US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Asia Times


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"Shock news! North Korea has missiles! And tunnels!"

Andrew Salmon hält die Berichterstattung der New York Times und anderer US-Medien über nordkoreanische Raketen- und Militäranlagen für reißerisch. Die Reaktion der Regierung in Südkorea auf die jüngsten Berichte sei bezeichnend: "Seoul is not always convincing when it comes to reaction to media reports, but the Blue House spokesman did the business. There is no 'deception' in play, he said, 'given that [North Korea] has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report.' The Blue House added – credibly, I think – that the existence of the missile bases is known to the military/intelligence communities in Seoul and Washington. (...) North Korea often brings out the worst in journalists: Lazy hacks can write virtually any nonsense, confident that they will not be refuted. Hence the ludicrous yarns – for example, about officials being ripped apart by dogs as a form of execution – carried in media. (That latter 'story,' incidentally, originated as a joke on the Chinese Internet). (...) Perhaps the piece was designed to attack US President Donald Trump’s (admittedly somewhat blasé) approach to North Korea. If so, it seems disingenuous – and that is putting it kindly."

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"In Yemen, plenty of food but few have the cash to buy it"

Saeed Al-Batati, der als freier Journalist in Mukalla im Süden Jemens arbeitet, schreibt, dass das Land nicht aufgrund eines Mangels an Nahrungsmitteln, sondern aufgrund der durch den Krieg verschärften Massenarmut und eines starken Währungsverfalls vor einer Hungersnot stehe. "As people struggle to cope with deteriorating living standards, the Yemeni government appears unable to prevent the currency from falling further. But it announced that it would provide local traders with 'subsidized dollars' so they can continue to import essential goods. Residents, traders and government officials are stuck in the same dilemma, saying the country is not suffering a shortage of food, but a lack of cash. 'There is food security, but people cannot afford to buy it due to the fall of the currency,' Faris Bin Hilabi, a local wheat trader, told Asia Times, adding that excessive bureaucracy by the central bank has hindered traders from receiving the 'subsidized dollars' on time."

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"Is Trump set to give away the store in Korea?"

Bradley K Martin fürchtet, dass US-Präsident Trump in den Verhandlungen mit Nordkorea eine "zynische Abkürzung" nehmen könnte, um einen kurzfristigen Erfolg präsentieren zu können. "As my friend speculated about the president, 'Basically he would take whatever looks good enough superficially to claim a win and get out. Doesn’t care about the balance of power, protection of South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, doesn’t care about the longer-term effects of China-baiting, and has just decided that to be able to claim to have ended the Korean War will be enough.' Once Kim Jong Un 'makes a few concessions,' my friend forecasts, 'some ‘concrete steps toward reunification’ of the Koreas' will be announced. From that point, 'the Kim dynasty continues happily along, and no one is the wiser… Alfred E. Neuman running the world – 'What, me worry?'' Don’t say you haven’t been warned."

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"US, China thrusting towards a new Cold War"

Richard Javad Heydarian warnt, dass die amerikanisch-chinesischen Scharmützel an den politischen, wirtschaftlichen und strategischen Frontlinien schnell zu einem offenen Kalten Krieg zwischen den beiden Supermächten eskalieren könnten. Die Bühne für eine militärische Konfrontation wäre dabei wahrscheinlich das Südchinesische Meer. "China apparently views its roiled relations with the US as an existential struggle, with the ongoing trade war seen as part of a broader containment strategy Washington is now intensifying through military means in the South China Sea. (...) In recent months, Beijing has militarized several features it claims in the South China, raising concerns it aims to impose an aerial defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the crucial waterway. In the skies, the US has countered China’s expansive claims through the recent deployment of B-52 bombers as part of a 'continuous bomber presence' in the South China Sea, a policy China has characterized as 'provocative.' At the same time, Washington is ramping up its defense cooperation with regional partners in the region, including Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom. South Korea may also be entering the fray."

