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The Politically Incorrect Truth About What Really Happened In Afghanistan

The Politically Incorrect Truth About What Really Happened In Afghanistan

5 SEPTEMBER 2021

The Politically Incorrect Truth About What Really Happened In Afghanistan

Many Americans might regard their government’s grand strategic objectives in this respect as lacking any morals, ethics, or principles considering that they now largely align with China’s, Pakistan’s, Russia’s, and even the Taliban’s despite the public having been made to think over the years that all four of them are their enemies.

Afghan Ambiguity

Average Americans are struggling to make sense of what just happened in Afghanistan last month since it all unfolded so suddenly. Most realized that the war was lost long ago and had turned into a so-called “endless” one, but few expected it to end the way that it ultimately did. Almost nothing that the Biden Administration did made sense to them, and few have any idea what’s in store for the future there. The purpose of this piece is to explain everything in “politically incorrect” terms in order to help everyone better understand it all.

A Hint Of What’s To Come

Let’s start with the jaw-dropping outcome first and then explain how it came to be. The US is now partially partnered with the same Taliban that it still officially designates as terrorists in their joint struggle against the comparatively greater evil of ISIS-K. America’s post-war plans for the region will also see it relying on China’s Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in order to expand its economic influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia despite officially being in a New Cold War with Beijing.

The “unholy” US-Taliban anti-terrorist partnership isn’t perfect nor what either of those two initially wanted but was forged by shared interests during the last two weeks of the American withdrawal from Kabul. The Taliban protected Americans from those terrorists despite being officially designated by the American government as terrorists themselves because they hoped that Washington would continue providing some level of support for Afghanistan after the war ends, even if only indirectly through international organizations.

PAKAFUZ

That’s precisely what the US also plans to do, even if not right away, as evidenced by the “New Quad” that it established between itself, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan in late July that’s explicitly premised on promoting regional connectivity. This structure strategically comprises the three countries that agreed in February to build a railway (which can tentatively be called PAKAFUZ after the first letters of each participating country’s name) that’ll eventually connect Central Asia to the Arabian Sea via Afghanistan.

This infrastructure project aligns with the former Trump Administration’s “Strategy For Central Asia 2019-2025” that was unveiled in February 2020 just weeks before the US-Taliban peace deal later that month. It basically calls for using economic means to expand American influence in this broader region with an aim towards lessening those countries’ potentially disproportionate strategic dependence on the US’ Chinese and Russian rivals.

America’s Chinese-Friendly Taliban Guardians

The irony though is that it’ll inevitably result in the US relying on BRI’s CPEC in Pakistan in spite of the ongoing Chinese-American New Cold War, which is too “politically incorrect” of an observation for any American official to say out loud despite it being the strategic truth. Even more shocking for the US public is the fact that the Taliban was always expected from the get-go to guard this project through the US’ plans to incorporate it into the planned transitional government that was supposed to have been assembled before the withdrawal ended.

That plan went awry after former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani‘s ego got the best of him and he refused to resign as the Taliban’s primary political precondition for their participation. Furthermore, the Biden Administration refused to implement any military tripwires during the final months of its withdrawal such as making it clear that it would kinetically respond to any Taliban attacks against Afghan cities while US forces were still in the country. These factors emboldened the group to go on their fateful nationwide offensive.

Biden’s Dilemma

In Biden’s defense, attacking the Taliban under any pretext would have been a violation of the Trump Administration’s deal with the group and would have provoked them to attack the withdrawing American forces, thereby sabotaging the process and probably leading to the perpetuation of the war. While some have since claimed that he should have withdrawn the US’ military equipment that it gave to its Afghan National Army (ANA) allies, that would have caused a panic and precipitated their collapse due a lack of confidence.

Either way, the Biden Administration was in a dilemma, one which was largely attributable to the US’ human intelligence failures there over the past two decades as well as the self-sustaining ecosystem of lies built by members of its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”). The Pentagon truly (though wrongly) believed that the larger and better-equipped ANA would fight the Taliban and that the Afghan government wouldn’t collapse until the end of the year at the earliest.

The Truth About The Taliban

What it failed to realize this entire time is that the Taliban had successfully rebranded itself as a national liberation movement in the eyes of Afghanistan’s 75% rural majority despite still being designated as terrorists by Russia and others. This resulted in it generating enormous sympathy among many of those very same members of the ANA that were supposed to fight them as well as many of the country’s minorities, the latter of which reconciled themselves with living under their rule after they let minorities join their leadership ranks.

The “politically incorrect” conclusion is that the Taliban already won incomparably more hearts and minds than the US and its proxy government, which also means that the Pentagon unwittingly ended up training many Taliban sympathizers in the ANA who then largely surrendered en masse once the group approached the gates of their cities. That’s why the Taliban was able to seize so much US military equipment. Had the US known what was really happening on the ground this whole time, it would have likely withdrawn it all ahead of time.

The Partial US-Taliban Partnership

Instead, American decision makers (both military and political alike) were oblivious to how genuinely popular the Taliban’s national liberation cause had become among the Afghan people, especially those in the ANA and in the minority-majority northern parts of the country. Even though the Taliban are still officially designated as terrorists by the US, their enemy came to rely on them out of necessity to protect many of those Americans who were caught off guard by their offensive and hadn’t evacuated earlier.

The Taliban ensured that most of them reached the airport safely and thus proved to the American government that its designation of them as terrorists is outdated, especially in light of their shared struggle against ISIS-K. All of these dynamics should have been obvious to any objective observer but the vast majority of those across the world were so surprised at the speed by which everything that they thought about the conflict was flipped upside-down that they weren’t able to accurately assess what was happening.

Too Little, Too Late

Furthermore, the Biden Administration – just like its three predecessors – was never fully truthful with the American people and failed to explain all of this to them ahead of time like it should have done. To the President’s credit, he eventually did broach some of these themes in his recent speeches, but it too little too late to reshape perceptions and reassure everyone that everything was under as much control as it possibly could be given the very difficult circumstances.

He also came off as defensive and therefore potentially untruthful since his explanations occurred only after his administration came under unprecedented pressure. Even if he was upfront about everything right at the start of the Taliban’s lightning-fast nationwide offensive when it became increasingly clear that the “deep state” totally miscalculated the on-the-ground dynamics there, it would have still been too abrupt of an explanation for the American people to accept since they’d been lied to for so long about the war.

The Raw Truth

It’s understandable that folks would find it difficult to understand how the same Taliban that’s still officially designated by their government as terrorists was supposed to become part of an inclusive government prior to the withdrawal’s completion, help the US fight against the comparatively greater evil of ISIS-K, and then defend the PAKAFUZ project for expanding their country’s influence into Central Asia which is ironically partially dependent on their Chinese rival’s BRI investments in CPEC that America is supposed to be opposed to.

This is all too much for the average American to comprehend which is why the “politically incorrect” explanation is being withheld from them even though part of it has gradually been introduced to the public by Biden out of political necessity ever since last month’s fast-moving events. The US is partnering with a group that it still officially regards as terrorists in order to fight against other terrorists and also hopes that the first group guards a planned regional connectivity project through Afghanistan that’s partially reliant on China’s BRI.

