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EURASIA:

CHINA-RUSSIA:

  • Energy deals are creating a powerful alliance between China and Russia. To highlight this pivot, the world’s largest energy producer, Gazprom, has started a feasibility study for the company’s next massive pipeline, the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline, through Mongolia towards its northeast. The agreement was struck during the height of tensions between Moscow and the West, when Russia was desperate to show its geopolitical independence in the face of western obstruction.

SOURCE: NEFTEGAZ RU


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MIDDLE EAST:

SYRIA:

  • Russia building new permanent military base in Syria. They have started to build a permanent military base in the eastern suburban area of Homs. Russia had backed the Assad regime in an effort to stave off opposition forces which are backed by the US, Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi.

SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

 


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EURASIA:

RUSSIA:

  • Russia is drawing up “blacklists” of Americans in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russian officials this week by President Joe Biden’s administration. The sanctions were a response to the attempted murder of pro-democracy and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny in August, and his arrest upon voluntary return from Germany to Russia in January.

SOURCE: NEWSWEEK


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • Reports say that the border towns of Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan which border Tajikistan are turning into new concentration points of foreign terrorists from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, and Eastern Turkistan, concerning the Russian leaders.  Some political experts suggest that the ISIS is restoring its strength in Afghanistan as part of an American and Western roadmap. They say its wins justification to the Western military presence in Afghanistan. For the US and NATO, the presence in Afghanistan will lead to the control of three important countries of Iran, Russia and China.

SOURCE: ABNA 24


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EURASIA:

RUSSIA:

  • The U.S. Department of the State imposed sanctions on six Russian research institutions, which are known to be involved in the development of chemical weapons program. The decision is made within the case of Alexei Navalny’s poisoning last year. The Western governments have been accusing Russian government with the attempt on the life of the major Russian opposition figure.

SOURCE: 112


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Biden’s Playing Hardball With MBS

2 MARCH 2021

Biden

The promulgation of the US’ so-called “Khashoggi ban” in response to its intelligence agencies determining that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was behind that dissident journalist’s brutal killing shows that the Biden Administration is playing hard ball with the Kingdom’s future ruler, though there’s only so far that it’ll go in this respect since it’s still important for America to still retain some degree of regional strategic “balance” despite its newfound willingness to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear deal.

US-Saudi relations are drastically changing under the Biden Administration as evidenced by its promulgation of the so-called “Khashoggi ban” in response to American intelligence agencies determining that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was behind that dissident journalist’s brutal killing. This shows that the Biden Administration is playing hardball with the Kingdom’s future ruler, though there’s only so far that it’ll go in this respect. As it stands, the pro-Democrat members of the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) that pull the President’s strings intend to diversify their country’s hitherto regional strategic dependence on Saudi Arabia in line with former President Obama’s vision by improving relations with Iran. Nevertheless, there’s only so far that they’ll go in this respect since it’s still important for them to retain some degree of “balance” so as not to push the Kingdom further into Russia and China’s arms.

On the one hand, the US wants to make it clear that the days of Saudi Arabia calling the shots are over. Washington will no longer allow its regional strategy to be led by Riyadh. This also explains Biden’s pragmatic recalibration of his country’s policy towards Yemen, which was also influenced by the desire to send a goodwill signal to Iran about Washington’s willingness to re-enter into negotiations on the nuclear deal. That arguably went against Saudi regional strategic interests, yet the Kingdom was powerless to stop its patron from implementing this policy reversal, at least for the time being. In parallel with this, American intelligence decided to punish some Saudis for Khashoggi’s murder, which was also intended to further erode the Kingdom’s already damaged reputation, and MBS’ personally. The tangential objective is to put pressure on MBS to comply with the US’ new regional policy instead of opposing it lest he risk the ever-present threat of a palace coup.

