The Dangers of American Weakness in Ukraine

Feb. 15 2022

Looking at the looming possibility of a renewed Russian offensive against Ukraine from an Israeli perspective, Efraim Inbar writes:

American behavior in the Ukraine crisis also affects the nuclear talks in Vienna. Tehran, already convinced that America is weak, gets even greater leeway and can further procrastinate until an agreement it desires will be offered. Iran could unleash its proxies against American allies in the Middle East. Israel could decide to avoid notifying Washington before acting forcefully. A Russian victory in Europe could precipitate a conflagration in the Middle East.

Similarly, China could learn that U.S. determination is melting away, and its threats can be ignored. An attack on Taiwan could follow.

The Ukraine predicament again demonstrates the uselessness of international guarantees. The 1994 Budapest Memorandum, signed by the Russian Federation, the UK, and the U.S., provided security assurances against threats or force against the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in exchange for giving up their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the memorandum was not respected when Russia conquered Crimea in 2014.

International institutions failed similarly. The U.S. called a UN Security Council meeting to discuss Moscow’s troop build-up on its borders with Ukraine, knowing that Russia can veto. In Washington, this so-called “preventive diplomacy” ended in futile angry clashes between Russian and American envoys.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: China, Iran nuclear program, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy, War in Ukraine

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy