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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Cain and Abel revisited

10 December 2021

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Since 11 November 2021, USA is publicly warning Europe that Russia may be planning an invasion of Ukraine in 2022 (eg, Bloomberg). Since early December 2021, the US secretary of defence is publicly warning about China rehearsing for an attack on Taiwan (eg, FT). These two possible future events may well be connected.

Genesis 4:1–18 tells us about Cain murdering his brother Abel out of jealousy. On a nation level, there are some states that feel like estranged brothers: China vs Taiwan, and Russia vs Ukraine. In both cases, one brother is (much) more favoured (internationally) than the other.

What would NATO do when China and Russia would invade simultaneously? Again, No Action, Talk Only?

For a military SWOT analysis, please read these articles by George Friedman:

Perhaps, the Chinese and Russian divide and rule approach towards NATO would succeed. On the other hand, NATO might divide its forces in army (Ukraine) and navy (Taiwan). For some time, NATO has already been demonstrating its naval forces near Taiwan to deter China.

It’s highly unlikely that an invasion of Taiwan and Ukraine will trigger an army collapse, like in Afghanistan (eg, CNBC). I doubt that China and Russia will ever enjoy their new territory. Both countries will face decades of guerilla warfare between brethren. Even the Tatar resistance in Crimea is still growing (eg, SMH-2016).

I suppose both China and Russia would face lots of heavy international sanctions forcing them to wander alone; similar to the fate of Cain: “…. God punished Cain by condemning him to a life of wandering” (Wiki).

I suppose that the American public warnings are about deterrence. After all, it’s better to be publicly wrong than privately right, which is a paraphrase of a quote by economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), who once stated that “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.”

“The Chinese strategist Sun Tzu maintained that the supreme skill of a leader was to know his enemy’s mind and use strategy to subdue him without fighting. In today’s strategic environment, the essence of these enduring maxims might be that one must understand and influence the decision-making process of a potential foe if one is both to prevent war and manage crisis effectively.” (T&F Online)

Conventional deterrence and military diplomacy (1993) by Admiral Julian Oswald (1933-2011).

Adam Raised a Cain, from the album Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) by Bruce Springsteen
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

In the Bible brother Cain slew Abel
And East of Eden mama he was cast
You’re born into this life paying
For the sins of somebody else’s past

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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