Frustrated in its attempt to join the European Union, NATO-member Turkey last week signed up as a partner with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described the signing of the SCO cooperation agreement as an historic day for his country, saying Turkey is the first NATO state to establish such a relationship with the SCO. “If we look from a Cold War perspective,” he said, “these may seem like mutually exclusive institutions. However, the Cold War has ended. Turkey won’t be a slave of the Cold War logic.”
The Syrian Information Minister Omran Ahed al-Zouabi said in a new statement at his meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, Ilyas Umakhanov, that Syria wants to become a member of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa) and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in future.
Thus, Syria seeks to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as the membership in the emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in short BRICS.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Friday said that the memorandum of understanding signed with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was a declaration of “common destiny” as well as the beginning of a long journey that the organization and Turkey would walk hand in hand. Turkey and SCO signed a memorandum of understanding in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Davutoglu, who was on a formal visit to Kazakhstan met with Secretary General of the SCO Dmitri Mezentsev, and signed the MoU in regards to the cooperation to be carried out between Turkey and the organization as “dialogue partners.”
International defence experts have called on Arabian Gulf countries to establish military command systems able to exchange and share information at the click of a button. The calls were made yesterday at the C4ISR Summit (Command, Control, Communication, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) in Abu Dhabi. The GCC secretary general, Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani, told the summit that the GCC was politically in unison and called for the countries’ militaries to follow suit. “GCC countries have to be able to be integrated and interoperable to share intelligence and information and be ready to work together at a higher and more complete level,” he said.
The most significant geopolitical events of the past half century have been unanticipated. Not that we did not expect them, but they were supposed to happen in the distant future, not now.The North Korean regime could collapse in the same unexpected way, leaving shocked politicians, diplomats, and pundits to fend with its consequences. While it is comforting to believe that predictable rational calculation and self interest determine the course of human events, the most significant changes in the world order are heavily influenced by chance, personalities, emotions, and miscalculations.
A union of this nature, reminiscent of the so-called “phantom” and comparatively short-lived Periphery Doctrine adopted by prime minister David Ben-Gurion in 1958 but collectively revived, strengthened, and upgraded in the present context, would pool the military resources of these countries under a joint leadership to be agreed upon, and would have the potential of impeding the Turkish hegemon from acting belligerently in the region. (One can see how this rejuvenated policy would work by studying Israel’s covert military agreement with a resurgent Ethiopia and in its leveraging of its knowledge-based industries with many other countries, such as Brazil, Nigeria, China, and India.)
In mid-March, six CF-18s and more than 160 Canadian Forces personnel bunked down at a Cold War-era base just outside Reykjavik to kick off Operation Ignition, a periodic mission in which Canada takes its turn defending the island nation, which is the only NATO member without a single soldier or pilot on the payroll. Canadians will monitor radar, escort “unauthorized” aircraft out of Icelandic airspace and practice scrambling jets to “intercept and identify unknown airborne objects,” according to a statement by the Department of National Defense.
“Globalisation is out, regionalism is in! One could argue that we might need to thank the lasting economic crisis for at least a few sweeping developments on the global level: Amongst them, the awareness that the world is in no way as ‘flat’ as some contemporary thinkers made many believe.
Because resolution of crises may primarily originate from bi-and multilateral, often region-to-region forms of cooperation and free trade conditions that governments (and corporations) hope will stimulate economies.
NATO does not agree with the idea of Kosovo getting its own army, Priština-based Albanian language daily Koha Ditore writes. According to the daily, the main obstacle to the forming of the Kosovo army are four NATO member states that have not recognized Kosovo’s independence. “Kosovo can decide to turn the Security Force into Kosovo Army but NATO would not like such a step at all. The future status of the Kosovo Security Force is unclear and it remains a topic for debates within NATO,” a source told the daily.
Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times, unsuccessfully, to join theShanghai Cooperation Organization (informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three former Soviet Central Asian states (a fourth was added in 2001), the SCO has received little attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO to democracy to the U.S. dollar as reserve currency.
The present NATO-Armenia relationship is still in the phase of identification of goals rather than real regional partnership. As to real military cooperation, Armenia provides services to NATO without receiving military assistance, namely supply of weapons.
Armenia’s priority of its relation with NATO is political cooperation, identification of a form of cooperation which would allow avoiding isolation, prevent the use of the arena and mechanisms of NATO for isolation and blockade of Armenia. While Russia has not identified the nature of its claims to and concerns over NATO-Armenia rapprochement, there are no alternatives to further cooperation with the alliance.
Speaking on Turkish television the other night, the PM was asked about his country’s stalled and troubled European Union membership drive. Erdogan’s blunt bombshell of an answer suggested Turkey is considering dropping its EU bid in favor of joining the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “When things go so poorly, you inevitably, as the prime minister of 75 million people, seek other paths. That’s why I recently said to Mr. [Vladimir] Putin: ‘Take us into the Shanghai Five; do it, and we will say farewell to the EU, leave it altogether. Why all this stalling?’”
The Bank of England is prepared in principle to become the first G7 central bank to enter into a foreign exchange swap agreement with China, opening the door to another substantial step in moves to liberalize the yuan currency.
The bank’s executive director for banking services, Chris Salmon, told a meeting of senior bankers in London that the move was aimed at underpinning a developing offshore market in yuan trade out of London that Britain is keen to encourage.
More than a half century since it was established to confront the Cold War threat, North American Aerospace Defense Command is at a new crossroads as officials in the United States and Canada determine the capabilities it will need to confront emerging challenges and threats in the decades ahead.
Members of the Permanent Joint Board of Defense, the highest-level defense and security forum between the two countries, discussed the so-called “NORAD Next” concept during their meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., last month, Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. J.A.J. “Alain” Parent, NORAD’s deputy commander, told American Forces Press Service.
The African Union (AU) is ready to deploy extra troops in the Central African Republic if the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) requests it.
ECCAS is considering asking for an increased military presence in the country, where a peace-keeping mission of about 400 soldiers is already active. A rebel group known as Seleka, which began an offensive in the north on December 10, is now within 300 kilometers of the capital, Bangui.
The Prime Minister was accused of taking the first steps towards a single military force across the whole of Europe under a deal reached in Brussels on Friday. Leaders of all 27 EU countries promised to “strengthen” Europe’s ability to deploy troops “rapidly and effectively” in any future crisis.
They committed to “systematically considering cooperation” across Europe whenever EU member states begin drawing up their national defence plans.
Russia’s foreign policy will focus during the third term of Putin for integration in the post-Soviet space. Such a conclusion can be drawn from “the foreign policy concept of the Russian Federation”, developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The concept pays great attention to the CIS Customs Union, EurAsEC Eurasian Economic Union and the future), the CSTO and the Union State of RUSSIA and Belarus (which previously had raised the concept). It is expected that the intensive integration processes will join and Ukraine.
Russia Is Building Diplomatic and Military Tools to Prevent Western Resistance to its Eurasian Union
With so much economic and political influence, Russia will then be able to promote its preferred candidates in national elections along its periphery—and will basically own the national governments. Such an outcome would also trigger a diffusion into neighboring countries of Russia’s political system, which is a form of “smart authoritarianism” mimicking democratic institutions and processes. This type of governance forces its citizens to trade between some minimal level of social welfare assured by the government in exchange for giving up many individual freedoms.
Servicemen of the Russian military based deployed in Tajikistan will not be used for suppressing protests in Khorog [the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region] in the event of recurrence of them, Nikolai Bordyuzha, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “I completely rule out this, because Russian military contingent deployed in Tajikistan is intended to provide assistance to Tajikistan with repulsing external threats,”
The main concern at the conference was to identify the source of security threats against Bahrain in particular, and the Gulf Arab states in general. The results of the so-called “Arab Spring” — the popular Arab movement that took place, and is still taking place, in several Arab countries — were also topics of interest, especially amid continued domestic tension in Bahrain between the opposition and the government.
Until recently, German officials tended to down play divisions with Britain when pressed about its semi-detached stance on Europe. Not any more. Now they tend to make their irritation plain.
“If someone wants to leave, you can’t stop them,” said one senior German official, summing up a view in Berlin that the door is open if Britain really wants to quit the European Union.
Gold is now a strategic metal for present and future SCO governments, which between them have over 40% of the world’s population; and now that the price of gold is re-establishing its rising trend, understanding its future role as a replacement for the US dollar is increasingly urgent, because gold is wealth and this wealth is being transferred from west to east.
Sovereignty curtailed?: Armenia agrees to ask CSTO permission for hosting other states’ military facilities
On October 4, the Parliament ratified the Protocol on the Location of Military Installations in Collective Security Treaty Organization (OSCE) Member Countries that was signed still in December 2011 and under which Armenia is not entitled to host military forces or other infrastructure of other states without the permission of the CSTO, a Russia-led defense alliance
European Union chief Jose Manuel Barroso launched a campaign today to grab sweeping new powers for the bloc under the pretext of solving the EU economic crisis.
The European Commission president, who heads the EU’s powerful yet unelected 27-commissioner policy-making and enforcement body, used his annual state of the union address to its weak parliament to tell countries that they should get used to giving up power to Brussels.
Faced with global powers such as the United States and China, he claimed, “even the biggest European countries run the risk of irrelevance.”
The United States urged African nations to pool their air force assets in a NATO-style effort to take on terrorists and international criminals rather than struggle to fund costly independent operations.
Many African air forces are small components of the national military and Washington, concerned about Africa-based al Qaeda agents, traffickers and illegal fishing, wants to help improve cooperation across the continent.
General Philip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. Air Forces, Europe, told African air chiefs meeting in Senegal the situation meant any one nation would struggle to tackle groups operating across borders.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he is interested in the export of Ukrainian high-tech products to Asian countries and said Ukraine would like to get observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
He also said Ukraine would like to change its stance regarding natural gas imports from Russia.
He spoke while meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
It seems that a possible U.S. attack on Iran is at hand. In recent days, Iran is making frantic efforts to find allies to repel aggression. Last week, Secretary of Defense Persian state A. Vahidi made a sensational statement. According to the head of the military department, it’s time to create a “military alliance of Muslim countries to reflect external aggression to them, and to protect the Palestinian people.”
Observers immediately drew an analogy with the Russian-led military-political alliance CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization Security) and was named the alleged formation of a new “Islamic CSTO” . Recall that now the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty includes six countries: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan .
Strictly speaking, extending a formal U.S. security umbrella over the Gulf would require guarantees in the form of defense pacts with GCC states, or with the GCC as a whole. These security guarantees would have mutual or collective self-defense provisions, promising that an attack on any one member state would require a military response from them all. When a nuclear weapons state like the U.S. extends such guarantees, it implies a willingness to use its own nuclear weapons on behalf of its allies if that becomes necessary.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization will not interfere in the situation in Tajikistan, RIA Novosti quotes CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying.
