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Stop Making A Big Deal Out Of Russia’s Support Of Beijing’s Sovereignty Over Taiwan

Stop Making A Big Deal Out Of Russia’s Support Of Beijing’s Sovereignty Over Taiwan

19 OCTOBER 2021

Stop Making A Big Deal Out Of Russia

Reaffirming this reality isn’t a sign that Russia is ‘aligning’ with China ‘against’ the US, but is simply a statement of legal fact.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reaffirmed his country’s support of Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan last week. According to the Eurasian Great Power’s top diplomat:

Just like the overwhelming majority of other countries, Russia views Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. This is the premise we proceed from and will continue to proceed from in our policy.”

This prompted Newsweek to headline a piece titled “Russia Says Taiwan is Part of China as Two Powers Further Align Against U.S.”, which presented this policy declaration as some kind of anti-American move.

It’s nothing of the sort though, and Moscow’s motivations deserve to be elaborated upon to clarify matters. Russia is firmly in support of the UN-centric world order, not the US’ subjectively defined so-called “rules-based order” which selectively imposes double standards in a desperate attempt to indefinitely stave off its fading unipolar hegemony. According to international law, Taiwan is a rogue province of the People’s Republic of China over which Beijing has formal sovereignty. Reaffirming this reality isn’t a sign that Russia is “aligning” with China “against” the US, but is simply a statement of legal fact.

Making a bigger deal out of this than it is implies ulterior perception management motives. To explain, those that are hostile to both multipolar Great Powers hope to promote the false impression that they’re “allies”, which is misleading. While they closely cooperate with one another and are indeed strategic partners, neither will go to war in support of the either, not over Taiwan or Crimea, among other potential flashpoints. Nevertheless, implying that this scenario is possible is meant to justify the US-led West’s escalations against them on the manipulated pretext that such aggressive moves are supposedly “defensive” in nature.

Some in the Alt-Media Community (AMC) push this warped perception of reality for ideological reasons since they wishfully believe that such a false interpretation of their partnership is true. It seemingly serves the purpose of rallying their supporters, though it carries with it the immense risk of backfiring once reality sets in and these same supporters might become disappointed to the point where their emotional reactions are exploited to make them susceptible to hostile narratives such as claiming that one of them sold the other out. After all, Russia is actively “balancing” China, though in a “friendly/gentle” manner that few dare to talk about.

I explained this in three prior pieces titled “Why Structural Realists Are Wrong To Predict That Russia Will Help The US Contain China”, “Russian Scholar Karaganov Articulated Russia’s Balancing Act With China”, and “Towards Bi-Multipolarity”. They’re of varying lengths and detail but should at the very least be skimmed by those who are interested in this topic. The purpose in referencing them is to show that exaggerated claims of their strategic partnership don’t reflect the reality of their relations. President Putin even declined to support China’s claims in the South China Sea just last week, which speaks to his country’s balanced position.

It’s crucial to clarify all of this in order to simultaneously discredit the manipulation of these false perceptions to put more pressure on both of them as well as preemptively avert the exploitation of well-intended but naive individuals’ disappointment with the facts once they inevitably become more self-evident due to these strategic dynamics. Both the Mainstream Media and AMC may find it “politically inconvenient” for their own reasons to accept the strategic insight that was shared in this analysis, but honest observers should appreciate this since it’s intended to make it much less likely that they’ll be misled by either of those two in the future.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, China, US, Taiwan, Balancing, Multipolarity, New Cold War, Alt-Media.


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

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

10 AUGUST 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, China, New Cold War.


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Russian Scholar Karaganov Articulated Russia’s Balancing Act With China

Russian Scholar Karaganov Articulated Russia’s Balancing Act With China

6 AUGUST 2021

Russian Scholar Karaganov Articulated Russia

Influential Russian Scholar Sergey Karaganov’s recent interview about the strategic dynamics of the New Cold War dedicates a lot of attention to articulating Russia’s balancing act with China and is therefore a must-read for all those who are interested in learning more about the Kremlin’s calculations in this respect.

