[Chat with Transcript] Does Putin Want an Off-Ramp? An Interview with William Wolhforth

Simone Gao:
Thank you, Professor Wohlforth, for joining Zooming In again.

William Wohlforth:
Happy to be here.

Simone Gao:
Um, you know, the Russians gave an ultimatum to the last remaining Ukrainian troops in Mariupol on Sunday, and they basically said either lay down your weapons and leave or die. Uh, obviously no Ukrainian soldiers have left. Ukraine’s president Zelensky said that the already difficult negotiation would end if Russian soldiers killed the remaining Ukrainian troops in Mariupol. Uh, he also said atrocities witnessed after Russian retreat from Kyiv soured the negotiations. Putin admitted that the negotiation had reached a dead end. So, what do you think will happen next?

William Wohlforth:
Everything depends on the battle over the Donbas, which is now getting underway by all accounts. The initial blows, the initial artillery barrages and attacks, are beginning to prepare for what may well be the decisive battle of this war, at least that’s what most observers think. Negotiations will not be possible, as each side thinks that it is likely to do better in this particular battle than the other side expects it to do. And so with both of them essentially unable to agree to terms until they test their strength in this sad and tragically bloody battle to come, I don’t expect much to occur on these negotiations.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. So everybody, everybody is watching the battle in Donbas. If Russia does take Donbas, would you think it will make the war more difficult or easier to end?

William Wohlforth:
It is, um…I don’t know exactly what will happen. War, as everybody who studies it will tell you, is the province of the deepest kinds of uncertainty. So, it’s not at all clear to me that Russia will succeed in taking the Donbas; however, should it succeed in essentially reliably conquering those provinces and keeping Ukraine from any significant counterattack, we could then see a situation of a kind of a stalemate where the war simmers on and no one is willing to reach an agreement, or there could be some temporary ceasefire. But it’s still hard for me to see any Ukrainian government formally acceding to the succession of those two republics and their acquisition by Russia, and have that Ukrainian government stay in power. So, I would expect–again, forecasting is difficult–that if the scenario you set forth actually occurs, we’re likely to see a kind of a stalemate and a percolating, ongoing conflict. One final point, though, is we are so uncertain about this war that we don’t even know if Putin is necessarily going to be satisfied with the acquisition of Donbas, if that’s indeed what he does. In other words, for all we know, if he succeeds in conquering this part of Ukraine, he will simply bide his time and build up his forces and attempt yet further attacks. We just do not know at this stage.

Simone Gao:
What about if Putin cannot succeed in the Donbas area? Would he just give up?

William Wohlforth:
It’s just very hard for me to see, right now, the avenue by which he would simply give up and say, “sorry we ever invaded Ukraine. I really deeply apologize for this. We’re all going to go home.” Nobody who studies Russian foreign and security policy thinks that scenario is likely. So, somehow, for the Russians to be willing to stop this, most people think there’s got to be some measurable gain. Now we don’t know exactly what that sort of line or that threshold is, what is necessary to get Russia to sort of declare victory and go home. But most people think that a minimum is some kind of arrangement under which Putin can claim to have saved or rescued or protected the residents of the Donbas, which he claims were under threat from Ukrainian authorities.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. In a situation like this, I mean, I just saw in a CNN interview with Zelensky, he was commenting on a video clip in which a Ukrainian mom discovered her son’s dead body in a well. Zelensky said as a father, he couldn’t watch it because it made him want to fight and kill. But as president of a country, he needs to do his best to stop the war. So, I mean, obviously this is a very, very difficult situation for him. If you were the advisor to president Zelensky, how would you advise him? What is the, what is the truly good thing to do right now?

William Wohlforth:
You know, I think that statement that he made is one of many that he has made to continue to project the image of a person who is willing to talk and not come across as a person who literally is sort of blood thirsty to fight to the death. He has already given way on the question of Ukraine’s international status. Namely, we have heard Zelensky suggest the possibility of a neutral Ukraine. Now that was coupled with a request for security guarantees that would look very much like NATO membership, but still it was a start. And so, I think that that is exactly how I would advise them. In other words, if I were so presumptuous as to do so, that to maintain that implacable commitment to the fundamental sovereignty of Ukraine while at the same time suggesting we’re willing to talk about Russian security concerns that are legitimate, that don’t involve the destruction of Ukraine or the subjugation of Ukraine. That’s exactly the face that he needs to show both to Moscow and to the rest of the world.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. And at this point, what do you think is the moral and truly prudent action the West should take?

William Wohlforth:
You know, I think that the West is, should the United States and its allies need to be, I think what they’re doing is completely understandable. That Russia’s clearly in the wrong here, let’s be honest. Even if you agree that it had some legitimate security concerns in the past, none of those justifies what it is doing to Ukraine, to Ukrainians, to Ukrainian people. And so, under those circumstances, it seems to me absolutely right and proper that the West should aid the government of Ukraine in defending its sovereignty up to the limit that we judge will not cross some threshold that would elicit a major Russian escalation. But we should also, I think, suggest that the punishment that we are imposing upon Russia with these sanctions is contingent. Namely, that we would remove these sanctions if Russia were to agree to a deal that could be accepted by the Ukrainian government. So, I think we need to both raise costs on Russia but also suggest a future in which Russia could live as a normal member of the international community if it only would revisit this decision to invade Ukraine and accept some sort of reasonable settlement.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. Talking about those possible settlements, a few weeks ago–from the terms the Kremlin had given–it seemed like Putin had shrunk his goals in Ukraine, at least he was not seeking regime change anymore. Now it seems, I mean, as you said, the biggest obstacles are the ownership of, you know, of course, Crimea and the status of the Donbas area. So, I mean, do you think these two sides could still reach some kind of agreement on those two issues? Or do you think it could only be decided by the outcome from the battlefield?

William Wohlforth:
Unfortunately, I think–as I said before and I’m sad to say it–but I just don’t see…the two sides are just way too far apart for any kind of agreement to emerge. And it’s possible that the distance between the two sides will be reduced depending on the outcome of this battle. If one side performs dramatically better than expected–let’s say, for example, as I hope is the case, Ukraine just really performs very, very well, as it has done so far, better than expectations and Russia literally is not in a position to continue the campaign–it could be that the trend that you’ve mentioned of Putin reducing his war aims could continue and we could imagine the two sides coming together on an agreement. But right now, before the outcome of this battle is known, it’s hard for me to see that happening.

William Wohlforth:
And finally, I have to say that I’m, I just remain a little bit uncertain about where Putin stands here. Some of his spokespeople and even he has used language that it seems to be refocusing Russian objectives on this Donbas question. As if, as you say, that the war aims have been reduced. But some of the rhetoric emanating from Moscow commentators and even some officials really sounds blood curdling as opposed to what they mean by de-Nazifying and demilitarizing Ukraine. So, are we really certain that the whole object can be, in fact, reduced to Donbas or, as I hinted at earlier, could it be that he wants a cease-fire after seizing Donbas, build up forces and keep going? We really just don’t know that yet. I hope that it’s true that his war aims are being tempered by the realities on the ground, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s really the case.

Simone Gao:
So, you don’t think Putin is seeking off-ramp right now at all? He wants to fight it out?

