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What Kind Of Secretary Of State Might Antony Blinken Be?

What Kind Of Secretary Of State Might Antony Blinken Be?

25 NOVEMBER 2020

What Kind Of Secretary Of State Might Antony Blinken Be?

While Pompeo is brash, Blinken is humble, and this key difference might play a leading role in repairing America’s damaged reputation abroad after the past four years of current US President Trump’s bombastic foreign policy statements. Nevertheless, this impression shouldn’t be taken to mean that Blinken isn’t decisive.

Democrat presidential candidate and popularly projected winner of this month’s elections Joe Biden announced that he’ll nominate his close advisor Antony Blinken as the US’ next Secretary of State. Blinken is a veteran Democrat expert in the foreign policy field who comes from a family of diplomats. He previously served as Biden’s National Security Advisor when he was Vice-President as well as Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Secretary of State. The tremendous experience that Blinken will bring to a possible Biden Administration means that the world can expect a return to the US’ Obama-era foreign policy.

Media reports indicate that his personality is the complete opposite of current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While Pompeo is brash, Blinken is humble, and this key difference might play a leading role in repairing America’s damaged reputation abroad after the past four years of current US President Trump’s bombastic foreign policy statements. Nevertheless, this impression shouldn’t be taken to mean that Blinken isn’t decisive. Other reports claim that he was in favor of former President Obama bombing Syria during the 2013 chemical weapons crisis, and former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul revealed some other interesting details.

According to the Financial Times in their article titled “Biden’s ‘alter ego’ Antony Blinken tipped for top foreign policy job”, McFaul said that Blinken was part of a secretive group of Democrats called the “Phoneix Initiative”. The former ambassador claimed that they began assembling in 2004 after former Democrat presidential candidate Kerry’s loss to incumbent President Bush Jr. Their debates allegedly consisted of passionate arguments in support of more robust national security strategies, including Blinken advocating very strongly for “human rights” according to McFaul.

This correlates with the US’ Obama-era foreign policy of supporting Color Revolutions and so-called “humanitarian interventions” across the world in countries as diverse as Ukraine and Libya respectively under such pretexts. Observers might thus be worried that these policies could repeat themselves under a possible Biden Presidency, which could in turn be destabilizing for Eastern Europe and the Mideast, especially if those aforesaid processes were weaponized for the purpose of geopolitically containing Russia and Iran. It’s too early to tell whether that’ll be the case, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

Blinken was also critical of Russia over the past few years and even dramatically claimed in 2017 that “The president’s ongoing collusion with Russia’s plans is really striking, intentional or not.” It’s therefore unlikely that he’ll oversee any improvement of relations with Russia, which is worrisome because the two nuclear powers should renegotiate a new strategic weapons treaty after the New START expires early next year. Failing to do so for reasons possibly related to Blinken’s groundless suspicions of then-former President Trump’s relations with Russia (which were never proven despite several years of investigations) would worsen global insecurity.

On the topic of Iran, however, he seems to be much more pragmatic. Blinken supported the 2015 nuclear deal and would likely see the US attempt to return to it under a possible Biden presidency. While that might repair American-Iranian relations, it could also inadvertently worsen the US’ historical ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are totally against the agreement. Still, it would represent a symbolic return to the UN-enshrined rules-based order if Blinken were to oversee the US’ return to that pact. Thus far, it can be concluded that he’d probably be harder on Russia but more flexible with Iran, but his stance towards China is unclear.

The same earlier cited Financial Times piece reported that Blinken told an interviewer during a recent podcast that “the US had to rebuild alliances to tackle the ‘democratic recession’ enabled by Mr Trump that let ‘autocracies from Russia to China . . . exploit our difficulties’.” This suggests that he might share some of his predecessor’s suspicions of China and thus be less pragmatic towards it than some had initially hoped after first hearing that Biden was projected by the media to be the next President-Elect. His ideological views towards governance hint that he might even try to strengthen the US’ regional alliances on a “democratic” basis.