“The processes occurring there are internal affair of Tajikistan and do not require intervention of collective forces,” Bordyuzha told reporters following a meeting in Minsk with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
The chairman of the Turkish party Saadat, Mustafa Kamalak, stated that it is necessary to establish an Islamic NATO and Islamic Peacekeeping Forces as soon as possible, SalamNews reports, citing the Turkish mass media.
The chairman of the party arrived in Morocco to participate in a session of the Justice and Development party. There he met the prime minister of Morocco, Abdelilyah bin Kiran, and the foreign minister, Saadeddin Al Osmani. At the session he proposed establishing an Islamic NATO.
First of all, the U.S. uses military exercise diplomacy to accelerate its eastward shift of strategic focus, and enhance its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. Since Obama took office, the U.S. has proposed a new approach to shift its strategic focus eastward, attempting to consolidate its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region and maintain its global dominance. Economically, the U.S. has set up an economic body outside the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) by actively promoting the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Negotiations between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are advancing over the creation of a Eurasian Union, which would abolish customs duties and unify economic policies amongst participating countries.
In February a Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) was established, with the fully ratified economic union expected to enter into force by 2015. The lengthy process of legal codification and harmonisation is under way.
Partisans of the European project invariably argue that nationalism leads to war and while the development of Europe will safeguard peace – a noble objective that is more than sufficient compensation for any loss in democracy, sovereignty and transparency caused by Brussels. However, this theory is fundamentally flawed.
Nationalism does not lead to war. Attempts to build European empires lead to war. The urge to impose a straitjacket on the will of peoples will leads to war. In short, the European project will lead to war.
Discussions have been held at a conference organized by the European Policy Centre in Brussels. The conference is associated with South Caucasus countries’ participation in the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijani official Asim Mollazade told Trend today.
While speaking at the conference, Mollazade said unresolved conflicts are the primary obstacle to the integration of South Caucasus countries in the Euro-Atlantic space. He stressed that international legal norms are not applied to resolve them.
He stressed that support should be expected from NATO and European countries to resolve these conflicts.
The foreign ministers stressed in the draft document that the EU was in need of new democratic structures due to the economic crisis and tendencies to make the monetary union irreversible.
They also advocate joint European protection of borders and support the joint foreign and security policy that could even include forming of an EU army.
The ten ministers also advocate a direct control of national budgets, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently requested with her fiscal union initiative.
According to the daily, they also want national parliaments to be more involved in the decision-making process in the EU.
Spain has put itself on a collision course with Europe’s paymasters, creating a situation that threatens the Euro more than Greece’s debts do. The reasons might not be entirely obvious but, in essence, Spain is telling Europe: humiliate us and the Euro party is well and truly over.
Here’s the logic, and emotion, of their position. Over the past 24 hours the mixed messages coming out of Madrid suggested both that Spain acknowledged it had nowhere left to turn other than a bailout. And at the same time insisted there would be no bailout – requested or accepted.
Taking into account that the European Union is currently beset with chaos due to uncontrolled euro monitoring, Latvia’s accession to the eurozone is at the worst possible moment, while the Bank of Latvia acts as if the country’s is already part of the euro area, former politician and project consultant Indulis Emsis (Greens/Farmers) pointed out in an interview with Nozare.lv.
Latvia prepares to join the eurozone at the worst possible moment. Euro advantages are beginning to fade, while euro shortcomings are manifesting themselves. If the crisis had not taken over several countries in southern Europe, the answer would be positive.
The World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA1 2012), which will kick off in Bangkok tomorrow, will gather senior government officials, top business executives and thought-leaders from the region to tap on future opportunities in order to achieve sustainable and equitable growth.
Singapore will be represented by S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.
In his turn, Omurbek Babanov, the first deputy prime-minister from Kyrgyzstan, has suggested that the proposed SCO Development bank could be helpful for implementation of major regional scale infrastructure projects, such as high-voltage power lines or the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan rail road construction. Whereas the Tajikistan’s prime-minister Akil Akilov believes that such a bank should provide support and incentives for weaker regional economies.
Wen Jiabao, the chairman of Chinese State Council, has urged to provide for free transit of goods, capital and services through the SCO territories, along with faster development of the regional infrastructure networks for transportation, energy and communication. In turn, China has committed itself to offer soft loans in support of infrastructure projects in the SCO states.
It was recently reported that U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) commander Adm. Bill McRaven and Deputy Director of Operations Brig. Gen. Sean Mulholland want to establish a worldwide network linking special operations forces (SOF) of allied and partner nations to combat terrorism.
If created, the network would comprise regional security coordination centres, organised and structured similarly to NATO SOF headquarters in Mons, Belgium.
According to Mulholland, these centres would not be command-and- control nodes but rather centres for education, networking and coordination to gain regional solutions for regional problems.
The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) is set to approve its first comprehensive strategic plan at its summit in Beijing next month, which could pave the way to upgrade the regional security group to an economic and geopolitical alliance as well.
The six-nation group’s June 6 meeting, in which it will likely adopt Afghanistan as an observer and Turkey as a dialogue partner, comes amid a recent push by the United States to increase its influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
The inclusion of the two nations and the effort to expand its scope has led some observers to wonder whether the SCO could develop into a fully fledged regional group, like Asean, or a platform to counter Nato’s influence.
A year ago this month, Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated the College for Defense of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) with a speech in which he called for the expulsion of U.S. intelligence agencies, a new military doctrine based on “asymmetrical war” against “imperialism” and the “abolition” of the U.N. Security Council. He also attacked the press, calling CNN a “tool of capitalism”,
ALBA is a Venezuelan-led association of anti-U.S. governments which also includes Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and some Caribbean island states dependent on Venezuelan oil subsidies. The fledgling alliance has been given little importance by U.S. intelligence analysts, who tend to dismiss it as a purely ideological entity.