William Wohlforth:
I’m not seeing evidence of off-ramps yet by Putin. That is to say, summarily he rejected some of the key bottom line Ukrainian demands, way back when these negotiations were still going on and when the sides were leaking to the press what was being discussed in Turkey and in Belarus many weeks ago now when these negotiations were going on. At that point, I didn’t see off-ramp kind of talk. And so far from Moscow, we haven’t heard specifics as to what’s being talked about short of, as we suggested, a complete dismemberment of the country. Recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. And, by the way, it’s important to recognize these are not the region that are these little separatist republics that exist, but the entire constitutional regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. And so far, I can’t quite see how a Ukrainian government could agree to that until, as I suggest, unless something quite dramatic happens on the battlefield.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. You know, many people are worried about this and they see, they are worried that if Putin is not seeking an off-ramp or does not have an off-ramp right now, they’re worried about the possibility of him using nuclear weapons. Regarding that, I have a question. I mean, if Putin only talks about nuclear weapons, it could be a effective deterrent. Once he really uses it, I mean, do you think he will be retaliated against by nuclear weapons from either the U.S. or NATO? And if so, wouldn’t that put Russia on the fate of nuclear attacks, which could lead to its total destruction? So, if that’s not Putin’s real goal, he wouldn’t really use nuclear weapons. Am I right?

William Wohlforth:
Well, it’s important for us to clarify what we’re talking about when we talk about nuclear use. If, by nuclear use, you mean some big strike, something that hits a NATO country or hits the United States with nuclear weapons, then I think you’re right. This just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. I just, I have a hard time envisioning how Putin could ever see such use as working out for Russia or even for him personally. However, the scenario that most people worry about is, let’s stipulate, for this conversation, let us suppose that Putin actually really just cannot or will not or refuses to or feels unable to reduce his war aims and be satisfied with less than total victory in Ukraine, or at least a substantial victory. Let’s suppose that’s the case. We don’t know that it’s true. Let’s suppose it’s true. And let’s suppose that Ukraine continues to do very well on the battlefield. And let’s suppose the United States and the West continue to pour weaponry into Ukraine.

William Wohlforth:
Well, in that case, people worry he could resort to a small yield tactical, so-called, nuclear weapon in Ukraine as a kind of shock and awe approach that would somehow upset the apple cart and somehow lead to some sort of quick resolution or capitulation. And so, then the question becomes how would we, the West, respond to a small yield nuclear use inside Ukraine as a kind of demonstration or a kind of, again, shock tactic to try to bring some sort of resolution to the crisis? I think it would be very hard for us to escalate to nuclear use ourselves in response to such a small nuclear use on Ukraine. I also think that it’s very unlikely that he will choose this. I’m just suggesting that it’s, of all the scenarios discussed, it seems to me the most likely of a relatively unlikely potential.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. So, I mean, that’s very, I mean, doesn’t sound very good because if Putin does use technical, I mean, if Putin does use tactical, uh, nuclear weapons and the U.S. would not retaliate with the same weapons, then what does that lead to? Ukraine just has to surrender at that time because there’s no way they can fight that way?

William Wohlforth:
I’m not sure. I think there may be ways of calling the bluff of Russia, of escalating in response to that–to potential tactical nuclear use against a non-nuclear power, namely against Ukraine–I think there are possible ways the United States and potentially its allies could escalate in response that would be much more than we’re doing today. So, for example, I believe it’s quite…so, the economic sanctions front. Believe it or not, there are economic sanctions that have not been used yet that could be pretty devastating to Russia–what is called, somewhat confusingly sometimes, the nuclear option on sanctions–which would essentially be, of course, cut entirely the cutoff of Russian gas export. So all, basically, Russia’s main revenue streams to the West would be cut off. Or cyber escalation, where the United States maintains lots of things in the back pocket that it’s not doing. Or conventional escalation where the types and nature of intervention in Ukraine would increase. Or possibly even intervention via actual troops. In other words, there are escalatory ways, there are responses to a Russian escalation to tactical nuclear use that are not themselves replying with nuclear weapons that might be very, very, very bad for Russia. And so, my hope is that that sort of escalation is sufficiently credible to deter Putin from even considering this tactical option.

Simone Gao:
Hmm. You talked about the West just totally cut off Russian oil export. You’d think in a scenario, nuclear scenario, the European countries would be on the U.S. side to do that. We can, you know, agree on that.

William Wohlforth:
I do. I think people, scholars, who study these things debate, sort of, the normative or ethical prohibition on nuclear use against a non-nuclear state. Sometimes this is referred to as the nuclear taboo, and people debate its strength. How strongly will the moral approbation of such use affect countries’ decisions. And I think that if you look at this pattern of events thus far, you can see that as Russian actions in Ukraine get more and more extreme and there’s more and more civilian casualties, more and more innocent victims, you’ve seen a ramping up of the Western response. And if Russia then moves to a nuclear use–particularly as, very likely, civilians are potentially victims–I cannot imagine German public opinion would not simply compel the German government to reverse its position on accepting Russian gas, just to name one potential response. So, I do think you’d see real solidarity on the part of the West in response to an unprovoked nuclear attack against a non-nuclear country, Ukraine, that is only trying to defend its own sovereignty. No good explanation on the part of the Russians as to why they’re doing this. So, yes, my expectation is that that would be a credible deterrent for Putin and that, therefore, he’s unlikely to do it.

[Chat with Transcript] Why Putin Chose to Invade Ukraine Now? Was NATO Expansion to Blame? A Chat with William Wohlforth

thank you, professor workforce for joining zooming in today.

Very happy to be with you.

Okay. Today I wanna talk a about the situation in Ukraine, uh, you know, after the collapse of the Soviet union, should Russia take the Soviets place and still be viewed as a major threat to the security of Europe? Why has NATO decided to expand eastward all these years?

Well, that’s complicated because at first NATO did not really regard Russia as much of a threat after the collapse of the Soviet union and its reasons for expanding were really about kind of making Eastern Europeans and central European countries like Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and ultimately others to feel a little bit more secure in an unstable post cold war atmosphere. You know, um, Watchers of this with long memories may recall the Bacan wars of the early 1990s. And people thought somehow extending NATO guarantees eastward would reduce the propensity for such conflicts, but ultimately, um, yes, uh, as relations between the west and Russia deteriorated more and more one saw the argument that ultimately at the end of the day, the core purpose of NATO is to deter or prevent any kind of Russian advance or attack or aggrandizement westward into Europe.

Hmm. That that’s interesting. So you think Russia was, I mean, I mean, still is a threat to the security of Europe.

Well, yes. Uh, and Europe is at least, uh, Russia sees Europe and sees NATO as a threat to itself. And, uh, NATO countries see Russia as a potential threat to them. So it’s a mutual perception of threat, uh, between the Western, uh, between the Western Alliance and

Right, right. Uh, another aspect to this is, I think it’s fair to say that NATO expansion and especially EU expansion was not just the decision of those member states and America. It was also the wishes of the Eastern European countries that were under a former Soviet union previously, and they wanted to become democratic societies and be connected to the west. So, I mean, should NATO bear the blame of expanding eastward alone

You’re, that’s totally fair. There is no question that, uh, there was a big demand for NATO and, uh, perhaps even a bigger demand in some places for the EU. It was demand driven in many ways. Although obviously these two institutions were happy to welcome members, as long as they met, you know, the criteria that all the existing members agreed upon. So I really do think that it’s easy now to go back and try to rewrite history and say, maybe NATO shouldn’t have expanded. Maybe the EU should have held back from trying to expand, but you’re absolutely right to focus on the reality of a big demand for these institutions, from those countries. And it’s very hard to say, no, particularly if the countries really do look like they’re ready for member. Um, just a quick point here is that, you know, this is a problem that Russia has long had Russia and the Soviet union. And zarus Russia. Even before that always say, uh, the, the leaders of, of Russia, either from St Petersburg or Moscow, they always say they want to have friendly neighbors, but they face a problem. They neighbors are often wanting to go west and that then puts Russia in a bind. How can I make these countries live in my sphere of influence if they really don’t want to, that’s been a perennial dilemma of the foreign policy of the Russian empire, the Soviet union, and now today’s Russian Federation for literally centuries.

Well recently, just on that, the, the United States and Britain agreed to embargo, uh, Russian, uh, oil exports to their own countries, but that hasn’t been extended more widely. The reason is clearly fear of, uh, energy shortage and driving energy shortages and driving prices up to high to feed inflation and lead potentially to an erosion of the support for sanctions within domestic societies. It’s a, it’s a delicate political balance, the Western countries that are opposed. And by west I’m including all the allies we’re talking about Japan, we’re talking about Australia, et cetera, et cetera, South Korea, and more, but this, this coalition is trying to impose costs on Russia, but not imposing so many costs on their own population that ultimately these sanctions become unpopular and they’re removed to sustain the sanctions. They must be politically sustainable. And for many countries, embargoing Russia’s petroleum exports, gas and oil would potentially generate such economic cost that they would, these, these governments would be in fear of losing public support for their stance against Russia.

Right. Uh, I’m talking about in 2006, I mean two, no, 2006. So, um, in 2014, right after, um, Russia annex crimee do you think America at that point knew Putin’s intention regarding Ukraine and had a coherent strategy to deal with him?

No, we did not know his intention. There were some who thought his intention was to bring Ukraine under the sphere of influence of Russia. There are some analysts, both inside and out of government who actually feared that Huta, uh, Putin had a grander objective of incorporating the entire country back into some sort of reconstituted Soviet, uh, a Russian empire, but people were uncertain because after all, what he was doing in 2014 was still relatively low cost operations for Russia. So it was hard to know how intently he was fixated on this Ukraine issue. It was difficult to know how far he would go. It was difficult to know how resolved he was on rectifying, what he regards as this historical injustice or this historical problem of Russia, of Ukraine’s westward drift. And so I think the, the United States and many of its chief allies, um, kind of were de debating among themselves about the strength of, of Putin’s intention. That debate wasn’t really solved until two weeks ago,

Right. Uh, but after crimee the us and NATO should at least know, Russia is determined to stop the NATO expansion. Then why were we still arming the Ukrainians to provoke Russia?

Well, we were attempting to make Ukraine a tougher nut for the Russians, for Putin to crack. We were trying to make it a, that to raise the cost of Russia, to Russia, of seeking a military solution. We were seeking to respond to Ukrainian demands for aid. After all Ukraine was at war it’s a sovereign country. It was asking for aid and of a military nature from its friends around the world. There was nothing illegal about this, nothing underhanded. It was all out in the open. So the United States figured, um, if Russia’s gonna play hardball by annexing territory, namely crimee and intervening in Eastern in Ukraine, the Don bass, well, we can play hardball too, and we can bolster the Ukrainian’s ability to resist by transferring some of these weapons. The problem with that is it seems to have created in Russia, in the Kremlin, in Putin’s mind, a fear, not just of Ukraine in NATO, but a fear of NATO in Ukraine.

In other words, in the speeches, you saw the Russian leadership give in the lead up to this invasion, you saw them saying, you know, this whole issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO is kind of a, a, a, a, a, a red herring, because what’s happening. As we’re sitting here, debating NATO is Western countries are aiding Ukraine and making crane essentially a part of the Western security structure. Now to finish this off in defense of the United States and the others who were aiding Ukraine, really the weaponry that was being transferred was not particularly threatening to Russia. It was really sort of, I mean, there’s no such thing as a purely defensive weapon, but these weapons were pretty much to defend Ukrainian territory. It was kind of hard to see how they would be a threat to Russia. And in short, in some, the us did exercise a little bit of care in the kinds of gear and hardware that was given to the Ukrainians up until the invasion.

Hmm. So do you think NATO expansion justify Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine?

No. I think NATO expansion to Ukraine. I think that Bucharest declaration, I’m not sorry that Bucharest, uh, uh, NATO declaration that we discussed at the beginning of this interview. I think those were mistakes by, uh, by NATO. I don’t think NATO should have offered this promise to Ukraine, if it couldn’t actually keep it. I, and it couldn’t, everybody knew it. So they kind of didn’t do Ukraine any favors by suggesting membership when it wasn’t really happening. So that’s a blunder, that’s a mistake. We shouldn’t have done it, but in no way, does it justify this brutal invasion. I think frankly, Russia is the main one at fault here. I don’t think it’s particularly controversial to say it. They faced no threat from Ukraine that justified this ruthless and bloody use of force. Indeed. I think that a lot of the fault, frankly, lies with the Kremlin, their policies in 2014, the annexation of crimea the cyber attacks they did on Ukraine, their intervention in Eastern Ukraine, the Don BOS region, their attempt at election Medling and information war against Ukraine. All of these policies have just pushed Ukrainians more and more favorable towards the west. If public opinion in Ukraine was split regarding their relationship between Russia and the west back before 2014, it’s not split anymore. And the reason for that primarily is what the Russian government has done to Ukraine. So I think really most of the blame for this falls on the Kremlin, and certainly there’s no justifying this, this brutal attack on a country. That, again, just in no way, presented a serious national security threat to, to Russia as of 20, uh, 20 21, 20 22.

Right. Uh, I think we can definitely see an escalation. I think we can definitely see an escalation on Putin’s part regarding Ukraine from, you know, 2014 to 2022. So why do you think Putin made the military move right now?

There’s uh, no one knows. We have to be very, very, very careful here. Uh, uh, I have read and listened to his speeches. I listened to his top officials. I have, I, I go, I used to, before the pandemic travel to Russia all the time, have many good friendships and connections to Russian international relations scholars. It’s important to recognize that top Russian political commentators connected experts, uh, did not expect this to happen. Uh, so why, why he did it? People don’t know there’s two basic arguments here. Argument, number one is he saw it that as a propitious, a, a good time to move because he had his army ready because he thought China Xing ping would have his back and help him out if there were any sanctions, because he had a $630 billion, uh, foreign currency and other, uh, reserves that he could draw upon, should he face sanctions.