It can only be hoped that Blinken wouldn’t let his personal opinions blind him to the fact that the US has no choice but to pragmatically cooperate with China despite those two countries’ different governing systems. Seeing the world in black-and-white terms of us-versus-them with respect to democracies versus what he regards as autocracies would be the wrong way to approach relations with the People’s Republic. It might even result in a possible Biden Administration ruining the chance to enter into a comprehensive rapprochement with China towards what some have predicted could even become a New Detente between the two if successful.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Biden, Blinken, Russia, Iran, China, Color Revolutions, Regime Change, Hybrid Wars, Obama.


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Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

9 NOVEMBER 2020

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

In the event that Biden’s “projected” presidency become a reality, Russia and Turkey would stand to lose the most during America’s new era of engagement with the world due to the former Vice President’s intense dislike of the Eurasian Great Power and the regional consequences that his possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy.

Multilateralism Doesn’t Mean That Everyone Wins

Analysts are scrambling to predict what American foreign policy might look like under a possible Biden presidency in the event that his “projected” (but crucially, not yet legally certified) victory becomes a reality. It’s already known that he intends to return to the Obama-era strategy of multilateral engagement and will probably appoint many officials from that former administration or at the very least those who’ve been tremendously influenced by them. There’s also little doubt that the US’ de-facto military alliance with India will remain intact considering the bipartisan consensus regarding its grannd strategic importance. Nevertheless, although it’s still a bit early to make any confident predictions, it can be argued that Russia and Turkey will probably stand to lose the most from a Biden presidency for reasons that will now be explained.

Political Russophobes Return To The White House

Regarding the Eurasian Great Power, it has legitimate concerns about the political Russophobia of former Obama-era officials. The (soon-to-be-former?) opposition spent the past four years concocting one of the craziest conspiracy theories in modern history by imagining that Trump was secretly an agent — or at the very least, an asset — of none other than President Putin himself. These dangerous allegations have since been officially debunked, but their destructive impact on bilateral relations will persist for the indefinite future. The anti-Russian members of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) which literally conspired with their Democrat and Mainstream Media proxies to delegitimize and subsequently subvert Trump’s presidency have no interest in a rapprochement with Russia.

A Strategically Convenient “New Detente” With China?

To the contrary, they’ve signaled every interest in clinching a “New Detente” with China instead through a series of pragmatic compromises on a slew of issues such as trade, military, and technological ones for instance. This isn’t just for pragmatic reasons, but clever geostrategic ones related to freeing up the US’ full potential to more assertively “contain” Russia for the ideological reasons that drive Obama-era officials and those influenced by them. Should this scenario come to pass, then Russia would come under unprecedented pressure along its western flank, building upon the military advances along its borders that were overseen by Trump but aggressively solidifying and possibly even expanding them. Being in the midst of a systemic economic transition away from its disproportionate budgetary dependence on resource revenue, Russia is presently real vulnerable.

Russia’s Most Vulnerable Moment

The next year or two is therefore the best possible time for the US to put maximum pressure upon it for the purpose of compelling it to agree to a lopsided “New Detente” which could foreseeably result in a so-called “new normal” of relations between the West and Russia. The intent, however, is to subjugate Russia to America’s military will, which is understandably more difficult to pull off than the political Russophobes might imagine considering Moscow’s recent advances in hypersonic missile technology which restored the nuclear balance between the former superpowers. Still, all that Russia has done was buy itself some more time while it sought to domestically restructure all aspects of its society while the US was distracted with “containing” China under Trump, but now the pendulum might swing back against Russia with a vengeance under Biden.

Strengthening The Regional Anti-Turkish “Containment” Coalition

On the topic of Turkey, it’s also expected that this country will stand to lose from a possible Biden presidency. The US’ strategy of assembling a regional anti-Turkish “containment” coalition between itself, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, the GCC, Greece, “Israel”, and even Syria to an extent will likely remain in place, as will its use of more subversive measures such as economic warfare and even coup plotting in order to “finish the job” that Obama failed to do during the summer 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan. Just as importantly, however, are the regional consequences that the US’ possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy since they could result in it and Tehran drifting apart after their recent rapprochement.

