Why War Fails: Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine and the Limits of Military Power

Authors:Sir Lawrence
Freedman, KCMG, CBE

Affiliation: Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London (1982-2014)
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date/Place: July/August 2022/USA
Type of Literature: Journal Article
Word Count: 4867
Link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russian-federation/2022-06-14/ukraine-war-russia-why-fails
Keywords: Russia, Ukraine, Chechnya, Putin, Forces, Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Russia is trying to hit hard but Ukraine isn’t silent as well. Russia had planned to seize Ukraine from the Kherson Airport at Chornobaivka, an important point for its upcoming offensive; but the operation wasn’t accurate as the Russians had planned, as Ukraine started to defend itself by armed drones and destroyed the Russian helicopters that were transferring supplies from Crimea. But Ukraine didn’t stop there; it also destroyed another 30 Russian helicopters in March. Ukraine’s attacks have continued to destroy more and more Russian supplies and weapons. Despite the result of these events, Russia
apparently didn’t have a strategic plan to fix all of this, but instead stuck to its original orders, which led to a disaster. Because of the huge numbers of soldiers that Russia has been using to invade Ukraine, many leaders and politicians have questioned how Ukraine has held in front of these forces. Military power isn’t always about the skills and the kind of weapons you are using, but it also includes a good and organized leadership that can lead the troop wisely. According to the author, Putin has made the classical mistake of underestimating the enemy and what it is capable of. Military leaders need to
understand that their decisions must be wisely made because depending on these decisions/orders, the fate of their country will be decided. The author mentions some main standards that every military leader must have: deep professional knowledge, the ability to use resources efficiently, good communication skills, the ability to get on with others, a sense of moral purpose and responsibility, and a willingness to care for subordinates.
Not all subordinates will obediently carry out orders. Even the most careful field officer may disregard orders that are occasionally improper because they may be founded on insufficient and out-of-date intelligence. In other situations, implementation
might be feasible but foolish because there may be a more effective approach to
accomplish the same goals. However, to avoid such conflicts, the modern command philosophy practiced in the West has tended to encourage subordinates to take the initiative to handle the current situation; commanders trust those involved in the action to make the crucial decisions while remaining prepared to intervene if things go wrong. Ukrainian armies have adopted this strategy, while Russia adheres to a more hierarchical leadership paradigm. Although the local initiative is theoretically permitted by Russian ideology, the current command structures discourage subordinates from defying their superiors and taking a chance. The author says that Russia’s command problem in Ukraine is a consequence of current political leadership more than a military philosophy. As autocrats frequently surround themselves with advisors who share their political views and favor loyalty above competence among their senior military leaders, the author suggests that authorities and officers in Russia must be cautious before questioning superiors.
The Russian military has always been a powerful and strategic one. An example was
what happened in Chechnya in 1994-96 by Russian president Boris Yeltsin. The Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev assured the president that by sending the Russian military into the Chechen capital of Grozny as soon as possible, it would put an end to Chechnya’s attempt to break away from the Russian Federation. But because Russia underestimated what Chechnya could do, it lost the first attack on Chechnya. Three years later, Putin decided to resume the Chechnya war, but this time with a complete preparation of Russian forces. Despite all the efforts that had been made by Putin to be a powerful politician/president, his relations with the West have always been under threat because of many reasons, one of them (maybe the biggest) is Ukraine. As the Ukraine has come under the control of the West, Putin decided to join Crimea to his control. This confirmed his status as a shrewd supreme commander, and brought him great support from the local people; but he was always moving with a sensitivity alert without violence, and as violence occurred he had to protect the people in danger. Putin didn’t stop there, but began a bigger battle in the Donbas region. When Putin saw that he could be defeated by the Ukrainians, the Kremlin sent in regular Russian forces. Although the author claims that Russia didn’t face a real threat from the Ukrainian army and says that this move wasn’t necessary, he acknowledges Putin’s wanting to be on the safe side, especially as fighting continued despite the Minsk agreement being signed in 2014.
The author discusses Putin’s strategies to protect himself and his state, that it can be said how the more Putin says that he isn’t using violence, the more he is actually using it. After Putin failed in trying to use the Russian enclaves to influence Kyiv to return to Moscow’s influence and never again consider joining NATO or the EU, he used Ukraine’s weaknesses and needs to convince the world that Kyiv needed to change its government. Such a strategy needs a strict commitment from the armed forces and strong movements. The recent Russian military action in Syria, which has effectively supported the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, and recent attempts to modernize Russia’s armed forces had increased Putin’s confidence. But the war hasn’t succeeded for Putin because he didn’t listen to the warning that came from different perspectives in his government and leaders, confirming that Ukraine is stronger than it was eight years ago and that the Russian numbers weren’t enough to invade all of the Ukraine. Consequently, the main flaws of the Russian campaign were exposed as soon as the invasion began. The first indication that Putin’s plan wasn’t going as it should was what happened at the Hostomel airport, near Kyiv, where the Russians faced more Ukrainian attacks than they expected.

Putin’s initial strategic oversight was believing Ukraine to
be both helpless against Russian forces and incapable to participate in anti-Russian operations. After Putin made his move and initiated the invasion, he appeared unwilling to adjust to the new situation as the invasion paused, adamant that everything was going according to plan and on schedule. On the other hand, the initial aim of the Russian operation was rejected by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also rejected offers from the United States and other Western nations to be transferred to safety in order to establish a government in exile. In addition to surviving, he has remained in Kyiv, has been outspoken, and has rallied his supporters while urging Western countries to continue providing additional military and financial help. Putin’s position, and his warning to the West not to oppose what he is doing in the Ukraine, has remained the same. In the new offensive, which began in earnest in mid-April without the Russian forces taking any break for a full re-preparing, Russian forces made few gains, while Ukrainian counterattacks nibbled away at their positions. With Putin out of choices following a continuous spate of bad command decisions, numerous observers started to notice that Russia had become entrenched in an unwinnable conflict that it dared not lose, as the attack in Ukraine neared the end of its third month. The Ukraine-Russia war remains a debatable case of how a powerful state like Russia cannot succeed in winning over a weaker state like Ukraine through persistent force. One point that will be discussed is how Russia trusted in its powerful force and weapons without putting in real and detailed tactics. Moreover, underestimating your enemy is a classical mistake that Putin didn’t avoid. It isn’t always who is stronger in weapons but who is more intelligent in tactics. And despite its successes in different arenas like Syria and Chechnya, Russia didn’t put into consideration what Ukraine is capable of doing, or rather what capabilities the West would bring to Ukraine. One of the other important lessons from this battle will be the value of local initiative and delegated authority. For these methods to be successful, the author explains that
the concerned military must be able to meet four requirements. First, there needs to be
respect amongst people at the most senior and junior levels. Second, the combatants must
have access to the tools and materials they require to continue fighting. Third, individuals
providing leadership at the lowest levels of command must be of the highest caliber. Fourth, to function effectively at whatever level of command, one must be dedicated to the
objective and comprehend its political purpose. The author believes these elements weren’t
included in Putin’s strategic plan, who accordingly is having a challenge in directing people to act in favor of what they may see as a delusion.
By: Sohaila Oraby, CIGA Research Intern