Because he feared that Ukraine was moving faster and faster west, and he had to move now because energy markets were tight. You know, you can put this list together of things that sort of give you this idea of now is the time to move rather than later. Um, but there’s a second argument. And that is that, especially once he isolated himself, that is say, once president Putin, isolated himself, uh, in the pandemic times, he became ever more kind of closeminded, uh, ever more insulated from contrary views and began to obsess on historical matters and his legacy in history, and some sense became a somewhat different and more risk acceptance leader than he was prior to this isolation. I mean, what, how many, how many leaders of big countries, you know, write, you know, 10,000 word essays on historical subjects and cite all kinds of ancient documents and ask their aids to go pull documents from the archives so they can make these elaborate historical arguments. It began to seem a little weird. So those are the two different kind of stories as to why now and why he took such a fateful and costly and ultimately disastrous both for Russia. And as, especially for Ukraine, a decision that he did, uh, two weeks ago,

Do you think president Biden and Afghanistan also played a role?

People say they thought that that suggested, uh, uh, an administration that was in disarray or incompetent. I don’t really buy that. Frank, I think, uh, an it’s possible that the most important thing that by the administration conveyed that may have, uh, incentivized or not incentivized, the more, most important message coming from Washington that may have fed into Putin’s decision was the consistent message that we want the focus on China, not Europe over and again, Biden officials said, look, we need to sort out our relations with Russia. Let’s get this thing settled. Let’s kind of get the Europe thing, quiet it down so we can do what we really wanna do, which is deal with China. And that might have fed the impression that the Americans would sort of kind of accept it. Ultimately if Russia could achieve quick, relatively low cost regime change operation in Ukraine, of course, that turned out to be a pipe dream, but that’s one of the arguments. I frankly think this idea of Biden as a rational kind of real statesman, who wants to focus on China is far more important than any inferences that Moscow might have made from their disasters handling a of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Hmm. Uh, you know, let’s talk about today. Uh, Russia demonstrate, I mean, Russia, Russia demanded three things, basically neutrality for Ukraine, demonetization of the country and recognition of, uh, break rate regions, break way region regions and loss of crime here. First of all, I was wondering, uh, what does de militarization mean? Does that mean Ukraine would no longer have a military?

Well, these demands, first of all, are, uh, uh, uh, articulated by Putins, uh, spokesman, Demetri, PEs golf, and they are coming out of reports of the negotiations in Turkey that recently took place and negotiations in villas that recently took place between Ukrainians and Russians. They haven’t a been able to even agree on such basic issues as safe, safe passage corridors, uh, not to mention a ceasefire and certainly not to mention an actual settlement to the crisis. So we don’t really know what Russia’s bottom line actually is. I would say that, um, that, um, by demilitarization, we, we, we just don’t have it spelled out yet what they have in mind. Uh, I think it’s probably fair to interpret what they mean as a severance of any Ukrainian military cooperation or connection with NATO or any NATO country, uh, not necessarily to mean that Ukraine can’t have any military at all, but just that it can’t have any military that has any connection to the west. And I think that’s a non-starter for Ukrainians. I mean, think about it. If you were just invaded by a huge neighbor, I mean, to be told that your only way to settle the crisis is to de militarized is simply an invitation, uh, to UK Ukraine to continue fighting.

Right. Uh, what do you think of Russia’s demands, uh, from what they said, or do you think Putins mango for this invasion is to stop the NATO expansion or to revive the Russian Empire’s glory by reclaiming lost land or both.

I can tell you what I hope and I think I, and I think there is at least some evidence for this hope. What I hope is is that Putin will attenuate and reduce his demands in light of the unexpectedly potent resistance put up by Ukraine and the clear evidence that overwhelmingly Ukrainian society has very, has no receptivity whatsoever Russia’s role as a ruler over Ukraine, or as a, a kind of a, a overlord over Ukraine. I mean, we’re seeing such potent evidence for this, that one hopes that Putin will see that he miscalculated and therefore will reduce his aims because to go back to your original question, I originally would, if you had asked me that a year ago, I would’ve said yes, if we could make Ukraine neutral, that will settle the whole problem, but then this, uh, in over the summer and this fall in winter, we started getting these speeches from Putin about all the historical things about how Ukrainians and Russians are really one people about how the state of UK Ukraine doesn’t really have any organic essence to it.

It’s really a, a confection, a creation of the, you know, vagaries of history. We really shouldn’t take it very seriously. I mean, why did he say those things? I mean, if you say those things, you’re basically saying to Ukraine, I don’t accept you as a real country. Right. And so when he started saying those things, I began to worry that his aim actually was this much more grandiose aim, reintegrating Ukraine, one way or another into the Russian state. Um, but now I’m hoping, and there’s some evidence that you just cited regarding the negotiations that are underway. I’m hoping that the Russian leadership will scale back its demands in the face of the powerful resistance by the Ukrainians and the overwhelmingly powerful response by so many countries around the world.

What do you think would be put in bottom line in Ukraine?

Just don’t know. I’m hoping the bottom line could be something like, uh, arm neutrality for Ukraine, so are not, not a Ukraine that is de militarized and can’t defend itself, but a Ukraine that could have a significant military, but that would, uh, be, uh, constitutionally or by international agreement. Um, not able to join any block, either Russia or a Russian led block or the, the NATO block that he would be, uh, that he would pro I he’ll always will demand car. I think, uh, the Ukrainian leadership might exceed to that then some kind of autonomy, uh, some kind of special recognition for those Eastern statelets, uh, he might insist upon their full, uh, succession from UKrain. I mean, he’s already recognized them farcically in a way as independent states. I think those might conceivably be thought of as a bottom line. I don’t, I don’t know because you’re also seeing rhetoric coming from Moscow that suggests they really want to subordinate Ukraine in a kind of definitive irreversible way that it seems almost no treaty could possibly deliver. So I’m uncertain about that, but there’s at least hope that they would settle on those demands. Now will the Ukrainians accept them? They’re pretty tough demands for any Ukrainian leadership to accept, but we’re seeing at least some movement in that direction in recent days.

Yeah. Um, how do you comment on poor mental state? I mean, he do, he definitely demonstrated the will or, you know, the, he doesn’t care too much about, he doesn’t have a lot of problem killing civilians. That’s what I’m talking about.

Oh, no, he never has. I mean, if you look back to I, he was a freshly minted prime minister and president when they ramped up the war in that breakaway or attempted breakaway province in Russia. And, uh, they flattened grows need to rubble, uh, no problem. And if you look at what the Russian military did in EPPO and Syria, they, they leveled that city. This is a person who has absolutely no qualms whatsoever about laying waste, uh, to a, to a city. Uh, and I can imagine he would, well, we already see his willingness to undertake such operations or to, to, to, to order or accept such operations in Ukraine, but regarding his mental state. I don’t know, obviously, but I would say I have no evidence and no good reason to believe that he cannot calculate costs and benefits. I mean, I think you saw a miscalculation.

He thought the west was more disunited than it was. He thought Ukraine was, uh, more, uh, uh, collapsible and less resilient than it was. And so he made some mistakes. So it’s possible that he can update his cost benefit calculations in the face of new evidence. I see no evidence that he’s incapable of doing that. So I’m not quite as freaked out as some are by the potential for him to be somehow crazy or have lost control of his senses. But again, as I stress, this is all based on circumstantial evidence rather than some sort of, uh, analysis of, of blood Putin on some couch somewhere. I mean, it’s just not possible.

