The US Won’t Succeed In Provoking Another Color Revolution In China
9 JUNE 2021
With these impressive socio-economic and security accomplishments in mind, there’s absolutely no way that the US will ever succeed in provoking another Color Revolution in China.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken crossed a red line last week while commenting on the 32nd anniversary of the 4 June 1989 events in Beijing. For all intents and purposes, he sought to provoke another Color Revolution in China through his factually inaccurate description of what happened on that fateful day. The average Western news consumer was likely misled into believing that it was a so-called “bloodbath” of allegedly “peaceful pro-democracy activists” when in reality it was an externally encouraged and highly violent regime change attempt that was thankfully stopped through the authorities’ responsible and timely intervention.
The reasons for why that event happened in the first place are myriad but are largely connected to the manipulative information warfare campaign that foreign forces waged inside of China at the time. The global context was such that the communist countries of the then-Soviet Union’s former Warsaw Pact were experiencing unprecedented unrest of a similar fashion and provoked in a parallel way. Coupled with the activities of foreign agents operating within the People’s Republic under diplomatic and other covers such as humanitarian ones, some citizens were misled into attempting to replicate those scenarios at home.
That was a gross error of judgment on their part as they were, consciously or not, behaving as pawns of a foreign regime change plot aimed at ushering in the West’s complete dominance of International Relations in the last few years of what many now consider in hindsight to have been the Old Cold War (as compared to what quite a few compellingly describe as the ongoing New Cold War). The aftermath of that incident spurred the Communist Party of China (CPC) to prioritize securing the People’s Republic from HybridWar threats, which in turn resulted in the promulgation of decisive policies related to regulating foreign media and organizations.
Concurrent with those security-centric policies was the CPC’s continued focus on comprehensively improving the lives of its citizenry so as to simultaneously build a modern socialist country alongside ensuring that nobody feels neglected and is thus vulnerable to falling under foreign influence. The outcome of these prudent policies is that China achieved historically unprecedented growth and is now the world’s top economy by some metrics. So successful has this forward-looking strategy been that China is now assisting its countless partners across the world in replicating its growth model via its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) investments.
In recent years, China has also sought to pragmatically counteract foreign cultural influences that have proven themselves to have pernicious consequences for domestic security whenever they uncontrollably spread throughout other societies. The newfound focus on prioritizing China’s unique civilizational attributes and in imbuing its citizenry with associated patriotic sentiments has created a social firewall against these ever-evolving Hybrid War threats without cutting the country off from the rest of the world like some other states have done when attempting to defend themselves from the aforesaid.
With these impressive socio-economic and security accomplishments in mind, there’s absolutely no way that the US will ever succeed in provoking another Color Revolution in China. This isn’t just a boastful statement either but is proven by recent events in the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region (SAR). America’s attempt to export its cutting-edge Color Revolution technology to that city dramatically failed and represented a major setback for its strategic plans. In fact, one can even say that it was a huge self-inflicted blow to that country’s soft power since the rest of the world now knows that its regime change attempts can be stopped.
The US can no longer wield the Damocles’ sword of Color Revolutions over the heads of sovereign states like it used to since their people are no longer as scared of these scenarios as before after China recently showed that they can be thwarted. With this Hybrid War tool of American policy increasingly becoming irrelevant and the country’s appetite for conventional military interventions declining by the day as it urgently focuses more on resolving its growing number of domestic crises, one can predict that a new era of International Relations might be inevitable whereby the world will soon become much more peaceful than at any time in recent memory.
The Strategic Significance Of The Syrian Elections
25 MAY 2021
Syria’s presidential elections signify the country’s victory in the decade-long Hybrid War of Terror and will help it transition towards its inevitable post-war future.
The Hybrid War of Terror on Syria isn’t yet fully over, but the country’s presidential elections nevertheless signify its victory. The entire purpose of that campaign was to forcefully remove President Assad from office, after which Syria would surrender its sovereignty to its neighbors, first and foremost “Israel” and Turkey. The country’s infrastructure and economy have been devastated by the humanitarian crisis that this conflict provoked, yet the Syrian people still stand strong. Although there exist some among them who despise their leader, the vast majority of the Syrian people still proudly support him, in some cases even more now after ten years of war than they did at its onset. That’s because many of them eventually realized that this is about much more than him personally, but the future of their civilization-state.
As it stands, Syria is presently divided into three “spheres of influence” – the liberated majority of the country, the American-controlled eastern portion beyond the Euphrates River, and the sliver of Turkish-controlled territory along the northern border that also importantly includes Idlib. Syrians in the last two regions didn’t have the chance to exercise their democratic rights since the occupying authorities naturally prevented them from doing so. In fact, they’ve made it all but impossible to reunify the country since the military situation is such that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) doesn’t want to risk a much larger war by attacking NATO forces there despite having the international legal right to expel the invaders. Resolving this dilemma will be among the top tasks facing President Assad during his next term seeing as how few doubt that he’ll win the elections.
I proposed some solutions in the analyses that I published back in February about how “Syria Should Talk With The US Since Its Iranian & Russian Allies Are Already Doing So” and “Balancing Regional Interests In Syria Is The Only Way To Reach A Compromise Solution”. In short, some form of decentralization granting broader political rights to the occupied regions might be a pragmatic means of resolving this dilemma, though of course, the devil is in the details so to speak. Iran’s military presence in the country, despite being legal and premised on fighting international terrorism there, is a major problem for the US. It’s unlikely that America will agree to any compromise solution so long as Iranian forces remain in Syria, but it’s also equally unlikely that Syria will ask them to leave, even through a phased but dignified withdrawal. Damascus depends on Tehran’s anti-terrorist support, and the Iranian presence also prevents Syria from falling under disproportionate Russian influence.
On the topic of Russian-Syrian relations, ties remain excellent and continue to diversify into other fields beyond the military one, but there hasn’t been as much progress on courting Russian businesses as Syria had hoped. The unilateral US sanctions regime acts as a powerful deterrent to reconstruction efforts, though these are unlikely to be lifted so long as Iranian military forces remain in the country. America seems to have realized that President Assad isn’t going anywhere since he genuinely enjoys tremendous grassroots support among the vast majority of his people so regime change no longer remains a viable policy option. Instead, the US will predictably seek to transition towards “regime tweaking”, or pressuring Syria to make certain political changes that accommodate American interests such as decentralization.