The possibility of invoking the right to military protection of Turkish borders against threats from Syria under Article 5 of the NATO charter is still on Turkey’s agenda, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said, Today’s Zaman reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal said during a press briefing on Thursday that Turkey’s expectation from Syria is that it halts the violence as soon as possible to prevent further instability. Unal said: “However, we have many options on the table if this instability deepens. We have to determine these options in accordance with the developments we face. As you know, Article 5 of NATO is related to self-defense. So, this issue was mentioned in the past due to some incidents that occurred [along the Turkish border]. This is, of course, a matter which will remain on the agenda and it will still be assessed.”
ASEAN is at the center of these talks. The association has long sought to use its collective structure to give member states more power in economic and political negotiations with outside parties than any state could achieve alone. But ASEAN has taken a non-interference pledge and as a group has few political or military ambitions. The association lacks the economic, political or military heft of Asia’s two likelier centers — China and Japan.
The United States remains an influential power in Asia. Washington’s perceived effort to use regional alliances to contain China does affect Beijing’s behavior. However, the region has become more dynamic, especially as the regional center of gravity has shifted from Tokyo to Beijing over the past two decades.
Russia has given a call to speed up the process of India and Pakistan’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation, RIA Novosti reported.
The call was given by Russia’s acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while participating in a meeting of foreign ministers of the SCO member states in Beijing Friday.
He also said delaying the decision on their membership was “counterproductive”.
The SCO, set up in 2001, includes Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Senior Eurocrats are secretly plotting to create a super-powerful EU president to realise their dream of abolishing Britain and other nation states, UK media has revealed.
A covert group of EU foreign ministers has drawn up plans for merging the jobs currently done by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.
The new bureaucrat, who would not be directly elected by voters, is set to get sweeping control over the entire EU and force member countries into ever-greater political and economic union.
Staff numbers at embassies highlight EU interest in Turkey, China, the Western Balkans and in multilateral bodies, as well as member states’ ongoing reliance on bilateral diplomacy.
The EU’s top 10 delegations in terms of staff numbers are: Ankara (137), Beijing/Hong Kong (116), Moscow (102), Belgrade (100), Tel Aviv/Ramallah (97), Kiev (93), Sarajevo (92), New Delhi (87), Washington (86) and Nairobi (85). The EU also has 187 people posted to various branches of the UN, the WTO, the African Union, the OECD economic club and democracy watchdogs the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
The crisis-hit euro is teetering on the brink of collapse, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
In a significant vote of no-confidence, Tuesday’s report from the global financial organisation admitted the troubled European single currency had “flaws” and was at risk of a “disorderly default and exit by a euro area member”.
And it warned that a euro meltdown could be even more devastating for the world economy than the 2008 credit crunch, the express.co.uk reported.
The admission in the World Economic Outlook from the IMF came amid renewed fears that Spain could soon follow Greece, Portugal and Ireland in accepting a multi-billion pound international bail-out.
The U.S. Atlantic Council delegation is visiting Montenegro in order to assess the country’s current results regarding fulfillment of conditions necessary to join NATO.
Montenegro is a part of the NATO membership action plan and Montenegrin officials expect NATO to confirm the country’s “membership perspective” at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.
Wilson stressed that the upcoming summit was not an enlargement summit and concluded that Montenegro “still has a lot of work to do” before it is invited to join NATO.
On April 12, 2012, the Seventh Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO Member States was held in Beijing. Chinese State Councilor Meng Jianzhu chaired and spoke at the meeting.
Meng Jianzhu said that China is the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this year. The 7th Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO Member States, which marks the prelude to a series of SCO summits, has laid a solid foundation for the successful holding of the SCO summits this year and for the Organization to better perform the functions of safeguarding regional peace, security and stability in the next 10 years.
Mike Miller, an AT/FP instructor with Department of the Air Force, said it is important to build relationships with the country team and regional security officers due to the unique situation in Africa. To conduct current and future operations, the country team and RSOs are utilized to help conduct joint exercises and other operations.
“Inside AFRICOM (Africa Command), both U.S. Army Africa and U.S. Air Force Africa’s unique mission faces security challenges, and force protection has to be in the forefront, and to do that successfully, you have to have a good relationship with both DoD in-country and DoS. It was an excellent opportunity to get some training for all those organizations,” Miller, a Chicago, Ill. native, said.
The NATO juggernaut is rolling forward to next month’s summit in Chicago. A key theme of the summit will be improvements to the Alliance’s capability to defend its members and meet evolving threats. NATO has promised concrete deliverables in Chicago including a long-term capability strategy for the so-called “Smart Defense” initiative which focuses on greater prioritization, specialization and cooperation among the NATO members so as to improve actual military capabilities. NATO has already announced that this strategy will consist of three parts: what is called a tangible package of multinational projects to address critical capability shortfalls; a set of longer-term multinational projects that include missile defense, Alliance ground surveillance and air policing; and, strategic projects for 2020 covering areas such as joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and air-to-air refueling.
The last of the EurAsEC summit in Moscow demonstrated that for all the optimistic public statements, the integration processes are not advancing well in practice.
It was predicted that the summit will announce the replacement EurAsEC with full fledged Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). However, the results of the summit were more than modest – comprehensive agreement on formation of EEU can be signed only by January 1, 2015.
Two F-4 Phantom jet fighters under NATO control streaked off the runway at a former Soviet air base in Lithuania this week in response to a report that an aircraft had lost communications as it neared Finnish airspace.