What about the nuclear threat? Do you think he really could do something like that?

Uh, he wouldn’t do that in response to simply sanctions or in response to us sending, uh, various, uh, uh, defensive weaponry to Ukraine. Um, but he wants to remind us that he has these things. And so on two occasions he’s made reference to the nuclear option. Uh, there’s no evidence, according to us intelligence, that’s been discussed of the actual chains in the alert status of the Russian nuclear force. It’s simply kind of a reminder like, Hey, Wes, just to, so you don’t forget, we’ve got these nuclear weapons, I’m just trying to draw some red lines here. I do think they would apply, however, if the, uh, military of any NATO country, but especially the United States began actively operating in the skies or on the territory of Ukraine. Then you’re starting to get into escalation territory, but you’d have many, many steps to go even from, uh, scenario in which us and Russians were fighting, Americans and Russians were fighting directly. You’d have many steps from that, uh, to any situation in which nuclear use would become something that I think he would seriously contemplate.

Hmm. Interesting. How effective are the sanctions?

Well, sanctions, um, uh, work over a long term. I mean, they, you have these financial sanctions, they tend to hit hard right away, and then people kind of adjust and then you have these commodity sanctions. So sanctions on all kinds of goods that, uh, Russia, uh, would normally export and import. And, um, and those generally take quite a while to actually affect the target. So the sanctions are impressive. Uh, the financial sta sanctions are still working their way through the system, both the global financial system and Russia’s financial system, the degree to which they’ll be able to compensate and find work arounds the degree to which China will help out all of these remain somewhat uncertain. But I think the consensus of sanctions experts is that sanctions are going to work. If they work at all in imposing, in affecting the actual calculus of the Russian leadership, they’re going to work at a much slower pace than military events on the ground, uh, put differently. They, they’re not gonna on their own stop Russia from doing essentially whatever it wants to try to do militarily on the territory of Ukraine. It’s a sad truth, but it’s one that most experts accept. It’s the anticipation is looking forward to the future and thinking about the cumulative cost of sanctions over the long run it’s that that might affect calculations in the Kremlin regarding the terms they’ll seek from Ukraine to end this war.

Hmm. Uh, you know, I heard some analyst say there’s only one person in this world that can influence president Putin and that’s Xin P I mean, do you agree with it? And, uh, how much support, uh, do you think China is giving Putin right now?

Well, that’s a question for China experts, uh, and experts on the CNO Russian relationship, you know, uh, not to deflect your question at all, I’ll answer it. But I would say that this is such a re an important strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow. Now that there are actually people, experts who spend all of their time, I’m just studying this relationship. That’s a sense sign of its geopolitical geo-economic importance. Um, I’m seeing some subtle signs that the Chinese leadership is kind of like trying to hedge a little bit here. They’re a little bit reluctant to endure the threat of secondary sanctions that is sanctions on Chinese firms, if they deal with certain, uh, commerce with Russia. And so you’re seeing a little more hesitation, but at the end of the day, my reading of the situation of these experts who study this relationship is that China, although is uncomfortable with some aspects of that.

Uh, Shing will be very reluctant to abandon Putin and do anything that would be the kind of that Putin would see as having caused him to have to surrender. And you, I can’t, I mean, most people cannot imagine the Chinese leadership doing such a thing to their key, great power rival in Moscow, especially since in some sense, Moscow’s success in pushing back against the west is in some sense, helping China because it’s deflecting American power from relocating into its region. So there’s a kind of geopolitical benefit to China of this, uh, China, Russia fallout, although China will want to insulate itself from as much of the economic fallout from this as it can. And that’s where we see some and subtle evidence of kind of backing away from completely 150% support, you know, a, a partnership without limits, as they said at Beijing. But I think at the end of the day, I to repeat and the, to emphasize the people who spend their time studying this Alliance cannot imagine being, playing the role that you suggested. People think namely as the person who literally causes Putin to give up on his Ukraine gambit very hard to imagine that happening.

Hmm. Um, you know, uh, America has made it clear, uh, it’s not going to impose no-fly zone over Ukraine. And, uh, you know, now Ukraine, I mean, although Putin has met a steep resistance from the Ukrainian army and, uh, civilians, but Ukrainian army is not winning either. So do you think America and NATO should still support Ukraine to fight to the end

If the Ukrainian, uh, leadership, and as far as we can tell, uh, in these crazy circumstances, as far as we can judge Ukrainian society wants us to continue aid them. I think we should continue aiding them. They have a, they are a sovereign government. That’s been attacked viciously and in an unprovoked fashion, uh, by a neighboring great power. They, as a sovereign country, have an absolute right to ask for assistance when they are under Dures. And we are together with many other countries providing a large amounts of such assistance. And so that, to me, as long as it is something that at the Ukrainians want and is not going to risk escalation of this crisis into a us Russia war, uh, I, I think it is absolutely, uh, uh, uh, the best, uh, policy to follow.

Hmm. How do you see the way out of this?

The only way out of this is for Ukraine and Russia to find terms that they both can accept, and it sounds banal, but somehow, each has to conclude that a deal with the other that is on the table is better than the continuing bloodshed and war. And they seem to me as best as I can judge to be far away from that for now each, you know, know, especially, I think Russia needs to tone down or reduce its expectations, but the problem is each side has a story. It can tell itself as to how it can continue the fight. I mean, Russia has this huge army. It can keep going. As I said, the sanctions are not gonna physically stop Russia from continuing the fight. They have a lot, unfortunately, sadly tragic, a lot left. They can do. They might still Harbor this idea that they can pumel bludgeon bomb, Ukraine, society into submission, and somehow extract some sort of victory from this Ukrainians based on their extraordinary performance so far.

And based on some evidence of poor morale and training on the part of the Russian army might include that they can continue fighting and keep imposing costs on Putin, such that he’ll agree to a deal closer to what they want. So that’s how wars end you should watch out and keep an eye out for negotiations about, uh, corridors, uh, for humanitarian relief and especially for talks about a potential ceasefire. These sometimes, um, it can lead and morph into actual peace negotiations. And so it can be a subtle process where they first negotiate the immediate crisis, and then kind of it spreads into trying to find a general settlement and certainly the international community, including the United States and all of its allies and others, including China, India, the whole world, a Turkey is putting itself forward. Israel should provide their good offices and their resources to try to support such a deal.

How likely is it for the Ukrainian army to drive Russian military out of their country? I mean,

I don’t think it’s, I don’t, I don’t think it’s likely at all. All they can do is make it as costly as possible to the Russians. The I’m, I’m not a military expert. I think you’re gonna talk to one. I mean, but everyone who’s spent any time studying military operations knows that an offense in this kind of, well in any situation, offense is much harder than fence. In other words, the exchange ratio of losses tends to be on the side of the, uh, uh, uh, of the favor of the defender and able to inflict more casualties on the, uh, on the attacker than the defender. And so Ukrainians to switch over to the offense and start driving these gigantic armored forces out of their country would be an extraordinarily difficult thing to do on the other hand, in their cities and in their forest and in their mountains and the west, their mountains and Russia isn’t there yet, but anyway, in their cities and in their forests and in their fields, and they can inflict terrible losses on the Russians, as long as the Russians are the ones trying to advance. So I think that’s where you’re gonna see the conflict going in the near term.

