s expansion is not yet complete. Russia believes that it is NATO’s active expansion along its borders towards Russia. Most of the new NATO members fled to NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union, generally motivated by the hope that NATO would help themselves against Russia’s “threats.” * Editor's note: On 6 May 2022, at the “Peace for Development: Global 20 Nation Think Tank Online Dialogue”, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Lokyu stated that the Russian-Ukraine conflict was evidence of the “necessity of NATO's east expansion” as a typical cause and effect reversal, using the cause as a prescription. NATO’s expansion to the east has ruined Europe’s security, stunned Europe, and declared the US and NATO security doctrines bankrupt. It would be wrong to expect NATO’s expansion to solve the crisis, and would only trigger a bigger disaster. Where NATO should expand, there is a problem with previous decisions. There is a grey area between the east side of NATO and Russia’s western border, which I think is the reason for the current situation. Four months after President George W. Bush's 2008 proposal to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which was opposed by France and Germany, Russia “ invaded” Georgia. In 2008, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, and the President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko Russia has never moved to NATO’s borders. If NATO could absorb those two countries, perhaps Russia would not have gone out. This fact is also deeply touched by Finland and Sweden. Their membership in NATO is incredible to me for years of concern. Russia should not have anticipated it either. Trump either didn't realize that the Russian-Ukraine conflict would break out, or he didn't care. Q: What do you think should be said about Trump's four-year policy towards Russia? John Bolton: At that time, we sent Putin the wrong signal about the various issues that were intertwined. The main reason for Trump’s problems with Russia’s policy was Russia’s suspected involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia’s “interference” in the US presidential election is not intended to help Trump, but to cause separation within the US. But Trump categorically denies that Russia is moving in this direction. He fears that an admission would be misleading, understood by the outside world as his collusion with Russia, leading him to win the election. With regard to “interference” in US elections, the US government should have criticized Russia, but the end result was the opposite. Moreover, Trump clearly hates NATO very much. Putin may have been waiting for Trump to be re-elected, waiting for Trump to get the US out of NATO. 2019, Walter Ford, United Kingdom, President of the United States, Trump, at the NATO summit. Question: It is said that Trump has previously opposed the imposition of sanctions against the Russian Federation. John Bolton: Yes. Trump sees all international relations as human relationships, and this idea may work in New York's real estate industry. I do not deny the importance of human relations in diplomacy, but the ultimate driver of diplomacy should be national interests. Trump believes that if he has good personal relations with President Putin and the Chinese leadership, then the United States will have good relations with China and Russia. On June 12, 2018, local time, a historic meeting was held in Singapore between the President of the United States, Trump, and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. In particular, Trump likes Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Erdoğan in Turkey, and seems to appreciate Venezuelan President Maduro. He also likes Putin. I cannot clearly explain why he likes these people, but that is an undeniable fact. However, I do not think that Putin’s handling of issues would be pretentious to personal relations, which often scares me, and that Putin would “use” Putin overtook his personal relationship. Q: How did Putin take advantage of this situation? John Bolton: Trump is hostile to the leaders of major European countries, such as German (former) Chancellor Merkel and British (former) Prime Minister Teresa May. Putin was able to feel the rift between Europe and the United States, while preparing for the military and finding the right time (resolution of the Ukrainian problem). Question: The view was expressed that if Trump remained President of the United States, he could prevent Russia from joining Ukraine. John Bolton: This view is wrong. Putin did not act during his term in Trump, not because he was afraid of Trump, but because Putin sought to achieve his objectives in the least costly way. If Trump succeeds in re-election and pushes the US out of NATO, it will be easier for Russia to join Ukraine. If Trump wins in the 2020 election, he will be free of political constraints, and the US is more likely to withdraw from NATO, and Putin probably has been waiting for this opportunity. AFP via Getty Images Q: What was Trump's previous view of Ukraine? Did he realize that Russia's “military threat” was getting closer? John Bolton: He doesn’t realize, and probably doesn’t care. People around him often tell him that Ukraine is a very corrupt country. Trump suspects that the Democratic Party’s web server is in Ukraine and wants to investigate the illegal actions of the son of Byden Hunt through Ukraine. In an effort to force Ukraine to cooperate, Trump suspended $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, completely undermining relations with Zelensky’s government. The President of the United States, Trump, met with the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, on 25 September 2019, local time, in New York, United States of America, during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. It is normal for policy makers to care about their own political future, but it cannot be used as a basis to determine foreign