May 17, 2024No Comments

U.S. Ukraine Aid: A Part of a Larger Strategy

U.S. Ukraine aid needs to be part of a larger strategic vision that aims for Russian defeat in Ukraine. 

Author: Samuel Dempsey - USA Team

Four days after President Biden approved the $61 billion in military aid, on April 28, 2024, Ukraine received the first wave of anti-armor rockets, missiles, and 155-millimeter artillery shells. While Ukraine welcomed the needed U.S. aid, it came months late considering the on-the-ground requirements of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. As a result, much of this aid package is attempting to make up for lost time and reinforce the depleted defence supply chain.

In H.R.815 - Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and for other purposes, $23 billion of the aid supplement replenishes military stockpiles, enabling future U.S. military transfers to Ukraine; $14 billion is designated for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allows the DoD to buy advanced new weapon systems for Ukraine directly from U.S. defence contractors; $11 billion will fund current U.S. military operations in the region, and about $8 billion goes to non-military assistance through a loan to the Ukrainian government to cover basic operating costs. 

The supplement comes at a time when Russia is increasingly exerting pressure across the 600-mile front line. Ukrainian brigades are spread thin, with little time for recuperation or new training, and much of the aid, including separate packages from the U.K. and Germany, will take months to arrive to truly bolster Ukraine’s defences on the ground. 

As Jack Waltling, an expert in land warfare at RUSI, discussed in Foreign Affairs, at present Russia has a “ten-to-one advantage over Ukraine in available artillery,” and with the new U.S. aid package, this is projected to shrink to “three to one in some regions.” This is a substantial improvement, but he argues that current Western support has only come in time to “stave off a Ukrainian collapse.” As Eugene Rumer at the Carnegie Endowment observed, the calculations vehemently demonstrate that even with support from the U.S. and allies, “the size of Russia’s population, economy, stocks of military hardware, and defense-industrial base far exceeds those of Ukraine.” 

The new supplement's legislation acknowledges this reality and emphasizes the need to agree on a new multi-year support strategy "to hasten Ukrainian victory against Russia's invasion forces." This U.S. supplement is very likely the only piece of Ukraine aid that will be able to take effect before the next U.S. presidential election, and despite having aspirational goals for greater support, it has focused on buying more time. Given the possible change in U.S. administration and the confidence and firmness with which Russia is continuing this illegal invasion, even recently allegedly conducting an assassination attempt against President Zelenskyy, the question is: how does this supplement fit within a greater Ukraine strategy of the United States? 

U.S. Stated Goals  

The April 24 Ukraine supplement was the Biden administration's fifty-sixth allotment of DoD inventory equipment to Ukraine since August 2021. Post-Russian invasion, the Biden administration has stood behind Ukraine, with the official Department of State position being that the U.S. and allies are “united in support of Ukraine in response to Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine.” The U.S. has demonstrated this by asserting that Kyiv will determine the war’s outcome. As Alexander Ward at Politico pointed out, this has resulted in a strategic misalignment, where the U.S. perceives its support as a means to either force Russia back or negotiate a settlement with Russia, while the Zelenskyy administration maintains that Ukraine will not relent until it reaches its pre-2014 borders, including Crimea. According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, "only Russia's defeat and the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity will guarantee stability and peace," and "the Black Sea must become a sea of NATO, peace, and stability."

After the recent U.S. supplement passed, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that Ukraine throughout the rest of the year will have the capacity to “hold the line” and “to ensure Ukraine withstands the Russian assault,” with the chance to enable Ukraine in 2025 “to move forward to recapture the territory that the Russians have taken from them.” Concurrently, Avril D. Haines, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, told Congress that, in addition to the anticipated Russian offensive this month, Russia has the means to break through the Eastern Ukrainian front lines. According to Director Haines’ statements, the current U.S. strategy may now come up short, and according to Sullivan’s statements, the U.S. strategy has postponed any possible Ukrainian counteroffensive to 2025. Even then, numerous analysts, including Olga Tokariuk at Chatham House, have stressed that any future Ukrainian military offensive or even the ability to maintain a stable frontline is contingent upon a “steady flow of Western military assistance,” including with approval from the White House. 

