The Geopolitics Of South-East Europe And Importance Of The Regional Geostrategic Position (I)

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South-East Europe

 

The geopolitical issue of South-East Europe became of very importance for the scholars, policymakers, and researchers with the question of the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire as one of the most crucial features of the beginning of the 20th century in European history. A graduate collapsing of the one-time great empire was accelerated and followed by competition and struggling by both, the European Great Powers and the Balkan national states, upon the territorial inheritance of it. While the European Great Powers have the aim to obtain the new spheres of political-economic influence in South-East Europe, followed by the task to establish a new balance of power in the continent, a total collapse of the Ottoman state was seen by small Balkan nations as the unique historical opportunity to enlarge the territories of their national-states by unification of all ethnolinguistic compatriots from the Ottoman Empire with the motherland. A creation of a single national state, composed by all ethnographic and historic “national” lands, was in the eyes of the leading Balkan politicians as a final stage of national awakening, revival and liberation of their nations which started at the turn of the 19th century on the ideological basis of the German romanticist nationalism expressed in a formula: “One Language-One Nation-One State”.[i] Continue reading

The Power of the Pipes

BERLIN/MOSCOW/BEIJING (Own report) – The privileged German-European access to Russian natural gas could be lost, is the warning, as the battle over the “Nord Stream 2” pipeline persists. According to a recent analysis published by Oxford University, western sanctions, imposed on Russia in 2014, have encouraged Moscow to seek alternative markets for its resources. China, in particular, plans to purchase large amounts of Russian natural gas. The first pipeline is scheduled to go into operation this year. A second pipeline – tapping the fields currently supplying gas exclusively to Europe – is in planning. The same applies to new Russian liquefied gas projects. In the future, “European customers” will most likely have to compete in Russia with “Asian customers,” the Oxford University analysis predicts. Instead of forcing Moscow to its knees, the sanctions could put an end to Berlin’s privileged access to Russian natural gas and if the “Nord Stream 2” fails, it could further worsen the EU’s position.

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Two Roads Diverged in a Digital Wood

 

By now it’s no longer restricted to individual companies or even to the internet sector. It has spread across a wide range of products, services, and economic sectors, including insurance, retail, healthcare, finance, entertainment, education, transportation, and more, birthing whole new ecosystems of suppliers, producers, customers, market-makers, and market players. Nearly every product or service that begins with the word “smart” or “personalised”, every internet-enabled device, every “digital assistant”, is simply a supply-chain interface for the unobstructed flow of behavioural data on its way to predicting our futures in a surveillance economy.

– From the must read piece: ‘The Goal Is to Automate Us’: Welcome to the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

A lot of my content over the past couple of years has focused on the momentous geopolitical changes I see on the horizon, and this macro perspective reaches two significant conclusions. First, that the planet is moving away from a unipolar world dominated almost entirely by the U.S. toward a more multi-polar world. Second, that this fundamental shift in geopolitical landscape, coupled with what appears to be a forthcoming reckoning with the largest global debt bubble in human history, will lead to a once in a generation reset of the world economy and the global financial system that keeps it functioning. Continue reading

President Xi Orders Chinese Army To “Prepare For War”

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In just a few short days, China has proved that investors who have been underestimating the geopolitical risks stemming from the simmering tensions between the US and China over the latter’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and paranoia over the fate of Taiwan – a de facto independent state that President Xi Jinping is aggressively seeking to bring under the heel of Beijing – have done so at their own peril.

Earlier this week Xi Jinping, the Chinese emperor for life president provoked an angry rebuke from Taiwan’s pro-independence president when he demanded during a landmark speech earlier this week that Taiwan submit to “reunification” with Beijing.

And as if tensions between China and the international community weren’t already high enough amid a worsening economic slowdown that’s hurting global economic growth and a tenuous trade “truce” with the US,  in another speech delivered on Friday during a meeting of top officials from China’s Central Military Commission which he leads, Xi took his belligerent rhetoric one step further by issuing his first military command of 2019: that “all military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle.” 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

Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift?

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The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

– From Graham Allison’s article: The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

For the past two years, my geopolitical assumption has been that the Trump administration would more or less continue along with the reckless, shortsighted, and disastrous neocon/neoliberal interventionist foreign policy of the past two decades focused on undeclared regime change and proxy wars across the world, especially the Middle East. Given his strange obsession with Iran, I figured he’d start a conflict there and that this conflict would end up a bigger disaster than Iraq. Continue reading

A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

City

 

Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

Grand Strategy Revisited

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Pyotr Stolypin

 

We live in the world of models, all kinds of them. Some models are simple, others—very complex. The main task of those models is to predict how things, those models describe, will behave depending on the circumstances. Some of those models work brilliantly, others fail miserably. Worst models in terms of reliability are those dealing with geopolitics. A record of dismal failures of Western in general, and American in particular, geopolitical models to predict anything right is widely available for everyone to see. Time after time those models and predictions turned out to be wrong. In terms of “predicting” anything in regards to Russia, those predictions were not only wrong, they were downright dangerous.