It was all an exercise — a simulation — but one with a point beyond mere rehearsal: NATO officials hope that, at a summit in Chicago this May, member nations will put aside concerns over sovereignty and agree in principle to create joint defense capabilities.
The idea is that, in a time of dwindling defense budgets, it makes sense to have coordinated programs in which specific countries agree to buy certain weapons systems — and forgo others — to create a coherent whole.
The United States and Estonia will lead a groundbreaking new effort to support leaders in emerging democracies.
This was announced by the U.S. State Department after a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her visiting Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
The LEND Network (for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies) will leverage expertise from the Club de Madrid, the world’s largest forum of democratically elected former Presidents and Prime Ministers, and 21st century technologies developed by Google and OpenText to connect leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges of democratization with leaders in emerging democracies.
As it prepares to hold its latest annual summit in New Delhi on March 28-29, the BRICS grouping — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — remains a concept in search of a common identity and institutionalized cooperation.
That is hardly surprising, given that these countries have very different political systems, economies and national goals, and are located in very different parts of the world. Yet the five emerging economies pride themselves on forming the first important non-Western global initiative.
The lack of common ground among the BRICS has prompted cynics to call the grouping an acronym with no substance.
A new position – special representative of President of Russia in Abkhazia has emerged simultaneously in Russia and Abkhazia. In political vocabulary of the 19th century such post was called “viceroy” while in modern it is called “governor.” On March 16, 2012 governor of the Krasnodar Territory Alexander Tkachev was appointed on this post. He will work on both these two positions.
Appointment of Tkachev was not accompanied by “instructions” – functional responsibilities that he will be given in relations to Abkhazia, “independence” of which Moscow recognized in 2008 after yet another invasion of Georgia and another ethnic cleansing in other occupied region – Tskhinvali. Therefore, analysts will have to make an effort to learn a true purpose of this appointment. The more so that “Russian ambassador” Semyon Grigoryev is already working in Abkhazia.
Global Intelligence & Information Grid Goes Online: DI2E framework aims for streamlined intelligence sharing
If everything goes according to plan, sometime in the next few years the Defense Department and intelligence community members will begin reaping the benefits of a common cross-agency environment that’s designed to help users access and use a wide range of essential intelligence resources.
The planned Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) framework seeks to integrate currently disconnected systems, information, teams, tools and other technologies into a tightly unified environment. The common system will enable users to securely add, access and share information and other intelligence resources anytime, anywhere.
India’s proposal to set up a bank of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will top the agenda at the summit of the group in New Delhi Mar. 28.
India believes a joint bank would be in line with the growing economic power of the five-nation group. The bank could firm up the position of BRICS as a powerful player in global decision-making.
“The BRICS bank does not need much capital for a start,” Alexander Appokin, senior expert at the Moscow- based Centre for Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting tells IPS. “What is more important is that the BRICS development bank presents a unique opportunity for indirect investment of central bank foreign reserves inside the countries.”
Heads of state from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine are among those gathering for a regular summit of the Eurasian Union in Moscow.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said further economic integration among states of the former Soviet Union will be discussed.
According to ITAR-TASS, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych will attend as an observer.
You were the representative of the RA Armed Forces to NATO for many years. Now Armenia merely implements different programs with NATO, without being a member of this alliance. In your opinion, is the membership of Armenia to NATO expedient for Armenia?
Before dwelling on the main question, I would like to note that Armenia is not merely implementing different programs with NATO as you say but participates in the International Security Assistance led by NATO, sometimes outnumbering the troops of some NATO member states, provides structured advice on political, security and defense issues, organizes military exercise, and recently the first North-Atlantic Council + Armenia meeting has been held in which the president of Armenia participated. We have high-level relations with NATO, and the implemented programs are systemic and are related to the defense reforms in Armenia.
Indonesia intends to join BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), Indonesian Ambassador in Moscow Djauhari Oratmangun said on Wednesday, March 7.
He noted Russia’s activity in the international arena, placing a special emphasis on BRICS and said that his country intends to join this group.
Experts think that Indonesia will reach the high BRICS standards in many fields in the coming years. Some analysts expect BRICS to be transformed into BRIICS.
The admission of such a strong regional player as Indonesia, which has the world’s fourth largest population, can help expand the organisation’s influence to Southeast Asia and the Islamic World (Indonesia plays an active role in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).
An independent Scotland could apply to join Nato and build close defence links with other north European countries, in a dramatic shake-up of the Scottish National party’s defence strategy.
It is understood that scrapping the SNP’s longstanding opposition to membership of the US-dominated alliance in protest at its emphasis on nuclear weapons is being considered by the Scottish government in advance of the independence referendum.
Senior sources have said the SNP is seeking to forge close ties with Norway and Denmark, both full members of Nato.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev recently met Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels at NATO headquarters and addressed the North Atlantic Council, news agencies reported.
Rasmussen said he is pleased to welcome President Aliyev at NATO Headquarters. He highly appreciated Azerbaijani-NATO partnership and congratulated the Azerbaijani leader on the election of Azerbaijan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Rasmussen also praised Azerbaijan’s involvement in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force
We’ve known, or at least some of us have asserted, for some time now that the best thing for Greece would be a default and exit from the euro. The country simply cannot pay its current debt burden so default of some kind is the only option. And my view has been that growth won’t return until they are outside the euro and thus able to depreciate the currency.
However, we’ve all also been assuming that the powers that be (the IMF, the ECB, the EU itself) want to keep Greece inside the euro. And it may be that that assumption either has been wrong or is becoming so. For there’s an increasing suspicion that the negotiations are being manipulated to makeGreece default and leave rather than prevent it from doing so.
