Categories
Expert Analysis

Azerbaijan is destined to play a central role in Eurasian integration

ARTICLE FROM:

bakutribune.com


Azerbaijan’s military victory over Armenia in last year’s Patriotic War advances the goal Eurasian integration.

The Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement mandates the unblocking of all economic and transport links in the region, especially between the western region of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic.

Generally speaking, this also unlocks the South Caucasus’ geostrategic destiny as the connectivity crossroads between the Central Asian Republics (CARs), Eastern Europe (Russia), and West Asia (Iran & Turkey). Such an ambitious vision is complemented by Azerbaijani President Aliyev’s proposal to establish a six-nation regional integration platform between his country, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

Prior to the conclusion of last year’s conflict, the South Caucasus’ connectivity capabilities were severely handicapped due to Armenian obstructionism in Karabakh. Important progress had still been made on facilitating Russian-Iranian trade through the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) and Turkish-Central Asian trade through the Middle Corridor that extends as far as China, but it was difficult to consolidate everything into a single regional platform due to the unresolved conflict. The ceasefire’s mandate to unblock all economic and transport links in the region will greatly improve trade within in the South Caucasus and beyond to the three earlier mentioned neighboring regions.

This outcome perfectly aligns with one of the most important trends of the 21st century, Eurasian integration, which is being simultaneously advanced by Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) and China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). Observers should also pay attention to the stated intention of both Great Powers to synchronize their respective Eurasian integration efforts, which was agreed to between their heads of state. The gradual convergence of the GEP and BRI will stabilize Eurasia and most likely play out in Central Asia first before spreading throughout the rest of the supercontinent. It’s here where Azerbaijan can take advantage of these trends as a result of its victory in last year’s conflict.

Central Asia is geostrategically significant in the larger sense of Eurasian integration because it sits in between East Asia, Eastern Europe, Siberia, South Asia, the Southern Caucasus, and West Asia. Upon the inevitable consolidation of complementary Russian and Chinese connectivity efforts there, it’s only natural that this process will shift towards the South Caucasus. After all, these two regions are already economically connected through trans-Caspian trade routes between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan & Turkmenistan. Moreover, Russia and China also have an interest in replicating their envisioned connectivity successes in Central Asia in the South Caucasus in order to more closely connect that region with Eastern Europe and West Asia.

Slowly but surely, the geostrategic concept of the Eurasian Heartland is expanding from its erstwhile understanding as solely referring to Central Asia to nowadays include the South Caucasus as well. In other words, Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia last year and the resultant unblocking of regional economic and transport links will lead to the South Caucasus becoming just as geostrategically important for the rest of the supercontinent as Central Asia, which it will be more closely connected to due to the gradual expansion of coordinated Russian and Chinese integration projects from there to across the Caspian. In sum, this will eventually lead to the creation of a much more consolidated Eurasian economic space with time.

It’s also important to remember that Azerbaijan is a member of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), a regional integration platform that regrettably doesn’t receive much attention from observers. That might soon change though as joint Russian-Chinese connectivity initiatives in Central Asia begin to take shape in the South Caucasus upon the inevitable linking of these two strategic regions. This will improve the importance of the ECO, perhaps making it a more significant player in these supercontinental integration processes. With that in mind, the ECO might more closely coordinate with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with which it shares many official members, observers, and dialogue partners.

The larger trend taking place is that China is expanding its influence westward across Central Asia and soon the South Caucasus while Russia is moving southward towards Muslim-majority states via what some can describe as its so-called “Ummah Pivot” of recent years. This is taking place as the US is rebalancing its focus from West Asia to East Asia via South Asia. All three Great Powers’ attention is therefore converging in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, thus making these regions triply strategic. Although some might predict that this could turn them into centers of rivalry between those three states, the skillful practice of economic diplomacy by Azerbaijan and others might very well reduce those risks and result in mutually beneficial outcomes for all.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.



Categories
Expert Analysis

Australia Escalated The Hybrid War On BRI At America’s Behest

4 MAY 2021

Australia Escalated The Hybrid War On BRI At America

The Quad is against China in all respects, especially when it comes to military and economic affairs. Canberra’s canceling of Victoria’s two BRI agreements is therefore consistent with this unstated but increasingly obvious strategy.

The Australian federal government recently canceled two Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) deals that the state of Victoria signed with China in 2018 and 2019 as part of its new policy enabling the central authorities to overrule international agreements clinched by lower-level administrative entities. China vowed to respond to this extremely unfriendly move which further worsens their bilateral relations after several years of steady decline due to Australia’s unprovoked actions against the People’s Republic. Examples of the latter prominently include politically meddling in Hong Kong and promoting harmful conspiratorial claims about COVID-19’s origins.

The latest developments amount to a serious escalation in the ongoing Hybrid War on BRI, which Australia arguably committed at its American ally’s behest. The two nations are part of the emerging Quad military bloc in what both countries regard as the “Indo-Pacific”. Plenty of observers have voiced concern that this growing network is aimed at containing China, which is seemingly proven by what just happened. The Quad is against China in all respects, especially when it comes to military and economic affairs. Canberra’s canceling of Victoria’s two BRI agreements is therefore consistent with this unstated but increasingly obvious strategy.