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"EU finally stands up to US 'bullying' over Iran sanctions"

Pepe Escobar meint, dass der Beschluss der EU, den USA durch die Bildung einer neuen Finanzgesellschaft zur Umgehung der Iran-Sanktionen aktiv entgegenzutreten, künftig als "schicksalhafter geopolitischer Augenblick" betrachtet werden könnte. "This single initiative means Brussels is attempting to position itself as a serious geopolitical player, openly defying the US and essentially nullifying the Iran demonization campaign launched by the White House, CIA and State Department. (...) It may have taken a few months, but the EU-3 have finally realized what Moscow and Beijing already knew: any business with Iran – which is in the interest of all players – must bypass the US dollar. So now we come to a situation where the EU-3 will set up a multinational, state-backed, financial mechanism to help European companies conduct business with Iran in euros – and thus away from US financial enforcers. (...) EU diplomats have conveyed to Asia Times a mood of absolute exasperation with the Trump administration in Brussels. A diplomat sums up the sentiment: 'We are not going to be bullied by extra-territorial interference anymore. The JCPOA was the first EU foreign policy success. We worked very hard for it, and we are determined that the agreement won’t be undermined under any circumstances.'"

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"Here comes the 30-year trade war"

Die Verhängung neuer US-Zölle auf Importe aus China sei Teil einer Strategie der ökonomischen Kriegsführung, stellt Pepe Escobar fest. Der Handelskrieg zwischen beiden Ländern habe einen geopolitischen Hintergrund und könnte deshalb Jahrzehnte dauern. Peking könnte diese Strategie nach Ansicht des Alibaba-Gründers Jack Ma mit einem stärkeren Fokus auf die beteiligten Länder der Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) beantworten. "The Trump administration plan (...) has three basic targets: - Displace China from the heart of global supply chains. - Force companies to source elsewhere in the Global South all the components necessary for manufacturing their products. - Force multinational corporations to stop doing business in China. The overarching concept is that unending confrontation with China is bound to scare companies/investors away. (...) Jack Ma, also hinted at a bigger picture, when he said that to counter the trade war, China should focus exports across the New Silk Roads/Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), specifically mentioning Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe."

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"Greater Eurasia coming together in the Russian Far East"

Pepe Escobar betrachtet die zuletzt auf dem Eastern Economic Forum in Wladiwostok bekräftigte Annäherung Russlands und Chinas als Teil einer weiterreichenden Integration Eurasiens. In den Debatten in Wladiwostok sei es u.a. um eine logistische Vernetzung der Region gegangen. "Roundtable topics this year included integration of the Russian Far East into Eurasian logistic chains; once again the Russian link-up with the Koreas – aiming to build a Trans-Korean railway connected to the Trans-Siberian and a 'Pipelineistan' branch-out into South Korea via China. Other topics were the Russia-Japan partnership in terms of Eurasian transit, centering on the link-up of the Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) upgrades to a projected railway to the island of Sakhalin, and then all the way to the island of Hokkaido. The future: Tokyo to London, seamlessly, by train. (...) Essentially this is all about the simultaneous build-up of a growing East-West and also North-South axis. Russia, China, Japan, the Koreas and Vietnam, slowly but surely, are on their way to solid geoeconomic integration. (...) Contrary to misinformed or manipulated Western hysteria, the current Vostok war games in the Russian Far East’s Trans-Baikal, including 3,000 Chinese troops, are just a section of the much deeper, complex Russia-China strategic partnership. This is all about a matryoshka: the war game is a doll inside the geoeconomic game."

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"White House agrees to second summit with Kim"

Das Weiße Haus hat dem nordkoreanischen Ersuchen um ein zweites Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong-un zugestimmt. "The summit – for which no place or date has yet been set – comes at a critical time. Pyongyang and Washington are currently deeply divided over the former’s denuclearization. While the two agreed on the key issues of improving relations and denuclearizing North Korea during their summit in Singapore in June, their post-summit declaration contained no details or timelines as to how it would be achieved. As a result, the euphoria over the summit quickly evaporated as no mutually agreed-upon denuclearization process has yet begun. While the American side seeks a full list of nuclear assets and facilities, the North Korean side is seeking a peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War."

