The Logistics of War | George Friedman on Ukraine and Russia




Published on Feb 28, 2022

George Friedman appeared again on the John Batchelor radio show.
In the last clip he talks about #Iran and #nuclear arms

"With all that’s happening in Eastern Europe, it’s understandable why so much attention has been paid to Russia, Ukraine, NATO, the European Union, the United States and anyone else with skin in the game. China, meanwhile, is flying under the radar, which is exactly where it wants to be.

Given its rocky relationship with the U.S. and the publicly lauded meeting between presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin earlier this month, many expected Beijing to throw its support behind Russia. But that hasn’t happened. So far, the Communist Party of China has employed a measured response that emphasizes dialogue among the interested parties. This is hardly evidence of the Russia-China alliance touted by much of the mainstream media. The truth is their relationship is much more tenuous and, at times, competitive.

They have competing fundamental interests that cannot be overcome simply by having a shared enemy in the U.S. These include India, Mongolia, Central Asia and, to a lesser extent, the balance of power in the Pacific, especially with regard to North Korea, Vietnam and so on. Even if they could temporarily set their differences aside, China doesn’t have much to offer Russia right now other than financial support.

To be clear, financial support is important – more so than, say, military support. For the sanctions regime against Russia to work, a lot of countries have to participate. Any abstention could create a potential loophole for circumvention. Hence why Moscow has been reaching out to Syria, Iran, China and other countries like those in the Eurasian Economic Union.

On that front, Beijing seems to be weighing its options. It must consider its own domestic economic problems, which are many. China’s shadow lending, its intervention in market affairs, its dependence on imports and its supply chain struggles create a very precarious situation. It has weathered COVID-19 well enough, but its struggles predate the pandemic. Financial aid, then, becomes a risky prospect. It would divert government funds away from the public at a time when state coffers play a crucial role in generating growth and preventing defaults, and it would make itself a target of U.S. sanctions. China cannot afford another trade war or restricted access to U.S. dollars, which are essential for China’s floundering tech companies and foreign investment.

There is speculation that China is biding its time, using the war as an opportunity to negotiate a new relationship with the United States. So far, it appears to be little more than speculation. Similarly, several media reports suggest that the war will inspire China to finally invade Taiwan. This, too, is unlikely. China’s decision to invade Taiwan has nothing to do with Russia or instability in the global system. If that were the case, China would have invaded long ago. But it has refrained from doing so because it is politically fraught and militarily daunting. An invasion would result in massive casualties and would likely invite U.S. and Japanese reprisals. Instead, it has opted to conduct menacing flights and naval posturing to wear down Taiwanese defense forces rather than any real action.

When countries pick sides in a global conflict, they do so based on how it benefits them. China could help Russia, but there may not be an upshot. If anything, taking a strong pro-Russian stance may actually hurt the Chinese economy. The U.S., meanwhile, has an interest in making sure China does not support Russia and in improving relations with Beijing. China is wisely keeping its options open. " - Geopolitical Futures

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