If the U.S., regardless of administration, wants to back Ukraine’s goal of the Black Sea being "a sea of NATO peace and stability," a clear articulation of its own political goals is required to ensure a sound strategic vision.

A U.S. Strategy for Ukrainian Victory and Russian Defeat   

“Russia can lose. And it should lose, for the sake of the world — and for its own sake,” wrote Timothy Snyder, a Levin Professor of History at Yale. Snyder, in his CNN opinion piece and while lecturing at the University Club of New York, articulated the four principal reasons for which a Russian defeat is necessary in Ukraine: (1) For an imperial power to restrain its imperial ambitions, defeat is necessarySnyder argued that the European project itself is only the result of lost imperial wars around the world after WWII. (2) If Russia wins, it not only affirms its imperial ambitions but also demonstrates to the rest of the world that imperial conquest is an option. (3) Historically, the most effective Western policy towards Russia is an effective U.S. policy towards Ukraine, i.e., supporting their self-determination and strategic objectives that align with Western values and systems has positive indirect impacts on developments in Russia. (4) Russia's history is replete with defeats; the Crimean War in 1856, the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, World War I in 1917, the Soviet Union's defeat by Poland in 1920, by Nazi Germany in 1945, and Afghanistan's decade-long invasion in 1979 are just a few examples. Snyder argues that in each case, Russia lost without existential risk.

In addition, Snyder emphasizes that Russia’s greatest successes in its invasion of Ukraine (still minor in total scale) occurred in the last six months when the U.S. “was delaying Ukraine aid rather than supplying it.” As Jack Waltling also emphasized, a Ukrainian defeat would also signal to Russia that it has and can defeat the West through prolonged exhaustion. 

To develop a cognizant and successful strategy towards Russia, the U.S. must first articulate the requirement of a Russian defeat in Ukraine.

Source: Image by MotionStudios from Pixabay

Strategic Steps to Russian Defeat

As Rob Lee, a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia Program, wrote over X, Ukraine’s three primary hurdles are: ammunition, manpower, and fortifications. Lee, alongside colleagues Michael Kofman and Dara Massicot, propose a strategy “premised on three central elements: hold, build, and strike.” The strategy and commentary do an excellent job of articulating how the Ukrainian Armed Forces can, in the face of Russia’s growing manpower, distribute and train current brigades, absorb Russian offensives, and create challenges for Russia “far behind the front lines.” 

Creating threats and challenges deeper behind the front lines is an immediate way in which the U.S. can support Ukraine’s ability to hold the front and fortify further. As Mark T. Kimmitt, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, wrote, the U.S. and allies must loosen restrictions on military aid that inhibit cross-border attacks and prevent Ukraine from targeting Russia in the Black Sea. Loosening these restrictions will immediately add a new dimension to Russian risk, giving Ukrainians more space and time to develop a successful counter-offensive. Any alleviation of pressure from the front will provide the currently stagnant and exhausted Ukrainian brigades with the necessary resources for recuperation and training.

A key area of support could be a financing strategy that enhances Ukraine's ability to acquire munitions. Recent Ukraine aid legislation allows for the potential use of frozen Russian central bank assets for reconstruction efforts. Building on the Council of Europe proposal that references U.S. initiatives, the international community could explore the establishment of a multilateral legal mechanism to manage these assets. This mechanism could potentially provide compensation for reconstruction costs and free up Ukrainian resources for munitions procurement. Allies and partners hold approximately $300 billion in frozen Russian assets, with the U.S. holding at least $38 billion. Additionally, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has proposed a $100 billion fund for Ukraine's defenses, although this proposal faces internal opposition within the Alliance. Such a fund could facilitate greater coordination of security aid for Ukraine.

After the signing of Ukraine aid and in the lead-up to a challenging election, the Biden administration may be inclined to place Ukraine on the back burner of political communication. Yet, the discussion and growth of a larger Ukraine strategy must be articulated not only on the international stage but also communicated to the general American public. “It’s the president’s responsibility to make the case to the American people why Ukraine and our support matter. While he has done this a few times, the narrative has not been clear enough to most Americans,” said Alina Polyakova to Politico, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis. At the NATO Washington Summit this July, the U.S. has the opportunity to hone its strategic vision and make these initiatives a primary agenda while presenting its case to the American people as to why the United States should support Ukraine and ensure Russian defeat. Whether it's Trump or Biden in the Oval Office come January 2025, Ukraine will need assistance, and the American people will need to know why. 