Few would contest the claim that the world is in the midst of a New Cold War, but even fewer are able to articulate its strategic dynamics, let alone from a position of authority. Influential Russian scholar Sergey Karaganov, who recently gave an interview about this subject to the Argumenty I Fakty newspaper, is one of those experts whose assessments carry a lot of weight and are worthy of reviewing. RT‘s summary of his insight informed their non-Russian audience about his esteemed credentials: “Karaganov has been one of Russia’s top foreign-policy theorists for decades, and has also advised President Vladimir Putin in the past. He is currently the head of the World Economy and International Affairs faculty at the Higher School of Economics (HSE), a prestigious university in Moscow.” Due to its scope, however, it didn’t focus much on what he said about China.

The present piece therefore aims to raise greater awareness of Mr. Karaganov’s interpretation of Russian-Chinese relations, which he implies are actually characterized by a very sensitive balancing act. This aligns with what I’ve previously written on the subject, the following five pieces of which are my most prominent:

* 7 May 2018: “Russia’s Grand Strategy In Afro-Eurasia (And What Could Go Wrong)

* 18 May 2020: “The Prospects Of Russia And India Jointly Leading A New Non-Aligned Movement

* 3 June 2020: “Pakistan’s Role In Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership

* 17 February 2021: “Why Structural Realists Are Wrong To Predict That Russia Will Help The US Against China

* 11 June 2021: “Towards Increasingly Complex Multipolarity: Scenarios For The Future

My arguments, observations, and conclusions contradict the prevailing narrative that Russian-Chinese relations are either characterized by an eternal alliance or an inevitable clash. Since Mr. Karaganov’s insight closely aligns with my own, however, his professional authority might inspire some folks to reconsider their views about this.

Per Google Translate, these are the points that he made about China in the order that they were shared:

* “If we fought the last Cold War on two fronts, now China is on our side, it is our gigantic strategic resource. It draws on itself most of the military and political power of the West.”

* “If China, the main player in this cold war, wins, and it starts to feel dizzy with success, then we will not balance in its direction. If, on the contrary, China starts to lose, then we will have to go for a much closer alliance with it in order to prevent the West from gaining.”

* “Today’s relations between Russia and the PRC are an outstanding achievement of our and Chinese policy. And one of the biggest geostrategic failures of the West, which not only allowed us to get closer, but also reduced us to the state of a real semi-union.”

* “With a careful analysis of China’s policy and its military preparations, you come to the conclusion: in the foreseeable future, the Chinese are not going to threaten us. Otherwise, why would they so powerfully rebuild their military strategy and military construction from land to sea, investing most of their resources in space, in the navy, but not in ground forces? They are not going to fight for the expansion of territories, they are going to defend their southeastern and eastern borders. But what will happen in 10-15 years, we do not know. I admit that the Chinese elite will make a strategic mistake and follow one of the traditional Chinese paths – the construction of the Middle Empire surrounded by vassal states. Then China will have gigantic problems, and not only with Russia. Neither India, nor Iran, nor Turkey, not to mention Japan – all the great powers of Eurasia will not tolerate this. But if the Chinese act wisely, the prospects for our relationship will be simply wonderful.”

* “Having a friendly superpower is a tremendous boon. And I hope that we will not repeat the mistakes of the Europeans, who hid behind the back of the United States and sold them their sovereignty, and are now paying dearly for it. Knowing Russian history, the psychology of our people and the political class, I think that we will not sell our sovereignty to anyone. I also hope for the wisdom of the Chinese political class. If I were Chinese, I would never have done anything directed against Russia. And so far they have been doing so.”

The strategic pertinence of his points can be summarized as follows in the order that they were shared above:

* The indefinite perpetuation of American-Chinese tensions in the New Cold War serves the Kremlin’s grand strategic interests by comparatively reducing its chief rival’s comprehensive pressure campaign against Russia.

* Russia should actively recalibrate its balancing act between China and the US in order to prevent either of them from coming out on top and placing Russia in position of disproportionate strategic dependence on them.