Debunking Lies About The Taliban & China

These strategic truths debunk several major American lies. The first is that the Taliban aren’t truly terrorists in the traditional sense that the US public regards this word as meaning otherwise their government wouldn’t ally with it against anyone else, let alone depend on it to protect evacuating Americans and then a regional infrastructure project through post-withdrawal Afghanistan. The second is that BRI isn’t as bad as they’ve been made to believe since its CPEC investments will lay the basis for the US’ future Central Asian strategy.

In fact, PAKAFUZ can be considered as a synthesis of American, Chinese, Pakistani, and even Russian strategic connectivity visions since it serves all of their interests. The US and Pakistan want to expand their economic influence north, China wants to facilitate Islamabad’s plans in this respect since PAKAFUZ is de facto the northern expansion of CPEC, and Russia regards this corridor as its route to the Indian Ocean that it’s struggled for centuries to reach.

Debunking Lies About Russia & Pakistan

Two more lies are therefore debunked through this supplementary observation. The first pertains to Pakistan, which many Americans are resentful of since they consider its reported support of the Taliban as having been the primary factor that ensured their country’s military defeat in Afghanistan. Be that as it may, their government is now economically allying with Pakistan through the “New Quad” and PAKAFUZ in order to expand its influence in Central Asia via post-withdrawal Taliban-led Afghanistan.

The second lie relates to Russia, and it’s that the US will always supposedly seek to “contain” it, yet PAKAFUZ will actually enable Moscow to finally succeed for the first time ever in its centuries-long quest to reach the Indian Ocean. Many American decision makers regarded their 1980s support of the Taliban’s mujahideen forefathers as being partially premised on preventing the USSR from using Afghanistan as a spring board to eventually invade Pakistan for that purpose, yet now their government is facilitating this connectivity goal.

Concluding Thoughts

All of this just goes to show how complicated the realities of International Relations really are. Many Americans might regard their government’s grand strategic objectives in this respect as lacking any morals, ethics, or principles considering that they now largely align with China’s, Pakistan’s, Russia’s, and even the Taliban’s despite the public having been made to think over the years that all four of them are their enemies. It’s little wonder then that these “politically incorrect” truths are still being withheld from them by the “deep state”.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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


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ISIS-K’s Kabul Airport Terrorist Attacks Were Inevitable

ISIS-K’s Kabul Airport Terrorist Attacks Were Inevitable

26 AUGUST 2021

ISIS-K

The world’s eyes are on that site so any terrorist group, let alone one as publicly-hungry as ISIS-K, would have regarded it as too tempting of a target to pass up.

The international community is shocked by ISIS-K‘s three attacks (and counting?) at the Kabul Airport that killed dozens of people, including at least 10 US soldiers, according to initial reports. A Taliban spokesman, whose group is still designated by Moscow as terrorists despite the Kremlin pragmatically engaging with it in the interests of peace and security, told Russian media earlier in the day that his group was the one that warned NATO about the impending attack that he claimed would be carried out to discredit them.

That scenario was the last thing that the Taliban would have wanted to happen because it risks providing the US the pretext for extending its withdrawal deadline in order to evacuate more of its citizens and their local allies. Be that as it may, it’s unclear whether the US will do that or if it might even prematurely end its operations. In any case, there shouldn’t be any question that none of this is the Taliban’s fault. ISIS-K is its sworn enemy, and the Taliban have gone to great lengths to present themselves as responsible security stakeholders.

Nevertheless, the Kabul Airport attack was inevitable. The world’s eyes are on that site so any terrorist group, let alone one as publicly-hungry as ISIS-K, would have regarded it as too tempting of a target to pass up. Furthermore, it’s a relatively “soft” target too because of how many civilians were swarming around the site despite recently being told to go home for their own good. Many didn’t heed these warnings out of desperation to escape the Taliban whom they sincerely fear despite the group promising not to carry out any reprisals.

Many commentators are pointing fingers trying to stick the blame on US President Joe Biden and/or the Taliban, but this is nothing more than a political exercise that overlooks the larger strategic dynamics at play. It should be taken for granted that certain lobbying forces might exploit this attack to pressure the American leader to extend the withdrawal deadline, order retaliatory strikes, or even wrap up his country’s evacuation operations before their deadline, but this shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning that some forces “were in on it”.

Although the original ISIS from which its “Khorasan” branch in Central & South Asia is derived was at the very least easily “corralled” by the US in the direction of shared interests (which in the “Syraq” case were Baghdad and Damascus), ISIS-K appears to be much more “autonomous”. The argument can be made that the group’s rise was the US’ “Plan B” for Afghanistan after its “Plan A” of an indefinite occupation there failed while its “Plan C” is the “Panjshir Resistance”, but this doesn’t mean that the US is completely “pulling its strings”.

Rather, ISIS-K operates opportunistically like all ISIS franchises by usually taking advantage of preexisting chaos exactly like what’s present in Afghanistan right now. The rapid collapse of the Ghani Government could have created a black hole for it to exploit had the Taliban not swiftly moved in to fill the vacuum, which importantly included seizing control of the thousands of pieces of American military equipment before its sworn enemies could, but there should have been no doubt that ISIS-K would at least try to attack the Kabul Airport.

The terrorist group was tempted by the thousands of civilians there, the Taliban obviously had difficulty with ensuring the site’s security since they’re an insurgent group that only just recently began taking on conventional security responsibilities in Kabul, and the entire world was glued to their screens watching the West’s panicked evacuation over the past two weeks. If the US or any of its allies were secretly behind this attack like some in the Alt-Media Community speculate, then the Taliban would have called them out ahead of time.

They didn’t, however, despite defying global “political correctness” by claiming that “there was no proof” that Osama Bin Laden was involved in 9/11. The group clearly isn’t afraid to share its interpretation of events so it wouldn’t make much sense for them to go against the conventional narrative about one of this century’s most influential events while self-censoring their views about who might have been plotting the Kabul Airport attack that they warned NATO about, especially if they felt that one of its members like the US was secretly behind it.

As difficult as it might be for some to countenance for whatever reason, sometimes even groups whose origins are connected with the US like ISIS’ are (considering that many of its founding members used to be imprisoned by the Americans in Iraq) “autonomously” carry out attacks without any secret foreign intelligence hand guiding them. They simply saw an opportunity and went for it, which in this case was intended to generate global publicity for their terrorist cause as well as possibly somehow or another influence the West’s withdrawal.

It remains to be seen exactly what ISIS-K’s goals were in carrying out these attacks. One line of thinking is that it wanted the West to remain mired in the Afghan quagmire to fight them and thus provoke the Taliban’s ire too by extending their withdrawal deadline. Another, however, maintains that the group hoped that they’d prematurely depart and thus score a soft power victory of sorts for their cause by making it seem like they were scared away by the attacks into abandoning the rest of their citizens and their local allies to public outrage.

