Struggle over the Silk Road

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BERLIN/ROME/BEIJING (Own repot) – The West’s power struggle against China is provoking new tensions between Germany and Italy. According to reports published last week, the Italian government plans to conclude a cooperation agreement with Beijing within the framework of the “New Silk Road” (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) to benefit from Chinese investments in Italy’s infrastructure, e.g. the Trieste port and Italy’s power grid. China has already invested in several of the EU’s periphery countries, heavily affected by Berlin’s austerity dictate – such as Greece and Portugal – which gladly welcome these investments as relief. The German government is now beginning to make moves against this. Berlin seeks to prevent the People’s Republic of China from increasing its influence within the EU and fears inner-European resistance if it takes aggressive action against its East Asian rival. Fierce debates are expected at the EU summit at the end of next week and at the EU-China summit on April 9. Continue reading

How New Silk Roads Are Shaping Southwest Asia

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The tall buildings of Abu Dhabi. Business people in the United Arab Emirates and other parts of the Middle East are thinking about being part of the Belt and Road scheme. Image: iStock

 

Businesses in the Middle East have begun to think ‘Make trade not war’ and being part of China’s Belt and Road scheme

Singapore, aiming high for the status of Asia’s unofficial capital, seems like the ideal venue for a conference to discuss how the Middle East could learn a few lessons from ASEAN’s multi-layered relations with China, especially involving partnership in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

But first, let’s get things straight. The “Middle East” is, of course, a Eurocentric, Orientalist denomination. From Asia’s – and China’s – cultural and geographical point of view, the “Middle East” is correctly seen as Southwest Asia. Continue reading

De-Dollarization Spreads: Why These 5 Nations Are Backing Away From The Buck

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The past year was full of events that inevitably split the global geopolitical space into two camps: those who still support using US currency as a universal financial tool, and those who are turning their back on the greenback.

Global tensions caused by economic sanctions and trade conflicts triggered by Washington have forced targeted countries to take a fresh look at alternative payment systems currently dominated by the US dollar. Continue reading

Report Details China’s ‘Informatized’ Military Expansion

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Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops practice marching as they arrive at Tiananmen Gate for a military parade on Sept. 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Andy Wong/Getty Images)

 

China’s economic advancement is allowing it to develop a powerful, and threatening military force

China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded significantly under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who demands for the Chinese military to be “accelerating toward informatization.” The annual Department of Defense report regarding China detailed the PLA’s recent developments.

Xi says that now is a “period of strategic opportunity,” while military officials set the objective of winning “informatized local wars.” The word “informatize” is similar to the word “industrialize,” means that all aspects of warfare must be computerized. Continue reading

How the New Silk Roads are merging into Greater Eurasia

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People take pictures of the first freight train from Shenzhen to Minsk, capital of Belarus, that set out of Yantian Port in Shenzhen in May 2017. Photo: Reuters / stringer

 

Russia’s embrace of the Far East and other parts of Asia is proceeding with a symbiotic embrace of China’s New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative

The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

President Putin is unconditionally engaged to make it a success. Already at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016, Putin referred to an emerging “Eurasian partnership” Continue reading

Enter the Dragon: China’s Belt and Road Rising in the Middle East

Cairenes are not modest about their beloved city. It is Umm al-Dunya, they say, the mother of the world. They also call it simply Masr, the Arabic term for Egypt, suggesting, of course, that there is really nothing worth noting in the vast country beyond their grand city on the Nile.

Fifty miles east of Cairo, a Chinese construction firm is giving the aged, crowded, increasingly decaying “mother of the world” a face-lift of sorts. China State Construction and Engineering Company (CSCEC) has broken ground on a new business and administrative district to the tune of $3 billion, mostly financed by Chinese banks. When completed by late 2019, according to projections, much of Egypt’s government will move to this new “capital.” Continue reading

Signs Point to a Global Slowdown

Signs Point to a Global Slowdown

 

As gold has struggled through 2018, (down over 10% from $1,363/oz. on January 25 to $1,215/oz. today), my forecast for a strong year-end for gold has remained unchanged.

