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Chas Freeman on Xi-Putin Summit; New Russian Cabinet; Ukraine Turmoil

Chas Freeman, a former State Department and DOD official and an astute analyst of international affairs, granted an interview with Nima R. Alkhorshid, a Brazilian Professor of Civil Engineering, covering the impact of the China-Russia cooperation, the new Russian cabinet, and the state of affairs in the war in Ukraine.

Following the collapse of the USSR, the U.S. wanted China to fear Russia, but instead they formed an entente, rejecting the U.S. pressure. Russia, meanwhile, did not try to restore the unraveling of the alliances of the USSR, while the U.S. drove the expansion of NATO up to the Russian borders.

On the new Russian cabinet, Freeman noted that the new Defense Minister, Andrey Removich Belousov, a “very honest” economist, was facing several problems: a doubling of the defense budget and an even more expanded military productive capacity; a level of corruption which had to be “tightened up;” and the question of whether Russia was facing a wider war due to western intentions. He concluded that Putin wants a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine war, but that he is preparing for either outcome.

On the mess in Ukraine, Freeman said that support for Zelensky is suffering erosion in the West. If Ukraine decides to continue firing rockets into Russian territory, it will have no impact on the internal military situation in Ukraine, except that Russia will vastly increase its missile strikes into Ukraine. It is a war of attrition, in which Russia has an enormous advantage. Zelensky is close to being deposed, either by his fired military chief, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi (who still has broad support), or others.

On the global crisis, Freeman contrasted the “rule of law” with the “rule by law,” in which the latter is the rule by the leaders who declare the “law” as they wish, which, he says, is what the “rules-based order” of the western leaders really means.