Either way, the importance of what just happened is that it was inevitable, more than likely doesn’t have any connection to foreign intelligence agencies, and also proves beyond any shadow of doubt that those terrorists are against the Taliban. There will likely be more such attacks since ISIS-K just succeeded in recapturing the world’s attention, but it’s uncertain whether they’ll have the staying power to launch a sustained terrorist insurgency against the Taliban.

It would be a twist of fate if the Taliban eventually requested US military assistance against the group such as through airstrikes or special forces raids. Of course, that’s just pure speculation at this point since there’s no evidence that it’s considering such a thing, but if everything continues to deteriorate in the worst-case scenario, then the Taliban might have to rely on some sort of foreign support in order to retain power. The US might also bomb ISIS-K without the Taliban’s approval under the pretext of killing the Kabul Airport attacks’ organizers.

Either of these two scenarios could immensely complicate the post-withdrawal strategic situation in Afghanistan and neither should be completely ruled out at the moment. Everything is too fluid to make accurate predictions about what comes next other than the seemingly obvious one of more ISIS-K terrorist attacks. Their expected consequences are unclear, but what can be said for sure is that the situation is becoming more chaotic ahead of the West’s planned withdrawal instead of stabilizing like many hoped.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Afghanistan, ISIS-K, Taliban, US.


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The Top 5 Conflict Variables In Afghanistan

The Top 5 Conflict Variables In Afghanistan

24 AUGUST 2021

The Top 5 Conflict Variables In Afghanistan

There still remain several variables that could continue to destabilize the country in the coming future.

The Taliban’s lightning-fast takeover of Afghanistan ended the most important phase of the country’s civil war but hasn’t yet concluded that conflict completely. There still remain several variables that could continue to destabilize the country in the coming future. These are:

1. The US & NATO Extending Their Withdrawal Beyond The September 11th Deadline

Western leaders are under pressure from their people not to fully withdraw from Afghanistan until all of their citizens and ideally also their local allies are safely evacuated, but extending the deadline beyond September 11th would risk provoking Taliban attacks.

2. The US & NATO Bombing The Taliban’s Seized Military Equipment

The withdrawing forces are very concerned about the Taliban’s seizure of Western military equipment including warplanes and tanks, and there are already some efforts being made within some of their countries to encourage their leaderships to bomb those assets after they withdraw from Afghanistan.

3. The “Panjshir Resistance” Continuing To Militarily Oppose The Taliban

Although its prospects of long-term success are practically nil, the so-called “Panjshir Resistance‘s” continued military opposition to the Taliban could possibly provoke a disproportionate response from the group that could in turn be exploited by some members of the international community to delegitimize their rule.

4. Armed Ethno-Religious Minorities Resisting The Taliban

Whether inspired by the “Panjshir Resistance” or whatever else, some other armed ethno-religious minorities elsewhere in the country might also eventually end up resisting the Taliban with time, which could perpetuate the civil war as well as worsen average Afghans’ suffering.

5. Deteriorating Socio-Economic Conditions Provoke Urban Unrest

The Taliban’s failure to respect minorities’ and women’s rights could provoke urban unrest among the people who re already distrustful of that group, as could deteriorating economic conditions brought about by the West’s attempts to isolate the Taliban in the event that they don’t eventually recognize its rule.

These five conflict variables can potentially be counteracted in the following ways:

1. Put International Pressure On The US & NATO To Withdraw By Their Deadline

The Taliban’s international partners like Russia and China (both of which still designate it as a terrorist group despite having pragmatic political and security relations with it) should make it clear that extending their withdrawal deadline will risk provoking another round of war and worsening the regional security situation.

2. Raise Global Awareness Of The Taliban’s Anti-Terrorist Credentials

Russia and China should also inform the international community of the Taliban’s genuine anti-terrorist credentials as the most formidable force against ISIS-K, which means that they require their seized Western military equipment in order to ensure regional stability and thus prevent another refugee crisis as well.

3. Russia & China Should Consider Mediating The Taliban-“Panjshir Resistance” Conflict

Russia and China should consider putting their diplomatic skills to use in mediating a political solution to this pressing issue in spite of Moscow’s earlier clarification that it doesn’t have any intent to do so since the “Panjshir Resistance’s” military defeat by the Taliban might delegitimize the latter’s rule.

4. Incorporate Regional Militias Into The New Afghan Security Forces

The Taliban must prioritize incorporating regional militias into the country’s new security structure together with resolutely rooting out the corruption that doomed its predecessor’s forces and eliminating the tendency towards warlordism in order to preempt the possibility of ethno-religious revolts.

5. Respect Promises & Court Foreign Investment

The Taliban must absolutely abide by its promise to respect minorities’ and women’s rights to ensure social stability while courting foreign investment from its regional partners in order to sustainably improve the economic situation by positioning Afghanistan as the crossroads of multipolar connectivity processes.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Afghanistan, Taliban, Russia, China, US, NATO.


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Anti-Russian Attacks In Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Are A New Hybrid War Threat

Anti-Russian Attacks In Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Are A New Hybrid War Threat

23 AUGUST 2021

Anti-Russian Attacks In Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Are A New Hybrid War Threat

These countries’ leaderships appreciate their strategic relations with Russia and are also keenly aware of the serious Hybrid War threat that those provocations pose to their domestic stability.

Some “nationalist activists” in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have recently taken to attacking those of their compatriots who address them in Russian, prompting condemnation from Moscow and stern responses from their governments against this worrying Hybrid War threat. Kazakhstan is a much more multicultural society than Kyrgyzstan due to its significant Russian minority while the latter can best be described as a constellation of various clans who mostly all share the same ethnicity (except in the Fergana Valley where many of the Uzbek minority reside). Both of these Central Asian Republics (CARs) are Russia’s mutual defense allies through the CSTO and also participate in the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Russia is therefore very concerned about its ethnic compatriots and others who speak its language being brutally attacked there.

It remains unclear whether the “nationalist activists” responsible for these crimes are connected to foreign NGOs or intelligence agencies, but they nevertheless constitute a serious regional security threat which could advance American strategic interests if it isn’t soon checked before spiraling out of control. The brief Trump Era was characterized by a resurgence of nationalist sentiment across the world, the origins of which predated his ascent to power and its consequences will long outlast his departure because it embodies preexisting trends in countless societies. It’s first and foremost a reaction to the previously unchecked liberal-globalist processes that swept the planet during the short period of unipolarity but varying degrees of support have been provided to different movements by foreign actors over the years in order to advance their divide-and-rule interests.

In the Central Asian context, the US has every reason not to want this geostrategic region in the middle of the Eurasian Heartland to serve as the convergence point of the many multipolar processes jointly pioneered by Russia and China, particularly connectivity ones related to synchronization of Moscow’s EAEU and Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). There have already been some violent Sinophobic incidents in reaction to what some claim (whether truthfully, falsely, or in an exaggerated manner) are the local economic consequences of many low-cost Chinese products entering their marketplaces and certain BRI contracts being carried out by Chinese workers instead of their own compatriots, but locals haven’t ever really had a problem with Russia’s legacy of influence there.

