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[l] at 3/28/23 7:59am
The trite claim that global political processes are accelerating is most glaring at their center, which is steadily evolving into the Indo-Pacific region as a whole and, notably, its particularly heated zones, of which Taiwan is still on the list. A number of events in the coming days could be indicative of both the maintenance and potential escalation of the level of warming up in the Taiwan crisis situation. First off, its probably going to have a reverse version of the Nancy Pelosi effect. In other words, the fact that the current Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen will spend some time on US soil is another landmark in the context of Washington taking the next significant step in the overall creeping process of making relations with Taipei ordinary interstate. She was about to visit several Central American countries on the list of the few that still maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Due to the recent challenges in relations with Honduras, this measure has a particular urgency. The question of the presidential planes flight path lies at the center of the entire impending event. The most favored path avoids US territory if we are led by fundamental optimization concerns, such as saving time, fuel, money, and the environment. Yet, in this instance, there is no political element because the main objective of the event is merely a stopover somewhere in the USA. Just not a trip to multiple banana republics, which simply helps to conceal the achievement of this core objective. Eventually, in the ongoing mystery, there is a new character named Where who follows the actor with the name Route. That is, where exactly on US territory the current president of Taiwan will make this stopover. The states of New York and California are the two choices under consideration. As previously described in the NEO in relation to the same Mrs. Tsais alternate visits to each of them in 2018 and 2019  accordingly, each has its own unique and intriguing (for both guest and host) aspects. The character Who is then anticipated to appear next. That is, a person who will communicate with the visitor who is staying transient and on occasion on US soil. The principal geopolitical rival of the United States, which is modern China, is particularly interested in the issue of specific American politicians who assert to fill this function. For the past two or three months, Kevin McCarthy, the new speaker of the US House of Representatives, has claimed this role. In reality, this would be a repetition of the Nancy Pelosi effect, with the same unfavorable impact on the worlds two most powerful nations ties as it did over a year ago. The relationship between the United States and China has not yet returned to where it was before the effect was unleashed. The following details have come to light as of the time of writing, among the several aspects of general uncertainty caused by information leaks about the very potential of such a tour by the president of Taiwan. First of all, it actually occurs and will take place from March 29 to April 7. Secondly, the stopover is in the American state of New York. As for the possibility of a Tsai Ingwen-Cavin McCarthy meeting, the information is contradictory which could be a result of the Chinese Foreign Ministrys previous submission to their American colleagues on the overall inadmissibility of this event. For prominent American politicians and their closest allies, Taiwan continues to be a destination for ostentatiously anti-Chinese pilgrimage. Among the most notable figures who have visited the island recently is Robert OBrien, former national security adviser, who served under former US president Donald Trump. He delivered the customary speech that “the US will stand with Taiwan in fending off attacks by authoritarians and has no intention of changing the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait,”at the Presidential Office in Taipei, where President Tsai Ing-wen conferred on him the Order of Brilliant Star. A delegation from the CHIPS Program Office, established at the US Department of Commerce to assure the PRC was actually blocked from the most recent advancements in the field of microelectronics, was anticipated to arrive in Taiwan just after this important guest. The US-led “Chip 4” alliance will include Taiwan and also be comprised of Japan and South Korea. The delegation will first visit Taiwan and then pay visits to these two nations. European delegations of all stripes continue to go to the island, representing both the interstate and national systems of the continent. Once again, European visitors are mostly members of the legislative spheres of government. Up until now, the executive branch has made an effort to stay away from these events, giving it a chance to keep its relationship with the PRC intact. When Greg Hands, a member of Rishi Sunaks newly formed cabinet, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, visited the island last fall, the United Kingdom government was the first (of course) to break this unwritten law. Six months later, the German government took the blazed (slippery) path. Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research, traveled to Taiwan in the second half of March. Here is a picture of the visitor. Naturally, the PRC was compelled to comment on the additional dimension this visit brought to the process of forging ties between a major European nation and the rebellious province. Let us state the assumption that there are serious differences of opinion over some key elements of German foreign policy inside the coalition government that currently governs the Federal Republic of Germany. Lets only think back to German Chancellor Olaf Scholzs recent trip to China, which seemed to be quite positively assessed in Beijing and seen with discreet cautiousness not only by Germanys allies but also by certain German politicians. It is also significant that Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marles responded to the Taiwan problem during an ABC interview. He specifically said that Australia absolutely did not promise to support the US in any military conflict over Taiwan. The commentary on this statement highlights the fact that it came almost immediately after the recent AUKUS summit held in San Diego with the participation of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Nonetheless, details about providing the Australian Navy with nuclear-powered attack submarines were the primary outcome of this event (with the decisive involvement of the closest allies). The aforementioned rejoinder once again testifies to the weak validity of the not infrequent very expansive interpretation of the AUKUS format itself, which does not yet go beyond a narrowly specific business project. The answer to the question of what will happen next remains in the realm of speculation because of the abundance of very high uncertainty on the global gaming table. We should also take note of the consistency of this statement with Canberras continual (over the course of at least the last two decades) denials to Washingtons inquiries about the possibility of including Canberra in American military operations with allies in the event that the situation in the Taiwan Strait worsens. Finally, the announcement of former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou’s desire to visit the PRC (Tsai Ing-wens predecessor in office) attracted attention. In a strange historical coincidence, when the current president of Taiwan makes the above-mentioned tour, the former leader of the now oppositionist Kuomintang party will be in the region where the main source of unrest is located for the current ruling Democratic Progressive Party and its representative Tsai Ing-wen (and for the main hope of the latter two the United States). Ma Ying-jeou has a very compelling motive for traveling to the Mainland because there are his ancestors graves there, which he has never been to before. He will very certainly speak with high-ranking CCP (Chinese Communist Party) officials during this trip as well. A delegation of his party colleagues experienced the same thing a month earlier. Let’s recall that in less than a year Taiwan will hold another general election, following the results of which the Kuomintang hopes to return to power. So, in the series of recent events accompanying the development of the Taiwan issue, this latest one, related to Ma Ying-jeous trip to the PRC, may be the most important. Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Current events in relation to the Taiwan issue появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Politics, USA in the World, PRC, Taiwan, taiwan issue, USA]

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[l] at 3/28/23 6:59am
There’s a lot more to the news that India-based defense company BrahMos Aerospace will soon close a deal to sell Indonesia supersonic cruise missiles worth at least $200 million than meets the eye. The India-Russia joint venture via BrahMos could have lasting geopolitical effects in Southeast Asia and on the current American hegemony. Another India-Russia joint venture was just clinched last year when the Philippines ordered $375 million in shore-based anti-ship missiles. This deal was part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to triple India’s defense exports. And for Russia, every partnership sealed in Asia is a thorn in the side of the so-called western alliance. The Philippines have indicated their deal is a kind of “icebreaker” for potential further corporations. And the India component of the negotiations going on is both vital, and brilliant from the Russian standpoint. The United States has been busy trying to torpedo direct Russian sales to the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia, so Modi edging closer and closer to Russia economically, and perhaps strategically, is a thorn in Washington’s side. Whatever the reasons, Indonesia’s acquisition of new weapons grew by about 28% in 2021 and then 69% in 2022. As for the Philippines, the country elevated acquisitions by 29% in 2021 and 40% in 2022. Take note, these figures are much higher than the average investment in military hardware and systems elsewhere in the region. Traditionally, much of Southeast Asia’s new weapons acquisitions have come from traditional suppliers, like the United States, France, and Russia too. However, India, which is now the world’s largest defense importer, is entering the game with BrahMos to gain market share. According to BrahMos CEO “We have got the go-ahead to market to every country in southeast Asia from both the government of India and the government of Russia.” Meanwhile, the US is busy trying to leverage every Asian nation it can to turn on the Russians where the Ukraine crisis is concerned. So far, there have been few takers. The Philippines government was slammed recently for allowing the US to expand military bases in the country. Joint US-Philippines military drills recently, were another important card played by the west in what is now a battle for hearts, minds, and strategic necessity. Friction in the region is building not only in the military sphere but as the US and other banks recoil after the huge Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) went bust. Reverberations are hitting markets in Southeast Asia, as well. On a positive note, from the Russian side, news the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) has held a Forum titled “Pushing the Horizon: Strategy of Eurasian Economic Integration in the New Conditions and the Role of Business” seems promising for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to push towards internationalization. The EAEU free trade bloc is comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. The bloc connects most of Eastern Europe to Western China. In addition, the finalizing of the EAEU free trade agreement with Iran, as well as an FTA with Egypt, put still more pressure on the west since sanctions on Russia have backfired. Now there are negotiations underway with Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. And, if Mexico is serious about joining the BRICS, America’s military bases surrounding Russia and China will be less significant than the trade and economic encirclement of the western allied nations. Western economic leaders seem intent on continuing interest rate hikes across the board despite the fragility of the banking system and the market. It’s as if Humpty Dumpty is already falling and is in denial. From Washington to Geneva, Switzerland the strategy seems to be to print more money to give a transfusion to a terminal economic blowout. The west’s central banks seem all too eager to jump in to raise debt ceilings still higher. Finally, the genius plan to destroy Russia and take over the world in one swoop seems to have run into insurmountable roadblocks. What’s shaping up is a multipolar world where resource-rich, but economically poorer nations are in a pitched battle with stagnant North America and resource-poor Europe. The hegemony has already crumbled. It will be interesting (maybe scary) to see how the Biden Administration reacts to it all. Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Сообщение US-Led Economic Alliance Doing the “Humpty Dumpty” Blindfolded появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Economics, Featured, Locations, Economic crisis, Geopolitics, Russia, US agreesion, USA]

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[l] at 3/28/23 2:59am
As from the beginning of 2023, an increasing number of Western companies are looking to invest in Vietnam and India. Leading economists around the world believe that these countries have favorable grounds for foreign investment. In turn, during the past few years, China has seen a decline in the amount of investment coming from the West. The reason for this is the ongoing informal trade conflict between Beijing and Washington since the latter half of the 2010s, as well as the numerous lockdowns enacted by the Chinese government as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the unofficial term “China Plus One” has been given to the corporate strategy that aims to gradually decrease investment in China in favor of Vietnam, India, and other developing nations. The Indian authorities are interested in economic rapprochement with the West as part of a foreign policy line aimed at maintaining and strengthening the status of a regional power. As a counterweight to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, New Delhi is carrying out its own infrastructure projects across Eurasia. Several Indian overseas projects will either be suspended or considerably slowed down without a rise in the volume of the economy through increased trade with the West. If India doesn’t use this approach to foreign economic strategy, it would eventually be compelled to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in order to avoid a severe economic disaster. Currently, Vietnam’s top commercial partners are Western nations. This is partly because during the past ten years, Vietnam has seen the emergence of numerous facilities owned by Western businesses that are dedicated to the manufacture of machinery. The Vietnamese leadership is not interested in weakening the US position in the Indo-Pacific region, as this could lead to the complete domination of China in the South China Sea, which does not meet the geopolitical interests of Hanoi. The fact that there is no longer any lingering hostility between the Vietnamese people and the United States should be noted. This is because a lot of time has passed since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and several generations have grown up without having been subjected to American military aggression. Western companies see a great future in cooperation with India and Vietnam. For instance, the US company Apple is thinking about shifting some of its manufacturing to India from China. By 2025–2030, several other significant American corporations’ business strategies call for shifting a portion of their production from China to other developing nations, including India and Vietnam. It is well acknowledged that concentrating the manufacturing of a certain type of product in a single nation might result in an extreme reliance on that nation’s domestic politics. For instance, the repeated lockdowns in China have adversely impacted the financial results of several multinational corporations. The fact that Vietnam and India have reached a level of education that enables citizens to work successfully in high-tech production can also be used to explain why Western investors want to increase their presence in these nations. Over the past few decades, the proportion of people with a higher education in India and Vietnam has increased significantly. Despite this, a significant number of people in these states continue to work in agriculture. Indian and Vietnamese workers are inexpensive and educated, and this is something that Western businesses want to take advantage of. When Western firms begin to establish operations in the country, promising young people will be able to develop themselves more successfully. Yet, initially, they will have to accept lower pay than their international coworkers from affluent nations. Nonetheless, this strategy will have a significant impact on the formation of a new international relations system in the following ten years. Bear in mind that China represents a growing economic and military power every year. Beijing adopts a highly hostile foreign policy toward Western nations, refusing to sanction Russia when it began a special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022 and issuing statements to regain control over Taiwan by force. The United States wants to be a major commercial partner with as many Eurasian and African nations as possible, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure project goes against those geopolitical goals. Executives from US companies are aware that the money invested in China would eventually enhance its state budget, enabling the Chinese government to continue expanding its intensive foreign policy. A proactive Chinese foreign policy might also result in Washington and its allies losing all influence in Eurasia and Africa. Also, it should be considered that earlier Western investments in China are making a decreasing amount of money each year. The average wage in China is currently just above the global average, but in the 2000s the West saw it as a secondary nation with a sizable market and cheap labor. Today, China is the second-largest economy in the world. The overall level of life and well-being are improving along with earnings, which motivates foreign companies with offices in China to increase employee compensation and ensure that production facilities adhere to more stringent safety rules with every passing year. India and Vietnam are connected by a shared aversion to an excessive rise in Chinese influence. China will not permit the Vietnamese and Indian governments to pursue an autonomous foreign trade strategy, entirely enclosing them in its zone of interest, if Beijing grows too powerful, according to Hanoi and New Delhi. That is why India-Vietnam relations are getting stronger every year. The construction of a highway, which, once operational, will substantially improve trade between the two nations, as well as the cooperative exploration of oil deposits in the South China Sea are among the present ambitions of the Indian and Vietnamese sides. The two countries’ leaders will find it difficult to carry out their ambitions without outside capital investment. It is extremely possible that India and Vietnam will soon rank among the top countries in which Western investors choose to invest. These countries support Washington’s decisions on international issues and maintain a reasonably loyal policy toward the US. Both countries aim to strengthen communication with Western countries in order to attract more investment because they do not want Chinese influence to grow. Petr Konovalov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Why have Western Investors Turned Their Attention to India and Vietnam? появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Economics, Featured, Locations, Economic development, Europe, International politics, USA, Vietnam]

