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I could not understand the structure and meaning of the italicized sentence in the following passage, which was excerpted from economist.com. The sentence proceeds with the clause "he values trade with China" after "on the contrary". However, then it continuous with a verb but no subject and this phrase does not have a connection with the rest of sentence as far as I can see. It would be helpful if you could rephrase it.

The notion that Russia would be a good ally against China is even less realistic. Russia is far weaker than China, with a declining economy and population and a smaller army. Mr Putin has neither the power nor the inclination to pick a quarrel with Beijing. On the contrary, he values trade with China, fears its military might and has much in common with its leaders, at least in his tendency to bully his neighbours and reject Western lecturing about democracy and human rights. Even if it were wise for America to escalate confrontation with China—which it is not—Mr Putin would be no help at all.

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  • It's very straightforward: the highlighted element is the second coordinate in a coordination of three VPs: "he [values trade with China], [fears its military might] and [has much in common with its leaders]". The coordination functions as the predicate of the subject "he".
    – BillJ
    Feb 13 '17 at 16:33
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The highlighted section fears its military might means that [Mr Putin] is afraid of China's military power - might is used as a noun and means power in this context.

Merriam-Webster definition of might:

Noun

1a : the power, authority, or resources wielded (as by an individual or group)

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  • Thank you for the answer. I knew this meaning of it but I could not think about it.
    – Mrt
    Feb 13 '17 at 16:26
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The sentence holds a list of three verbs that are activities of Putin's.

On the contrary (to quarreling with Beijing), he does these things:

• (he) values trade with China

• (he) fears its military might

• and (he) has much in common with its leaders (or at least has this in common with them: he tends to bully his neighbours and reject Western lecturing about democracy and human rights.)

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Your perfectly reasonable confusion stems from The Economist’s scandalous😉 in-house style that disdains using an Oxford comma before the final element of a series. That produces a garden-path sentence with a confusing misread, as you have discovered. A single subject is governing all three verbs, which have been reduced via conjunction reduction to a single and-series.

So what’s happening is that the verb governed by the common subject he is in reality a compound verb comprising a series of these three individual verb phrases:

  1. values trade with China
  2. fears its military might
  3. has much in common with its leaders

Moreover, these are “heavy” elements longer than a single word, and the overall sentence is already pushing its reader’s parsing ability.

All these things lead one to advise the Oxford comma here, even if other sentences might survive without it. If only they had written it this way with an added Oxford comma, I trust you would have had no confusion realizing that might is here used as a noun:

On the contrary,
    he
        values trade with China,
        fears its military might, ⟸ (note Oxford comma!)
            and
        has much in common with its leaders,
            at least in his tendency to
                bully his neighbours
                    and
                reject Western lecturing
                    about democracy and human rights.

The parse is hard enough as it is.

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On the contrary, he values trade with China, fears its military might and has much in common with its leaders, at least in his tendency to bully his neighbours and reject Western lecturing about democracy and human rights.

On the contrary, (Putin) values trade with China, (Putin) fears (China's) military might and (Putin) has much in common with (China's) leaders, at least in (Putin's) tendency to bully (Putin's) neighbours and reject Western lecturing about democracy and human rights.

"Values", "fears" and "has" refer to Putin, who is "he".

On the contrary, Putin values trade with China, fears its military might and has much in common with China's leaders, at least in Putin'a tendency to bully his neighbours and reject Western lecturing about democracy and human rights.

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