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"Russia’s fleet to counter US moves ahead of Syrian offensive"

Im Vorfeld der erwarteten Offensive syrischer Regierungstruppen zur Rückeroberung der Idlib-Provinz hat Russland vor der syrischen Mittelmeerküste der Asia Times zufolge zahlreiche Kriegsschiffe zusammengezogen. Das russische Verteidigungsministerium habe zuvor auf die Entsendung eines amerikanischen Zerstörers ins Mittelmeer hingewiesen. "Up to 11 Russian warships have crossed the Bosphorus as tensions between the US and Syria continue to rise. 'It included at least 10 vessels and two submarines – with more on the way,' the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia stated, adding that most of the flotilla is carrying Kalibr cruise missiles. If the reports are correct, this would be the biggest task force sent by President Vladimir Putin’s government since Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict in 2015. (...) On Aug. 25, the USS Ross entered the Mediterranean, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The guided-missile destroyer is armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting any target in Syria. 'This suggests the US is about to launch military action in support of rebels fighting against Assad’s regime,' Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian MoD, said on Monday. The deployment of the Russian fleet coincides with Trump’s threat to strike Assad’s army ahead of the Idlib offensive."

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"China’s ‘Private Army’ prowls the ‘New Silk Road’"

China schützt sein globales Investitionsprojekt der Neuen Seidenstraße Gordon Watts zufolge auch mit Hilfe privater paramilitärischer Sicherheitsunternehmen. "It has been described as China’s 'Private Army.' Fueled by growing demand from domestic companies involved in the multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, independent security groups are expanding in the country. In 2013, there were 4,000-registered firms, employing more than 4.3 million personnel. By 2017, the figure had jumped to 5,000 with staff numbers hovering around the five-million mark. Many of these operatives are former People’s Liberation Army veterans, who have been recruited by security companies closely linked to 'New Silk Road' projects."

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"Tragedy of Korean divided families captured on camera"

Andrew Salmon berichtet über die erste Zusammenführung von Familien aus Nord- und Südkorea seit 2015. "Following an agreement at the April summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, family reunions took place this afternoon in the South Korea-established resort in Mount Kumgang in southeastern North Korea. Eighty-nine South Koreans out of some 57,000 eligible persons with family members on the north side of the border were chosen, by a government-run lottery, for today’s reunion. Four other persons had also been chosen to go but were unable to make the trip at the last minute due to health issues. One hundred eighty-nine North Koreans are expected to join them."

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"Could Tokyo ever go critical and make nuclear weapons?"

Japan besitzt heute das Material, das technische Wissen und die wirtschaftlichen Kapazitäten, um in kürzester Zeit bis zu 6.000 Atomwaffen herzustellen, schreibt Robert E. McCoy anlässlich des Jahrestags des Atombombenabwurfs über Hiroshima. "(...) Japan has had an actual nuclear weapons policy since 1969 – although that had been secret until 1994 when it was leaked. The leaked document states in part that 'for the time being we will maintain the policy of not possessing nuclear weapons,' but 'keep the economic and technical potential for the production of nuclear weapons, while seeing to it that Japan will not be interfered with in this regard.' Known as technical deterrence, this wording allows Japan to claim adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by not possessing nuclear weapons, while at the same time demonstrating that it has the intent to produce them if and when needed. (...) However, both statute and policy can be easily changed. Any 'extraordinary events' that would justify Japan leaving the NPT could trigger such changes."