What’s even more disturbing about all of this is that Australia voluntarily joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last November alongside China and over a dozen other regional nations. The expectation among many, however naive in hindsight, was that Australia would moderate its approach towards China and perhaps enter into a long-overdue rapprochement with its top trade partner. Alas, that doesn’t seem to have much chance of happening now that the country canceled those two BRI deals which were supposed to serve as flagship projects of cooperation between them heralding in a new era of economic cooperation.

American strategists must be delighted that they succeeded in convincing their junior Australian partners to sacrifice their own economic interests out of political solidarity with Washington, albeit on the pretext of so-called “national interests”. Regarding that flimsy justification, which has recently been bandied about with abandon in Australia, it’s vague enough to be used as a pretext for anything actually. The appeal to “national interests” also automatically attracts the support of nationalist elements in society who are programmed to positively respond to anything that the authorities say is in advance of that concept.

Objectively speaking, it’s actually against Australia’s national interests to cancel its BRI deals. For starters, they were agreed to by two internationally recognized governments, albeit Victoria’s being a state one and not federal. This means that abruptly canceling them on a vague pretext harms Australia’s reputation by making it appear unreliable, especially since many suspect that it did so to please its American ally. Secondly, the federal government could have at least in theory attempted to renegotiate parts of these deals if it really had a problem with them instead of just scrapping both of those pacts entirely. This hints at its ulterior motives.

It’s understandable that some countries have complex relations between their state and central governments, especially those nations that practice Western forms of democracy and whose concept of “national interests” could possibly change every few years after the next election. Nevertheless, domestic disputes between administrative entities mustn’t result in international implications like what just happened in terms of greatly harming Chinese-Australian relations. The very fact that this occurred in a country that proudly presents itself as a politically stable model for others proves just how destabilizing democratic systems can sometimes be.

The Australian people must realize that their understanding of “national interests” is being manipulated by some of their authorities and the latter’s foreign allies in America as part of the Hybrid War on BRI, which is a major component of the larger Hybrid War on China. It’s a pity that their objective economic interests are being sacrificed as part of this aggressive scheme. The only ones who will suffer are those same Australian people, many of whom had high hopes about taking their countries’ promising economic ties with China to the next level through BRI. It can only be hoped that their authorities regain their senses and reverse this latest move.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Australia, China, BRI, Quad, US, Hybrid War.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.



Categories
Expert Analysis

The EU Parliament’s Anti-Russian Resolution Is Dangerous

30 APRIL 2021

The EU Parliament

Russia is a major world power, and if the EU can attempt to bully it in such a dangerous way, then there’s nothing stopping the bloc from doing the same to comparatively weaker countries.

The European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on Thursday threatening very serious consequence against Russia if it carries out an “invasion” of Ukraine. These include immediately stopping oil and gas imports from the country and cutting it off from the SWIFT payment system, as well as freezing the assets of so-called “oligarchs” and their families on top of canceling their visas. The text also condemns alleged Russian intelligence operations in Europe, including disinformation operations and the latest claims that its agents were behind the 2014 munitions blast in Czechia. They also want to stop Nord Stream II.

The EP also supports meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. Examples of this include criticism of the country’s recent jailing of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny due to his parole violations and the authorities’ decision to investigate whether his organization is extremist. The resolution expresses support for unsanctioned rallies in Russia too while criticizing the authorities’ response to them. One of the most disturbing proposals put forth is to seriously consider the UK’s proposal for a “Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime”, which could predictably be exploited for political purposes considering the tense relations with Russia.

The EP’s resolution is therefore very dangerous because it shows that ideologically driven anti-Russian political forces in Europe are serious about imposing extreme costs on Moscow solely for warning that it might defend its legitimate border interests and those of its citizens in Eastern Ukraine in the event that Kiev launches a military operation there. Cutting Russia off from the SWIFT payment system might be akin to an unofficial declaration of war considering the country’s international financial dependence on it. In addition, it’s counterproductive to stop importing Russian oil and gas when no viable alternatives exist at the moment.

Russia, like all countries, has an obligation to enforce its laws. Navalny’s jailing was done in accordance with existing legislation on this issue, as is its breaking up of unsanctioned rallies and temporary detainment of their participants. As a case in point, some EU countries have also detained participants of unsanctioned rallies that were organized against their COVID-19 lockdowns in recent months, especially whenever they clash with police. Furthermore, France is currently investigating various organizations as extremist ones, just like Russia is doing too. The basis of Brussels’ proposed meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs is therefore hypocritical.

The rest of the world is rightly concerned after this resolution was just passed. Russia is a major world power, and if the EU can attempt to bully it in such a dangerous way, then there’s nothing stopping the bloc from doing the same to comparatively weaker countries. In addition, similar resolutions might one day be tabled against China too on a similar basis as well. Basically, nobody would be safe if the EU succeeds in cutting Russia off from SWIFT and so openly meddling in its internal affairs by criticizing its law enforcement agencies and their work. That’s why this resolution is so dangerous to world peace.

COVID-19 is still sweeping across the world, and the extended effect of lockdown has been disastrous for the EU member states’ economies, not to mention the psychological health of their citizens. There are much more urgent tasks at hand for the EP to tackle than concocting a list of threats and criticisms to officially make against Russia. It’s disappointing to see that it’s more focused on such issues than those much closer to home. Their supporters might argue that Russia’s alleged assassinations, attacks, and disinformation plots constitute pressing domestic threats, but none of these have been publicly proven and thus remain speculation.