policy, but Trump prefers to do so. Biden made a decisive mistake with regard to the Russian-Ukraine issue. Q: How do you evaluate the measures taken by the Biden Government against Russia? John Bolton: The Biden government’s sanctions against Russia were not strong enough. Before the war, President Zelensky asked the US to impose economic sanctions on Russia, but he was rejected by the US on the grounds that “if sanctions are imposed now, the deterrent effect will disappear, and the purpose of preventing Russia’s offensive will not be achieved.” That is because, before the outbreak of war, we had sufficient grounds to impose sanctions, and if they were imposed before the war, we could force Russia to reduce its growing “military threat” by lifting them. Biden made a decisive mistake in December of last year, denying the possibility of an American army (to Ukraine). There is no need to speak out and remain silent. The correct expression should be: for the United States, “all options are on the table” and the wording needs to be vague. Moreover, Biden should have invested more American and NATO troops to train Ukrainians. When Russian generals take up telescopes, look across the border to Ukraine, but find American flags in their sights, America’s intentions are clearly conveyed. Should the United States directly engage in military intervention? John Bolton: Biden has made it clear that direct United States involvement is no longer possible. The other NATO members should have no intention of sending troops to the war. This is also an indication of the limitations of the Biden government’s and NATO’s policy of solidarity with the U.S., which does not agree to the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine, but provides spare parts for them, provides Ukraine with “barrells” (American-made anti-tank missiles) and “strikes” (American-made man-portable air defence missiles) and causes Russian military casualties. In December 2021, Ukrainian soldiers used American gun missiles in military exercises in the Donetsk area: Associated Press In other words, to what extent and on what grounds assistance should be provided to the country, the Biden Government lacks a coherent theory to explain the reasons. Another problem caused by the lack of clear logic is that the Biden government does not have a clear definition of the desired end of the war. Given the wide range of questions, such as territory, what state can be called a “win”? If objectives are not clear, the measures necessary to achieve them are not clear. The current state may not be “mission deviation.” Putin's deterrent to the West worked. What do you think? John Bolton: No one wants things to escalate, but the outside world should understand that it was Russia that started the war. This war is not what Ukraine wants, and Ukraine is defending itself against aggression, and even if things escalate, the responsibility is not on the Ukrainian side, because it is Ukraine that is being destroyed in the fighting. On 18 May, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, presided over a routine press conference. In response to questions related to the conflict in Russia-Ukraine, Wang Wenbin stated that China's position on Ukraine had always been clear and that we hoped for an early end to the conflict and supported the efforts of the two parties to continue to work out the relevant issues through negotiations. A typical example is that the United States ultimately did not agree that Poland would supply Ukraine with fighter jets. Because the risk of the use of nuclear weapons is too neurotic, we have been deterred by Putin’s rhetoric. Of course, we should take the threat of nuclear weapons seriously. But it seems that Putin’s nuclear threat is nothing more than a bluff. In late February, he claimed that Russian nuclear forces had entered “special operational status,” but no specific action had been seen in connection with it. The only possible scenario for the current use of nuclear weapons in Russia should be a major crisis for the regime. The risk of the use of nuclear weapons in Russia will only increase if the performance of the Russian army on the battlefield in Ukraine deteriorates further and the Ukrainian army crosses the Russian border and gives Putin the feeling that he is in deep distress. It is important not to exaggerate Russia’s threat. The threat should be properly evaluated, not denied, and not exaggerated. Scholars comment: With regard to Bolton's interview, Endo, Professor of International Political Science at Tokyo University, commented that Bolton's view, as always, attaches the greatest importance to deterrence, which he criticizes for failing to take full advantage of power to better deter. Bolton could also be called a hardliner within the US Republican right. The US failed to stop the war in Russia-Ukraine, Putin’s deterrence of the West worked, the West should have tried to strengthen its deterrence against Russia, the military might have been strengthened in the long run to create a stronger threat to Russia, Ukraine and Georgia should be allowed to join NATO, and so on. Bolton has long maintained this view, albeit highly controversial. He believes that when the situation comes to this day, the point is not that the previous Russian policy is not rational, but rather that the policy is not being implemented with sufficient vigour. In an interview, Bolton stated that Putin seemed to be waiting for Trump to be re-elected and Trump, free from political constraints, to push the United States out of NATO, thereby reducing the cost to Russia of resolving the Ukrainian issue. Endo stated that this possibility was very high and that Bolton had mentioned in his memoirs how he was afraid during the NATO summit in 2018 of Trump's public decision to secede from NATO. When someone tries to criticize NATO and Biden, it may really be necessary to pause and think about how things will evolve if Trump succeeds in his re-election.