The Turkish-Iranian Strategic Partnership

About that, these neighboring Islamic civilizations are presently enjoying some of their best-ever relations after the failed summer 2016 coup attempt saw Iran become the first country to publicly support Turkey’s legitimate government against the plotters. This wasn’t only for pragmatic reasons regarding the rule of law and international norms, but also ideological ones as well since Turkish society has been gradually Islamifying under President Erdogan’s rule in ways which align with Iran’s ideal vision for the region’s societies. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran saw the Islamic Republic move much closer to Turkey for the purpose of much-needed sanctions relief, which in turn resulted in them agreeing on Azerbaijan and Libya despite Iran’s Syrian ally having a different position towards those two conflicts to the surprise of the Alt-Media Community.

Decoupling Turkey & Iran’s Mutual Strategic Interdependence

As Iran began to rely more on Turkey, so too did Turkey began to rely on Iran, thus establishing a relationship of mutual strategic interdependence. Where Iran sees Turkey as a pressure valve from sanctions, Turkey regards Iran as an indispensably influential regional partner which helps hold back the emerging US-led anti-Turkish “containment” coalition. Nevertheless, if a breakthrough is reached on the US returning to the Iranian nuclear deal, then there’s a credible chance that their mutual strategic interdependence might eventually weaken and the two countries could gradually “decouple” with time. That would place Turkey in a very disadvantageous regional position, but one which could interestingly improve its already solid relations with Russia so long as both have the political will to do so.

Could The Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership Transform Into An Unofficial Alliance?

The analysis has thus far argued that Russia and Turkey will lose the most from a Biden presidency, but the proverbial silver lining is that they’d have more of a reason than ever to strengthen their cooperation with one another in response. In fact, should similar pressure be placed upon them in a semi-coordinated manner, they might naturally move a lot closer together. Issues of occasional discord such as differences of vision over certain conflicts might remain, but they wouldn’t be insurmountable and in fact might be more easily resolved in the event that they enter into a stronger relationship of mutual strategic interdependence which might even eventually become an unofficial alliance. The exact contours of such a scenario are difficult to forecast at this point, but the possibility itself shouldn’t be discounted for the earlier mentioned reasons.

Concluding Thoughts

While many across the world are celebrating what they’ve been (mis?)led to believe is Trump’s impending ouster from the White House, it’s all but certain that Russia and Turkey are fretting over what might come next if Biden is able to execute on his regional vision of repairing relations with China, doubling down on the US’ anti-Russian and -Turkish pressure campaigns, and returning to the Iranian nuclear deal. Taken together, these variables could prove extremely troublesome for their grand strategies, but might also present an opportunity for these two Great Powers to work more closely together in the future. Having said all of that, nothing’s set in stone of course and a Biden presidency might end up surprising a lot of observers just like the Trump one did in some respects, but it’ll still likely be difficult for either Russia or Turkey to secure their interests during this time.

Tags: Biden, US, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, JCPOA, New Detente, NATO, Sanctions, Regime Change, Color Revolution, Hybrid War, Containment.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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The Sudanese-‘Israeli’ Peace Deal Required Lots Of Behind-The-Scenes Maneuvering

The Sudanese-‘Israeli’ Peace Deal Required Lots Of Behind-The-Scenes Maneuvering

29 OCTOBER 2020

The Sudanese-

The Sudanese-”Israeli” peace deal isn’t a spontaneous act of reconciliation like it’s misportrayed by some as being but the result of lots of behind-the-scenes maneuvering including last year’s military coup and recent reports that Saudi Arabia will secretly pay Sudan’s agreed-upon $335 million in compensation to US victims of terrorism.

The Road To Recognition

Sudan, which was once ruled by one of the most anti-Zionist governments in the world, announced that it’ll normalize “relations” with “Israel” following the planned signing of a US-brokered peace deal between the two decades-long foes. This wasn’t a spontaneous act of reconciliation like it’s misportrayed by some as being but the result of lots of behind-the-scenes maneuvering over the past few years. It’s important to trace the sequence of events in order to obtain a better understanding of how something as significant as this development came about. It wasn’t by any means an impulsive decision, but one that was at least several years in the making and entirely the result of external meddling into Sudanese affairs.