At this juncture, an agreement on this scale would be very difficult. Bretton Woods was made possible because of the limited number of participants and the urgency of wartime. Much of Europe was under Nazi occupation and could not take part; the Soviet Union had little intellectual input; and the developing world was consulted on a fairly cursory basis. The Americans were in charge, but listened to John Maynard Keynes out of respect for his intellect.
A modern agreement would have to get consensus from the U.S., China, the European Union, India, Brazil, and so on. This would be tricky. But perhaps there could be an arrangement less formal than Bretton Woods. In November 2010, Robert Zoellick, a former U.S. Treasury official who runs the World Bank, wrote of a concept in which countries would agree on structural reforms to boost growth, forswear currency intervention and build a “co- operative monetary system.”
On December 20, 2011, members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) reached an agreement that makes it impossible for any individual country in the group to host a foreign military base on its territory without the full consent of all other members of the organization. The initiative empowers Russia to veto any foreign basing plans in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Hence, the move serves as a continuation of Russia’s efforts to counteract the influence of the US military and reassert its own role in its immediate neighborhood (Interfax, December 21).
Most Americans associate a covert action with the CIA, not the Fed. But that’s exactly what Ben Bernanke did at the end of November.
The Fed chief authorized a coordinated action that lowered pricing on US “dollar swaps” by 50 basis points (0.5 percent) to its key allies in central banking. The Bank of England, the ECB, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of Canada are each a party to the agreement.
China and Japan will soon conduct bilateral trade directly in yuan. In 2010, trade between the two countries amounted to 260 billion euros. Could the Chinese yuan emerge as the second world currency after the dollar?
All signs point to the Chinese yuan emerging as a second world currency after the US dollar. A key step in this development was taken in late December when China and Japan agreed to conduct future bilateral trade directly in the Chinese currency.
Asia-Pacific, as the name suggests, refers to a large part of the earth, whereby countries and continents surround the vast Pacific Ocean. More than being merely a geographical entity, this region has many strategic, economic & political connotations to it. Groupings like ASEAN, ASEAN+3, EAS, APEC etc. provide the various contexts in which the politics, economics and security of the region is defined.
Importance of this region can be gauged from the fact that the countries in Asia-Pacific account for over 40% of the world’s population, 55% of the world’s GDP and about 45% of global trade. And these numbers are rapidly growing.
“Normally, Russia is a spoiler in international relations. It wants a global role. It wants to sit astride the world stage and act as it used to be able to do. And it can still do that to a certain extent. But for the most part, it acts as a spoiler or a counterweight to the West, at best,” said Nixey.
The world has changed a lot since the fall of the Soviet Union. China has become a major world power. The European Union has expanded into the old Soviet sphere of influence, and may go farther into the former Soviet Union itself. Militant groups have sought new benefactors.
he Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) today announced that no-one will be able to establish military bases on the territory of a CSTO member state without the express agreement of all other member states.
In practice, this is a setback for the United States, who will find it next to impossible to establish a new base in Central Asia once the lease on the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan expires in 2014, and a boost to Russia who, as a CSTO member state, has a veto on the construction of future bases.
The decision was taken at a meeting of all seven CSTO members – Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
In order to implement the ultimate objective it was deemed necessary:
- To unite representative of the media of the post-Soviet space, which against the background of the last 20 years of political battles and geopolitical changes, is not easy;
- To begin establishing relations with a view of their subsequent strengthening, which in turn implies choosing relevant, more or less favourably disposed to the Kremlin media sources in these countries – and this too is not easy;
- Gradual selection of participants in the project framework and awakening a favourable approach toward Russia in them, as well as a desire to participate in future meetings and the timing of the announcement of final objectives
The unthinkable is becoming possible. Until recently, the breakup of the euro area seemed nothing but an illusion, but suddenly this possibility is a clear and evident danger. If the euro area is to be broken up, it should be done as amicably, cleanly, symmetrically —and as fast as possible.
A collapse of the euro only a dozen years after its introduction would be a great folly. But as Wolfgang Munchau of the Financial Times has pointed out, such a risk is steadily rising and policymakers need to consider how to minimize the damage of such an economic disaster.
Collapses of currency zones are usually very painful, and a dissolution of the euro area will be no exception.
What if they threw a giant party for the Americas and didn’t invite the United States or Canada? That’s what Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is doing with a two-day, 33-nation summit starting Friday, welcoming nations from Brazil to Jamaica in what he hopes will be a grand alliance to counter U.S. influence.
Many presidents have less sweeping goals in mind, seeing the new Community of Latin American and Caribbean States mainly as a forum for resolving regional conflicts, building closer ties and promoting economic development.
Yet the bloc’s creation is also a sign that for many countries, the United States is no longer seen as an essential diplomatic player in regional affairs.
yria has suspended its participation in the Mediterranean Union in retaliation for punitive measures against its regime by European states, state media said on Thursday.
“Syria is suspending its membership in the Mediterranean Union in response to European measures taken against it,” said a statement carried by the official SANA news agency.
Syrian state television meanwhile accused the European Union of “taking a series of measures which constitute a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and patent interference in the internal affairs of Syria.”
All European governments are in danger of having their credit ratings slashed due to the eurozone debt crisis, the influential agency Moody’s has warned.
Several countries could end up having their ratings cut to so-called ‘junk’ status — a highly risky rating usually only given to heavily indebted companies.
Moody’s said the credit standing of all European governments was under threat, adding that while it believed the eurozone would remain intact, countries could still lose their prized credit ratings.
