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“The US response to Russia is hindered by the China issue… Korea should also be mindful.” [특파원+]

④ Parallel parallels of Russian-Western dialogue… Will there be a solution?

A look at the combination of the Geneva Talks Exploration + Public Opinion + Propaganda
U.S. is devastated by its commitment to public blockade… Embarrassed by super precipitation
It is difficult to respond quickly and efficiently in the two fronts in Asia Pacific and Europe
Putin expects to find maximum compromise with Ukraine invasion card
Russia’s ‘counterbalancing strategy’ shaking the US alliance South Korea should also be wary

A Russian T-72B3 tank fires fire and fires shells during a military exercise at the Rostov-Kadamovsky shooting range, near the Ukraine border, in southern Russia, on the 12th (local time). The exercise was held amid negotiations between Russia and NATO (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium over the Ukraine crisis, and it was interpreted as whether it was an armed demonstration. Rostov = Associated Press

“Just as Russia seized the erosion of US-Turkey relations and induced Turkey to become pro-Russian by supporting Turkey, so even during this escalating tension in Ukraine, it is a counter-productive strategy that takes advantage of the microscopic rift between the US and the EU surrounding Europe’s security initiative. ) is developing a balancing strategy. The counterbalancing strategy can be seen as an attempt to balance the power between the opponents as a whole by widening the gap by elaborately intervening in the division of the opposing faction. It is necessary to keep in mind that South Korea, which has a growing conflict with Japan, is also an important target of Russia’s counterbalancing strategy.”

Hong Wan-seok, an expert on Russia and Korea-Russia relations, and senior professor of Russia and CIS (College of Independent States) at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Graduate School of International and Regional Studies, evaluated the series of talks between the West and Russia regarding the Ukraine crisis on the 17th, and South Korea was also wary of Russia’s counterbalancing strategy. emphasized the need to do so.

◆ Parallel lines between the US and Russia without concessions

-Conversation has continued between Russia and the West, including the United States, regarding the situation in Ukraine.

“From the beginning of the new year in 2022, the issues of Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which can be understood in the flow of geopolitical continuity, have covered the Corona 19 issue. In order to peacefully resolve the European security crisis triggered by Ukraine’s move to incorporate into NATO, three relay talks were held between interested parties in a bilateral and multilateral format. A series of talks were held to find a diplomatic solution between the United States and Russia in Geneva, Switzerland on the 10th, Russia and NATO in Brussels, Belgium on the 12th, and Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria on the 13th.”

What was the outcome of the dialogue between the two sides?

“As expected, the US and Russia could not find a compromise due to a tense flag battle and struggle for strength, and ended the meeting with only the possibility of further talks in the future to prevent catastrophe. Since the Ukraine crisis is essentially a product of the US-Russian struggle for hegemony, the US-Russia Geneva talks held on the first day had to be the touchstone that would determine the success or failure of the overall summit. The main agendas of the summit were the easing of tensions in Ukraine caused by Russia’s military threat and Russia’s demand for security assurances, including NATO’s ban on eastward movement. During the eight-hour intense negotiation, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the chief representatives of both sides, ran parallel lines without concessions, each repeating their previous positions.”

– What specifically did you discuss?

“Russia’s chief representative (Vice Minister Ryabkov) stressed that there was no plan or intention to invade Ukraine, and demanded that the West immediately accept Russia’s security measures. Otherwise, he warned that there would be no choice but to devise a strong military-technological response. On the other hand, the U.S. chief representative (Deputy Secretary Sherman) emphasized NATO’s openness and waved the greatest sanctions ever. Russia rejected Ukraine’s request not to join NATO, arguing that all European countries had the right to decide for themselves to join NATO. He also did not forget the warning that Russia would face harsh “sanctions of hell” if the Kremlin proceeded to invade Ukraine. Next, he demanded that Russia take measures to ease tensions, such as withdrawing troops from the Ukrainian border, in order for the US and Russia to discuss the issue of enhancing strategic stability in line with their mutual security interests.”

– Can you find a compromise in the future?