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[l] at 3/27/23 10:59pm
The United States, South Korea, and Japan continue to conduct bilateral and trilateral exercises designed to combat North Korea. This activity has climaxed in Freedom Shield military exercises between the United States and South Korea, which are being held on a grand scale this year after a lengthy break.  North Korea, for its part, sees this as an invasion threat and actively bares its teeth through hostile statements and its own combat readiness measures. The author presents a chronicle of the latest phase in this text.  There have been many developments On March 13, the major US-South Korean joint exercise Freedom Shield has begun, on a par with the Foal Eagle drill that the Moon Jae-in administration cancelled in May 2018. On March 14, from 7:41 a.m. to 7:51 a.m., two short-range ballistic missiles were fired by North Korea in the direction of the Sea of Japan. In an effort to improve operational readiness for times of conflict, the South Korean and American Air Forces performed a 36-hour combat practice with continuous sorties on the same day. The drill comprised F-35A, F-15K, and KF-16 aircraft from South Korea. On March 15, at the border zone 62 kilometers north of Seoul, South Korea and the United States have begun a 12-day combined river-crossing military drills. Participating in the exercise were 400 troops, two Apache attack helicopters and 50 pieces of engineering equipment. On March 16, at the Sunan military base close to Pyongyang International Airport, North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan. A massive “aerial penetration” exercise on the southern front started on March 16 in Jangseong, 252 kilometers south of Seoul, and Uiryeong, 274 kilometers south of the capital, involving over 1,500 troops and more than 30 aircraft. Simultaneously, some 100 American and South Korean soldiers practiced air attacks utilizing six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and a US squadron using a Stryker armored vehicle. Around the same days, special forces from the allies’ Navies wrapped up their regular Flash Knife exercise. “The exercise is known to target an enemy leadership under a crisis scenario.” Working off the head of state’s liquidation is undoubtedly a highly protective move. On March 17, the Rodong Sinmun stated in an article that “the situation in the Korean peninsula is inching closer to an uncontrollable and dangerous state” and that “the reality clearly shows that the danger of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula is shifting from a virtual phase to a practical one.”  The ICBM launch, in this perspective, is a strong indication that the North Korean Nuclear Armed Forces Policy Act clearly stipulates the principles and conditions for the use of nuclear weapons, allowing for a preemptive strike.  “There is no vouch that if the dangerous military provocations of the US and south Korea are continuously overlooked as now, a fierce physical conflict will not occur in the Korean Peninsula where huge forces of both sides stand in acute confrontation with each other. In case such conflict occurs in reality, the US security, to say nothing of the regional stability, will face an uncontrollable, catastrophic phase.” On March 18 and March 19, North Korea conducted “the combined tactical drill simulating a nuclear counterattack by the units for the operation of tactical nukes”. More specifically, on March 18 they tested the reliability of the tactical nuclear armed forces’ command, control, and monitoring system several times, practicing the regulations for rapid response and the accuracy of issuing and receiving an order for a nuclear attack in a contingent emergency situation. In other words, handling of charges and carriers as well as the chain of command were worked out. On March 19, a ballistic missile launch exercise simulating a tactical nuclear assault was staged in front of Minister of National Defence Kang Sun-nam and relevant officials of the Party Central Committee, commanding officers of the Missile General Bureau and relevant personnel of the Nuclear Weapons Institute. The launch simulated “a nuclear strike against a major enemy target,” and the missile was tipped with a test warhead simulating a nuclear warhead. The missile (believed to be an enhanced version of the Kimskander) took off from Cheolsan county in North Pyongan province, hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy at a range of 800 kilometers and an altitude of 800 meters.  Kim Jong-un personally conducted the drill again, was with his daughter again, was impressed again, and stated that the thorough tactical exercises considerably strengthened the ability of units and subdivisions to fight in real warfare, because simply having nuclear weapons is insufficient to deter a war. It must be constantly improved and displayed for the fear of enemies. This necessitates regular surprise inspections and drills of the separate forces, allowing fighters to become accustomed to acting in a variety of scenarios and situations. Meanwhile, analysts have evaluated North Korean photographic data, noticing the odd shape of the flame at the moment of launch in the form of the Latin letter “V.” Presumably, the flames were reflected off the horizontal surface, implying that the rocket was fired from an underground mine. That means, North Korea is working to diversify its launch platforms. Moreover, according to the North Korea’s account of the nature of the exercises, the North Korean nuclear warhead detonator may have been tested during the launch. Furthermore, Korean Central News Agency announced on March 18 that the number of young people volunteering to join and rejoin the KPA is steadily increasing across the country because “the move to provoke a nuclear war by the US imperialists and the south Korean puppet traitors, which is the worst-ever in their aggressive nature and scale is now inching close to the unpardonable red-line.” The number of volunteers has reportedly surpassed 1.4 million as of March 20, according to a report from the Korean Central News Agency. On March 19, B-1B strategic bombers were used in a joint drill between the South Korean and American Air Forces. On March 20, for the first time in five years, South Korean and US marines launched the Ssangyong joint landing practice in the Sea of Japan.  The 2023 Ssangyong exercise will take place in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, and will run until April 3 as part of the implementation of agreements agreed by the defense ministers of the two nations last year to broaden the scope of joint exercises. Up until 2018, Ssangyong exercises were conducted at the brigade level; this year, the scope has been expanded to the divisional level. The maneuvers were carried out with the participation of a company of British Marine Special Forces, with observers from Australia, France, and the Philippines present. The exercise involves more than 30 ships, including the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and the South-Korean Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship, as well as approximately 70 aircraft, including the F-35B and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and 50 amphibious assault vehicles.  Of course, “the exercises of amphibious landing on the enemy’s coast, which implies North Korea, are purely defensive in nature.” On March 22, North Korea launched four cruise missiles into the Sea of Japan from the Hamhung area of South Hamgyong Province.  They were most certainly Hwasal-2 strategic cruise missiles, also known as North Korean Tomahawks. On the same day, March 22, John Kirby, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, stated that there is no indication that North Korea may use its nuclear weapons to attack the United States or its allies in the near future. On March 23, a large-scale combined live-fire exercise was performed near the inter-Korean border by South Korea and the United States. The four-day drill took place about 30 kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone and featured roughly 100 howitzers, armored vehicles, and equipment, as well as more than 800 troops. To recap the Freedom Shield exercise, while previous programs of similar exercises had featured different maneuvers relating to defense and counterstrike, this time the focus was on counterstrike. But that is not all. US Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will participate in a joint naval drill in late March, while Warrior Shield field exercises and the 2023 Ssangyong amphibious landing exercise will run until early April. Also, the next round of escalation will occur in the summer rather than the fall. South Korea and the United States intend to conduct their “largest-ever” combined live-fire drills in June 2023 as part of a program commemorating the 70th anniversary of their military alliance. The drills are “designed to strengthen the allies’ solidarity, demonstrate their militaries’ technological edge and highlight their focus on “realizing peace through strength via action,” according to the Seoul’s defense ministry.”  High-tech military vehicles, as well as manned and unmanned weapons, will be deployed. Of course, Pyongyang will keep watching it, which means that the red line will get a few steps closer. Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of China and Modern Asia at the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение The Spring Madness Continues появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Eastern Asia, Featured, Locations, Politics, South Korea, armament]

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[l] at 3/27/23 10:43am
Turkey has been a part of NATO since February of 1952. And it took more than two years for this country to join the North Atlantic military alliance, which it was allowed to do only after meeting the US political requirements, which included rejecting Atatürk’s one-party political system in favor of democratizing the electoral process and establishing a multi-party system, as well as liberalizing trade relations and strengthening the position of pro-Western capital. Between 1945 and 1952, the United States and the United Kingdom both succeeded in preventing Turkey from losing territory to the Soviet Union after Stalin recognized Turkey’s neutrality as hostile towards the USSR during WW II and made territorial demands to Ankara concerning the status of the Black Sea straits and the fate of a portion of western Armenia (Kars, Ardahan, Artvin, and Ararat). According to the officials from the Embassy of Turkey in Moscow (especially Mustafa Kunt and Berksun Hasan), the “nuclear umbrella” of the West was what gave confidence to Turkey and kept the mentioned lands within Turkey’s boundaries. Stalin did not dare to strike Turkey, and in Potsdam, the USSR took Poland instead of Turkey in its zone of interest. As a result, Turkey’s eastern territories and western straits were “rescued” by the leaders of the Anglo-Saxon world twice in the twentieth century (after World Wars I and II). All of this, along with the strategic value of its location at the juncture of continents and access to the sea made Turkey eligible for membership in NATO. Naturally, decades of membership in the North Atlantic Alliance, on the one hand, guaranteed Turkey’s security, but on the other, deprived it of key elements of independence from the foreign policy dictate of the USA. During the 1974 Cypriot crisis, Turkey felt the full force of “American democracy,” for it was the United States, dissatisfied with Archbishop Makarios’ independent policy and pro-communist passion that actually authorized the landing of a Turkish sea assault in the northern part of the island and its occupation (“Operation Attila”). However, Turkey was subjected to a US military embargo that lasted until 1978 and was lifted during President Jimmy Carter’s administration. During the Cold War, Turkey was an outpost of the United States and NATO on the southeastern flank against the USSR and the Warsaw Pact because of its geographical proximity to, and historical contradictions with, Russia. In February 1986, US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger said, “Turkey, with land and sea borders with the USSR and Bulgaria, occupies a key position on the Soviet Union’s path to the Mediterranean and is an outpost of NATO’s southern flank.” The US and NATO placed on Turkish territory about 60 various military installations and bases. These include Incirlik Air Base located not far from the city of Adana, the radio and electronic surveillance centers in Sinop and Anadolu Kavağı (Bosporus Strait), NATO Joint Staff at South-eastern part of South-European Theater in Izmir, the US 6th Fleet ships that refuel in Turkish sea ports, etc. The United States’ operational interests in Turkey slightly changed after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War as it became clear that Russia no longer posed a military threat to NATO’s interests in general and Turkey’s interests in particular. Instead, the United States was more interested in enlarging its sphere of influence in the Middle East and the Black Sea basin. Although still important to NATO, Turkey has lost some of its appeal as an “anchor” on the southern border of the theater, where there was no other option, particularly in the wake of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and the dissolution of the regional military alliance CENTO. By including the nations of the Black Sea (Bulgaria and Romania) in NATO, actively collaborating with Georgia and Ukraine, as well as entering Iraq and a portion of Syria, the USA has increased its sphere of influence in the aforementioned regions. Turkish citizens remember the United States and NATO for four coups detat in the second half of the twentieth century (1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997), when Turkish leaders’ enthusiasm for an independent foreign policy led to their demise and the military leadership of the General Staff of the Armed Forces took power. A similar US attempt to depose the “unwanted and unmanageable President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” failed miserably in July 2016. Erdoğan’s life was saved in large part due to the Russian Russian Foreign Intelligence’s informational assistance during those crisis days. Washington has always taken a radical stance toward its military and political allies and partners whenever local leaders deviate from the US course. To that end, the CIA Directorate of Covert Operations has a covert unit that conducts active measures to eliminate undesirable politicians and forces, Operation Gladio. A mistrust crisis erupted between Washington and Ankara in 2003, when the Turkish Parliament refused to allow the Fourth United States Army to pass through Turkish territory to occupy Iraq. Since 2009, when Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Strategic Depth Doctrine (indeed, a declaration of a new, neo-Ottomanist foreign policy strategy) was published, Turkey under Recep Erdoğan has gradually started to pursue a foreign policy distinct from that of the United States, focusing on contemporary Turkic states in the post-Soviet space in order to strengthen its independence and revive its status as a major power. Naturally, this strategy could not please the USA and was of concern to a number of other states bordering Turkey. The development of mutually beneficial relations with Russia (including not only economic and trade, but also military and technical cooperation) and Erdoğan’s policy of making Turkey a key transit state for the export of energy resources from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union to Europe drew criticism from the United States. As a result, Washington imposed military restrictions on Ankara once more, specifically by declining to give Turkey its Patriot air defense systems, F-35 or F-16 fighter jets. Turkey’s relations with the United States in the run-up to the 2023 general elections and the approaching 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey have been strained. President Erdoğan started to conduct active peacekeeping diplomacy to end hostilities after the deterioration of Russian-Ukrainian relations and the beginning of the special operation by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine in 2022. Turkey declined to participate in anti-Russian sanctions not approved by the UN. Moreover, Ankara initially opposed Finland and Sweden to join NATO due to their support of pro-Kurdish forces linked to the PKK. Sadly, the tragedy of the catastrophic earthquake in southeast Turkey, which claimed more than 49,000 lives and left behind massive devastation (the damage is proverbially estimated at $100 billion) has presented the Turkish leadership with a difficult choice. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is in need of additional funding and lucrative loans for reconstruction work. He has been the target of scathing pre-election criticism from his rivals, and is aware of how the United States is contributing to Turkey’s current predicament. Yet, Erdoğan (like his forerunners) is very adaptable and centered on Turkish interests. Erdoğan has consented to Finland’s membership in NATO in light of the country’s acknowledged economic issues and in an endeavor to revive a strong (great) Turkey. This poses new issues and tensions for Russia in the northwest and will necessitate more work along the 1,330 km border with Finland. The interests of high confidence and strategic collaboration between Turkey and Russia are hardly served by President Erdoğan’s stance on this topic, as well as other concerns (such as the status of Crimea or competition in the regions of the South Caucasus and Central Asia). Turkey, as a NATO member, clearly serves as an effective tool and instrument of the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance in the post-Soviet southeastern regions. Active military and technical cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan is being developed. The importance of Turkish command and combat equipment on Azerbaijan’s side during the second Karabakh war is well known, and Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises have become routine. With the formation of the Organization of Turkic States in November 2021, a number of politicians in Turkey make statements about plans to create a new military bloc called “The Turan Army” from time to time. All of these processes cannot contribute to Eurasian peace and security, and are causing concern in a number of countries bordering Turkey, as well as undermining trust between Moscow and Ankara. The latter is actively pursued by Washington. Naturally, Turkish citizens have the sovereign right to elect a new Turkish leader and a new parliament. In all areas of interstate relations, Russia seeks a fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership with Turkey (including in economics, culture, politics, defense and security). However, in Russia, NATO’s expansion into the southeastern regions of the post-Soviet space on “Turkey’s shoulders” is unlikely to be viewed positively. It is worth reminding Turks that Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was not so much a result of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, but of NATO’s desire to include nationalist Ukraine in its ranks and create a belt of instability around the Russian Federation. Today, Turkey bases its military operations in Iraq and Syria on concerns about its own security, ostensibly to combat Kurdish separatism (though what do Iraqi or Syrian Kurds have to do with Turkish separatism?). Russia, too, has its own set of interests and “red lines” near its borders. If Turks advocate neo-Ottomanism, why can’t Russians defend the Russian world and the Russian state’s interests in their historical interest and presence? Russia poses no military threat to Turkey’s security, either alone or as part of a bloc. Accordingly, Moscow can expect Ankara to take a similar approach. Attempts by the West, represented by the United States and the United Kingdom, to continue the historical tradition of using Turkey as a tool of anti-Russian strategy will be met with opposition from both Russia and the countries targeted by this NATO policy. Aleksandr SVARANTS, PhD in political science, professor, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Turkey Continues to be a Tool of NATO появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Middle East, Politics, Turkey, Geopolitics, NATO, Sanctions, USA]

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[l] at 3/27/23 7:59am
The talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which took place in Moscow, were a great success.  The Russian leader emphasized that substantial progress in the Syrian Arab Republic’s battle against international terrorism has been made possible by the nations’ combined efforts and the vital role played by the Russian Federation Armed Forces. Syria is making steady progress toward eradicating the negative consequences of the civil war unleashed by the West and the Gulf states, thanks to significant efforts on both sides. At the same time, Beijing made a significant contribution, allowing the Iranian-Saudi agreement, which is critical for Syria, to be concluded. Syria’s president praised the agreement to reestablish diplomatic relations, calling it a “wonderful surprise.” Bashar al-Assad has made it clear that his country is no longer a battleground in the Saudi-Iranian conflict, as it was at one point, and that Riyadh took another direction in its relations with Damascus several years ago. Syrian government applaud Beijing’s stance on Syria and the new role China appears to be playing in the Middle East.  Beijing not only mediated the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but it also publicly accused Washington of plundering Syria and demanded that the United States leave the country. Both of these issues have a long history with long-term consequences, indicating that the Syrian situation is likely to develop in unanticipated and positive ways as a result of Russia and China’s efforts. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian recently accused the USA of “major and continued pillaging” of Syria at a recent press conference. Zhao said that US intervention, especially military intervention, has resulted in “major losses among civilians and immeasurable economic losses. It also displaced millions of people.” The United States imposed harsh coercive measures that deprived Syrians of their basic needs. Control of 80 per cent of Syrian oil by US forces further compounds the humanitarian crisis. “The US measures of aggression, sanctions and support of terrorists rendered a once prosperous nation that welcomed refugees into a destroyed country that resembles a large refugee camp,” he concluded. This unprecedented Chinese attack on the USA has two goals. The first is the report that Beijing, which has used its veto power six times in favor of the Syrian regime against the opposition, is also an ally of Damascus. It is also an organic partner of Russia, which actively supports President Bashar al-Assad. And unlike the stances of the majority of other nations, who, under American pressure, demand that the Syrian government agree to some sort of political solution before establishing relations with Damascus, this relationship will continue. Syrian political analyst Ayham Rifaat contends that China aims to prop up the Syrian regime by removing sanctions and ending the global boycott of the regime. That is why he is actively and justifiably trying to blame the USA for the tragedies that have occurred in Syria over the past 12 years.  The Syrian opposition was shocked by the Saudi Iranian agreement, which was initiated by Beijing, and found it to be more alarming than China’s criticism of Washington. The deal opens the door for the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Iran, a steadfast ally of the regime, and Saudi Arabia, the biggest backer of the opposition. The Syrian government enthusiastically embraced the agreement and applauded China’s “sincere efforts,” while the opposition voiced concerns. The Syrian Foreign Ministry made a statement that “this action will strengthen security and stability in the area” and expressed optimism that similar initiatives would continue.  The agreement is also expected to strengthen ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia, eliminate economic restrictions on the Syrian government, and pave the way for a larger Arab normalization, according to the government. Iran has aided the Syrian regime in its protracted conflict for 12 years, much like Moscow. Via Iranian, Iraqi, and Lebanese militia, Tehran supported war operations financially and militarily. This had some effect on Syria’s political and military choices. Saudi Arabia, a major backer of the overthrow of the Syrian government, gave the opposition political and military assistance in the meantime. Both the opposition and the government are unsure whether Saudi Arabia or Iran will change their stances on the Syrian crisis as a result of this agreement, or the Syrian situation will be omitted and nothing will change because it is a “sensitive matter” for Washington. China’s efforts come at a time when USA-China relations are very tense, especially after Chinese balloons were spotted over US territory and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a trip to Beijing that would have helped mend bilateral relations. Congress debates China’s danger to US hegemony abroad while tensions over Taiwan remain high. Washington is also strengthening relations with China’s neighbors by building anti-Chinese alliances, particularly with Japan, Australia and India. Washington threatened sanctions if Beijing gave Moscow the armaments it needed to fend off Western aggression against Russia in Ukraine. The deal also comes at a time when relations between the USA and Saudi Arabia are at an all-time low, especially in light of the latter’s decision to cut oil production in violation of American recommendations that it not do so. Yet, all of this is taking place while Russia-Saudi Arabia relations have significantly improved, and both countries’ oil policies have been aligned to equitably export their oil and carbon resources. Ironically, it is now the producing countries that choose the export policies of their vital raw materials for the entire world rather than the West. Some in the Syrian opposition believe that Iran will struggle to keep its end of the bargain and will continue to provide substantial support to Bashar al-Assad’s legitimately elected government, including by keeping its advisers and Hezbollah volunteers in Syria. However, all of these specific requirements were spelled out in the agreement with Saudi Arabia. The more optimistic opposition camp believes that a Saudi-Iranian agreement will bring the region’s controversies to an end. If the deal is implemented, it could be used to “put out the fire,” reducing tensions between the main opposition supporters and the official authorities. This might compel everyone involved in the Syrian conflict to abide by international resolutions pertaining to a political settlement in the nation. “It is a victory for China to impose itself as a strategic player in the Gulf region,” according to Syrian researcher Mahmoud Othman.  The deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran represents a geopolitical challenge for Washington in the 21st century, an unprecedented historical turning point, opening not only the era of China, but also of Russia in the Middle East, and possibly worldwide. This means “any Iranian aggression against Saudi Arabia will be deterred by China not the US. More accurately, Gulf security in general, and Saudi security in particular, has become China’s responsibility when in the past it was Washington’s.” What will occur in Syria next is hard to foresee. It would be challenging for Saudi Arabia to abruptly change sides and back the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, who was duly elected to office. The Iran deal is one thing, but one with the regime is quite different and needs to be based on a lot of other considerations and calculations. Yet, it is certain that China, which has attacked the US presence in Syria and started the agreement to reconcile Iran and Saudi Arabia, has entered a new stage in its efforts to establish itself as a significant political force in the region. Russia and China stand at the forefront to ensure the security of the entire region, not just Syria. This is what was implied during the Russian-Syrian talks in Moscow. It is quite obvious that the multipolar world policy, developed and actively promoted by Moscow, is really making its way even in such a turbulent region as the Middle East. Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Syria on the Way to a Possible Settlement of the Conflict появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Middle East, Politics, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA]