The EU is approaching an historic crossroads whereby it can finally become more independent of American influence or it can continue to languish under the boots of US neo-imperialism. Judging by the latest resolution, it regrettably appears that the EP is opting for the latter after jumping on America’s anti-Russian bandwagon to score political points with their patron across the Atlantic. This is dangerous and counterproductive to EU interests. What’s more, it’s also deeply unfortunate too since the EP can and should put its legislative skills to work trying to solve more urgent crises like COVID-19 instead.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: EU, Russia, SWIFT, Ukraine, Nord Stream II, Navalny, Color Revolution, Regime Change, Hybrid War, Sanctions, US.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

 

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

 

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
Expert Analysis

Russia’s COVID-19 Aid To India Proves Its Reliability

29 APRIL 2021

Russia

Russia’s decision to dispatch emergency COVID-19 aid to India proves how reliable it is in comparison to the South Asian state’s newfound American ally, the latter of which dillydallied while New Delhi urgently pleaded for assistance to help its suffering people survive the latest viral wave that came crashing into the country.

The whole world is watching the latest COVID-19 outbreak in India with serious concern after the country suddenly emerged as the latest epicenter. New Delhi urgently pleaded for assistance from its allies to help its suffering people survive the latest viral wave that came crashing into the South Asian state, but its newfound American ally dillydallied while its historical Russian one rushed to its aid without any preconditions. This contrast of commitment speaks volumes about which of the two sincerely cherishes its ties with the world’s second most populous country, which should hopefully result in a reconsideration of India’s recent strategic priorities.

Up until this year, India was stridently siding with the US on practically all relevant matters apart from its continued commitment to go through with its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems. The South Asian state is a proud member of the US-led Quad and arguably envisions becoming its Asian leader in pursuit of its allies’ shared goal of containing China. The Electoral College’s certification of Joe Biden as the next US President threw a wrench in India’s long-term plans since its strategists anticipated that Trump would come out on top instead. The new reality is such that India doesn’t feel as prioritized by the US as before, hence why it sought to recalibrate its multi-alignment policy in response to this perception.

The end result was that it reached near-simultaneous deals with neighboring adversaries China and Pakistan in February regarding a synchronized disengagement with the former and a ceasefire with the latter. This was followed up by hosting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov earlier in the month for talks to confirm the strength of their strategic partnership and organize the annual Russia-India Summit between their leaders sometime later this year. Perhaps out of jealous reaction to these developments driven by its hegemonic habits, the US Navy violated India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) during a so-called “freedom of navigation” operation (FONOP) and sent the message to New Delhi that it can only ever hope to be Washington’s junior partner.

Coupled with growing disappointment in India over both sides’ failure to reach a long-discussed trade deal, the US’ latest dillydallying over its belated decision to dispatch COVID-19 aid to its partner might be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back and gets New Delhi to more meaningfully recalibrate its multi-alignment policy. What’s meant by this is that India now realizes that the US doesn’t even care about its people’s lives since it wouldn’t even take the easy soft power opportunity to be among the first to send relevant assistance to the country. It can’t be known for sure why this was, but it certainly seems to be the case that this was yet another American punishment in response to India’s increasingly independent policies as of late.

By contrast, the only credible gripes that Indians have about Russia is that the latter is more confidently practicing its regional “balancing” act which should at least in theory be complementary with India’s own (which it calls multi-alignment). Unlike the US, the manifestation of Russia’s newfound approach doesn’t endanger any Indian lives nor infringes on the country’s territorial integrity. It also doesn’t consist of unilateral sanctions threats in violation of international law like the US’ ones about the S-400s. Russia is also very eager to clinch a comprehensive trade deal with India, which could even be broadened to include the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAU). The US, on the other hand, is playing political games with its trade talks.

There’s no doubt that so-called “vaccine diplomacy” is nowadays part of International Relations whether states officially recognize it or not, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if it’s proactively practiced and not undertaken with any strings attached. To explain, Russia’s vaccine exports are intended to serve as an opening to comprehensively expand bilateral ties with each of its partners, while the US seemingly withholds such aid for political reasons until its partners either make unilateral concessions or the situation becomes much too scandalous that it can no longer continue such a policy without intense international scrutiny. With the Indian example in mind, Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” is much more moral than the US’.

This objective observation should give Indian strategists cause to think about whether the current direction of their multi-alignment policy is in line with their country’s long-term national interests or not. Remaining so focused on the American vector of this vision despite being slapped around by the US so shamefully this past month, not to mention in such a dangerous way with respect to Indian lives literally being on the line, arguably isn’t advancing their intended goals since they’ve received nothing other than limited military support in exchange for submitting to America over these past few years. It would therefore be much better if India seriously considers the wisdom of cooperating more closely with Russia in support of the Eurasian Century.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: India, Russia, US, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Vaccine Diplomacy, Balancing, Quad.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
Expert Analysis

Russia’s Unfriendly States List Is Long Overdue

27 APRIL 2021

Russia

Russia’s decision to assemble a list of unfriendly states whose diplomatic missions would be prohibited from hiring locals and perhaps also subject to other restrictions is long overdue and shows that the country is finally taking the New Cold War very seriously approximately seven years after it first started.