The 10th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of governments meeting will take place on November 7 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The prime minister of Pakistan will participate in the meeting at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Alexander Putin. The Organization, originally founded in 2001 has evolved into an effective mechanism over the years to enable its member states trans-act on strategic regional issues and economic development. The issues confronting the region are too strategic to be solved by a single country without cooperation from others and hence the need for creation of SCO (originally known as Shanghai five) by China and Russia.
The Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russia’s foremost national policy think tank, forecast in a special report that North Korea will be absorbed by South Korea between 2021 to 2030, entering a de facto stage of reunification. The IMEMO report, which projects global trends until 2030, was published in September.
The report says that the transfer of power from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to his third son Jong-un will lead to a power struggle between “bureaucrats” with foreign business connections and “military and security officials” with no outside links. This will result in the creation of an interim government in North Korea under the control of the international community, leading to steps to disarm the North and modernize its economy.
Georgia’s second-most-powerful man vows that his country will not drag NATO into a war with Russia if accepted into the Western alliance, saying that the chance of another confrontation with Moscow is far lower than it was before their 2008 conflict.
“We made a unilateral commitment to nonuse of force, so there is no way we will become a problem for NATO in terms of Article 5 or in terms of a possible military confrontation between Georgia and Russia,” David Bakradze, speaker of theGeorgia Parliament, said in an interview with The Washington Times.
Pressed on the preparations, Mr Hoban added that the Treasury was “contingency planning for a whole range of outcomes”.
Asked if the Coalition would rule out ever joining the euro, Mr Hoban replied: “I don’t think there is any intention for us to join the euro at a time when it is breaking up.”
Treasury officials insisted that he had been speaking conditionally and had not meant that the euro was fragmenting.
However, eurozone leaders publicly admitted that the exit of some euro members was now possible.
Russia and China would like to seek India and Pakistan among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, October 31, after a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin and his Chinese counterpart Cheng Guoping.
“The sides called for accelerated SCO enlargement in keeping with the decisions of the Council of the SCO Heads of State made in Astana in June,” the ministry said, referring to admission of India and Pakistan as members and Afghanistan as an observer, and granting of the status of dialogue partner to Turkey.
Iran’s influence in Iraq and Syria, wielded directly and indirectly through powerful proxies such as the hardline Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, may be expected to grow in the wake of the US pullout. This will not only encourage Assad to hang on; it is also likely to increase tensions between Iran and neighbouring, pro-western Gulf Co-operation Council states.
Hence the third pillar of the Pentagon’s evolving strategy, as disclosed by the New York Times: a plan to develop new “security architecture” that would potentially conjoin Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman with the US in a sort of Middle East “mini-Nato”. Just as Nato was created to counter the Soviet threat, so this new grouping’s main aim in life would be to push back against Iran.
As the eurozone crisis continues to dominate European political business, Gunnar Wetterberg, an analyst at white collar union Saco, has stated the case for a Nordic Union and currency, to counter the threat of a euro collapse.
Wetterberg argued in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily on Tuesday that a federal Nordic state would enable Scandinavian countries to be more resilient in the face of global financial storms.
“A united Scandinavia would be far stronger in the face of the outside world than the five countries individually, while an increasingly common domestic market would provide significantly better growth than today,” Wetterberg argued.
NATO officials say they are willing to “cooperate” with Russia in the US missile defense system, while balking on the possibility of building a single system.
Unfortunately, NATO on Tuesday once again refrained from putting its money where its mouth is, offering Moscow cheap words, as opposed to priceless action when it comes to a genuine partnership in the construction of a European missile defense system, which the US says is needed to protect Europe from a ‘rogue’ missile strike. . . .
Despite its financial rise on the back of its natural resource wealth, Indonesia is saddled with myriad social, environmental and poverty problems. Tens of millions live on less than $1 per day. The country is widely cast as the poster country for deforestation issues and species endangerment. And education is a problem: less than half of poor Indonesian children complete secondary school.
Solutions, though, abound and create both social and financial opportunities. Land conservation programs that pay locals NOT to chop trees; outreach facilities in Jakarta slums; and school facilities for students are all worthy causes that are being structured as businesses.
India’s hopes of obtaining Chinese backing for a seat in the United Nations Security Council came up against a rock with the Chinese foreign ministry saying on Wednesday that it was seriously considering Pakistan’s case for the coveted place.
China attaches great importance to Pakistan’s request for a seat on the UN Security Council, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. She said Beijing is in favour of Pakistan playing a bigger role in maintaining international peace and security. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners, Jiang noted at a news briefing.
One of the most prominent US statesmen and scholar, Henry Kissinger, has said Turkey can play a significant role in the region at a time of shifting circumstances but also warned the newly emerging nation not to cross American vital interests in the region.
“Turkey will fill part of a regional void left by the US as it withdraws from Iraq and, eventually, Afghanistan,” Kissinger was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying during a conference in İstanbul on Thursday. However, he added that Ankara should be careful not to cross Washington’s vital interests in the region.
FOR the typical American, the past decade has been economically brutal: the first time since the 1930s, according to some calculations, that inflation-adjusted incomes declined. By 2010, real median household income had fallen to $49,445, compared with $53,164 in 2000. While there are many culprits, from declining unionization to the changing mix of needed skills, globalization has had the greatest impact.
Yes, globalization. The phenomenon that free traders like me adore has created a nation of winners (think of those low-priced imported goods) but also many losers.
The US delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly supports granting a membership action plan (MAP) to Georgia, the delegation’s chair has said.