The Yemen Factor

Former President Bashir was deposed in a military coup last year during large-scale protests reportedly as a result of his armed forces’ refusal to use violent force for dispersing the increasingly riotous unrest. Prior to that “deep state”-driven regime change, the country had gradually aligned itself with the GCC throughout the course of its ongoing War on Yemen, having previously been more closely affiliated with Iran in the years prior. The North African state’s “pariah” status due to its earlier hosting of Osama Bin Laden and support of militant anti-Zionist causes abroad gave it few options other than partnering with the Islamic Republic and China. The War on Yemen, however, was the cynical “opportunity” to change all of that, or so President Bashir thought.

The large-scale dispatch of Sudanese troops and mercenaries to the conflict zone coincided with the country cutting its ties with Iran in January 2016, after which it was for all intents and purposes under the GCC’s near-total influence. The period from that moment until the military coup can be interpreted in hindsight as the time when that not-so-secretly-”Israeli”-backed military bloc extended its sway throughout the country, relying on its newfound leverage over the powerful armed forces. This set the stage for the regime change that would later follow and subsequently transform Sudan into a GCC protectorate for lack of a better description. Its new GCC-allied military leadership then began to seriously consider “normalizing” ties with “Israel” in earnest.

The stumbling block to the country’s removal from international isolation has always been its designation by the US as a so-called “state sponsor of terrorism”. Former President Bashir mistakenly thought that this could be nixed in exchange for contributing so much to the GCC’s War on Yemen, yet that never materialized since the real quid pro quo was recognition of “Israel”, which would have generated even more serious unrest than the anti-government protests that uncontrollably spread throughout the country in spring 2019. For that reason, the former leader refused to take such a fateful step, though it was ultimately his undoing since he might have been able to secure the military’s loyalty in the face of those regime change riots had he done so.

The GCC’s “Deep State” Scheme

The only way for him to have politically survived that unrest would have been for the military to support his reported decision to use lethal force in quelling them. They didn’t though, not because they sympathized with the protesters, but because they were no longer loyal to the country’s internationally recognized leader due to the massive inroads that the “Israeli”-backed GCC made in flipping this “deep state” institution against him over the preceding years. It wasn’t actually former President Bashir’s decision to make upon thinking about it, but the GCC’s, and they needed him removed in order to advance the “deal of the century”.

It’s unclear whether or not they played a role in inciting the regime change unrest at the time, but they almost certainly ensured that it wouldn’t be quelled by the armed forces that were more loyal to the GCC than to former President Bashir. Upon his removal, the military leadership then sought to recognize “Israel” with the GCC’s support, but Sudan first had to be removed from the US’ “state sponsors of terrorism” list, which is where Saudi Arabia comes in. Although the UAE is arguably the stronger of the two GCC leaders right now, Saudi Arabia still regards itself as the bloc’s “big brother”, which might be why reports have recently circulated that it offered to pay Sudan’s agreed-upon $335 million compensation to US victims of terrorism and their families.

Although it can’t be known for certain, those reports certainly seem credible since Sudan is among the world’s most impoverished nations and couldn’t realistically afford to pay such an enormous sum without some sort of secret support. Iran described the planned payment as a “ransom” to be taken off of the US’ “state sponsors of terrorism” list, which is actually a pretty accurate description even though it seems like it’s Saudi Arabia that’ll end up paying this fee instead of Sudan. Some Sudanese seem to agree with this assessment as evidenced by former Prime Minister Mahdi’s condemnation of it. His criticism is notable since he currently heads the country’s largest political party and presumably reflects popular sentiment in this respect.

The American Agenda

Without paying this “ransom” (regardless of whoever ultimately foots the bill), Sudan would never have been taken off the US’ list, which in turn would have created uncomfortable optics for “Israel” if a state regarded by the American government as a “state sponsor of terrorism” officially recognized it. For this reason, it can be surmised that the real quid pro quo was recognition of “Israel” by the post-coup military authorities in exchange for Saudi Arabia secretly paying its agreed-upon compensation, with the end result being the deepening of the “Israeli”-GCC axis’ influence in a geostrategic part of Africa. From an American perspective, this is the ideal outcome since it satisfies all of the US’ interests.