* The comprehensive improvement of Russian-Chinese relations in recent years is mutually beneficial because it enables both Great Powers to pool their potential in jointly pushing back against Western hegemony.

* Russia has nothing to fear from China in the next 10-15 years, but if it emerges victorious in the New Cold War, then Russia and all relevant Eurasian Great Powers will unite to contain China if it becomes hegemonic.

* In the run-up to the scenario of a Chinese victory and especially afterwards, the Russian elite mustn’t sell out their state’s sovereignty and submit to Chinese hegemony, nor should China accept this even if it’s offered.

With this insight in mind, Mr. Karagonov’s vision for Russian-Chinese relations becomes much clearer. He’s in support of Russia retaining strategic ties with China but also pragmatically recalibrating them as needed in order to retain the balance of power between America and the People’s Republic. The ultimate goal is to indefinitely perpetuate the New Cold War so that no one emerges victorious and risks placing Russia in a position of disproportionate strategic dependence. He hints that China might win though, in which case he warns against it behaving hegemonically by treating other countries as “vassal states” lest it risk provoking Russia into assembling a Eurasian-wide Great Power coalition to contain it. He’s also worried that the Russian elite might sell their country out to China though assesses the chances of that scenario as being very low.

The key takeaway from the Chinese dimension of Mr. Karaganov’s interview is that bilateral relations with Russia are unprecedentedly excellent but the Kremlin mustn’t be oblivious to the unlikely but nevertheless still possible scenario that the People’s Republic might behave hegemonically in the event that it wins its New Cold War with the US. The most effective way to avert that dark scenario is for Russia to continue actively balancing between those two superpowers and thus indefinitely perpetuating their rivalry. At all costs, an American victory must be prevented while a Chinese one is comparatively much more manageable, though only if Russia makes it clear that it won’t tolerate any hegemonic intentions from its neighbor. This insight from such a well-respected and highly influential Russian foreign policy expert is intriguing and deserves to be reflected upon.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, China, US, EU, Balancing, New Cold War.


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

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

2 AUGUST 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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


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

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

7 JULY 2021

The EU Should Be Wary Of Lithuania

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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


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Putin Wants Peace & Prosperity For Europe, Not Pandemonium & Problems

Putin Wants Peace & Prosperity For Europe, Not Pandemonium & Problems

28 JUNE 2021

Putin Wants Peace & Prosperity For Europe, Not Pandemonium & Problems

President Putin’s article for German media that was published on the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union debunks the Mainstream Media’s lies that the Russian leader wants pandemonium and problems for Europe since he very convincingly proved that all he’s interested in is peace and prosperity.

President Putin has been maliciously misportrayed by the Western Mainstream Media as an evil genius who’s obsessed with sowing pandemonium and problems across the world, especially in Europe. The truth, as could be expected, is the exact opposite. The Russian leader is simply a pragmatic moderate who harbors no “revolutionary” designs for better or for worse, and simply believes in adhering to the traditional vision of International Relations articulated by the UN Charter. It’s very rare that he’s able to speak directly to those who’ve been misled by the Mainstream Media into believing all sorts of fake news about him and his country’s alleged intentions, but that’s precisely what he did earlier this week in an article for German media.

Published on the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, his piece about “Being Open, Despite The Past” deserves to be read by all because it debunks the misperceptions that have been propagated about Russia and especially its leader in recent years. President Putin very convincingly wrote about his desire to restore his country’s comprehensive partnership with Europe for the betterment of both of their people. He paid special attention to how the historic Russian-German reconciliation after World War II and subsequent energy cooperation during the height of the Old Cold War in 1970 helped lay the political basis for modern-day Europe.

He also wrote quite positively about what he sconsiders their shared vision of a Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and reaffirmed Russia’s civilizational and historical ties to it. In essence, he was reiterating his vision for a Greater Eurasian Partnership though with particular emphasis paid to the European dimension due to his target audience in the bloc’s de facto leader. The only two obstacles in the way of achieving this mutually beneficial dream are NATO’s aggressive military expansion towards Russia’s borders and the artificial zero-sum choice that was forced upon some countries like Ukraine to choose between Europe and Russia. If Russia-NATO ties de-escalate and the EU behaves more pragmatically towards third countries, a breakthrough might happen.