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[l] at 3/27/23 12:59am
Mongolia is increasingly in the sights of most major geopolitical players, according to modern experts in the field of international relations. For example, the United States intends to establish an Indo-Pacific region in which Mongolia will play an important ideological and political role. Mongolia is regarded as an important East Asian “dialogue partner” by South Korean and British politicians. Investment cooperation is intensifying everywhere, numerous business forums are being held, and the participation of extra-regional economic agents in the development of deposits on the country’s territory is expanding. Japan is also looking to expand its presence in Mongolia. It is constructing road infrastructure, re-equipping thermal power plants, and constructing and jointly operating a new international airport in Mongolia. Despite its small population, the Japanese are becoming increasingly interested in Mongolia’s natural resources and labor force. In the 21st century, the big capitalist countries have to resort to sophisticated methods of “bribing” and “persuading smaller partners to cooperate” in order to carry out the very selfish plans of economic giants in small developing countries. This is accomplished by the United States through ideological solidarity and the promotion of democratic and liberal values. South Korea and the United Kingdom are more concerned with cultural and linguistic means. Against this backdrop, China has long opted for economic stimulation. Japan, on the other hand, is charting its own, largely distinct course. In its strategy of expanding its influence in Mongolia, Japan emphasizes the development of humanitarian cooperation. It is based on Japan’s funding of social and humanitarian programs and projects in Mongolia. It is carried out through various Japanese organizations, such as the Japan International Cooperation Association (JICA), the Japan International Cooperation Bank (JBIC) and the Japan Foundation, and through numerous Mongolian-Japanese programs, such as the Joint Loan Facility, non-project official assistance, the Export Credit Line and Grassroots. Japanese financial aid since 1991 has reached three billion dollars, accounting for more than 30% of all foreign aid Mongolia has received in 31 years.  And if in the 1990s, most of the Japanese money was invested in Mongolia’s democratic and market institutions, since the early 2000s, partnership in the field of humanitarian programs has come to the fore. In particular, bilateral cooperation in health care has been actively developing. In May 2012, the countries signed an agreement to build a hospital at the Medical Research University of Mongolia. The facility was built with $68 million in Japanese donations. As part of the Grassroots charity program, medical facilities in 16 aimags of the country as well as the city of Ulaanbaatar were renovated. In 2021, Japan donated $8 million to Mongolia to fight coronavirus and also sent specialized equipment to the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind. On January 5, 2023, the two sides signed a memorandum on health cooperation, agreeing on the details of Japan’s participation in Mongolia’s national Healthy Mongolian project. The plans for bilateral cooperation for the coming years included the prospect of creating a cardiovascular center, training and retraining of Mongolian doctors, as well as expanding the opportunities for Mongolian citizens to receive medical services in Japan.  The Japanese company “Tokushukai Medical Group” has declared readiness to allocate up to 43 million dollars for implementation of promising bilateral projects. Cooperation between Japan and Mongolia is dynamically developing in the field of education and youth policy. Since 2004, the Mongolian-Japanese center of support of youth cooperation has been functioning, the main direction of which is to promote learning of the Japanese language in Mongolia. In 2009-2012 within the framework of a special program of school exchanges, about 1000 Mongolian school students visited Japan. In 2011, 50 Mongolian specialists in the fields of energy, agriculture, and disaster management were sent to Japan for training. In 2012, the Mongolian Cultural Heritage Center was technically re-equipped with Japanese funds. In 2018-2021, a project to renovate and modernize schools in five districts of Ulaanbaatar was implemented with funds provided by the Japanese government on a grant basis ($18 million). Since 2019, as part of the Mongolian-Japanese humanitarian cooperation, a $51 million project for the development of higher engineering education in Mongolia has been implemented. Funding is provided by the Japan Association for International Cooperation on a grant basis. Yamaha Japan has been training music technicians for the Mongolian State Philharmonic since 2022. The year 2022 has been declared the year of exchange and friendship between Mongolian and Japanese youth. There are currently 70 Mongolian students studying in Japan on Japanese government scholarships. Through the Grassroots Program, Japan has provided free repairs and technical upgrades to 55 Mongolian schools located in 10 Mongolian aimags. The Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences has cooperation programs with 80 educational institutions and hospitals in Japan. The parties pay special attention to cooperation in the field of environmental protection and protection of the environment. In 2013, in order to support a favorable environmental situation in Mongolia, the parties developed the so-called “Joint Loan Facility.” It involves the Japanese government allocating loans on favorable terms to finance Mongolian projects to reduce hydrocarbon emissions. In particular, the mechanism provides concessional loans for the Mongolian government to buy Japanese monitoring equipment as well as to reduce air pollution in the country. In March 2019, the environment ministries of the two countries agreed to conduct a joint environmental balance study in Mongolia. In the 2010s, Japanese firms upgraded the water supply network in Ulaanbaatar, Altai and Mandalgobi with funds provided by the Japanese government as a soft loan. During the March 3, 2023 visit of State Great Khural Speaker Gombojavyn Zandanshatar to Japan, the parties announced the launch of the third phase of the small and medium-sized enterprise development and environmental protection program, which provides financial and technical support for environmentally friendly enterprises. Bilateral humanitarian cooperation is also carried out in the field of tourism development. In 2013, the two sides signed an agreement on the construction of a new international airport in the Khushig Valley with a favorable loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation worth $210 million. Japanese corporations Mitsubishi and Chiyoda are involved in the project. The final cost of the project has reached $476 million. Within 15 years from the date of commissioning, the airport will be jointly managed by the Mongolian state company Khushig Valley Airport Company and Japanese Airport Management LLC, after which it will be fully transferred to Mongolia. Also, during a meeting between the State Great Khural Speaker Zandanshatar and the head of the Japanese parliament, representatives of the two countries expressed their desire to simplify the procedure for obtaining visas for Mongolian citizens traveling to Japan. Other bilateral humanitarian cooperation projects include the technical re-equipment of the Ulaanbaatar city fire departments in 2012, the construction of the Solar Bridge in downtown Ulaanbaatar, Japanese participation in financing the Mongolian programs “New Railway,” “Housing for 100,000 Families,” “Development of Small and Medium Industries,” and the opening in 2013 of an export credit line worth $58 million to fight poverty in Mongolia. So, how does Japan use such peace-loving initiatives to satisfy and protect its interests in developing countries? First, actively promoting the development of various regions of the world is intended to improve Japan’s image in the international arena and strengthen its credibility at the UN as the country seeks permanent membership in the UN Security Council, which can be facilitated by the support of the majority of the organization’s members. In bilateral joint statements, Mongolia, in particular, expresses its solidarity with Japan on this issue on a regular basis. Japan’s “development assistance” is viewed by the UN as a tool for addressing global economic and social issues. Second, the provision of concessional loans to developing countries, including Mongolia, is a government tool to stimulate Japanese industrial exports during the prolonged economic downturn. (Japan’s average annual GDP growth rate has not exceeded 1.5% since 1992). The terms of concessional loans frequently include the purchase of Japanese machinery and equipment, denying developing countries access to a competitive international market. Also, creating a favorable image of Japan in Mongolia is a means to strengthen political influence as well as a kind of “advertisement” for Japanese goods on the Mongolian market (43% of Mongolians view Japan “very positively” and another 41% view it “rather positively”). Third, Japan’s funding of a number of Mongolian government programs is intended to make the Mongolian political elite to a certain extent dependent on Japanese aid, because the rejection of it will be accompanied by an increase in the deficit of the Mongolian state budget (the budget for 2023 was approved with a deficit of 2.6% of GDP, in previous years the figure was as high as 7%). Most of Japan’s financial aid goes to support budget projects. At the same time, Mongolian politicians’ hopes for more aid will push them to cooperate with Japan, shrinking the room for political maneuvering in directions that are disadvantageous to Japan. Fourth, grant aid for transport and infrastructure facilities is designed to increase the possibility of exporting Mongolia’s natural resources to Japan by modernizing the country’s rail and road networks. Currently, this opportunity is not available because of China’s monopoly on the transit of Mongolian exports to Asia-Pacific countries. Fifth, the promotion of the Japanese language and culture in Mongolia through educational programs and youth exchanges is intended to create a long-term favorable “conductive environment” in Mongolia for Japanese business plans. Thus, the “generous” humanitarian partnership between Japan and Mongolia is only a tool to meet the needs of Japanese authorities and major business. A number of projects focused on long-term economic benefits are artificially equated by the parties with humanitarian and charitable ones. And those projects that do not involve direct material benefit work to promote Japan as a great friend and partner of Mongolia, justifying Japanese ambitions in that country, which will not weaken for a very long time to come. Boris Kushkhov, the Department for Korea and Mongolia at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Japan and Mongolia: How Economic Giants are Strengthening Small States появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Central Asia, Columns, Economics, Featured, Locations, Mongolia, Economic cooperation, Economic development, Geopolitics, Japan]

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[l] at 3/27/23 12:59am
On March 15, two days after the conclusion of China’s annual “Two Sessions”, Xinhua News Agency reported an equally remarkable event that was in fact a continuation of the previous one. The Chinese Communist Party officials hosted a video conference, which was titled “Path towards Modernization: The Responsibility of Political Parties,” in which the Chinese President introduced the Global Civilization Initiative, while speaking to a number of overseas colleagues. It should immediately be noted that it is in complete accordance with the original idea of creating a “Community of One Destiny,” which was advanced by the same Chinese leader in late 2012 early 2013 when he became the country’s top official. The mere existence of this event, its main theme, and the Chinese President’s vision of key global problems and approaches to their resolution must surely draw attention. Specifically, the Chinese leader’s words about the substantive aspect of “Modernization” itself, in the center of which the individual with his concerns and problems, living anywhere in the world, is placed. And this at a time when entire peoples are viewed as commodities in global political bargaining, and sometimes simply cannon fodder. Meanwhile, the category of “Inclusiveness,” which implies participation by all countries and peoples, regardless of their domestic and foreign political characteristics and preferences, is central to the Chinese leader’s Initiative. Because of its semantic content, a Global Times commentator, was able to compare it to other, once popular global concepts. For example, the one implying the inevitability of the “Clash of Civilizations.” According to the author of the aforementioned commentary, this latter concept (based on the thesis that “the hatred and estrangement among different civilizations” cannot be eradicated), as well as other similar concepts, serve to interfere with the organization of mutually beneficial international cooperation. Xi Jinping’s “Initiative” places an equal emphasis on respect for the civilizational diversity. This once served as justification for China’s own path to “modernization.” In turn, it corresponds to the Chinese Communist Party’s original ideological concept of “Building a Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Last year’s 20 th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress, followed by the aforementioned Two Sessions, falls within this concept. However, noting that the ongoing “modernization” is “rooted in the Chinese national tradition,” the PRC leader cited other countries’ experiences. He believes that this could aid in the development of the latter. According to Xinhua News Agency, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and the president of the African National Congress participated in the video conference, along with 500 party representatives from 150 countries. The latter expressed their highest regard for the Chinese leader’s Initiative. However, while “the world is full of kind people,” there are those who are difficult to categorize as such. This, in fact, is the root of all global turmoils. It is especially doubtful that the leaders of the AUKUS member countries who gathered in San Diego, California, USA (exactly at the same time as the Chinese President was presenting his “Initiative”) can be qualified in this way. Note the fact that AUKUS is commonly defined as a “military-political alliance uniting Anglo-Saxon countries.” There appears to be little justification in this definition for using almost all of the words which has already been discussed in the NEO. The choice of San Diego for the AUKUS summit was not accidental, since this city is the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command, which includes the largest group of the US Navy. And the “naval theme” was the primary reason for the event under discussion (as, indeed, the very fact of the formation of AUKUS). Not even “naval” in general, but specifically “nuclear submarine-related.” According to the Joint Statement of the meeting’s participants, there was no indication of the possibility of expanding AUKUS competence beyond the initial, narrowly specific business project Tobias Ellwood, the chair of UK’s defense select committee, suggested the AUKUS agreement expand to include India and Japan two months before the San Diego summit, but his suggestion was not reflected in the mentioned document. As for declarations of readiness to “protect freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region shoulder to shoulder,” this can also be done within the framework of long-standing bilateral agreements in the US-Australia-UK triangle. That is, nothing has been added to the actual original goals of AUKUS, coming from the US and UK, which was (approximately): “To take control of the process of equipping the Australian Navy with new submarines from France.” The Chinese Global Times has captured this goal-setting in graphic images, as it always does. Beijing’s reaction to the San Diego summit was predictable, both in general and in detail. Doubts have been raised, in particular, about compliance of the initiative for equipping the Australian Navy with American multi-purpose Virginia-class submarines and then building new submarines in the country, which will be developed by UK and US shipbuilding companies, with IAEA requirements. Notwithstanding this, the Joint Statement’s authors assert that said compliance is up to par. It should also be noted that Anthony Albanese’s center-left government, which took power in Australia last May, intends to at least partially overcome the blockages in relations with China created (mostly in the final stages) by its center-right predecessors. That is, it appears that in relations with China, Anthony Albanese would gladly continue concentrating on extraordinarily lucrative sales of iron ore, coal, fossil fuels, sheep, grain, wine, and seafood to this country. But once more, he is faced with challenges that appear to be difficult to conquer. In order to ensure that American Virginia-class submarines are stationed in Australian ports, purchase the identical ones for his own Navy, and subsequently construct further nuclear submarines, he will have to use the money well-earned through trade with China. Thus putting a completely superfluous test on the entire framework of Sino-Australian relations. On the whole, the two events being hold practically simultaneously are the most obvious to demonstrate the cross-road that the major participants in the current stage of the Global Great Game are approaching. Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение The Chinese leader’s new “Global Security Initiative” and the latest AUKUS summit появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: China, Columns, Eastern Asia, Featured, Locations, Politics, AUKUS, Geopolitics, PRC, USA]