Hmm. Okay. If that happens, do you think, uh, the Russians will eventually give in

Again? I just don’t know. I think that, um, uh, I, I don’t see the signs yet, uh, that the Russian general staff and the top military leadership and the political leadership of Russia under Putin have sort of reached the end of what they think they can do with this military operation. I mean, they’re, they’re trying to do something. They are trying to encircle Kia. They have more cards to play. Unfortunately, these cars are bloody and in some cases, uh, inflicting untold misery and death upon civilians, but they have cards yet to play that they can, that they can, that they can attempt to try to force Ukraine, uh, into submission. And so I, I hope that this is not true, but I I’m afraid if I had to bet, I would say that they are going to attempt to play some of those cards before you see any willingness on their part to really give up on some of their demands.

Last question, how will Europe and the world be different after this?

Well, this is a terrible answer, but it’s the only honest one. It depends on how this conf uh, this conflict ends, how this conflict is seen to end how the world sees the conflict as, as ending. If Russia easily wins, what it wants, gets everything it wanted, uh, with a military assault directly on a completely defend, uh, innocent, defensive, uh, country like Ukraine and wins. That will be in some sense, a blow to the entire order for which the United States and allies say, they stand to their position in the world to their, if you can use an old fashioned word to their prestige, the, the, the, the esteem in which they’re held and, and the respect for their power, if the west, and especially the Ukrainians, but help by the west, kind of, in some sense, are seen to have won this crisis. It will, in some sense, it might be seen as Buttressing their position reversing, uh, their perceived decline up to this point, showing that that thing we call the west is still meaningful.

It’s still United, and it can still really impose horrific costs on countries that seek to on actors that seek to harm it. So that’s essentially partly what’s being fought over here is how this conf thatconflict will seen, will be seen to have ended. Will it be seen to have ended a as a kind of further push against the American led order, a further move towards multipolarity in the international system, or will it be seen as ending kind of in some sense, revivifying, rejuvenating strengthening, ratifying the position of the United States and its allies in the world. That’s, what’s at stake. And until the, we see how it ends out, uh, until we see where the bottom line is, where the bargaining comes out, we won’t know in my, if I had to predict it would be, in fact, it will ne be seen neither as a decisive victory for one side, nor as a de decisive victory. For the other side, they’ll be competing interpreter of this outcome, but again, that’s a, a rank guess.

These are all my questions. Do you have anything else to add?

No, I think that was comprehensive. It was a great conversation.

Oh, thank you. Thank you, professor.

[Chat with Transcript] China Uses Animal Disease Control Methods on Humans to Maintain Covid-Zero: Dr. Sean Lin

Speaker 1:

Sean, thank you for joining zooming in today,

Speaker 2:

Simone. Uh, my pleasure to join your program. Thank you for inviting me.

Speaker 1:

okay. Let’s talk about China’s COVID zero policy and the situation in Shean today is the 15th day of Shanna’s lockdown. And, uh, I just saw a video uploaded today by a person from Shean and, uh, you can see the streets are still empty and the government said the risks of large scale rebound of the virus has been reduced to the minimum thanks to their policy. So do you think that COVID zero policy worked once again in Ian?

Speaker 2:

Uh, I, I think first, uh China’s um, zero out policies never work in the past. So many people think that Chinese government had a successful zero campaign when they deal with the Wuhan outbreak last year in 2020. Uh, but I don’t think that was actually a successful example because, uh, the governments, uh, conceal the information regarding how many people were hospitalized. How many people have severe diseases, how many people die, especially the death, or was a top national secret by the Chinese government. So we don’t know how they actually, uh, contain the epidemic, uh, in Wuhan. And after that, the death toll nationwide for Chinese communist parties, it’s a, it’s a part of, it’s a mysterious, low number that is abnormal. Nobody can believe that, um, attack rate the death rate for such a, uh, epidemic disease will be such a low level. It’s impossible.

Speaker 2:

government worldwide make, uh, may not think deeply or may not, uh, realize that they, uh, subconsciously thinking that the Chinese government had a successful way to deal with the epidemic. So may any government have been using different, uh, lockdown policy, try to, uh, mimic what Chinese government did in Wuhan? So actually I think that’s a very big example. And now I think in,

Speaker 1:

Okay, just before you go to more details, I mean the Chinese governments, obviously they, uh, you know, cover the truth all the time, but compared to other methods, maybe the Chinese government thinks, uh, that the, you know, the quarantine, the lockdown policy, zero out policy is still the best. All of all the other policies, that’s why they’re using it. And otherwise they, they don’t have to use this method. Right.

Speaker 2:

Uh, I think, um, this is actually a ideological issue for the Chinese government. They are not treating the Chinese people as a, a normal human being in terms of, in the disease outbreak or control situation. To me, the Chinese government is treating the Chinese people like, uh, livestock like animals. So in essence, they are human. Uh, I infectious disease, outbreak control. They are more like doing animal or livestock epidemic control. Uh, the reason I’m saying that is because they’re policy wise, uh, you can see, uh, the almost, almost very similar if you look at China’s animal, uh, disease, uh, control, uh, legislation as well with China, current policy for zero out the COVID in, in a human society. It’s very similar. They also organized, uh, different, uh, teams at different government levels. And they’re also emphasizing, uh, the local, uh, government official needs to be responsible for the epidemic.

Speaker 2:

And they also emphasize that, um, uh, need a big data to help control the disease outbreak situation and the emphasizing the great lowment, right? So for just like you growing cattles, right in different Greece, different regions, uh, in, even in the same animal farm, you can have different grids. If that particular grease has a disease outbreak, you can take care of that. Great particularly, right. And, and similarly they’re using the same ideas in society too. So any cities, any particular district have a outbreak, they can transfer, you know, 2000 people overnight to a isolation facility. This is almost exactly like treating animals, right? If you identify a cage, a grid of animals, whether it’s poetry, pigs have a potential outbreak, and you can quickly move all these to a, a particular location, isolate them then. And if the worst case, you know, is a large scale cooling, whether it’s killed in the poetry or, or the pigs, right?

Speaker 2:

So it happens a lot in China, especially, you know, China has so many different, uh, uh, like, uh, birds, loose situations, outbreak, or, or a SW fever like African SW fevers for the mouse disease outbreak in China, in animal facilities, right? So Chinese come very familiar with this animal, uh, control, uh, measures. And now basically they push this, uh, concept and, uh, measures into the animal, into the human society. Like, so you basically can see the Chinese don’t care about whether, uh, the human being has their own self consciousness. They have their own organization capabilities, right? People can organize, uh, self-help within the community, but Chinese government do not want any of these happen. It’s treat like animal. You are a potential host for infectious disease. You just like an animal, right? So the government have all the rights to deal with you. They can order you to, to a isolation quarantine place overnight, without any preparedness, without any further, like, uh, earlier advance, no notice, right?