That, however, clearly requires considerable political will but thankfully the latest developments indicate that it’s finally present on part of the European side. French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel want to invite President Putin to attend a summit of European leaders later this summer, though some countries like Poland fiercely oppose this proposal. If it happens, though, then it might end up being one of the first major outcomes of last week’s Geneva Summit which sought to de-escalate Russian-US tensions. It’s also interesting that this was reported the day after President Putin’s article that he wrote for the European audience, which suggests a sequence of events connecting Geneva, his article, and the Franco-German summit proposal.

Nobody should be under any illusions though that progress would happen at the expense of Russian-Chinese relations. There is no credible scenario wherein these two Great Powers would revert to the fierce competition that characterized their ties for many years during the Old Cold War. Neither regards International Relations as being a zero-sum game but a win-win one. Improved Russian-EU relations would actually benefit China too by making the Eurasian Land Bridge more viable than it presently is considering the ongoing sanctions regime against Moscow. That outcome would advance China’s vision for a Community of Common Destiny between itself, Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, and the EU, thereby greatly stabilizing the supercontinent.

Europeans, both average folks and political officials alike, should therefore seriously contemplate the proposals contained in President Putin’s latest article for German media. They should realize that he’s being totally sincere and doing his utmost to articulate his country’s grand strategic vision. This doesn’t concern sowing pandemonium and problems across Europe like the Mainstream Media falsely claimed for years, but is all about ensuring peace and prosperity for their people. That mutually beneficial outcome can only occur if the EU finally musters the political will to move past it’s presently difficult era of relations with Russia and restore their comprehensive partnership in order to establish a Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, EU, Putin, World War II, New Cold War, New Detente.


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Polish-US Missile Defense Co-Op Is A Strategic Smokescreen

Polish-US Missile Defense Co-Op Is A Strategic Smokescreen

24 JUNE 2021

Polish-US Missile Defense Co-Op Is A Strategic Smokescreen

The prevailing uncertainty about the future of Polish-US relations following Biden’s publicly expressed desire to improve relations with Russia won’t affect their military cooperation as proven by the latest progress made in deploying elements of America’s “missile defense shield” in this aspiring Central & Eastern European hegemon, but this development will likely also be exploited as a smokescreen to obscure the ongoing joint US-German Hybrid War against Poland’s conservative-nationalist government.

The US’ Missile Defense Agency announced earlier this week that it’s begun deploying elements of its “missile defense shield” (MDS) in Poland, the aspiring hegemon of the Central & Eastern European (CEE) space. This decision predated Biden’s publicly expressed desire last week during his Geneva Summit with President Putin to repair relations with Russia, a move that unexpectedly threw the future of Polish-American relations into uncertainty. I elaborated on the emerging differences of grand strategic vision between these allied nations in an analysis last week that also explored their possible consequences. This latest development shows that their ties will remain stable at the military level despite very serious political disagreements.

While the present liberal-globalist American administration doesn’t like the Polish conservative-nationalist one all that much, the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) are in agreement that the CEE country’s geostrategic locations means that their MDS cooperation mustn’t be sacrificed because of it, let alone as part of an incipient rapprochement with Russia. A few clarifying points must be mentioned at this time in order for the reader to better understand the US’ strategic calculus. Improving relations with Russia will enable the US to redeploy some of its CEE forces to the Asia-Pacific in an attempt to more aggressively “contain” China there as well as spark an Asian arms race to assist with that.

Upon the MDS’ complete deployment in Poland, the US will be able to militarily “contain” Russia a lot more effectively without having to rely on the same number of troops as before. Furthermore, this system will help to partially reassure the Poles that their paranoid fears of being “sold out” to Moscow aren’t justified, which might in turn prevent or at the very least decelerate Poland’s possible pivot to China in response that I proposed in the analysis cited in the first paragraph of this present piece. To be clear, however, Russia doesn’t even need to be “contained” since it harbors no aggressive intentions against its neighbors, but this false notion has been weaponized in order to exploit the CEE countries’ “negative nationalism” against it for pro-American purposes.

