Categories
analysis

A Chinese-US Military Conflict Can Be Avoided If America Has The Will

A Chinese-US Military Conflict Can Be Avoided If America Has The Will

10 AUGUST 2021

A Chinese-US Military Conflict Can Be Avoided If America Has The Will

The reason why this has yet to happen is because some American elites profit from perpetuating the narrative of a New Cold War against China.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s recent trip to Tianjin to meet with Chinese officials didn’t lead to a breakthrough in bilateral relations, though few seriously expected that it would. Any dialogue is better than no dialogue of course, but the talks didn’t result in anything tangible because the US lacks the will to respect China’s interests. Regrettably, CNN misportrayed their latest interaction in an article published on 30 July that was headlined “The US and China say they want to avoid military conflict, but no one can agree on how”.

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said that his country presented its American counterparts with a List of U.S. Wrongdoings that Must Stop and a List of Key Individual Cases that China Has Concerns With. Some of the requests that were made include unilaterally lifting visa restrictions on members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their families as well as stopping the harassment of Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the US, according to Xinhua. The US thus far hasn’t taken any steps to respect China’s interests.

Although CNN reported on those lists and the similar statements by both sides’ representatives about how their countries want peace, it misleadingly made it seem as though both sides are to blame for the terrible state of bilateral relations. The reality is that China shares no blame for what’s happening. The former Trump Administration declared an unprovoked trade war against China that rapidly escalated into what some observers nowadays describe as a New Cold War that continues under the Biden Administration.

Examples of the US’ acts of aggression against China include unilateral sanctions, meddling in its internal affairs (particularly in Hong Kong and Xinjiang), an intensified information warfare campaign, blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic, provocative so-called “freedom of navigation” operations (FONOPs) through Beijing’s portion of the South China Sea, and encouraging the self-declared “authorities” of the rogue Chinese island of Taiwan to behave more antagonistically towards the mainland.

By contrast, China has simply responded to American sanctions, abstains from meddling in its counterpart’s internal affairs, strictly reports facts about the US instead of spewing propaganda, asks legitimate questions about the US’ irresponsibility in failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic within its borders, doesn’t infringe on the US’ maritime sovereignty in areas under its legal control, and has no contact with anti-government groups like Black Lives Matter or Puerto Rican separatists for instance.

Any objective observer would therefore conclude that a Chinese-US military conflict could be avoided if only America has the will to respect China’s interests. The first obvious step entails ending its FONOPs in the South China Sea, encouragement of the self-declared Taiwanese “authorities’” antagonism towards Beijing, and other meddling operations in the mainland including information warfare. Upon that happening, substantive negotiations on resolving their economic disputes could then proceed amid an atmosphere of goodwill.

The reason why this has yet to happen is because some American elites profit from perpetuating the narrative of a New Cold War against China. These include its influential military-industrial-tech complex as well as political ideologues who hate China for its socialist system and resent the country’s rise that’s responsible for the emergence of a multipolar world order. Instead of learning to cooperate and coexist with China, they’d prefer to compete with it and provoke a dangerously divisive New Cold War from which they stand to profit.

CNN should have drawn attention to this but obviously chose not to because it plays a key role in carrying out the US’ information warfare campaign against China. In this context, it’s the misleading narrative that China shares some responsibility for the deterioration of relations with the US. It doesn’t, at all. CNN is just applying the psychological DARVO strategy of “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim & Offender” whereby it blames the blameless (China) in order to absolve the guilty (the US).

It’s about time that someone of influence in the US talks truth to power and calls CNN out for its manipulation. A military conflict between China and the US can still be avoided but only if the latter finally takes responsibility for pushing those two Great Powers towards that unthinkable scenario. China has been doing everything that it can to pragmatically cooperate and peacefully coexist with the US but the American side refuses to respond in kind. By clinging to its grand strategic goal of attempting to “contain” China, the US is destabilizing the world.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, China, New Cold War.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

Indian-Taliban Tensions Might Spell Trouble For The Afghan Peace Process

Indian-Taliban Tensions Might Spell Trouble For The Afghan Peace Process

4 AUGUST 2021

Indian-Taliban Tensions Might Spell Trouble For The Afghan Peace Process

The Taliban’s latest condemnation of India for its unsolicited comments about the upcoming talks in Doha and New Delhi’s alleged arming of Kabul spell trouble for the Afghan peace process but might still not be enough to spoil everything that’s been set into motion since the US announced its impending military withdrawal from the country.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Sputnik that the group condemns India’s unsolicited comments about the upcoming talks in Doha after External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said that “The world wishes to see an independent, sovereign, democratic and stable Afghanistan at peace with itself and with its neighbours but its independence and sovereignty will only be ensured if it is free from malign influences.” Shaheen told the outlet that “No one from outside should spoil the process by intervening in it and making their own suggestions based on their politically-motivated ambitions. It is a clear intervention that a certain country tells the Afghan people what kind of government they should have in future.”

He also added that “They have to re-consider whether they are working for peace or war in Afghanistan. Media reports say India is providing weapons to the Kabul regime which everyone knows was imposed on the Afghan people by a foreign occupation. The weapons the regime are receiving is used against the people of Afghanistan. This is hostility with the Afghan people and (is tantamount to inciting war in the country).” These accusations are alarming and spell trouble for the Afghan peace process, but they might still not be enough to spoil everything that’s been set into motion since the US announced its impending military withdrawal from the country.

I earlier explained “Why The Afghan Civil War Will Not Turn Into A Proxy War”, pointing out that India might be unable to realistically provide the requisite military support to Kabul for turning the tide against the Taliban if Iran’s new principalist (“conservative”) government refuses to allow it to exploit the Islamic Republic’s airspace for that dangerous zero-sum purpose. Even in the off chance that it did, such a move would risk worsening India’s recently improved relations with Russia. The Kremlin is against the foreign-backed perpetuation of the Afghan Civil War since its “chess” game aims to utilize that country as a transit state for facilitating Central Asia-South Asia connectivity through PAKAFUZ, the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbeksitan railway agreed to in February.

