Feb 27, 2023Liked by Policy Tensor

Very interesting read but it begs the question of what we should be doing in the foreign policy realm instead of what we are doing now. Perhaps that could be a topic for the next newsletter.

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I am not sure it’s well understood, but it’s clearly not yet widely accepted that the US no longer enjoys any admiration amongst its international partners. It has very few staunch supporters left. Most of its allies are reluctant ones. The damage done by recent administrations to the US's international image is massive. US soft power is pretty much gone.

So, a good start would entail recognizing that the US position in the world has diminished and to recalibrate foreign policy accordingly. And then to perhaps turn to the myriad of domestic issues that are the real root causes.

After the aloofness of the Obama era and the cockamamie show of Trump, the Biden administration has so far, by and large, returned to a democracy promotion reminiscent of Reaganesque and Clintonian reflexes. However, considering the damage caused earlier, the few, barely discernable touches of humility are wholly inadequate. While the current policy may prove effective over the short-term, it will likely cause more and deeper resentment that will resurface in the future.

Sooner or later, willingly or forcibly, the US will have to grieve about its loss of single superpower status. As for now, I’m afraid the establishment is still pretty much vacillating between denial and anger about it. The path to acceptance remains thorny and long.

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China could prevail against us in the diplomatic struggle?

China prevailed against us diplomatically long ago.

You don't know that because our media which, of course, 76% of us distrust, have kept us in the dark about the real world.

China has far more, and far closer trade and diplomatic relationships with foreign countries than we do. It also has far more money, and a bigger, more powerful navy, and a manufacturing base... You get the picture.

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What a silly comment. China has a loose relationship with Russia, the US has a closer one with Europe and Japan. Japan alone would be a more valuable ally than Russia in a Pacific conflict.

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We're talking diplomacy here, not warfare.

But the news on that front is equally bleak.

China so dominates the West Pacific skies and seas that it can sink a US carrier docked in Darwin Port with a DF-26D missile. And a single PLAN frigate can sink the entire Taiwan Navy without coming in range of its US-supplied armaments.

Like poor Czar Nicholas in 1905, are our leaders are unaware that we are a military match neither for China or Russia, let alone both. Will they sound our smaller, older weaker-armed fleet far from home, against a bigger, newer, better armed one?

And, as fighting nations go, they're in another league.

They've never lost a war in 1000 years and we've never won one.

"All Your West Pacific Belong China Now.."


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Glad the Policy Tensor has revised views in regards to Biden Admin willingness to take (or more worryingly, misunderstand) risks.

Nord Stream is only a dramatic illustration of this. More generally, the demanding Germany/EU to sacrifice their strategic autonomy, reputation/hope for financial autonomy, and global economic competitiveness. All burned down via the sanctions program.

And incomprehensibly, all with the working theory of the sanctions apparently ignoring China's profitable option to eat EU's lunch, on both ends.

China steps in in as buyer of Russian energy exports, obtaining competitive advantage over EU.

China steps in as seller of industrial supplies, making Russia a showcase market and natural stimulator of investment for the Chinese version of firms like Siemens - which produce a range of both foundational and highly integrated industrial technologies. 5-10 years from now, the businesses that spin up in China to supply the full spectrum of foundational items for Russian high end industry, with effective subsidy too, will proceed to sell their products elsewhere at a cost advantage vs the shrinking markets of their EU counterparts - who'll be simultaneously pushed out of China and US !

And there's still more bonus for China here. Just one year of war in Ukraine is already a disaster with an intensity I don't think has been seen since Iran-Iraq. It will serve as a vivid warning to East Asian partners of the US - not necessarily to refuse Washington's overtures entirely, but surely to be very aware that the history of South Vietnam was not a one-off, but an active possibility.

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I often wonder who draws up the linguistic maps of Ukraine.

I lived in Ukraine and the only reason I ever needed Ukrainian was to read the law codes. Even then, it was a running joke among the lawyers of how the statutes should best be translated into Russian, the only language that everyone actually lived and worked and thought and dreamed and spoke in. I knew lots of people who didn't speak Ukrainian. I knew nobody who didn't speak Russian.

True story - closing a PPP, to be signed by a Kiev-born businessman and a member of the Yushchenko administration. The PPP agreement was written in Ukrainian, as required by law. When reviewing the agreement, I had to explain the meanings of several Ukrainian words (in Russian) to the two signatories, neither of whom could speak what was ostensibly their national language. I never formally learned Ukrainian, and I am not Russian or Ukrainian, but I could speak Ukrainian better than either of these two, both of whom were born and raised in Kiev.

Even today, much of non-official Ukrainian twitter is is Russian.

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