President Putin signed a decree on countermeasures against unfriendly states on Friday, which would prohibit their diplomatic missions from hiring locals and perhaps also subject them to other restrictions in the future. The average person might not understand the importance of this move, but it basically means that those countries will have to staff lower-level administrative and other positions with their own highly trained diplomats instead of hiring locals to do the work. In other words, this diminishes those countries’ diplomatic capabilities because overqualified individuals are forced to do basic tasks instead of focus on more important matters. Since every country only has a limited number of diplomats, this might at least in theory make it more difficult for them to destabilize their host state, in this case Russia.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the US will be on that list of unfriendly states, while it remains to be seen which other countries will be designated as such alongside it. In any case, this move is long overdue and shows that Russia is finally taking the New Cold War very seriously approximately seven years after it first started. The prior approach had been to refer to all countries, even obvious opponents, as so-called “partners” in order to retain a degree of “professionalism” in their relations. Russia’s adherence to classic diplomatic norms wasn’t reciprocated by the US, though, which continued to openly declare that Russia was a rival, if not an outright enemy. The diplomatic mood never recovered despite Russia’s best wishes to the contrary.

The last four years of former President Trump’s reign remain a major disappointment in the minds of many in Moscow who hoped that a “New Detente” would have been brokered between them by now. Regrettably, subversive elements of the country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) successfully sabotaged the elected head of state’s foreign policy in this respect, which ruin bilateral relations and set the stage for President Biden to recently make them even worse. It’s therefore appropriate that Russia finally recalibrates its diplomatic stance towards the US and its proxies by bringing it in line with the new norms that the latter have imposed upon it all this time. Although the Mainstream Media will likely spin this move as “unprovoked aggression”, it’s actually a legitimate response against US aggression.

The significance of Russia’s decision to designate certain countries as unfriendly states and subsequently impose various restrictions upon their diplomatic activities suggests that the current state of tension between it and the West will remain the “new normal” for the indefinite future. Neither side is likely to backtrack on its stance towards the either, with each being convinced of the righteousness of their actions, for better (like in Russia’s case) or for worse (like in America’s). The recent expulsion of Russian diplomats in Czechia and several other countries speaks to how serious this “deep state” war between them has become. If there’s any silver lining to this state of affairs, it’s that Russia might finally begin the active containment of America according to the 20-point plan that I suggested in February, which would greatly improve its Hybrid War resilience.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, US, Putin, New Cold War, Hybrid War, Deep State, Diplomacy.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
Expert Analysis

What Explains The Latest De-Escalation In Donbass?

24 APRIL 2021

What Explains The Latest De-Escalation In Donbass?

The latest de-escalation in Donbass is attributable to Russia’s resoluteness in refusing to fall into the US’ Hybrid War trap of launching an all-out military intervention there in support of its legal interests while nevertheless flexing its muscles in this respect by sending the signal that it reserves the right to deliver a crushing strike in defense of its border and/or citizens if they’re seriously threatened.

The month of April was marked by serious tension in the Eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass after Kiev appeared to be gearing up for an Operation Storm-like genocidal advance against the Russian-friendly separatists there which many predicted might trigger a major military response from Moscow. Of course, the Mainstream Media flipped the victims and villains in order to misportray Russia as the aggressor even though it was Ukraine that declined to implement its legal obligations as agreed to during the Minsk peace process and thus unilaterally worsened the situation. I published two analyses at the time explaining the complicated dynamics of those tense events, which should be reviewed by interested readers in case they aren’t already familiar with them:

* 6 April: “Are Vaccines The Real Driving Force Behind The Latest Donbass Destabilization?

* 8 April: “Why Does Ukraine Want War?

Basically, Kiev was being put up to this by its Washington patron which wanted to provoke a scenario that would make it politically impossible for most of the EU nations to purchase Russia’s Sputnik V like they were reportedly planning to do up until that point. The US feared the long-term strategic impact of improved Russian-EU relations as a result of their prospective epidemiological cooperation. It hoped to “bait the bear” into launching an all-out military intervention in support of its border and/or citizens, which could in turn function as a Hybrid War trap for creating an Afghan-like quagmire in the worst-case scenario. Russia refused to fall for this scheme but nevertheless flexed its muscles by sending the signal that it still reserves the right to deliver a crushing strike in defense of its legal interests if they’re threatened, which got the West to back off.

The situation could of course change at any moment since the strategic dynamics haven’t changed all that much, but Russia’s confident moves must have made the West rethink the wisdom of this Hybrid War plot considering the obviously unacceptable costs that it would likely entail. For the moment at least, everything seems to be de-escalating a bit as a result of Russia’s prudent policy. The Russian “spy” scandal in Czechia was manufactured to serve as a convenient distraction from Western warmongers backtracking in Eastern Ukraine since their leadership couldn’t openly acknowledge that they blinked in the face of Russian resoluteness lest they lose credibility with their populace which has been hyped up by anti-Russian propaganda. This was followed by President Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly and the end of Russian drills in the south.

About those last two, they’re actually interconnected if one takes the time to think about them. The Russian leader very clearly implied that his country’s red lines are connected not only to conventional security interests such as the obvious ones in Eastern Ukraine that everyone had been talking about up until that point, but also “Democratic Security” insofar as announcing how unacceptable the recently foiled Belarusian regime change plot was. Without saying as much but clearly hinting in this direction, President Putin was conveying the message that the West mustn’t dare even think about attempting to assassinate him, stage a Color Revolution (the ongoing Navalny-inspired unrest isn’t a serious threat), try to co-opt military officials for a coup plot, or launch a crippling cyber offensive attack to shut down the national capital like was all planned for Belarus.