This is a pretty new phenomenon, especially in multicultural Kazakhstan, which is why Russia is so concerned. Provocations such as these can quickly spiral out of control since the actors participating in them are presumed to be autonomous and can therefore behave in unpredictable ways. Furthermore, the proliferation of cell phones and social media mean that even relatively minor incidents can spark larger crises, especially if the footage or photos are deceptively misportrayed to the public. Kyrgyzstan is particularly vulnerable to this considering its clan-centric society wherein even the smallest of slights against one group can quickly explode into major clashes between each party’s extended network of supporters. These preexisting socio-technological dynamics make Central Asia especially vulnerable to these sorts of “nationalist”-driven Hybrid War threats.

Considering the mutually beneficial relationship between those countries and Russia, as well as the role that the Russian language plays in both of those CARs for facilitating intercultural communication and enhancing one’s job prospects (especially abroad in the Kyrgyz case since many of its citizens migrate to Russia for work), it can be concluded that these so-called “nationalist activists” do not genuinely represent the grassroots will of their societies. Rather, they’re ultra-radical manifestations of preexisting nationalist trends within their countries and are obsessed with provoking inter-ethnic and consequently international crises on this ideological basis. They hope to place their governments in a dilemma whereby they either submit to these extremists and lose Russian support or defend multiculturalism and then be accused of “selling out” their people.

Nur-Sultan (the recently renamed capital of Kazakhstan formerly known as Astana) and Bishkek have thus far responded to these provocations properly by declaring the perpetrators’ actions to be unacceptable. They’re sending unambiguous signals that they won’t be tolerated whatsoever at all but fiercely suppressed anytime and anywhere they occur. These countries’ leaderships appreciate their strategic relations with Russia and are also keenly aware of the serious Hybrid War threat that those provocations pose to their domestic stability. Investigations should be commenced to determine determine whether these “nationalist activists” are connected to foreign NGOs or intelligence agencies, the outcome of which will show that these are either “lone wolf” radicals or another country’s proxies and thus help to fine-tune the state’s response to them.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Eurasian Union, CSTO, Hybrid War, Central Asia.


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Russia’s Balancing Act Is The Key To Averting Another Civil War In Afghanistan

Russia’s Balancing Act Is The Key To Averting Another Civil War In Afghanistan

22 AUGUST 2021

Russia

It’s incumbent on Russia to use all realistic means at its disposal to urgently convince the “Panjshir Resistance” to negotiate with the Taliban, ensure that the Taliban offers its opponents a fair deal with respect to the inclusive government that it’s promised to create, and prevent any Tajik civilians from crossing over the border to fight for their co-ethnics (and in the process potentially provoke Taliban-Tajik clashes that could automatically involve Russia through the CSTO).

Taliban-Russia Ties

The Taliban’s lightning-fast conquest of Afghanistan has resulted in the group becoming its de facto authorities in less than half a month’s time, though it still hasn’t been formally recognized as such because it continues to be designated as a terrorist organization by the international community. Nevertheless, Russia enjoys excellent political ties with the Taliban that were forged over the past few years of the Moscow-led Afghan peace process in spite of still banning the group for the aforementioned reason.

Recalibrating Russia’s Balancing Act In Afghanistan

The Eurasian Great Power’s pragmatic stance towards them is the result of its diplomatic balancing act which saw the Kremlin pioneer a new era of relations with former rivals in recent years in an attempt to position itself as the supreme balancing force in Eurasia, which its leadership regards as their country’s geostrategic destiny this century. In particular, Russia has invested tremendous time and effort in practicing this policy towards majority-Muslim states as part of what can be described as its “Ummah Pivot”.

The rapid collapse of the US-backed Kabul government saw Russia replacing that partner with the Taliban as its de facto interlocutor for managing national affairs while the anti-government role that this group played with respect to Moscow’s balancing act there has been replaced by the so-called “Panjshir Resistance” which popped up in its eponymous valley. It considers itself to be the successor of the erstwhile “Northern Resistance” that used to enjoy Russian support during the 1990s. Unlike then, however, the Kremlin has no intentions of militarily aiding this opposition force but instead wants it to compromise with the Taliban.

Strategic Symbiosis

This observation is evidenced by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announcing that he supports a political dialogue between those opposing forces, which was followed up by Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov declaring that “there is no alternative to the Taliban” and elaborating on the many reasons why the “Panjshir Resistance” is doomed. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Zhirnov revealed that the Taliban asked for his assistance in reaching a political solution with that group. This development speaks to the symbiotic strategic relationship between Russia and the Taliban.

Russia expects the Taliban to function as the region’s anti-terrorist vanguard against ISIS-K while the Taliban expects Russia to facilitate a political compromise with the “Panjshir Resistance”. These outcomes would be mutually beneficial if they succeed since they’d ensure regional stability by averting another Afghan Civil War. Moscow is the only force capable of potentially convincing the “Panjshir Resistance” to reach a deal with the Taliban since the former’s members are thought to be mostly Tajiks – Afghanistan’s second-largest ethnic plurality – and therefore within Russia’s indirect “sphere of influence” by virtue of its alliance with Dushanbe.

Is The “Panjshir Resistance” The US’ “Plan C”?

Although Ahmad Massoud – the head of the “Panjshir Resistance” whose father of the same name was the legendary leader of the “Northern Resistance”known as the “Lion of Panjshir” – is close to the liberal-globalist imperialist Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL) of Libyan War infamy and provocatively published an op-ed in the Washington Post requesting as much US military assistance as possible, it’s unlikely that anything significant will be forthcoming. Even if some was American support was received, without Russian support via Tajikistan, his movement stands no chance of succeeding but would only function as a US proxy for prolonging the war.

It’s unimportant whether some observers sympathize with Massoud’s comparatively more secular vision of Afghanistan since it’s objectively the case that his ties to BHL and direct appeal to the preferred media outlet of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) confirm the counterproductive role that he’d play with respect to regional dynamics if his movement is allowed to continue. It might very well be that some neoconservative “deep state” forces regard him as their “Plan C” for Afghanistan after “Plan A” of an indefinite occupation failed just like their “Plan B” of ISIS-K did shortly after.

Strategic Dynamics

Russia has no interest in militarily supporting the “Panjshir Resistance” since it’s aware of the destabilizing role that it’s expected to play in sabotaging February’s agreement to build the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway that Moscow intends to utilize for expanding its economic influence to the Indian Ocean like it’s wanted to do for centuries. It’s true that the US also intends to use PAKAFUZ to expand its own economic influence northward into the Central Asian Republics, but it can indefinitely postpone that ultimate fallback plan if the “Panjshir Resistance” successfully functions as its “deep state” proxy for sabotaging Russia’s plans.

