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Geopolitics

With Trump Gone, China Will Lose An Enemy — But A Useful Enemy

China may be relieved to see their bitter adversary withdraw from power. But President Donald Trump was also Exhibit A for the Chinese regime to show the Western democratic system on the verge of collapse.

Trump's unpredictability was particularly disturbing for China
Trump's unpredictability was particularly disturbing for China
Dominique Moisi

PARIS — "China is relieved, but it still has concerns in the short term and is under no illusion for the medium or long term." In just these few words, my contact, an astute Chinese-American analyst of China based in the United States, has managed to sum up China's reaction to the US presidential election.

The country's leaders are genuinely relieved by Joe Biden's victory. It wasn't President Donald Trump's policies that worried them as much as his personality. Like the financial markets, the Chinese don't like uncertainty. Trump's unpredictability was particularly disturbing for them. And the Beijing rulers, "Leninist Mandarins," were never able to get used to the style of the 45th president of the United States. Such incessant familiarity, vulgarity and vague relation with the truth for the leader of what is still today the world's leading power, and the country that China is trying by all means to catch up with, and then to surpass in the next 15 to 20 years.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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