The EU is Changing its Approach to Russia. What Awaits the Eurasian Integration?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. © Kay Nietfeld / Reuters

 

Russia’s economic growth after the crisis forced many countries thinking that Moscow will not be able to do without enormous infusion of foreign capital, to rethink their position. In the complicated relations between the EU with the US and with not the fastest pace of rapprochement with China the optimal decision for the European Union is the development of relations with Russia, but political factors complicate the implementation of this course. The post-Soviet republics of Eurasia, working with an eye to the West, are not in a hurry to increase the pace with the Russian Federation. Will Moscow grow tired of “Eurasian integration into one direction”?

Noticeable changes are occurring in the West’s representative’s estimation of relations with Russia. More and more representative of Western, primarily, European elite advocate for the “normalization” of relations with Russia and a gradual lifting of sanctions from our country. Lately Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron as well as other notable European politicians spoke in this vein. Thus, the president of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier offered to start a gradual change of sanctions against Russia in case of the realisation of the proposal of deploying peacekeepers in the Donbas. Continue reading

One world under China? Beijing rolls out BRI initiative; U.S. can’t agree on renewing its own infrastructure

Screen shot from CCTV News.

 

The Belt and Road Initiative is the vanguard for Beijing’s reach for global power. It may not work, given all the imponderables of a project on this scale, not to mention conflicting interests with nations along its route. But at least the Chinese are showing the kind of social energy necessary to achieve great things. Do Americans still have that trait?

The state-owned press in China was all aglow about President Xi Jinping’s address to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Xinhua proclaimed how “Many overseas experts and scholars have praised” it. Towards the end of his remarks, President Xi brought up his pet project; recreating the ancient Silk Road that once linked Imperial China to Europe through Central Asia and the Middle East. He proclaimed, “Commitment of the Belt and Road Forum is highly compatible with the goal of the G20” and should be seen as part of a “new and inclusive globalization.” The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation had been held in Beijing, May 14-15. It attracted 29 heads of state (including Russian President Vladimir Putin) and representatives of 130 other countries (including the U.S.), plus the leaders of 70 international organizations, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Continue reading

Historic Shift in Geopolitical Alignments: India and Pakistan Join Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

 

On June 9, both India and Pakistan became simultaneously members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Eurasian economic, political and mutual security organization largely dominated by China and Russia. 

While the SCO with headquarters in Beijing is not officially a “military alliance”, it nonetheless serves as a geopolitical and strategic “counterweight” to US-NATO and its allies. It also plays a significant role in the development of  Eurasian trade, e.g. in support of China’s Belt and Road initiative, oil and gas pipeline corridors linking SCO member states, etc.

In the course of the last few years, the SCO has extended its cooperation in military affairs and intelligence. War games were held under the auspices of the SCO.

The members of  the SCO include China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan and India are now full members since June 9, 2017. Iran is an Observer Member slated to shortly become a full member.

The SCO now encompasses an extensive region which now comprises approximately half of the World’s population. Continue reading

Leading the Multipolar Revolution: How Russia and China Are Creating a New World Order

The replacement for the American global hegemony is all there. The alternative global infrastructure is built and only a switch needs to be flipped on. The only questions remaining are when and how America will be replaced as a global leader.

 

Leading the Multipolar Revolution: How Russia and China Are Creating a New World Order

 

The last thirty days have shown another kind of world that is engaging in cooperation, dialogue and diplomatic efforts to resolve important issues. The meeting of the members of the Belt and Road Initiative laid the foundations for a physical and electronic connectivity among Eurasian countries, making it the backbone of sustainable and renewable trade development based on mutual cooperation. A few weeks later, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Astana outlined the necessary conditions for the success of the Chinese project, such as securing large areas of the Eurasian block and improving dialogue and trust among member states. The following AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) meeting in ROK will layout the economical necessities to finance and sustain the BRI projects.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have many common features, and in many ways seem complementary. The SCO is an organization that focuses heavily on economic, political and security issues in the region, while the BRI is a collection of infrastructure projects that incorporates three-fifths of the globe and is driven by Beijing’s economic might. In this context, the Eurasian block continues to develop the following initiatives to support both the BRI and SCO mega-projects. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSO) is a Moscow-based organization focusing mainly on the fight against terrorism, while the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a Beijing-based investment bank that is responsible for generating important funding for Beijing’s long-term initiatives along its maritime routes (ports and canals) and overland routes (road, bridges, railways, pipelines, industries, airports). The synergies between these initiatives find yet another point of convergence in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Together, the SCO, BRI, CTSO, AIIB, and EEU provide a compelling indication of the direction in which humanity is headed, which is to say towards integration, cooperation and peaceful development through diplomacy. Continue reading