The US, China, India, Pakistan, And Russia Are Reshaping South Asia”, as I wrote late last month, but India is the only one of those five that might seriously consider spoiling the Afghan peace process even if it stands little chance of succeeding in anything other than the short term. I explained to India’s ThePrint a few weeks back how their country ended up sidelined in Afghanistan, which was primarily due to its refusal to enter into public talks with the Taliban. This obstinate stance is due to mostly domestic political calculations related to the uncomfortable optics of India’s Hindu nationalist government talking with a group that it’s previously accused of being Pakistani-backed Islamic fundamentalists.

By contrast, Russia officially regards the Taliban as reasonable while still retaining its ban on the group, which is proof of its foreign policy pragmatism in the face of rapidly changing circumstances largely beyond its control. India could very easily follow in its historical ally’s diplomatic footsteps and even perhaps rely on its mediation to make up for lost time but it still refuses to do so. Instead, it seems to have decided to continue clinging to its current policy in the hope that it can buy just enough time for the situation to somehow change in its strategic favor despite there being very little likelihood of this happening. In and of itself, India can’t do much to shape the strategic dynamics, but what it can do is delay their expected evolution per the current trajectory.

The country just assumed the UNSC’s rotating presidency for August, which is significant in the short term since the US is expected to complete its military withdrawal by the 31st. This coincidentally provides India with disproportionately influential soft power at precisely the moment that it wants to popularize its position across the world. It already pledged to promote maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism, the latter of which can be exploited to advance its obstinate stance towards Afghanistan despite also promising to support that country’s peace process. One scenario is that India does its utmost to remind the world that the Taliban is officially a terrorist organization while still fulfilling its legal responsibilities under the UNSC presidency.

This could see it taking advantage of its globally prominent position to signal so-called “principled opposition” to its peers’ efforts to cautiously welcome the Taliban into the international community. The impact of such a policy could be that those UNSC permanent members like Russia and China who try to use this legal body for that purpose could see their soft power symbolically undermined by the council’s presidency. All that India has to do is push its narrative, it cannot stop those permanent members from passing politically binding resolutions that the rest of the international community is obliged to follow. Even so, it can provoke a global controversy intended to put pressure on them not to advance any pertinent item in the near future.

This scenario can’t be discounted since it’s difficult to imagine India implementing contradictory policies at different political levels. So long as the state’s stance is to abstain from talks with the Taliban, continue regarding it as a terrorist group, and allegedly arming Kabul in order to perpetuate the Afghan Civil War, it more than likely won’t change its tune at the UNSC level. India will of course fulfill its formal responsibilities in that role, but unless there’s a change in policy at the national level, then nobody should expect its UNSC one to change either. Be that as it may, India would do well to calculate the costs of such a scenario since it would arguably risk worsening its recently improved relations with Russia if it makes any moves in this direction.

The best-case scenario is that India becomes more aware of how its unsolicited comments about the Afghan peace process are interpreted by one of that conflict’s primary stakeholders (Taliban) as well as its secondary ones (the Extended Troika, especially Russia). It should also not exploit its presidency of the UNSC this month to undermine other members’ soft power in the event that they attempt to further welcome the Taliban into the international community, perhaps pending a positive outcome after the upcoming Doha talks. India might never have pragmatic relations with the Taliban, which is its sovereign right in accordance with its perceived interests, but it shouldn’t do anything inadvertently or not that could further complicate the peace process.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: India, Russia, Afghanistan, China, US, Pakistan, Taliban.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

Is Russia Recalibrating Its De Facto Alliance With Israel In Syria?

Is Russia Recalibrating Its De Facto Alliance With Israel In Syria?

2 AUGUST 2021

Is Russia Recalibrating Its De Facto Alliance With Israel In Syria?

Last month’s revelation by a representative of the Russian Armed Forces that the Syrian-manned anti-air systems that his country dispatched to the Arab Republic successfully downed most “Israeli” missiles during a recent strike suggest that the Eurasian Great Power might be recalibrating its de facto alliance with the self-professed “Jewish State”.

Russia and “Israel” have been de facto allies in Syria for over the past half-decade as I argued at length over the years, especially in my top four analyses on the subject herehere (which lists 15 other pertinent ones), here, and here. To summarize, Russia sought to actively “balance” Iranian influence in Syria which it regards as regionally destabilizing due to its reported role in organizing attacks against the self-professed “Jewish State” from the Arab Republic’s territory. Moscow was motivated by the desire to comprehensively expand its ties with Tel Aviv, which it also expected would improve its geostrategic positioning vis-a-vis Washington by gradually becoming “Israel’s” most significant regional security partner.

It advanced this aim by “passively facilitating” literally hundreds of “Israeli” strikes against the IRGC and Hezbollah there, which importantly were never thwarted by Syria’s Russian-supplied S-300s from a few years back due to what some believe is the Kremlin’s continued refusal to transfer full operational control over these systems to Damascus. The thinking goes that if Syria succeeded in downing any more “Israeli” jets in self-defense, then Tel Aviv would be triggered into launching a disproportionate response against its neighbor that could completely cripple its military and therefore inadvertently reverse Russia’s recent anti-terrorist gains in the country. The Kremlin calculated that it’s better to give “Israel” freedom of the skies than risk that scenario.

This strategy seems to be changing though as evidenced by a Russian Armed Forces representative revealing late last month that the Syrian-manned anti-air systems that his country dispatched to the Arab Republic successfully downed most “Israeli” missiles during a recent strike. This suggests that the Eurasian Great Power might be recalibrating its de facto alliance with the self-professed “Jewish State”. It’s unclear exactly what Moscow’s motivations may be, but some educated hypotheses might suffice for pointing sincere observers in the right direction. These are the recent removal of President Putin’s close friend Netanyahu from power; the ongoing efforts to clinch a “New Detente” with the US; and restoring regional geostrategic balance.