On the other hand, however, American strategists are aware that these moves will only encourage the Kingdom to intensify its growing relations with Russia and China. It already cooperates real closely with Moscow on energy issues (OPEC+) and Beijing on military (drones) and investment (Vision 2030) matters. Saudi Arabia also agreed to an arms deal with Russia a few years back during King Salman’s historic visit to Moscow which eventually saw the Eurasian Great Power delivering state-of-the-art rocket launchers to the Kingdom that presumably saw action during the ongoing War on Yemen. The US fears these two Great Power’s multipolar coordination in courting the Kingdom to their side in the New Cold War, especially as it relates to the possibility of Riyadh supporting Beijing’s plans for the “petroyuan”, so it knows that it’ll either have to hold back on playing hardball with MBS or move forward with replacing him in the worst-case scenario.

This “deep state”/geostrategic dynamic explains why American intelligence agencies publicly blamed MBS for Khashoggi’s killing yet Biden backed off from personally punishing him for this. It’s a “good cop/bad cop” type of play, but one which is being made in order to put Saudi Arabia back in place after it ran the former Trump Administration’s regional policy in partnership with its unofficial “Israeli” ally. Those two players stand in the way of the Biden (Obama 2.0) Administration’s risky gambit to restore “balance” to their country’s regional strategy by reaching out to Iran through “nuclear diplomacy” and other means, though all the while retaining pressure on the Islamic Republic as well as can be seen by Biden’s Syria strike last week. If clumsily executed, however, then the US might ultimately end up provoking a so-called “polar reorientation” whereby Saudi Arabia and “Israel” “jump ship” by siding with Russia and China in response to any meaningful US-Iranian rapprochement.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Saudi Arabia, Biden, MBS, Iran, China, Russia, Israel, Balancing.


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AFRICA:

SUDAN:

  • US warship arrives at Sudan port. It marks an increase in bilateral military engagement and their intention to strengthen security in the region, after a thaw in diplomatic relations between the two countries. The US warship arrival comes a day after the Russian warship Admiral Grigorovich docked. The dock is a strategically important one and Moscow plans to build a naval base.

SOURCE: ARAB NEWS


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Poland’s Anti-Russian War Game Failure Proves That A Paradigm Change Is Needed

26 FEBRUARY 2021

Poland

Poland’s reported failure in last month’s anti-Russian war games proves that the country cannot defeat the Eurasian Great Power in a conventional conflict, which should thus inspire a paradigm change of thought about the future of Warsaw’s present policy towards its neighbor.

Poland’s Unsurprisingly Disastrous Anti-Russian War Games

Media reports streamed in earlier this week claiming that Poland disastrously lost its latest anti-Russian war games last month, so much so that the exercise allegedly ended with Moscow’s military forces on the banks of the Vistula fighting for control of Warsaw after just five days of virtual hostilities. This isn’t so-called “Russian propaganda” like some might instinctively claim as they usually do in response to any “politically inconvenient” development that happens in Europe nowadays, but was even reported on by The Center for the National Interest, a prominent US think tank. RT’s Scott Ritter and the Strategic Culture Foundation’s Patrick Armstrong also wrote insightful commentary about those reports, arguing that they could become a self-fulfilling prophecy and that Poland is being exploited as an American lab rat, respectively. These are thought-provoking observations, but what’s needed in order to have a more complete picture of the situation is a credible action plan for Poland to follow in the future, ergo the purpose of this analysis.

A Long-Overdue Lesson

The long-overdue lesson that must be learned from Poland’s reported failure last month is that the country cannot defeat Russia in a conventional conflict, not even with state-of-the-art American arms like the exercise incorporated into the scenario despite them not even having been delivered yet. While it might comfort the sensitive Polish national psyche to know that they have such weapons in their possession, they’ve thus far proven to be incapable of serving their intended purpose, which is to deter so-called “Russian aggression” in the extremely unlikely event that it ever happens. About that, while it’s understandable why Poles historically distrust Russia and most folks across the world are familiar with the quip that “history rhymes”, there’s no credible chance that the Eurasian Great Power will invade the Central European country nowadays. It arguably has the military capabilities to do so, but the intent is lacking, both due to the fact that attacking a NATO member would likely trigger World War III and also because Russia doesn’t have any reason to do so anyhow.