The US doesn’t even have to do all that much anyhow for the “Panjshir Resistance” to further destabilize the situation in Afghanistan. Its continued militant resistance to the Taliban (no matter how futile it may ultimately be) might be enough to provoke the country’s de facto leaders into reciprocally (if not disproportionately) responding which could then result in potentially uncontrollable grassroots furor in Tajikistan itself. The US might hope that this catalyzes a self-sustaining cycle of destabilization whereby that neighboring country’s citizens volunteer to fight for their co-ethnics in Afghanistan and thus provoke border clashes with the Taliban.

The Worst-Case Scenario

Russia would have no choice but to protect its CSTO mutual defense ally’s borders in order to “save face” before the world and not be seen as abandoning the country that it previously swore to protect in such a scenario regardless of whoever really provoked it. That could then immediately ruin Moscow’s pragmatic political ties with the Taliban, thus sabotaging the Eurasian Great Power’s diplomatic balancing act and consequently creating a dangerous situation whereby the group no longer has any significant external incentive to behave responsibly like the international community expects.

If the Taliban returns to its old ways by inertia due to another round of civil war, it’ll remain isolated and the US will therefore succeed in indefinitely postponing seemingly inevitable Eurasian multipolar integration processes such as PAKAFUZ as well as the expansion of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) into Afghanistan. Put another way, all that the US has to do is indirectly shape the preexisting conflict dynamics in Afghanistan in such a way as to prevent the “Panjshir Resistance’s” collapse long enough to inspire Tajik citizens to volunteer to fight for their co-ethnics there in order to possibly set into motion this self-sustaining Hybrid War scheme as its “Plan C”.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s for this reason why it’s incumbent on Russia to use all realistic means at its disposal to urgently convince the “Panjshir Resistance” to negotiate with the Taliban, ensure that the Taliban offers its opponents a fair deal with respect to the inclusive government that it’s promised to create, and prevent any Tajik civilians from crossing over the border to fight for their co-ethnics (and in the process potentially provoke Taliban-Tajik clashes that could automatically involve Russia through the CSTO). The outcome of Russia’s efforts will shape the future of the broader region for years to come, which is why all responsible stakeholders sincerely hope that it succeeds.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Afghanistan, Russia, Taliban, Panjshir Resistance, US, ISIS-K, Hybrid War, PAKAFUZ, Balancing.


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It’s Time To Create An Afghan-Central Asian Connectivity Platform

It’s Time To Create An Afghan-Central Asian Connectivity Platform

20 AUGUST 2021

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The most important outcome of last month’s virtual Afghan-Central Asian Foreign Ministers meeting was “the need to create a political framework that would strengthen cooperation between these countries in various fields”, which should be prioritized as soon as possible so as to advance their shared goal of facilitating transregional connectivity.

The Afghan Embassy in Turkmenistan’s monthly newsletter for July 2021 contained an important tidbit of information that escaped the attention of most regional observers. This was the outcome of last month’s virtual Afghan-Central Asian Foreign Ministers meeting, which was co-hosted by Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA). The newsletter described this event as “the first format at the level of Foreign Ministers to discuss the peace process, economic development, regional security, and the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.” According to the Afghan Embassy in Turkmenistan, “The Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Central Asia stressed the need to create a political framework that would strengthen cooperation between these countries in various fields.”

It’s this reasonable outcome that should be prioritized as soon as possible so as to advance those countries’ shared geo-economic goal of facilitating transregional connectivity. Mid-July’s conference in Tashkent on Central Asia-South Asia connectivity saw all participants – which included representatives from China, Russia, and the US – agreeing on the importance of this vision. Immediately thereafter, the US announced the formation of a “New Quad” between itself, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan focused specifically on integration. All regional stakeholders including those four countries are most directly interested in February’s agreement to built a Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway, which is regarded as the most realistic means to this connectivity end.

PAKAFUZ isn’t the only relevant transregional corridor proposal even though it’s arguably the most promising. The China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCAWEC) is another one, though this plan’s exact route is vaguely defined at the present moment, as is the eastern branch of the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) from the Indian-controlled Iranian port of Chabahar that aims to connect to those countries too. Some observers also expect that China’s recent modernization of eastern Tajikistan’s highway network is premised on the plan of eventually pioneering what can tentatively be called a “Persian Corridor” for connecting those two and Afghanistan with Beijing’s new 25-year strategic partners in Iran. Finally, there’s the Lapis Lazuli Corridor (LLC) between Afghanistan and Turkey via Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

Seeing as how these five potential corridors all transit through Afghanistan and Central Asia, it’s sensible for them to want “to create a political framework that would strengthen cooperation between these countries in various fields”, particularly with respect to their shared geo-economic goal of facilitating transregional connectivity. Whatever this structure ends up being called, it should only include those six countries as formal members while allowing other stakeholders like China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, and the US to participate as observers. This would enable Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (CAR) to avoid being overshadowed by those much larger countries and thus inadvertently risk becoming objects of International Relations instead of remaining independent subjects like they presently are.

Each of those much larger countries already have some level of institutionalized connectivity cooperation with Afghanistan and the CARs which justifies their participation as observers in the proposed platform. The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) brings together those six countries, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, while China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) does the same with those six and the People’s Republic. The US’ C5+1 framework is the basis for its relations with Central Asia, while its “New Quad” includes the PAKAFUZ countries. Finally, the Ashgabat Agreement consists of India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan while Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) includes Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

With these observations in mind, there shouldn’t be anything controversial about Afghanistan and the CARs coming together to create their own integration platform for facilitating transregional connectivity so long as they invite China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, and the US to participate as observers. Each of those seven much larger countries should understand their six partners’ concerns about being overshadowed by their formal membership in this group. All of them should therefore support their implementation of last month’s proposal since the resultant structure could also become the platform through which each of them more effectively interface with those countries. Hopefully some tangible progress can be achieved in this respect very soon since such an outcome would advance everyone’s geo-economic interests.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Turkey, PAKAFUZ.


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Poland & Ukraine, Not Afghanistan, Were The First US Allies To Be Abandoned By Biden

Poland & Ukraine, Not Afghanistan, Were The First US Allies To Be Abandoned By Biden

19 AUGUST 2021

Poland & Ukraine, Not Afghanistan, Were The First US Allies To Be Abandoned By Biden

The writing was on the wall this entire time that Biden was actually implementing a fair share of Trump’s foreign policy vision related to trading away his “allies” interests in pursuit of the “greater good” connected to more actively “containing” China in the Asia-Pacific.

The world is talking about the next US allies to be abandoned by President Biden after he shamefully hung his Afghan ones out to dry during America’s panicked retreat from the country. Some commentators believe that Ukraine might be next, but in reality, it and Poland were actually the first US allies whose interests were betrayed in pursuit of the so-called “greater good” despite Biden’s promises that he wouldn’t conduct his country’s foreign policy in the Machiavellian way that Trump did. I’ve been chronicling this for some time, but for those who haven’t closely followed my work over the past few months, here are my most relevant analyses accompanied by a concise summary of each:

* 8 April: “Why Does Ukraine Want War?

Ukraine provoked hostilities in Donbass in a desperate attempt to remain relevant to the new US administration at the behest of some of the anti-Russian members of its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who wanted to sabotage Biden’s behind-the-scenes outreaches to Russia.