“The Geneva Talks are a kind of cross-examination to understand the other person’s hidden intentions. In other words, it has a meaning before a search, but it also has the character of a public opinion battle for image production in which serious efforts are made to reach a conclusion of a negotiation. It also had the characteristics of a propaganda war using the accumulation of justifications to shift responsibility for the failure of negotiations to the other party, and a war of nerves to subdue the opponent. This is probably the reason why it was held as an 8-hour marathon meeting. The fact that the talks with the same agenda of stabilizing the Ukrainian border and resolving the European security crisis were held three times in different places with different actors for different actors suggests that it is difficult to find a compromise. ”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (left) and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov look at each other ahead of a summit meeting in Ukraine over the Ukraine crisis in Geneva, Switzerland, on the 10th (local time). Geneva = AFP Yonhap News

◆ The international community pays attention to whether Russia invades Ukraine

– In the end, it seems that the focus may be on whether or not Russia invades Ukraine.

“Of course, in the absence of a breakthrough in negotiations, the international community’s attention is focused on whether Russia will invade Ukraine. In order to make a rational judgment on this, there are several factors that should be considered first, which are interconnected organically. Since every situation develops differently depending on the moment-to-moment conditions, it is also necessary for a more scientific outlook on various predictable scenarios.”

– What kind of review factors are there?

“The first concerns the root cause of the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis. The origin of the Ukraine security crisis that erupted at the end of last year is actually NATO’s eastward policy that started in 1997. NATO’s eastward movement began at a time when Russian President Boris Yeltsin implemented a pro-Western policy and US-Russia relations were good. At that time, the West, which controlled the world’s political and economic capital, desperately needed the help of the West, especially the United States, for the establishment of the market economy system promoted by the Yeltsin government at the time and for economic reconstruction on the verge of bankruptcy. In such an atmosphere, then US President Bill Clinton and President Yeltsin held a summit in Helsinki, Finland in March 1997 and drew a positive conclusion about NATO expansion. Based on the Clinton-Yelchin agreement, in May of the same year, the United States and Russia signed the ‘Framework Agreement on Cooperation and Security between NATO and Russia’ and laid the groundwork for a new international order after the Cold War. There are two main contents of this framework agreement. One is to provide an institutional window through which Russia’s voice can be heard in NATO, and the other is to recognize NATO’s membership as a new member, but not to pose a threat to Russia.”

A Russian soldier belonging to the collective security treaty organization (CSTO) peacekeeping force, the former Soviet security consultative body, attends a withdrawal event in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on the 13th (local time). Almaty = Associated Press

◆ US and Russia ignore and pressure to join NATO

-If we follow the NATO-Russia Framework Agreement on Security, there will be no major problems.

“The problem is that the US has not kept the agreement it promised in the NATO-Russia Framework Agreement. Washington faithfully followed the nature of international politics that rules are set by the powerful and reflect new interests. The same goes for Russia, which violates international agreements according to the nature of such powerful politics. Ukraine signed the so-called Budapest Memorandum of Understanding in 1994. This is an international promise that great powers such as the United States, Britain, and Russia will provide Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security guarantees in exchange for giving up the 1560 nuclear weapons deployed during the Soviet era. Since then, France and China have also taken similar measures separately to add strength as an international guarantee. However, Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 and support for the Donbass rebels left the Budapest Memorandum to pieces.”

-What does it mean that the US did not comply with the NATO-Russia Framework Agreement?

“Despite the NATO-Russia Framework Agreement, the United States ignored the voice of Russia, which had collapsed, and also ignored security concerns. Rather, it humiliated Russia and seriously damaged its national pride. Washington not only undermined the interests of the Kremlin in Europe, but also took Russia as a major enemy and drove it into the corner. In 1999, NATO carried out indiscriminate bombing of Serbia, Russia’s historical, ethnic and religious solidarity, despite Yeltsin’s warning. In 2001, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia announced its intention to join NATO, but was rejected.”

-It must have been a humiliation for Putin.

“The United States incorporated 10 Central and Eastern European countries into NATO in 2004. In 2016, it even built a missile defense system (MD) targeting Russia in Poland and Romania. In particular, last year, the United States rushed Ukraine’s accession to NATO, and in July conducted NATO’s multinational (32-nation) naval joint exercise for two weeks in the Black Sea, considered Russia’s inland sea. It heightened the Kremlin’s sense of security crisis and made it go round the faucet. The increasingly tight blockade against Russia has demanded that Moscow take tougher countermeasures to secure exclusive security interests and to protect the ‘unique’ sphere of influence in the deoxidation space.”