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"Here’s the real reason the US must talk to Russia"

Pepe Escobar stellt das Buch "Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning" des russischen Militärexperten Andrei Martyanov vor, der sich eingehend mit den militärischen Kapazitäten Russlands und der USA beschäftigt hat und zu dem Schluss kommt, dass die russischen Streitkräfte den technologischen Vorsprung der USA in wichtigen konventionellen Bereichen mindestens aufgeholt hätten. "Martyanov argues that Russia, all through the first decade of the millennium, spent enough time 'defining herself in terms of enclosed technological cycles, localization and manufacturing.' In contrast, Germany, even with a large, developed economy, 'cannot design and build from scratch a state-of-the-art fighter jet,' while Russia can. (...) Martyanov goes all the way to explain how the latest Russian weapons systems present immense strategic – and historical – ramifications. The missile gap between the US and Russia is now 'a technological abyss,' with ballistic missiles 'capable of trajectories which render any kind of anti-ballistic defense useless.' Star Wars and its derivatives are now – to use a Trumpism – 'obsolete.'"

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"Regional states muscle in to seek a bigger ‘say’ in Afghan conflict"

Pakistan, Russland, China und Iran wollen künftig bei der Bekämpfung der Terrorgruppe "Islamic State Khorasan Province" (IS-K) in Afghanistan kooperieren. M. K. Bhadrakumar analysiert die Hintergründe dieser neuen "strategischen Bruchlinie". "(...) a paradigm shift is under way in the regional perceptions regarding the Taliban. The special envoy of the Russian president on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, disclosed on the weekend that Moscow proposes to invite the Taliban to the second round of the Russian regional initiative on Afghanistan, which is expected to be held sometime late in the summer. Kabulov characterized the Taliban as a force that has 'integrated' with the Afghan nation, and therefore, having a legitimacy, which in some respects even exceeds the Kabul government’s, and controlling more than half the territory of Afghanistan. Kabulov implicitly doubted the representative character of the present Afghan government. Suffice to say that the Russian policy is incrementally redefining the battle lines in Afghanistan from 'Taliban versus the Rest' to 'Afghanistan versus the IS-K.' Conceivably, Iran, China and Pakistan are in harmony with the Russian thinking."

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"Trump is right about who’s to blame for bad relations with Russia"

Nach Ansicht von David P. Goldman hat US-Präsident Trump mit seiner über Twitter geäußerten Meinung, dass die USA für das schlechte Verhältnis zu Russland verantwortlich seien, völlig recht. Goldman gehörte nach eigenen Angaben zu der neokonservativen "Clique", die nach 1990 die Jelzin-Regierung in Moskau beriet, um die westliche Demokratie und freie Märkte nach Russland zu bringen. "Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the US elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics. (...) Russia is in crisis, but Russia always is in crisis. Russia has a brutal government, but Russia always has had a brutal government, and by every indication, the people of Russia nonetheless seem to like their government. If they want a different sort of government, let them establish one; what sort of government they prefer is not the business of the United States. America’s attempt to shape Russia’s destiny, starting with the Clinton Administration’s sponsorship of the feckless, drunk and corrupt Boris Yeltsin, had baleful results. So did the State Department’s attempt to manipulate events in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014. That’s why President Trump’s tweet this morning is entirely correct. Once again, it is refreshing to hear an American president cut through the cant and tell the unvarnished truth."

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"China resets the tone of US-North Korea talks"

Der Journalist Bertil Lintner glaubt, dass auch China hinter der jüngsten Verschärfung der nordkoreanischen Rhetorik gegenüber den USA steckt. "While Beijing says it’s committed to peace on the Korean peninsula, any deal will need to meet its terms. The Global Times, a daily tabloid under the auspicious of the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said in a June 4 op-ed that China’s involvement in any deal to formally end the Korean conflict was essential, otherwise it would be invalid and could be overturned. (...) China has also long desired for US troops to leave South Korea. The US, on the other hand, has maintained that the withdrawal of its troops is a non-starter, though North Korea and China will argue that the troops would need to leave as part of any final peace agreement. If no such agreement materializes and Washington is blamed by Seoul for the failure, it could possibly lead to more interaction between China and South Korea in pursuit of alternative avenues out of the decades-long stand-off between the two Korean states."