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[l] at 3/26/23 11:10pm
In 1947 the socially notorious Welsh poet Dylan Thomas wrote the untitled poem beginning “Do not go gentle into that good night”. In it he exhorts the unknown addressee, often presumed to be his dying father, to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. In the pitiful backwater that is Brexit Britain, friendless, alone and going nowhere but down, this poem has particular significance. The “good night” is the inevitable collapse of the Revolt of the Dispossessed which lay behind the Brexit dream. Those who still pretend this isn’t happening are not going gentle but raging, hoping the same old arguments will somehow become true if they scream them louder, and make them badges of honour they think will protect them from the Day of Reckoning. No British voter is able to move on from Brexit because of the economic and social damage it is causing them, but also because its proponents have a cop out. Those who didn’t support Brexit still think the reality of it will eventually win the other side over to their point of view, and they are correct in that. But the Brexiteers don’t care if anyone agrees with them. Their arguments remain exactly the same as before the referendum, because they can’t point to anything positive Brexit has produced which they can argue for. If anyone disagrees, they can simply be branded, as ever, as Enemies of the People, crooks conspiring against the whole population, rapidly dwindling though that “whole population” actually is. Will anything change that? Is there a way the supporters of the Great Con can avoid ending up like the lonely madmen who still scrawl “Hitler Lives” on the back of the Komgresshalle in Nuremberg Finally there appears to be one. Rather than the ranks collapsing from within, one of the few figures on the other side who Brexiteers respect has changed the terms of the argument when all others have failed. He never set out to do this, and must be humbled at sleepwalking into being his country’s salvation. However Brexiteers can now face the reality without fear, as the enemy now has discovered a human and sympathetic face. More Important Than Life and Death Former England football international Gary Lineker is many things to many people. But above all he is regarded as a nice guy, and as he was never yellow carded during his playing career, despite being a striker subject to often brutal provocation by defenders, this seems to be one example where fan worship is fully justified. Lineker scored 48 goals for England, one short of the national record, and gained much sympathy when his manager took him off during his final game when he was trying to break that record. Given that he is also highly articulate, knowledgeable and handsome, it was perhaps inevitable that he was invited to join the BBC as a sports presenter when his playing days were over, soon fronting its flagship football programme, Match of the Day. Brexit supporters, like football fans, come in all shapes and sizes. But there is a symbiotic relationship between staples of the English tradition, such as football, and those who feel left behind in a world controlled by other people. England invented the game, its league and first cup competitions are the oldest in the world and the competitive structure of the English game has been copied in practically every country. This is the sort of tradition Brexiteers see as threatened by foreigners, or non-white British, hence the objections to clubs buying success when their funds come from foreign sources. Nevertheless, even the most ardent foreign-basher will still turn out to support their favourite club, whatever the composition of the team, management or ownership, because the club can absorb any individual into the tradition it represents. The same is also true in reverse: few saw Lineker as a traitor when he exchanged Everton for Barcelona, even though some would maintain that his views might then have been corrupted by exposure to nasty foreign ways. It can therefore be said that football is part of the Brexiteer’s self-proclaimed identity, regardless of the range of views of English football supporters as a whole. In their view, the “real” supporter is the dispossessed Brexiteer, for whom the club and the game are more important than foreign innovations. But this also means that Gary Lineker, the face of football, is someone they instinctively feel a bond with. Whatever his politics are, he is on their side by default. Events have now shown that football may not be more important than politics, but the love of football is. Loudmouth in Sheep’s Clothing   Like any other individual in the UK, Gary Lineker has political views and the right to express them freely. He does this quite a lot on social media, and has developed a reputation as a left-leaning liberal, not an extremist but someone identified with the “trendy” positions Brexiteers blame for everything. But Lineker holds these views as exactly that: a private individual. He has no connection with BBC political programming, and never talks about politics in his sports presenting work. Indeed he can be said to be highly professional in this area. Whilst he was being sued by another player, Harry Kewell, for comments he had made in a newspaper article, Lineker discussed Kewell as he would any other player, which played a part in the case being settled without money changing hands. Nor is Lineker asked to contribute to anything other than sports programmes, precisely because his views are his own, he doesn’t represent any party, group or ideology. BBC presenters operate under “impartiality guidelines”. They are not supposed to go mouthing off about politics in case their personal views are taken as those of the BBC itself. However those same guidelines specify that “The risk is lower where an individual is expressing views publicly on an unrelated area, for example, a sports or science presenter expressing views on politics or the arts.” There are many Brexiteers who would disagree with Gary Lineker’s Twitter comment that the UK government’s new refugee policy is “immeasurably cruel” and “expressed in language not dissimilar to that used in Germany in the 1930s”. If a politician said that, they would be dismissed out of hand as someone out to destroy the good, decent football fans who are rapidly losing their remaining jobs and hope. But this is Gary Lineker, their own Golden Boy, the face of what they say they are. Attack him, you attack the tradition you claim to be defending against views such as these. Lineker isn’t a direct BBC employee, he is a freelancer, so how far the guidelines even apply to him is an open question unless he is commenting in an official, work-related capacity. But the BBC thought that Tweet was a step too far. It was announced that Lineker had “agreed to step back” from presenting Match of the Day until agreement was reached over his social media usage. Lineker made it clear through other outlets that he had not agreed to anything of the kind, they had suspended him. Cue petitions in his favour signed by hundreds of thousands of people. Cue all the other BBC sports presenters refusing to present programmes either, and football managers refusing to give interviews to the BBC unless they could complain about how Lineker was being treated for exercising his democratic rights. Now the BBC has backed down, and announced a review of its guidelines, and Lineker will be returning to Match of the Day, at least for now. For the first time in recent history, it matters what sort of person someone is, not what his politics are, despite all the Brexiter attempts to make the opposite hold true forever. The BBC has behaved exactly as the Brexiteers maintain the EU does, subverting their traditions and interests with petty regulations. So the large percentage of Brexiteers who have supported Lineker in this row can be said to have now started to believe that it isn’t Remainers who are their enemies, but the British institutions they claim to uphold, who are attacking their cherished values to a greater degree. Penny for the Guy Lineker wouldn’t be the first popular figure from outside politics to change the paradigm of public debate. In one particular case it only took one comment to demonstrate to the public that what they didn’t like was more important than the people they held responsible for it, and their own side was doing it, not the supposed enemy. In the 1970s Astrid Lindgren, author of the globally popular Pippi Longstocking children’s books, complained that she was being taxed at over 100% of her earnings by the Swedish government. The Social Democrats had been in power for 40 years, but lost the subsequent election largely because of this. Taxing “class enemies” for the common good was one thing, but bleeding dry one of the people’s own, whatever their politics might have been, was quite another. The government had become the enemy of the very people they claimed to be representing, using the very same repressive methods they accused the other side of using. Nor would this development come as a surprise to those who lived under Communism, and saw all its egalitarian ideals create a self-perpetuating elite even more restrictive and out of touch than the one before, and behaving in the same way. Nor to the residents of countries where the military has taken over to restore order, then created more chaos than before, or where the US controls the national government to ensure democratic standards are met, but is the prime mover in preventing those ever existing. In each of those other cases the new broom which swept the same old rubbish into people’s faces defended itself with the same old arguments. Intellectually, the arguments still held some water. But this did not obscure the fact that the things people didn’t like, the ones which had resulted in that group gaining power, were still there because the current rulers were forcing them on them, and the public hadn’t grown to like these abuses over the years. The BBC is often accused by its critics of left-wing bias. More recently the extent of what former news presenter Emily Maitlis has described as “infiltration” by the Conservative Party has been revealed. The public doesn’t like either side controlling its media companies. Gary Lineker has unwittingly brought this fact to a head, just when we thought the same old arguments would be enough to disguise what has always been going on. No Way Back to Nowhere  Will this issue go away, now Lineker has been partially reinstated? Not on your life. What the incident has exposed is still there, and won’t go away unless someone else comes along, promising to rescue everyone from Brexit and its underlying ideology. At present, no one is doing that. Politicians of all stripes are still running scared of Brexiteers because they are so loud and aggressive, not because they have a majority any more. No party which might win significant votes is saying “enough is enough”, rather than offering to pilot the sinking ship onto different rocks. No one could call Gary Lineker loud and aggressive though. Here is the opportunity to replace that behaviour with decency even the most ardent Brexiteer can’t claim is unwelcome. No one needs to argue about Brexit anymore, only about the corruption the EU was once accused of, but is now more visible in the ranks of the Brexit government and its patsies. The answer is not, in itself, reversing Brexit but in making a new “no victor, no vanquished” speech, attacking the abuses themselves, not whomever they are associated with. Within that paradigm, the EU is a means of improving the living standards and influence of the UK,  including for those most stridently opposed to immigrants taking their jobs and homes, or roaming around living on benefits, or both simultaneously. It won’t be the means of preventing the abuses of the present UK government, but if others are doing that, this will be irrelevant. The UK has a way out because everyone wants to be Gary Lineker, and be seen supporting him, whatever they think of his politics. His country may not have known this itself a few weeks ago, but if it really wants to do what is in its best interests, which it will eventually conclude is its best option, putting values over enemies is the way to do it. Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Сообщение UK Football Presenter Succeeds Where “Politicians Have Failed!” появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Society, Great Britain, Internal policy]

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[l] at 3/25/23 10:59pm
The recently concluded summit consolidated Russia’s and China’s joint bid to challenge the US-dominated global system as well as concerted US efforts to undermine, using any means, emerging global powers. That the push to challenge this system is gaining momentum, evident from the support that both Russia and China continue to receive from the non-Western world, has left the West – especially, the US – paranoid about the future of the system they created after the Second World War. This growing paranoia is at the heart of an arrest warrant that the International Criminal Court issued last week against Putin. Ridiculous as this may sound, such actions only reveal the West’s inner anxieties about the failure of their combined efforts to defeat Russia in Ukraine. On the contrary, even as reports in the mainstream US media show, assembling enough military strength from within NATO countries for Ukraine against Russia has become an extremely difficult task, as more and more NATO countries are becoming “worried” about their own ammunition stockpiles. In addition to this, as reports in the US media show, there are growing differences between Washington and Kyiv as well with regard to the conduct of the war. How will Russia be defeated in such a case? For many Western powers – especially, the US and its old allies (the UK) – this is nothing short of a nightmare. This nightmare is exacerbated by the Russia-China alliance. China, as it stands, has more manufacturing capacity today than the US-Europe combined. And, it is strong enough a military power to confront any western power in the Pacific or beyond. What can the West do to break this alliance? There is virtually no way the West can do any damage to this alliance; hence, the growing paranoia. In fact, the West’s combined failure to defeat Russia has given a bit more confidence to the Russia-China alliance to pursue its politics of creating a multipolar world. For decades, the combined West projected its supposed superiority over the non-West. China’s rapid emergence as a global power and Russia’s success against the combined strength of NATO has unambiguously proven this sense of superiority to be false. Xi, in an article he wrote for Russian media, minced no words to express the same fact: “The international community has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order. The common interest of all humankind is in a world that is united and peaceful, rather than divided and volatile.” Reinforcing the same, Putin said, “Our countries, together with like-minded actors, have consistently advocated the shaping of a more just multipolar world order based on international law rather than certain ”rules“ serving the needs of the “golden billion.” Russia and China have consistently worked to create an equitable, open and inclusive regional and global security system that is not directed against third countries.” For the West, this agreement is nothing short of a shock, as many western politicians and media political pundits are known to have argued for years regarding some underlying – and seemingly irreconcilable – differences between Russia and China. These differences, the argument goes, were supposed to be exacerbated by the military conflict in Ukraine. Clearly, yet another western prediction has proven to be utterly wrong and self-defeating. Now that Russia and China are not only allies but have no-limits friendship too, the West stands petrified. This alliance is not passive. It is active and dynamic and is working to reshape the world. While Russia is facing off the combined military strength of NATO in Ukraine, China recently found a big success in the Middle East where it was able to broker a peace deal between two arch-rivals: Saudi and Iran. This deal has allowed the Russia-China alliance to expand the strength of the alliance into other countries and regions, thus squeezing the space for the US and its allies. China is seeking to play the same role between Russia and Ukraine. The recent peace proposal Beijing offered is promising. Although the West has so far ignored it, the political message that this peace proposal contains is very hard for many non-western powers to ignore. In fact, its opening lines reflect the very world that China and Russia are seeking to build. The message is not only powerful but also enticing. It says: “The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations and defend international fairness and justice. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected.”  Why would countries that have traditionally been mistreated by the west reject this message and the principle of equality? Granted that absolute equality – especially in material terms – may not be possible even in the multipolar world that Russia and China are trying to build, it seems fair to emphasise that no international system can work when a few countries are able to bend rules to suit their own interests at the expense of other states. Indeed, the Iraq war would not have happened if the US had not decided to undermine the UN and act unilaterally on the basis of concocted evidence about Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction. NATO’s intervention in Libya destroyed a stable system, a fact that the British Parliament’s foreign affairs committee admitted years after completely destroying the country. Who is responsible for this destruction? Will the ICC act against the proven culprits? For the West – especially, the US – the Russia-China bid to create a new world order will create a space in which Western unilateralism would become extremely costly, especially if directed against their competitors. For them, the end of “their” world must be prevented at any cost. But the problem lies in their consistent failure in preventing this from happening and in the success of Russia and China in pushing ahead. Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.“ Сообщение Why’s the West Paranoid About the Putin-Xi Summit? появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Politics, Russia in the World, International politics, NATO, Russia]

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[l] at 3/24/23 10:59pm
Now, it is abundantly clear that the United States dishonest and aggressive Middle East strategy, which is at odds with the aspirations of the Arab world, has utterly failed. The establishment of a multipolar world by Russia, China, and Iran was a significant milestone in this process. The convergence of these three nations and the global support for this new diplomatic triangle have been impossible for the United States and its allies to prevent. Around the world, anti-Russian sentiment is being stoked to confront the White Houses growing Russophobia, Sinophobia, tightening of unlawful sanctions measures, and even outright terrorism: the illegal undermining of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea and the apparent planning of similar terrorist activities against the TurkStream in particular (the activation of flights of the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones in the Black Sea, one of which crashed on March 14, can confirm this). The US intelligence agencies continue to seek to arm ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation) fighters, particularly at the US military base Al-Tanf in Syria, in order to exacerbate the chaos in the region. According to incoming information, the Islamists would soon get several dozen four-wheel drive pickup trucks equipped with heavy machine guns, BGM-71 ТOW and NLAW missile defense systems, 9K38 Igla, and other weapons. While American hegemony, which Washington has been actively trying to impose on the world in recent years, is being eroded with each passing day, the concept of a multipolar world promoted by Russia and China is being further strengthened. Beijings efforts to mediate the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia were also a crucial stage in the process. This is supported even by American media, which saw the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran as a direct challenge to Washingtons quest for dominance in the Middle East and around the globe. The signing in Beijing on March 10 of a peace treaty between the head of Irans Supreme National Security Council and his Saudi counterpart and the decision to open Embassies within two months show the intention and willingness of Middle Eastern states to solve pressing regional problems without American involvement, to seek ways out of existing conflict situations, the vast majority of which were created and fomented by the White House. The situation in Iraq, which was invaded by the US and its allies without the consent of the UN Security Council 20 years ago, is a stark example of how Washingtons policies and authority have collapsed. The United States, which had promised to create a free nation, has reduced this nation to corruption and the ruins of what was once a powerful, affluent state, and has thrown it into an economic and political catastrophe. The US invasion, civil war and rampant terrorism killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. By international agreement, the United States and its allies attack was unleashed to enable the Anglo-Saxons unchecked looting of Iraqs economy and oil fields. According to Orientalists, it was this policy that led to a surge of sectarian conflict, rampant terrorism and a series of civil wars throughout the Middle East. The US intervention, like with past armed aggressions by Washington in recent decades, has shown Americas dedication to militarily interfering in sovereign states and utterly eliminating their statehood, which is openly despised in the Middle East. Washington made contempt for the interests of the countries in the region the defining feature of its policy in the rush to bolster its global hegemony following the fall of the Soviet Union. And this position was reinforced by the unrelenting US military presence in the region, the continuing attachment of Middle Eastern companies to Western markets, and the regional elites to the democratic and financial values of the United States. Following the election of US President Donald Trump, the White House began to focus primarily on the needs of Israel, so that the idea of the Abraham Accords, without resolving the Palestinian issue, began to be misrepresented in Washington as the ideal way to befriend Jews and Arabs on the grounds of instilling fear of Iran. The White House therefore experienced Irans diplomatic successes in collaboration with Russia and China as well as the “treachery” of former American allies, the Saudis, with great agony. Furthermore, Washingtons realization of the decline in American influence in the region was a dreadful wakeup from its previous Middle East slumber. The United States is currently unable to manage the Middle East crises and build a consensus among the regions nations due to Washingtons deadlocked relations with the major Persian Gulf powers. This became particularly clear after Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine: except from Israels modest actions, not a single nation in the area has applied even the most rudimentary sanctions against Moscow. Concurrently with Trumps 2015 decision to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran, relations between Washington and Riyadh have deteriorated significantly in recent years, and against this backdrop the Saudi government has been forced to worry about both their own security and efforts to bring about peace in the region. As a result of the US credibility being completely called into question by the White Houses tardy backing of the sheikhs activities in the adjacent Yemen, Riyadh is now looking for ways to resolve the conflict through direct communication with Tehran. And these contacts proved to be very effective, with Iran agreeing to stop clandestine arms shipments to the Houthi militia in Yemen as part of a historic agreement with Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations. The regions nations have a chance to move toward peace on their own, without relying on Washington. And since Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has invited Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi to visit Riyadh, these actions will undoubtedly be quite spectacular in the near future. In light of these circumstances, there is growing discussion in the area about the necessity for the United States to end its aggressive actions in the Middle East and sail back home before a regional wave of protest in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and many other nations forces it to do so. Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение The Collapse of U.S. Policy in the Middle East появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Middle East, Politics, Geopolitics, International politics, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UN, US agreesion, USA]