High-level representatives of NATO (NATO) and Russia participate in the NATO-Russia Committee (NRC) on the Ukraine crisis at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on the 12th (local time). From left, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko, and Deputy Defense Minister Aleksandr Fomin. Brussels = AFP Yonhap News

◆ The US-Russian conflict again

-If you look back on the past, it’s like the US hit Russia’s outstretched hand.

“To sum up, the first to touch Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the United States, with NATO at the fore. In particular, the US-British military-industrial complex played a vanguard role. At every opportunity, Putin said in a loud voice that NATO had expanded to the West five times and lied to Russia. This is a passage where you can read deep distrust and antipathy towards the United States. At a face-to-face press conference attended by around 500 foreign and domestic reporters on December 23 last year, President Putin was determined and denounced NATO’s breach of promises and aggression. He said the tensions surrounding Ukraine had been created by the West, that NATO’s continued advance could no longer be tolerated, and that the West must immediately guarantee Russia a legally binding security guarantee in written form. If the demands of the Kremlin are not met, Russia will inevitably take all necessary measures to achieve a strategic balance and eliminate the unacceptable threat to national security.”

-President Putin seems very angry.

“If the West does not guarantee Russia’s security interests in Putin’s remarks, it can be seen that he is full of retaliatory will to give back in proportion to what the United States and NATO have suffered in the meantime. To put it figuratively, Russia is currently in a state of anger like a puffer fish that is inflated. Regardless of the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia remains a military superpower that ranks shoulder to shoulder with the United States in conventional and nuclear power. It has such a toxic nature that if it is stung, the fatality rate is high. This is why the United States and NATO have no choice but to relax and calm Russia. On the other hand, the proverb of Chae Geun-dam, ‘A barking dog doesn’t bite’ comes to mind in the pattern of repeating the cyclical ups and downs of military tension on the Ukrainian border. Although we hold the invasion of Ukraine as a military option, we can see that we are trying to find a compromise as much as possible, given that we are sending various demands to the West.”

– What other review factors are there?

“The second issue to consider is the timing and interpretation of Russia’s military provocations on the border with Ukraine. What should be noted in the Ukraine crisis, which is by no means accidental, is the timing of the provocation. This is because it provides an important key to understanding the intentions and strategies of the Kremlin. In the early winter of last year, or more precisely, since November, Russia quickly and urgently gathered 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, heightening tensions at once. Why did the Kremlin suddenly create high-intensity military tensions in November 2021? Some restrained inferences are possible. ”

Russian T-72B3 tanks stand by during military training at the Rostov-Kadamovsky shooting range near the Ukraine border in southern Russia on the 12th (local time). Napoleon’s French army and Adolf Hitler’s German army suffered a devastating defeat when they faced harsh Russian generals while invading Russia. Rostov = Associated Press

The Winter War in which Napoleon and Hitler also failed

-What is the significance of Russia’s winter offensive?

“First of all, it is possible to point out the effectiveness of the military operation provided by the seasonal factor of the cold winter. Russia is a country specialized in winter warfare. Both Napoleon’s France and Nazi Germany’s General Dong met and suffered heavy losses in the Winter War. In the Great Plains of Eurasia that leads to Russia and Ukraine, there are many swamps, waterways, and muddy roads, so military maneuvers are restricted in spring and summer. In that respect, winter is a good time to conduct effective military maneuvers in Ukraine, or beyond, in Russia, the frozen land kingdom. In addition, the winter, when the demand for heating gas is high, may relax the resistance of Europe, Russia’s energy hostage, in case of emergency. This is especially true at a time when natural gas prices are soaring. So, if Russia attacks Ukraine, it is highly likely that it will act quickly in winter before spring arrives. The January-February invasion rumors reported by the Western media all at once are one of the most convincing backgrounds.”

– What is the significance of the time period?

“It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that it is a time of power change between the two locomotives of the European Union, Germany and France. On December 8, last year, after the era of Angela Merkel of the CDU, which served as the longest-serving chancellor for 16 years in Germany, the Social Democratic Party’s Olaf Scholz cabinet was launched. A presidential election is scheduled for France in April. A fierce battle is currently underway between presidential candidates, including President Emmanuel Macron, for the seat of power in the Elysee Palace. The process of regime change or power shift in the two EU member states could undermine Russia’s agility in responding to military measures.”