March 9, 2024No Comments

Prof. Paola Rivetti on Iran and Mahsa Amini

Prof. Paola Rivetti is an Associate professor in Politics and International Relations at Dublin City University. Her expertise lies in Iranian politics, gender and sexuality, social and political mobilisation and the Middle East Region. 

In this session, prof. Rivetti talks about Iran in the aftermath of Mahsa Amini's death, dwelling into the movement Women Life Freedom, Iran's geopolitical position after the protests, and future prospect for the country (de)stabilisation. 

Interviewers: Ilaria Lorusso, Shahin Modarres, Margherita Ceserani. - Iran Team

January 29, 2024No Comments

Dr Andreas Østhagen on Arctic Geopolitics and Governance

Dr Andreas Østhagen talks about Arctic power relations, the nexus between traditional and non-traditional security in the Arctic region, US Arctic strategy, and the complexities of Arctic governance. 

Dr Østhagen is a Senior Researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo and an Associate Professor at Nord University Business School

In this session, Dr Østhagen unpacks how US-China posturing and increased human activity in the Arctic are shaping the region's geopolitical significance. He outlines how increased US engagement in the Arctic is driven by security concerns, especially US-China competition. Moreover, Dr Østhagen believes it is unlikely that Russia will challenge the Law of the Sea in the Arctic. Furthermore, he suggests that the Nordic countries, as a bloc, could play a role in lowering tensions in the Arctic

Interviewer: Irene Senfter - USA Team

December 30, 2023No Comments

ITSS Verona 2023/2024 Webinar Series – A Constructive Dialogue on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

For our second Webinar of the 2023/2024 season, we were truly honored to host Dr. Magen Inon, an Israeli educator who lost his parents during the October 7 attacks. Magen told us about his work as a peace advocate, through which he is trying to forge a safe space for dialogue and mutual understanding between everybody who is affected by the conflict, rejecting hatred and polarization.

Following his contribution, our ITSS Verona researchers from the Middle East Team, Omri Brinner and Chantal Elisabeth Hohe, together with our ITSS Verona Director, Dr. Michele Groppi, analyzed other important dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian issue: the question of a two-state solution, the need for imagination and creativity in geopolitics, the involvement of regional actors like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Israel's strategic culture, and finally, the understated role played by emotions on both sides.

March 21, 2023No Comments

Vladimir Radunovic and Anastasia Kazakova on Cyber Diplomacy

Vladimir Radunovic and Anastasia Kazakova talk about cyber diplomacy, the geopolitics of cyberspace, and the roles of state and non-state actors.

Vladimir Radunovic is Director, E-diplomacy and Cybersecurity Programmes, and Anastasia Kazakova is a Cyber Diplomacy Knowledge Fellow at DiploFoundation. This Swiss-Maltese non-governmental organisation specialises in capacity development in the field of Internet governance and digital policy.

Interviewer: Oleg Abdurashitov - Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and Space Team.

May 30, 2022No Comments

The Geopolitics of the Energy Transition’s Momentum

Authors: Riccardo Bosticco and Michele Mignogna.


The main result that Putin has achieved until now with the aggression of Ukraine is a solid stance from the European Member States to halt gas imports from Russia. This and other green commitments have pushed the EU and the whole world to give renewed impetus to renewable energy. Moreover, the relation between climate and industry policies is increasingly evident. In a broader context of power competition trade, investment policies in the energy and climate sectors play an ambivalent role: energy dependencies have been conceptualized as mutually benefitting; yet, the current war unveils their risky nature. After a brief description of the renewables’ geopolitical dimensions, this article outlines what is at stake for the EU’s primary areas of energy cooperation. 

The Impact of Renewable Energy on Geopolitics

Renewable energies have the potential to transform interstate energy relations. Renewables have fundamentally distinct geographic and technological properties than coal, oil, and natural gas. Sources are plentiful but intermittent; their production is increasingly decentralized and utilizes rare earth resources in clean tech equipment and, lastly, their distribution is predominantly electric and entails tight management standards and long-distance losses. This contrasts sharply with fossil fuel resources’ geographically fixed and finite character, their reliance on massive centralized production and processing facilities, and their ease of storage and transit as solids, liquids, or gases worldwide.