Since Russia’s southern military drills were sufficient enough to prove how resolute it was in defending its legal interests if need be, and considering the fact that the West had already begun to de facto de-escalate the situation by staging the Russian “spy” distraction in Czechia and subsequent expulsion of diplomats across a growing number of European countries, it naturally followed that Russia would reciprocate by ending its exercises. Moscow had already managed to show the West that it won’t be pushed around, and its military forces can always snap back into action at a moment’s notice if the situation requires them to do so. In other words, those drills and President Putin’s very clearly implied “Democratic Security” (counter-Hybrid War) red lines were responsible for getting the West to de-escalate, after which Russia responded in kind as is the norm.

The lessons to be learned are several. Firstly, Russia is much too wise to fall into Hybrid War traps that are so obviously laid out for it. Secondly, it still succeeded in showing its opponents that they’ll suffer unacceptably high costs for their schemes if they force Russia to militarily respond in a limited way in defense of its legal interests. Thirdly, awareness of these first two points resulted in a rethink of Western strategy, which was fourthly followed by their desperate manufacturing of the Russian “spy” scandal in Czechia to distract their hyped-up Russophobic populations that had expected the West to be the one to deliver a crushing blow to Russia and not the inverse. Fifthly, Russia conveyed its “Democratic Security” red lines, thereby essentially expanding the list of unacceptable actions against it which could provoke a hot war in the worst-case scenario.

This sequence of events explains the latest de-escalation in Donbass, but observers must remember that the present respite might only be short-lived since the strategic dynamics that provoked the original tensions still remain. There’s nothing stopping the West from trying to provoke Russia again and again, albeit perhaps modifying their approach each time. That would of course increase the chances of a war by miscalculation and contradict the so-called “rational actor theory” upon which many had (naively?) premised their understanding of International Relations up until this point. It might still be premature to predict that this will happen and that the US isn’t behaving rationally since it did after all de-escalate, though only in the face of Russian resoluteness, but everything should become much clearer by the time NATO’s Defender Europe 2021 drills end in June.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
Expert Analysis

Chad: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same?

23 APRIL 2021

Chad: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same?

The reported killing of long-serving Chadian leader Idriss Deby at the hands of his country’s latest rebel group and subsequent imposition of a military transitional government were thought by some to herald long-overdue change in this geostrategically pivotal state, yet it might very well be that nothing will end up changing all that much since such a scenario could result in France losing control of one of its top regional allies if that happens.

Deby’s Death

Observers were shocked after learning that long-serving Chadian leader Idriss Deby was killed at the hands of his country’s latest rebel group. Some even suspected that foul play might have been involved, with one of the most prominent theories speculating that it was an inside job by rogue members of the military who attempted to pull off an armed coup. Regardless of whatever might have really happened, the fact of the matter is that Chad experienced a sudden regime change instead of the “phased leadership transition” that usually occurs in “national democracies” such as this one which don’t employ Western models of governance. What’s most controversial about the immediate consequences of this unexpected development is that the armed forces suspended the constitution, established an 18-month military transitional government, and appointed the president’s son Mahamat “Kaka” Idriss Deby Itno as leader in a move condemned by some as an unconstitutional coup and possibly indicative of a power struggle among the inner military elite.

High Hopes

Nevertheless, some observers expressed hope that these moves might herald long-overdue change in this geostrategically pivotal state, perhaps resulting in a more Western form of governance in partnership with the leading “Front for Change and Concord in Chad” (FACT by its French acronym) rebel group and others when all’s said and done similar in a sense to the precedent that’s gradually unfolding in neighboring Sudan. Others think that the new military government might soon fall if FACT is able to successfully take the capital of N’Djamena in the coming future like it’s promised to do, inspired by Deby’s death and incensed by what they described as the “dynastic devolution of power” in the country. Those hopes, however well intended they may be, are probably premature and much too high when considering that such scenarios could result in France losing control of one of its top regional allies if that happens. The casual observer probably doesn’t know much about their historical patron-proxy relations, so some background reading is required.

Background Briefing

Here are three relevant analyses that I published over the years about Chad:

* 23 March 2017: “Chad: Hybrid War Strategic Risk Analysis

* 15 March 2019: “Has The World Been Ignoring An Almost Decade-Long ‘African Spring’?

* 25 March 2019: “Is Chad Losing Control Of The Central African Pivot Space?

Chad is “too big to fail” for France despite being ripe for regime change by protesters, rebels, and terrorists.

Anti-Terrorism Or Neo-Imperialism?

France justifies its patron-proxy relationship with Chad on the basis of shared anti-terrorist concerns, the latter of which veritably exist and are legitimate to a large extent but are nevertheless exploited for neo-imperialist purposes. Despite being oil rich, the country consistently ranks near the absolute bottom of the Human Development Index and is regarded as one of the most destitute places on the planet. This is attributable to rampant corruption, which the military is also suspected of participating in. France turns a blind eye to these practices despite publicly supporting “accountability and transparency among all” abroad because it conveniently enables it to maintain its proxy network among the country’s powerful armed forces, which in turn helps advance its regional goals, most recently in Mali. For all of its governing faults, Chad objectively has one of Africa’s most powerful militaries, which explains why former President Deby’s government had yet to fall to rebels despite coming close on several occasions. France airstrikes at critical moments also helped too.

