Russia, China reinvent their moorings in Central Asia

26 November 2020 — Indian Punchline

M.K. Bhadrakumar

Soldiers from US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division line up in a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III to parachute into a drop zone in Central Asia in a spectacular display of the longest distance airborne operation in military history, Chimkent, Kazakhstan, Sept. 15, 1997.

The United States, which was de facto assuming the historical role of Great Britain in the 19th century Great Game in Central Asia, was inclined to take a relaxed view of China’s return to the region in the first decade of the post-Soviet period. China’s rise had not yet become a compelling geopolitical reality in the Central Asian region or in world politics and the US’ global strategies.

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Return of Great Game in Post-Soviet Central Asia

24 November 2020 — Indian Punchline

M.K. Bhadrakumar

The Wakhan Corridor: A narrow strip of land in Eastern Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, 295 km long and 15 to 57 km wide, connecting Afghanistan with China and passing through the territory of Tajikistan, historically a buffer between Russian Central Asia and British India.

The recent Issue Brief by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission entitled The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: A Testbed for Chinese Power Projection takes a close look at the Chinese security footprint in Central Asia and its political dimensions. A perception has grown over the most recent years amongst great game watchers generally, especially the US analysts, that China is gobbling up Central Asia. On the contrary, this report takes a contrarian view.

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Biden’s “normalcy” means return of “ancien régime”

15 November, 2020 — Indian Punchline

by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and NSA Susan Rice after a meeting at the White House, Washington, DC. April 14, 2015

There has been a spate of reports in the American media that the US president-elect Joe Biden is assembling his cabinet of ministers. Most reports mention that Biden’s secretary of state will be Susan Rice, former US ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor in the Barack Obama administration. Reportedly, Biden’s choice for US defence secretary is likely to be Michele Flournoy, who had previously served as a senior defence adviser in Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s administrations. Continue reading

India’s farewell to ASEAN as it boards RCEP train

14  November 2020 — Indian Punchline

M.K. Bhadrakumar

A container ship at Shenzhen Port, China (File photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at the 17th ASEAN-India Summit on November 12 makes sad reading. It comes in the specific context of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP] on Sunday — the mega free trade agreement centred on the ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea.

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Biden Will NOT Be Soft On China; He’ll Continue Trump’s Aggressions

28 October 2020 — Caitlin Johnson

by Caitlin Johnstone

Hunter Biden’s former business associate Tony Bobulinski has given a lengthy interview on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, testifying about corrupt international business practices within the Biden family involving China and other countries, and allegedly involving Joe Biden himself while he was vice president.
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China 2020: An Introduction

1 October 2020 — Monthly Review

by

The history of capitalism has been punctuated by periodic struggles for hegemony over the world economy, leading to a centuries-long series of world wars.[1] In the twenty-first century, all signs are pointing to another such period of hegemonic struggle, this time between the United States and China, although complicated in this case by the unique, indeterminate aspects of the post-revolutionary Chinese social formation, which is neither entirely capitalist nor entirely socialist. In the words of the influential president of the Council of Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, a key architect of the “Imperial America” strategy of the George W. Bush administration, writing in August 2020, the “chances of a second cold war [with China] are far higher than they were just months ago. Even worse, the chances of an actual war…are also greater.” Nor is there any real doubt in Haass’s mind about the cause, which he refers to as the inevitable “friction between established and rising powers.”[2] The current U.S. trade war against China is explicitly designed to compel the multinational corporations in the triad of the United States/Canada, Europe, and Japan to remove the key production links in their global commodity chains from China and relocate them in low-wage countries subject to the dominant imperial sphere, such as India and Mexico, in an attempt to weaken China and reestablish unrivaled U.S. hegemony over the world economy.[3] Continue reading

Reconnaissance Flights and U.S.-China Relations

16 October 2020 — The National Security Archive

“Regrets,” But No Apologies

U.S. Aircraft Landings on Hainan Island, 1970 and 2001  

Washington, D.C., October 16, 2020 – Over the years, aerial and naval encounters have threatened to destabilize U.S-China relations as the two powers contest each other’s rights in international airspace and waters. A major incident occurred on 31 March 2001 (Washington time) when a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island after a Chinese People’s Liberation Air Force aircraft collided with it in international airspace, some 62 miles from Hainan.  Today, the National Security Archive is publishing for the first time “talking points” and position papers justifying the U.S. position in the EP-3 crisis prepared for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  The documents are part of a release of Rumsfeld “snowflakes” acquired through an Archive lawsuit against the Pentagon. Continue reading

Foundations for China’s and Russia’s mutual trust

10 October, 2020 — Asia Times

Moscow’s formalization of ties with Beijing, far from being a recent ‘pivot from Europe,’ has been developing for years

by MK Bhadrakumar

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (center) reviews a military honor guard with Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 8, 2018. Photo: AFP / Greg Baker

Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews a military honor guard with Chinese President Xi Jinping outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 8, 2018. Photo: AFP / Greg Baker

The following is the ninth installment of an extended report on one of the most important geopolitical developments of the 21st century: the increasingly comprehensive alliance between China and Russia and its implications for Eurasian and regional powers across the planet. To follow the series, click here. Continue reading

The limits of Chinese power

8 October, 2020 — Asia Times

By Pepe Escobar

Everything about US-China hinges on the result of the upcoming US presidential election.

Trump 2.0 essentially would turbo-charge its bet on decoupling, aiming to squeeze “malign” China on a multiple Hybrid War front, undermine the Chinese trade surplus, co-opt large swathes of Asia, while always insisting on characterizing China as evil incarnate.

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Why America’s economic war on China is failing

7 October 2020 — MROnline

and

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

U.S. President Donald Trump—supported by most of the U.S. establishment—deepened the U.S. government’s assault on the Chinese economy. The “trade war” seemed to play well with Trump’s political base, who somehow hoped that an economic attack on China would miraculously create economic prosperity for them. In 2018, Trump slapped tariffs on more than $200 billion worth of various Chinese goods. Then, Trump’s administration went after Chinese high-tech firms such as Huawei, ZTE, ByteDance (the owners of TikTok), and WeChat. Continue reading

The factors drawing Putin and Xi together

5 October 2020 — Asia Times

The two leaders believe external forces, especially the US, are interfering in their affairs

by MK Bhadrakumar

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) at a reception in Tianjin. Photo: AFP via Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a reception in Tianjin in 2018. Photo: AFP via Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin

The following is the eighth installment of an extended report on one of the most important geopolitical developments of the 21st century: the increasingly comprehensive alliance between China and Russia and its implications for Eurasian and regional powers across the planet. To follow this series, click here. Continue reading