A Game of Reality, Shadows and Feelings: Xi and Putin in Beijing

A game of reality and shadows, both true and both tricks for the eye of the beholder, was playing out in Beijing as Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart. No pomp was spared. Putin walked along red carpets that stretched across many of the 80 acres of Tiananmen Square. The central […]

Russia and the West after Navalny

The death of Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most influential opponent, is deepening the chasm between Russia and the West, with unfathomable consequences for the future. The penitentiary administration states that he died of natural causes. At the same time, his family and friends claim he was deliberately killed, possibly due to Putin’s sudden change […]

Putin’s broader war and his survival calculus

By September, it was clear that while the much-expected Ukrainian offensive didn’t create a breakthrough, neither did the ensuing Russian counteroffensive. Neither side has a decisive advantage over the other. Lawrence Freedman argued[1] convincingly that we must think about the definition of victory for Ukraine, as Kyiv is not set on marching on Moscow. The […]

War and Peace with Ukrainian Characteristics

Few in Washington seem overly worried about the apparent stalemate in Ukraine, where Kyiv’s forces can’t break through Russia’s fortified defenses. Meanwhile, America is entirely concentrated on the latest from China – complex malware reportedly able to cripple US cyber systems. According to The New York Times, which broke the story: “The discovery of the malware has […]

Putin out of the fog of war?

It is always tough to tell what’s what in the fog of war, and it has been even more challenging to forecast the results in a conflict where one side, Ukraine, is badly outnumbered by the other, Russia. Comparisons on paper told one story: Ukraine, without a real army 15 months ago, would be steamrolled […]