* 14 April: “Poland Must Wake Up To The Threat Of German Hybrid War

Germany has been actively working as America’s “Lead From Behind” proxy for overthrowing the conservative-nationalist Polish government through Hybrid War means connected to Berlin’s backing of its neighbor’s Color Revolution movement.

* 24 April: “What Explains The Latest De-Escalation In Donbass?

Russia didn’t fall for the trap laid out for it by hostile elements in the American “deep state”, though considerable credit for this somewhat surprising de-escalation also goes to Biden since he didn’t make matters worse like many predicted that he would at the time.

* 2 June: “Poland’s Counterproductive Foreign Policy Is Responsible For Its Present Predicament

Poland was shocked by Biden’s decision to waive most of the US’ Nord Stream II sanctions, but it should have seen this coming since the moment he stepped into office and actively begun diversifying its foreign policy instead of remaining entirely dependent on America’s “good graces”.

* 11 June: “Towards Increasingly Complex Multipolarity: Scenarios For The Future

I predicted that the US would “compromise” on the interests of some of its allies like Poland and Ukraine in pursuit of the “greater good” of pragmatically repairing relations with Russia so as to focus more of its efforts on actively “containing” China in the Asia-Pacific.

* 15 June: “How Serious Are Poland’s Grand Strategic Disagreements With The US?

It then became increasingly obvious that Poland and the US have some irreconcilable grand strategic differences that far surpass their common military interests vis-a-vis Russia, but the aspiring Central European hegemon had yet to make any decisive moves to recalibrate its foreign policy in response.

* 24 June: “Polish-US Missile Defense Co-Op Is A Strategic Smokescreen

To preemptively thwart Poland from doing anything dramatic that could bolster its strategic independence, the US went ahead with their prior “missile defense” plans, which served the purpose of keeping Poland in its clutches and also misleading that country’s leadership into thinking that the US was still their “trusted” ally.

* 12 July: “Former Polish PM Tusk Ridiculously Alleged A Kaczysnski-Putin Conspiracy

Germany proxy Donald Tusk escalated the Hybrid War on Poland by claiming that the country’s viciously Russophobic grey cardinal was secretly Russian President Putin’s puppet, which preemptively thwarted his target’s plans to claim the same about him following his return to the country to lead the Color Revolution.

* 15 July: “It’s Time For A Polish-Russian ‘Non-Aggression’ Pact In Belarus & Ukraine

In the face of such increased Hybrid War pressure against it, the most pragmatic thing that Poland could do is clinch a so-called “non-aggression” pact with Russia in their overlapping “spheres of influence” in order to focus more of its security services’ efforts on defending itself from the joint US-German regime change campaign.

* 19 July: “Poland Should Follow Ukraine’s Lead By Using China To Balance The US

As unexpected as it was for most observers to acknowledge, Ukraine’s US-controlled puppet government actually began making serious moves to use China as a “balancing” force against America, which should have inspired Poland to follow suit as a means of showing the US how dissatisfied it is with the ongoing Hybrid War.

* 26 July: “The US-German Hybrid War Against Poland Is Intensifying

Poland’s lack of resolve in defending itself from the joint US-German Hybrid War only served to embolden its nominal “allies” to intensify their regime change campaign, which threatened to make matters much worse for its beleaguered conservative-nationalist government.

* 29 July: “The West Is Pressuring Poland & Russia Due To Their Conservative-Nationalist Values

Poland and Russia are interestingly in the same boat vis-a-vis the West since the latter is pressuring both of them due to their conservative-nationalist values, which Warsaw has yet to realize and thus explains why it’s still in a state of shock after its so-called “allies” so decisively turned against it.

* 13 August: “Ukrainian Ethno-Fascism vs. Russian Multiculturalism

Ukraine’s response to America’s strategic betrayal of its interests hasn’t been to pragmatically explore a possible rapprochement with Russia like it should have done if its leadership had any wisdom but to counterproductively double down on its Russophobic policies.

* 12 August: “Unexpected Trouble In The Three Seas States Might Cause Them To Rethink Their Policies

The combination of US-German Hybrid War pressure and the unexpected migrant crisis coming from Belarus might finally cause Poland to rethink its self-defeating regional policy of functioning as America’s anti-Russian puppet after receiving literally no rewards for this role nor relief from the regime change pressure upon it.


Having indisputably established that Poland and Ukraine were the first US allies to be abandoned under Biden, it’s now time to talk a little bit more about the latter’s predicament. President Zelensky plans to finally meet his American counterpart at the end of the month, but many observers are wondering why it’s even taken so long. One possible reason other than the US leader’s deliberate mistreatment of his country’s ally is that he’s simply embarrassed because of the slew of scandals connecting him to that country such as the Burisma one with his son Hunter and Biden’s bargain with Poroshenko to fire former General Prosecutor Shokin who was investigating the first-mentioned scandal.

Biden also wanted Zelensky to bend over and accept that America was “compromising” on Ukraine’s interests as part of the “greater good” related to repairing relations with Russia in order to more actively refocus the US’ efforts on “containing” China. The Ukrainian leader understandably felt betrayed by Biden and began to lose faith in America’s reliability as an ally, which explains why his country started reaching out more to China lately. Even so, nothing that Kiev might do can fully protect its interests if Washington cuts a deal with Moscow over Eastern Ukraine like some commentators now speculate might be in the cards as part of their gradual rapprochement.

As for Poland, it too has been caught with its pants down by Biden’s pragmatic deal-making with Russia and also doesn’t have any realistic means to defend its interests in response to them being “traded away” by the American leader. Unlike Ukraine whose conservative-nationalist values are supported by the US because they take the extreme form of ethno-fascism that can be weaponized to keep Russian influence there at bay, the Polish government’s comparatively more mild values are seen as a threat to the entire Western project because of the possibility that they can influence other EU members and thus undermine the US’ plans to have Germany’s liberal-globalist ideology dominate the continent in order to control its countries by proxy.

Poland and Ukraine are therefore at America’s mercy. Their interests were betrayed by their “ally” even before Biden abandoned his country’s Afghan “allies”. Observers should become more aware of this fact since it shows that nobody should have been surprised by what just happened in that South Asian country. The writing was on the wall this entire time that Biden was actually implementing a fair share of Trump’s foreign policy vision related to trading away his “allies” interests in pursuit of the “greater good” connected to more actively “containing” China in the Asia-Pacific. It remains to be seen how much more “collateral damage” the US’ “allies” will suffer as a result of this policy, but there’s no longer any denying that such a Machiavellian policy exists.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Poland, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Biden, Trump.


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Afghanistan: The Great Western Escape

Afghanistan: The Great Western Escape

13 AUGUST 2021

Afghanistan: The Great Western Escape

The “Great Western Escape” from Afghanistan carries with it powerful imagery that speaks to the countless failures of the international coalition.