In the order that they were mentioned, the first development might have resulted in the coming to power of influential forces that don’t share Netanyahu’s vision of a de facto Russian-”Israeli” alliance. Those individuals can speculatively be described as more pro-American than pro-”Israeli” in the sense that they’d prefer to put their traditional patron’s interests before their own polity’s. To explain, regardless of however one feels about Netanyahu’s legacy, he was nevertheless very successful in comprehensively improving relations with Russia, which in turn made “Israel” less dependent on the US’ regional security services for defending his polity’s interests. His successor and that man’s team might feel more comfortable returning under the US umbrella.

The second point is pertinent insofar as it’s increasingly clear that the US and Russia are attempting to negotiate a series of “mutual compromises” across a wide array of spheres following June’s Biden-Putin Summit in Geneva. Russia wants to relieve American pressure along its western flank in order to focus more on its “Ummah Pivot” for reducing potentially disproportionate dependence on China in the future while the US wants to refocus the bulk of its strategic efforts on more aggressively “containing” China in the “Indo-Pacific”. “Israel”, which is important to both of their interests, might have come to be treated as little more than a piece to be traded by Russia on this “Great Power Chessboard” in exchange for US “compromises” elsewhere.

Finally, this might simply be due to Russia realizing that “Israel” is now far too strong and must therefore be “gently” balanced through increased military (and specifically anti-air) assistance to Syria. After all, one of the primary reasons why Russia de facto allied with “Israel” in the first place is because Iran was becoming too strong in the region and thus had to be balanced according to the Kremlin’s geostrategic calculations. It would therefore be natural for Russia to temporarily recalibrate its balancing strategy in light of succeeding so well with its earlier motivation. This suggests that Russia might eventually oscillate back towards “Israel” if/once Iran regains its momentum, and so on and so forth in accordance with the Kremlin’s Eurasian balancing strategy.

While a lot still remains unclear at the moment, all that can be known for sure is that Russia wanted the world to know that it credibly bolstered Syria’s air defense capabilities, which certainly hints that it’s actively recalibrating its balancing act and in particular the “Israeli” dimension thereof. It’s unknown exactly how far it’ll go and whether it’ll ever cross the Rubicon that many Non-Russian Pro-Russians (NRPRs) have been practically begging for with respect to letting Syria finally use the S-300s to shoot down attacking “Israeli” jets, but it’s obvious that something has changed even though the reasons for this perceptible shift are debatable and could even potentially be a combination of each of the three earlier described hypotheses.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Israel, Syria, US, Iran, New Cold War, New Detente, Balancing.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

The US-German Hybrid War Against Poland Is Intensifying

The US-German Hybrid War Against Poland Is Intensifying

26 JULY 2021

The US-German Hybrid War Against Poland Is Intensifying

Poland has come under intensified Hybrid War attack by the US and Germany after its hoped-for Baltic Pipe’s construction has been delayed by their Danish ally, the influential Washington Post published a scathing editorial imploring American decision makers to push back against Poland’s plans to regain control of a US-owned anti-government broadcaster, and it became official that the US and Germany cut a deal with Russia over Nord Stream II.

The geostrategic situation is going from bad to worse for Poland after it came under intensified Hybrid War attack by the US and Germany at the end of July. I already chronicled the reasons for its increasingly disadvantageous position in a recent piece here which lists eight of my other relevant works on this subject. They all boil down to Poland remaining blind to the rapidly changing regional reality whereby the US and Russia are actively negotiating a so-called “non-aggression pact” which will occur at the expense of Warsaw’s national interests as it understands them to be. Germany is party to this process and hopes to take advantage of it to submit Poland to its envisioned continental hegemony. All three Great Powers are also opposed to the Warsaw-led “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI) that the former Trump Administration enthusiastically supported as a pivotal balancing force in European affairs but which the Biden one regards as geopolitically obstructive to its goals.

What recently happened is that Poland’s hoped-for Baltic Pipe’s construction was delayed by the US’ and Germany’s Danish ally. This powerfully impacts on the country’s energy security policy and will therefore compel it to continue relying on cheaper but more “politically sensitive” (from the perspective of the Polish leadership) Russian supplies. Just prior to that, the influential Washington Post published a scathing editorial imploring American decision makers to push back against Poland’s plans to regain control of a US-owned anti-government broadcaster that’s been stirring Colo Revolution unrest in the country. They ominously concluded their article by writing that “The United States must use all the leverage it can muster to ensure that independent television news in the country survives.” Finally, it became official that the US and Germany cut a deal with Russia over Nord Stream II, which Poland regards as being at the expense of its national interests.

Astute students of history might rightly compare this to the infamous “Western Betrayal” of the past century, though the consequences have yet to be as geopolitically dramatic as back then. Nevertheless, Poland is obviously at risk of losing its hard-earned sovereignty if the joint US-German Color Revolution succeeds, the country returns to being Berlin’s vassal, and the government is compelled by circumstances to finally re-engage with Russia but as a junior partner instead of the equal one that it deserves to be. There would be no need to partition Poland again since it’s now an almost entirely “ethnically pure” state apart from the growing mass of Ukrainian migrants in recent years and all foreign influence (American, German, and Russian) in the country could be managed through Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO) if it returns to power. Poland used to be the subject of regional geopolitics during the Trump years, but it’s now returning to being an object under Biden.

The tragedy is that all of this was avoidable and so obvious since the start of the year. The moment that Biden’s liberal-globalist forces entered the White House, Poland’s conservative-nationalist government should have known that the German Hybrid War against them would be intensified due to Washington’s and Berlin’s shared ideological visions that contradict Warsaw’s own. The ruling Law & Justice Party (PiS) should have also immediately entered into secret talks with Russia upon learning through the media earlier this year that Biden planned to meet with Putin. Poland and Russia could have begun negotiating their own “non-aggression pact” in Belarus & Ukraine in order to boost one another’s strategic negotiating leverage vis-a-vis the US, which could have also prevented Poland from being forced to respond to whatever the US, Russia, and Germany agreed to behind its back like ultimately happened.