It’s unclear whether such a policy will succeed, especially remembering that Iran probably won’t be asked to withdraw from Syria, so observers can expect for this issue to remain unresolved for the indefinite future. That being the case, President Assad’s other top priority is to more comprehensively rebuild the liberated majority of the country. This will be difficult so long as the US’ unilateral sanctions regime and secondary sanctions threats remain in place, but progress could prospectively be achieved through a combination of Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and Emirati efforts. So long as their companies have the will to face possible American sanctions, which is admittedly questionable, they’ll be able to help rebuild Syria. As an incentive, Damascus could offer them preferential partnerships, but this still might not be enough for some of them to take that risk.
It’s indeed possible for there to be no political or economic breakthroughs in Syria anytime soon, in which case the country will continue to struggle but nevertheless continue making gradual progress in a positive direction. The only real security threats that remain come from ISIS sleeper cells, mostly outside the most populated areas judging by recent reports about their attacks. This will always be a problem and probably won’t ever be fully resolved considering the nature of the threat itself. Even so, the Syrian intelligence agencies and their allies will continue to infiltrate and dismantle such groups, but some will always evade detection until it’s too late. That, however, shouldn’t represent any considerable obstacle to Syria’s gradual reconstruction, but highly publicized attacks might dissuade all but the bravest international investors.
Another priority of President Assad’s next term in office will be encouraging his compatriots who fled over the past decade to return home and help rebuild their country. Some will decide not to if they retain political grievances or committed war crimes of course, but it’s expected that more Syrians will eventually move back over the coming years. The state will therefore have to continue supporting this special category of citizens, made all the more difficult by the never-ending economic crises caused by the US’ unilateral sanctions regime, but it also has a lot to gain in the sphere of soft power so it’ll probably do its best in this respect in order to show the world that the situation is normalizing. With time, and combined with possible investment incentives amid continually improving security, Syria might be able to turn the tide on its economic crisis.
Returning back to the lead-in topic of this analysis, the strategic significance of the Syrian elections, it can be said that they represent a new phase of normalization there. The last ones in 2014 took place during the worsening war, but this time everything is comparatively much better. The Western Mainstream Media will continue to delegitimize the Syrians’ exercise of their democratic rights, but policymakers will pragmatically realize that it’s a dead-end for them to continue agitating for regime change. Syria might even eventually repair some of its political relations with certain Western countries, not right away of course, but with time. Its political and economic challenges will likely remain unresolved for a while, but even so, the world should realize that Syria emerged victorious in the decade-long Hybrid War of Terror and that better days are surely ahead.
The high hopes that many had for a radical improvement of the situation in the Horn of Africa just a few short years ago have been shattered by a combination of internal and international conflicts centered on Ethiopia, but it might be premature to predict that the region won’t ever recover since Prime Minister Abiy could drastically turn everything around once more should he have the political will to do so.
What Went Wrong?
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ascent to power in Africa’s second most populous country a few years back inspired high hopes for a radical improvement of the situation in the Horn of Africa. His rhetoric was regarded as an almost revolutionary departure from his predecessors’ and he quickly set out to patch up his country’s years-long conflict with neighboring Eritrea, for which he later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This makes it all the more surprising to many observers that the region is once again beset by a slew of internal and international conflicts centered on his country, making them wonder whether something had went wrong or if they hadn’t properly assessed the situation to begin with. The answer to this question is complex, but the present analysis will attempt to address it in a relatively simple way for the sake of everyone’s understanding.
To bring unaware readers up to speed, they’re encouraged to read the author’s prior works on this topic:
The rest of the analysis will reference and build upon the insight above.
Ethiopia’s Glasnost & Perestroika Experiment
The problems that have popped up in recent years weren’t exactly unexpected. For instance, Ethiopia’s federal system was always considered to be imperfect though nevertheless manageable under its prior leaders after the end of the civil war. Some internal borders didn’t match up with the ethnic demographics on the ground, thereby planting the seeds for future conflict but delaying their growth until a time that the central government became comparatively weaker than it used to be. That moment arrived with Abiy after he preached his political gospel of changing the state of political affairs in his country, particularly by loosening the reins of power that the ruling coalition held over practically all matters. This combination of Ethiopian-style glasnost and perestroika was well-intended but risked spiraling out of control exactly as its Soviet forerunner did.
Trouble With The TPLF
Instead of sitting back and letting centrifugal forces tear his cosmopolitan nation apart as he feared would inevitably happen, Abiy reacted by reversing his liberal vision and reviving some of the centralization tendencies of his predecessors. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), formerly the most powerful member of the ruling coalition, broke with Abiy and threatened an insurgency in their eponymous region that was powerfully crushed by the central government over the past half-year to much international criticism. The ongoing conflict continues to rage at a lower intensity than before and has caused much concern among observers about its humanitarian consequences which currently remain unclear due to a lack of access by independent observers.
The alternative to war was always to continue with the track that he’d previously set with his rhetoric of loosening the reins up to the point of redefining the nature of Ethiopia’s federal system, but Abiy believed that this might “Balkanize” his country, hence why he reacted the way that he did. There’s no turning back the clock and doing things differently so that decision will go down in history as a pivotal moment for better or for worse. Critics claim that he returned Ethiopia to its dictatorial ways while supporters praise him for decisively safeguarding national unity and therefore setting an example to the other separatist groups that are active all across the country. In any case, considering the fact that the conflict remains unresolved and continues to reverberate throughout society, it can be said that the short-term consequences were destabilizing.
Eritrea’s Speculative Influence Over Ethiopia
It’s important to point out that neighboring Eritrea with whom Ethiopia had only recently entered into a rapid rapprochement dispatched troops to the rebellious Tigray region where they reportedly remain despite having promised to officially withdraw. This development internationalized Ethiopia’s internal conflict and therefore raised the stakes of its outcome. It also fueled speculation that long-ruling President Afwerki is secretly puling Abiy’s strings and might have even succeeded in imposing his desired vision upon the region as expressed by Al Jazeera contributor Goitom Gebreluel in his op-ed about “The Tripartite Alliance Destabilizing The Horn Of Africa”. The expert drew attention to other destabilizing trends such as the de facto changes to some of Ethiopia’s internal borders following the Amhara Region’s military occupation of parts of Tigray.
