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Verbatim

Feb. 17, 2022

United Front

(Top photo) Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, with Chinese leader XI Jinping. (Below) Putin, left, holds talks on Ukraine with French President Emmanuel Macron. China Ministry of Defense; Kremlin

Russia and China stand against attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions …. [The two nations] intend to counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, oppose color revolutions, and will increase cooperation.

Joint Statement by China & Russia released after Russian President Vladimir Putin met Chinese President Xi JinPing in China on Feb. 4 at the start of the Winter Olympics.

I understand that opinions can differ and that there can be misunderstandings and even traumatic elements. I know that many EU countries did not have the same experience in the 20th century as France did. We must not forget this experience. … However, we cannot accept the collective risk of another confrontation between spheres of influence in Europe, another period of instability and unrest. This is creating new grievances and new threats. Starting a conflict is easy, but ending it and building a lasting peace is difficult.

French President Macron following a meeting with Putin Feb 7-8.
Russian tanks in the Stavropol territory, February 2, 2002. Russia Ministry of Defense

Turn Back Time

Call it ‘the Putin Doctrine.’ The core element of this doctrine is getting the West to treat Russia as if it were the Soviet Union, a power to be respected and feared, with special rights in its neighborhood and a voice in every serious international matter. The doctrine holds that only a few states should have this kind of authority, along with complete sovereignty, and that others must bow to their wishes. It entails defending incumbent authoritarian regimes and undermining democracies. And the doctrine is tied together by Putin’s overarching aim: reversing the consequences of the Soviet collapse, splitting the transatlantic alliance, and renegotiating the geographic settlement that ended the Cold War.

Angela Stent, senior advisor to Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies and former U.S. National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia in Foreign Affairs [Jan. 27].

Leadership By Example

I’m only holding myself accountable to the same standards I expect from the amazing Airmen and families that surround me. … Mental health is simply health. There can be no stigma in my headquarters, command, or family. Warrior Heart is leadership. Warrior Heart is fine tuning mind, body, and craft to ensure individual and team readiness. It’s a wingman and warfighting imperative necessary to win.

Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander, Twitter post on his upcoming mental health appointment [Jan. 28].

Changing Space

The private sector is technically and financially capable of developing and operating commercial low-Earth orbit destinations, with NASA’s assistance. We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and operations experience with the private sector to help them develop safe, reliable, and cost-effective destinations in space.

Director of Commercial Spaceflight at NASA, Phil McAlister, stating that the ISS will be crashed into Point Nemo—a South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area—in 2031, after representing a continuous human presence in space since 2000
[Jan. 31].

Can’t Keep Up

We’re struggling to be able to make our systems adaptable, and that’s a problem internally and externally because adversaries—they’re just moving fast, and we’re not able to move internally. It’s a problem because that means we’ve got these old systems that we can’t upgrade.

Preston Dunlap, chief architect, Department of the Air Force, in an interview on LinkedIn with the department’s former chief software officer Nicolas M. Chaillan [Feb. 1].
Disaster relief materials are loaded onto two Chinese air force transport aircraft departing for Tonga, Jan. 26, 2022. Ding Zengyi/Xinhua via China Ministry of Defense

Throwing Darts at the Map

Ten years ago, if we had this kind of disaster, nobody would be talking about geopolitics. Everybody would be talking about how we can help. Now, it shows just how contested the region is. In every conversation, we have to talk about geopolitics.

Jonathan Pryke, director, Australia’s Lowy Institute Pacific Islands Program, on his country’s response to the recent catastrophic volcano eruption and combating Chinese influence in Tonga. The Washington Post, [Jan. 20].