It’s still not too late for Poland to do this, though its own negotiating position is greatly diminished now that the Baltic Pipe has been unexpectedly delayed by the US’ and Germany’s Danish ally (likely as part of the larger US-Russian “non-aggression pact”). Russia is also keenly aware of how increasingly desperate Poland is becoming in the strategic sense so the Kremlin might demand more concessions from Warsaw when it comes to the Central European leader’s envisioned “sphere of influence” over their shared Belarusian and Ukrainian borderlands than if they began such negotiations a few months back for example. One possible way to improve its leverage in this respect would be if Poland simultaneously reached out to China as a balancing force against the US just like neighboring Ukraine recently did, became an equally important economic bridge between East and West, and then used this newfound geo-economic role to entice Russia to give it a more “balanced” deal.

Whatever it ends up doing, it’s obvious that PiS must do something to relieve the joint US-German pressure upon it and then refocus its efforts on thwarting their plans to neutralize Poland’s sovereignty. Just like fellow NATO ally Turkey pragmatically turned East in the face of unprecedented pressure from the West a few years back in order to survive the regime change onslaught against it at the time, so too must Poland do the same lest it risk irreversibly losing everything. It might be very difficult for PiS to understand for “politically correct” reasons, but its American patron just backstabbed it and sold Poland out to Germany. The end is certainly nigh unless Poland prioritizes an urgent Eastern Pivot towards Russia and China in order to safeguard its sovereignty and bolster its “Democratic Security” capabilities for fending off the joint US-German Hybrid War. If PiS fails to do so, then Poland will be forced to submit to German hegemony, from which it’ll never escape.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Germany, Poland, Regime Change, Color Revolution, Hybrid War, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, China, Three Seas Initiative.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

Russia Is Right To Regard The Taliban As Reasonable

Russia Is Right To Regard The Taliban As Reasonable

24 JULY 2021

Russia Is Right To Regard The Taliban As Reasonable

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent remark that his country regards the Taliban as “reasonable people” prompted a discussion about why exactly Moscow holds this position towards a group that it still officially designates as terrorists.

The Taliban’s cautious welcoming into the international community is proceeding apace after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently remarked that his country regards the group as “reasonable people” despite still officially designating them as terrorists. This was the impression that he was left with after he and his diplomats had extensive interactions with the Taliban over the years during the course of their several visits to Moscow, the most recent of which was in early July, as part of the Afghan peace process. They promised not to threaten the Central Asian Republics, reiterated their commitment from last year’s peace deal with the US to not host any foreign militants, and expressed hope of reaching a peaceful political settlement to their country’s ongoing civil war.

Regardless of whatever they reportedly do within their own country, some actions of which arguably constituted terrorism in the past and thus explain their current designation by the Russian authorities, there’s no other way to describe their policy pronouncements while in Moscow as anything other than reasonable. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier clarified that there’s no contradiction between her country talking to the Taliban while still designating it as terrorists because such pragmatic dialogue in the name of peace is encouraged by a relevant UNSC Resolution from last year. Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov also suggested last week that the Taliban could actually advance his country’s regional anti-terrorist goals by fighting against ISIS-K and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

These facts mean that Russia and the Taliban are equally reasonable actors, both when it comes to their own relevant policies as well as their interaction with one another. Russia will not interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs and acknowledges that the Taliban is a mighty force to be reckoned with there. It’s also internationally recognized as a political actor through the earlier mentioned UNSC Resolution that endorses pragmatic political dialogue with the group in the name of peace. As for the Taliban, it’s reasonable for them not to threaten the region since they would have nothing to gain by doing so as they’re a strictly domestically focused movement. They wouldn’t want to squander all their hard-earned international goodwill in recent years whether by doing that, stubbornly insisting on a military solution to their civil war, or hosting foreign militants.

In terms of the bigger picture, Russia’s and the Taliban’s strategic goals largely intersect, at least on the official level. Both reasonable actors are in support of a peaceful solution to the ongoing Afghan Civil War. They’re also fiercely opposed to ISIS-K and other terrorist groups. Another one of their shared goals is regional stability since both expect to profit from February’s agreement to built a Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway for connecting Central & South Asia. This game-changing project incentivizes all regional stakeholders to work together in the name of peace so as to mutually benefit from the trend of transregional integration in this geostrategic space. Unilaterally undermining it through irresponsible and unreasonable actions would harm everyone’s interests. It’s therefore understandable that Russia and the Taliban are close dialogue partners.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Afghanistan, Taliban, PAKAFUZ.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

Iran Is Wisely Marketing Itself As A Conduit For Russian-Pakistani Trade

Iran Is Wisely Marketing Itself As A Conduit For Russian-Pakistani Trade

23 JULY 2021

The Iranian Consul General to Pakistan’s proposal on 16 July that his country could serve as a conduit for Russian-Pakistani trade was extremely strategic since it shows a keen awareness of the Islamic Republic’s role in Eurasia’s rapidly evolving geo-economic environment.

Eurasia’s geo-economic environment is rapidly evolving in light of several interconnected developments over the past year. February’s agreement to construct a trilateral railway between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) challenged the strategic viability of the North-South Transport Corridor’s eastern branch (E-NSTC) from the Indian-controlled Iranian port of Chabahar to Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (CARs). Kabul hammered another nail in that project’s coffin last month during the virtual trilateral Foreign Ministers meeting alongside the top diplomats from Beijing and Islamabad when it committed to rely on the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Although Russia still officially remains interested in the NSTC, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov enthusiastically endorsed Central Asian-South Asian connectivity during a topical conference in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in mid-July, which can be interpreted as Moscow’s approval of PAKAFUZ and willingness to use this project to reach South Asia.