Note: This is a translated version of the Chinese news media article. A mature and nuanced reading is suggested.



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Bolton: Putin has only one case to use nuclear weapons but the West has been deterred


2022-05-19: [Article Link Editor: If Trump is still President of the United States, will Russia attack Ukraine? Is America’s policy toward Russia reasonable? How does the Trump government affect the policy direction of the United States? These issues have become hot spots for discussion. Former United States Assistant for National Security, John Bolton, who had recently received an interview with Japan's Assemblage News, asked journalists questions about the true state of United States diplomacy in Russia during the Trump period, and the interview was published on 14 May. Core summary: According to Bolton, NATO deterrence against Russia was ineffective. He said that deterrence would take time to accumulate and that the current situation could be avoided if the deterrent against Russia were to be more robust before the Russian army could join Ukraine. 2. Looking back at the Trump period, Bolton considered that there were many problems with his Russian policy, and that Trump had not been aware of the possible outbreak of conflict in Russia-Ukraine, which he might not care at all. All of this sends the wrong signal to Russia that Putin may have been waiting for Trump to pull the US out of NATO in order to reach the goal at minimal cost. 3. While the Biden Government's sanctions against Russia were not strong enough, he made a decisive mistake by denying the possibility of United States troops entering Ukraine, where direct involvement was no longer possible. According to Bolton, the Biden government lacks a coherent strategic framework, as well as a clear definition of the desired end of the war. The goals are unclear, and the measures necessary to achieve them are unclear. 4. Bolton also pointed out that the only possible scenario for the current use of nuclear weapons in Russia should be a major crisis for the regime, and that the status quo is far from that state. But NATO has been deterred by Putin’s rhetoric. Author: Takanochi Source: Sunshine News. Original title: Xiao Xiang, the leader of Xiang Xing, the head of Xiang Xiang, the head of Xiang, the head of Xiang Translation: Chenchen The US and NATO deterrence against Russia has not worked. Question: What are the greatest lessons for the United States of America to learn when Russia joins Ukraine? John Bolton: We need to recognize that the US and NATO deterrence against Russia has not worked. Sanctions and aid alone are not enough at this point in time. The key window of time to save Ukraine is before the Russian army crossed the Russian-Ukraine border on February 24. This situation could have been avoided if previous deterrent measures against Russia had been more robust. The Russian-Georgian war of August 2008 saw little real move in the West. Russia’s first military presence in Ukraine in 2014, the West largely stood by. In 2005, Putin called the break-up of the Soviet Union the biggest geopolitical disaster of the twentieth century, and we did not fully understand Putin’s deep intentions. What Putin is doing now is clearly to rebuild a “Russian empire.” Not just Putin, a very large number of Russians believe that “Russian mothers” are divided, and they want regions like Ukraine to return. I don’t think we can really understand that. Question: What measures should the previous United States Administration take to better address the “threat” posed by Russia? John Bolton: NATO’s expansion is not yet complete. Russia believes that it is NATO’s active expansion along its borders towards Russia. Most of the new NATO members fled to NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union, generally motivated by the hope that NATO would help themselves against Russia’s “threats.” * Editor's note: On 6 May 2022, at the “Peace for Development: Global 20 Nation Think Tank Online Dialogue”, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Lokyu stated that the Russian-Ukraine conflict was evidence of the “necessity of NATO's east expansion” as a typical cause and effect reversal, using the cause as a prescription. NATO’s expansion to the east has ruined Europe’s security, stunned Europe, and declared the US and NATO security doctrines bankrupt. It would be wrong to expect NATO’s expansion to solve the crisis, and would only trigger a bigger disaster. Where NATO should expand, there is a problem with previous decisions. There is a grey area between the east side of NATO and Russia’s western border, which I think is the reason for the current situation. Four months after President George W. Bush's 2008 proposal to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which was opposed by France and Germany, Russia “ invaded” Georgia. In 2008, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, and the President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko Russia has never moved to NATO’s borders. If NATO could absorb those two countries, perhaps Russia would not have gone out. This fact is also deeply touched by Finland and Sweden. Their membership in NATO is