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[l] at 3/24/23 8:22am
There are numerous evaluations of the development of Mongolian attitudes towards significant global players by the international media. According to a number of international experts, the Russian Federations foreign policy actions since 2014 have allegedly pushed the Mongolian public away from Russia, forcing them to look increasingly hopeful toward their “democratic partners”. They use statements made by journalists, historians, and public personalities in Mongolia that are overtly anti-Russian and pro-Western to support their argument, omitting the reality that some “notable” and “prominent” individuals have the power to shape public opinion but they do not reflect it. In light of this, it would seem prudent to examine a thirteen-year historical cross-section of Mongolian public opinion surveys to comprehend the actual situation of events. What has changed in Mongolias view of Russia over the past few years, and how do these changes stack up against those of other political and economic powerhouses? It appears appropriate to use data from the Political Barometer, a comprehensive social survey conducted by Sant Maral, a nonprofit non-governmental research organization that has been operating in Mongolia since 1994, for this analysis. It is difficult to accuse this organization of being pro-Russian: it is far more interested in domestic socioeconomic and political issues of Mongolian citizens than in their foreign policy orientations. Moreover, all of its advisers and consultants come from the United States and Germany. Consequently, their assessments of the perception of Russia and other countries by Mongolians are clearly not adjusted in favor of the Russian Federation. Polls show that the number of pro-Russian Mongolian citizens has increased significantly, and events in Russia-West relations in 2014 and 2022 have not only not harmed Mongolians perception of Russia and Russians, but have increased Mongolians awareness of the critical role of Mongolian-Russian cooperation in this small countrys foreign policy. Despite massive anti-Russian propaganda conducted in Mongolia by Western “democratic” and “religious” NGOs, as well as some national democrats and nationalists, the image of Russia as Mongolias main foreign policy partner and Russians as the most convenient and profitable partners for Mongolians has only strengthened over the last 12 years. Over that period, citizens who consider Russia to be Mongolias best partner have increased by 13%, while the number of those who consider Russia to be one of them has grown by 10%. In reality, the events of 2014 only strengthened the Russian Federations image in Mongolia, while the image of Western states was somewhat tarnished as a result of these events. Survey data from 2013 and 2014 support this view. Thus, following the events of the Maidan in Ukraine, the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and the first wave of anti-Russian sanctions in 2014, the number of Mongolians who listed Russia as one of the countrys best partners increased by 5%, from 72 to 77%. At the same time, the majority of Mongolias democratic partners saw this indicator fall by 2%: the US, from 26 to 24 percent; the EU, from 11 to 9 percent; and Japan, from 22 to 20 percent. The perception of the Russians as the most advantageous and practical partners for the Mongolians has also grown, from 43% to 47%, while it has declined significantly for other Western partners, with the exception of South Korea. In 2022, the Mongolians didnt develop a dislike for Russia either. Russia was identified as one of Mongolias finest partners by 4% more people that year, going from 80 to 84%, while Russians were listed as the best partners for Mongolian citizens by 5% more people, going from 59 to 64% over the course of the year. 2% more respondents (42% as opposed to 40%) identified the Russians as the best partners. It turns out that Russia has maintained and strengthened its absolute leadership in these two key parameters, even at such a difficult juncture as 2021-2022. The pattern for Mongolias democratic partners in 2021–2022, however, is slightly different from that of the 2013–2014 data. Their statistics improved as well, and more quickly than Russias. In particular, the number of Mongolians who consider European Union countries to be Mongolias best partners has doubled. Comparable increases were also seen in relation to the United States, Kazakhstan, and Japan, though not to the same extent. Additionally, a growing number of Mongolians now view Western partners as useful and profitable. For example, the formerly tiny figure for EU citizens was multiplied by a factor of four during the year. Only the United States did not see an increase in this indicator among the other third neighbors. There is no doubt that the situation in 2022 is less clear-cut than it was in 2014 due to the size of the events taking place on the global stage, the presence of different states in civil society, the countless ways in which these events can be interpreted, as well as the significantly increased pressure from Western nations on Russia. Yet, there are still a great deal more pro-Russian Mongolians, and their numbers are increasing, albeit more slowly. And indeed, it cannot be denied that the number of “pro-Western” Mongolians has started to grow more quickly than it did ten years ago, albeit still being significantly less than the number of pro-Russian local citizens. But, this emergence of “Western powers” is not without its own inequalities. Several states are, in fact, progressing in the minds of Mongolians at various rates. This causes former important partners to leave their ranks and results in former minor players rising to the top positions. Notably, during the past 12 years, we have observed a gradual but very clear fall in Mongolians interest in the United States. The percentage of Mongolians who believe that the United States is their best or one of their finest partners has practically halved between 2010 and 2022, falling from 30 and 9 percent on both measures in 2010 to 18 and 5 percent in 2022. The perception of Americans as convenient and helpful partners for Mongolian nationals has declined to a similar extent. This is most likely a result of unmet high ambitions for bilateral collaboration, which have been extremely popular since the early 1990s. Mongolia started looking for such foreign policy allies after giving up the socialist development path who might assist it “ideologically” and “materially” on the new democratic path of development. The United States of America, which had the largest economy in the world and was at the time almost the sole global superpower, was considered the key partner. Even the Mongolian expression for a democratic partner that does not share a border with it, third neighbor was originally used to refer to the United States. The United States, however, really made a much less contribution to the economic and social growth of Mongolia, and it swiftly lost its position as the primary “democratic benefactor” and “liberal market partner” to nations such as Japan and the Republic of Korea. In contrast to the United States, these countries figures have significantly increased. From 8 to 25 percent, the proportion of respondents who think South Koreans make the ideal partners for Mongolian citizens has more than tripled in the past 12 years. Additional studies done among younger Mongolians reveal an even bigger rise in the two nations impact in the public, particularly the Republic of Korea. The export of the “Korean wave” to Mongolia and Japanese humanitarian activities both had positive results in this situation. By the way, the strategy of humanitarian partnerships hasnt been as successful as the export of national mass culture. For instance, very few Mongolians are aware of Japanese humanitarian efforts in their country, whereas almost all of them are familiar with Korean films, TV shows, cuisine, and pop music (which they listened or continue regularly listening to). The historical 2010-2022 cross-section thus reveals the preservation and strengthening of Russia as a key partner of Mongolia in the minds of the average Mongolian citizen, as well as the serious disappointment of Mongolians in the United States, accompanied by the gradual emergence of South Korea and Japan as Mongolias main partners among the “democratic states.” Boris Kushkhov, the Department for Korea and Mongolia at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение 2014 and 2022 Discrediting Russias image in Mongolia? появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Central Asia, Columns, Featured, Locations, Mongolia, Politics, Democracy, Russia, USA]

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[l] at 3/23/23 11:59pm
On March 19-20 in Moscow, the Russian State Duma has initiated the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia Africa in a Multipolar World,” in anticipation of the Second Economic Forum “Russia Africa,” which will start on July 26 in St. Petersburg. Participants in this meeting included representatives of more than 40 African nations, members of the Russian and African scientific, educational, and expert communities, and representatives of the government and private sector. They discussed the potential for collaboration across a range of sectors, their contribution to the African continent’s economy and security, and their work in the realms of science and education, politics, and techno-military area. The event also featured bilateral talks between Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, and State delegations of the African continent. During the conference, the African continent was invited to work together to form a new multipolar world order. This is especially important given the significant human resources of Africa, which is home to more than 1.5 billion people and has enormous mineral reserves in its soil. What’s more, while African countries still account for barely 3% of global GDP, the region’s governments have every opportunity to show the outperforming growth rates of their national economies and wealth. Yet this is only conceivable if they move away from the historical Western hegemony over the region, in which the USA, France, and Britain continue their neocolonial policies by owning African mineral and other deposits and taking 90% of the raw materials while leaving the local population with only 10%. Many African countries still have foreign contingents that, although ostensibly battling terrorism, are actually protecting the interests of former metropolises and Western capital. And local officials have long been unable to remove them from their jurisdiction. But this situation can be changed, as Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Central African Republic have demonstrated, and which several other African nations are currently working to achieve. Such states have successfully shifted their foreign policies and foreign relations away from the former Western metropolises, which have already demonstrated aggressive intentions in this region, towards Russia, China, and the BRICS group, which seek to form a fair and independent multipolar world. As stated by Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador at Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the eve of the start of the international parliamentary conference, this conflict for Africa is taking place in the face of increased efforts by the United States, Canada, and the European Union to pressure African countries to sever relations with Moscow. The Russian envoy claimed that people from Washington “actually besiege” the governments, parliaments, and leaders of Africa virtually daily. For example, Oleg Ozerov recalled how US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke about sanctions on Russia while touring African countries, and moved to explicit dictates and threats, and demanded that cooperation between African states and Russia be limited, which is unacceptable in the modern world. Russia benefits from the growth and expansion of its relations with Africa since, in addition to China, India, and other friendly Eurasian nations, it gains access to a market of 5 billion people, even without the participation of Western nations. This expands joint export and trade opportunities tenfold. Relations between Russia and the nations of Africa have always been based on an equal, altruistic foundation, in contrast to Western nations, who still maintain a colonial strategy in their approach to the continent. Furthermore, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the writing off of more than $20 billion in debts owed by African countries during the International Parliamentary Conference. However, it should be recalled that Moscow began to write off African states’ debts even earlier, during the era of intensive collaboration between the Soviet Union and African countries. In the last two decades, this process has been especially vigorous. Thus, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, $140 billion of debts have been written off since 2000. Nothing of the kind is happening on the part of Western countries and, especially, former metropolises, but on the contrary, their policy of ruthless enrichment at the expense of the appropriation of natural wealth and welfare of African countries is intensifying. These facts objectively explain why Russia and African countries have maintained their usually high level of engagement in a variety of disciplines. Cooperation in the realm of education is a particularly clear illustration of this. Now, in Russia, there are more than 27 thousand African students, a fifth of whom study at the expense of the federal budget, and this annual quota of admission to public places will more than double as President Vladimir Putin emphasized in his speech. Recognizing the importance of providing grain and agricultural products to the poorest African states in order to prevent hunger on the continent, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during his speech at the Parliamentary Conference that if the grain deal is not extended, Russia is ready to supply the entire volume that was sent in the previous period free of charge to particularly needy African countries. Russia has recently been actively engaging with African countries to combat terrorism and militant activities of all orientations, as mentioned during the conference. This is reinforced, in particular, by official information and public comments in Mali, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, and a number of other countries where France and the EU have promised to construct a peaceful life in recent years but have done very little. Moreover, attempts by the West’s so-called “peacekeeping contingent” to enrich themselves through criminal ties with local militants, instead of fulfilling their direct duties, continue unabated. The Democratic Republic of the Congo media, in particular, wrote about this, pointing to the illegal transfer of weapons by such “peacekeepers” to militants. The Central African Republic news agency further stated that it has acquired evidence of radicals being aided by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA).  It has also been reported that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) may act as a middleman in the delivery of munitions from Bulgaria to Ukraine, making it not a peacekeeping contingent but an outright initiator of armed conflict. Given these facts, it is not surprising that at the demand of the African populace the French forces were compelled to depart from a number of countries where they had previously been stationed for many years. The African countries and Russia’s initiatives in the international arena have already given the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia Africa in a Multipolar World” a substantial number of favorable reviews. For instance, Cipriano Cassamá, President of the National People’s Assembly of the Guinea-Bissau, praised Russia, calling it “a great nation and a powerful country,” and expressed his admiration over the fact that Moscow continues to support other nations despite increased Russophobic insinuations from the West. He emphasized that the people of this nation will continue to stand in solidarity with Moscow, particularly as they work together to create a multipolar world. According to Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, the decolonization of the majority of African nations marked the beginning of the new world order, and he also recalled that Russia had actually provided moral and military support for the decolonized African nations. Therefore, in his opinion, Russia and Africa must act as a “counterweight” in the multipolar world that is developing since stability cannot be preserved under the rule of a hegemon, a position that the United States is vehemently and fruitlessly claiming. Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Russia and Africa Building a New Multipolar World Together появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Africa, Columns, Featured, Locations, Politics, International politics, Russia]

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[l] at 3/23/23 6:59pm
My country is failing, falling into the same dismal slough all dying empires are swallowed by. The Senators and Caesars of America have one last hope of holding onto their gain. If they can sew hatred and bitterness between brothers on the Russian steppe, the old western world order can buy time. They can hang on a little longer to their unimaginable wealth and power. Perhaps. I have a friend in Russia whose wife begged him to take his family away from the border of conflict. Her reasoning was sound: save her small children in case the NATO threat flooded Russia’s western borders. Her husband, one of my closest Russian friends did what he had to, but not for reasons the New York Times or the mighty White House press department would seek advantage from. This stout and capable friend, I’ll call him Valsily here, after the hero Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev, the famous sniper of WW2, is Russian through and through. Brave, capable, and honest as the day is long, he lives half in and half out of the forests and the traditions that fortify Russia. What I mean to say is, combat would never be a reason for him to flee. Save two purposes, that is. If your brothers and cousins live over the border in Ukraine, or Latvia or another corner of crisis, the probability of killing some of them is too much to ask. Russians and Ukrainians have no real hatred for one another. The hate that caused this conflict was manufactured through extremist groups like the Bandera/Nazis, and NGOs run by our CIA and people like George Soros. But this is what America’s President Joe Biden, and the ghastly mafia that has gripped my country want. It’s the reason Ukraine is not already a smoldering pile of ashes. Russia’s Putin has informed the world of this many times, but his voice is muffled by censors in the west. “Enmity and its synonyms hostility, animosity, and animus all indicate deep-seated dislike or ill will. Enmity (which derives from an Anglo-French word meaning enemy) suggests true hatred, either overt or concealed.” Webster’s Dictionary In Russia, especially on the borders of this conflict, there are hundreds of thousands, like Vasily, torn between the love of country, and other devotions even more sacred. Several hundred thousand reservists have already donned their plate armored vests and AK-47s to push NATO and Nazis out of neighboring Ukraine. Within their ranks, I also have friends torn just like Vasily is torn. So, darkly and horrifically, the deep state who envisioned Ukraine’s Euromaidan has won a war for hearts and minds in Ukraine. Those scoundrels who faked a Minsk peace deal, and who turned eastern Ukraine into a kind of Maginot Line (WW2 fortifications), are only evil, not stupid. They know how to create perpetual chaos better than any cabal or tribe on earth. “Hatred is corrosive of a persons wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nations spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a societys tolerance and humanity, and block a nations progress to freedom and democracy.” Liu Xiaobo Unfortunately for the American empire, they built, greed and arrogance blended with mediocrity is their undoing. The elite order has thrown everything they have at Vladimir Putin and Russia, but Russia is stronger now than ever by comparison. News that banks are starting to fail in the U.S. has not been missed by the people of my country. Neither have the train or other infrastructure catastrophes. The U.S.A. is falling apart from rust and decay, and our leaders funnel trillions into the lords of Blackrock and other money-plundering pirates. And the hundreds of billions Biden and Co. are giving to the most corrupt regime on the planet are not appreciated by three hundred men, women, and children who don’t want war. In Europe, widespread protests are already popping up. A few have taken place in the U.S., for the idiocy of it all is so powerful, the nightly news cannot keep a lid on it. No, dear George Soros, the enmity you and your henchmen drove between liberal and conservative Americans won’t hold long now. When we’re all digging in the dirt for a turnip root to feed our kids, your billions and even your existence will be forfeit. “Oh, sure, we have another world war coming, and another great depression, but where are the leaders this time?” Kurt Vonnegut The European Union will soon disintegrate, as it should have decades ago. When your Zelensky demands Greek, Romanian, and Croatian soldiers to fill his destroyed ranks, Germany will be leading nothing. Brussels will go back to being just a town, only a much poorer place to live than before NATO promised protection for all. The Russians will not even have to invade after a while now. Once the monetary bubble bursts, poverty, and loss will rip the treaty alliances in the west to bits. The enemies the brains on Think Tank Row in Washington picked this time are too many and too powerful. This big stall by Biden’s handlers, will not work. Slav against Slav, everybody in the world knows who did this. But the real fall is coming not because our leaders are found out, but because empires built by conquest, always fail. Enmity sewn by my country in the past has transmuted. Now, in the face of an unrelenting, godless, and unquenchable hegemony, China, Russia, India, the expanding BRICS nations, and much of the rest of the world have reason to embrace one another. The hatred America planted all over the earth, will now haunt my poor countrymen. It’s not what I would have ever wished for, but the “Whore of Babylon” will surely suffer as it said in the Bible. God help us at harvest time. Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Сообщение Operation Enmity: A Holding Action появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Politics, USA in the World, Geopolitics, NATO, Ukraine, US agreesion, USA]