As it presently stands, Iran can’t bank on the NSTC as much as it initially expected. This initiative will still likely facilitate some Russian-Indian trade as intended, but nowhere near what the most optimistic observers had hoped for. The Islamic Republic’s strategic consolation is that Azerbaijan’s proposed six-nation integration platform will probably become its new priority and thus connect Iran more closely with Russia and the other four members of this platform. Even so, Tehran would still prefer to become a transregional economic player in Eurasia, the vision of which it aims to advance through March’s 25-year strategic partnership deal with China. I wrote at the time that this game-changing development could be leveraged to facilitate Russian-Pakistani trade through the western expansion of CPEC into the Islamic Republic (W-CPEC+) where it would then mostly proceed parallel with the NSTC’s original route. Some critics were skeptical of this ambitious vision, but my views have just been vindicated by the Iranian Consul General to Pakistan.

The Express Tribune reported that Mr. Mohammad Reza Nazeri said on 16 July while speaking at the first session of the Pakistan-Iran Business Facilitation meeting that Iran is a beneficiary of CPEC and can facilitate Pakistan’s trade with Central Asia and Russia. This statement very strongly suggests that he has a keen awareness of the Islamic Republic’s role in Eurasia’s rapidly evolving geo-economic environment. With E-NSTC having been made largely redundant by PAKAFUZ, which in turn also reduced the strategic viability of its core function of facilitating Russian-Indian trade, it makes sense for Iran to position itself as a conduit for Russian-Pakistani trade in order to redeem this project’s transregional importance for connecting Eastern Europe with South Asia. It can also serve as a temporary workaround to trans-Afghan trade between the two for as long as the situation in that landlocked country remains violently unstable. Put another way, Iran finally realizes how important Russian-Pakistani connectivity is nowadays and thus wants to play an important role in facilitating it.

Guided by this flexible approach to Eurasia’s rapidly evolving geo-economic environment, Iran can realistically retain its transregional geo-economic importance despite the NSTC’s initial Russian-Indian connectivity function having been reduced due to recent developments related to PAKAFUZ and New Delhi’s general realignment towards the West (including through its abidance to the US’ unilateral anti-Iranian sanctions regime). The expected influx of Chinese capital and the connectivity projects that it could be responsible for as a result of their 25-year strategic partnership deal could greatly enhance Iran’s transregional connectivity attractiveness, especially with respect to facilitating Russian-Pakistani trade. The expansion of W-CPEC+ to Russia via Iran and Azerbaijan would also improve the viability of the Golden Ring concept for assembling a new multipolar network in the Eurasian Heartland, which would serve the strategic interests of all the involved countries.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Pakistan, Iran, PAKAFUZ, W-CPEC+, NSTC, Geo-Economics.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

What’s The SCO’s Game Plan For Afghanistan?

What’s The SCO’s Game Plan For Afghanistan?

9 JULY 2021

What

The SCO would do well to coordinate its members’ efforts to contain Afghan-emanating regional terrorist threats such as ISIS-K, encourage a political compromise between Kabul and the Taliban, and devise a plan for developing the war-torn country’s connectivity potential so as to ensure its long-term stability.

The future of Afghanistan is more uncertain than ever before against the backdrop of the Taliban’s rapid advance throughout the country in the wake of America’s impending military withdrawal by 31 August. Most observers predict an intensified period of civil war if the group, which is still regarded as terrorists by most countries such as Russia despite Moscow pragmatically hosting them on several occasions over the years for peace talks, isn’t able to take Afghanistan’s main cities that still remain under government control. The resultant chaos might create a dangerous opportunity for ISIS-K to expand its presence in the country and even become a major security threat to Central and South Asia. With the US practically abandoning its anti-terrorist commitments, perhaps for what some suspect might be Machiavellian reasons related to provoking this very scenario, it therefore falls on the SCO to ensure regional security instead.

This group comprises most of the Central Asian Republics (CARs, with the exception of Turkmenistan), China, India, Pakistan, and Russia. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia are observers while Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey are dialogue partners. One of the SCO’s mandates is to jointly confront the threats of terrorism, separatism, and extremism as well as enhance economic cooperation between its members. Considering the fast-moving events described in the first paragraph of this analysis, it therefore follows that they have a natural interest in working together when it comes to Afghanistan. This can take security, political, and economic forms. The first concerns supporting the two member states bordering Afghanistan, especially highly fragile and formerly civil war-torn Tajikistan, while the second involves facilitating dialogue between the warring parties. The third, meanwhile, concerns Afghanistan’s connectivity potential.

To elaborate a bit more, nearly 1,600 Afghan troops reportedly fled to Tajikistan in recent weeks in order to escape the Taliban’s rapid advance in Northern Afghanistan. Sputnik reported that the group has allowed a major border crossing to continue operating unimpeded, and it’s widely known that the Taliban doesn’t harbor any regional expansionist plans. It’s therefore highly unlikely that they’d pose a threat to Tajikistan or any other CAR. Even so, the prevailing uncertainty over Afghanistan’s future might result in large-scale refugee influxes, especially if ISIS-K exploits the situation. For this reason, President Putin recently promised his Tajikistani counterpart full support for ensuring its border security. There should be no doubt that the Russian military base in that country is more than capable of fulfilling this mission if requested to do so, but it nevertheless provides an excellent opportunity for the SCO’s members to cooperate more closely on the security front.

Thus far, its Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) hasn’t seen any real action. The SCO is comprised of very diverse members who lack meaningful security coordination apart from largely symbolic drills that are held every now and then. It would immensely boost the organization’s effectiveness if Tajikistan requested its assistance, even if only for the purpose of functioning as a so-called “live action exercise” in support of the Russian-led mission. That doesn’t imply the prolonged dispatch of their servicemen under the SCO banner either since this could also be accomplished by more intelligence sharing through this structure as well as the provisioning of relevant material support. Although India is in a rivalry with China and Pakistan, they all might put their differences aside in the interests of pragmatism so as to obtain the multilateral security experience that could be put to use during future regional crises, whether concerning Afghanistan or elsewhere.