A former leader who had previously partnered with Iran was removed under the pretext of a “patriotic” military “restoring democracy” in accordance with the “people’s will”, which thus provides the cover for it go against the legitimate will of the people by subsequently recognizing “Israel”. The protests that this move might provoke could easily be put down by the “democratic military” with lethal force like they could have done in spring 2019 when confronted with the regime change riots but instead chose not to do out of loyalty to their “Israeli”-backed GCC patrons. Back then without any public decision to recognize “Israel”, it would have been condemned by the West as a crime against humanity, yet now it can be ignored or even justified by them.

The lessons to be learned from this are several. The first is that authoritarian states (the objective description of which shouldn’t be interpreted as expressing any value judgement) are most easily influenced through their “deep states”, particularly their military and intelligence factions. Second, economically desperate states impoverished by years of intense sanctions might try to break their “isolation” by participating in foreign military adventures, which in turn inadvertently leads to their “deep states” being co-opted by their newfound “partners”. Third, this external meddling can be exploited during times of national crisis to encourage regime change which finally leads to the targeted state coming under the full control of a foreign government.

Concluding Thoughts

Looking forward, this model could realistically be repeated elsewhere across the world, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll always succeed. Former President Bashir’s biggest mistake was thinking that allying with the “Israeli”-backed GCC would eventually provide an exit from international “isolation”. What he should have instead done was double down on relations with China while staying out of the War on Yemen. Even if he still went through with cutting off ties with Iran as a “goodwill gesture” towards the GCC, he could have still retained enough strategic autonomy through an enhanced partnership with China to remain in office, deliver economic benefits to his people, and enable Sudan to retain its de-facto independence instead of become someone else’s proxy.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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Nigeria’s Racing Towards A Nightmare Scenario

Nigeria’s Racing Towards A Nightmare Scenario

22 OCTOBER 2020

Nigeria

The sudden outbreak of multisided violence in Nigeria’s largest city is pushing Africa’s most populous country towards the nightmare scenario of full-fledged destabilization which could have tremendous humanitarian and geopolitical consequences if it isn’t stopped before the situation spirals even further out of control.

Anti-SARS Destabilization

The world’s attention abruptly turned towards Africa’s most populous country on Wednesday after the sudden outbreak of multisided violence in Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos. The situation is still extremely fluid and there isn’t any consensus on exactly what happened except that the security services and protesters clashed over the contentious issue of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that was earlier accused by Amnesty International of committing very serious human rights violations. Some accounts claim that the security services opened fire on peaceful protesters, others say that the protesters themselves started attacking the security services without provocation and were therefore the first to cross the escalation threshold, while another interpretation is that provocateurs (possibly sent by the government) infiltrated the protest and provoked the second-mentioned scenario. At least a dozen people have been killed according to Amnesty International’s estimate and Lagos was placed on a 24-hour curfew.

An Inordinate Amount Of International Attention

Casual observers might be surprised by how much attention this event has generated since much worse acts of violence routinely happen in other parts of African such as Burkina Faso and the Congo but rarely become mainstream news. Nigeria’s situation is different since it’s Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, which means that it simply can’t be ignored. In addition, the Nigerian diaspora is very patriotic and passionate about their homeland, which greatly helps to raise awareness about events there. So quickly did this violence go viral that many American celebrities soon chimed in on social media to offer their support to the anti-SARS protesters, which might have either been sincerely expressed or just a shrewd business calculation. Regardless of their motivation, they helped ensure that everyone in the world was talking about Nigeria, which also happened to coincide with both Democratic presidential candidate Biden‘s and former Secretary of State Clinton‘s condemnations of the government.

Contrasting Views Of Security Service Reform

Before discussing the dark scenarios that might soon unfold in the near future, it’s important for the reader to obtain a better understanding of how everything got to this point. Nigeria’s cosmopolitan society has many pent-up frustrations, both general ones such as economic and anti-corruption issues but also more particular grievances related to the interests of its many different identity groups (oversimplified for brevity’s sake along the regional North-South and religious Muslim-Christian axes as well as ethnic). The state, which has historically been under the heavy influence of the military, is feeling this pressure and might also have its own legitimate concerns related to its fear that sudden destabilizations could spiral out of control and “Balkanize” the country according to the Hybrid War scenarios that the author identified in his extensive 2017 strategic risk study. The presently identity-diverse anti-SARS movement is agitating for structural reform of the security services while their target is cautious about changing too much too quickly for fear of losing its capabilities and control.