Geopolitical Competition Between China & The GCC
Gebreluel is also against what he described as the widespread disregard for international humanitarian law and the sharp decline in multilateral diplomacy. These are pertinent points and his concerns should be taken seriously. Missing from his detailed analysis, however, is reference to how the Horn of Africa has recently become an object of competition between rising powers. Chinese investments are now challenged by those from the GCC, particularly Saudi Arabia and especially the UAE. Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) ambitions risk being dealt a massive blow by the latest round of multi-sided destabilization in the region, which can create strategic opportunities for the GCC. It also deserves mention that the US is no longer exerting is post-Old Cold War leadership over the region. It’s unclear what the impact of this is though since it hasn’t been studied much.
The GERD Dispute
The heated dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) continues to afflict the region and provoke fears of a conventional military clash between Ethiopia on one side and GCC-backed Egypt and Sudan on the other. Observers should also remember that Ethiopia and Sudan have recently revived their old territorial dispute, potentially creating the pretext for another conflict that could actually serve as a smokescreen for either of them going to war over the GERD. As for Somalia, which is also mentioned in Gebreluel’s piece, its leader finally relented on his prior attempt to postpone elections that was responsible for provoking a brief round of bloodshed. He also repaired his country’s relations with Kenya too. Ironically, while Somalia is regarded as the least stable of the region’s countries, its recent actions were actually stabilizing.
The Role Of Leadership Over Regional Events
What can be learned from the Somali case is that a lot depends on the political decisions made by the region’s leaders. This is evidenced by everything going on in Ethiopia related to its internal and international conflicts. Abiy made the fateful decision to militarily intervene in Tigray, which created a humanitarian crisis that continues to this day even if national unity was preserved, albeit in a more centralized fashion than the decentralized one that his supporters had earlier expected. The GERD dispute is also largely due to the relevant leaders being unable to reach a pragmatic compromise. To be fair, there are serious ecological, economic, geopolitical, and strategic issues at play which take precedence over the personal opinions of any given leader, but these heads of state are ultimately responsible for it remaining unresolved.
Ethiopia’s Strategic Centrality
Ethiopia’s regional centrality leads one to conclude that “as Ethiopia goes, so goes the region”, which is proven by empirical evidence. The country’s recent round of multi-sided destabilization (regardless of whomever or whatever one attributes this to) has powerfully reverberated all throughout the Horn of Africa. The centralization trend that Abiy nowadays obviously supports sends the signal that decentralization trends, especially those advanced through the use of arms like Tigray’s was, will be militantly opposed by the region’s other leaders. At the same time, however, there’s no denying that decentralization is an objectively observable global trend and one that does indeed have some merits in the Horn of Africa. Alas, it won’t see any success in the immediate future considering the fear that Abiy has of it inadvertently provoking “Balkanization”.
Redrawing Internal Administrative Borders
Going forward, however, responsibly managed decentralization should be seriously considered by him and others as a compromise solution for resolving myriad internal issues, especially those of an ethnic nature. Ethiopia’s internal borders remain imperfect, but they shouldn’t be de facto redrawn through one region’s partial military occupation of another like the Amhara Region is presently doing to Tigray. This leads to the large-scale exodus of local people which can arguably be described as ethnic cleansing even if that wasn’t the intent. Replicating this model deeper in the Ethiopian heartland around the Oromo periphery for example could be disastrous for the country and potentially spell its doom in the worst-case scenario. From the opposite view, however, the peaceful resolution of such heated disputes could set an excellent example for the region.
The Most Powerful Man In Africa
What everything ultimately comes down to is the influence of leadership, especially in the Horn of Africa. For better or for worse depending on one’s perspective, Abiy is the most powerful man in the region, which thus makes him among Africa’s most powerful leaders today. His decisions set the trend that all neighboring countries follow. With this in mind, there’s still hope for the Horn of Africa, but it all depends on what Abiy decides to do. As seen from the example set by the neighboring Somali leader, backtracking on a controversial decision might improve the situation in one’s country, but Somalia is of course very different than Ethiopia so the comparison is admittedly imperfect. Nevertheless, this still shows that the region’s leaders exert powerful influence over national affairs, once again for better or for worse. Abiy could for example eventually take steps to restore the de facto collective leadership model that he inherited from the TPLF, though only if he cares to.
From A Party To A Person Being “The First Among Equals”
To explain, the post-civil war ruling coalition was largely modeled off of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Despite its faults, it succeeded in retaining stability in this very diverse country and controlling its centrifugal tendencies, albeit through heavy handed measures. Abiy retained that strict style of leadership but attempted to reform the dynamics of the ruling coalition, which in turn inadvertently destabilized the country since it was so unprecedented in the post-civil war period. Instead of the TPLF being “the first among equals”, it became him personally who fulfilled that role. His outsized influence over all matter of governing affairs has been felt by everyone, again for better or for worse. In a sense, it’s a return to history, but his evolving leadership model must continue adjusting to contemporary realities, especially the dynamics that he’s responsible for unleashing.
Ethiopia’s Most Immediate Priorities
Preserving superficial decentralization while in practice increasing centralization trends risks worsening domestic dissent, especially among the majority-minority Oromo and smaller groups around the country’s periphery. Abiy is unlikely to ever follow the Somali model of much broader decentralization for each region but some substantive movement in that direction with time might help placate some of those who’ve been provoked by his leadership style. The most immediate priority though is stopping the growing inter-ethnic violence of the past year which is driven to a large extent by various groups trying to redraw internal borders to more closely align with demographic realities on the ground. Only once this is brought under control can the state seriously start discussing the adjustment of those contentious frontiers.