The Balance of Soft Power: The American and Chinese Quests to Win Hearts and Minds

Author: Maria Repnikova

Affiliation: Georgia State University, College of Arts & Sciences.
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date/Place: July/August 2022/ NewYork, USA
Type of Literature: Article
Word Count: 3509

Link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2022-06-21/soft-power-balance-america-

Keywords: USA, China, Soft Power, Foreign Policy, Public Diplomacy
Maria Repnikova explores the concept of soft power by examining two distinct models: the
American and the Chinese conceptions of it. In her discussion, she delves into the balance
of soft power and the strategies each model uses to engage with the public. Repnikova
argues that both the United States and China have developed distinct interpretations of soft
power and unique modes of operation. While American soft power emphasizes the ideals
and values of democracy and liberalism, following an ideational paradigm, China’s soft
power adopts a practical paradigm to promote its cultural or commercial interests. While
this Chinese model of soft power has not been widely accepted in the West, it has
maintained a strong appeal to the “global south”. Interestingly, both American and Chinese
models of soft power have been viewed by the international community as
“complementary” rather than competitive.
Repnikova begins by providing a comparative historical analysis of the evolution and
development of American and Chinese soft power. In the case of the United States, Nye’s
paradigm of soft power focuses on intangible resources such as culture, ideology, and the
ability to shape international institutions. While soft power has been a part of American
foreign policy since the 1990s, it has experienced ups and downs depending on shifts in
However, during this period, the concept of soft power has gained greater visibility and
influence in American policy. On the other hand, China began to develop its model of soft
power in 2007, as officials began to address soft power in publications and speeches as a
way to cultivate cultural creativity and use it as a soft power tool. This has led to a surge of
literature on the topic by Chinese scholars and a significant expansion of Chinese public
diplomacy, including the establishment of media outlets and Confucius Institutes in nearly
162 countries worldwide.
Maria Repnikova compares the fundamental principles of both models of soft power as
they are seen as a point of competition between the two countries. The American
conceptualization of soft power is largely based on an ideological orientation that
emphasizes democratic values and ideals, positioning itself as a defender of democracy
and liberalism against authoritarian powers such as Russia and China. American soft power
and public diplomacy celebrate liberty, individualism, and diversity through showcasing
such models and examples around the world. Additionally, American soft power is heavily
influenced by the cultural export of the private sector, such as Hollywood movies and
commercial brands. In other words, the American model of soft power projection
combines the efforts of both the private and public sectors, a tradition that began during
the Cold War and has continued since the post-Cold War era through the deployment of
writers, artists, and musicians by the CIA and the State Department to promote certain
cultural content and publication. In contrast, the Chinese perception and strategy of soft
power emphasize pragmatism over values. China takes an economic-commercial
approach to project its soft power and culture, using its economic development,
increasing military power, technological advancement, and governing competence to
enhance its global image and position. Through its international media outlets, China
emphasizes these elements, along with material generosity, in an effort to build its image
and soft power in the world. For example, China generously supports development projects
in Central Asian countries in sectors such as public health and agriculture, and offers
educational programs and training opportunities to countries in the global south.
This examination of these two distinct models of soft power reveals that while the United
States uses its soft power capabilities in an ideational and value-based paradigm to
complement its hard power, China emphasizes its increasing hard power, whether
economic or military, to bolster its soft power. In education, the United States leverages the
prestige of its educational institutions as an elite destination, while China takes advantage
of the availability of state-funded scholarships and low-tuition education compared to
Western institutions to maintain its global image as a destination for students from the
global south. From a Western perspective, it is argued that China compensates for its lack
of ideational or ideological power through material incentives and the deployment of its
economic power to attract people and build its image. At this point, Repnikova argues that
although these economic incentives are not inherently soft power, they can sustain China’s
soft power by enhancing its image as a global power that supports competence,
pragmatism, and opportunity, particularly in places where these are scarce or unavailable.
Repnikova argues that although Chinese soft power has had limited influence in the United
States and other Western countries, it has gained more influence in the global south,
particularly in Africa and Latin America. The Chinese pragmatic economic approach to
soft power has had a positive impact on Africa in the economic and political spheres.
For example, China offers a large number of educational and training opportunities and
scholarships, compared to the limited number of highly competitive fellowships provided
by the US State Department. Additionally, Chinese soft power has high visibility in the
global south due to the increasing number of infrastructure projects, such as highways,
bridges, and railways. While these projects have been controversial due to concerns
about quality and safety, they have helped to maintain China’s image and position.
However, this visibility and appeal of Chinese soft power and influence in the global
south does not mean that the US-China competition in this region, and elsewhere, should
be seen as a “zero-sum game”. Instead, the American and Chinese models of soft
power are seen as complementary to each other and attractive to different publics in
various regions. Targeted elites seek to maintain connections and benefit from
opportunities offered by both China and the US.
Repnikova discusses the future challenges facing American and Chinese soft power. For
the American model of soft power, the main challenge is the gap between its
proclaimed democratic values and its inconsistency in its domestic practices, which
undermines its image as a defender of democracy and liberalism. Additionally, its
selective commitment to supporting democracy abroad breeds mistrust and concerns
about its intentions. Another challenge is that the US’s limited investments in human
capital hinder its promotion of soft power. On the other hand, China’s reliance on
material and practical incentives has led to quality issues with its image and perception,
as seen in public perception of Chinese vaccines and the limited influence of its state
media outlets. To address this challenge, China needs to shift its focus from quantity to
quality and allow more freedom in its media outlets. Additionally, its reliance on
economic incentives without ideational power may require it to offer more gifts, which
will be more difficult if its economy slows down. To sum up, while it is often portrayed that
the US and China are engaged in a soft power competition, it is more of a “soft power
coexistence.” Rather than focusing on which model is more attractive, the focus is on
what each can offer. Their success therefore depends not on outplaying or surpassing
each other, but on addressing their own internal weaknesses.
It is worth noting that the theory of soft power offers two different approaches: one that
focuses on intangible power, represented by ideational power, and another that relies
on incentives rather than punishment, represented by economic inducements. Both the
American and Chinese models adopt different models of soft power. However, the goal
is not to simply maintain soft power, but to use it to achieve specific objectives and
goals, whether through hard or soft power, as it is primarily a tool, not an end in itself. The
key is to use “smart power,” which involves choosing the right tool for the right situation
based on one’s own capabilities and goals. In this regard, China’s capabilities align with
its strategy due to the inferiority of its language and culture. It leverages its economic
development and technological advancement to build its own model of soft power. As
such, Chinese soft power should be seen as a potential that has maintained its status in
international politics.
By: Yomna Süleyman, CIGA Research Associate