Superficial Reforms Provoked More Protests

The state’s superficial reform of disbanding SARS and promising to replace it with a new Red Cross-trained police unit didn’t satisfy the protesters who want its former members to be held to account instead of simply redeployed to other units. They also don’t trust that new training would be sufficient for ensuring that the alleged abuses don’t repeat themselves and are therefore calling for more oversight, transparency, and psychological evaluation of the new unit’s officers. From the security service’s perspective, this might hamstring their ability to thwart legitimate threats even though it would provide a strong safeguard against their representatives committing more humanitarian abuses against the populace. Following the outbreak of violence that resulted from unclear circumstances, both sides apparently went wild attacking the other, with the rioters torching many buildings including the High Court of Lagos while the security services literally hunted some of them down in the streets and might have even killed innocent people.

Escalation Scenarios

Several scenarios can develop apart from the best-case one of de-escalation. The first is that the security services (indefinitely?) impose a harsh martial law-like regime, using that time to round up suspects and possibly even terrorize the population by targeting innocent people too with the (counterproductive) intent of forcing them into submission and deterring any repeat of the riots. The second is that the clashes continue, albeit with differing frequency and intensity irrespective of whether the martial law-like regime is extended. This and the third scenario of wider unrest that spreads throughout the country could be exploited by more identity-specific groups (ethnic, regional, religious, etc.), including those that utilize terrorist means. All four scenarios can radicalize people to the point where they’re susceptible to those aforementioned groups’ messages, lead to significant international pressure through sanctions and other means, and/or result in regime tweaking (reform), regime change (self-explanatory), or a regime reboot (radical constitutional change).

Several Observations Thus Far

Regardless of what transpires, a few observations can be made about what’s happened thus far. The first is that the anti-corruption movement has thus far proven its ability to unite many of Nigeria’s diverse people under the banner of a single cause, which is significant. Secondly, their protests were facilitated by mobile phone and social media proliferation, which is booming in Nigeria. Thirdly, although elements of Color Revolution technology are being employed, it’s not black and white in the sense that it shouldn’t automatically be assumed that this means that a foreign hand is behind the events or that the cause itself is illegitimate. The fourth point is that the protest movement has been able to bring so many people out into the streets simply because they have the opportunity to protest since many don’t have formal jobs, if any at all, thus speaking to the political consequences of Nigeria’s economic challenges that could be exacerbated by sanctions. And fifth, self-sustaining cycles of unrest aren’t difficult to provoke in tense contexts regardless of which side is to blame.

The Worst-Case Scenarios

The worst-case scenario that nobody wants to see happen is that the anti-SARS situation escalates to the point of a national crisis which risks triggering the collapse of Africa’s largest country by worsening its many fault lines to the point of a multisided civil war. Thus far, the chances of that happening are low, but still shouldn’t be discounted. From the Western perspective, a slightly less terrible scenario would be that the state doesn’t concede to the protesters’ demands despite what might be heavy sanctions pressure in the coming future. Under those circumstances and especially if the violence continues to rage, the population might become more desperate and radicalized while the authorities might pivot more closely to China in response to being rebuffed by its then-former Western partners. In that event, even if a regime tweaking/change/reboot eventually commences, the West’s top geopolitical rival might be able to deepen its influence within the country to the point of ensuring that such outcomes don’t endanger its newfound entrenchment of interests there.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s difficult to tell what will happen next in Nigeria since no observer has enough information about the protest movement, international pressure plans, and the security services’ calculations to make very accurate predictions about this dynamic situation. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to analyze the origins, recent development, and larger contours of this situation in order to obtain a better understanding about everything as a whole like the author has sought to do. This should hopefully assist observers in tracking relevant trends related to these possibly emerging crisis that could thenceforth facilitate the creation of more finely tuned analytical products for better forecasting its possible evolution. Although the situation seems to be an entirely domestic one at the moment, the upsurge of international attention from influential political figures hints that foreign players might soon try to indirectly influence the course of events through sanctions or even more directly by supporting certain anti-government forces, which could make everything much worse.