The Tigrayan Tinderbox Risks Spreading Throughout Ethiopia
It mustn’t be driven by inertia into letting events unfold “naturally” and creating fait accomplis lest the resultant violence worsen the country’s already tragic humanitarian situation. Although Abiy is trying to regain control of these centrifugal dynamics, critics allege that he might secretly be turning a blind eye to some of the violence out of speculative favoritism for one or another group. This risks deepening the country’s ethnic divisions as well as the growing gap between the central government and some of the governed. What’s happening right now in Tigray might therefore spread throughout the rest of the country as Ethiopia flirts with its own so-called “Great Reset”, albeit related to redrawing internal borders and continuing Abiy’s centralization trends instead of the socio-economic outcomes generally associated with that concept (i.e. “Fourth Industrial Revolution”).
An Outsider’s Proposed Solutions
From an outsider’s perspective, Ethiopia must immediately regain control over the security situation in all parts of the country without exception, though being careful not to overreact to certain conflicts. Then Abiy must compellingly articulate his envisioned governance model to the masses. Ideally, credible representatives from each region will either support him or offer constructive critiques to whatever he proposes with an aim to improve perceived shortcomings. Only after that happens can the country then consider redrawing some of its internal borders, though that process will of course be controversial and not everyone will be satisfied with the outcome. Amid all of this, Abiy must balance between the competing external forces shaping his decision making, particularly Eritrea and the GCC, while retaining Ethiopia’s traditionally excellent relations with China.
For as dramatic of a comparison as it may be, Abiy’s Ethiopia has many parallels with Gorbachev’s Soviet Union. Both visionary leaders sought to revolutionize their systems of governance but inadvertently opened up a Pandora’s Box of domestic crises. Unlike the USSR, however, Ethiopia still has a chance of surviving as a unified state, though it must eventually make meaningful reforms in the direction of substantive decentralization after stabilizing the security situation throughout the country. Abiy might also do well to consider returning to more of a collective leadership model than the one that he presently rules over where he personally wields the most power as the so-called ‘first among equals”. In any case, it all comes down to leadership, and everyone’s hopes are resting on his shoulders to see what he’ll do next.
The Quad is against China in all respects, especially when it comes to military and economic affairs. Canberra’s canceling of Victoria’s two BRI agreements is therefore consistent with this unstated but increasingly obvious strategy.
The Australian federal government recently canceled two Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) deals that the state of Victoria signed with China in 2018 and 2019 as part of its new policy enabling the central authorities to overrule international agreements clinched by lower-level administrative entities. China vowed to respond to this extremely unfriendly move which further worsens their bilateral relations after several years of steady decline due to Australia’s unprovoked actions against the People’s Republic. Examples of the latter prominently include politically meddling in Hong Kong and promoting harmful conspiratorial claims about COVID-19’s origins.
The latest developments amount to a serious escalation in the ongoing Hybrid War on BRI, which Australia arguably committed at its American ally’s behest. The two nations are part of the emerging Quad military bloc in what both countries regard as the “Indo-Pacific”. Plenty of observers have voiced concern that this growing network is aimed at containing China, which is seemingly proven by what just happened. The Quad is against China in all respects, especially when it comes to military and economic affairs. Canberra’s canceling of Victoria’s two BRI agreements is therefore consistent with this unstated but increasingly obvious strategy.
What’s even more disturbing about all of this is that Australia voluntarily joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last November alongside China and over a dozen other regional nations. The expectation among many, however naive in hindsight, was that Australia would moderate its approach towards China and perhaps enter into a long-overdue rapprochement with its top trade partner. Alas, that doesn’t seem to have much chance of happening now that the country canceled those two BRI deals which were supposed to serve as flagship projects of cooperation between them heralding in a new era of economic cooperation.
American strategists must be delighted that they succeeded in convincing their junior Australian partners to sacrifice their own economic interests out of political solidarity with Washington, albeit on the pretext of so-called “national interests”. Regarding that flimsy justification, which has recently been bandied about with abandon in Australia, it’s vague enough to be used as a pretext for anything actually. The appeal to “national interests” also automatically attracts the support of nationalist elements in society who are programmed to positively respond to anything that the authorities say is in advance of that concept.
Objectively speaking, it’s actually against Australia’s national interests to cancel its BRI deals. For starters, they were agreed to by two internationally recognized governments, albeit Victoria’s being a state one and not federal. This means that abruptly canceling them on a vague pretext harms Australia’s reputation by making it appear unreliable, especially since many suspect that it did so to please its American ally. Secondly, the federal government could have at least in theory attempted to renegotiate parts of these deals if it really had a problem with them instead of just scrapping both of those pacts entirely. This hints at its ulterior motives.
It’s understandable that some countries have complex relations between their state and central governments, especially those nations that practice Western forms of democracy and whose concept of “national interests” could possibly change every few years after the next election. Nevertheless, domestic disputes between administrative entities mustn’t result in international implications like what just happened in terms of greatly harming Chinese-Australian relations. The very fact that this occurred in a country that proudly presents itself as a politically stable model for others proves just how destabilizing democratic systems can sometimes be.
The Australian people must realize that their understanding of “national interests” is being manipulated by some of their authorities and the latter’s foreign allies in America as part of the Hybrid War on BRI, which is a major component of the larger Hybrid War on China. It’s a pity that their objective economic interests are being sacrificed as part of this aggressive scheme. The only ones who will suffer are those same Australian people, many of whom had high hopes about taking their countries’ promising economic ties with China to the next level through BRI. It can only be hoped that their authorities regain their senses and reverse this latest move.
Russia is a major world power, and if the EU can attempt to bully it in such a dangerous way, then there’s nothing stopping the bloc from doing the same to comparatively weaker countries.
The European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on Thursday threatening very serious consequence against Russia if it carries out an “invasion” of Ukraine. These include immediately stopping oil and gas imports from the country and cutting it off from the SWIFT payment system, as well as freezing the assets of so-called “oligarchs” and their families on top of canceling their visas. The text also condemns alleged Russian intelligence operations in Europe, including disinformation operations and the latest claims that its agents were behind the 2014 munitions blast in Czechia. They also want to stop Nord Stream II.
The EP also supports meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. Examples of this include criticism of the country’s recent jailing of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny due to his parole violations and the authorities’ decision to investigate whether his organization is extremist. The resolution expresses support for unsanctioned rallies in Russia too while criticizing the authorities’ response to them. One of the most disturbing proposals put forth is to seriously consider the UK’s proposal for a “Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime”, which could predictably be exploited for political purposes considering the tense relations with Russia.