Debunking The “Russian Invasion” Myth

Even those who are casually familiar with the complicated history of Russian-Polish relations know that Poles will never accept being militarily occupied by their regional rival. Russian strategists also know this as well, hence why they’d pragmatically regard the fearmongered scenario of annexing Polish territory as unsustainable, thereby making it an impossibility. It wouldn’t accomplish anything for their country. Russia has no need for additional territory just for the sake of it, nor is there any reason to forcefully incorporate foreign citizens into one’s nation who don’t want to be a part of it. It’s a lose-lose for Russia regardless of whichever way one looks at it. The only semi-plausible scenario that some might speculate about is that Russia would launch a preemptive strike against Poland if it was convinced that Warsaw was about to imminently attack its forces in Kaliningrad in coordination with Washington’s and the rest of NATO’s. Even then, however, the attacking forces could be adequately dealt with without Russian troops entering Polish territory, let alone marching on Warsaw.

The Dangerous Russian-Polish Security Dilemma

The problem at play here is that Russia and Poland are trapped in a dangerous security dilemma that’s largely provoked by historical distrust and the pernicious influence of the US. Both sides fear, whether rightly or wrongly, that the other might launch a preemptive strike against them. Russia’s concerns are more legitimate than Poland’s considering NATO’s recent regional military buildup and the occasional publication of provocative so-called “reports” and “studies” about the possibility of seizing Kaliningrad. As for Poland, its fears are based mostly on historical experience and its leadership’s consequent predisposition towards expecting the worst of Russian intentions no matter what. The American angle is relevant insofar as the US provokes Poland’s paranoia for the purpose of exploiting its territory as a springboard for strengthening its offensive military positioning vis-a-vis Russia in advance preparation of any worst-case conflict scenario. Poland willingly goes along with this because it believes that it’s in its best interests, once again, whether rightly or wrongly.

Is America A Reliable Ally?

The most objective conclusion that one can make from the recent reports about Poland’s disastrous showing in last month’s war games is that the country’s policy of bolstering its conventional military capabilities has failed to achieve its purpose in defending against so-called “Russian aggression”. This “politically inconvenient” reality should inspire a paradigm change of thought about the future of Poland’s policy towards Russia. It’s needlessly expensive to continue along the present trajectory when the latest war games prove that this military-driven policy probably won’t ever succeed in delivering its expected results. In fact, one should ask why this policy is even being pursued in the first place if Poland truly has faith in the US’ commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Charter mandating all members to rush to each other’s aid upon request. Considering the capriciousness of some American Presidents, it might be the case that Poland doesn’t feel comfortable putting its entire security in the US’ hands, instead hoping to hold out in the event of a war long enough to pressure its ally to finally act.

Something For Poles To Ponder

That would explain the focus on improving its conventional military capabilities instead of relying solely on NATO’s nuclear umbrella as the ultimate deterrent against so-called “Russian aggression”. This observation is certainly provocative and will probably be angrily contested in public by most Poles, but upon pondering it, there definitely seems to be some truth within it that’s worth considering even if Poles don’t publicly admit it. Be that as it may, it’s important to return to the point that the only realistic chance of war between Russia and Poland would relate to their security dilemma dangerously spiraling out of control. With that in mind and remembering that Russia lacks any reason to invade Polish territory or strike it first unless it feared an imminent attack, the onus arguably falls on Poland to take the first step towards lessening this dilemma, perhaps by not so actively courting US and NATO troops into the country. This is especially the case when it comes to their presence in close proximity to Kaliningrad and Russia’s CSTO mutual defense ally Belarus.