Tags: Nigeria, US, China, Color Revolution, Regime Change, Hybrid War.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst


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The Kyrgyz Compromise: Submitting To The Color Revolution Or Pragmatic Move For Peace?

The Kyrgyz Compromise: Submitting To The Color Revolution Or Pragmatic Move For Peace?

 
7 OCTOBER 2020

The Kyrgyz Compromise: Submitting To The Color Revolution Or Pragmatic Move For Peace?

The Kyrgyz government’s decision to annul the results of the latest elections which were exploited as the “trigger event” for the preplanned Color Revolution against it might be interpreted by some as submitting to that regime change operation even though the argument can also be made that it ‘s a pragmatic move for peace undertaken as a last-ditch effort to stave off a seemingly impending civil war.

Shuffling The Cards”

The author claimed on Tuesday that “The Kyrgyz Color Revolution Crisis Intensifies The US’ Hybrid War Containment Of Russia” after regarding it as the third unconventional front of aggression against the Eurasian Great Power after the ongoing regime change operation in Belarus and Armenia’s efforts to drag Moscow into the South Caucasus cauldron. That analysis still stands even though an attempt at compromise appears to be in the works in the Central Asian country after the government’s decision to annul the results of the latest elections which served as the “trigger event” for the preplanned unrest. The Prime Minister also resigned and was replaced after a parliamentary vote by a former Prime Minister who was jailed for corruption but released by rioters the day before. The previous speaker of parliament also resigned and was replaced by an opposition lawmaker too.

Russian Pragmatism

In response to this “shuffling of the cards”, Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov said that he’s ready to talk to the opposition, suggesting that the “possible way out of the crisis might be organization of new elections or division of power between political forces” but also warning that “There are risks that the country will fall victim of not only internal but also foreign forces.” It’s because of the latter concerns as expressed in the author’s earlier cited analysis that the Russian airbase in the country was put on high alert and the Russian Foreign Ministry “call[ed] on all political forces at this critical moment for the republic to show wisdom and responsibility in order to preserve internal stability and security.” The rapidly unfolding events in this historically unstable country are now moving in the direction of a “political solution”, one which appears to be a Russian-”supervised” “phased leadership transition” in the best-case scenario.

As the author wrote in his earlier piece, “Moscow might succeed in mitigating the blow to its geopolitical interests in the scenario of a regime change in Bishkek since it had previously worked real closely with Atambayev (who’s the most likely candidate to seize power, either directly or by proxy), though only if it can prevent a civil war from breaking out first.” He also advised that “The Kremlin will therefore have to carefully weigh its options in Kyrgyzstan” in order to avoid “the risks that any well-intended Russian military stabilization intervention via the CSTO could entail, perhaps explaining why one never happened in 2010 during more dangerous times.” Unlike in the Belarusian scenario where such an option is largely unrealistic due to the nature of its “national democracy”, Russia seems both able and willing to engage with the Kyrgyz opposition largely considered to be under the control of former President Atambayev.

The North-South Fault Line

There are reasons to suspect that the opposition either coordinated with and/or received unclear degrees of support from Western patrons (through both NGOs and foreign embassies) in executing its regime change operation earlier this week but that doesn’t in and of itself exclude Russia from having pragmatic relations with it in the interests of peace, primarily in order to avoid a disastrous civil war between Kyrgyzstan’s northern and southern halves. This fault line had previously been exploited during its 2005 and 2010 Color Revolutions since it’s a simplified model for explaining its clan competitions. It also adds a geopolitical dimension to the country’s many crises, one which suggests the possible solution of federalizing the state along this axis and incorporating Bosnian- and Lebanese-like “power-sharing” guarantees into the constitution for managing this centrifugal factor. This solution is admittedly imperfect, even fatally flawed one might say, but it’s a solution nonetheless.