In fact, the very concept of a MDS is deceitful since it doesn’t aim to “protect” the US and its allies, but to undercut Russia’s nuclear second-strike capabilities and therefore advance America’s devious plans to possibly one day place the Eurasian Great Power in a position of nuclear blackmail. The two-decade-long unofficial arms race between these two that was sparked by Bush Jr.’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty prompted Russia to double down on its hypersonic missile research and development, thus recently resulting in Moscow achieving global dominance in this field. It didn’t aspire to this envious position for aggressive purposes, but solely to defend itself from the above-mentioned scenario of nuclear blackmail.

Nevertheless, the Poles don’t see it that way at all because the US (and also Germany to a large extent) have masterfully manipulated their “negative nationalism” in such a way that many of these people and especially their present leadership are almost pathologically obsessed at this point with “containing” Russia. They take the MDS’ officially stated purpose at face value and might even delight in provoking Russia despite how dangerous this could be for them in the worst-case scenario of a US/NATO-Russia war. This latest MDS development will therefore likely succeed in reassuring them of the US’ military support in the event that Poland’s extremely improbable fear of a so-called “Russian invasion” ever comes to pass.

At the same time, however, the US and Germany will probably continue to undermine the present Polish government for ideological reasons related to their liberal-globalist vision. This schizophrenic policy of militarily supporting it while politically subverting it should be obvious to all objective observers but is regrettably lost on most Poles due to their intense “negative nationalism” against Russia. Their leadership also appears to naively believe that the MDS’ deployment on their territory might also politically shield them from the ongoing US-German Hybrid War, though this is nothing but a groundless wishful thinking fallacy. The reality is that Poland is being played by its so-called “allies” much worse than it could have ever imagined that Russia would play it.

The MDS therefore serves several purposes: it enables the US to more effectively “contain” Russia; thus freeing it up to redeploy some of its CEE forces to the Asia-Pacific to more aggressively “contain” China; and it functions as a smokescreen to obscure Washington and Berlin’s ongoing Hybrid War against Poland’s conservative-nationalist government by superficially reassuring them of the US’ supposedly “positive” strategic intentions. Regardless of the government in power, US-Polish military relations will remain strong even if solely as a result of their MDS cooperation, though this won’t stop the joint Washington-German Hybrid War on Warsaw. Naively believing otherwise will only result in getting Poland to put its strategic guard down even more.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Poland, Missile Shield, Arms Race, Russia, China, New Detente, New Cold War, Germany, Color Revolution, Regime Change, Hybrid War.


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The UK Is Dangerously Trying To Sabotage Russia’s Rapprochement With The West

The UK Is Dangerously Trying To Sabotage Russia’s Rapprochement With The West

24 JUNE 2021

The UK Is Dangerously Trying To Sabotage Russia

The British Navy’s violation of Russia’s Black Sea maritime border on Wednesday was a dangerous attempt to sabotage Russia’s rapprochement with the West by provoking an international security incident between these nuclear-armed Great Powers.

The world was shocked on Wednesday after reports came streaming in that Russian fighter jets and ships fired off warning shots at the British Navy after the latter violated the Eurasian Great Power’s maritime border in the Black Sea. For its part, London denied that any such warning shots were fired and insisted that it behaved within international norms. Moscow immediately countered by accusing the UK of lying, which seems to be the most accurate interpretation of reality after a BBC journalist’s account conforms with Russia’s. The UK doesn’t recognize Crimea’s democratic reunification with Russia though, hence its claim that everything it did was “legal”. This observation very strongly suggests that the UK was deliberately trying to provoke an international security incident with Russia, which raises the question of why it would do so.