Hybrid Competition In The Post-Soviet Borderlands

That’s not to say that Russia and Poland should — or ever can — “trust” each other, but just that it’s of the highest importance that no war is sparked by miscalculation from either side, which in the most likely case could result from Moscow’s legitimate misunderstandings about the purpose of foreign troops on Polish soil so close to it and its Belarusian ally’s borders. In reality, Russia and Poland will likely remain locked in a hybrid competition with one another for the indefinite future over the countries within their overlapping envisioned “spheres of influence”, Belarus and Ukraine. These two states sit in between Moscow’s Eurasian Union & CSTO (with Minsk being part of both while Kiev’s post-coup pro-Western government is in neither) and Warsaw’s “Three Seas Initiative”, thus making them the geopolitical fault lines of the New Cold War‘s European front. Neither Russia nor Poland is likely to back down from pressing their respective claims of influence which they both regard as inextricable components of their national security strategies.

Keeping The Russian-Polish Hybrid Competition Non-Kinetic

Even so, this predictably prolonged hybrid competition doesn’t have to go kinetic, let alone in a conventional military way like Poland fears that it might. Its ongoing military modernization program should be completed since the budget has already been allocated and the country’s long-term planning is predicated on this eventual outcome, but in the run-up to that milestone being met, Poland should consider a paradigm change of thought regarding its relations with Russia. Those two states are already in a state of unconventional conflict with one another through hybrid means in the Belarusian and Ukrainian “borderlands” between them which doesn’t require any further conventional military involvement on either side beyond their present posturing in this respect. It’s veritably in both of their interests to manage the dangerously spiraling security dilemma between them in order to offset the mutually disastrous scenario of a war by miscalculation, hence the need for Poland to consider how it could take the first step to bring this positive outcome about.

Poland’s Peacemaking Prerogative

There’s no shame in Poland doing so either since it should actually be regarded as a matter of national pride if the country took the initiative to pragmatically manage its military relations with Russia, especially considering the grand strategic importance of such a move with respect to global security, to say nothing of its more immediate effect on Europe. Poland aspires for leadership status within Europe, but won’t ever obtain this so long as it continues reacting to others, in this case its perception of the supposedly imminent threat of so-called “Russian aggression” and pressure upon it by its American ally to respond through a more robust conventional military buildup that only serves to exacerbate its dangerous security dilemma with Moscow (which itself should in theory be moot due to NATO’s nuclear umbrella). By proactively taking the initiative to peacefully manage its security dilemma with Russia, Poland would prove its political maturity, strategic independence, and continental leadership capabilities.

Concluding Thoughts

The paradigm change of thought that Poland must commence in response to its reported failure during last month’s anti-Russian war games is to seriously reconsider the wisdom of doubling down on its conventional military “deterrence” capabilities since these are inadvertently provoking an increasingly dangerous security dilemma with Moscow. It would be one thing if the recent war games predicted a Polish military victory in the event of a conflict between the two, but since it actually resulted in the exact opposite, this shows that Poland’s present policy hasn’t succeeded with its intended purpose. Both countries will likely remain locked in a hybrid competition with one another for the indefinite future over Belarus and Ukraine, but this dynamic could continue without the need for worsening their conventional security dilemma. Seeing as how Poland aspires for regional leadership status, it should consider taking the first step to manage its mutually disadvantageous security dilemma with Russia in the interests of global peace and security.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Poland, Russia, US, Belarus, Ukraine, NATO, Kaliningrad.


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EURASIA:

ARTIC:

  • Russia inks long-term deal to supply China with liquefied natural gas from Arctic. Also invites BRICS partners to join country’s massive Arctic oil & gas projects. “Our LNG commercial strategy is to diversify our client base and target end consumers in the fast-growing Asian Pacific region,”

SOURCE: RT


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WHAT IS HAPPENING IN GEOPOLITICS? MIDDLE EAST:

SAUDI ARABIA/MILITARY AGREEMENT:

  • The Russian government called on its foreign and defence ministries to conduct negotiations with Saudi Arabia to conclude a new military cooperation agreement between the two countries.

SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR


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