This year, a 300-mile railway will begin slicing through Kenya, cutting travel time between the capital, Nairobi, and one of East Africa’s largest ports, Mombasa, from 12 to four hours and breeding hopes of an economic and tourism revival in the region.
The country’s most significant transportation project since its independence in 1963 is being built courtesy of China. China Road and Bridge, a state-owned enterprise, leads construction of the $13.8 billion project, which is financed nearly 100% by the Export-Import Bank of China.
The railroad is one of a host of infrastructure projects China spearheads around the world in an ambitious quest to reinforce its emergence as the world’s next economic superpower while President Trump turns his back on globalization. Continue reading
It has become increasingly clear that Russia is on the inexorable path toward restoring its territory on the old map of the USSR. Whether Moscow will be able to achieve such a grandiose scheme to recreate another Soviet Union-size Rodina has been traditionally believed to depend on the strength and willingness of NATO and Europe to counter such Russian ambition. The assumption is that if the counterthrusts from the West are robust enough, Moscow will fail in its attempt, otherwise Russia’s territorial map will look like the Soviet Union in 2030.
This dichotomy of thrust and counterthrust by Russia on the one side and the West on the other is for the most part inadequate largely because there is also another crucial factor in deciding the outcome of Russia’s territorial expansion, namely, China and its own territorial ambition that goes against Russia’s objectives in much of Central and East Asia. Continue reading
China has a changing attitude to the thornier diplomatic and security crises now afflicting the Asian continent. Depending on the amount of national interest at play and the power it can reasonably project in the relevant geopolitical chessboards, Beijing can put on the face of peace facilitator in Syria, peace broker in Afghanistan and would-be boss in the Western Pacific.
While the main driver for the Chinese diplomacy in the Middle East is the protection of economic interests, the assertion of national sovereignty, combined with the aspiration to become the driving force in East Asia, mostly explains China’s moves in the East and South China seas. The rationale for Beijing’s posturing in Central Asia is instead more nuanced. The region is in fact a crossroads for many stakeholders; here China is committed to safeguarding precious economic assets and, at the same time, exerting some form of power.
In an osmotic way, all of these three approaches are conditioned by China’s interaction with the other great powers – the United States and Russia. Continue reading
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Sunday as saying that Turkey did not need to join the European Union “at all costs” and could instead become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations.
NATO member Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever after 11 years of negotiations. European leaders have been critical of its record on democratic freedoms, while Ankara has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Western condescension.
“Turkey must feel at ease. It mustn’t say ‘for me it’s the European Union at all costs’. That’s my view,” Erdogan was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as telling reporters on his plane on the way back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Continue reading
China’s Adm Guan Youfei’s recent visit to Syria was a diplomatic maneuver to counter-balance US’ military and political provocations in South China Sea region. But although China’s advisors are already on the ground in Syria to train the regime forces in the use of its weapons, it will not commit warplanes or ground forces in the conflict to end up having more enemies than friends in the Middle East region.
The recent visit of China’s Rear Adm Guan Youfei to Syria may be a small step amid the ongoing conflict but will have a big influence on the outcome of talks to be held to end the crisis.
The ‘Chinese factor’, as it looks, is set to create diplomatic and political pressure on various fronts than sending warplanes to bomb IS and other terror outfits. Continue reading
Chinese missiles, tanks and drones find foreign buyers
In line with its increasingly sophisticated domestic arsenal, China’s arms exports have become much more technically competitive in the last 10 years; the 2015 U.S. Defense Department’s Annual Report on the PLA even stated that China’s ground systems in particular are globally competitive or nearly globally competitive. With selling points of low cost and affordable service, lack of geopolitical strings and upgrade packages, China has become the world’s third largest arms exporter behind the US and Russia. With a series of recent contracting wins against Russian firms, it looks to expand its market share.
The Fourth Reich rising:
On January 19, 2016, the website of the pro-Kremlin think tank Valdai Club published a report by Andrei Kazantsev, director of the Analytical Center of the Institute for International Studies in Russia, titled “Central-Asia: Secular Statehood Challenged by Radical Islam.” Kazantsev wrote that post-Soviet Central Asian countries face a threat from radical Islam that impacts prospects for secular statehood and represents a serious obstacle to modernization of the region.
The following are excerpts from Kazantsev’s article:
“Post-Soviet Central Asian countries are facing problems caused by old security challenges and the emergence of completely new threats. These threats may influence the prospects for secular statehood in the region and represent a serious obstacle to modernization. One of the old security challenges is the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, where crisis phenomena are continuously aggravated. The most dangerous threat is posed by the concentration of militants in northern Afghanistan (on the border with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan)… Continue reading
Perhaps the next superpower on the world stage will indeed be a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis. It’s often said here on Global Geopolitics that Germany’s Fourth Reich will lead the new superpower, which is to say a United States of Europe. That may strongly be the case, but a twist as described here, can also come into play. This isn’t the first time “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” has been mentioned.
Whatever it may look like, a new superpower emerging certainly isn’t far away as America suicides itself into the history books. The next chapter in world history isn’t going to be the end of the world, but the end of America as we know it.
In a landmark treatise titled “Russia’s Foreign Policy: Historical Background,” published March 3, 2016 in the Russian foreign affairs journal Russia in Global Affairs, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov challenged the Western perspective on Russia with an analysis of Russian history. According to Lavrov, Russia has played an important role in shaping both European history and contemporary European policies. He writes that contrary to the belief widespread in the West that Russia is Europe’s” political outsider, “it is an integral part of the European context, adding that while throughout history Russia’s power has been obstructed by European countries, Europe’s geography, and its historical, intrinsic interconnection with Russia, signifies that the former will always have to consider the latter. Lavrov also sketches out a bipolar world in which Russia confronts the U.S. by expanding its own realm of political influence and power from the Atlantic to the Pacific, as part of a new political entity – Eurasia. The vision of Eurasia and the resultant political goals are in essence an ideological blueprint for an ideological agenda to counter the U.S.
This report will present the Russian perspective, political ideology, and goals, as set out not only by Foreign Minister Lavrov but also by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and citing these ideas’ roots in recent history. It will not, however, include an examination of the extent to which these ideas and goals can actually be implemented at this time, given the country’s current economic, political, and structural situation Continue reading
As oft said here, America is suiciding itself, and in more ways than this article states.
Note: As in other rare cases when an article deserves special recognition, a majority of this article will stay posted here. Still be sure to click the source link for the full article.
A new round of the “Great Game”* in Syria demonstrates not so much Moscow’s growing power, as the intellectual vacuum in the West.
Western leaders, the media and experts state the obvious: the Kremlin is trying to save Assad. Of course, yes, but principal points remain outside of the focus of their attention.
It is not only about Syria. It’s about two polar ideologies, two worldviews that are incompatible with each other. Continue reading