As U.S. balks at rebuilding infrastructure, China advances ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ strategy to dominate Eurasia, Africa

 

On May 14-15, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The Beijing meeting attracted 29 heads of state (including Russian President Vladimir Putin) and representatives of 130 other countries (including the U.S.), plus the leaders of 70 international organizations, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave the keynote address heralding the “One Belt, One Road” initiative (BRI) as a top priority. And well it should be, given that its goal is nothing less than to establish Chinese preeminence (even hegemony) over Eurasia and Africa. Continue reading

China’s Project of the Century

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin und Brussels are obstructing China’s “New Silk Road” mega project. Last Sunday, the EU refused to sign a declaration pertaining to this project at an international summit in Beijing with representatives from more than 100 countries, including 29 heads of states and governments. Beijing plans to invest trillions in this project to develop overland and maritime transport corridors from East Asia to Europe. It is considered one of today’s most important economic-strategic projects. A similar project, initiated by Berlin and Brussels in 1993 was a failure. China seeks new markets for its economy, but also seeks to consolidate unstable regions in the West of the People’s Republic. The “New Silk Road” is intended to closely connect the economies in Europe and Asia – without the United States, which had opposed it. German interests are contradictory: While business circles hope for new profits through intensified cooperation, China’s rise, propelled by this project, is challenging Germany and the EU’s geopolitical interests. Thus, Berlin and Brussels are taking an ambivalent position. Continue reading

Trump’s stealth North Korea move sidelines China, could be game-changer

President Donald Trump and China’s Xi JInping in Florida.

 

Just how the shape of the new global strategic architecture will settle out as the framework for the 21st Century is still open to challenge, but the key dynamic — the initial door to that new world — is now being opened by a deliberately-orchestrated U.S.-North Korea confrontation.

What is emerging beyond this door is an overarching strategic alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) démarche of “One Belt, One Road” dominance of the Eurasian and Indo-Pacific geopolitical space, and an alternative, or balance, to the PRC’s reach into Africa and the Americas.

The confrontation between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-Un is very much just between those two leaders, with the People’s Republic of China somewhat marginalized. Beijing is now fighting to find a path into this equation. Continue reading

The Coming China-Germany Trade Juggernaut

 

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In a post-American trade war, this emerging bloc will wield devastating power.

Stories of international angst over United States President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach are becoming more commonplace. Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” catchphrase sounds good for many at home, but abroad, it is prompting a weighty reorganization of international trade relationships. And long term, the result will be a trade war that will prove ruinous to the U.S.

World trade has changed a great deal over the last several decades. The international community at large no longer depends on America’s giant import expenditures and exports. Parag Khanna of Politico wrote:

As Americans, it’s easy to assume that global trade still depends on America as the consumer of last resort. But that’s no longer true. In fact, the majority of trade in emerging-market nations is with each other, not with the U.S. In 1990, emerging economies sent 65 percent of their exports to developed nations like the U.S. and Europe, and only 35 percent to other developing countries. Today, that figure is nearly reversed. Continue reading

The Sanctions Debate

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – In the prelude to Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Russia, German business associations and foreign policy experts are urging that the policy of sanctions be ended. They argue that sanctions practically have become ineffective, since Russia’s economy has withstood these trade restrictions and is now even recovering. The boycott has also damaged the EU’s image and that of the USA in Russia and, even though intended to weaken, it has helped to stabilize the Russian government. Moreover, Russian orders, that German businesses had once expected, were increasingly going to competitors, for example in China – and are ultimately lost. However, German economists still see Russia as a lucrative market. According to an analysis by the Bertelsmann Foundation and Munich’s ifo Institute, a free-trade agreement between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), congregated around Russia, would generate a growth of 45 billion euros. Government advisors recommend that the sanctions policy be gradually ended. This would not eliminate the prospect that Moscow, at any time, could be forced to its knees with an arms race. Continue reading

One China, three foreign policy faces

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

The Chinese Economic Offensive in Europe

 

Where the largest population in the world has set its sights

Englishmen: Did you know the Chinese now control House of Fraser? Italians: Did you know the Chinese now own Pirelli? Swedes: Did you know the Chinese now own Volvo?