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[l] at 3/23/23 2:42pm
Fumio Kishida, the current Prime Minister of Japan, was at the heart of a number of significant events that occurred over the course of a very brief (one-week) period in March of this year and had a significant impact on the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. Furthermore, the sheer fact that these events are happening makes it increasingly obvious that Japans influence at the Great Global Game table is expanding. The first event in the preceding chronology occurred on March 15-16. South Koreas President Yoon Suk-yeol paid a two-day visit to Tokyo, which was significant in itself, and met with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. At the final news conference, the participants verbally conveyed the major outcomes of the discussions. Given that there have been no summits between Japan and South Korea since 2011, and that the relationship between the two countries has been, to put it mildly, very tense over the past two to three decades, the main success of this event should be seen in the fact that it even took place. Among the various issues that have prevented these relations from becoming more or less trustworthy are recent legal claims by Seoul against Tokyo regarding the forced recruitment of Koreans for labor by some Japanese companies during World War II. It should be noted that, based on the public rallies held on the streets of Seoul during the presidents visit to Japan, the presidents intention to resolve this problem through some kind of compromise is not met with undivided enthusiasm among his countrymen. Naturally, the mere fact that these talks took place was met with complete acceptance in Washington, where plans to form a trilateral alliance have long been nurtured, despite the turmoil between Tokyo and Seoul. However, the press conference also mentioned the importance of restarting the stalled trilateral talks with the participation of Beijing. That is, Japan and South Korea are by no means closing the window of opportunity for developing relations with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) as well. The day after this event, Fumio Kishida held another, no less significant one related to German Chancellor Olaf Scholzs visit to Japan on March 18. Let us reiterate what was previously noted in the NEO in the context of last Novembers bilateral meeting in the 2+2 format (that is, with the participation of foreign and defense ministers): namely, the United Kingdom remains the leader among Japans partners, despite the growing importance of the European vector in Tokyos foreign policy. This is especially true in the defense sector, as evidenced by the March 17 meeting of the defense ministers of Japan, Britain and Italy in Tokyo (on the eve of the Fumio Kishida Olaf Scholz summit). One of the primary topics of discussion at this occasion was the implementation of the Japanese-British effort to develop a sixth-generation fighter jet. Now, Italy will be one of its co-executors. The sides formed Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) with a primary focus on economic security in a Joint Statement signed at the conclusion of the 1st Japan-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations. Note, however, that during the activities that followed the German Chancellors visit to Japan, significant emphasis was paid to the security sector even in the “usual” interpretation. Overall, the outcomes of the recent Japanese-German summit show the growth of the key World War II losers process of moving by touch towards one another. Two days later, the Japanese Prime Minister traveled to India for three days where he met with Narendra Modi. Since we are discussing the potential for the establishment of relationships between two of the many major players in the developing regional game, this event, out of all those previously discussed, has garnered the greatest interest. Despite the fact that the numbers describing the current level of bilateral economic cooperation appear to be fairly low in comparison to what each member has accomplished, for instance, with China and the United States. We highlight two of the tangible outcomes of Fumio Kishidas journey. Initially, it was declared that a program to extend Japans economic presence in the Indo Pacific Region and in general in countries now popularly referred to as the Global South would be launched. Second, as the organizer of all G7 events this year, Narendra Modi was invited as a guest to the next summit in the given configuration, which is slated for May and will be held in Hiroshima. The fact that this invitation has been extended fits well into the strategy of the United States, as the head of the generalized West, to include India in the camp (which is still fairly ambiguous), which seeks confrontation with the PRC and the Russian Federation. Japan, on the other hand, is clearly designated as a regional representative in this camp. Clearly, China keeps an eye on all significant Tokyo maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific region. Among those mentioned above, the last one was especially keenly observed, since it was used by the Chinese Global Times to signal the possibility of opposing blocs forming in the region. This is in stark contrast to the current PRC leaderships perspective of the world, which holds that all nations must cooperate to create a Community of Common Destiny.  Consider the following remarkable occurrence that took place at the leaders Olaf Scholz and Fumio Kishidas final press conference. We are discussing the subtle differences in how each of them responded when asked about their views on the controversial ruling by the International Criminal Court that designated President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, as a defendant (for whatever reason). In response to the question, Fumio Kishida said that he would hope to “monitor with strong interest” how the investigation developed. Which is true, given that a politician of his stature needs to be aware of everything somewhat interesting that occurs at the global gaming table. Yet that is obviously not what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz permitted himself to do. Rather vaguely but he endorsed his justice ministers vow to detain the Russian president if he appeared on German soil. In connection with the approaches to some of the values that his G7 colleagues are vigorously promoting, the author has already had reason to suspect the current Japanese Prime Minister of being a dissenter. And new facts only strengthen these suspicions. For example, the same-sex marriage bill is still being lengthily discussed. All questions should have been answered, though, now that the US ambassador to Tokyo has himself! hinted very openly on how the problem should be resolved. For a long time, Fumio Kishida also avoided answering directly another question with which he was constantly pestered by reporters. Specifically, when will he travel to Kiev, which the unnamed director of the current world drama has selected as a location of devotion, which every member of the free-democratic-civilized world should visit and bring with him the necessary offerings. Greta Thunberg previously held a position identical to this one. It is possible that in addition to Japans obvious interest in preserving the window of opportunity for developing relations with Russia in recent decades, Fumio Kishida was also guided by some (unavailable to others) information about the state and prospects of the conflict in Ukraine itself. An apparently strange claim that certain pro-Ukrainian troops were responsible for the bombing of gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea—truly the Crime of the Century—attracted attention in this regard. But the most important thing is apparently the message to the Kiev clowns, who are now being urged to be ready to take responsibility for everything. For example, for the Turkish earthquake. They probably rode too high on the Maidan, upsetting the tectonic plates, which started moving under one another and, ten years later, collided in a country that genuinely provided Bayraktars to Ukraine, causing an earthquake. And it took place right before the Ukraine project needed to be finished. But, this final display of dissent was obviously short-lived. After all, two months later, Fumio Kishida will have to host his G7 colleagues. So he didnt have to fly home from New Delhi, but had to make a long detour with a short stopover in Kiev. Yet, the offerings being brought do not appear to have contained any overtly ritual anti-Russian elements. Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Japans Prime Minister at the Center of Recent Regional Developments появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Eastern Asia, Featured, Japan, Locations, Politics, Europe, PRC, Russia, Ukraine, USA]

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[l] at 3/23/23 7:28am
One of the most significant festivals in the Republic of Korea is March 1, which honors the widespread protests against Japanese colonial rule. Under President Moon Jae-in the holiday became a memorial to martyrs, a reminder of unresolved grievances, historical disputes, and the need for the Japanese to weep, repent, and pay. In his speech on the March First Independent Movement celebration on March 1, 2023, Conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol told a different story. Yoon claimed that “the March First Independence Movement in 1919 was a movement to build a free, democratic nation where the people are the rightful owners,” where the people showed to the whole world how much they yearned for change. He also recalled “those patriotic martyrs who gave their all for our country’s freedom and independence during the dark days when no one could ever imagine independence coming in their lifetime.” However, the current analogies have proceeded in the opposite direction. “Today, 104 years later, we must look back to that time when we lost our national sovereignty; the time when our people suffered because we failed to properly prepare for a changing world If we fail to read the changing trends of world history and do not properly prepare for the future, it is evident that the misfortunes of the past will be repeated.” The Democrats’ rhetoric that “the awful Japanese invaded and took over Korea with the help of a bunch of pro-Japanese collaborators, while the entire country and people bravely resisted,” is at variance with Yoon’s account of the loss of independence. Yoon openly asserts that Korea’s loss of independence was also its own responsibility since it was unprepared for the modern world. Yoon’s interpretation, unfortunately, is much more accurate, according to the author: the ruling regime did little to modernize the country and its capacity to resist aggressors in the years preceding the protectorate and annexation, and when its fate became clear, it did not attempt to organize popular resistance, relying instead on Japan to be driven by the Western powers. The author may discuss this awful incident in a different text. And then Yoon said bluntly, “Now, a century after the March First Independence Movement, Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner that shares the same universal values with us.”  Seoul and Tokyo cooperate on issues of security and economy, and “the trilateral cooperation among the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan has become more important than ever to overcome the security crises including North Korea’s growing nuclear threats and global polycrisis.” Furthermore, the current spirit of solidarity and collaboration with nations that share universal values—specifically, “universal” American values—is “the same spirit that called for our nation’s freedom and independence 104 years ago.” And hence, the right way to honor the patriotic martyrs is “our ceaseless efforts to defend and expand our freedom as well as our enduring belief in universal values.” Yoon Suk-yeol closed his brief address with the line “whether glorious or shameful, our history must not be forgotten,” and offered to contemplate on what must be done for the future prosperity and to get ready for the decades to come. In fact, the president said that they should stop to speak out against Japan and relations should get back to normal. Unlike his predecessor, Yoon did not mention Japan’s misdeeds during its colonial occupation or the unresolved problems between the two countries. No mention of restitution for past atrocities, or that there is the remilitarization process of the Land of the Rising Sun, or any exhortations for Tokyo to profusely “think on its past” and express regret for it immensely were made. Yoon didn’t say anything that could be understood as calling for Japan to apologize for its previous conduct, according to the Korea Times. This contests sharply with Moon Jae-in’s speech he gave in 2018 calling on Japan to issue an apology as a “perpetrator” of “crimes against humanity.” The democratic opposition was devastated by such a speech on such a holiday. Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung accused the Yoon Suk Yeol government that it “is oblivious of the March 1 Independence Movement spirit and is damaging the spirit of the March 1 Independence Movement,” claiming that trust-building with Japan is impossible unless the neighboring country takes responsibility and offers legal compensation for its 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea.  “No one would oppose building future-oriented Korea-Japan relations. Without historical responsibility and legitimate legal compensation, however, it is impossible to build trust”. DP floor leader Park Hong-keun stated that “the president’s speech denied the spirit of the national foundation and the noble spirit of resistance stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Korea on the day all of its people had resisted against Japan’s colonial rule,” and called on Yoon to apologize to the people for making such a speech, claiming it shows the president believes in Tokyo’s justification that its colonization led to Seoul’s development. Park Jie-won, an adviser to the DP and a former chief of the National Intelligence Service, said that it was like a Japanese prime minister giving a March 1 Independence Movement day speech. While the minor opposition Justice Party leader Lee Jeong-mi also said a country’s ruler’s wrong concept of history can wreck the diplomatic strategy, noting Seoul-Tokyo relations should be based on “Japan’s thorough introspection and self-reflection.” In a general statement on the Independence Movement, the party stated that the Yoon government maintains a submissive stance to Japan under the guise of improving bilateral ties, “which is a disgrace to our ancestors who fought for independence with their bare hands.” The center-right Korea Times also criticized the president. For this futuristic leader, the past does not matter; only the present and future are essential. But how can Koreans remember patriotic martyrs without recalling their contributions on the very day to commemorate them? Hence, the speech “was unbalanced at best and totally out of place at worst.” The idea of loss of sovereignty was just “parroting the colonial views of history injected by occupiers, and “we will never understand why collaboration with Japan conforms to the spirit of our ancestors who fought against Japan.” The author of the article believes that “seeking cooperation with an unrepentant neighbor while ignoring the victims’ rightful demands and swallowing our national pride cannot succeed or last long” just as it is a sign of weakness. “Korea is no longer the weak, helpless country of a century ago, but a global top 10 economy and top 6 military power. It can and should act more squarely, especially in dealing with its former colonizer.” The fact that Yoon was “kicked” for his excessive reliance on the US is particularly intriguing: “Still, in this increasingly multipolar world, few countries put all their eggs in one basket. Korea failed a century ago by changing sides frequently without maintaining a balance among competing powers and using their rivalry for its interest. The lesson holds today.” In turn, US State Department Press Secretary Ned Price supported Yoon by saying, “Let me say generally that bilateral cooperation between the United States and our treaty allies is important, but so too is trilateral cooperation. And we do applaud both the Republic of Korea (ROK) President Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida for their efforts to improve bilateral relations in recent months.” The State Department spokesperson also emphasized that they believed that US-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation was critical to addressing the challenges that the three countries collectively were confronting in the 21st century. Some people view the US is behind Yoon’s move as it believes that the Washington-Tokyo-Seoul bloc should be more of a triangle rather than an L-format. While Washington has expressed support for such a course, the author believes Yoon’s desire to normalize relations with Japan stems more from Yoon himself, who is more concerned with constructing a future in which Seoul and Tokyo are allies than he is with historical disputes. Yoon’s actions are taking place against the backdrop of several significant trends: The logic of a divisive world leads to the emerging of a new bloc system. And the idea that supporters of ‘universal values’ should band together isn’t just a figure of speech for Yoon; it’s part of his worldview. Several ugly scandals have undermined anti-Japanism in the last two years of Moon Jae-in’s rule. Despite the fact that Yoon Mee-hyang, the main person involved in the case of fighters for the rights of comfort women, received a suspended sentence for embezzlement and even returned to activism, there are many unpleasant moments. The rise of anti-Chinese sentiment in the Republic of Korea has substantially supplanted anti-Japanese sentiment, and it is coming not only from the “top” but also from the “bottom.” It is unclear to what extent the two countries’ trade war or the cooling of security cooperation has harmed Japan more than the Republic of Korea. As a result, both before and after the First March Day speech, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration took several significant steps, each of which deserves its own text. First, Yoon finally visited Japan and held a full-fledged summit with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, rather than a “short-term meeting on the margins of a more important summit.” Seoul had been planning this visit for a long time, and for the time being, let us note this fact while saving the outcome for a later analysis. Second, the trade war that began in 2019 under Moon Jae-in has actually been terminated. The parties are re-establishing economic cooperation and abandoning mutual claims. Thirdly, long-running negotiations to compensate those who were forced into mobilization, gained momentum and appeared to have reached a conclusion under Yoon. The issue of “comfort women” has nearly been forgotten in the media due to the conflict over compensation for those who were forcibly mobilized during the colonial era. This is because the elderly former comfort women are slowly passing away, and there are only a dozen of them left with an average age of over 90 years. Additionally, the forced mobilization of Koreans owned later by Japanese zaibatsu did occur. Democratic activists were able to secure a number of successful lawsuits allowing the seizure of assets of companies believed to be the heirs to Japanese prewar business conglomerations, even though the severity of the discrimination varied from case to case. The Supreme Court of Korea ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to 15 Korean victims in separate rulings in 2018, but no payment has yet been made, resulting in a five-year freeze in bilateral relations. Japan upholds its position that the 1965 Korea-Japan Treaty, which normalized relations between the two countries, settled all claims for damages arising from Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.  The money was paid in full at the time, and the fact that the Korean side invested it in an economic miracle rather than distributing it to relatives as compensation is the Korean side’s problem, not the Japanese. In this regard, the choice made under Yoon, which is presented as a remedy in this situation, can be perceived as a concession to Tokyo. A foundation that will receive contributions from Korean and Japanese businesses will be used to provide compensation. 56% of people oppose this alternative, which is harshly criticized by the opposition, but it is at least a significant interim step and a project that can be discussed. Especially now that the initial donations have arrived. In any case, by making such a speech on March 1, Yoon Suk-yeol took a sharp turn towards Japan, and against the backdrop of other domestic political issues, such a dramatic demonstrative turn was a very risky move. And we’ll see how well the president handles the tight turn without dropping anything or losing control. Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, leading research fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of China and Modern Asia at the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Yoon Suk-yeol Turns to Japan появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Eastern Asia, Featured, Locations, Politics, Japan, South Korea, USA, Yoon Suk-yeol]

