Ukraine: The Latest, Podcast The Telegraph

  • Visits to Taiwan and Ukraine.
  • Strategic ambiguity is practiced by states.  A common terminology is used, but radically different meanings are understood.  Both can say we agree on the “One China” policy and have different definitions of that.
  • Taiwan was drawn into the American umbrella due to the Korean war.  The leader of North Korea got permission from Stalin was gotten and approval of China for an invasion of South Korea by the North.  The Americans were trying to pursue this strategic ambiguity with regard to South Korea.  The Sec. Of State made a speech noting countries that were in the American defensive realm.  He left out South Korea.
  • The Americans were looking to withdraw their troops from South Korea.  Truman did withdraw troops despite the warnings from the CIA that to do so would probably result in an invasion.
  • American strategic deterrence failed.
  • After that there was a hardening in the American strategic approach.  Taiwan was drawn into the sphere. 
  • Since then, there was knowledge that the Americans would intervene should there by interference in Taiwan.
  • Biden has said on multiple occasions say that the U.S. could come to the defense of Taiwan.
  • The US has been arming Taiwan.  There are concerns that Taiwan relies too much on the U.S. and does not build its own defenses sufficiently.
  • When you let the strength of your deterrence wilt, when you let it be believed that your support for an ally might not be strong, you see others intervene.
  • It’s much cheaper to deter China from invading Taiwan than to deal with it after they do.
  • There was a lot of criticism of Biden when he made clear lines for the Kremlin on what they would and wouldn’t do.  The example is announcing that they wouldn’t provide a “no-fly zone.”
  • There is a danger in being unclear about your intentions.  There is a good argument that had the Americans been stronger about stating their intentions about defending Ukraine, the invasion might not have happened.
  • Truman made it clear in the Korean war that the US was not going to use nuclear weapons.  That clarity in intention may have greatly shaped the tone of the cold war and the reluctance of other countries to use nuclear weapons.
  • The Republican Party in the US
  • In the past the Republican party was squarely supportive of NATO.  Then, there was Trump.  There was talk about ditching NATO
  • Hawley voted against allowing Sweden and Finland into NATO.  He was criticized by other Republicans like Ted Cruz.
  • Ukraine has revitalized NATO.
  • Pompeo want to Taiwan with Pelosi.  We may have relative consensus on foreign policy.  The problem is what happens if Trump runs again. 
  • In Europe
  • Le Pen has been saying that sanctions were good for Russia and bad for Europe.
  • Turkey has always straddled east and west.  Recently they have brokered the deal about grain.  Some have seen this as a betrayal. 
  • Turkey is using this to gain influence.  A few years there was an attempted coup.  It has become more Islamist and more autocratic.  In some ways this undermines the NATO project.
  • NATO is in the position of criticizing other countries for anti-democratic tendencies and then Turkey is a NATO member.
  • Turkey could have used the situation to lurch more toward the east.  Probably for self-interest it sees that Russia will come out of this situation badly.
  • Erdogan is facing elections soon.  He will have to fight to have the political control he has.  But Turkey is in such a strategic position, especially in the Black Sea.
  • (Book: How to Hide an Empire)
  • US
  • The Democrats are likely to lose control in 2022.  Biden will be in the position of having to issue Executive Orders to get anything done.
  • The American public had lost its confidence in interventionism, and then the Ukraine war started.
  • Russia
  • Russia has had staggering population loss.  It is a society in decline.
  • Peskov has said that Russia is haunted by two holes in its population, the second WW and the break up of the Soviet Union.
  • The Kremlin in characterized by “severe paranoia.”  Putin would like an authoritarian state, to observe every citizen, have every citizen be an informant.
  • The USSR was not plugged into the world economy.  Russia is a country characterized by brain drain, reliant on oil and gas to survive economically.
  • When you have a brain drain, there is a culture of resentment.  Those left behind become resentful of those who have gone to the West.  That decline makes you deeply pessimistic.  This makes you vulnerable to the strong man appeal. 
  • A great many Ukrainians have been deported to Russia.
  • Much of the apparatus for implementing a more suppressive state has been put in place since the invasion of Ukraine.  The censorship of the press, the control of knowledge is essential.  A lot of this has been put in place comprehensively since the invasion.

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