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At November's SR SHOW 2017 in Shanghai.
At November's SR SHOW 2017 in Shanghai.

In the age of Trump, there are innumerable issues and arguments that go unnoticed or underreported because this president is sucking up the oxygen of the entire American media universe, with his indecisive tweets and resulting indecisive policies. This is one of those topics that escaped the public eye. It centers around Trump's announcement to charge China with new tariffs on a long list of products. It seems easy, banal even, but the problem is deep. Part of America is becoming aware of it, and this administration is even attempting to react. But is President Trump on the same page?

WASHINGTON — One month ago, when President Trump announced that he intended to challenge China with trade tariffs, little was known about the dimensions of his move or its consequences. Considering his typically bombastic style of communicating, Trump delivered his message in a fragmented, but still Trumpian, way. "We have a trade deficit of $504 billion, or $375 billion, depends how you look at it," said the president from the White House, surrounded by a group of his close, petrified collaborators. Trump added that the biggest part of the deficit comes from China, and therefore, "You know, I talked to the high Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, and I asked them to cut down the deficit immediately for $100 billion. But that would be a lot so we decided to go for the tariffs worth $60 billion."

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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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