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[l] at 3/22/23 11:45pm
This was inevitable. When the US started to strategically withdraw from the Middle East and shifted its focus towards Southeast Asia and (Eastern) Europe to contain its two rivals (China and Russia), the Middle East was left without a traditional balancer. Without making an orientalist argument and arguing that the Middle East always needed an external ‘balancer’ for its survival, the fact remains that the US exit from the region created a vacuum that forced the relevant states to search for ways to re-balance and seek alternative ways of geopolitical configurations, i.e., alignments and realignments. China became a natural choice for many of these states. First, China was already slowly spreading its economic footprint in the Middle East. Its economic might become an additional reason for the Middle Eastern states – including Iran and Saudi Arabia – to ally with Beijing to reinforce their own development and modernization goals. Secondly, China is perhaps one of the few countries in the world today that has the capacity to talk to all parties, or the principal contenders, in the Middle East (e.g., Iran, Saudi, Israel) and facilitate a durable peace. The US, on the other hand, does not have this capacity. While it does have deep ties with Israel, Washington’s ties with Saudi have deteriorated ever since Joe Biden became the US President. Therefore, Washington’s ability to shape emerging geopolitics in the Middle East – especially, in the wake of the China-brokered Iran-Saudi deal – is hardly relevant today. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to contend that ‘peace-making’ in the Middle East is no longer a US business, a business that the US skillfully conducted for decades to create divisions and exploit these countries’ resources (e.g., Middle Eastern countries paying for the US forces deployed on their lands to protect them from the same ‘enemies’ the US itself would create) to its material advantage. Whereas Saudi Arabia is a classic example of Biden’s folly of alienating an ally, Iran’s resistance against the US sanctions is a classic failure of the US deep state’s firm belief in the ability of their self-presumed most feared weapon, i.e., economic and financial sanctions. The end result of these ill-advised policies is the Iran-Saudi détente. This détente is deep. According to the details of the deal, the Saudis will substantially tone down their criticism of Iran, including via Iran International, a Farsi language news channel reportedly funded by the Saudis targeting Iran. According to Iranian officials, this channel has been playing a role in instigating protests in Iran for some time now. Tehran, on the other hand, agreed to scale down its support for Houthis in Yemen, making sure that cross-border attacks from Yemen on Saudi don’t take place. What this deal, in effect, means is that the Chinese were able to convince Iranians to potentially end the war that the Saudis, even when they received direct and indirect military support – and weapon sales worth billions of US dollars – from the US and other NATO allies, failed to win for themselves in the past 6 years. That’s quite an impressive development, which could facilitate Saudi-Iran normalization across a range of issues, including the question of Iran’s potential move towards nuclear weapons. With the US out of the equation, i.e., not unnecessarily penalizing Iran and forcing the latter to retaliate by expanding its nuclear capability which the US said will be used to target Saudi Arabia and Israel – Iran will not necessarily be seeking to push aggressively for atomic weapons, not least against Saudi. But China is not acting out of goodwill only. China’s expansion in the Middle East is part of its counter-containment strategy. Ever since Obama’s ‘Asia Pivot’ and the politics of containment, the Chinese have really been investing in ways to create alternative possibilities. Beijing’s response was its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Today, Beijing’s deep presence in the Middle East – including Saudi and Iran – is a direct result of the counter-containment idea of BRI. It has vital economic links with both states, and Beijing realizes the necessity of undoing the US-create divisions within the Middle East to materialize its material objectives i.e., trade from and to China and Europe intersecting all the countries located in between. Therefore, unlike how some western geopolitical pundits have argued, the Iran-Saudi deal is not simply an outcome of the “isolation” that Iran has been facing. If this was true, what will explain Saudi Arabia’s decision to be a part of this deal? If Iran was really “isolated”, this was not simply the result of Saudi policies, but an outcome of a concerted application of a strategy of (economic) application by the US and its allies. But Iran was not “isolated” as western policy makers tend to believe. Yes, it was under immense economic pressure, but it was still able to maintain vital links with the world’s major powers (Russia and China) and regional states, including the UAE, which happened in almost a year ago. Therefore, instead of Iran being an “isolated” state begging to be ‘un-isolated’, what is happening in the Middle East must necessarily be understood in terms of a major geopolitical realignment underpinned by a deep convergence of interests amongst a range of regional states and a global power striving to build a new, alternative world order. This is also evident from an emerging agreement between Riyadh and Beijing as well to conduct business in local currencies rather than USD. Indeed, the Middle East is turning into a place that might just give birth to an alternative world order, shattering, even according to CNN, the [unfounded] assumption of the US supremacy in the Middle East. While CNN’s analysis is limited to the Middle East only, China’s success in brokering a deal between two hard-core rivals could have ramifications much beyond the Middle East. It could use its deep presence in Africa to transform the landscape of conflict in that continent as well; it could expand BRICS and SCO by including both Iran and Saudi; and it could start a major diplomatic effort in Southeast Asia to resolve any points of contention in South and East China Seas. To all of these, China, via its successful brokerage of the Saudi-Iran deal, has demonstrated its importance as a state willing to resolve thorny issues via diplomacy. Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.“ Сообщение China is Making the ‘New’ Middle East появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: China, Columns, Eastern Asia, Featured, Locations, Politics, Europe, Geopolitics, Iran, Middle East, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA]

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[l] at 3/22/23 10:59pm
When Michel Aoun left office as president of Lebanon last October, many politicians assumed that finding a successor would be relatively easy, not least because none of the main political parties were interested in blocking the election of a new president. Four months later, however, no compromise solution has been found, and many wonder when and if an agreement will be reached anytime soon. The contours of a broader agreement have already been outlined, but at this point any agreements seem to have reached a dead end. They presuppose a consensus between regional and international powers and local politicians. It is becoming increasingly clear that, given Lebanon’s severe economic crisis and Hezbollah’s regional role, the new president will have to meet a number of conditions. He must be acceptable to regional states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and must enjoy the trust of the United States and France. Iran and Hezbollah, for their part, are looking for a president who will not threaten that party’s status in Lebanon, and at the same time, any new head of state must be able to show regional and international players that he will live up to their expectations. For Saudi Arabia and the Western states, this means a president who will maintain good relations with Lebanon’s Arab partners, as well as carry out much-delayed economic reform. Some time ago, five countries – the US, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt – met in Paris to outline the profile of the candidate they were looking for. Again, they stressed the need for a “consensus president” who would carry out reforms without ties to the country’s corrupt patronage networks and oligarchs. However, what does the roadmap proposed by the five mean in practical terms? One: It means that Saudi Arabia will not invest in the Lebanese economy as long as Hezbollah operates in Yemen. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Azmi Mikati confirmed this in an interview with Al-Jadeed TV when he spoke about what Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told him: “There is a party in Lebanon that is planning a plot against Saudi Arabia in Yemen If there is any help for Lebanon, the crown prince said he is afraid that this party might benefit.” If Saudi Arabia delays in Lebanon, it will slow down other Arab leaders, not least the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who has played an important role in trying to find an acceptable solution. It should be kept in mind that the Qatari emir can talk to all parties and act as a mediator. After taking a more active stance in the presidential elections a few weeks ago, as confirmed by Arab diplomats, he then backed down, according to Arab media reports. This happened after a phone conversation with him by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. Interestingly, however, Hezbollah and its allies have declared their willingness to engage with the Persian Gulf countries. In an article published last November, they launched a trial balloon through their affiliated media outlet, the Al-Akhbar newspaper. In it, editor Ibrahim Amin offered a quid pro quo in which Hezbollah and its allies would elect a president, and Saudi Arabia and its local allies would elect a prime minister. Mr. Amin even named names: Suleiman Frangieh for president and Nawaf Salam, Lebanon’s former ambassador to the United Nations, for prime minister. Although Saudi Arabia had no reason to react to the newspaper article, the message was clear. After years of trying to block the Gulf states’ strong influence in Lebanon, Hezbollah offered a compromise. If there were any doubts, a meeting was held in early February in Beirut between a representative of the Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri, who is also the leader of Amal, and Saudi Ambassador Walid Bukhari. Mr. Berri’s representative reportedly stated that Hezbollah and Amal were seeking “normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia.” In an interview published on February 23, Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general, also confirmed that the president the party was looking for was someone who could, among other things, “normalize relations with Arab countries.” Hezbollah’s change of position may be due to the party leadership’s realization that the situation in Lebanon is so dire that the country cannot move forward without some Arab support. Nevertheless, it is clear that Riyadh will not reconsider its position on Lebanon until Iran and Hezbollah cede their positions in Yemen. This suggests that the presidential election will remain blocked for the time being. In addition, the local aspects preventing the elections are just as complex. Hezbollah would like to see Frangieh elected, but so far he faces serious obstacles. Notably, the two main Christian parties, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Lebanese Forces, oppose him, making it impossible for him to successfully run for president. The FPM was until recently allied with Hezbollah, while the Lebanese Forces is close to Riyadh. Without Christian support, Frangieh (who is also a Maronite Christian, like all presidents) would have no public legitimacy, which would make his presidency difficult. Hezbollah and Amal would want to secure the votes needed in parliament to bring him to power, but it is unlikely that they would be able to do so. Moreover, the FPM and Hezbollah have informally declared invalid the agreement that linked them, signed in 2006, because FPM leader Gebran Gerge Bassil expected Hezbollah to support his candidacy. The situation in Lebanon, meanwhile, is very volatile. Tensions are very high, and the only means to prevent a complete collapse is the army. But the army commander is raising funds to feed his soldiers. Last year, Qatar donated 60 million dollars to prevent the collapse of the armed forces, a scenario that will definitely lead to chaos. But what’s next? When that money runs out, who, if anyone, will be the next donor to pay the army’s salaries? The situation is unsustainable. Lebanon needs a proper state with functioning institutions. The loosening of gun control in the country remains another difficult problem. The army often finds entire caches of weapons in the homes of ordinary Lebanese. Hezbollah is notoriously armed, but it is not the only armed entity in the country, and hostility toward it is growing. Various groups blame Hezbollah for the current deplorable situation. For example, the exchange rate went from 1,500 Lebanese pounds to the US dollar to 80,000 very recently. Lebanon can either reform and create a state with functioning institutions, or face chaos. But chaos in Lebanon, which would lead to internal divisions and could lead to civil war, would be very destabilizing for the region. It could also be destabilizing for the EU. People are already risking their lives and leaving the country illegally in the hope of reaching Europe. Instability in Lebanon is not even in Israel’s interest. Although some experts argue that the best way to get rid of Hezbollah is to let the country collapse upside down, Israel does not need another Gaza on its northern border The only way out of the stalemate for local and regional actors is to reach an agreement that takes into account all their preferences. It is possible that a comprehensive deal could eventually be worked out. But for now, even if negotiations are taking place behind the scenes, a positive outcome remains elusive unless one side makes a serious concession. Today, however, neither side is willing to concede, which means that the political crisis in Lebanon will continue, and no one knows when or how it will end… Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Lebanon’s Tragedy and the difficulties in overcoming it появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Middle East, Politics, Elections, Lebanon]

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[l] at 3/22/23 5:42am
Since 2018, Canada, in complete synchronisation with the United States of America, and under its aegis, has accelerated its anti-China propaganda and hostile actions.  This is not so surprising, since the Canadian attitude towards China has changed over the decades depending on the requirements of the global hegemon of the time. Before the Second World War, London called the shots; since then it has been Washington. The Canadians have been friendly or hostile as the hegemon required or as economic benefits dictated but they have never been open and sincere. The relationship is always tainted by a colonial attitude towards China that has been absorbed from the British and Americans into the Canadian establishment, a smug condescension that only Canadians can exhibit, along with a rabid hostility to any socialist nation or any nation that stands up to the world hegemonic claims of the United States of America, for the Canada government, controlled by the financial, industrial, and resource extraction elite has become a very loyal lieutenant of the American imperialists, and obeys their orders with enthusiasm. There is no objective basis for this hostility.  It is true that Canada took part in the American aggression against China in Korea in 1950-53 and the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 though China had done nothing to harm Canada in any way.  It is true that Canada has sent spies to China even during periods of warmer relations and supported efforts to undermine China; by supporting the Chinese province of Taiwan as a bastion of reactionaries bent on overthrowing socialism in China to once again reduce China to a western colonial possession, by making false claims about internal Chinese conditions, about the Uyghurs, about Hong Kong, to making claims China is not a democracy when it is a thriving socialist democracy. But again, this hostility has no reason to support it. Canada is far from China.  There have never been any signs of hostility from China towards Canada, except in reaction to Canadian actions against China. Trade was increasing between the two countries to the benefit of both since the 1970s. Almost everything we buy in Canada now is marked “made in China.” Canadian companies have been doing business in China. China is an important market for Canadian agricultural produce, for timber used for construction and paper, for minerals and several Chinese companies invested in mining operations in Canada.  There is a large and prosperous Chinese population in Canadian cities. Yet despite this growing trade over the years, and the cultural ties, Canada risks losing it all by a series of actions that have been not only hostile towards China as a sovereign nation, but are designed to humiliate China, something I think it will be difficult for the Chinese to forget, if they can ever forgive. The arrest, on US orders, of Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou in 2018, was not only meant to hold her hostage to US President Trump’s attempt to damage the Chinese economy, it was also meant to humiliate her, Huawei and the Chinese people. She was treated in a humiliating manner on her arrest, forced to face fabricated charges based on illegal US “sanctions,” forcibly detained under house arrest for several years, and forced to endure the sneers and jibes of the Canadian media and politicians. Huawei has now been kicked out of the Canadian market forcing Canadian companies and government to use inferior technology from US and European companies. Canada insulted China again at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing when it refused to send any diplomats to the opening and instead insulted China when Prime Minister Trudeau stated, with his usual smug tone, “On the international stage, Canada has been a consistently strong voice for protecting and advancing human rights, and we remain extremely concerned by reports of human rights violations in China, including the persecution of Uyghurs. As a result, Canada is not sending any diplomatic representation to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.”  He stated this knowing that the only source of claims about the treatment of Uyghurs was the CIA, which claims were refuted by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean president, who, after a visit to Xinjiang in May 2022 rejected western claims of genocide against the Uyghurs, in retaliation for which she was pressured by the US and decided not to seek a renewal of her term.  Canada did not support her. Trudeau said this despite being the Prime Minister who spent his entire speech at the UN General Assembly meeting in 2022 apologising for, in essence, inflicting cultural and physical genocide on the indigenous peoples of what is now marked on maps as Canadian territory. He apologised the same year to Italians for the Canadian government putting them in internment camps in WWII, and to the Japanese for their internment in the same period. Canada has a lot of human right abuses and war crimes to apologise for. But he has never apologised for Canada participating in the US attempt to invade China in 1950 through Korea, for the wars of aggression Canada has waged as an auxiliary of the USA against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and now Ukraine.  But then, gangsters don’t apologise. And just this month the same Trudeau, whose father first opened diplomatic relations with China in 1971 and spoke warmly of China and its people, and reminded us all of the role of Canadian doctor, Norman Bethune, whose selfless dedication to the Peoples Liberation Army in the 1930s saved thousands of lives, spewed out, in a March 7 news conference, a series of racist paranoid delusions of China “corrupting Canadian democracy,” of China “trying to influence elections” and announcing several official investigations into this fantasy. It is the Russia Gate scandal of the USA all over again, but this time China is the scapegoat and it is taking place in Canada. In his press conference of March 7 Trudeau spread the allegations even wider to include Russia and Iran. He stated, “he would ask members of parliament and senators in the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to begin a review of foreign interference and to report its findings to parliament. He added that Canada has long been aware of meddling attempts by China, as well as Iran and Russia. The countries, as well as several other non-state actors, have attempted to interfere not only in our democracy, but our country in general. Of course, he and his secret services, who fabricated these fantasies, fed them to the Globe and Mail newspaper and Global News TV network in Canada, which then played the game of calling for government action and then closed the circle by presenting them with drama at the televised news conference one evening, never thought to tell us just which party the Chinese were alleged to be benefitting or promoting. And why would the Chinese care which of the five major parties in Canada was in power, since all of them are anti-Chinese and anti-Russian. Only the Communist Party remains distinct as an anti-imperialist party, but since it is kept out of the mass media one can hardly see that they are the subjects of this allegation. So what does it mean? Well, what does it mean when a few days later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stated that rumours, spread by anti-Chinese elements, that China had placed their secret police in certain Chinese consulates and other offices in Canada allegedly to intimidate local Chinese, were true and named two places where they thought some were located. This absurd rumour started in far right circles some months ago but we can guess that, again, as with the elections interference claims, the seed was planted by the secret services and has now become an open claim by the government. It is absurd of course because if China has placed officials in Canada outside permitted protocols then Canada would immediately expel them. No one has been expelled. But that is not the point, we know, The point is to make propaganda, not to tell the truth, to create suspicion and fear, not respect and love, to drive people to want war, to demand an end to peace. And now, as of the date I write this March 17, we hear of actions by the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and other nations directed at shutting down Tik Tok the Chinese based information sharing platform popular with many around the world, again, as in the case of Huawei, based on vague allegations regarding “threats to national security.” But everyone with a half a brain knows that this is the same old market protection racket for US competitors of Tik Tok trying to force the upstart company out of their market. In fact one can see that all these methods being used to “contain” China, to put it back in the 19th century box they would like it to be in and to which it will never return, are nothing less than gangsterism; using intimidation, blackmail, bullying, threats, slander, and military force to ruin a competitor. Capitalists don’t like competition. Especially when, as Vladimir Lenin so well put it, they have reached their highest stage, imperialism, beyond which looms their collapse. Canada, along with Australia has become a clown playing the fool to the American empire. Canadian ships, the few that it has, harass China along its east coast and Canadian spy planes fly with American planes there, all at Canadian taxpayers expense, just as Australians are now trapped in a deal to buy US nuclear submarines that will ruin them and all for the benefit of the Americans. Former Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating in a recent speech to the National Press Club in Australia, stated,   “We are going to buy eight submarines for $360 billion. This must be the worst deal ever. In the end, history will judge this project. But I want my name to be clearly written among those who say its a mistake. Despite its enormous cost, it does not offer a solution to the problem of great power competition in the region or the security of the Australian people and its continent” and that, “ the submarine deal is aimed at maintaining US strategic hegemony in Asia. According to the ex-premier, Australia has recklessly linked its fate with Washington. Keating pointed out that the current government has allowed itself to be drawn into the US policy of containing China, which is not in Australias national interest. The same can be said of Canada, that it has recklessly linked its fate with Washington, has not thought through the consequences and has no idea of what is going to happen next. As Keating stated in his speech, “This week was forged the last link in the long chain the United States has established to contain China. Beijing has committed a great sin in the eyes of the United States. And what is this sin? Develop an economy of the size of the United States. Americans will not tolerate a big state like them. Thats what China is. They would prefer that 20% of humanity remain forever in poverty. And the fact that China is now an industrial economy, larger than the United States, is not included in their plans.” The same words apply to Canada, which made a fool of itself, along with the Americans, with the comic opera jet fighter attacks on balloons over North America in February. But the Canadian establishment, which feels no shame about anything it does, shrugged off this national humiliation and continues its anti-China rhetoric along with its anti-Russian propaganda. On March 17, the very day the International Criminal Court issued its fake warrant of arrest against President Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, for rescuing children who were the victims of Kiev regime shelling of the Donbass, Canada welcomed the move, a move not only meant to humiliate President Putin in the eyes of the people of the west, and to prevent any possibility of negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, but also to attempt to embarrass President Xi of China who will meet with President Putin in Moscow on March 20. Canada, with the UK, Australia, Germany and Japan, is one of the most loyal lieutenants of the American empire, an empire that is weakening and crumbling faster than the American attempts to shore it up. Blinded by ideology, racism, colonialist attitudes, corrupted by American influence, ignorant of history and the forces of history, pathological in their willingness to lick the American boot, the Canadian establishment is leading the people of Canada and the world to a disaster.  The few who protest or speak out are silenced or ignored. This very journal is now “sanctioned” by the Canadian government. And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Slaughter House Five, his account of the firebombing of the German city of Dresden on February 13, 1945, a demonstration of American firepower to the advancing Red Army that cost 135,000 civilian lives. The Americans have never paid for this crime. And so it goes. Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Сообщение Canada and Anti-China Propaganda появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Canada, Columns, Featured, Locations, Politics, China, US agreesion, USA]