The second dimension of the SCO’s game plan for Afghanistan should involve all members doing their utmost to encourage a political compromise between Kabul and the Taliban. Reuters reported earlier this week that the latter intends to present a peace plan during talks sometime next month, which might in effect function as an ultimatum for preventing their speculatively planned move on the capital. The Taliban denies that it’s seriously considering any such attack, but observers fear that it might become an inevitability if Kabul refuses to submit to their demands. In order to avoid the pronounced instability that would likely follow that battle, it’s in the SCO’s interests to see to it that the Taliban and Kabul reach a deal during the next round of talks. The Afghan government is already largely demoralized by the US’ withdrawal and its official American ally will soon be less capable of defending it than ever before following its September withdrawal, so this scenario is indeed possible.

Therein lies the third part of what the SCO should do to help Afghanistan and that’s present the basics of a comprehensive regional economic integration proposal for showing all domestic stakeholders that peace would veritably be in everyone’s best interests. February’s agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan to construct a trilateral railway (casually referred to as PAKAFUZ after the first letters of each participating country’s name) could unlock the war-torn country’s supercontinental integration potential by finally bringing together Central and South Asia. That could in turn lead to the establishment of a new economic axis stretching from Russia in Eastern Europe all the way down to India in South Asia that could tentatively be referred to as the SCO Corridor. This ambitious proposal should ideally be presented to Kabul and the Taliban by the SCO as a whole with the assistance of all its members during the next round of peace talks in August.

There isn’t enough time to flesh out the exact details, but each country could still generally commit something or another to this plan, even if only broad promises of financial assistance (whether grants and/or loans) as well as technical expertise. What’s most important is that both warring parties (but especially obstinate Kabul) realize that coming to a pragmatic compromise would suit all of Eurasia’s interests, not just their own, and that the supercontinent’s most promising multipolar body has a direct stake in that outcome. The SCO must walk the walk instead of just talk the talk, so to speak, hence the need to put aside some of its rival members’ differences in order to jointly present a credible plan to this end (whatever its lack of detail for the moment considering the short time frame). The much-needed goodwill and trust that could facilitate this could be greatly advanced through the earlier proposal of providing multilateral security assistance to Tajikistan.

To bring everything together, the SCO has the responsibility to take the lead in ensuring that the situation in Afghanistan doesn’t soon spiral out of control and create fertile ground for ISIS-K’s regional expansion. The bloc can only accomplish this by jointly containing such terrorist threats to the neighboring CARs like Tajikistan, encouraging Kabul and the Taliban to pragmatically reach a political compromise during the next round of peace talks in August so as to prevent the feared intensification of the Afghan Civil War, and greatly assisting the aforementioned by devising a credible plan for transforming Afghanistan into the centerpiece of the proposed SCO Corridor from Eastern Europe to South Asia. This is admittedly a lot to ask for an organization that hasn’t yet ever been confronted with a real crisis, let alone one that’s as urgent as the Afghan Civil War, but it’s still possible to accomplish even some of what’s been suggested so long as the political will is present.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Afghanistan, SCO, Tajikistan, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, ISIS-K, Taliban, US, SCO Corridor.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

India Has Very Limited Security Options For Ensuring Its Interests In Afghanistan

India Has Very Limited Security Options For Ensuring Its Interests In Afghanistan

8 JULY 2021

India Has Very Limited Security Options For Ensuring Its Interests In Afghanistan

The Taliban’s lightning-fast takeover of Afghanistan in the wake of the US’ full military withdrawal by September 11th presents certain security concerns for India, but the South Asian state only has very limited options for ensuring its relevant interests, none of which credibly involve any conventional military involvement contrary to widespread speculation about this scenario.

India is struggling to ensure its security interests in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s lightning-fast takeover of broad swaths of the country in the wake of the US’ full military withdrawal by September 11th. The South Asian state is concerned that the war-torn nation might become a training ground for Kashmiri militants, or even worse, that some Taliban fighters might consider crossing over the Line of Control (LOC) into the Indian side of Kashmir. It should be kept in mind that the Taliban promised the US as part of last year’s peace deal that it won’t support any foreign militants, nor does it have a track record of expansionist plans outside of its native territory, but India still fears the aforementioned worst-case scenarios.

There’s been widespread speculation over the years and especially in recent weeks that India might provide conventional military assistance to Kabul in order to stem the Taliban’s rapid advance. According to those who ascribe to that scenario, this could possibly involve arms transfers, intelligence support, actual troops, and/or private military contractors (PMCs). The first two options are the most credible since they entail comparatively low costs and almost no risks to India itself. The last two ones, however, are much costlier in all respects. India’s leadership must also certainly understand that if it’s still struggling to contain what it regards as security threats in the part of Kashmir under its control, then it’ll be much more difficult to contain the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Some further elaboration on this insight is required in order to better understand India’s strategic calculations. Those who predict that India might commence some sort of conventional military intervention in Kabul’s support are likely influenced by one or two ideas: that India is pursuing a policy of regional expansionism and/or to trap the country in a deadly quagmire. They’re not mutually exclusive either since accepting the first observation as valid can in turn be instrumentalized through a clever information campaign to influence India into taking the second seemingly natural step of getting itself caught in the Afghan quagmire due to its earlier described fear of the Taliban taking over that country.

No matter how afraid India is of the Taliban conquering Afghanistan, there’s almost nothing that it could do to stop this. Even in the best-case scenario of it dispatching military equipment to the internationally recognized authorities there on an emergency basis and ramping up its intelligence support for their forces, that likely won’t be sufficient to stop the Taliban. At most, all that it could do is temporarily delay what appears to be the inevitable outcome of the war. As for the third and fourth policy options, they’d fully depend on Iran passively facilitating India’s military intervention since there’s no way that Pakistan would support this. The incoming “principalist”/”conservative” administration, however, might not be in favor of doing so.