The energy transition provides a chance to rethink and revise long-standing trading relationships. It also allows countries to engage in previously closed energy value chains. Significantly, the future of the energy world will likely redefine the concept of energy security. However, in this society, the impulse to produce things domestically will collide with the logic of size and global supply networks. The energy transition will rewire the planet, but how much of it will transcend international borders is still unclear. A crucial element will be the commerce of minerals, distinct from that of oil, gas, and coal in terms of location. Nonetheless, such business will follow a familiar pattern: resources will be harvested in one region of the world, transported to refineries and processing centers, and then transformed into final goods. Diversification, bottlenecks, extraction disputes, and rent-seeking dynamics will all be present, although with different details.

Such developments will require a significant shift in energy strategies, indicating that areas pursuing industrial policies rather than decarbonization may reap climatic advantages. The previous energy map established a link between natural resources and markets. Yet, the new energy map will be much more complex.

The Geopolitics of the Energy Transition and the EU

Bringing together the words ’geopolitics’ and ‘renewables’ leads to the study of renewables and related security risks, the effects of the energy transition on traditional energy relations, possibilities of mutually beneficial ties, and windows of opportunity for countries to move up in the global power hierarchy. The energy transition is indeed a process where the industrial advantage is likely to bring with itself political benefits and leadership status. In the context of the current war in Ukraine, this is becoming clearer every day. Yet, the energy transition is expected to become part of power competition as the most impellent challenge – posed by the war as well as climate change and the security risks with it – of our times and will likely create amities and enmities.

Take the example of Russia. In the past decade, Russia has perceived the EU’s energy transition problematically. The EU-Russia energy relationship was primarily based on gas, oil, and coal. Nonetheless, the association is characterized by different conceptions of energy and energy security, although both actors recognize the potential of energy interdependence. While the EU and European countries are more enthusiastic concerning the transition, Russia’s discourses are more conservative yet try to defend the role of natural gas in the energy transition.

While it is difficult to predict an essential role played by Russia nowadays, given the progressive isolation it is forced to, the energy wire will see China having high stakes in renewable developments and geopolitics. Concerning relations with the EU, some have argued that the energy transition is likely to be the determinant of the future of EU-China relations. Energy in EU-China relations does not play the same role as relations with Russia. While the renewable sector has encouraged interdependence between the two powers in the past, more recently, nationally oriented policies have hindered the precedent path.

Still, the energy transition will significantly shape relations between the EU and the Arab states. While Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are challenged by balancing relating with the US and China, managing regional crises, the pandemic, and containing Iran as the primary regional rival, the last point precisely is preventing some of the Arab states in the Gulf region to act assertively against Russia. Nonetheless, looking ahead to the 2020s, how those countries manage the energy transition will have consequences on internal and external political and economic environments. Especially Gulf countries envision a sustainable future, thus setting the stage for redrawing energy investments. In this context, the EU will play a crucial role, opening to the Gulf’s market interests and advancing regional security interests.


Overall, the current war is not only highlighting the strategic value of energy resources and energy ties but also how the transition to new energy systems is likely to rewire the world. In a context where the main political divide on the global stage is between liberal and illiberal forces and strong energy dependences revealed security threats, future systems of alliances will have to account for this. For the EU, the energy transition will have to deal with Russia, act as cohesively as possible, and strengthen its strategic thinking concerning big partners such as China and the Gulf States. The transitions’ stakes entail a strategic opportunity to avoid past errors.

February 14, 2022No Comments

Jeremy Garlick on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Dr Jeremy Alan Garlick is an Associate Professor of International Studies and International Relations. Currently, he is the Director of the J. Masaryk Centre of International Studies at Prague University of Economics and Business. His research focusses on the Belt and Road Initiative, China's relations with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), China-Middle East relations, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He is the author of books, “Reconfiguring the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Geo-Economic Pipe DreamsVersus Geopolitical Realities” published November 2021 and “The Impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: From Asia to Europe” published December 2019. He has also authored various book chapter, peer reviewed articles, book reviews and conference papers. He is also member of the editorial board of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs since 2018.