◆ China constrains US response to Russia

-However, in the Asia-Pacific region, is it possible to respond to Russia as the US confronts China?

“In that regard, it is also important to observe that the timing of Russia’s intimidation of Ukraine is when the eyes of the United States are focused on China. After Joe Biden took office as President of the United States, the United States newly established AUKUS (Australia, Britain, and the United States) under the banner of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, and is focusing its efforts on so-called beating China with the use of Quad (USA, India, Australia, Japan) as a priority. While the United States was committed to an omni-directional blockade of China, Russia overtaken the United States. The Kremlin abruptly threatened to invade Ukraine under the pretext of NATO’s preemptive action colluded by the Ukrainian government, raising the crisis to the extreme. That is why Washington is left restless, showing no sign of embarrassment at the Kremlin’s unexpected counterattack of super-precipitation.”

– It will not be easy for the US to respond.

“With the White House’s foreign strategy focused on killing China in East Asia, Russia’s military provocation in Europe makes it difficult for the US to respond quickly and efficiently. Unlike in the past, it is not easy for the United States, which has declined, to spread two fronts now. Moreover, if the United States responds militarily to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the possibility that China will take advantage of the gap to occupy Taiwan cannot be ruled out at all. Russia’s military operation against Ukraine can be carried out more easily because China is holding the US on one leg. This is the reason why the United States cannot respond strongly militarily to Russia’s intimidation and is forced to negotiate.”

-After all, there was a reason for Russia’s hardline stance after last winter.

“Russia’s decision to launch a military offensive against Ukraine in early winter of 2021 appears to have been based on a high level of judgment that the Kremlin’s oppressive strategy would work best, given various circumstances. One might dismiss this analysis as a coincidence, but it is by no means the case. As the saying goes, “Rusky (Russian) drives a (horse) horseshoe to a mosquito leg with his left hand”, the descendants of Tsar Russia and Soviet strategists always use sophisticated calculations and sophisticated tactics to achieve their goals. It can be read that the intention to invade Ukraine is not absent from the selection of the timing of crisis escalation, which is good for taking an advantageous position and attacking the opponent’s weakness.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping and general secretary of the Communist Party of China delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party Central Party School Study Meeting on the 11th. Beijing = Xinhua Yonhap News

◆ Russia is trying to put the US on the negotiating table.

– Are there any other considerations?

“The third consideration is a kind of undercurrent, or undercurrent, that Russia is trying to achieve by maintaining military tensions with Ukraine. In conclusion, Russia’s intentional crisis creation is, in fact, focused on negotiations with the West rather than the invasion of Ukraine. In other words, it is a manned operation to take Ukraine hostage and bring the United States and NATO to the security negotiation table. Although North Korea’s armed demonstration, which fires long-range missiles at the right time, is intimidating to Seoul, it is ultimately the same as the intention to induce the US to the negotiating table. In short, it is a ‘work type’ strategy.”

How did this go?

“When the US and NATO asked Russia to refrain from invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin immediately sent out a security estimate. It presented a kind of red line that the West should not subjugate Ukraine or use it strategically, but should recognize Russia’s exclusive sphere of influence. If Russia had not taken military action suggesting a possible invasion of Ukraine, the situation would not have become an international issue, and it would not have been able to weaken the driving force of the runaway locomotive anti-Russian military alliance. In that respect, I think that Russia’s directing of the crisis in Ukraine has no purpose to show off and imprint its presence as a giant in international politics and a global power holder.”

◆ Russia-Turkey approach is a successful case of counterbalancing

-Does it mean that Russia’s escalating crisis in Ukraine is for negotiations rather than a possibility of an actual invasion?

“There is another hidden target in Russia. The point is that Russia’s counterattack is targeting the US and NATO rather than the EU among the Western Union. In regards to Europe’s security initiative, it is using a so-called counterbalancing strategy that digs into microscopic rifts between the US and the EU. Russia’s weakness in security after the end of the Cold War is that it is losing the ‘link of the buffer zone’ that effectively defends its vast territory. As the buffer zone disappears due to NATO’s eastward expansion, we are facing a borderline with anti-Russian countries. In order to overcome this unfavorable security environment, Russia has recently While meticulously intervening in the conflict between the two countries, we are implementing a counterbalancing strategy that preemptively blocks military threats and ultimately secures a security advantage.”