President-Elect Raisi is predicted to take a stronger stand against the US and its proxies upon assuming office. Although Iranian-Taliban ties are complicated, the Islamic Republic might balk at being portrayed as having anything to do with another foreign military intervention in one of his country’s neighbors, especially one which would indirectly aid American strategic goals. It’s one thing for Iran to assist India’s regional economic integration plans through the Central Asian branch of the stalled North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) and another entirely for it to approve the overflight of Indian forces and/or PMCs to Afghanistan in order to fight the Taliban. Some secret agents might still transit through Iran to enter the country, but not on a large scale.

Under these conditions, the best that India can unilaterally do is the first two options that were earlier discussed. It would be much better for its long-term interests, however, if it explored the possibility of entering into secret talks with the Taliban. Some outlets reported that this happened last month even though New Delhi recently denied it. Nevertheless, that’s the most pragmatic policy that India could follow at the present moment. It shouldn’t wage a proxy war against the Taliban via Kabul and/or its own forces/PMCs, but should prepare for the seemingly inevitable reality of that group returning to power to some extent in the coming future. They might still hold a grudge against India, but some level of dialogue is always better than conflict.

India’s Russian ally is the most reliable partner to facilitate such contact if New Delhi had the political will to see this proposed policy through. Although Moscow still officially regards the Taliban as a terrorist group, it nevertheless pragmatically hosted its representatives several times in the Russian capital over the years as part of its efforts to advance the difficult peace process. If Russia could talk to the Taliban despite that group having emerged from the US-backed Mujaheddin of the 1980s that was responsible for killing approximately 15,000 Soviet soldiers and wounding around 35,000 more, then there’s no reason why India can’t do so as well since it never suffered the same level of losses at their forerunner’s hands.

Speaking of Russian-Indian cooperation on Afghanistan, they could also jointly assist Tajikistan with bolstering its border security in the face of ISIS-K’s presence along this frontier. Dushanbe might feel somewhat uncomfortable accepting Indian military aid considering its recent partnerships with New Delhi’s Chinese and Pakistani rivals so it would be more acceptable for everyone if this assistance is coordinated through the SCO in which they all participate. Afghanistan is an observer in this organization so each member’s intelligence support could potentially be funneled through it in order to avoid any perception among some that one or another country’s relevant assistance to Kabul is somehow aimed against their interests (whether directly or indirectly).

With this in mind, an entirely new plan might begin to take shape. Instead of seeking to defeat the Taliban through proxy warfare, something that’s practically impossible to pull off since not even the world’s most powerful military in history could accomplish this task directly despite its two-decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, India should moderate its security goals to containing the threat of ISIS-K’s expansion into Central Asia. This would enable New Delhi to present itself as a responsible regional security stakeholder, especially if it coordinated such efforts through the SCO, perhaps by following Russia’s lead in this respect if Moscow is the first to propose a multilateral campaign to this effect.

There is nothing that India can realistically do to stop the Taliban from training Kashmiri militants apart from retaining a very limited intelligence presence in post-withdrawal Afghanistan to possibly sabotage such efforts on an extremely limited scale. Truth be told, however, that wouldn’t even be necessary to begin with since the Taliban seems to be working very hard to improve its international reputation and therefore is disinclined to train any foreign militants no matter how sympathetic it may speculatively be to their cause. Going back on its word concerning such a globally significant security matter would immediately raise suspicions about its grand strategic intentions and thus reduce the likelihood of it ever being accepted into the international community.

Considering this, India should reconceptualize its security concerns in Afghanistan. The Taliban will most likely take over the country at some time in the future, after which it’ll be cautiously welcomed into the international community for pragmatic reasons. Refusing to enter into dialogue with the group would therefore be a mistake for India’s regional economic interests. Its threat assessment should shift from the Taliban to ISIS-K, and India should accordingly coordinate its relevant security assistance to the Central Asian Republics and especially Tajikistan through the SCO, ideally under Moscow’s aegis. This proposal would enable India to present itself as a responsible regional security stakeholder while pragmatically defending its regional economic interests.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: India, Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, Kashmir, Taliban, Tajikistan, SCO, Iran, US.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

The EU Should Be Wary Of Lithuania’s ‘United Talks’ Proposal With China

The EU Should Be Wary Of Lithuania’s ‘United Talks’ Proposal With China

7 JULY 2021

The EU Should Be Wary Of Lithuania

Lithuania is behaving as an American proxy in Europe. Vilnius voluntarily accepts this role because it wrongly believes that it’s the best means for bestowing it disproportionate strategic significance in the bloc.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Politico late last week that EU states should stop talking to China bilaterally or through regional formats like the 16+1 (previously the 17+1 prior to his country withdrawing in May) and instead embrace a so-called “united talks” format. On the surface, this proposal might not sound so bad. There’s a certain strategic logic in China and the EU engaging with one another in such a way. Nevertheless, the EU should still be wary of Lithuania’s proposal because it might have malign intentions.

Lithuania not only withdrew from the 17+1 format of engagement between the Central & Eastern European (CEE) countries and China, but its parliament also described China’s combined anti-terrorist and job training programs in Xinjiang as “genocide” that same month. In addition, Politico noted that the former Soviet Republic scaled up its relations with Taiwan in recent months. It deserves mentioning that Lithuania also plays an active role in the US-led efforts to destabilize neighboring Belarus and is antagonistic towards Russia.

This crucial background context strongly suggests that Lithuania is behaving as an American proxy in Europe. Vilnius voluntarily accepts this role because it wrongly believes that it’s the best means for bestowing it disproportionate strategic significance in the bloc. The tiny country thinks that it has outsized sway nowadays in terms of the trouble that it’s causing for the EU’s relations with China, Russia, and Belarus, but it shouldn’t be proud of this ignoble ambition. Everyone in the EU should be aware of the destabilizing role that it plays.

Foreign Minister Landsbergis was lying when he told Politico that “It’s not our international partners or other players that divide us, but we let ourselves be divided when talking to other international players.” Conducting international diplomacy through bilateral and regional formats doesn’t lead to countries dividing themselves, but is the exact opposite since it brings everyone closer together. He as his country’s top diplomat should know this. Instead, he’s desperately trying to deceive everyone into thinking that such diplomacy is detrimental.