Scenario Forecasting

It remains to be seen whether the Chadian National Armed Forces (FANT by their French acronym) can stem FACT’s week-long blitzkrieg towards the capital from their Libyan base, but if they can’t, then it’s very likely that France will intervene once again to save its struggling proxies. In the unlikely event that Paris doesn’t do so, then it might stand to lose enormous regional influence if the revolutionary authorities espouse any sincere anti-imperialist principles. It’s much more likely, however, that the military transitional government will remain in power and overcome the speculative differences between some of its factions. In that event, France might either go along with the possibility of its proxy potentially rigging elections to ensure “Kaka’s” victory if he isn’t able to win through legitimate means or it might flexibly adapt to changing circumstances to guide Chad’s incipient democracy through an unseen hand in the direction of its strategic interests. The only wild card is whether the Chadian people can successfully employ a grassroots-driven Color Revolution to stop this.

Concluding Thoughts

Chad is a very diverse and highly impoverished country in spite of its rich resource wealth, and it’s pretty much only been held together by a tight fist since independence, whether that was most recently Deby or his several predecessors. It’s quite typical of many African countries in this respect, which means that the onset of sudden instability such as the capital’s fall to rebel forces who might potentially be opposed in principle to continuing the country’s present course in foreign affairs (i.e. retaining the patron-proxy neo-imperialist relationship with France) or a successful Color Revolution inspired by Deby’s death could catalyze far-reaching and largely unpredictable consequences in the worst-case scenario. France is unlikely to sit back and lose one of its top allies in Africa which is why it’s predicted that Paris might soon militarily intervene in support of FANT should the need arise, and if need be, clandestinely “manage” (i.e. hijack) Chad’s incipient democracy.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Chad, France, Terrorism, Regime Change, Color Revolution, Hybrid War, Sahel.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

 

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

 

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


RECENT POSTS:

Categories
Expert Analysis

Why’s The West Covering Up The Foiled Belarusian Coup Attempt?

22 APRIL 2021

Why

President Putin used the global attention afforded to him during his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday to raise widespread awareness of the Belarusian coup attempt that his security services helped foil last weekend but which has since been mostly ignored by the Western Mainstream Media.

The Hybrid War On Belarus

The ongoing Hybrid War on Belarus could have taken a dramatic turn for the worse had the Russian security services and their Belarusian counterparts not foiled an assassination and coup attempt against President Lukashenko over the weekend that was being planned for the very near future. President Putin remarked about this near the end of his approximately 1,5-hour-long annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday, wisely using the global attention afforded to him during this time to raise widespread awareness of this scheme. The Russian leader even remarked how strange it was that the West has been mostly ignoring this dramatic development despite the potential consequences of its successful implementation predictably being disastrous for the Eastern European nation.

The News Story That Never Broke

Another point to keep in mind is that his spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed the press on Monday that President Putin discussed the issue with his American counterpart during their last phone call, which strongly suggests that the US government might have pressured its Mainstream Media proxies not to report on that aspect of their conversation. After all, there were plenty of leaks in the last administration, yet curiously barely any have thus have happened in the present one. Nevertheless, Russian media reported on the scandal over the weekend after it first broke, but few outlets elsewhere picked up on it. It can’t be known for sure, but apart from the previously mentioned reasonable speculation, this might also be attributable to self-censorship. Some outlets might simply not want to portray Biden’s foreign policy in any negative light.

American Tradecraft

Although the US officially denied any involvement in the plot, the details that the media disclosed about it (and which President Putin also repeated to everyone on Wednesday) bear the hallmarks of American tradecraft. The scheme involved assassinating President Lukashenko, reportedly during the military parade on Victory Day (9 May), which was to have been followed by a military coup carried out by compromised elements of the armed forces. In addition, the capital of Minsk was supposed to have been cut off from the rest of the country and victimized by a massive power outage, presumably as a result of a cyber offensive operation. The ongoing Color Revolution movement would have also been ordered to repeat the EuroMaidan scenario of all-out urban terrorism during this sensitive time in order to ensure that the coup succeeds by one means or another.

The Ukrainian & Venezuelan Precedents

President Putin compared this plot to what had previously been employed against former Ukrainian President Yanukovich and current Venezuelan President Maduro, thereby implying an American hand in the reported Belarusian events considering that the US’ leading tactical and strategic involvement in the prior two bears close resemblance to the Belarusian scenario. The Western Mainstream Media wanted to keep silent about this scheme out of fear of making Biden look bad since their targeted audience has been indoctrinated into thinking that he’s a comprehensive improvement upon everything that former US President Trump earlier was. If Biden – or rather, the military, intelligence, and diplomatic power structure (“deep state”) behind him – was implicated in a foreign assassination and coup attempt, then it might raise questions about whether the US’ ostensibly “democratically driven” regime change last November actually changed anything across the world.

Biden’s Following In Trump’s Footsteps

It shouldn’t be forgotten that despite legally discredited accusations of being a so-called “Russian puppet”, former President Trump did more to destabilize Russia than any US leader in history, which in this context includes organizing the ongoing Hybrid War on Belarus. Biden is therefore following in Trump’s footsteps whether his supporters acknowledge it or not, but this observation is very “politically inconvenient” for his base and must therefore be suppressed from the public’s consciousness. That explains why it’s practically forbidden from being discussed by the Mainstream Media, but that might have suddenly changed after President Putin ensured that the whole world became aware of it during his address to the Federal Assembly. He didn’t just do this to spite Biden, though, but for very practical reasons related to Russia’s national security interests.