The EP’s resolution is therefore very dangerous because it shows that ideologically driven anti-Russian political forces in Europe are serious about imposing extreme costs on Moscow solely for warning that it might defend its legitimate border interests and those of its citizens in Eastern Ukraine in the event that Kiev launches a military operation there. Cutting Russia off from the SWIFT payment system might be akin to an unofficial declaration of war considering the country’s international financial dependence on it. In addition, it’s counterproductive to stop importing Russian oil and gas when no viable alternatives exist at the moment.
Russia, like all countries, has an obligation to enforce its laws. Navalny’s jailing was done in accordance with existing legislation on this issue, as is its breaking up of unsanctioned rallies and temporary detainment of their participants. As a case in point, some EU countries have also detained participants of unsanctioned rallies that were organized against their COVID-19 lockdowns in recent months, especially whenever they clash with police. Furthermore, France is currently investigating various organizations as extremist ones, just like Russia is doing too. The basis of Brussels’ proposed meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs is therefore hypocritical.
The rest of the world is rightly concerned after this resolution was just passed. Russia is a major world power, and if the EU can attempt to bully it in such a dangerous way, then there’s nothing stopping the bloc from doing the same to comparatively weaker countries. In addition, similar resolutions might one day be tabled against China too on a similar basis as well. Basically, nobody would be safe if the EU succeeds in cutting Russia off from SWIFT and so openly meddling in its internal affairs by criticizing its law enforcement agencies and their work. That’s why this resolution is so dangerous to world peace.
COVID-19 is still sweeping across the world, and the extended effect of lockdown has been disastrous for the EU member states’ economies, not to mention the psychological health of their citizens. There are much more urgent tasks at hand for the EP to tackle than concocting a list of threats and criticisms to officially make against Russia. It’s disappointing to see that it’s more focused on such issues than those much closer to home. Their supporters might argue that Russia’s alleged assassinations, attacks, and disinformation plots constitute pressing domestic threats, but none of these have been publicly proven and thus remain speculation.
The EU is approaching an historic crossroads whereby it can finally become more independent of American influence or it can continue to languish under the boots of US neo-imperialism. Judging by the latest resolution, it regrettably appears that the EP is opting for the latter after jumping on America’s anti-Russian bandwagon to score political points with their patron across the Atlantic. This is dangerous and counterproductive to EU interests. What’s more, it’s also deeply unfortunate too since the EP can and should put its legislative skills to work trying to solve more urgent crises like COVID-19 instead.
Russia’s decision to assemble a list of unfriendly states whose diplomatic missions would be prohibited from hiring locals and perhaps also subject to other restrictions is long overdue and shows that the country is finally taking the New Cold War very seriously approximately seven years after it first started.
President Putin signed a decree on countermeasures against unfriendly states on Friday, which would prohibit their diplomatic missions from hiring locals and perhaps also subject them to other restrictions in the future. The average person might not understand the importance of this move, but it basically means that those countries will have to staff lower-level administrative and other positions with their own highly trained diplomats instead of hiring locals to do the work. In other words, this diminishes those countries’ diplomatic capabilities because overqualified individuals are forced to do basic tasks instead of focus on more important matters. Since every country only has a limited number of diplomats, this might at least in theory make it more difficult for them to destabilize their host state, in this case Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the US will be on that list of unfriendly states, while it remains to be seen which other countries will be designated as such alongside it. In any case, this move is long overdue and shows that Russia is finally taking the New Cold War very seriously approximately seven years after it first started. The prior approach had been to refer to all countries, even obvious opponents, as so-called “partners” in order to retain a degree of “professionalism” in their relations. Russia’s adherence to classic diplomatic norms wasn’t reciprocated by the US, though, which continued to openly declare that Russia was a rival, if not an outright enemy. The diplomatic mood never recovered despite Russia’s best wishes to the contrary.
The last four years of former President Trump’s reign remain a major disappointment in the minds of many in Moscow who hoped that a “New Detente” would have been brokered between them by now. Regrettably, subversive elements of the country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) successfully sabotaged the elected head of state’s foreign policy in this respect, which ruin bilateral relations and set the stage for President Biden to recently make them even worse. It’s therefore appropriate that Russia finally recalibrates its diplomatic stance towards the US and its proxies by bringing it in line with the new norms that the latter have imposed upon it all this time. Although the Mainstream Media will likely spin this move as “unprovoked aggression”, it’s actually a legitimate response against US aggression.
The significance of Russia’s decision to designate certain countries as unfriendly states and subsequently impose various restrictions upon their diplomatic activities suggests that the current state of tension between it and the West will remain the “new normal” for the indefinite future. Neither side is likely to backtrack on its stance towards the either, with each being convinced of the righteousness of their actions, for better (like in Russia’s case) or for worse (like in America’s). The recent expulsion of Russian diplomats in Czechia and several other countries speaks to how serious this “deep state” war between them has become. If there’s any silver lining to this state of affairs, it’s that Russia might finally begin the active containment of America according to the 20-point plan that I suggested in February, which would greatly improve its HybridWar resilience.
The latest de-escalation in Donbass is attributable to Russia’s resoluteness in refusing to fall into the US’ Hybrid War trap of launching an all-out military intervention there in support of its legal interests while nevertheless flexing its muscles in this respect by sending the signal that it reserves the right to deliver a crushing strike in defense of its border and/or citizens if they’re seriously threatened.
The month of April was marked by serious tension in the Eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass after Kiev appeared to be gearing up for an Operation Storm-like genocidal advance against the Russian-friendly separatists there which many predicted might trigger a major military response from Moscow. Of course, the Mainstream Media flipped the victims and villains in order to misportray Russia as the aggressor even though it was Ukraine that declined to implement its legal obligations as agreed to during the Minsk peace process and thus unilaterally worsened the situation. I published two analyses at the time explaining the complicated dynamics of those tense events, which should be reviewed by interested readers in case they aren’t already familiar with them:
Basically, Kiev was being put up to this by its Washington patron which wanted to provoke a scenario that would make it politically impossible for most of the EU nations to purchase Russia’s Sputnik V like they were reportedly planning to do up until that point. The US feared the long-term strategic impact of improved Russian-EU relations as a result of their prospective epidemiological cooperation. It hoped to “bait the bear” into launching an all-out military intervention in support of its border and/or citizens, which could in turn function as a HybridWar trap for creating an Afghan-like quagmire in the worst-case scenario. Russia refused to fall for this scheme but nevertheless flexed its muscles by sending the signal that it still reserves the right to deliver a crushing strike in defense of its legal interests if they’re threatened, which got the West to back off.
