News - June 7, 2022 - by Ray Hagar
'Sig' Rogich of Las Vegas, an international participant in U.S.-China back-channel diplomacy, sees a "silver lining" in Russia's war in Ukraine, saying on Nevada Newsmakers that the globally adverse reaction to the Russian invasion may pause to any plans by China to invade Taiwan.
"The Chinese have to look at what happens here to Russia in the eyes of the world and think twice about Taiwan," said Rogich, an advisor to presidents and governors and co-chairman of the U.S. trac-11 diplomacy committee, a back-channel diplomacy group sponsored by the U.S.-China Transpacific Foundation.
"So maybe the embolden notion that they (Chinese leaders) had previously is not so strong today," Rogich told host Sam Shad. "They got their own economic problems. And if they are seeing what the world is seeing with Russia, I've got to think they are thinking twice about: Is it worth it? Is it worth it just to recapture what they think is part of the original Chinese border?
"So maybe there is something positive that comes out of this tragic, tragic event that is going on in the world," said Rogich, also a noted master of political advertising, founder of R&R Partners and former U.S. ambassador to his native Iceland.
Many western observers had predicted an easy victory for Russian troops when they invaded Ukraine, just over 100 days ago.
Now, however, the war has bogged down, killing thousands of combatants and Ukrainian civilians with no end in sight. The war has also isolated Russia economically and has been a major factor in rising inflation, gas prices and famine across the world, according to various reports. More than 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the war in its first 100 days, Ukraine has officially reported.
"I think what is happening in Ukraine and Russia, in the eyes of the world, has got to have significant impact on China," Rogich said. "Because they have 1.5 or 2 billion people -- nobody knows for certain -- and the economy is in a free fall now, essentially. Housing is in crisis. They have stopped construction on all types of things, so they have to look at this and think, is it worth it?
"So maybe there is a silver lining," Rogich said.
U.S. President Joe Biden, on a recent trip to Tokyo in May, said the U.S. would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan against a potential Chinese invasion. He compared a potential Chinese attack on Taiwan to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I think you have to look at what a monumental moment this is in American and world history," Rogich said. "What (Russian President) Putin has done is isolate Russia from the rest of the world."
China would probably win the war if it attacked Taiwan, some U.S. experts have predicted. But the victory would come with an extremely bloody price tag for both Beijing and its adversaries. Just look at Russia for a comparison and example of potential losses. Some estimates put their loss of soldiers to almost 40,000, along with the loss of 3,400 armored personnel vehicles and more than 1,300 tanks.
The colossal loss of lives and treasure and the economic sanctions against Russia may end the Putin's 10-year reign as the nation's president, Rogich said.
"I don't think he will survive, at the end of the day," Rogich said. "I don't know how he comes back. The reports are that they have lost at least 38,000 men and women that were killed in this war. They lie about it, of course. But mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers are going to reach out here pretty soon and demand some answers. And so he is going to have to deal with his own population."
The Russian people are getting hit hard because of the war and the West's subsequent sanctions and closures of its business interests in Russia, according to reports.
"Inflation is running at 1,000 percent or some stupid number in Russia, so the ruble is worthless, essentially, outside of the border and you have to deal with that," Rogich said. "Plus they don't have any supplies."
Rogich praised former President Donald Trump for boosting the military strength of NATO nations. Many NATO nations, including the U.S. and U.K., are supplying Ukrainian forces with weapons. Also, the Russian invasion has pushed five nations into seeking NATO membership in 2022: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Sweden, and Ukraine.
"I think you have to give Trump some credit for NATO, really," Rogich said. "He is the one that put them on notice that we were not going to participate unless they paid for their fair share. And so that timing could not be better for that."
Rogich also criticized the handling of Russia by President Obama's administration. In 2014, Obama’s response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea was to impose economic sanctions. The administration's view was that it was a problem to be solved by Europe, not the U.S., according to published reports.
"That set the stage and emboldened Putin to move where he was," Rogich said.
"It is kind of like Roosevelt and Stalin (in 1945, after World War II), when they met in Yalta and gave Stalin Czechoslovakia, thinking we could make a nice guy out of him," Rogich said.
"That was the beginning of the Cold War," Rogich added. "They (Soviet forces) occupied Prague, killed a lot of innocent people, a lot of them Jewish. They moved and transported a lot of others and that set the stage of the takeover of that whole Eastern Bloc and we bought a Cold War for 50 years or more as a result of it."