Mikkel Rosenvold
1 week ago

Analyst: Why Putin fired Shoigu and Why Biden is going tough on China

Analyst Mikkel Rosenvold weighs in on current geopolitical topics

In a significant reshuffling of Russia's military leadership, President Vladimir Putin has dismissed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, appointing economic advisor Andrei Beluosov as his replacement. This move comes as Russian military operations expand in Ukraine, with recent offensives north of Kharkiv and at the northeastern city of Sumy.

According to Mikkel Rosenvold, an analyst at Steno Research, "Shoigu's reassignment to Secretary of the Russian Security Council is more about optics and maintaining control than a direct demotion. It's Putin's standard procedure to avoid any political embarrassment that could lead to dissent." Rosenvold suggests that while Shoigu's new role appears significant, the true intent behind the reshuffle is to tighten Putin's grip on the military amidst its growing institutional power and budget.

Beluosov, a non-military bureaucrat closely allied with Putin, steps into a role traditionally held by more battle-seasoned figures. "This appointment signals Putin's desire to bind the military leadership strictly under Kremlin control, ensuring that the generals remain focused solely on their current assignments without any political distractions," Rosenvold adds.

On the global stage, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to intensify the trade war with China by quadrupling tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), semiconductors, and other key goods, raising the current 25% tariff on EVs to an unprecedented 100%. This aggressive move aims to counteract what the White House describes as unfair trade practices by China that disadvantage American workers and industries.

"The decision to increase tariffs is a bold statement from Biden, aimed at curbing China's dominance in the EV market and its broader economic strategies that challenge U.S. industries," says Rosenvold. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan highlighted that these measures are part of a broader effort to challenge China's non-market practices and overcapacity, which are seen as threats to American economic interests.

Rosenvold believes that Biden's tough stance is likely to resonate with American voters, providing a robust counter-narrative to any criticism from political opponents, particularly in the context of the upcoming elections. "This isn’t just about tariffs. It’s a calculated move by Biden to position himself as a strong leader who protects American interests," he explains.

As both leaders recalibrate their strategies, the global implications are profound. Russia's military reorganization underlines Putin's focus on loyalty and strategic control, while the U.S. tariff spike on Chinese imports signals a hardened approach to international trade, potentially prompting negotiations or further escalations.

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