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[l] at 3/22/23 2:59am
Everyone is now aware of the fact that the United States aggressively meddles in practically all political movements and elections that take place in different nations. In fact, the US publicly touts its “successes” in this area, making no secret of the fact. It is sufficient to read Scott Shane’s article in the New York Times, which states openly that since their inception, American intelligence services have routinely carried out covert operations interfering in foreign elections, and that these operations have long served as the foundation of Washington’s foreign policy. This New York Times article discusses, among other things, CIA involvement in the overthrow of unpopular leaders, assassination of many politicians, and support for reactionary regimes in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  Additionally, dozens of official organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are involved, in addition to the CIA, the US Department of State and numerous American intelligence agencies. Various media reports detail more than a hundred instances of US meddling in the sovereign affairs of more than 60 countries over the last 70 years. For example, Dov Levin of Carnegie-Mellon University (Pennsylvania) identified more than 80 instances of covert US interference in other countries’ elections in the second half of the previous century alone, citing the 2016 Russian Duma elections as one example. When Donald Trump took office as President of the United States, he also mentioned such illegal US policies, emphasizing that such criminal activity at the state level must be stopped. Of course, these words of Donald Trump are of particular importance, because they were probably said after he had seen all the secret files that were shown to him. One of the White House’s top priorities today is to depose incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AK Party). In particular, as reported by the Turkish publication Haber7, John Bolton, former national security adviser to Donald Trump, called for “interference in the presidential election in Turkey” on social media in January. The United States intends to interfere in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, scheduled for mid-May, in order to make sure that the outcomes exclusively reflect Washington’s political judgment rather than a democratic choice made by the nation’s citizens, as it did in the previous poll. The United States is attempting to impose strict control over the populace and destabilize Turkey in order to remove Erdoğan and his party. To this goal, the Western media has been actively promoting anti-Turkish pieces that strongly criticize the policies of the AK Party and the Turkish leader, especially in recent months. The White House is still considering the possibility of forcibly removing Ankara’s government, though. This, in particular, is confirmed by the discussion in a recent publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) of possible options for interfering in the upcoming Turkish elections. According to the Turkish newspaperAydınlık, Doğu Perinçek, Chairman of the Turkish Patriotic Party, allegedly said that the USA intended to instigate a “bloodbath” in Turkey during the country’s general elections The Turkish MP reminded readers that Foreign Policy, which he dubbed “a semi-official instrument of the US Department of State,” had earlier published an article entitled “There will be a bloodbath in Turkey during these elections.” Yet, many experts believe that the USA will actively pursue its objectives in Turkey and would undoubtedly employ hackers. And one is reminded, unintentionally, of the close cooperation between the US and Israel in various covert operations, including cyberspace. Such operations have recently been particularly well publicized with the example of joint operations against Iran. However, we must not forget that Turkey is also part of Washington’s assignment to Israel to “monitor the regional situation.” Israel is “famous” for its hackers, who make a living by hacking and conducting “special operations.” Thus, one of the most mysterious, according to Kaspersky Lab researcher Brian Bartholomew, is Candiru, which does not even have a public outlet. However, it is known that this particular Tel Aviv company sells cyberweapons to a number of governments, particularly Uzbekistan, and hacks information space in various countries for a number of “customers” of various countries’ intelligence services. The Candiru hackers’ program to monitor certain “clients” of interest was employed, among other things, in the process of attacking Uzbek human rights campaigners and the nation’s independent media, according to information provided by Bartholomew to Western media in 2019. Another Israeli hacker group, Team Jorge, based in the small Israeli town of Modi’in, was recently discovered during a journalistic investigation. More than 30 elections have been rigged by the group around the world. It was discovered that the hackers used computer attacks, sabotage, and disinformation bots on social media to carry out their schemes. This is how hackers spread fake news about candidates in Nigeria before the presidential election in February 2023, and in Kenya before the election in the summer of 2022, misinformation about politicians flooded TikTok. Major General Amos Yadlin, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence, boasted in March 2010 that the Jewish state, as the world leader in cyber warfare, has unlimited capacity to paralyze any enemy infrastructure. The invisible work of thousands of Israeli cyber warriors, honed in IDF military intelligence and communications units is recognized not just in the United States. So there are many potential opportunities for Israel to participate in Washington’s “electoral plans” in Turkey. Concerning hackers’ ability to influence political processes and elections, it is important to remember that their activities can extend far beyond the dissemination of false or targeted information against specific politicians in social networks and media space. Hackers can change the unofficial voting results that the public and media receive because, in this digital age, parts of many countries’ electoral infrastructure are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers can sway voters’ ability to cast ballots or tamper with unofficial vote totals through cyberattacks. Experts from the US Department of Homeland Security claim that depending on the technology and procedures utilized at polling sites, hacking threats might differ from country to country and disrupt the voting process in different ways. Thus, Washington won’t just be allowed to utilize its hackers in Turkey’s forthcoming election. Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение What Kind of Hackers will the USA Use in the Turkish Elections? появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Columns, Featured, Locations, Middle East, Politics, Turkey, USA in the World, Elections, US agreesion]

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[l] at 3/22/23 12:59am
With the breakthrough of energy links in the South Caucasus from 1994 to 2006, Turkey gained new favorable opportunities for oil and gas extraction and export to the world market (especially to EU countries). Azerbaijan was the first post-Soviet country to gain access to the western shores of the Caspian Sea. Over the past two decades, Georgia has become a link for Turkey’s transport and energy relations with Azerbaijan. More specifically, new pipelines and railway lines (including the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, the Baku–Tbilisi–Erzurum and Trans-Anatolian TANAP gas pipelines, the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railroad) were built and put into operation. In addition to the Turkish-Azerbaijani energy cooperation, Ankara has been equally successful in developing a gas partnership with Russia. In the post-Soviet period, two Russian gas pipelines “Blue Stream” and “TurkStream” were built to Turkey along the Black Seabed. Accordingly, as gas exports and transit grew, Turkey gradually diversified its strategy of gas dependence on Russia in favor of a balancing course. With the proposal of the Russian side in October 2022 to build a gas hub in Turkey in order to depoliticize the Russian gas export, Turkey gets new unique economic and political opportunities to influence the global gas trade (including the EU countries) and strengthen the independent status of the Turkish state in the foreign arena. So far, due to objective and situational reasons connected with the disastrous consequences of the ruinous earthquake in the South-East of the country and the start of the pre-election process in Turkey Ankara has not discussed in detail with Moscow the whole range of problems related to the gas hub construction (specifically, financing matters and coordination with potential buyers and other gas suppliers). Nevertheless, it is already obvious that Russia will not be able to fully depoliticize Russian gas exports to Europe through the Turkish transit and the gas hub. In particular, due to the categorical position of the US and its financial system, the Fed, EU countries will seek to limit, if not completely boycott, Russian gas exports. The latter means that the financial intelligence and other controlling bodies of Western countries will constrain Turkey’s ability to issue Russian gas with a different index. The fact is that the volumes of Russian gas and competitors in the same Azerbaijan, Qatar, Iran, Algeria, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are simply not comparable. In discussing the prospects of the gas hub project, Ankara leans towards the necessity of increasing the gas export flow from all the mentioned above countries to Turkey, the cooperation of the Caspian basin countries with the TANAP gas pipeline system to implement the possibilities of reexport of Russian gas and conceal the volumes of the blue fuel in the Eastern Thrace reservoirs. These days, Ankara is hosting the regular summit of the heads of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS). The summit agenda includes the energy cooperation (including the gas hub project) in addition to other issues of pan-Turkic cooperation. It’s no accident that on March 16 this year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that Ankara stands for increasing the cooperation on the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline TANAP project with the purpose of increasing gas supplies from the Caspian basin to the international market. Naturally, Turkey’s weight in the global energy equation is increasing, as Çavuşoğlu noted. Ankara, with the support of London, Washington and Brussels, has already implemented a number of important energy projects (oil and gas pipelines) jointly with Baku and Tbilisi on exporting the natural resources of the Caspian basin to Europe. However, so far the matter concerns the shelf of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian basin. To increase the volume of natural gas supplies to the international market in Europe, Turkey proposes to expand the list of potential exporters of blue fuel in the Caspian region. Of course, on top of this list is the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea with the potential of 7% of the world’s gas reserves, as well as Kazakh gas with a volume of 0.87% of world reserves. Previously, Russia had a critical attitude to such an option, based on economic and geopolitical considerations. However, in the situation of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and large-scale sanctions of the collective West, Moscow decided to strengthen the vector of strategic partnership with Turkey, hoping for the reliability of the Turkish side in terms of transit of goods and gas exports. Thus, after the well-known sabotage by the Western security services on the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 and 2, Moscow made a favorable offer to Ankara to build a gas hub and redirect the export volumes of gas from the Baltic to the Black Sea. What is Turkey’s response? Turkey, represented by its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, supports President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to build a gas hub. But Turks are in no hurry, or rather take their time in terms of the implementation of the project. On the one hand, the Turks say they (especially after the devastating earthquake) have a shortage of finance, so the Russians will have to build the infrastructure of the gas hub on the territory of Turkey (similar to the Akkuyu NPP project) almost with their own money. Perhaps Turkey’s partners are merely probing Moscow’s reaction on the issue of their own financing of the project, since no official request of this kind has been received so far. On the other hand, Ankara offers its allies at the Pan-Turkic summit to take an active part in the expansion of additional gas exports via TANAP. How will Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan participate in the project without Russia’s consent? Are there any new gas pipelines on the Caspian Sea bed to connect with TANAP, or will they have to be built (but who will pay)? Finally, would the throughput capacity of the existing TANAP guarantee the increase of gas exports from, say, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to meet the needs of the European energy market? As you can see, there are more questions than answers. In this disposition also emerges the topic of the route of the new global transit from the eastern shelf and the shores of the Caspian Sea to the West through Azerbaijan to Turkey and Europe. Azerbaijan and Turkey have so far used the territory of Georgia for the connection, which predetermined the “final” establishment of Tbilisi’s pro-Western foreign policy in 1998-1999. However, the Georgian route turned out to be the most expensive from a financial and economic point of view. And the choice of the West with Turkey in the 1990s had no alternative, because at stake was the idea of bypassing Russia’s territory with the geo-economic projects to further the geopolitical introduction of NATO in the post-Soviet South and East. After the second Karabakh war in the autumn of 2020 and the success of Azerbaijan, Turkey became interested in a transport corridor through the Armenian Meghri in Zangezur for the shortest connection with Baku and the Turkic countries of Central Asia (the historical Turkestan). Can this route be considered by Turkey (OTS countries) and the West as an alternative to the Georgian route and justification of the increase of gas supplies to Europe? Such a possibility cannot be ruled out. Turkey will justify the participation of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in gas export via TANAP (or TANAP-2) before Russia by the need to “hide” re-export of Russian gas in this route. It cannot be excluded that in the West (in the talks with the same US and EU with the support of Great Britain) Turkey is likely to justify the construction of TANAP-2 by the need to exploit the “weakness” of Russia, currently under Western sanctions and dependent on the Turkish transit, to ensure  that a NATO country (and later the whole NATO) has access to the Turkic East (Turkestan) which, together with gas of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, has nearly 9% of global gas reserves. Besides, one cannot exclude the mentioning that Turkey’s gas exporting power due to its advantageous geography at the junction of Europe and Asia will also influence Iran’s policy. The accession of Iran to the Turkish gas transit route will lead to the fact that Ankara will gain control over almost 60% of the world’s gas reserves (including exports from Russia, Iran, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Algeria). Thus, the Russian gas hub project allows Turkey to simultaneously develop a new gas export project, TANAP-2, with access to the eastern shore of the Caspian basin. Aleksandr SVARANTS, PhD in political science, professor, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Сообщение Turkey proposes a parallel project, “TANAP-2”… появились сначала на New Eastern Outlook.

[Category: Economics, Featured, Middle East, Turkey, Locations, Columns]

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