Stopping A Civil War Before It Starts

It must be remembered that a civil war should be avoided at all costs because of the very high chances that it could destabilize Central Asia and its neighboring Great Powers of Russia and China. With this in mind, even the most imperfect and perhaps fatally flawed solutions should be seriously countenanced in order to at least buy enough time to bring the country back from the brink of collapse. While some might describe President Joonbekov’s interest in negotiating with the Color Revolution forces as a submission to this preplanned regime change operation, others could just as rightly describe it as a pragmatic move for peace. Russian support for this development would suggest that the country is quickly learning from the five constructive criticisms of its grand strategy that the author outlined over the summer and also imply a willingness to experiment with the equal number of practical recommendations that were proposed, including engaging with its allies’ opposition.

Giving Credit To The Critics

For as optimistic as well-intended observers might want to be, the hard reality of the situation must be accepted by all. Kyrgyzstan is once again on the brink of civil war, and the Western-backed opposition might interpret President Joonbekov’s interest in talks as a sign of weakness presaging the fall of his “regime” (as they and their foreign supporters might describe it) as long as they just “push a little harder” like the EuroMaidan forces did in February 2014 when they toppled President Yanukovich. Critics of the Kyrgyz President’s peacemaking approach might argue that he should show a strong hand, not extend an olive branch (let alone consider the author’s federalization proposal), but this “solution” runs the risk of making civil war inevitable. With the opposition having already recruited so many willing “human shields” (politically sympathetic peaceful civilians) to protect its most radical elements from the security forces’ kinetic responses to their provocations, the collateral damage that this scenario could entail might create a self-sustaining cycle of Hybrid War unrest.

SCO-Supported Federalization Might Be The Best Solution

It’s therefore difficult to judge the Kyrgyz government for its peacemaking outreaches to the opposition, both in terms of its President’s willingness to talk to them and the replacement of its Prime Minister and speaker of parliament with their representatives, since the alternative might arguably be an inevitable civil war. If the latter assessment is accurate, then it suggests that the authorities lost the Color Revolution even before it began since they failed to anticipate events, take appropriate preemptive action, and properly respond to its kinetic manifestation on the night when rioters torched the seat of government and broke two opposition leaders out of prison (the former President and Prime Minister). These dynamics make it natural that the government might now seek to “accommodate” some of the opposition’s demands, but it should be done with the intent of not leading to an all-out lustration of sitting officials, nor any irresponsible developments that could inadvertently provoke the civil war scenario (albeit driven by the incumbent government’s supporters).

The Kyrgyz political system is broken because of the authorities’ inability to keep clan-related politics in check, the proliferation of Western NGOs, and the history of unrest this century which made some members of society hated enemies of one another. Its perpetuation without any meaningful reform will only delay the inevitable repeat of unrest. Although the proposed solution of federalization is basically the “peaceful Balkanization” of the country in practice, it might still be able to avoid a future civil war scenario and help make Kyrgyz politics more manageable for its citizens as well as the regional stakeholders in that country’s stability. The author is therefore suggesting that the government table this proposal, hold new elections within the constitutional timeframe for doing so under these circumstances, and have all candidates commit to constitutional reform in this direction after the end of the vote. The SCO might even be requested to mediate and/or host these discussions in order to maintain civility between all sides as they partake in this sensitive process.

Concluding Thoughts

In one way or another, the Color Revolution already won in Kyrgyzstan, and it can be argued that it was predetermined to win given what’s known in hindsight about the state’s failure to anticipate this scenario, take appropriate preemptive action, and properly respond to its kinetic manifestation following the “trigger event” of a contentious election. That said, it’s not so much “submitting” to it which motivates the Kyrgyz President’s peacemaking outreaches to the opposition, but his well-intended and pragmatic desire to promote peace instead of what seems to be an impending civil war if the situation continues to spiral out of control. Even if there’s a Russian-”supervised” “phased leadership transition”, it’ll only postpone this crisis to a later date since the Kyrgyz political system is broken beyond repair and needs radical reform in order to avoid regularly repeating this scenario. That’s why the best-case scenario would be for government to declare constitutional reform as its priority, get all political forces to agree to it, and then request SCO support in this respect.

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American political analyst

 

 

Tags: Kyrgyzstan, Color Revolution, Regime Change, Central Asia, Russia, SCO.


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