The Taliban are taking over Afghanistan a lot quicker than most observers expected, which is prompting a Western exodus from the war-torn country. More than a dozen regional capitals have fallen to the group over the past week, including the second-largest city of Kandahar. Everyone is now bracing themselves for what seems to be the Taliban’s inevitable march on Kabul even though the international community is still desperately trying to clinch a last-minute peace deal to avert that dark scenario. Some countries are also threatening not to recognize the Taliban if it returns to power by force, but that might not deter it.

The “Great Western Escape” from Afghanistan is now underway. The US just deployed several thousand Marines to facilitate the evacuation of its citizens and is begging the Taliban not to attack its Embassy. Canada and the UK are also dispatching some forces to assist their compatriots in this respect too. India already evacuated some of its citizens and is reportedly preparing for the contingency scenario of how to complete its own full civilian and diplomatic withdrawal if the Taliban reaches the Afghan capital. All of these countries fully supported Kabul but now have nothing to show for it despite two decades’ worth of investments.

The palpable panic in the international community and especially among Western and Western-allied countries like India is due to their failure to pragmatically adapt to rapidly changing circumstances that their strategists should have seen coming long ago. The Afghan National Army (ANA) was always a paper tiger propped up by foreign air support. It never commanded any real power on the ground outside of a few cities. Once the US stopped bombing the Taliban as much as it used to, its fighters regrouped en masse and started taking over regional capital after regional capital, focusing first on the border regions and now moving towards the interior.

They wisely preempted the scenario of foreign forces supporting anti-Taliban proxies from neighboring countries and are now proverbially (or perhaps quite literally) going for the kill by potentially capturing Kabul. All the money that Kabul’s allies invested in Afghanistan was wasted on corruption and ulterior projects such as utilizing that country as a springboard for destabilizing neighboring ones through armed militants that targets such as Pakistan regard as terrorists. Nothing of substance was ever invested in actually improving the lives of regular Afghans and progressively winning the hearts and minds needed to sustain their government.

To its credit, India did indeed invest quite a lot in Afghan infrastructure projects and played a leading role in supporting anti-Taliban proxies, but the former were taken for granted by the locals as something that they rightly deserved and not as a reward of any sort for keeping the Taliban at bay while the latter were brutal, corrupt, and thus counterproductively improved the population’s perception of the Taliban by contrast. India could have entered into emergency talks with the Taliban upon its initial successes after the US announced its full withdrawal plans but refused to do so for whatever reason at the expense of its interests.

India is now fleeing Afghanistan together with its Western allies, all of whom are leaving in shame and knowing that this outcome wasn’t inevitable. Had they sincerely invested in Afghanistan’s people, none of this might have happened, but they all pursued ulterior strategic motives that never truly had anything to do with reconstructing this war-torn country. Each of them also spewed propaganda to the foreign audience that their own decision makers themselves ultimately ended up believing after some time which claimed that the Taliban weren’t genuinely popular and were thus doomed to be defeated.

The “Great Western Escape” from Afghanistan carries with it powerful imagery that speaks to the countless failures of the international coalition. The retreating forces’ soft power is destroyed by none other than their own hand after they showed the world that they couldn’t accomplish anything that they officially set out to do despite two decades and literally trillions of dollars in total invested towards that end. Nothing was ever as it seemed to be and none of them were honest about what was really happening there. The truth has finally been revealed though and it isn’t pretty, but it’ll hopefully be a lesson for everyone if they choose to learn from it.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Afghanistan, Taliban, US, Canada, UK, India.


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Unexpected Trouble In The Three Seas States Might Cause Them To Rethink Their Policies

Unexpected Trouble In The Three Seas States Might Cause Them To Rethink Their Policies

12 AUGUST 2021

Unexpected Trouble In The Three Seas States Might Cause Them To Rethink Their Policies

Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland – the top “Three Seas Initiative” states most active in the US-backed Hybrid War on Belarus – are experiencing some unexpected trouble at home and along their frontiers with that former Soviet Republic which might cause them to rethink their aggressive policies against Minsk for pragmatism’s sake.

Recent developments might compel the “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI) states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland into backing off from the active role that they play in the US-backed Hybrid War on Belarus. Each of them has suddenly experienced some unexpected trouble either at home and/or along their frontiers with that former Soviet Republic. All three of them are struggling in their response to the surge in illegal immigration coming from their shared neighbor, which Minsk denies is being weaponized by its leadership as an unconventional response to their pressure upon it but which nevertheless seems to at the very least be “passively facilitated” by it. Furthermore, Lithuania and Poland recently saw some large-scale protests in response to contentious domestic policies, all the while the Color Revolution in Belarus continues to peter out into practically nothing.

Vilnius saw some chaos outside its parliament earlier in the week due to its people’s fury at the authorities’ plans to legally discriminate against non-vaccinated citizens. Meanwhile, Warsaw and several other Polish cities saw demonstrations against the government’s media reform bill which has drawn the ire of the country’s nominal American and German allies. That development also resulted in the governing coalition fraying after the sacking of a Deputy Prime Minister and subsequent withdrawal of his party from that selfsame coalition due to their opposition to that policy. Furthermore, Poland just submitted to the EU’s “financial imperialism”. All of this coincided with Belarusian President Lukashenko signaling a “phased leadership transition” in the coming future and detained anti-government blogger Protasevich admitting that the coup against him failed.

With each of these four countries caught up in their own domestic crises, it’s therefore sensible that Lukashenko extended an olive branch to his 3SI opponents and in particular Poland with the hope that they’d accept so that everyone can then focus more on resolving their more pressing problems at home. It’s unclear whether this attempt at a so-called “non-aggression pact” will bear any fruit, but it’s a welcome development in any case. It also puts the onus on those three countries over whether or not to continue escalating regional tensions like Minsk accused Vilnius of recently doing along their shared border. The argument can be made that some of those countries, especially little Lithuania, have a self-interested desire in provoking a regional crisis in order to sabotage the US’ efforts to broker its own “non-aggression pact” with Russia and focus more on China.

Be that as it may, it’s veritably in their national interests to seriously consider Belarus’ olive branch. Latvia and Lithuania are disproportionately affected by the regional migration crisis coming from Belarus due to their small populations. Lithuania also has to confront the unexpectedly violent resistance to its COVID-19 policies on top of whatever unconventional response China might undertake following Vilnius’ decision to host a de facto so-called “Taiwanese embassy” as part of its ploy to become the US’ top regional partner. Poland is under even more pressure than both of its 3SI allies combined since it must confront the intensifying US-German Hybrid War against its ruling conservative-nationalist party. Warsaw is in no position to continue waging a US-backed proxy war against Belarus, especially since Washington is waging its own against Warsaw right now.

The 3SI-driven perpetuation of the US-backed Hybrid War on Belarus is a waste of time and money for the three vanguard states involved. They’re now paying unexpected costs along their border and in terms of the associated social instability that their failure to deal with this regional migration crisis might entail. Protasevich’s admission that the coup against Lukahsnko failed should be the final nail in the coffin of that regime change campaign. Keeping it going only drains those three 3SI states of resources that would be better invested at home during these increasingly unstable times. In particular, it distracts the Polish security services from dealing with the more urgent task of thwarting the US-German Hybrid War. Gray Cardinal Kaczynski should have hopefully realized by now that fighting this proxy war won’t protect Poland from the US’ latest plots against it.