From the looks of it, Lithuania is trying to manipulate the EU’s predisposition towards multilateralism in order to enable itself to further meddle in the bloc’s relations with China. At the moment, Lithuania cannot do anything meaningful to disrupt China’s relations with Europe after withdrawing from the 17+1 format. All that it can do is rabble-rouse by spewing a combination of fake news and groundless fearmongering narratives. It actually lost whatever influence it thought it had through its irresponsible and counterproductive actions.

Lithuania’s fallback plan is therefore to mislead the EU into abandoning bilateral and regional engagement with China so that this Baltic country can regain some influence by being able to officially interfere with their ties through the proposed “united talks” format. Considering Vilnius’ vicious hostility towards Beijing, which arguably is influenced by its patrons in Washington, everyone in the EU should be suspicious of its plans. It doesn’t want to improve their ties with China, but worsen them by hijacking the “united talks” format.

For example, Lithuania could use that high-profile pulpit to spew propaganda about Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang. It could also provoke a diplomatic incident during the talks such as by walking out on Chinese speakers while they address their audience. France and Germany, both of whom Lithuania’s top diplomat criticized for their pragmatic ties with China, would be aghast at such aggressive actions. Their policymakers should know that Lithuania is only trying to divide them from China and should therefore not fall for this trap.

With all of this in mind, it compellingly appears to be the case that the US is employing Lithuania as its proxy to meddle in the EU’s relations with China. That small country surrendered its strategic sovereignty to the US because it mistakenly thought that this would also serve its own interests. Instead, all that it did was isolate Lithuania from the irreversible process of improved EU-Chinese relations. Nothing that it does will reverse this trend. The harder that it tries to do so, the more ridiculous Lithuania will look to the rest of the world.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Lithuania, EU, China, US, New Cold War.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.


Categories
analysis

Are Pakistani-Ukrainian Relations Problematic For Russia?

Are Pakistani-Ukrainian Relations Problematic For Russia?

6 JULY 2021

Are Pakistani-Ukrainian Relations Problematic For Russia?

Pakistani-Ukrainian relations, and in particular the possible impact that Islamabad’s observance of the Sea Breeze 2021 exercises might have on its ties with Moscow, are a non-issue for Russian-Pakistani relations.

There’s been some discussion on social media in recent days about whether Pakistani-Ukrainian relations are problematic for Russia. Those who regard them as such believe that Islamabad should keep Kiev at arm’s length considering that Foreign Minister Qureshi said during a call with his Russian counterpart last month that “relations with Russia are a key priority for Pakistan’s foreign policy.” They’re concerned that Russia might become suspicious of Pakistani strategic intentions, particularly its growing military cooperation with Ukraine, and that this might decelerate the pace of their ongoing rapprochement. Proponents of this interpretation are especially worried about Pakistan’s decision to observe NATO’s Sea Breeze 2021 exercises in the Black Sea.

These well-intended individuals’ views are understandable since they feel very strongly about the positive trajectory of Russian-Pakistani relations and therefore don’t want anything to offset this exciting geostrategic development. Nevertheless, there’s arguably nothing for them to be seriously concerned about. Pakistani-Ukrainian military cooperation chiefly concerns Islamabad’s arms procurement program and not the export of equipment to Kiev that could potentially tip the scales in its favor against Moscow. Moreover, Pakistan’s observance of the ongoing NATO naval drills is consistent with its status as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA). Russia’s military cooperation with India is far more meaningful yet that hasn’t harmed its ties with Pakistan.

Russian-Pakistani relations have recently matured to the point where each country’s ties with third parties don’t negatively effect their partnership. If anything, sometimes the complicated state of their relations with other countries could actually serve to intensify their relations. This might be the case when it comes to US-Pakistani relations. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s (PMIK) principled refusal to host US bases, meet with the CIA Director, and participate in any more of America’s wars must have been regarded very positively in Moscow. Russia also likely took note of the fact that US President Joe Biden has yet to speak with PMIK despite being in office for nearly half a year already. The American leader seems to be shunning his Pakistani counterpart.

The increasingly complicated nature of US-Pakistani relations is occurring in parallel with the improvement of Russian-Pakistani ones, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re connected. Rather, the first-mentioned is due to Pakistan’s refusal to continue behaving as an American proxy while the latter is the result of Islamabad deciding to diversify its foreign partnerships in order to avoid any disproportionate strategic dependence on a single country like used to be the case with the US. US-Pakistani relations didn’t worsen because of the Russian-Pakistani rapprochement and Islamabad’s growing ties with Moscow are independent of its relations with Washington. Even so, it’s natural that Russian-Pakistani relations will intensify against this backdrop.

Returning back to the topic of this analysis, Pakistani-Ukrainian relations and in particular the possible impact that Islamabad’s observance of the Sea Breeze 2021 exercises might have on its ties with Moscow, this is presently a non-issue for Russian-Pakistani relations. Russia acknowledges Pakistan’s right as a sovereign state to engage in “military diplomacy” with whatever other countries that it wants to as long as these efforts aren’t directed against Moscow. Pakistani-Ukrainian military relations are aimed at procuring more equipment for the former’s armed forces. In addition, observing those earlier mentioned NATO drills is meant to maintain cordial relations with the US and NATO considering Pakistan’s formal military relationship with them.

Far more important to Russia is the practical state of US-Pakistani relations, which is currently very complicated. Moscow would obviously prefer for Washington not to retain any regional military bases following its impending withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11th. Although it has no influence over Pakistan’s decision on the matter, it must certainly be pleased with PMIK’s independent foreign policy course. Any speculative Russian concerns about the impact of Pakistani-Ukrainian relations, especially their military dimension, pale in comparison to the importance of US-Pakistani relations’ presently complicated nature. That being the case, those who’ve recently been worried about Russian-Pakistani relations have nothing to fear.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b

 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, US, Afghanistan, NATO, Military Diplomacy.


MORE EXPERT ANALYSIS:

EXPERT ANALYSIS

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.