Sergey Radchenko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin watching a military parade in Moscow, May 2022. Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lost touch with reality. He has declared a partial mobilization to reverse his defeats in Ukraine and, signaling his desperation, ratcheted up Russia’s nuclear saber rattling. Each day the war drags on, his country grows more isolated from the rest of the world. Increasingly, Russia depends on China to keep its economy from collapsing under the weight of sanctions, even as Chinese leaders express doubts about the invasion. Russia’s failure to take Kyiv, and its recent reversals in the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, have led even pro-Putin commentators to question his decisions. Against this backdrop, it makes sense that many Russians are starting to ask how much longer Putin can stay in power and pursue his barbarous war.…  Seguir leyendo »

As Russia continues to brutalize Ukraine, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is trying to appear neutral while taking steps that reveal his support for Moscow. Under his leadership, Beijing has criticized the United States for allegedly triggering the current crisis by enlarging NATO; helped Russia to spread conspiracy theories about Washington’s involvement in a nonexistent biological weapons program in Ukraine; taken exception to Western sanctions; and provided Russian President Vladimir Putin with a lifeline amid Russia’s deepening economic crisis.

Citing a Chinese proverb, Xi has told U.S. President Joe Biden “Let he who tied the bell to the tiger’s neck untie it “only he who tied the bell to the tiger’s neck can untie it”, meaning that he sees Biden as responsible for, and therefore required to resolve, today’s military conflict in Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Stumbling Toward Armageddon

A nuclear standoff. One leader is drunk. The other is delirious. The underlings scramble to avoid the worst. This is not an end-of-the-world Hollywood thriller, or an episode in President Trump’s erratic diplomacy. It is a story of how the United States and the Soviet Union found themselves on a collision course in the Middle East.

The Yom Kippur War, fought over several weeks in October 1973, was a tumultuous conflict between Israel and a coalition of Arab states, led by Egypt and Syria. The war ended with a decisive victory for Israel, but even 45 years later, questions about the roles played by the two Cold War superpowers remain.…  Seguir leyendo »

With China stumping assertively on the world stage, one might think Beijing would be open, even gracious, about the country’s past. To the contrary, history remains an exceedingly sensitive subject here, drawing relentless attention from authorities anxious to keep all skeletons safely in closets.

As a university professor in China, I face the consequences of this official apprehension every day. My young, bright students know little about their country’s recent past. What they do know tends to agree with government-sponsored discourse on the pride and glory of China’s rise after a century of humiliation by Western powers. Library and bookstore shelves tell, with enviable conviction, this same story of national grandeur.…  Seguir leyendo »