Speaker 2:

Just like the sea lockdown, just within few hours, a city of 13 million people can be pushed into a lockdown, a very hard lockdown and lay down even more extreme. People are not forbidden and people are not allowed it to go to the street to purchase their own, uh, groceries, all these basic, right? So it’s very, very extreme. It’s treat like animal. So anytime I want to wipe out, or, uh, you can say the government war zero or fixed disease, they can also use these very, very hard tactics to push people into a quarantine place. So they can say, well, now we’re building a facility for 5,000 people, quarantine, a special place to, um, like a concentration came to lock on people and whether they are enough, uh, medical support for support logistic support for such a, a temporary facility, the government say, we deal with those issues later. And that’s why now in C young city, you can see so many people, uh, cry out on their social medias. Uh, talk about, we are hungry. We are start, right, because the government promised food, but it’s not there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I believe what you described is, uh, what they call, uh, you know, the societal COVID zero policy, and this is different from the previous one that they implemented, which is a absolute zero out policy. So this societal policy basically means that, uh, they quarantine all those who had close contact with the infected people, therefore in the future, any new case will be from those who were, uh, quarantined, but in the regular communities, in the big cities, they will reach COVID zero. So I have a, a few questions. How do you compare new policy, uh, with the old one and, uh, does the new policy, the societal COVID zero policy work.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So first let’s get, what’s the old policy. You talk about the absolute, uh, zero out policy. So actually, um, later in the year of 2021, a lot of the Chinese, uh, officials, media, uh, using the, uh, term, they call it dynamic zero because they know even for absolutely zero out policy that the, the central come and defined is very hard to implement. So you see China, uh, throughout 2021, so many different outbreak in different cities, and so many different cities. Right? I have outbreak, even though the government’s, uh, official data, always a very small number in dozen, sometimes, uh, cases in, in the big city. Uh, but it never totally crunch out. So the go, no, very clearly it’s impossible to do absolutely zero. So later in 2021, they started to use the term more about dynamic zero. That means, uh, for a city you can, uh, for a period of time, it can be zero out, right.

Speaker 2:

It’s dynamic. So it’s kind of like, um, if I gave , uh, uh, a scenario, just like you, you dealing with, uh, a trash, right? If you move your trash to your neighbors, your, your own home is temporary. Uh, trash is zero out, but the next day, if the neighbor moved the trash back to you, he is zero. And then you have new cases. So, so this is a dynamic zero, and these also still doesn’t work out. Uh, and especially in the sea installation, they, they clearly know, uh, for such a big city, certain many people, how do you move those cases away? Right. So, and especially when it has already have community transmissions, you have more cases in, in Shion. So in this way, so they create a new term cause societal zero up. So basically that means if I just, uh, store the trash in other people’s home permanently, then my home is always zero that’s societal zero up.

Speaker 2:

So you are not coming. Those people being quarantined as my, uh, Shean people, my own residents, basically. Right? So those problem can be dealed at different county level, city level, smaller city level, uh, not in a big city like C young. So that means societal zero up. So it it’s, it’s a ridiculous policy. And actually the term, the, when they create a term, it means they’re absolutely zero or dynamic zero policy doesn’t work. So they, uh, the, the local official government, uh, have to create this term in order to meet the high demand from the central government. Cause the central government want them to, to zero in four days. So by Inan all the public health official, including the CCP leaders in the local level, they understand this is impossible, mission impossible. So how do they deal with the central pressure? So they created this. So societal zero and move, you know, things of thousands of Shean people to other, uh, neighborhood, uh, counties nearby suburban areas. So in this way, they basically try to, um, please the central government. So this is a, how ridiculous still is this?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I mean, we know what the CCP is doing, but let’s escape them. The benefit of the adult. Mm-hmm me. I mean, if they have any reason to, you know, the, the, uh, the right reason to do this is because they think if we quarantine all those dangerous people, they’re not infected yet, but the, you know, potential COVID, uh, virus carriers. If we quarantine them into one place, then it’s easier to these dangerous people. And then the rest of the community is clean. So our effort will be more directed, more focused and easier. What do you think?

Speaker 2:

Okay. Yeah, from the surface, of course, this rationale, it makes sense, but the key is how you implement it. You can currently a lot of people, but the key is that you need to think comprehensively, uh, how to support people, uh, both logistically medically, you know, uh, even mentally how you support large amount of people, uh, in, in isolation, quarantine situation. And how do you ensure people have, uh, some, uh, uh, like comorbidity, uh, disease, how do you help them overcome this kind of situation? Right? So you, you won to suddenly announce, uh, a lockdown in, in a few hours and not in the last, such a scale. So how do you, uh, prevent secondary disaster? This is always one of the top issues where you’re dealing in public health crisis. You, you have to avoid people being, uh, injured, uh, physically, mentally, uh, damaged because of the, uh, quarantine policy or isolation procedures, right? So it should be a human process, but the Chinese government doesn’t care about that. That’s why I said, uh, it is not exactly treating people as human beings.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I have another question. This people dangerous people might be infected if they, if you put them together, wouldn’t the chances of them cross. In fact, each other be, be bigger and they could be, you know, the center of the spreading of the virus.

Speaker 2:

Yes. That’s why I said quarantine is not a simple thing, uh, of isolation, facilities and quarantine facilities, you need to, uh, especially build, right. Even in the past, even if you remember in, in Wuhan, when they build a fun time hospitals, that the temporary hospitals hosting thousands of people at a time, the Chinese C still talk about how a advanced facility is, right? All kinds of air filter system, how to, how to mobilize medical to support. But now in the year, 2022, there’s no such issues. As so, as you push people to a, a temporary quarantine location, as long as, as you do in the societal zero off the local officials feel happy about it. I deal with my problem already, right? So this is very different. And that’s why I said, uh, it is not the, uh, simple procedures to quarantine, large amount of people. That’s why in the, in the past history, governments are very helpful to implement any of these kind of policy to put large amount people into according facility. It definitely will create high potential across contamination, cross infections, higher rate of transmission, of the same infectious disease. And it is very bad situation. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

If that happens. So what do you think China would do?

Speaker 2:

That’s why I’m really worried about what will be the next step. So if we think about how people handling animal disease outbreak, right, the worst case is, is, uh, mask cooling, right? So if you, for example, if you have H seven and nine outbreak in, in the poetry, in the chicken, uh, the, the breeder can decide, I, I will kill maybe a hundred thousand, uh, chickens, birds, right? So, and then if there’s a, uh, for example, uh, African swine fever outbreak in your pigs, uh, populations, you can decide, I kill 50,000. So that’s cooling. Of course, when you massive killing a lot of people, you will temporarily block the disease transmission. And this part, this kind of measure Chinese gum is very familiar with. And maybe he’s a bad Oman. You know, the Chinese CDCs director, golf food, he’s a veterinarian. He’s not a medical doctor, the veterinarian, right?