The best-case scenario is that Poland pragmatically accepts Belarus’ olive branch even if it doesn’t publicly make too much of a fuss about it for “face-saving” reasons. That would take the wind out of Latvia’s and Lithuania’s regime change sails and encourage them to follow suit. They still might not do so though if they’ve riskily gambled that their subjectively defined national interests are best advanced by continuing that campaign at the US’ behest, but Poland’s increasingly less prominent participation in it, if not eventual abandonment of its “active measures”, would greatly neutralize its effectiveness. What’s most important is that aspiring regional hegemon Poland reconsiders its policies in this respect. Even piecemeal progress on this front could have a positive effect on the region and bolster Poland’s defenses against the US-German Hybrid War at home.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Three Seas Initiative, US, Russia, Germany, Illegal Immigration, Hybrid War, Color Revolution, Regime Change.


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Russia Must Urgently Prioritize Formulating An Official Indo-Pacific Policy

Russia Must Urgently Prioritize Formulating An Official Indo-Pacific Policy

11 AUGUST 2021

Russia Must Urgently Prioritize Formulating An Official Indo-Pacific Policy

The Indo-Pacific is rapidly becoming the convergence point of many of the world’s geostrategic processes, but Russia has yet to formulate an official policy towards this vast space, which places it at a disadvantage vis-a-vis its Great Power peers.

The Indo-Pacific is among the top buzzwords in the foreign policy community nowadays because this vast region is rapidly becoming the convergence point of many of the world’s geostrategic processes. The New Cold War between the American and Chinese superpowers is unfolding in these two oceans and their hinterlands, which is prompting more Great Powers to pay greater attention to them. The majority of global trade traverses through these waters and the coastal countries have some of the fastest-growing economies anywhere on the planet. Nevertheless, some of them are also inherently unstable due to preexisting identity and territorial conflicts that are at times externally exploited, which thus makes the Indo-Pacific an emerging hotspot too.

It therefore wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that all relevant players in the international system should have a policy in place towards the Indo-Pacific. Russia has yet to formulate an official one, however, which places it at a disadvantage vis-a-vis its Great Power peers. All that it has are separate policies that haven’t been integrated into a singular one apart from perhaps there being some regional visions that still aren’t considered part of a cohesive Indo-Pacific whole. Bilateral engagements with China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, and South Africa form the basis for Russia’s policies towards Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa respectively though there’s also sometimes multilateral engagements with ASEAN, BRICS, and RIC too.

Without connecting these disparate parts into a comprehensive policy, Russia’s approach towards the Indo-Pacific will always remain complete. It must realize that these separate policies complement one another, but this awareness can only be brought about through a change in perspective from its academic, expert, and foreign policy communities. Thus far, Russia’s official approach towards the Indo-Pacific is reactionary, with Foreign Minister Lavrov at times warning about the US’ intentions to contain China there. This, however, hasn’t led to any proactive engagement with the countries and organizations of this region with the intent of crafting an official Indo-Pacific policy. That lack of vision is resulting in Russia lagging behind its peers once again.

Any comprehensive policy towards the Indo-Pacific must include components of Russia’s existing policies towards Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The geographic extent of this space can more accurately be described as the Afro-Pacific considering the rising importance of East and Southern African countries in this strategic context. Regardless of whatever Russian decision makers decide to call it, their policy will also have to incorporate multilateral engagement with relevant economic and political structures such as ASEAN, the East African Community (EAC), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), among many others.

Furthermore, it must have diplomatic, economic, and military dimensions too. On the diplomatic front, Russia should try to position itself as the supreme balancing force in Afro-Eurasia through a blend of “classical diplomacy”, “economic diplomacy”, and “military diplomacy”, though this vision is only credible if Moscow has the appropriate tools to leverage to this end. Next, Russia will ideally aim to have its Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) balance between China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and the joint Indo-Japanese Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) in order to avoid disproportionate dependence on either economic network. And militarily, it mustn’t inadvertently provoke any security dilemmas, especially with China and India.

These are very ambitious and admittedly challenging goals, which is why the first step must be carried out within Russia’s own expert community. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID per its Russian abbreviation) should begin reaching out to regional (Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, etc.) and subject (economic, diplomatic, military) experts with a view towards eventually bringing them together into a larger working group focused on formulating a comprehensive policy towards the Indo-Pacific. As is presumably the case with practically every Great Power’s diplomatic bureaucracy, it’s unlikely that Russia’s specialized experts ever engaged much with many of their differently specialized peers, yet this is arguably the need of the hour.

Economic experts must meaningfully interact with those who generally specialize in East African political affairs as well as their peers who focus on the military situation in South Asia for example. Basically, the existing nodes within Russia’s MID whose areas or subjects of responsibility fall within the vast geographic domain of the Indo-Pacific must form a new network aimed at achieving effective results. Russia has to organize their interactions in such a way that the eventual outcome is the most accurate assessment possible of the overall strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific space. Only with this insight can Russia confidently craft a comprehensive policy in this respect, but it’ll still likely take some time before it gets to that point.

Along the way, it might be helpful if Russia organized a high-profile conference in order to accelerate progress in this direction and greatly assist with brainstorming, or it could organize the same upon the final formulation of its Indo-Pacific policy in order to serve as the means through which it formally announces it to the world as an outcome of that event. Either way, this proposal could be advanced through the leading role of Russia’s MID, the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN per its Russian abbreviation), the Moscow State Institute of International Relations(MGIMO, which is run by MID), the Diplomatic Academy, the Higher School of Economics, and the prestigious Valdai Club and Russia International Affairs Council (RIAC) think tanks.

Better yet, that proposed event within Russia’s expert community could then become the first in a yearly tradition that could subsequently be expanded to include the participation of prominent experts from the many countries in the Indo-Pacific that Moscow would more actively engage with as part of its official policy towards that geostrategic space. This could prospectively result in a globally prominent platform with time that serves the important function of bringing together this megaregion’s many stakeholders to discuss the most pressing issues of pertinence during that year. Such a vision would also reinforce the growing perception of Russia as a neutral, balancing force within the Indo-Pacific focused solely on peace, stability, and development.

Russia is redirecting its grand strategic focus towards the Indian Ocean as evidenced by its recent endorsement of Central Asia-South Asia connectivity through the planned Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway and President Putin’s interest in cooperating with India to ensure maritime security presumably also within his ally’s eponymous ocean, so it’s incumbent on the Kremlin to prioritize crafting a comprehensive Indo-Pacific policy as soon as possible. Russia’s rapid return to South Asia this year gives it tangibly emerging stakes in this megaregion and should hopefully inspire MID to do what’s needed in order to bring this about per the practical proposals shared in this analysis.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Indo-Pacific, Balancing, New Cold War, China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Putin, Lavrov, PAKAFUZ.


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