Belarusian Threats = Russian Threats

The context in which the Russian leader talked about the foiled assassination and coup attempt in neighboring Belarus concerned the West’s larger campaign of maximum pressure against his country. Since Belarus is a civilizationally similar state that’s also proudly part of what many in Moscow consider the so-called “Russian World”, it naturally follows that its latest Hybrid War intrigue directly threatens Russia itself since the successful implementation of that regime change scenario could one day result in its replication inside Russia too. The socio-economic and even political situations are remarkably similar between those two nations, even though their security capabilities are incomparable by virtue of Russia being a Great Power while Belarus is simply a moderately sized regional state with very limited influence even within its own neighborhood.

Russia’s Red Lines

Even so, President Putin warned his country’s opponents against getting any crazy ideas by attempting to cross Russia’s red lines, which he said his country will draw at its own discretion on a case-by-case basis. Considering that he had just finished talking about the latest Hybrid War escalation against neighboring Belarus with which Russia has a mutual defense treaty through the CSTO and which is civilizationally similar to his own country, the implied message is obvious and it’s that Moscow won’t tolerate any such plots being attempted within its own borders. It would arguably constitute the crossing of a very clear red line if the West attempted (let alone coordinated) the assassination of President Putin, a military coup, a serious Color Revolution (the Navalny-inspired one isn’t all that threatening), and/or a crippling cyber attack.

The Truth About The New Cold War

The Belarusian attempt was foiled which is why it’s not being discussed by the Western Mainstream Media because of how embarrassing this failure is for their leaders. It also confirms what President Putin has been saying all along, namely that the real aggressor in the New Cold War isn’t Russia, but the West and especially the US. Most of the people living in the West have been indoctrinated through an incessant stream of propaganda and intense perception management operations into thinking the inverse, but even these brainwashed masses might reconsider their dogmatic beliefs if they took the time to reflect on the implications of their governments organizing the assassination of a Russian-friendly foreign leader and a military coup against him. That might, in the “worst-case scenario” from their leaders’ perspectives, get them to wake up.

Concluding Thoughts

Many of President Putin’s foreign supporters oftentimes describe him as “5D chess grandmaster”, and while this label is sometimes laughably exploited to deflect from some seemingly unsavory parts of his foreign policy such as Russia’s indisputable alliance with “Israel”, it can be said that this time it’s right on the mark when talking about his strategic genius in bringing up the foiled assassination and coup attempt in Belarus during his address to the Federal Assembly. The Russian leader broke through the Western Mainstream Media’s censorship firewall and forced this politically suppressed issue into the wider discussion, though it remains to be seen whether it’ll have any meaningful impact on public perceptions. In any case, it was a wily move to make and completely in line with the Russian leader’s style of responding to the West in asymmetrical ways.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


RECENT POSTS:

Categories
Expert Analysis

Debunking Bloomberg: Biden’s Afghan Withdrawal Isn’t A Blow To China

20 APRIL 2021

Debunking Bloomberg: Biden

It was hyperbole for Ghosh to claim that ‘Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Is A Blow To China’. It might only be so in the worst-case scenario, which is far from certain.

Bloomberg published an op-ed last week provocatively claiming that “Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Is A Blow To China”. Opinion columnist Bobby Ghosh argues that the country might soon slip back into an all-out civil war that would not only disrupt China’s connectivity interests in the country, but also spill over to threaten the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In addition, he predicts that Afghanistan will become “a sanctuary for jihadists of every stripe — some of whom will undoubtedly direct their attention to that very short, mountainous and porous border with China.”

This line of thinking is typical of what many in the Western mainstream media are saying. They were against former US President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban last year and subsequent promise to complete his country’s military withdrawal by the beginning of next month. His successor, US President Joe Biden, will instead initiate the full withdrawal by that date and complete it before the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some establishment voices fear that this will create strategic opportunities for China and the US’ other so-called peer competitors like Russia to exploit for zero-sum ends against American interests.

In reality, however, it’s in everyone’s interests that the US completes its promised withdrawal from Afghanistan as soon as possible. America has spent trillions of dollars there without much of anything to show for it. It’s true that Afghanistan now has a governing system comparatively closer (key word) to Western democracy than before and that woman now enjoy greater rights, but the Taliban still controls large swathes of the country and ISIS’ entry to the battlefield in 2014 immensely complicated the anti-terrorist situation there. Indefinitely continuing the US’ occupation of Afghanistan would only make matters much worse without solving anything.

By boldly agreeing to withdraw from the country and clearly articulating the strategic reasons behind this decision in his national speech on Wednesday, President Biden concluded that it’s better to cut America’s losses and simply move on even though the victimized Afghan people won’t be able to move past this twenty-year dark chapter of their national history so easily. In any case, their future is arguably brighter than before, not dimmer. The completion of the US’ withdrawal will unlock promising socio-economic opportunities for Afghanistan provided that their leadership and local stakeholders have the political will to support them.

To explain, it’s precisely because of China that this is possible. Afghanistan’s geostrategic location in the center of the tri-regional Central-South-West Asian space affords it enormous potential for connecting these three massive markets through BRI. In particular, CPEC’s de facto expansion into Afghanistan via the recently agreed Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway will complement existing rail connectivity with China via the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The Chinese-Iranian Strategic Partnership deal also creates the chance of further expanding this connectivity network to West Asia with time via W-CPEC+.