The situation could of course change at any moment since the strategic dynamics haven’t changed all that much, but Russia’s confident moves must have made the West rethink the wisdom of this Hybrid War plot considering the obviously unacceptable costs that it would likely entail. For the moment at least, everything seems to be de-escalating a bit as a result of Russia’s prudent policy. The Russian “spy” scandal in Czechia was manufactured to serve as a convenient distraction from Western warmongers backtracking in Eastern Ukraine since their leadership couldn’t openly acknowledge that they blinked in the face of Russian resoluteness lest they lose credibility with their populace which has been hyped up by anti-Russian propaganda. This was followed by President Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly and the end of Russian drills in the south.
About those last two, they’re actually interconnected if one takes the time to think about them. The Russian leader very clearly implied that his country’s red lines are connected not only to conventional security interests such as the obvious ones in Eastern Ukraine that everyone had been talking about up until that point, but also “Democratic Security” insofar as announcing how unacceptable the recently foiled Belarusian regime change plot was. Without saying as much but clearly hinting in this direction, President Putin was conveying the message that the West mustn’t dare even think about attempting to assassinate him, stage a Color Revolution (the ongoing Navalny-inspired unrest isn’t a serious threat), try to co-opt military officials for a coup plot, or launch a crippling cyber offensive attack to shut down the national capital like was all planned for Belarus.
Since Russia’s southern military drills were sufficient enough to prove how resolute it was in defending its legal interests if need be, and considering the fact that the West had already begun to de facto de-escalate the situation by staging the Russian “spy” distraction in Czechia and subsequent expulsion of diplomats across a growing number of European countries, it naturally followed that Russia would reciprocate by ending its exercises. Moscow had already managed to show the West that it won’t be pushed around, and its military forces can always snap back into action at a moment’s notice if the situation requires them to do so. In other words, those drills and President Putin’s very clearly implied “Democratic Security” (counter-Hybrid War) red lines were responsible for getting the West to de-escalate, after which Russia responded in kind as is the norm.
The lessons to be learned are several. Firstly, Russia is much too wise to fall into Hybrid War traps that are so obviously laid out for it. Secondly, it still succeeded in showing its opponents that they’ll suffer unacceptably high costs for their schemes if they force Russia to militarily respond in a limited way in defense of its legal interests. Thirdly, awareness of these first two points resulted in a rethink of Western strategy, which was fourthly followed by their desperate manufacturing of the Russian “spy” scandal in Czechia to distract their hyped-up Russophobic populations that had expected the West to be the one to deliver a crushing blow to Russia and not the inverse. Fifthly, Russia conveyed its “Democratic Security” red lines, thereby essentially expanding the list of unacceptable actions against it which could provoke a hot war in the worst-case scenario.
This sequence of events explains the latest de-escalation in Donbass, but observers must remember that the present respite might only be short-lived since the strategic dynamics that provoked the original tensions still remain. There’s nothing stopping the West from trying to provoke Russia again and again, albeit perhaps modifying their approach each time. That would of course increase the chances of a war by miscalculation and contradict the so-called “rational actor theory” upon which many had (naively?) premised their understanding of International Relations up until this point. It might still be premature to predict that this will happen and that the US isn’t behaving rationally since it did after all de-escalate, though only in the face of Russian resoluteness, but everything should become much clearer by the time NATO’s Defender Europe 2021 drills end in June.
The reported killing of long-serving Chadian leader Idriss Deby at the hands of his country’s latest rebel group and subsequent imposition of a military transitional government were thought by some to herald long-overdue change in this geostrategically pivotal state, yet it might very well be that nothing will end up changing all that much since such a scenario could result in France losing control of one of its top regional allies if that happens.
Observers were shocked after learning that long-serving Chadian leader Idriss Deby was killed at the hands of his country’s latest rebel group. Some even suspected that foul play might have been involved, with one of the most prominent theories speculating that it was an inside job by rogue members of the military who attempted to pull off an armed coup. Regardless of whatever might have really happened, the fact of the matter is that Chad experienced a sudden regime change instead of the “phased leadership transition” that usually occurs in “national democracies” such as this one which don’t employ Western models of governance. What’s most controversial about the immediate consequences of this unexpected development is that the armed forces suspended the constitution, established an 18-month military transitional government, and appointed the president’s son Mahamat “Kaka” Idriss Deby Itno as leader in a move condemned by some as an unconstitutional coup and possibly indicative of a power struggle among the inner military elite.
Nevertheless, some observers expressed hope that these moves might herald long-overdue change in this geostrategically pivotal state, perhaps resulting in a more Western form of governance in partnership with the leading “Front for Change and Concord in Chad” (FACT by its French acronym) rebel group and others when all’s said and done similar in a sense to the precedent that’s gradually unfolding in neighboring Sudan. Others think that the new military government might soon fall if FACT is able to successfully take the capital of N’Djamena in the coming future like it’s promised to do, inspired by Deby’s death and incensed by what they described as the “dynastic devolution of power” in the country. Those hopes, however well intended they may be, are probably premature and much too high when considering that such scenarios could result in France losing control of one of its top regional allies if that happens. The casual observer probably doesn’t know much about their historical patron-proxy relations, so some background reading is required.
Here are three relevant analyses that I published over the years about Chad:
Chad is “too big to fail” for France despite being ripe for regime change by protesters, rebels, and terrorists.
Anti-Terrorism Or Neo-Imperialism?
