1: What does the bold word "But" modify? The whole paragraph? Only the preceding sentence?
Regarding the countries that are on America’s sanctions list, there’s nothing but a constant barrage of negative information and there’s a general lack of in-depth and balanced reporting. I’d like to see neutral and interesting coverage about how Russia works and about how Iran works—I’d like to see a serious and balanced look at how China works. But even the New York Times tends to work as a propaganda mill when it comes to these countries.
2: Regarding the bold, is "insight" understood to be like a "collective" thing and not one single insight that's the deepest insight on a list of insights?
The media usually fails badly when it comes to the empathy that would provide the deepest insight into “the enemy’s” thinking and actions.
3: I would be insane to worry about the bold being understood to mean "China", correct? I get way too OCD, but there's just no way I need to worry about this, right? Not sure how much major newspapers allow this kind of very remote ambiguity to happen.
The BRI system doesn’t mean exclusive Chinese control but instead means shared control for all the countries that it passes through.