Depending on how old you are, you’ll likely be either embracing or resisting the Chinese economic offensive into Europe. But if you’d been a Greek youth struggling with 50 percent unemployment in the eurozone crisis, you would have been loving the extra Chinese foreign investment.

China has been looking to break into Europe for decades; in the last five years, its efforts have finally paid off. From 2010 to 2014, Chinese investments in Europe went from $6 billion to $55 billion. And remember, that huge increase happened as China’s economy had been comparatively slowing down.

Continue reading

Russian Intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov: After The Attempted Coup In Turkey, ‘The Kremlin Has Reason To Be Satisfied’

After the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey, Russian intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov[1] writes in an article, titled “People With Big Ambitions: What the Turkish Coup Means for Russia,” that Moscow has grounds for satisfaction with the current situation. Lukyanov believes that Turkish president Recep Erdogan now needs to find reliable foreign partners to support his regime. However, Erdogan’s “zigzag” policy has hardly gained him respect in any foreign capital, and Turkey might now regard Moscow as a possible strategic partner. Lukyanov writes that Turkey relations with the EU are worn down. The EU abandoned the idea of a common European home and if Turkey will reinstate the death penalty, as mooted after the failed coup, this would doom Turkey’s chances of joining the EU and force Ankara to leave the Council of Europe.

According to Lukyanov, the primary reason for the EU’s diminished desire to cooperate with Ankara is that the European countries never fully accepted Turkey as “one of their own.” Russia can sympathize with Turkey, as it  as well has been treated by Europe as a “barbarian at the gate” notwithstanding the common cultural and historical heritage. Lukyanov views Erdogan’s need for new allies, as an opportunity for a Turkey-Russia partnership, for offsetting and even reducing Western geopolitical influence. Lukyanov writes: “Europe is no longer the center of the world. Earlier, if Europe sneezed, the whole world caught cold. Now, however, three-fourths of humanity is simply uninterested in what ails these strange people with their oversized ambitions and diminishing ability to implement them properly.” Continue reading

Will Russia and China Build an SCO-Based Joint Missile Defense System

On Monday, experts in Moscow and Beijing spoke via video conference on the implications for regional security of the US deployment of missile defense systems in South Korea. And while the forum focused mostly on political and military implications of the THAAD deployment, experts also intrigued observers by indicating that it was possible for Russia and China to join together to create a single missile defense shield over the entirety of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the political, economic and military organization involving much of eastern Eurasia.

Regarding the THAAD deployment, Moscow has repeatedly indicated that it was categorically opposed to the move. THAAD, capable of monitoring ballistic and aerial targets at distances of up to 1,500 km, is expected to give the US military the capability to ‘see’ into the territory of the Russian Federation, and even further into that of China. Continue reading

DNC leak: Russia better at information war now than during Cold War

If you want to see how Russian propaganda and information warfare works against America today, look no further than the following previous post:

WAR 2020: Russia’s Information Aggression

 

Russia’s hacking and exploitation of emails from the Democratic National Committee has created an unprecedented situation for the US election this year.

The goal of distributing internal DNC emails is not only to create disorder within the party, as has happened after WikiLeaks published embarrassing internal documents that led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The emails and other information can be used to shape broader views of the US political system among American voters and in the wider world, as a form of information war waged by Russia towards the West. Continue reading

Russia’s ‘Greater Eurasia’ plan gets Brexit boost

MOSCOW–The Kremlin has been careful to dismiss claims that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union came as a development largely beneficial for Russia. Yet despite the official denials, the upcoming European disorder sparked by the UK leaving the EU appears to come as a boost to Russia’s plans of increased Eurasian integration.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected allegations by British Prime Minister David Cameron that Russia would welcome Brexit. “The British people have decided to leave the European Union. We never interfered in this process,” Putin said on June 24.

Putin made these remarks on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23-24 finalized entry of India and Pakistan into the organization that currently includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The SCO summit confirmed the grouping’s long-term vision by approving its strategic development blueprint through 2025. Continue reading