Title: The Status Dilemma in World Politics: An Anatomy of the China– India Asymmetrical Rivalry


Author: Xiaoyu Pu
Affiliation: Department of Political Science at University of Nevada Reno: Reno, NV, US
Organization/Publisher: The Chinese Journal of International Politics
Date/place: July 28, 2022/UK
Type of Literature: Journal Article
Number of Pages: 19
Link: https://academic.oup.com/cjip/article/15/3/227/6651149
Keywords: China-India Relations, Status Dilemma, Conflict of Interest, Asymmetrical Rivalry
The purpose of Xiaoyu Pu’s study is to challenge the belief that the relationship between China and India is a zero-sum game. Instead, he argues that the status dilemma model can be used to better understand the dynamics of this relationship and other aspects of world politics. To support his argument, Pu compares the status dilemma model with the security dilemma and the status competition model. Through this comparison, he aims to provide a clearer understanding of the logic and mechanisms behind the status dilemma in world politics, and offer a different
perspective on China-India relations.
According to the author, the security dilemma is characterized by three main assumptions: an anarchical system, self-defense as the main motivation for states, and the tendency for military updates by one state to trigger similar updates in other states. This study, however, focuses specifically on the concept of status in world politics. The author defines status as a state’s beliefs about its ranking and value based on certain characteristics and qualities. It is important to note that the author differentiates between status and power, highlighting that status has more of a social and cultural meaning. Like the security dilemma, the status dilemma arises due to a lack of complete information or understanding about whether a state’s status is being challenged,
leading to potential misunderstandings and conflicts.

In his study, Xiaoyu Pu aims to show that the relationship between China and India is not a zero- sum game, meaning that the goals of these states may be compatible to some extent. To do this, he compares three different models of world politics – the security dilemma, the status competition model, and the status dilemma model – and highlights how the status dilemma model can provide insight into the root causes of international conflict. While the security dilemma focuses on security as the main factor driving conflict, the status competition model assumes that status is a scarce resource, making it a zero-sum game between states. The status dilemma model, on the other hand, suggests that international conflict arises from misunderstandings about what contributes to it, and that the competition for status may be overstated.
The border conflict between China and India can be better understood in terms of conflicting interests rather than a focus on security, according to the author. Both countries have been vying for international status, with India particularly seeking to increase its power and status on the global stage. The author notes that India has expressed frustration with China’s reluctance to recognize India as a rising global power in international institutions, such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the United Nations Security Council. India perceives China’s obstruction of its membership in these organizations as an attempt to hinder India’s ambitions and diminish its status.
According to Xiaoyu Pu, there are several reasons why India and China are competing for
greater status in the South Asia region. Both countries possess hard and soft power that influences their competition, and they are also expanding their naval capabilities which could lead to naval competition. India is concerned about China’s efforts to strengthen its relationships with India’s neighbors, viewing it as a threat. Additionally, the balance of power in politics plays a role in the status competition between India and China. The author argues that the US’s accommodation of India is not only a matter of balancing power, but also of status. China sees the US’s actions as an attempt to limit China’s growth and establish an anti-China alliance in the region through its support of India and Prime Minister Modi’s strategy.
According to the author, the status dilemma model tends to exaggerate the competitive nature of the status relationship and underestimate the potential compatibility of states’ status goals. The author suggests that China has no strategic desire to impede India’s rise on the global stage, and in fact, India’s rise aligns with China’s preference for a multipolar world. However, Indian elites perceive China as the only major power that does not accept India’s rise.
Contrary to the belief that status is a scarce resource, the author of this article suggests that we are experiencing a proliferation of status abundance. The emergence of international clubs such as the Group of Twenty and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum illustrates that status can be seen as a club good, rather than a zero-sum game. While both China and India have cooperated in international clubs, their goals for international status within the UN system may be compatible to some extent. However, the author notes that rising powers may not always seek to increase their power, as it can be costly. Previous studies have assumed that India will always strive for greater recognition as a great power, but the author argues that India has actually protested being over-recognized due to its rise in the international system. In contrast, China is working towards great power status while trying to maintain its image as a developing country.
Xiaoyu Pu identifies power asymmetry and motivated reasoning as two sources of mistrust and miscommunication between China and India. He points out that while India initiated economic liberalization in the 1990s, China began its reforms in the 1970s and has since become a much stronger economic power. China has also gained membership in various “great power clubs” and has even established new international institutions. This difference in growth between the two countries has resulted in a power asymmetry and has led China to view India as less of a threat, while causing India to be more sensitive to Chinese actions. The author argues that both countries have succumbed to misperception, with Indian officials interpreting every Chinese action as motivated by zero-sum thinking, and China perceiving India’s partnership with the US an attempt to resist and obstruct China’s rise. Another example cited by the author is India’s failure to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which India attributes to China’s efforts to hinder its rise, while the author asserts that China’s opposition to India’s membership in the NSG was driven by concerns about its criteria. The concept of motivated reasoning – the idea that people’s motivations shape their evaluation of information – may also contribute to misperception between the two countries, as states may not objectively assess threats or opportunities in the international arena.
According to the author, China’s perception of India is generally more negative than India’s perception of China. However, the author repeatedly emphasizes the potential for a non-zero-sum-game relationship between the two countries. While the author suggests that China does not view India as a threat, misperception and mistrust contribute to the ongoing conflict between them.
By: Sara El Souhagy, CIGA Research Intern