Speaker 2:

So the Chinese government can always treating, okay, these population of people, their potential, uh, host for a big infectious disease, whether they’re close content or they’re the close content or close contact, uh, they’re just a block of people. These are people D people let me quarantine them. Um, whether they can survive these kind of isolation, I, they don’t care at this moment. So that’s why I really worry that the secondary disaster due to these very heart attack, uh, isolation procedures will kill many people, many people starving to death, or they have other disease, uh, that they varying at the same time. Right? Mobility issue will be very high. Yeah. So this is very, very in human process and no government should follow Chinese governments. Uh, uh, this kind of example, and, and I believe the Chinese government tried to, uh, push this idea to other part of world saying, you see, we, we do a very effective way in controlling these disease. And they even bring much more Chinese people to believe that your sacrifice is important for the whole country. Right? So they, they have a very successful in brainwashing people and many people as science, they not starving. They don’t think, uh, there this people in Shong in, in quarantine, what your sympathy. So that’s a very best situ

Speaker 1:

And this new wave Shion is mentally, uh, the Delta variant and, uh, black variant hasn’t reached China. Will it reach China eventually? And if China still uses the COVID zero policy on , what do you think will happen?

Speaker 2:

I actually dunno, uh, whether has been spread out in China or not, uh, there were cause talk about army, uh, cases being identified in China, even though our very small numbers, but we don’t know what’s the true situ the governments, uh, the public, uh, what’s causing the outbreak in, uh, data variants, but we didn’t see enough, uh, data regarding how many people were, uh, hospitalized. How many people having severe disease, uh, does the whole pattern showing, uh, similar pattern to the data outbreak other countries, or this is actually more similar to outbreak. Uh, we, we don’t know the government didn’t provide this information. None of the hospitals treating the COVID patients, but allowed it to give the data to the public. So how do you know what’s the true causes, the outbreak in China? So I actually suspected with the very, very powerful transmission rate from Omni crumbs Omni probably already spread out in certain regions in China.

Speaker 2:

And that’s why the, the, the Shean, or, or provinces the public health officers, the local CP leader were so scared about this way. And they use this extreme tactic. They may not just tell the public now it’s and they don’t care that Omni, maybe right now doesn’t cause, uh, very severe disease compared to data can right now basically showing, uh, less trend to, to have severe disease globally in different regions, whether in South Africa or in UK or in United States, the Chinese government don’t care about it for the local Chinese official, because the central government’s order is to zero out. Uh the, the COVID right. So as long as they be in testing, uh, plastic, uh, on this nuclear acid test, the local official have to be responsible for this, uh, community outbreak, whether it’s data or . So they just use the same extreme measures, uh, to, to wipe out, try to wipe out these, uh, numbers. I say numbers, right? Because they’re not really treating the disease, not treating the people they’re just cared about the number.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I’ve seen the Chinese media reports, uh, saying that this round, this wave is, uh, the Delta variant. Let’s just say that report is, uh, accurate, but if there are one cycle behind the international epidemic cycle, now that Delta and everybody else’s , uh, what I mean, does that have an impact? I mean,

Speaker 2:

Well, I, I think, uh, it’s almost impossible. China can be a, a unique island, uh, for Omni ground. Uh, the way the army spread is so fast. I know in China, uh, zero campaign can block . I don’t think China stay any chance for that.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So if Amran riches, China, uh, if they still apply this zero up policy, they will be in big trouble

Speaker 2:

Even. Oh, definitely. They’re already in. Yeah, definitely. I think they’re already in trouble in dealing with data with army crimes and it will be very much faster, especially if you put, you know, thousands of people in a temporary, uh, quarantine places like a garage, so many people will be affected. And actually I see some social media posts talk about, uh, people who, uh, who actually want to be isolated. The, the hospital refused to accept him. And then eight members from his family actually all got infected. Yeah. So ridiculous. Extreme examples like the in Shean. So anyway, I don’t think the Chinese can contain Amran. No countries can contain Amran. Nobody believe the human being can contain Armyn spreading right now. Uh, so I don’t think Chinese government can, uh, stay any chance to see, uh, to successfully zero army.

Speaker 1:

Hmm. But the Chinese leader, she Jean at at least for now, he is still insisting that China should apply this zero out policy and anybody who is opposing it, uh, this policy, he gets very angry with that person. So, I mean, how do you think this zero out policy play out in China in the future? Do you think they will stick to it to the end?

Speaker 2:

You, yeah, I think, uh, uh, yes, I think will stick out to his policies because any change of the policy will, uh, threaten his, uh, his positions and in the critical year, uh, reelection year, right. We would let’s call it reelection simply. But anyway, he, I don’t think he wanted change the policies, but at the same time, maybe the Chinese gun will be lucky because even a lot of people got infected with army crimes because many people are not showing severe disease. The Chinese government can always say, oh, see, no, no many people die and they they’ve been successful. Contain a disease. Chinese go can always, uh, tell a good story to the public so that people still believing the Chinese government did very good, uh, very people being sacrificing sea lockdown. What read on the internet, just a small, uh, sporadic situations. Um, it’s not as systematic happening.

Speaker 2:

Uh, people were being treated nicely. The, the government can do all these, uh, usage after this, uh, high lockdown. And right now they’re probably very worried about the, the winter Olympic in Beijing. That’s why Beijing implementing, uh, 56 days, uh, quarantine for any inbound travelers. So this is very extreme, right? No, no scientific reason for 56 days, uh, quarantine, but basically tell the world the Beijing one to who, uh, currenting you, the whole period, uh, until the winter is over. So basically that’s how they contain the distillation. And so the Chinese will tell, uh, Chinese people a good story. We have successfully how our Olympic you see, you know, we contain the situation. We don’t have, uh, maybe S going factory. They can always tell this kind of story to people. And then boosting, uh, the CCPs, the image to, to people, to the world saying they are the very successful example, even though the Chinese society suffer a lot and they try to further prove the dictatorship Soarian style, the Chinese government represents actually have a better advantage than the democratic system. That’s their whole EU they’re already preparing. And, and then they will carry out this campaign exactly in this way. So if

Speaker 1:

You were the guy who is, uh, you know, uh, who is, uh, overseeing China’s, uh, uh, pandemic control, uh, what do you think you would do?

Speaker 2:

I think, um, with a normal human, uh, thinking, you need to think about how to help people overcome this disease in a rational way. And if you see, uh, the globally, uh, the, all the scientific evidence, somatic evidence showing the, the spread of virus is so strong and such a strong IME innovation. So many people cannot avoid, uh, being infected by this wave of . Then you need to think about how human society can Cozi with the virus. How do you, uh, avoid hospital system, the overloaded, and then how do you quickly, uh, using different other, uh, maybe drugs to help people reduce their symptoms, all these kind of additional measure, or even other non pharmaceutical intervention measures that you can implement to support society. And how do you reduce, uh, the, the mental stress that people have in this kind of, uh, pandemics period. These are all very challenging task, very important tasks, and you can all do it in a very humane ways. And, uh, I think, uh, the key issues, whether you have a human heart, have a human mind or not, and I don’t think the Chinese government doing it in a human way, in a human way.

Speaker 1:

Great. Well, Sean, these are all my questions. Do you have anything else to add?

Speaker 2:

Well, I, I think, uh, let’s say for me right now, it’s really, really thank you for inviting me to, uh, have a comment on this situation in Cun.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Thank you, Sean.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Good. All right. Good. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Okay. Bye.