Is The Ukrainian Invasion a Dress Rehearsal for China’s Invasion of Taiwan?
China’s watching. The Ukrainian invasion is a dress rehersal for China’s invasion of Taiwan.
Russia’s strategic deterrence approach was developed on a spectrum. At one end there’s Russia’s “information war” which we “witnessed” in the 2016 election. The other end of the spectrum are strategic nuclear forces which remain at the heart of Russia’s strategic stability
President Joe Biden’s plan to create deterrence — a concept based on deterring aggression before it starts through sanctions, diplomatic talks, financial restrictions, and other measures carried out by the US and its allies — is only effective after Russian forces cross into Ukraine.
When it comes to sanctions, countries learn to adjust and find workarounds and evasion techniques — as Iran, Cuba, and North Korea have long demonstrated. But, sanctions are designed to be a threat to the citizens of a country, not the leaders or oligarchs; they have the capital to withstand the pressures of sanctions.
The West’s credibility in threats of after-the-fact punishments was shredded by its earlier failures to impose the strictest sanctions following the Kremlin’s assaults on Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan only increased Russian President Vladimir Putin’s doubts about our resolve. Biden’s statement in December of 2021 stating that the use of military force was off the table didn’t help the situation much either.
Why did Biden wait until Russia crossed into Ukraine? Had sanctions of some level been imposed before Moscow’s forces crossed into Ukraine, Putin may have changed his calculus. The White House even said Putin was going to attack Ukraine on February 16, sanctions beforehand might have deterred him.
Western deterrence failed, but now Russian deterrence is enjoying, unfortunately spectacular success. Building on Biden’s earlier voluntary rejection of US military involvement, Russia has convinced the West that even a whisper of NATO military action in Ukraine would bring disastrous consequences.