The Geopolitical Foundation for U.S. Strategy in a New U.S.-China Bipolar System

Authors: Jo Inge Bekkevold & Øystein Tunsjø
Affiliation: Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, Oslo, Norway
Organization/Publisher: China International Strategy Review
Date/Place: June 28, 2022/ China
Type of Literature: Journal Article
Number of Pages: 16
Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42533-022-00109-y
Keywords: China, US Strategy, Bipolarity, Geopolitics, Rimland
International politics has entered a new era of bipolarity with the rise of China, which has
challenged the hegemony of the United States. Currently, no other state has the combined
power of the US and China. However, the authors of this article argue that the return of bipolarity and the competition between the US and China will not lead to a new Cold War-style containment. The geopolitical factors shaping the current great power competition are different from those during the Cold War. During the Cold War, the US employed four containment strategies to contain the Soviet Union: perimeter defense in the Eurasian rimlands, consolidated threat assessment with US allies, playing the “China card” against the Soviet Union, and economic containment efforts. However, these strategies are not compatible with containing China due to China’s geostrategic location. In this article, the authors review the US containment strategy during the Cold War and examine the incompatibility of those strategies against China in the current great power competition.
The authors present the heartland and rimland thesis by Mackinder and Spykman to explain why the current US-China bipolar system differs from the Cold War. During the Cold War, the US was able to contain the Soviet Union’s heartland by building alliances with the Eurasian rimlands. According to Spykman, securing the rimlands was essential due to their wealth, demographics, military-industrial potential, and most importantly, their easier access to the sea. Thus, Spykman argued that the United States should be present in the rimlands to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War. However, with the rise of China, located in the rimlands, another geopolitical dynamic with different actors has emerged, presenting a unique challenge for the United States. In this regard, the authors argue that the current bipolar system is characterized by less intense balancing, a less intense arms race, and less polarization, but it is also less stable and more prone to conflict. The Truman administration conceptualized two balancing strategies in the early days of the Cold War: strongpoint defense and perimeter defense. Strongpoint defense involves building alliances only with the leading economic powers around the enemy, while perimeter defense involves committing to support all states in the enemy’s perimeter without distinction. During the Cold War, the US supported all of the Eurasian rimlands around the Soviet perimeter. However, it is impossible to implement perimeter defense against China in the current bipolar system. This is because China is located in the rimland and controls the East Asian mainlands. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, China was free from a significant land-based threat and enjoyed relatively safe neighbors.
Beijing has capitalized on this situation by focusing its resources on building sea power. Therefore, the authors argue that China’s geostrategic location compels the US to implement only strongpoint defense by building alliances with economic powers such as India, Japan, and South Korea.
Furthermore, during the Cold War, the US was able to optimize a two-flank threat against the Soviet Union by pushing Russia from Europe and East Asia. However, China already controls the East Asian rimlands, meaning that China only has one flank to defend, across the transpacific region. This situation pushes the US to prioritize its transpacific flank, leaving Washington less focused on transatlantic affairs. At the same time, European allies are unlikely to support the US in containing China while they are busy with the Russian threat and economically tied to China.
During the Cold War, Washington was able to play the “China card” against the Soviet Union. This was possible due to the fact that China and the Soviet Union were enemies on the brink of war, as demonstrated by the 1969 Sino-Soviet border conflict and Nixon’s visit to Beijing. However, the opportunity for the US to play the “Russia card” against China is difficult, if not impossible, due to several reasons. First, the Ukrainian conflict has compelled the US to side with European blocs against Russia. Second, Moscow and Beijing are in a very different relationship than they were 50 years ago, and in fact, they currently enjoy a closer relationship than at any time in history. Beijing’s focus on maritime power in the Indo-Pacific region shows that China is more concerned with the transatlantic flank and enjoys a safe neighbor in Russia. Similarly, Russia is more concerned with Europe than with considering China as a threat. The authors suggest that a shift in US-Russia relations against China is unlikely, unless Beijing turns its assertiveness towards Moscow.
The international economic order during the Cold War was characterized by a highly polarized two-bloc economic order, but this is not the case in the current bipolar order. Again, China’s possession of rimland power makes it different in these two scenarios. First, China’s rimland position has helped it expand global trade and interdependence with global actors, slowing down the polarization of the economic order.
China has been successful in establishing a large network of economic interdependence
overseas, not only through land-based trade, but also through its strong presence in sea-based trade routes. Second, China’s attachment to the European economy represents a one-flank challenge for Beijing. Since European countries are deeply connected to China in economic terms, it is difficult for them to decouple from the Chinese economy and support US economic containment against Beijing. Additionally, the effects of rapid globalization will prevent the polarization of the international economic order. In conclusion, it is the geopolitics that differentiate the bipolar system of the Cold War and the US- China rivalry. While it appears that high polarization is unlikely to occur in the current bipolar system, the rivalry between the US and China may be more prone to conflict and more unstable.
By: Salman Nugraha, CIGA Research Intern

Does the EU Need Treaty Change?

