Key Points

If we fail to take these steps, we may encounter concurrent aggression from Russia and China.  For instance, if hostilities were to erupt between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea, Putin may opportunistically initiate aggression in the Baltics, believing the U.S. and its allies would have insufficient combat power to respond effectively to both crises. Likewise, Beijing might exploit an ongoing conflict in the Baltics to move against Taiwan. The perception that the U.S. and our allies may lack sufficient capacity to confront simultaneous aggression encourages the nightmare scenario we seek to avoid. President Putin and President Xi understand the importance of partners and military strength; the U.S. should too.

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The rapidly changing political environment requires the United States likewise to continue to update its sanctions architecture. Without it, the U.S. risks leaving its Venezuelan allies at the mercy of Maduro, Russia, and China.

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