-Russia pursued strengthening relations with Turkey, a member of NATO.

“The fact that NATO member Turkey turned its back on its ally the United States and chose military solidarity with Russia is a successful example of Russia’s counterbalancing strategy. In 2015, when confrontation and conflict intensified between the United States and Turkey over the Kurdish issue in Syria and the instigation of a military coup d’état against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia succeeded in inducing Turkey’s pro-Russian policy by supporting and considering Turkey. did. Despite pressure and warnings from the US, Turkey introduced the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system one after another, and opened the Turkish Stream from Russia to southern Europe through Turkey.”

Hong Wan-seok, head professor of the Department of Russia and CIS (Communion of Independent States) at the Graduate School of International and Regional Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies is giving a lecture at the Human Resources Development Institute for Public Officials. Provided by Professor Hong Wan-seok

◆ Russia splits US and EU leaders

-In the end, does it mean that you are going to invade the EU with a counterbalancing strategy that has been successful in Turkey?

“As the conflict of interest between the United States and the EU is exposed and intensified, a space for counterbalancing strategies that Russia can apply is opening up. Washington is trying to strengthen Europe’s dependence on the US economically, diplomatically and security-wise. However, France and Germany, two pillars of the EU seeking to expand Europe’s geopolitical independence and autonomy, have no intention of doing so. Washington is displeased with Berlin, which has established an energy alliance with Moscow, but Berlin hates Washington for trying to block the opening of Nordstream 2 somehow. Last year, France complained and even showed hostility to the United States for hijacking the 77 trillion-won submarine development project it signed with Australia in 2016. The current reality is that this type of conflict between the US and EU-leading countries is being expressed frequently.”

-In the end, it seems that conditions have been formed for Russia to dig into the gap between the United States and Germany and France.

“Russia cannot miss this gap and contradiction among its Western allies. Russia’s escalation of Ukraine’s security crisis has also contributed to the division in the West, provoking the damage to the EU’s security sovereignty. The following remarks by Rousseff Borrell, senior EU foreign and security policy representative, vividly show that Russia’s counterbalancing strategy is paying off.

‘It is no longer the ‘Yalta era’. The division of sphere of influence between the two major powers in 2022 is impossible, and the US and Russia are not the only ones in this negotiation. The EU cannot be a neutral spectator in the negotiations that determine Europe’s security structure. European security is not simply a problem between the US and Russia, NATO and Russia, but a problem that involves the EU.’

The Yalta era refers to the era in which the European order established by the leaders of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, in fact, the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union, has been applied in February 1945, in Yalta, a resort town on the Black Seashore Crimean Peninsula. To say that it is no longer the era of Yalta means that Europe will decide the fate of Europe.”

◆ Russia’s counterbalancing strategy, also targeting Korea

-What are the lessons for the Korean Peninsula from the Ukraine crisis?

“If we turn our attention to Northeast Asia, it is necessary to keep in mind that Korea, whose conflict with Japan is intensifying day by day, is also an important target of Russia’s counterbalancing strategy. In any case, the reasons for Russia’s surprise military provocation against Ukraine are not unilinear, but multi-layered and complex. Russia’s strategy to escalate the crisis in Ukraine was half successful in that it was more than effective in bringing Washington to the negotiating table, widening the gap between the US and the EU, and pacifying Ukraine’s negligence. to be.”

– What is the remaining half?

“The other half is actually the key, and that will be the implementation of the security measures that Russia is asking for in the official talks and under-the-hood talks that are expected to resume soon. Until negotiations succeed or ultimately break down, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with other forms of more provocative additional military provocations, will remain a valid card for the Kremlin to fiddle with to achieve its ultimate goal. On the 14th, in an interview with Russian media, Vice Minister Ryabkov suggested that the U.S. could deploy Russian troops in Cuba and Venezuela in a proportional response.”


Hong Wan-seok, Head Professor, Department of Russia and CIS, Graduate School of International and Regional Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies ▲Department of Russian Language, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies ▲Master’s Degree in Donggu Regional Studies, the same graduate school ▲Ph.D. in Political Science, Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) ▲President of the Korean Slavic and Eurasian Society ▲Vice President of the Korean Political Science Association ▲Dean of the International and Regional College of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Director of the Russian Research Institute

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