Ukraine War, February 26, 2022: The current fighting; Playing “the China card”–again; Voice of America Russian-language short-wave broadcasts to Russia

See,

1) “Schwere Angriffe – Ukraine meldet Beschuss eines Atommüll-Lagers in Kiew,” Die Welt, den 27. Februar 2022 (05:25 Uhr),

2) Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukrainian Forces Repel Russian Attack on Kyiv, Prepare for Next Assault; Thousands of civilians take up arms to help defend the capital, while Russian forces face fierce resistance throughout Ukraine, Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2022 (updated 6:19 pm ET).

3) Wolfgang Büscher und Jacques Schuster, “ANGRIFF AUF DIE UKRAINE: ‘Putin trifft bewusst Entscheidungen, die zu einem neuen Weltkrieg führen könnten’ (Welt Interview mit Historiker Karl Schlögel),” Die Welt, den 26. Februar 2022.

4) Bonnie Girard, “Nixon Goes to China: The Wider Impact; Beyond its seismic implications for China-U.S. relations, the rapprochement reshaped politics across the Asia-Pacific – and beyond, The Diplomat, February 25, 2022.

5) “Morgenandacht 25.2.22–Krieg in der Ukraine: ‘Ich bitte euch alle: Betet für die Ukraine,’“ The Trenchant Observer. February 24, 2022.

U.S. must play “the China card”–again

See,

1) James T. Areddy, “Kissinger Calls for U.S., China to Remain in Dialogue, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2022 (8:15 pm ET).

Areddy recalls Kissinger’s trip to China in February, 1972, and on the 50th anniversary of that trip, he quotes Kissinger saying (on February 20, 2022) the following:

“We are meeting at a moment when it is not always one of cooperation between China and the United States,” Mr. Kissinger said in his remarks. “I simply want to say that the safety of the world depends on the two most advanced countries, technological countries, to remain in permanent dialogue and to attempt and achieve settlement of their disagreements in a cooperative attitude. Those are the key issues of our times.”

He added, “the key to international order is restrained conduct and peaceful discussion between these two great societies.”

The United States needs to change its “pivot toward Asia” strategy, and pivot toward the whole world.

(to be continued)

Voice of America should resume short-wave broadcasts to Russia–immediately

See,

“VOA’s Russian Service Marks 75 Years of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless,” VOA, February 17, 2022.

In one of the tragic ironies of history, the Voice of America ceased its Russian-language shor-twave broadcasts to Russia in 2008, the same year Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops to invade Georgia. The broadcasts, which began on February 17, 1947, were a principal means for Russian citizens to obtain objective news and information.

Now, when getting the truth to the Russian public about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is extraordinarily important, the VOA has no way to get its broadcasts to its audience in Russia.

The government in Moscow, according to Freedom House, controls all the national television networks and many radio and print outlets, as well as most of the media advertising market. A handful of independent outlets still operate, most of them online and some headquartered abroad. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing, repressive campaign to silence independent press has also targeted U.S. international broadcasters – VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and their joint venture, the Current Time Network, launched in 2017.

The cessation of broadcasts in 2008 was probably the result of organizational behavior–an example of “the rational actor fallacy” in analyzing government behavior.

In any event, the Biden administration should cut through all the bureaucracy, and do what is necessary to resume the short-wave broadcasts tomorrow, or by Monday. The Ex-comm headed by Robert Kennedy to stay on top of such details during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis could have handled such a task.

If Joe Biden hasn’t formed such an Ex-comm to deal with the Ukraine crisis, he should do so immediately. One of their first tasks should be to get the broadcasts going.

Or, if there is a quicker way, Biden should choose that option.

Although the Voice of America may not have all the short-wave broadcasting capacity it had before 2008, it is still broadcasting on short-wave, as is Radio Free Europe (RFE).

Biden should also be able to arrange transmissions to Russia via other short-wave broadcasters such as Armed Forces Radio, or broadcasters in Finland, Norway, Germany (Deutsche Welle), Japan (NHK), New Zealand, South Korea, and Turkey.

While the broadcasts will be particularly important during the Russia-Ukraine war, they will be needed as long as Putin or people-like Putin remain in power. There is no room for delay. The world has changed.

The U.S. should start building the transmitters and antennas needed for the Russia-language shortwave broadcasts immediately, as they are likely to be needed for at least the next 20 years. Fortunately, the VOA’s Russian service is up and running, and needs only to add shortwave transmissions to reach its audience in Russia.

See

“List of shortwave radio broadcasters,” Wikipedia.

In conclusion, there are two things the Biden administration can do immediately to influence Russia, and Russian public opinion. First, now would be a great time for Biden to hold a ceremony celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations with China, perhaps with Henry Kissinger participating, and to issue an invitation to Xi Jinping to join him at a summit in Washington, D.C., perhaps at Camp David.

It is time to put aside the emotional approach to China, to focus on furthering U.S. interests, and to take the initiative in trying to improve personal and diplomatic relations.

It is also time to resume Russian-language short-wave broadcasts to Russia.

Biden should order that these actions be taken at the earliest possible moment.

The challenge is to try to leap out of bureaucratic and government time, and to try to move as fast in war time as Russian tanks are moving in Kviv and Ukraine.

The Trenchant Observer

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