In this interview he talks about his recent book "Reconfiguring the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" and explains how CPEC may not be such a game-changing endeavour for the region as originally hoped. He explains how almost all projects are centred within Pakistan instead of being cross-border in nature. He also highlights the security risks among other factors within Pakistan that have repeatedly hindered development of the CPEC Projects.

Interviewing Team: Sandra Watson Parcels and Carlotta Rinaudo.

November 12, 2021No Comments

Taiwan, the relations of the Strait and the Indo-Pacific

By: Francesco Cirillo 

Image Source:

In US strategic assessments Taiwan represents the first anti-Chinese containment line in the Indo-Pacific area, which is why it is essential for Washington to guarantee Taipei logistical support to keep its military and deterrence capabilities efficient.

In recent months, Taipei has seen pressure from Beijing increase, both through propaganda and through continuous violations of the Taiwanese air defense zone. In the previous months, the Wall Street Journal had written that US special forces units were present on the Island of Formosa to support and advise the Taiwanese forces, with the aim of preparing the Taipei forces for a possible attack by the PLA forces in Beijing. Over the years, Taiwan has strengthened and modernized its warfare system, with the aim of guaranteeing itself a conventional deterrence to dissuade Beijing from starting a heavy amphibious invasion operation. Called the Doctrine of the Porcupine, it aims to discourage a possible Chinese attack due to the high human and economic costs. For Washington, Taiwan is indirectly part of the strategy of containing Chinese expansionism in the Pacific. It represents a natural barrier to the air and naval forces of the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic, which aims to expand its zone of influence in the Pacific.


The Taiwan issue is heavily involved in Sino-US relations, especially with the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and the three joint communiques. The TRA obliges Washington to guarantee Taipei a continuous flow of armaments for defensive purposes, with the aim of guaranteeing the Taipei government military capabilities for its own defense. But Taiwan I'm coming! also that Washington, to respect the One China Policy, would not accept any declaration of Independence by Taipei, preferring to maintain the Status Quo.

Even the Taiwanese defense minister himself has declared that Taipei is equipped for a possible attack by the EPL, which according to Beijing itself could have the logistical and military capabilities to invade Taiwan by 2025.

In recent days, US President Joe Biden himself stated that Washington will intervene militarily in support of Taiwan in the event of an attack by the armed forces in Beijing; later, during an interview on CNN, Taiwan's President Tsa-Ing Wen confirmed the Wall Street Journal's early October rumors about the presence of US military units on the island, with advisory and training duties.

In the months preceding the Think Tank of the Center for the New American Security (CNAS) and the Chinese state TV itself have published simulations of invasion of the island of Taiwan, demonstrating that the issue concerning the Taiwanese issue of the strait is a widely discussed debate. and at the heart of US concerns.

For Washington, the concern will also be linked to the nuclear deterrence capabilities that Beijing could acquire by 2030. According to the Pentagon Report Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China, the People's Republic of China could increase the Chinese’s nuclear arsenal, up to the one thousand nuclear ballistic carriers ceiling for 2030.

For the American political-military leadership, this scenario could compromise US deterrence in the Indo-Pacific area in the coming years.

September 23, 2021No Comments

Richard Aboulafia on the Geopolitics of next-generation fighter aircraft

Richard Aboulafia talks about the intricacies of combat aircraft acquisition and gives us an overview of the development of the next-generation of fighter aircraft. He also discusses what it means in terms of warfare capabilities, European Defense, and the ties between aircraft exports and foreign policy.  

Richard Aboulafia is the Vice President of Analysis at TealGroup. 

Interviewer: Arnaud Sobrero This is ITSS Verona Member Series Video Podcast by the Defense & Procurement Team. 

ITSS Verona - The International Team for the Study of Security Verona is a not-for-profit, apolitical, international cultural associationdedicated to the study of international security, ranging from terrorism to climate change, from artificial intelligence to pandemics, from great power competition to energy security.

July 22, 2021No Comments

From Geopolitics to Geoeconomics: The Importance of Economic Strategy and the Case of China

By: Riccardo Bosticco

World order dynamics and world order itself have changed substantially in the last thirty years. The evolution of it derives from those dynamics that determine the way it works. This article will discuss the specific case of China. 