Author: Stefan Lehne
Affiliation: Visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe; Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs (2009-2011);
General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union (2002-2008, director for the Balkans, Eastern Europe,
and Central Asia)
Organization/Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Date/place: June 16, 2022 / Belgium
Type of Literature: Article
Word Count: 3032
Link: https://carnegieeurope.eu/2022/06/16/does-eu-need-treaty-change-pub-87330
Keywords: EU, Conference on the Future of Europe, European Parliament, Lisbon Treaty, ECR Group
The Conference on the Future of Europe concluded in May and the author illustrates the different views on whether the EU should perform reforms through treaty change or continue to rely on improvised responses to upcoming challenges. The European Parliament argues to carry out and apply the recommended new legislation through treaty changes, and a constitutional convention similar to those in 2002-2003 should be integrated.
On the other hand, the Council of Ministers wants to evade reform that would be hard to control. The European Commission stresses citizens’ panels and the digital platform as ways for them to participate and deliberate on topics such as health, social policy, migration, and foreign policy. Various recommendations would necessitate modifications of the EU treaty. However, representatives of the European Conservatives and Reformists (the ECR Group) protested about a pro-EU bias, and walked out of the conference. 13 governments have published a letter opposing the ideas of change and arguing that the EU can achieve changes through the existing treaty. Another six countries followed with another letter in which they assert themselves as open to the idea of treaty changes. Thus, arriving at a solution will not be an easy task. Some EU leaders acknowledge that the Lisbon Treaty has its own flaws and sooner or later would have to be changed. However, the EU has been preoccupied with many crises and events, from the pandemic to the mass influx of refugees with the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The European Parliament (which advocates for changes) suggests inserting special clauses in the treaty to encourage the commission to act in emergencies. But skeptics doubt whether the political conditions are sufficient to justify changing the treaty; why risk failure when past crises were managed without changes. The author argues that it is feasible that changes through improvisation will remain the conventional method of EU development. Geopolitical challenges are bound to take place and it is dubious whether EU decision-makers will engage in an agreement on treaty reform. Nevertheless, modifying the treaties could aid the EU in confronting upcoming challenges. Even if a modest reform took place, it would encourage more alterations to the treaty. In an era defined by multiple crises, the EU will have to add and change policies caused by pressures of astute emergencies.
Critical Commentary: The author explains the stance that the three institutions in the Convention on the Future of Europe have towards changing the existing EU treaty. While the European Parliament strongly advocates for change, the Council of Ministers does not. The author focuses on the crises that the EU has gone through, from the economic crisis in 2008-2009 until the pandemic, and lastly the Russian aggression against Ukraine. All are events that have challenged Europe’s policies and have proved challenging. Advocates for treaty change have seen recommendations presented by the citizens’ panel as an indication of a need for modification. While groups that oppose changes have argued that past challenges and events indicate that the EU can go on without a reform of the treaty. This, in the opinion of the author, is a controversial aspect of the conference. The author believes that an agreement among decision-makers on the issue of treaty change is not something that can be expected, and he argues that a modification of the treaty could risk creating an ideological division among those who support a federalist EU and those who defend national sovereignty.
By: Sara El Souhagy, CIGA Research Intern

Xi Jinping and Ideology

Author: Joseph Torigian

Affiliation: School of International Service, American University (Washington, DC, USA)
Organization/Publisher: Kissinger Institute on China and the United States/Wilson Center
Date/Place: June 14, 2022/Washington, DC, USA
Type of Literature: Journal Article
Number of Pages: 32
Link: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/xi-jinping-and-ideology
Keywords: China, Ideology, Xi Jinping, Xi Zhongxun, Radicalism, Conviction, Values, Chinese
Communist Party, US Rivalry
Acknowledging how scholars differently explain what “ideology” stands for—like whether someone’s political views are cohesive and a tool used to explain, repress, integrate, motivate, or legitimate—the author traces Chinese President Xi Jinping’s evolution as the Chinese Communist Party’s chief. While Xi has advised against a “dogmatic, extremist” approach to policy, the author looks at Xi’s past through his father Xi Zhongxun and why the two-time Chinese president has followed a policy of “caution about taking steps beyond what the situation allows.” Xi’s life and work reveal why he has instead focused on
values and motivation. “A loss of confidence in the CCP’s mission,” the author notes, pointing to Xi’s concept, “would mean the loss of the party’s political spirit and the spiritual pillar for CCP members to withstand any test.” Drawing from many theories and concepts on what constitutes “ideology”, including that “ideas and interests could not be divorced from one another” and “how a leader is exposed to ideas is itself necessarily a political process,” the author argues that “characteristic” of a totalitarian regime is an “elaborate ideology bent on societal transformation and world domination.” He explains that just as
there was a “return of ideology” in Soviet studies after the end of the Cold War, in which scholars incorrectly concluded that “ideology was the cornerstone that could elucidate all of Soviet history,” outside observers today have likewise “misjudged the role of ideology in elite (Chinese) politics.” “The political successions in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao Zedong are often explained as triumphs of inner-party democracy, leading to
a victory of ‘reformers’ over ‘conservatives’ or ‘radicals’,” the author argues.
However, new evidence shows that the “post-cult-of-personality power struggles were instead shaped by the politics of personal prestige, historical antagonisms, backhanded political maneuvering, and violence.” Referring to official histories of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the CCP, the author notes how they tend to “define their past as a series of ‘line struggles’ in which rightists or leftists are defeated.” While many argue that Xi has demonstrated as being leftist, which contradicts his father’s commitment of having “never committed a mistake of being leftist,” the author quotes a former CCP official who asserts: “He is his father’s son; he was born into the family of the most proreform faction; according to the inheritance of CCP and Chinese history, he cannot betray the faction that includes his father…He is the egg laid by his father, the egg of reform…[Xi Zhongxun] was not a typical reformer; he was the greatest reformer; if you use color to categorize, and the reformists were blue, then he was deep blue.” Xi’s launch of special economic zones demonstrates his being “reformist” while he has insisted on “more institutionalization within the party and protection for different opinions.” At a time when China is condemned by all for its persecuting ethnic Uyghurs in northwestern Xinjiang province, the author however notes that Xi has often “revealed a ‘softer’ side with regard to Beijing’s policies
toward ethnic minorities.” “The broader context in which Xi lived helps us see both the power and limitations of ideology as an explanation in specific ways,” the author says. Within the party, the author reveals how the CCP has molded into a more disciplined one where deputies demonstrate Leninist characteristics who “usually care more about discipline and party stability than pushing for their own policies.” Power within the party, the author argues, flows from top to bottom. “Mobilizing a ‘faction’ with any ideological cohesion is taboo.” Thus, the author insists, party discipline has “restrained policy inclinations Xi might have held” as “the party’s interests come first.” The author finds almost no evidence that would suggest that Xi spoke, criticized or acted against
any party campaign that went “too far”, as “significant levels of violence, persecution, and
wrongful verdicts” have been committed under his responsibility, which policies he didn’t criticize “ until he had a clear sense of which way the wind was blowing.” Instead of “always” pushing for “particularly aggressive policies,” Xi has instead “worked hard to address mistakes once they were identified.” The author disagrees that Xi has completely “escaped the party’s ‘leftist mistakes’.” In his academic probe, the author finds an interesting behavior among the CCP cadre: many conflicting approaches in the same individual. It reveals that it is highly unlikely that a CCP member will hold
the same position on two different issues, and one would make a poor prediction for “how they might react in other situations.” Despite sharing the same ideological inclinations, the CCP members have to address “concrete challenges of any particular goal.” The study finds that the CCP leaders pursue “multiple goals simultaneously, and such objectives may conflict with one another.”
During his time as a foot soldier in the CCP, Xi has likewise “had to manage an extraordinary set of different challenges.” Pointing to conflicting approaches in Xi, the author identifies that while he has supported the Special Economic Zones in one province, Xi has yet “opposed the household responsibility system, which gave more rights to peasants and was an even more important step in China’s economic restructuring.” This behavior displays “a wide variety of approaches that together do not fit well on a ‘rightist-leftist’ spectrum.” The author also draws attention to Xi’s different approaches to settling challenges in Xinjiang during the 1980s and his tougher behavior with
With age, Xi has also reformed himself and urged reforms
in the party’s policies. The author suggests that the violence which has erupted in Muslim regions of China was largely due to the CCP policies—Xi acknowledged it and advocated reforms. Xi had to correct himself about why common Chinese were rushing to then British-colonized Hong Kong. When he was told economic stress was the issue, “He gradually came to understand that the problem was indeed economic and that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) needed to provide more concrete benefits to convince peasants to stay,” the author says about Xi’s time in Guangdong province which borders the semi-autonomous Hong Kong region. From his review of the Chinese president’s articles and speeches, the author believes Xi has avoided “extremes.” Despite his insistence on professing socialist characteristics of the Chinese economy, Xi has regularly “identified both the benefits and challenges brought by marketization of the Chinese economy.”
After examining the press of the 1980s, the author explains Xi’s modus operandi, that he “has always displayed a belief in the importance of ideals and motivation.” “Here, you don’t hear everyone shouting reform, but reform is everywhere,” the local publication China Youth wrote, describing Xi as a “man without sharp elbows whose main focus was practicality and results, not reform for reform’s sake.” “ He is a reformer who does not wear western-style clothes, and he forges ahead without acting aggressively. While persuading people to accept the historical necessity of reform, he can still leisurely have a drink of alcohol. This is a reformer who makes progress with a smile on his face,” the publication added. The author concludes that Xi has been “walking both a sort of middle path and new path.” Xi, however, warns against “money worship, hedonism, ultra-individualism, and historical nihilism.”