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"A democratic revolution has just begun in Vietnam"

In Vietnam gebe es gegenwärtig eine massive, aber friedliche Protestbewegung, die ein Ende der kommunistischen Parteiherrschaft herbeiführen könnte, berichtet Khai Nguyen. "These protests gained wide and strong support from the masses. Indeed, they were quite different from the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China 29 years ago, where most of the protesters were students and teachers. This suggests that Vietnam’s communist regime has lost the support of the majority of the country’s 95 million-strong population, except those on the government payroll, including five million Communist Party members. (...) The protestors were enabled in part by the internet, Facebook, YouTube, Messenger and wireless cell phones and cameras, tools that protesters used to communicate with each other about where and when demonstrations should take place. People could even watch demonstrations in real time on video-sharing site YouTube. (...) The Vietnamese people supported the communists in their victory against foreign oppressors, but they are ready to move on. Many Vietnamese now believe that a long-awaited true revolution has just begun."

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"China’s 'political warfare' aims at South China Sea"

China strebt mit einer ganzen Reihe von Manövern "politischer Kriegsführung" an, die "totale Kontrolle" über das von Peking beanspruchte Gebiet im Südchinesischen Meer zu erlangen, schreibt Kerry K Gershaneck von der National Chengchi University in Taiwan. "What is unique about China’s political warfare – and perhaps most difficult for the countries China has targeted to understand – is that it entails all of these practices together. It is, in effect, total war. Chinese revolutionary leader and former Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong and his followers learned from the Soviet Union about traditional methods of influence and interference. They later took these methods to new levels. (...) Through such campaigns, China exports authoritarianism and undermines the credibility of democracy and individual freedoms. Further, its political warfare will be a potent weapon to wield on the battlefield of public opinion during any future military conflict in the South China Sea or globally."

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"US zero tolerance for Iranian oil imports a blow to Japan"

Das von der US-Regierung angekündigte internationale Ölembargo gegen den Iran sieht bisher keine Ausnahmeregelungen für Verbündete vor. Japan und Südkorea gehören Todd Crowell zufolge zu den Leidtragenden dieser US-Strategie. "In order to pressure Iran into signing the 2015 nuclear deal, Japan severely cut imports and divested itself of potentially lucrative oilfield deals, all in the interest of being a good soldier in America’s crusade against Iran. But if Tokyo mandarins thought that this loyalty, Japan’s position as a major ally, and its forbearance in rushing into new investments into Iran’s petroleum sector would pay off down the line, they have been badly mistaken. (...) The South Korean Energy Ministry is also in a bind. 'We’re in the same position as Japan,' said a spokesman for the ministry, as reported by Reuters. The two countries have until Nov. 4 to arrange different suppliers."

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"A neocon Senate coup against Trump’s foreign policy?"

Der US-Senat hat sich mit großer Mehrheit gegen die von Donald Trump ausgehandelte Aufhebung der US-Sanktionen gegen das chinesische Telefonunternehmen ZTE gewandt. David P. Goldman betrachtet dies als Versuch, dem US-Präsidenten die Kontrolle über die US-Außenpolitik zu entreißen. "The notion that action against ZTE, or any American policy action, could destabilize the Chinese government is delusional. Nonetheless, it is hard-baked into the thinking of the foreign policy establishment. (...) The complaint among the foreign policy elite that Trump is crude and unsophisticated has a perverse element of truth: It takes enormous intellectual sophistication to convince one’s self that American democracy is a universal panacea for the world’s political problems and the inevitable goal of human progress. The foreign policy establishment is not stupid, but only psychotic. Both the White House and Trump’s allies in the Senate have warned that the Senate initiative against ZTE effectively wrests control of foreign policy from the White House. (...) If the Senate passes the defense appropriation bill with the ZTE bomb, and Trump is unable to excise it by presidential veto or other means, Beijing will draw the conclusion that the president no longer is in control of US foreign policy. Instead, it will confront an adversary that does not want to achieve this or that particular policy objective, but rather wants to undermine the regime."