No better demonstration exists of a complete breakdown in the process of predicting anything than evolution of Russian military and economic power. As late as 2016, claims that Russia remained nothing more than, in the words of John McCain, a gas station masquerading as a country continued to pour in by all kinds of “experts”, who, despite a huge collection of facts to the contrary, continued to believe that these are only Russia’s nuclear forces which keep Russia as some secondary factor in the international relations. There are even some Russian experts who shared this point of view. Their models and predictions turned out to be wrong. They lacked the most important predictor of them all. Continue reading

More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

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There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs. Continue reading

On same day as summit U.S. rattled China, dedicated massive new Taipei compound

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The largest U.S. diplomatic compound in all of Asia opened this month in a country with whom Washington does not even have an official diplomatic relationship.

On June 12, when the world was transfixed on the Trump-Kim Nuclear Summit in Singapore, a major ceremony was taking place in Taiwan’s capital Taipei with great fanfare to mark the opening of a huge new diplomatic complex of great geopolitical significance. Continue reading

The Grand Troika: A Chance for a World New Order

 

Back in the late summer of 2017 I wrote an analysis of the state of world affairs and international relations after two seismic geopolitical world events occurred almost simultaneously in 2016 – the UK Referendum result to Leave the European Union and the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton by Republican Donald Trump for the White House in the US 2016 Presidential Election. Those twin political events were like major earth shaking bombs going off creating all kinds of disturbances and tremors, aftershocks and creating the greatest of shock and bewilderment within the international political order that had held sway since the defeat of Nazism in 1945.

It had become clear to me by the summer of 2017, as I had thought for some time, that politics in Britain – and global geostrategic politics within the broader historical framework of civilizational and human development – had changed profoundly and significantly from were we had been during the 1990s-2012 period, perhaps even from where I started off life in the most intense but ending days of the Cold War in the mid 1980s. Continue reading

In a blow to Trump, Europe seeks gas supplies from Iran

The European Commission vice-president for energy union,Maros Sefcovic, said during a visit to Azerbaijan last week that the European Union was ready to negotiate Iran’s participation in the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a system of pipelines designed to pump Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region to southern Italy via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania.

The European bloc is keen to get its hands on Iranian gas and has already held talks with Tehran on the issue. This means it is unlikely that the EU will budge on its opposition to US President Donald Trump’s demands for revising the Iran nuclear deal. Continue reading

U.S. ‘Plan B’ for the Middle East. The Occupation of One Third of Syria’s Territory

Map from Anadolu Agency, published in Orient Net [18]

 

The television network RT asked me for a comment around the recent visit to Raqqa done by the USAID program chief together with the CENTCOM Commander. [1]

Before addressing the humanitarian situation in Raqqa associated with the reconstruction issue (80 percent of Raqqa dwellings remain “inhabitable”, according to the UN), I will focus on the current U.S. geopolitics in the area, against the backdrop of the U.S. emerging ‘Plan B’ on Syria. So far, the implementation of this new design has signified the virtual occupation of nearly a third of Syria’s territory. A hallmark of the situation consisting in the illegal occupation of Syrian territory by U.S. troops.

The first project of the US on Syria aimed to obtain a regime change. It was pretty much a “default” policy applied by the US in the Middle East at the times of the Obama / Hillary Clinton administration. Partly of its mechanism has been described by Senator Dick Clark (an excerpt of Senator Clark’s declarations is found in the video here below. Click on the image for the excerpt-footage).

The strategy of “regime change”, which can we call “U.S. Plan A on Syria”, failed.

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How Iran, the Mideast’s new superpower, is expanding its footprint across the region – and what it means

raqi Shiites of the Mahdi Army militia vow to fight ISIS in a show of strength in a 2014 military parade in Baghdad. (Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor)

 

Iran has achieved milestones of leverage and influence that rival any regional power in the past half-century. While there are limits to how far it can extend its authority, Tehran’s rapid rise poses new challenges to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as it undermines their previous dominance. How far can Tehran extend its reach?

With opulent furnishings and the finest cut-crystal water glasses in Baghdad, the new offices of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia exude money and power – exactly as they are meant to. At one end of the meeting room is a set built for TV interviews, with gilded chairs and an official-looking backdrop of Iraqi and militia flags, lit by an ornate glass chandelier. Continue reading

New Rumblings In The Horn Of Africa Over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam

Tensions are rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Renaissance Dam. Continue reading