By: Riyaz ul Khaliq, CIGA Non-resident Research Associate

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

Author: Stephen M. Walt
Affiliation: Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Policy
Date/Place: June 13, 2022/USA
Type of Literature: Analysis
Word Count: 2015
Link: https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/06/13/why-do-people-hate-realism-so-much/
Keywords: Realism, Realist, Hawkish Foreign Policy, New World Order
Although realism and realists were the ones who repeatedly warned about the Russia-Ukraine conflict before it happened, the author discusses why realism has been an unpopular and uncomfortable topic among foreign policy experts and politicians. Because realism, more than any other school, analyzes the world for what it is—not the way we want it to be—it ignores the ideological labeling, and sees that conflicts between states or individuals cannot be solved permanently and that there must be an overarching central authority to enforce agreements and prevent state attacks, a proposition which isn’t possible for some people. Realists don’t see the globe as a division between “good” and “bad”, and so it sees that even the best democratic countries will do terrible things if they feel that their interests and goals are in danger (for example: what the Johnson administration did when it was worried that South Vietnam would become part of the communist world in the 1960s). The author defends against the accusation that realists have no moral or ethical consideration, identifying proponents whose motivations to act were grounded in morality despite their foreign policy forecasts being built on the realist framework. But realism also knows that all countries compete with each other for safety and security in a flawed world. Finally, realism isn’t popular in the US because it doesn’t accept the belief of American exceptionalism— that the US alone is moral and always acts for the good of humanity. Accordingly, all of these elements have led to many debates and disagreements on trusting realism or even following it. Realists see diplomacy and compromise as critical tools for resolving differences without the use of military force, in contrast to the idealistic liberals who blame all problems on evil leaders and propose that the only solution is to eliminate them—a policy that tends to get a lot of people killed and lead to wider conflict. In the end, realism is unpopular because its proponents keep forecasting things correctly, and accurately calling out governments for their bad behavior.
By: Sohaila Oraby, CIGA Research Intern