Domestically, the Afghan economy would require extensive reconstruction, but its reported $3 trillion worth of minerals – including some rare earth ones – could ideally be extracted in the most responsible way possible to ensure the equitable distribution of this wealth to every citizen. Coupled with grants and low-interest no-strings-attached loans from partner states like China and others, the Afghan people actually stand a very credible chance of succeeding in the future so long as their country can avert the all-out civil war that Ghosh fears might soon erupt.

That worst-case scenario is plausible, but nevertheless not inevitable. The Taliban, despite being designated as terrorists, have recently proven themselves to be shrewd diplomats on the international stage during multiple rounds of peace talks over the past few years. They seem to have understand the pragmatism of facilitating such connectivity and extractive projects for the purpose of improving their citizens’ living standards. Should they enter into the planned inclusive transitional government that’s been proposed, then they’ll probably not do anything to threaten those projects since they’ll too have a stake in their success.

Considering all of this, it was hyperbole for Ghosh to claim that “Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Is A Blow To China”. It might only be so in the worst-case scenario, which is far from certain. What’s much more likely is that the existing low-intensity conflict continues but doesn’t reach catastrophic proportions. Instead, with the Taliban possibly becoming part of the Afghan government, the international community might remove their terrorist designation and accept them as equal stakeholders in Afghanistan’s future socio-economic success, a large part of which will be due to mutually beneficial cooperation with China.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
Expert Analysis

Xinjiang Must Unite, Not Divide, China And Turkey

19 APRIL 2021

Xinjiang Must Unite, Not Divide, China And Turkey

Because of how sensitive the issue is both in general and for bilateral relations, it deserves to be discussed more thoroughly.

A controversy occurred earlier this month after two Turkish opposition politicians expressed support for separatism in Xinjiang. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned their counterproductive remarks, which in turn prompted Ankara to summon the Chinese Ambassador. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian then said that “We hope that people in Turkey from all walks of life can correctly, rationally and objectively view the firm position of China to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Because of how sensitive the issue is both in general and for bilateral relations, it deserves to be discussed more thoroughly.

Turkey is presently rising as a regional power in accordance with its rich civilizational and historical influence. This has recently seen the country promote a hybrid model of secular and religious influence in order to broaden its appeal to traditional and prospective partners alike in North Africa, West Asia, and Central Asia. The last-mentioned region is comprised of former Soviet republics, many of whom are populated by Turkic people who feel a close kinship with their Turkish brethren. This ethnic outreach to what Ankara regards as the Turkic world is natural and should be encouraged by all so long as it doesn’t take any threatening form.

The problem is that there are some in Turkey who flirt with radical interpretations of their country’s newfound soft power strategy. Instead of respecting every country’s sovereign interests to govern themselves however their legitimate leaders believe is best, they arrogantly think that they know better those states or their own people do. Therein lies the issue with the latest Xinjiang controversy whereby two opposition politicians made counterproductive remarks in favor of separatist forces there. Considering the growing closeness of Chinese-Turkish relations, these statements were unwelcome and could have caused trouble between those two.

Thankfully, bilateral ties have matured enough to the point where such comments won’t affect those countries’ expanding partnership, but they still deserved to be condemned in order to remind everyone of how unacceptable they were. The individuals that made them were clearly misled by the US-led global information warfare campaign against the People’s Republic alleging that China is carrying out a so-called “genocide” against the Uyghurs, who are mostly fellow Muslims related to the Turkish people. In fact, one can argue that Turkey is one of the prime target audiences of this American Hybrid War narrative.

The US hopes to mislead the world, and especially Muslim countries, about the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The intended result is to pressure those states into distancing themselves from cooperating more closely with China, which could in turn provide a comparative competitive advantage to the US. In the Turkish context, American strategists want to manipulate influential Turkish figures into provoking more international controversies between their country and China over this manufactured fake news-driven issue. In reality, however, Xinjiang must unite, not divide, China and Turkey.

Upon learning more about the socio-economic renaissance of the Uyghur people and other minorities in the XUAR, more Turks will realize how badly they were misled by the US’ information warfare campaign. China isn’t “oppressing” the Uyghurs, not to mention committing “genocide” against them, but has unprecedentedly improved their living standards to the point where its efforts can objectively be described as the most successful minority empowerment campaign anywhere in the planet’s history. Life expectancy and overall population numbers have soared, household income is at its highest-ever levels, and security is guaranteed.

In fact, Turkey could even learn from China’s experiences with the Uyghurs to similarly improve the situation for its own minorities. This could in turn reduce separatist and terrorist threats in the same way as has recently happened in the XUAR. With this vision in mind, Turks should resist the US’ external pressure to exploit this situation for the purpose of dividing their country from China. If anything, they should learn more about the reality of what’s happening there in order to motivate them to take ties with China to the next level, including through more people-to-people interactions such as touring the XUAR once the pandemic finally ends.

It’s sad that some Turkish individuals were misled by American propaganda about Xinjiang, but their own government nowadays knows that these narratives aren’t true. That’s why ties remain strong between China and Turkey despite the latest controversy. Both countries are in a mutually beneficial partnership with potential strategic implications, which no single issue – let alone an artificially manufactured one – can sabotage. As time goes on, it’s hoped that more Turks will learn the truth about the XUAR, appreciate China’s historic efforts in improving the Uyghurs’ lives, and see Xinjiang as a natural bridge between their two countries.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: China, Turkey, Xinjiang, US, Fake News, Infowars, Hybrid War.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

MORE GEOPOLITICS ISSUES:

GLOBAL GEOPOLITICS NEWS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.