incredible to me for years of concern. Russia should not have anticipated it either. Trump either didn't realize that the Russian-Ukraine conflict would break out, or he didn't care. Q: What do you think should be said about Trump's four-year policy towards Russia? John Bolton: At that time, we sent Putin the wrong signal about the various issues that were intertwined. The main reason for Trump’s problems with Russia’s policy was Russia’s suspected involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia’s “interference” in the US presidential election is not intended to help Trump, but to cause separation within the US. But Trump categorically denies that Russia is moving in this direction. He fears that an admission would be misleading, understood by the outside world as his collusion with Russia, leading him to win the election. With regard to “interference” in US elections, the US government should have criticized Russia, but the end result was the opposite. Moreover, Trump clearly hates NATO very much. Putin may have been waiting for Trump to be re-elected, waiting for Trump to get the US out of NATO. 2019, Walter Ford, United Kingdom, President of the United States, Trump, at the NATO summit. Question: It is said that Trump has previously opposed the imposition of sanctions against the Russian Federation. John Bolton: Yes. Trump sees all international relations as human relationships, and this idea may work in New York's real estate industry. I do not deny the importance of human relations in diplomacy, but the ultimate driver of diplomacy should be national interests. Trump believes that if he has good personal relations with President Putin and the Chinese leadership, then the United States will have good relations with China and Russia. On June 12, 2018, local time, a historic meeting was held in Singapore between the President of the United States, Trump, and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. In particular, Trump likes Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Erdoğan in Turkey, and seems to appreciate Venezuelan President Maduro. He also likes Putin. I cannot clearly explain why he likes these people, but that is an undeniable fact. However, I do not think that Putin’s handling of issues would be pretentious to personal relations, which often scares me, and that Putin would “use” Putin overtook his personal relationship. Q: How did Putin take advantage of this situation? John Bolton: Trump is hostile to the leaders of major European countries, such as German (former) Chancellor Merkel and British (former) Prime Minister Teresa May. Putin was able to feel the rift between Europe and the United States, while preparing for the military and finding the right time (resolution of the Ukrainian problem). Question: The view was expressed that if Trump remained President of the United States, he could prevent Russia from joining Ukraine. John Bolton: This view is wrong. Putin did not act during his term in Trump, not because he was afraid of Trump, but because Putin sought to achieve his objectives in the least costly way. If Trump succeeds in re-election and pushes the US out of NATO, it will be easier for Russia to join Ukraine. If Trump wins in the 2020 election, he will be free of political constraints, and the US is more likely to withdraw from NATO, and Putin probably has been waiting for this opportunity. AFP via Getty Images Q: What was Trump's previous view of Ukraine? Did he realize that Russia's “military threat” was getting closer? John Bolton: He doesn’t realize, and probably doesn’t care. People around him often tell him that Ukraine is a very corrupt country. Trump suspects that the Democratic Party’s web server is in Ukraine and wants to investigate the illegal actions of the son of Byden Hunt through Ukraine. In an effort to force Ukraine to cooperate, Trump suspended $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, completely undermining relations with Zelensky’s government. The President of the United States, Trump, met with the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, on 25 September 2019, local time, in New York, United States of America, during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. It is normal for policy makers to care about their own political future, but it cannot be used as a basis to determine foreign policy, but Trump prefers to do so. Biden made a decisive mistake with regard to the Russian-Ukraine issue. Q: How do you evaluate the measures taken by the Biden Government against Russia? John Bolton: The Biden government’s sanctions against Russia were not strong enough. Before the war, President Zelensky asked the US to impose economic sanctions on Russia, but he was rejected by the US on the grounds that “if sanctions are imposed now, the deterrent effect will disappear, and the purpose of preventing Russia’s offensive will not be achieved.” That is because, before the outbreak of war, we had sufficient grounds to impose sanctions, and if they were imposed before the war, we could force Russia to reduce its growing “military threat” by lifting them. Biden made a decisive mistake in December of last year, denying the possibility of an American army (to Ukraine). There is no need to