To Intervene or Not to Intervene

Author: Hans J. Morgenthau

Affiliation: German-American Political Scientist and Historian (1904, Coburg, Germany—died July 19,
1980, New York, USA); Professor of Political Science and Modern History and Director of the Center for
the Study of American Foreign Policy, University of Chicago; Visiting Senior Fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations (1966); academic interpreter of U.S. foreign policy
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date/Place: April 1967/Republished June 2022
Type of Literature: Historical Journal Article
Word Count: 5693
Link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1967-04-01/intervene-or-not-intervene
Keywords: Realism, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam, Economic Aid
The Council on Foreign Relations made this article available to the public for the first time in 1967. The most well-known thing associated with Morgenthau is his six principles of realism theory, which places an emphasis on the role of security as the major driver of ‘conflict.’ Considering Russia’s continuous involvement in Ukraine, a new version of the text has been published in 2022. Despite its age and unfortunate inclusion of blatantly racist ideology, the article however remains relevant and is thought to be significant since it provides an answer to one of the most fundamental concerns—why nations act. The investigation conducted by Morgenthau reveals several significant differences between the many attempts made in the past and in the present to intervene.
To begin, post-colonized nations do not fulfill all the conditions necessary to be recognized as nations. Because of this, the government of that country looks to other countries and organizations for financial aid. To illustrate his theory that “aid” is the basic driving factor behind interventions, Morgenthau conducts an analysis of the economies of India and Egypt, both of which have historically relied on international assistance. The hypothesis proposed by Morgenthau states that the nation that aids another country holds the power to determine the fate of the country that receives the assistance.
Even if another nation’s government offers assistance, the United States will still take action; alternatively, if it does not, the major powers will still take action.It is unavoidable that a government will be susceptible to the political demands of the nation that is providing assistance if the basic existence of the government is dependent on assistance from another nation. Second, the world as we know it today is not all that dissimilar to the reality that existed during the Napoleonic wars, which was a time where the idea of nonintervention and the practice of war coexisted. This brings up an interesting point. The most powerful nations in the world are optimistic about the positive outcomes that could result from a successful revolution, but they are wary of the potential drawbacks that could be brought on by revolutionary upheaval. After this, the primary powers of the globe reached a consensus to join the revolution and lend their support to the many groups that are fighting for their cause. As a consequence of this, none of the revolutions that took place after World War II had any effect whatsoever on the nation’s very own foreign
policy; but, they did shed light on the political group to which each nation belongs.
In the year 1967, the United States and the Soviet Union are in a state that can be compared to “mutual cohabitation,” and they have made a pact to stay out of each other’s way. Both sides now consider the rest of the world to be their battleground, and they prefer to engage in the conflict via a third party so that they can avoid engaging in direct violence. They have either supported or opposed the administrations of less powerful nations in order to achieve their interests while simultaneously intervening in the internal affairs of the states that make up those nations. The struggle between various political ideologies and long-standing animosities constitutes the fourth component of the intervention. The United States and the Soviet Union squared up against
one another in the international arena not only as two superpowers, but also as the creators of two opposing and incompatible philosophies, forms of government, and ways of life. This competition took place during the Cold War. This is the impetus that motivates these two nations to take action and further develop their connection with one another.
“The choice of countries” determines whether such governments will become customers of blocs or continue to operate freely. This occurs while the two superpowers work out how to exert influence over less powerful states.
If this reading of our intervention policy is right, then the United States has successfully interfered in a way that is both wise and effective. Their policy of involvement has been shaped by the United States’ ideological aversion to communism and potential uprisings led by communists, and this aversion has impacted their policy. This unfortunate encounter with defeat should prove to be an extremely valuable learning opportunity for the United States. The United States has spent significantly more than $100 billion intervening in the political, military, and economic affairs of other nations, and it is currently engaged in a costly and complicated war to construct a nation in South Vietnam. The United States has also spent a significant amount of time and resources on this war. Only America’s adversaries would dare to turn their backs on the unrivaled generosity of these
initiatives, which have no previous example in human history. But were these strategies the best option? Have the commitments made, and the risks taken been appropriate considering what was expected and what transpired? And did they succeed, in fact?
The economic assistance provided by the United States
has been effective in bolstering economies that were already amid the development process. On the other hand, the assistance has largely been unsuccessful in establishing economic development in areas where none existed before. As a result of this failure, the United States has developed the conceptual idea of concentrating aid on the few nations that are able to make use of it, as opposed to providing aid to the many nations who need it. This principle of selectivity is sound in theory; however, its consistent application in practice has been thwarted by harsh political and military realities, which may necessitate the provision of economic aid that is not economically justified. In addition, its consistent application is difficult due to considerations derived from the ideological concerns that were discussed earlier. The concept of exercising judgment must likewise be applied to the worlds of politics and the armed forces. The United States currently has a tremendously exaggerated view of what may be achieved for the benefit of another nation through participation in the affairs of that nation. The boundless ideological commitment inevitably results in this consequence, which is an overestimation of the ability to act. It is not going to be based on broad ideological commitments or an unquestioning dependence on American strength; rather, the selection of these occasions will be determined after carefully considering the interests involved and the power that is available. If the United States adheres to this norm, it will be necessary for it to intervene less and will lead to greater levels of success.