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"Asia widely welcomes Kim-Trump détente"

In Asien sei das Gipfeltreffen Donald Trumps mit Kim Jong-un im Gegensatz zu vielen westlichen Kommentaren weitgehend positiv aufgenommen worden, berichtet Nile Bowie. "US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s historic meeting in Singapore yesterday and the budding relationship between the two men represent the most significant shift in US policy toward the region in decades. Indeed, the first high-profile glimpse of a new Asian geopolitical landscape may be taking shape. While media pundits in the West were skeptical and even cynical of the aspirational declaration signed between the two leaders – who were until recently adversaries exchanging barbs and threats of war – opinions in Asia, including those of world leaders in the region, generally welcomed and praised the unprecedented détente."

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"Can Trump persuade Kim Jong-un to give up nuclear weapons?"

US-Präsident Trump sei offenbar bereit, Nordkorea beim Gipfeltreffen mit Kim Jong-un in Singapur das Angebot einer vollständigen Normalisierung der diplomatischen Beziehungen zu unterbreiten, schreibt Uwe Parpart. Dies gehe über frühere Angebote der USA hinaus und sei genau, was Nordkorea schon immer gewollt habe. "Kim Jong-un can’t be bullied by threats of military attacks, and he can’t be bought by the offer to lift sanctions. He wants to be treated as an equal. Kim wants what he and his predecessors have always wanted and will always want. That is full, internationally recognized sovereignty and security within its borders, certified by a peace treaty with the powers involved in the Korean War. (...) If Trump comes to Singapore to bully and bribe Kim Jong-un, the summit will fail. If the US President instead is willing to trade legitimacy for a regime that has been a thorn in America’s side for the elimination of the nuclear threat, it has a chance to succeed."

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"Europe lends America muscle in South China Sea"

Frankreich und Großbritannien wollen sich künftig im Südchinesischen Meer mit eigenen Patrouillen darum bemühen, die internationale Bewegungsfreiheit zu sichern, berichtet Richard Javad Heydarian. "Both European powers are expected to conduct regular patrols in the area in order to uphold freedom of navigation and over flight. France and Britain also have significant trade interests in the area, thanks to booming trade relations with former colonies in Asia. France also still possesses several Pacific that host large numbers of its citizens. As the US struggles to check China’s naval ambitions, other allied major powers are stepping up. (...) Whether European powers Britain and France will help to provide stronger deterrence is not yet clear. In her speech at the summit, French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly aimed to draw lines around France’s commitment to South China Sea security. 'France is not part of territorial disputes in the area, nor will it be, but we insist on two principles of the rules-based international order: Disputes should be resolved by legal means and negotiation, not by fait accompli, and freedom of navigation must be upheld,’' the French defense chief said."

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"The Russian Gordian Knot begins to unravel"

Norman A. Bailey macht auf zwei "unerwartete" Anmerkungen von Präsident Putin aufmerksam, die darauf hindeuteten, dass Russland kein strategisches Interesse an einem engen Bündnis mit dem Iran habe. Oberstes Ziel des russischen Engagements im Nahen Osten und insbesondere in Syrien sei die Sicherung der russischen Stützpunkte an der syrischen Küste. "Anything that puts that deployment in jeopardy [Putin] will oppose. Iran’s rampaging around the area is unhelpful and the Assad regime in Damascus is no longer in danger of imminent collapse. (...) Iran, on the other hand, is obviously trying to turn Iraq, Syria and Lebanon into semi-sovereign satellite countries, which he is not interested in. On the other hand, he cannot challenge Iranian interests directly and thus will be very happy for Russia to play the role of spoiler to Iranian strategic plans. The same is true for Hezbollah and Hamas, which is simply of no concern to Russia or Assad. Neither has any incentive to oppose Israeli defense plans on its periphery and, in fact, both are apparently happy to guarantee that there will be no Iranian presence on the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights; all of which is very good news to Israel and to the US. Russia has for all practical purposes become a tactical regional ally of both countries."