Nowadays, military conflicts are mostly concentrated in least-developed areas, whilst western and eastern major countries exited the logic of the Cold War - when balance and peace were possible mainly thanks to military deterrence. From those times, conflicts have been substituted by other means of states’ competition. From the ‘90s onwards, commerce has displaced war - as pioneer Edward N. Luttwak states -, with economic and financial capital in place of firepower, civilian innovation instead of military technological progress, and economic incursion rather than military bases building. These are the new tools employed by states to grow their power and spread their influence, and of course, the elements that can explain the relationships among international actors. The logic of war has to be read through the grammar of commerce, but do these new means serve the same interests as artillery pieces used to before? 

Especially among the theorists of interdependence, many believe that the growing importance of industrial and financial entities and economics as the lens through which to understand international relations would imply a shift from “world politics” to “world business”, thus reducing warlike escalations. However, they are still the states that can extract and regulate economic resources; and they are still territorial authorities. In these terms, we can understand geoeconomics: an evolution, and not a revolution, of geopolitics. 

To better conceive this evolution, definitions are of some help. Geoeconomics can be considered applied research, and it can be understood as both an analysis and practice by states and businesses. It is an interdisciplinary subject including geopolitical features, strategic analysis and foresight, and economic intelligence. Saying geoeconomics is an evolution of geopolitics does not mean that the latter disappeared. The relationship between economics and power ever existed throughout history indeed. As an example, starting from the XI century, Venice became a powerful geoeconomics actor. It built its considerable power not flexing muscles, but presenting itself as a strong diplomatic and trading power, mastering advanced naval technologies and using economic espionage. 

More precisely, Soilen defines geoeconomics as “the study of spatial, cultural, and strategic aspects of resources, with the aim of gaining a sustainable competitive advantage”. It is different from geopolitics under two aspects: for the topic, since it focuses on economic means and not military or political; and for the actors, because it does not look only to individuals representing the state, its institutions, or the state as a whole, but to individuals who conduct relevant economic activities, corporations and other national and non-national institutions operating in the economic field. Despite this, they remain very similar to each other. Indeed, they both study how certain instruments can serve national purposes. Strategy is “where we define an optimal plan for our organizational or institutional objectives” SOILEN -1). In a world where war is banned, civilian technology is more strategic than a bomb. 

This means that those actors with hands over new technologies are more inclined to gain additional power and influence. China figured it out during its economic global ascendance and engaged to “master core technologies” in any imaginable area. If from the 80s to the mid-2000s, China’s economic policy was to encourage foreign direct investments in the country through often unfair incentives and advantages to investors; from 2006, China turned to “China Inc” and began promoting “indigenous innovation”, freezing the pursuit of international investments.

Published in 2006, the “MLP”, standing for “The Guidelines for the Implementation of the National Medium- and Long-term Program for Science and Technology Development (2006-2020)” stressed the need to “create an environment for encouraging innovation independently, promote enterprises to become the main body of making technological innovation and strive to build an innovative-type country.” Thus, today’s Chinese economic policy can be considered a long-term oriented pattern focused on the welfare of internal producers. In other words, what China has adopted is a mercantilist set of policies aimed at defeating non-Chinese competitors.

Why is geoeconomics important? Because the means are financial and industrial, and the strategy is mainly territorial. The main example of Chinese current economic policy? The Belt and Road Initiative. For this to be realized, the geographical dimension is vital. In particular, infrastructures in South and Southeast Asia are crucial since they are key to the connectivity envisioned by BRI. These countries are the most likely to allow Chinese naval bases or to serve as strategic pivots for commercial and military needs. This would let China build strong regional power at the first stage, and expand its activities then. Therefore, one might argue that geoeconomics is the evolution of geopolitics and that geoeconomics could serve geopolitical interests. Indeed, the BRI aims to build linkages with other countries and regions through investments, infrastructures, opening corridors, and connecting with them “physically, financially, digitally, and socially”.  

In conclusion, the growing importance of economic connections and tools in this technological era makes it the new paradigm to intend power in the XXI century. Wars have been marginalized, and thereby governments ought to find a new way to propagate their power. Notwithstanding, territorial dynamics still play significant roles, even in times of faster communications and digital transactions. This is the case of China, a growing “territorial ruler” with global ambitions that offers advantageous economic opportunities to bring other countries in its orbit while expanding its own economic, diplomatic, and military projections of power.