France justifies its patron-proxy relationship with Chad on the basis of shared anti-terrorist concerns, the latter of which veritably exist and are legitimate to a large extent but are nevertheless exploited for neo-imperialist purposes. Despite being oil rich, the country consistently ranks near the absolute bottom of the Human Development Index and is regarded as one of the most destitute places on the planet. This is attributable to rampant corruption, which the military is also suspected of participating in. France turns a blind eye to these practices despite publicly supporting “accountability and transparency among all” abroad because it conveniently enables it to maintain its proxy network among the country’s powerful armed forces, which in turn helps advance its regional goals, most recently in Mali. For all of its governing faults, Chad objectively has one of Africa’s most powerful militaries, which explains why former President Deby’s government had yet to fall to rebels despite coming close on several occasions. France airstrikes at critical moments also helped too.
It remains to be seen whether the Chadian National Armed Forces (FANT by their French acronym) can stem FACT’s week-long blitzkrieg towards the capital from their Libyan base, but if they can’t, then it’s very likely that France will intervene once again to save its struggling proxies. In the unlikely event that Paris doesn’t do so, then it might stand to lose enormous regional influence if the revolutionary authorities espouse any sincere anti-imperialist principles. It’s much more likely, however, that the military transitional government will remain in power and overcome the speculative differences between some of its factions. In that event, France might either go along with the possibility of its proxy potentially rigging elections to ensure “Kaka’s” victory if he isn’t able to win through legitimate means or it might flexibly adapt to changing circumstances to guide Chad’s incipient democracy through an unseen hand in the direction of its strategic interests. The only wild card is whether the Chadian people can successfully employ a grassroots-driven Color Revolution to stop this.
Chad is a very diverse and highly impoverished country in spite of its rich resource wealth, and it’s pretty much only been held together by a tight fist since independence, whether that was most recently Deby or his several predecessors. It’s quite typical of many African countries in this respect, which means that the onset of sudden instability such as the capital’s fall to rebel forces who might potentially be opposed in principle to continuing the country’s present course in foreign affairs (i.e. retaining the patron-proxy neo-imperialist relationship with France) or a successful Color Revolution inspired by Deby’s death could catalyze far-reaching and largely unpredictable consequences in the worst-case scenario. France is unlikely to sit back and lose one of its top allies in Africa which is why it’s predicted that Paris might soon militarily intervene in support of FANT should the need arise, and if need be, clandestinely “manage” (i.e. hijack) Chad’s incipient democracy.
President Putin used the global attention afforded to him during his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday to raise widespread awareness of the Belarusian coup attempt that his security services helped foil last weekend but which has since been mostly ignored by the Western Mainstream Media.
The Hybrid War On Belarus
The ongoing HybridWar on Belarus could have taken a dramatic turn for the worse had the Russian security services and their Belarusian counterparts not foiled an assassination and coup attempt against President Lukashenko over the weekend that was being planned for the very near future. President Putin remarked about this near the end of his approximately 1,5-hour-long annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday, wisely using the global attention afforded to him during this time to raise widespread awareness of this scheme. The Russian leader even remarked how strange it was that the West has been mostly ignoring this dramatic development despite the potential consequences of its successful implementation predictably being disastrous for the Eastern European nation.
The News Story That Never Broke
Another point to keep in mind is that his spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed the press on Monday that President Putin discussed the issue with his American counterpart during their last phone call, which strongly suggests that the US government might have pressured its Mainstream Media proxies not to report on that aspect of their conversation. After all, there were plenty of leaks in the last administration, yet curiously barely any have thus have happened in the present one. Nevertheless, Russian media reported on the scandal over the weekend after it first broke, but few outlets elsewhere picked up on it. It can’t be known for sure, but apart from the previously mentioned reasonable speculation, this might also be attributable to self-censorship. Some outlets might simply not want to portray Biden’s foreign policy in any negative light.
Although the US officially denied any involvement in the plot, the details that the media disclosed about it (and which President Putin also repeated to everyone on Wednesday) bear the hallmarks of American tradecraft. The scheme involved assassinating President Lukashenko, reportedly during the military parade on Victory Day (9 May), which was to have been followed by a military coup carried out by compromised elements of the armed forces. In addition, the capital of Minsk was supposed to have been cut off from the rest of the country and victimized by a massive power outage, presumably as a result of a cyber offensive operation. The ongoing Color Revolution movement would have also been ordered to repeat the EuroMaidan scenario of all-out urban terrorism during this sensitive time in order to ensure that the coup succeeds by one means or another.
The Ukrainian & Venezuelan Precedents
President Putin compared this plot to what had previously been employed against former Ukrainian President Yanukovich and current Venezuelan President Maduro, thereby implying an American hand in the reported Belarusian events considering that the US’ leading tactical and strategic involvement in the prior two bears close resemblance to the Belarusian scenario. The Western Mainstream Media wanted to keep silent about this scheme out of fear of making Biden look bad since their targeted audience has been indoctrinated into thinking that he’s a comprehensive improvement upon everything that former US President Trump earlier was. If Biden – or rather, the military, intelligence, and diplomatic power structure (“deep state”) behind him – was implicated in a foreign assassination and coup attempt, then it might raise questions about whether the US’ ostensibly “democratically driven” regime change last November actually changed anything across the world.
Biden’s Following In Trump’s Footsteps
It shouldn’t be forgotten that despite legally discredited accusations of being a so-called “Russian puppet”, former President Trump did more to destabilize Russia than any US leader in history, which in this context includes organizing the ongoing Hybrid War on Belarus. Biden is therefore following in Trump’s footsteps whether his supporters acknowledge it or not, but this observation is very “politically inconvenient” for his base and must therefore be suppressed from the public’s consciousness. That explains why it’s practically forbidden from being discussed by the Mainstream Media, but that might have suddenly changed after President Putin ensured that the whole world became aware of it during his address to the Federal Assembly. He didn’t just do this to spite Biden, though, but for very practical reasons related to Russia’s national security interests.
Belarusian Threats = Russian Threats
The context in which the Russian leader talked about the foiled assassination and coup attempt in neighboring Belarus concerned the West’s larger campaign of maximum pressure against his country. Since Belarus is a civilizationally similar state that’s also proudly part of what many in Moscow consider the so-called “Russian World”, it naturally follows that its latest Hybrid War intrigue directly threatens Russia itself since the successful implementation of that regime change scenario could one day result in its replication inside Russia too. The socio-economic and even political situations are remarkably similar between those two nations, even though their security capabilities are incomparable by virtue of Russia being a Great Power while Belarus is simply a moderately sized regional state with very limited influence even within its own neighborhood.