While it can’t be known for sure, it might very well be the case that the UK wanted to sabotage Russia’s rapprochement with the West after last week’s Geneva Summit. That event brought together Presidents Putin and Biden, who both agreed that it’s time to de-escalate tensions between their countries and more responsibly manage their comprehensive competition with one another. The outcome of that scenario successfully unfolding could increase the UK’s post-Brexit strategic isolation, especially if it results in a complementary Russian-EU rapprochement as well. Speaking of which, it might be more than a coincidence that the UK’s dangerous provocation against Russia occurred just hours before reports came in that French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel are considering inviting President Putin to a European leaders summit sometime in the coming future. The UK might have been tipped off and sought to sabotage it.

Readers should remember that the UK has been waging a fierce Hybrid War against Russia for the past couple of years. I hyperlinked to six of my relevant analyses in a piece two months ago asking “Are The British Behind Czechia’s Surprise Decision To Expel Russian Diplomats?”, which should at the very least be skimmed by anyone who’s interested in this topic. My argument is that empirical evidence very strongly suggests that the UK is acting as the US’ anti-Russian attack dog in continental Europe after Brexit, but considering the recent geopolitical twist of the publicly expressed desire from both Washington and Moscow to repair their immensely damaged relations after last week’s Geneva Summit, it’s entirely possible that London is “going rogue” to an extent. Either that, or it’s more powerfully under the influence of the remaining anti-Russian faction of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”).

The UK, just like Poland, mistakenly bet everything on the US continuing its anti-Russian grand strategic course. London invested heavily in expanding its hybrid capabilities in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE), in particular Latvia, from where it runs a regional disinformation network. It therefore might have understandably felt left in the lurch in light of recent developments. Not only that, but former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s leading role in the factually debunked Russiagate conspiracy theory’s origins hints at the close working relationship between British intelligence and the anti-Russian faction of the US “deep state”. It therefore wouldn’t be too surprising if the UK is continuing to act as the US’ anti-Russian attack dog in Europe, albeit at the orders of an increasingly less influential “deep state” faction as opposed to the American state itself. This would explain why it just dangerously attempted to provoke a security incident between two nuclear-armed Great Powers.

Keeping in mind the recent fast-moving developments in Russian-American relations and Russian-Western ones more broadly, it doesn’t seem all that likely that the UK will succeed unless the US’ anti-Russian “deep state” faction somehow surprisingly regains its influence at this decisive moment in time, whether due to this particular provocation or perhaps following subsequent ones that might soon be attempted by other disgruntled states like the Baltic ones, Poland, and/or Ukraine. Should this gambit fail like some expect it to, then the UK will only find itself more isolated than ever before from both the US and EU. It could also potentially serve as a deterrent to others like the ones that were mentioned in the preceding sentence unless they become even more desperate to attempt their own provocations. In any case, the Biden Administration must urgently regain control of its allies lest the most Russophobic among them ruin relations with Russia.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, UK, Black Sea, Crimea, New Cold War, US, New Detente, EU, Deep State.


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Franco-Russo Competition In The Central African Republic Doesn’t Have To Be Zero-Sum

Franco-Russo Competition In The Central African Republic Doesn’t Have To Be Zero-Sum

23 JUNE 2021

Franco-Russo Competition In The Central African Republic Doesn

France seems to regard its competition with Russia in the Central African Republic as a zero-sum game, but it doesn’t have to be like that since both Great Powers can contribute in their own way to that country’s development.

The French Foreign Minister dramatically claimed last week that “In the Central African Republic, there is a form of a seizure of power, and in particular of military power, by Russian mercenaries.” This came shortly after Paris suspended military and budgetary support to Bangui in response to accusations that the Central African Republic’s (CAR) government was complicit in an information warfare campaign against France that allegedly also involves Russia. That decision was preceded by French President Macron provocatively describing his CAR counterpart as a so-called “hostage” of Russian private military contractors (PMCs). These developments strongly suggest that France views its competition with Russia there as a zero-sum game, but it doesn’t have to be like that since both Great Powers can contribute in their own way to that country’s development.