This forecast is based on a better-late-than-never realization by the Fed that they are overtightening into fundamental economic weakness, followed quickly by a full-reversal flip to easing in the form of pauses on rate hikes in September and December.

Those pauses will be an admission the Fed sees no way out of its multiple rounds of QE and extended zero interest rate policy from 2008 to 2013 without causing a new recession. Once that occurs, inflation is just a matter of time. Gold will respond accordingly. Continue reading

BRICS in a multipolar world

This week, South Africa is hosting the 10th annual gathering of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). When the first BRIC summit was held in 2009 (South Africa was added in 2010), the world was in the throes of a financial crisis of the developed world’s making, and the increasingly dynamic BRIC bloc represented the future. By coming together, these countries had the potential to provide a geopolitical counterweight to the West.

But Western commentators have long underestimated that potential, forcing BRICS to demand greater representation in global-governance institutions. In 2011 and 2012, BRICS challenged the process of selecting leaders at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But, lacking a united front behind them, a European (Christine Lagarde) and an American (Jim Yong Kim) continued to preside over those organizations. And though BRICS did get these institutions to reform their voting structures to give developing countries greater weight, the US and Europe still wield disproportionate power. Continue reading

China Plans to Launch Its Own ‘Blackwater’

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(Photo Credit: BrokenSphere via Creative Commons 3.0)

 

Not surprisingly, Erik Prince is involved in those discussions.

As its sprawling, trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative is struggling with security concerns, the Chinese government is now reportedly turning to an American who is an expert in those matters to meet those needs. Continue reading

China Working to Boost Role in Middle East

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China’s President Xi Jinping gives a speech during the 8th Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July, 10, 2018. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Growing influence in the region helps China accelerate its Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered remarks in Beijing on July 10 at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Xi’s basic message to the representatives from 21 Arab nations and to the secretary general of the Arab League was that China seeks to become more involved in the Middle East.

He stressed the importance of Sino-Arab relations, saying, “Arab states and China are natural partners.” Continue reading

On Point: China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Camouflaged in Silk

Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project — notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.

India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. Continue reading

What will India’s role be in the SCO?

Next month the heads of state of India and Pakistan will attend, for the first time as full members, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, being held in Qingdao, China. Pakistan was already engaged with SCO member states through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Joining the SCO will reinforce Pakistan’s position and integration into the region.

However, regarding India, there are few clarifications needed. What will India’s role be in the SCO? How well can India integrate into the SCO? What are the expectations? Continue reading

How Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology

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(Strategic Culture Foundation)

 

A hot topic in military prognostications regarding China, Russia and the United States revolves around the development and use of hypersonic technology for missiles or UAVs as an invulnerable means of attack. As we will see, not all three countries are dealing successfully with this task.

The United States, China and Russia have in recent years increased their efforts to equip their armed forces with such highly destructive missiles and vehicles seen in the previous article. Putin’s recent speech in Moscow reflects this course of direction by presenting a series of weapons with hypersonic characteristics, as seen with the Avangard and the Dagger. Continue reading

Pentagon Confirms Chinese Fired Lasers at U.S. Pilots

Chinese People's Liberation Army personnel attend the opening ceremony of China's new military base in Djibouti

Chinese People’s Liberation Army personnel attend the opening ceremony of China’s new military base in Djibouti / Getty Images

 

Incidents near Beijing’s Djibouti military base injured American air crews flying nearby

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that Chinese nationals fired lasers near a military base in east Africa against U.S. military aircraft in the region, injuring several pilots.

Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White said the U.S. government made diplomatic protests to the Chinese government over several recent incidents of laser firings near China’s first overseas military base at Djibouti. Continue reading

Admiral: Beijing Now Controls South China Sea

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(Photo Credit: MC1 Tiffini M. Jones/U.S. Navy)

 

Pacific Command Commander-designate Adm. Philip Davidson said China could overwhelm any other military force short of going to war with the U.S.

The nominee to take over the beleaguered U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Philip Davidson, has informed Congress that China has the capacity and capability to control the South China Sea “in all scenarios short of war with the U.S.” Continue reading