Russia’s Red Lines
Even so, President Putin warned his country’s opponents against getting any crazy ideas by attempting to cross Russia’s red lines, which he said his country will draw at its own discretion on a case-by-case basis. Considering that he had just finished talking about the latest Hybrid War escalation against neighboring Belarus with which Russia has a mutual defense treaty through the CSTO and which is civilizationally similar to his own country, the implied message is obvious and it’s that Moscow won’t tolerate any such plots being attempted within its own borders. It would arguably constitute the crossing of a very clear red line if the West attempted (let alone coordinated) the assassination of President Putin, a military coup, a serious Color Revolution (the Navalny-inspired one isn’t all that threatening), and/or a crippling cyber attack.
The Truth About The New Cold War
The Belarusian attempt was foiled which is why it’s not being discussed by the Western Mainstream Media because of how embarrassing this failure is for their leaders. It also confirms what President Putin has been saying all along, namely that the real aggressor in the New Cold War isn’t Russia, but the West and especially the US. Most of the people living in the West have been indoctrinated through an incessant stream of propaganda and intense perception management operations into thinking the inverse, but even these brainwashed masses might reconsider their dogmatic beliefs if they took the time to reflect on the implications of their governments organizing the assassination of a Russian-friendly foreign leader and a military coup against him. That might, in the “worst-case scenario” from their leaders’ perspectives, get them to wake up.
Many of President Putin’s foreign supporters oftentimes describe him as “5D chess grandmaster”, and while this label is sometimes laughably exploited to deflect from some seemingly unsavory parts of his foreign policy such as Russia’s indisputablealliancewith “Israel”, it can be said that this time it’s right on the mark when talking about his strategic genius in bringing up the foiled assassination and coup attempt in Belarus during his address to the Federal Assembly. The Russian leader broke through the Western Mainstream Media’s censorship firewall and forced this politically suppressed issue into the wider discussion, though it remains to be seen whether it’ll have any meaningful impact on public perceptions. In any case, it was a wily move to make and completely in line with the Russian leader’s style of responding to the West in asymmetrical ways.
Because of how sensitive the issue is both in general and for bilateral relations, it deserves to be discussed more thoroughly.
A controversy occurred earlier this month after two Turkish opposition politicians expressed support for separatism in Xinjiang. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned their counterproductive remarks, which in turn prompted Ankara to summon the Chinese Ambassador. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian then said that “We hope that people in Turkey from all walks of life can correctly, rationally and objectively view the firm position of China to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Because of how sensitive the issue is both in general and for bilateral relations, it deserves to be discussed more thoroughly.
Turkey is presently rising as a regional power in accordance with its rich civilizational and historical influence. This has recently seen the country promote a hybrid model of secular and religious influence in order to broaden its appeal to traditional and prospective partners alike in North Africa, West Asia, and Central Asia. The last-mentioned region is comprised of former Soviet republics, many of whom are populated by Turkic people who feel a close kinship with their Turkish brethren. This ethnic outreach to what Ankara regards as the Turkic world is natural and should be encouraged by all so long as it doesn’t take any threatening form.
The problem is that there are some in Turkey who flirt with radical interpretations of their country’s newfound soft power strategy. Instead of respecting every country’s sovereign interests to govern themselves however their legitimate leaders believe is best, they arrogantly think that they know better those states or their own people do. Therein lies the issue with the latest Xinjiang controversy whereby two opposition politicians made counterproductive remarks in favor of separatist forces there. Considering the growing closeness of Chinese-Turkish relations, these statements were unwelcome and could have caused trouble between those two.
Thankfully, bilateral ties have matured enough to the point where such comments won’t affect those countries’ expanding partnership, but they still deserved to be condemned in order to remind everyone of how unacceptable they were. The individuals that made them were clearly misled by the US-led global information warfare campaign against the People’s Republic alleging that China is carrying out a so-called “genocide” against the Uyghurs, who are mostly fellow Muslims related to the Turkish people. In fact, one can argue that Turkey is one of the prime target audiences of this American HybridWar narrative.
The US hopes to mislead the world, and especially Muslim countries, about the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The intended result is to pressure those states into distancing themselves from cooperating more closely with China, which could in turn provide a comparative competitive advantage to the US. In the Turkish context, American strategists want to manipulate influential Turkish figures into provoking more international controversies between their country and China over this manufactured fake news-driven issue. In reality, however, Xinjiang must unite, not divide, China and Turkey.
Upon learning more about the socio-economic renaissance of the Uyghur people and other minorities in the XUAR, more Turks will realize how badly they were misled by the US’ information warfare campaign. China isn’t “oppressing” the Uyghurs, not to mention committing “genocide” against them, but has unprecedentedly improved their living standards to the point where its efforts can objectively be described as the most successful minority empowerment campaign anywhere in the planet’s history. Life expectancy and overall population numbers have soared, household income is at its highest-ever levels, and security is guaranteed.
In fact, Turkey could even learn from China’s experiences with the Uyghurs to similarly improve the situation for its own minorities. This could in turn reduce separatist and terrorist threats in the same way as has recently happened in the XUAR. With this vision in mind, Turks should resist the US’ external pressure to exploit this situation for the purpose of dividing their country from China. If anything, they should learn more about the reality of what’s happening there in order to motivate them to take ties with China to the next level, including through more people-to-people interactions such as touring the XUAR once the pandemic finally ends.
It’s sad that some Turkish individuals were misled by American propaganda about Xinjiang, but their own government nowadays knows that these narratives aren’t true. That’s why ties remain strong between China and Turkey despite the latest controversy. Both countries are in a mutually beneficial partnership with potential strategic implications, which no single issue – let alone an artificially manufactured one – can sabotage. As time goes on, it’s hoped that more Turks will learn the truth about the XUAR, appreciate China’s historic efforts in improving the Uyghurs’ lives, and see Xinjiang as a natural bridge between their two countries.