For those readers who haven’t closely followed events in the CAR over the past few years, Russia has recently emerged as a major force there after providing military assistance to Bangui in full compliance with relevant UNSC Resolutions on the matter. I hyperlinked to 18 of my prior pieces over the years about this dimension of Moscow’s geostrategic “balancing” act in my article two months ago asking “Is Khodorkovsky Behind The Claims Of Russian Death Squads In The Central African Republic?” The one from June 2019 about how “Russia’s ‘Pivot To Africa’ Encroaches On France’s Traditional ‘Sphere Of Influence’” is the most topical to this particular analysis. It described how Russia’s “military diplomacy” through arms sales and PMC deployments in the name of “Democratic Security” (counter-Hybrid War tactics and strategies) is increasing its appeal throughout Africa.

This model was first practiced in the CAR where it’s currently being perfected. France practically abandoned its resource-rich but chronically impoverished former colony due to its seemingly intractable civil war, which created the opportunity for Russia to come to its assistance a couple of years ago and surprisingly make progress on stabilizing parts of the country. France fears the growing attractiveness of Russia’s “Democratic Security” model in its African “sphere of influence” since Moscow has proven that it’s more than capable of replacing some of the security assistance that Paris used to provide to its partners. The crucial difference between the two, however, is that Russia doesn’t make political demands of those countries. Nevertheless, there do seem to be some quid pro quos involved such as obtaining preferential access to certain resources.

Even so, Russia’s “Democratic Security” model is very flexible and tailored to meet the needs of its many partners across the continent. Moscow also has an interest in comprehensively strengthening ties with those countries too beyond the military and resource spheres in order to cultivate reliable allies. This is evidenced by its investments in the CAR’s social sphere and the emphasis on improving people-to-people ties. Russia knows that it can’t rely on inter-elite relationships indefinitely if it seriously aspires to become a meaningful geopolitical “balancing” force in Africa, hence its focus on improving the lives of its partners’ people for soft power’s sake. France has mostly neglected to do this since it took its partners for granted by doing for decades exactly what it dishonestly accuses Russia of nowadays, which is simply relying on elite patronage networks.

This explains why France is so furious with Russia’s strategic inroads in the CAR. The Eurasian Great Power is handling its African outreaches a lot better than the Western European one which has a centuries-long “sphere of influence” there stretching back to the colonial era. France will have to step its game up if it doesn’t want to lose more hearts and minds to Russia’s much more pragmatic approach across this strategic space. Alas, instead of learning these long-overdue lessons, France decided to punish the CAR by suspending military and budgetary assistance, which is speculated to have prompted a change in government there after the Prime Minister was replaced with someone who media reports claim is more acceptable to Paris. This observation can be seen as a pragmatic move on Bangui’s part since it doesn’t consider Franco-Russo competition to be a zero-sum game.

Ideally, France and Russia would contribute in their own way to developing and stabilizing their shared partner. For instance, France is still an impressive economic force to be reckoned with there, while Russia is the country’s newest and most reliable security provider. The legacy of French influence won’t be erased anytime soon so it’s fitting for the two countries to repair their relations, though not at the expense of Russian-CAR relations like some in Paris might hope. Russia doesn’t impose any ultimatums on its partners nor does it ever pressure them to reduce their ties with others so France should hopefully learn from this pragmatic policy if it truly aspires to retain and even expand its influence there. Punishing the CAR is counterproductive and confirms that Paris is behaving in a very condescending manner which implies a hierarchy between the two.

France will inevitably have to incorporate Russia into its newfound “Lead From Behind” stratagem across its “sphere of influence” that I wrote about last week when describing the evolution of its Operation Barkhane in the Sahel. The Western European Great Power’s prior model of hegemonic dominance over its partners is coming to an end as the world transitions to multipolarity. The ongoing New Cold War between the US and China is compelling the Global South countries in which they compete to actively search for third-party “balancing” forces like Russia. Their traditional partners, in this case France, don’t sufficiently meet their increasingly independent strategic needs. France still has a chance to retain its “sphere of influence”, but it must lean to “share” it with others like Russia otherwise it’ll lose its influence a lot faster than if it doesn’t.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, France, Central African Republic, Democratic Security, Balancing, Lead From Behind, New Cold War.


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