By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Research Associate

The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis

Author: John J. Mearsheimer

Affiliation: Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
Organization/Publisher: The National Interest
Date/Place: June 2022/ USA
Type of Literature: Speech given at the European University Institute
Word Count: 5984
Link: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/causes-and-consequences-ukraine-crisis-203182
Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, NATO Expansion, Provocation, Monroe Doctrine, Soviet Borders, Proxy War
During a recent speech, distinguished professor John J. Mearsheimer highlighted and compared two wars that he has seen in his lifetime, the Vietnam War and the ongoing Ukraine War. The author says that in both wars the United States miscalculated, and with this speech he wants to shed light on the events that have taken place to clarify the true reasoning behind the war, especially if it is a failure. He builds his analysis through historical facts and their indications, explaining why it was a misstep and how
one should read the current situation without being influenced by western countries’ reasoning led by the US. Mearsheimer addresses two elements regarding the war in Ukraine. Primarily, he sees the US as the main actor that should be held accountable for starting the war by its pushing policies regarding Ukraine joining NATO—which Russia sees as an existential threat, and has repeatedly warned against for many years. Even though Russia is viewed as having started the war through its invasion, it was however the US that provoked Russia to lead its war in the Ukraine. Secondly, after the invasion by Russia, the US and its allies—after being pressured by the US—expanded sanctions to weaken Russia,
disregarding any diplomatic efforts which were never the intention. Furthermore, despite the scale of damage in the Ukraine so far as a result of western-funded escalations and its continuing flow of arms, there is still a possibility for NATO to get into the war, hence the nuclear force could be implemented in the long term.
Since the war started, the mainstream media has
repeatedly said that Putin’s initial purpose to invade Ukraine is his dream of having Great Russia, as the Soviet Union. However, the author suggests that regardless of such implications, there is a great lack of evidence that would support this goal. Putin sees Russians and Ukrainians as one people with a common history, however, in one of his public speeches he also stated: “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.” Putin in his public engagements seems to highlight that the Bolsheviks created Ukraine and expects his counterparts to acknowledge the fact. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that he follows a goal that he himself doesn’t think is feasible. In fact, Putin very much likes to see Ukraine as an independent state, and in his article on July 12, 2021 he states that Russia respects it. When he announced on February 24, 2021 that Russia would invade Ukraine, he again made it clear that even though he respects Ukraine’s sovereignty he cannot accept the threat of the US’ presence and its influence within its borders. The historical record shows that Putin never lied about his
foreign policy as is claimed; on the contrary, occasionally he stressed that he primarily concerns himself with Ukraine’s relationship with the West and NATO. Additionally, Russia’s restraint in its military tactics by limiting itself to ‘aim strategy’ rather than bombardment also proves that Putin has no intention to conquer Ukraine, but wants to threaten Kyiv. Putin is very much aware of the challenges of having occupied states, given the Soviet Union’s experience. When he was invited to the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2014, he strongly argued the opinions of the alliance regarding the entrance of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO, up until the Crimea crisis which happened as a spontaneous decision after the far-right in Kyiv protested and overthrew Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. It was after this that Washington and its Western allies started portraying Putin as a hostile figure with imperial purposes in the region, who must be held under control.
However, the author describes the crisis as an American-led effort to integrate Ukraine into
NATO, to sustain pro-Western liberal democracy and have a reliable pro-Western ally within
Russian borders. The forced integration started when the Alliance announced Ukraine and
Georgia to become members in 2008. Despite the politicians’ briefs and their analyses which considered the policy as a direct challenge for Russia, the Bush administration proceeded further, disregarding both Merkel’s and Sarkozy’s opposition. The result was a war between Georgia and Russia. From then on, the Alliance continued supporting Ukraine’s integration into NATO, not only sending defensive weapons but training Ukrainian soldiers too; this has also included annual military exercises with NATO forces. While the Alliance advanced Ukraine’s military forces, there was a shift in political objectives in 2021 by Zelensky who didn’t seem willing to enter NATO when first elected, but he suddenly instructed hostile implementations towards Moscow, closing the pro-Russian TV channels and sentencing Putin’s close friend for treason.
Zelensky’s political change of the discourse was empowered by the document that was
signed between Biden and Zelensky which consists of a strategic partnership alongside the
reiteration of the 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration. In response, Putin wanted an
assurance from the Biden administration that would guarantee Ukraine to not join NATO, not
positioning any defensive weapons within Russian borders, and that NATO troops and their
weapons move back to Western Europe. Putin repeatedly stated that he sees it as a threat
on the doorstep of his house. After going through all diplomatic strategies, Putin had failed
to get a peaceful resolution from the West. Meanwhile, America still pursues its Monroe
Doctrinal policies of not allowing any distant power to have their military forces in its Western hemisphere, despite its disregard of the Russian hemisphere.
The author concludes by laying down the current
situation in Ukraine and speculates what likely will happen in the foreseeable future. 70% of Ukraine’s territory has been captured and sustained by Russia. The global economy has
dramatically declined and the World Bank estimates that 50% of Ukraine’s economy will be
withered by the end of 2022 since its exports have already stagnated. Over 6 million
people have fled the country and 8 million are displaced internally. Ukraine currently needs $5 billion in monthly aid to run the government; and, all these events have happened in only four months. Mearsheimer suggests that the war will not end anytime soon, since both
actors on the scene are quite determined to win. Additionally, none of them are willing to
compromise from their perspectives. For Russia, Ukraine must be a neutral, non-Western state. But this is not agreeable to the Biden administration. On the other hand, given the
overwhelming number of ultranationalists within the Ukraine and their supporters from NATO countries (especially Poland and the Baltic states), it is not safe for Russia to give up the territory it holds, nor the Ukrainians to be content with what Russia has taken so far.
Finally, the war may escalate to an extent that NATO allies may be involved, and nuclear
weapons may be employed. Because Russia considers this as an existential threat, it has no other choice but to win. For Biden, his administration’s goal is to weaken Russia in every term so that there will be no power left to invade Ukraine again. Failures in the war may result in a great- power nuclear war since none of them can afford to be defeated. Alongside the economic damages that the war has so far caused globally, conditions will further deteriorate. To conclude, it is not challenging to see who the real perpetrators are who started the war. Even though the architect was the Bush Administration, Obama, Trump, and Biden followed his footsteps and have pressured allies to their side. “The tragic truth is that if the West had not pursued NATO expansion into Ukraine, it is unlikely there would be a war in Ukraine today and Crimea would still be part of Ukraine. In essence, Washington played the central role in leading Ukraine down the path to destruction. History will judge the United States and its allies harshly for their remarkably foolish policy on Ukraine.”
By: Cemile Cengiz, CIGA Research Assistant

The Return of Conquest? Why the Future of Global Order Hinges on Ukraine

Authors: :Tanisha M. Fazal
Affiliation: Political Science professor at Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date/Place: May-June, 2022/ USA
Type of Literature: Journal Article
Word Count: 3604
Link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/ukraine/2022-04-06/ukraine-russia-war-return-conquest
Keywords: Ukrainian War, Geography, Norms against Territorial Conquest, State Death, the Future of Global
The author argues that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a decisive test of norms against the territorial conquest of other countries by force and changing the borders—a tradition that was established in the international order after the end of the Second World War. This prevailing norm, which preaches the sacredness of borders and maximizing their importance, has prevented the swallowing-up of the weakest countries, especially those geographically adjacent to the major powers. The Russian invasion of Ukraine revives the ancient law of acquisition by conquest and threatens the future stability of the international system if the global community does not strictly move against it. It forebodes the extinction of more states from the world map and the changing of borders. The article is based on the author’s book published in 2007, entitled: “State Death: The Politics and Geography of Conquest, Occupation, and Annexation.” The article is divided into four parts. The first part explains the phenomenon of “state death” in history, defining its reasons and tracing its steady decline since the early twentieth century. State death expresses the formal loss of control over foreign policy to another state after submitting to the latter, and the inability to act independently on the world stage. At the beginning of the modern state era, the reason behind state death was mainly the blunt force trauma that a country may be exposed to from another. Between 1816 and 1945, countries were disappearing from the world map because of this trauma every three years, on average. The countries located between the competitors were more likely to be seized. For instance, Poland was carved up by its surrounding strong powers (Austria, Prussia, and Russia) between 1772 – 1795, and it completely disappeared from the map of Europe for more than a century. In addition to the unfortunate geographical location of such countries, the author determines other reasons for the state’s death including its lack of strong diplomatic relations with the colonial powers. The “strong” trade relations conducted by many countries in Africa and Asia with the colonial powers were not sufficient for their survival. Here, the author compares those countries to others in the Middle East and Latin America that established strong diplomatic relations with colonial powers that helped them to keep their survival. Since the early twentieth century, this phenomenon has known a remarkable decline. The emergence of the United States as a great power—that had completed its invasion of lands in the American continent—contributed to the decline in the “death of state”, in addition to President Wilson’s 14 principles that were promoted during his era and after, especially the selfdetermination and defense of the territorial integrity, despite the US’ double standard in its use of these principles. In addition, the horrific events of the Second World War contributed to restraining states from territorial-conquest behavior in the post-war era