“On behalf of the US NATO Parliamentary Assembly Delegation I would like to firmly support the aspirations of the Georgian people and their government to join NATO,” Congressman Michael Turner said in a statement.
“The NATO enlargement process has been a historic success in advancing stability, security, democracy, the rule of law, cooperation and the common goal of a whole, free Europe, united in peace.”
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he wants to bring ex-Soviet states into a “Eurasian Union” in an article which outlined his first foreign policy initiative as he prepares to return to the Kremlin as the country’s next president.
Putin said the new union would build on an existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan which from next year will remove all barriers to trade, capital and labor movement between the three countries.
In our recent report on an Asian alliance structure for the 21st century—principally authored by my colleague Dan Blumenthal—we argued that in order to balance against China’s rising power, the United States should work towards a more tightly knit grouping of allies in Asia. We attempted to preempt the conventional counter-argument—that “the allies would never choose sides between the United States and China”—by pointing to the military modernization that is happening across the board in Asia: countries in East, Southeast, and South Asia are all fielding new, more modern capabilities in response to China’s own build-up. As we wrote, it looks to us as if “the allies have made a choice without being asked: they are balancing against China’s power.”
Unofficial sources have announced that Iran, Russia, and China are currently holding talks on a proposal to establish a joint missile defense shield as a counterweight to a NATO defense shield, according to a recent report.
The report, which was published in the Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan on Sunday, said that the sources cited two reasons why serious consultations have been held on the initiative.
A couple of weeks ago, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmahinejad visited Dushanbe, and Tajikistan’s defense minister Sherali Khairulloyev made a statement that raised some eyebrows around the region:
“Today, if necessary, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces can reach Tajikistan in two hours, and if a military presence of the Tajik side in the similar plans and programs of the Islamic Republic is necessary, the representative units of Tajikistan’s Armed Forces are also ready to travel to Iran,” Khairulloyev said…
The Central Asian state of Kazakhstan will integrate its national airspace defences into a joint network led by Russia, senior Russian and Kazakhstan army officers said Thursday.
‘We already have bilateral systems in operation with Belarus and Armenia, and in the future there will be one with Kazakhstan as well,’ said Valery Gerasimov, vice chief of Russian army staff, according to the Interfax news agency.
Saken Zhasuzakov, Kazakhstan’s vice minister of defence, in comments reported from the Russian city of Ashuluk, said his country’s government already was purchasing late-model Russian air defence weaponry, and after the kit was fielded the two country would defend their airspace jointly.
A common challenge to all of us is inherent in the ongoing transformation of global politics.
Let me begin with three broad assertions, then briefly elaborate on each of them, and conclude by making a modest proposal.
― First, global peace is threatened not by utopian fanaticism, as was the case during the 20th century, but by the turbulent complexity inherent in the volatile phenomenon of global political awakening;
― Second, comprehensive and enduring social progress is more attainable by democratic participation than by authoritarian mobilization;
― Third, in our time global stability can be promoted only by larger-scale cooperation, and not through imperial domination.
The days when a foreign correspondent occasionally felt like George Smiley died with the fall of the Berlin Wall. But in South America, if you squint, those old John Le Carré days of Russian espionage can sometimes seem as though they are back – at least if the Gazprom representative that I met recently in Bolivia is anything to go by. With his watery smile, impeccable manners and icy handshake, he seemed to have stepped out of KGB central casting.
It’s all part of the BRIC “great game” in South America. The Chinese are there, and so too the Indians. Brazil, the regional hegemon, is of course all over it. The only BRIC nation missing, so far, has been Russia. Yet that now may be changing. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has just called for a new “stage in Russian-Latin American relations”. For the past 50 years or so, security has been Russia’s great calling card in the region. That has mostly meant Cold War listening posts in Cuba (since abandoned), or more recently multi-billion dollars arms sales to Venezuela. Now, by contrast, it’s mostly about energy – which Latin America has abundance.
High-ranking officials from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations and experts on Friday called for the establishment of a massive free-trade area (FTA) across the region to facilitate trade among one-fourth of the world’s population.
“China believes the relevant parties should make full use of the current mechanism and discuss the feasibility of setting up an FTA among SCO member nations,” said Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce, in a speech at the SCO Business Day in the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
The event is a branch of the ongoing first China-Eurasia Expo, which was launched on Thursday in the northwestern city. China has demonstrated its commitment to further developing the remote western area by upgrading a trade fair with a 19-year history in Urumqi into the annual national-level Expo this year.
Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Sunday called for the creation of a “United States of Europe,” saying the bloc needed a common government to avoid future economic crises.
Schroeder, a Social Democrat who ran the country from 1998 to 2005, said in an interview with Der Spiegel that European Union leaders were wrong to expect the euro to drive the bloc on its own.
“The current crisis makes it relentlessly clear that we cannot have a common currency zone without a common fiscal, economic and social policy,” Schroeder said.
He added: “We will have to give up national sovereignty.”
The U.S. and Canada plan to harmonize regulations governing the most-heavily traded products, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson said, one day after a report showed some Canadians are uneasy with the idea.
The two countries will release more details over the next several weeks on the “first tranche” of industries where conflicting regulations will be harmonized, Jacobson said in an Aug. 30 interview with Bloomberg News. He didn’t elaborate on specific products.
“It’s fair to say that we want to focus on areas where there is more trade, because the more trade that we focus on, the more jobs that we’re going to create in this process,” Jacobson said.
The effort will focus on streamlining “dumb” regulations that are “different because they’re different,” said Jacobson, 59, who took office as ambassador in October 2009.