speak out and remain silent. The correct expression should be: for the United States, “all options are on the table” and the wording needs to be vague. Moreover, Biden should have invested more American and NATO troops to train Ukrainians. When Russian generals take up telescopes, look across the border to Ukraine, but find American flags in their sights, America’s intentions are clearly conveyed. Should the United States directly engage in military intervention? John Bolton: Biden has made it clear that direct United States involvement is no longer possible. The other NATO members should have no intention of sending troops to the war. This is also an indication of the limitations of the Biden government’s and NATO’s policy of solidarity with the U.S., which does not agree to the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine, but provides spare parts for them, provides Ukraine with “barrells” (American-made anti-tank missiles) and “strikes” (American-made man-portable air defence missiles) and causes Russian military casualties. In December 2021, Ukrainian soldiers used American gun missiles in military exercises in the Donetsk area: Associated Press In other words, to what extent and on what grounds assistance should be provided to the country, the Biden Government lacks a coherent theory to explain the reasons. Another problem caused by the lack of clear logic is that the Biden government does not have a clear definition of the desired end of the war. Given the wide range of questions, such as territory, what state can be called a “win”? If objectives are not clear, the measures necessary to achieve them are not clear. The current state may not be “mission deviation.” Putin's deterrent to the West worked. What do you think? John Bolton: No one wants things to escalate, but the outside world should understand that it was Russia that started the war. This war is not what Ukraine wants, and Ukraine is defending itself against aggression, and even if things escalate, the responsibility is not on the Ukrainian side, because it is Ukraine that is being destroyed in the fighting. On 18 May, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, presided over a routine press conference. In response to questions related to the conflict in Russia-Ukraine, Wang Wenbin stated that China's position on Ukraine had always been clear and that we hoped for an early end to the conflict and supported the efforts of the two parties to continue to work out the relevant issues through negotiations. A typical example is that the United States ultimately did not agree that Poland would supply Ukraine with fighter jets. Because the risk of the use of nuclear weapons is too neurotic, we have been deterred by Putin’s rhetoric. Of course, we should take the threat of nuclear weapons seriously. But it seems that Putin’s nuclear threat is nothing more than a bluff. In late February, he claimed that Russian nuclear forces had entered “special operational status,” but no specific action had been seen in connection with it. The only possible scenario for the current use of nuclear weapons in Russia should be a major crisis for the regime. The risk of the use of nuclear weapons in Russia will only increase if the performance of the Russian army on the battlefield in Ukraine deteriorates further and the Ukrainian army crosses the Russian border and gives Putin the feeling that he is in deep distress. It is important not to exaggerate Russia’s threat. The threat should be properly evaluated, not denied, and not exaggerated. Scholars comment: With regard to Bolton's interview, Endo, Professor of International Political Science at Tokyo University, commented that Bolton's view, as always, attaches the greatest importance to deterrence, which he criticizes for failing to take full advantage of power to better deter. Bolton could also be called a hardliner within the US Republican right. The US failed to stop the war in Russia-Ukraine, Putin’s deterrence of the West worked, the West should have tried to strengthen its deterrence against Russia, the military might have been strengthened in the long run to create a stronger threat to Russia, Ukraine and Georgia should be allowed to join NATO, and so on. Bolton has long maintained this view, albeit highly controversial. He believes that when the situation comes to this day, the point is not that the previous Russian policy is not rational, but rather that the policy is not being implemented with sufficient vigour. In an interview, Bolton stated that Putin seemed to be waiting for Trump to be re-elected and Trump, free from political constraints, to push the United States out of NATO, thereby reducing the cost to Russia of resolving the Ukrainian issue. Endo stated that this possibility was very high and that Bolton had mentioned in his memoirs how he was afraid during the NATO summit in 2018 of Trump's public decision to secede from NATO. When someone tries to criticize NATO and Biden, it may really be necessary to pause and think about how things will evolve if Trump succeeds in his re-election.

Note: This is a translated version of the Chinese news media article. A mature and nuanced reading is suggested.

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