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"Russia pushes back at US on North Korea"

Russland besteht M.K. Bhadrakumar zufolge darauf, beim Friedensprozess mit Nordkorea als direkt Betroffener in Ostasien eine Rolle zu spielen. Außenminister Lawrow habe bei seinem Besuch in Pjöngjang vor wenigen Tagen deutlich gemacht, dass Moskau die Position Nordkoreas in den Verhandlungen mit den USA unterstütze. "Clearly, Lavrov’s mission is making it more difficult for Washington to pressure the North Korean leadership or dictate the dynamics of the current process. Moscow is signaling that it will not remain a passive bystander (as in the negotiations over the Iran nuclear issue). And, it has taken a common position with Beijing that the denuclearization of North Korea impacts on the regional security matrix in Northeast Asia. Given this developing situation, the final outcome is almost certainly going to be a long haul."

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"China in race to overtake the US in AI warfare"

Bei der Entwicklung und der militärischen Integration vollautomatischer Waffensysteme stehe China kurz davor, die USA zu überholen, schreibt Bill Gertz. "The Chinese military quest for integrating AI into its tanks, naval forces and aircraft is the part of China’s asymmetric or 'assassin’s mace' warfare strategy – building high-technology arms that will enable China’s weaker forces to defeat the more powerful military of the United States in any future conflict. (...) 'China’s breakthroughs in AI can be expected to enable future unmanned combat aircraft (UCAV) that are more responsive than human-controlled aircraft, better able to counter large formations of enemy UCAVs, as well as enable new energy weapon-equipped space combat platforms that will have to prevail over US and other space combat systems,' said Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert."

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"Western leaders back in Russia as tensions appear to ease"

Mit Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron und Shinzo Abe haben in den vergangenen Tagen drei wichtige westliche Regierungschefs Russland einen Besuch abgestattet. M.K. Bhadrakumar hält dies für ein Zeichen der zunehmenden Entspannung. "Merkel, Macron, Abe – each had a specific agenda with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. They were not interested in taking advantage of Russia’s tense relations with the US. Their intuition probably told them that things have come to such a pass in world politics that high-level contact between Russia and America might now be only a matter of time. (...) Between Merkel and Macron, the latter seemed far more eager and audacious to turn a new leaf in relations with Russia. (...) As for Germany, Russia always viewed it as the pace-setter in the EU. But there is a catch here too, since Merkel was also a midwife to the Maidan in Kiev (where it all began) and worked shoulder to shoulder with Barack Obama to erect a harsh sanctions regime against Russia. Those were halcyon days when Merkel was de facto leader of the EU and the champion of the liberal international order – 'The Iron Frau' who doubled up as the 'Mutti' – Otto von Bismarck and Mother Theresa at the same time. Things have changed since then."

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"Iraqi voters undermine Trump’s Iran strategy"

Für die Iran-Strategie der US-Regierung sei es ein schwerer Rückschlag, dass mit Muqtadar al-Sadr und Hadi al-Amiri zwei antiamerikanische Kandidaten die irakischen Parlamentswahlen gewonnen haben, meint M.K. Bhadrakumar. "Coalition making will be a long drawn out process, but what is clear is that the next government in Baghdad will have a pronouncedly anti-American tilt and the probability is high that it could evict US troops and contractors totaling 100,000 in Iraq. (...) Western analysts make much out of Sadr’s nationalistic outlook to give it an anti-Iranian tweak, but that betrays wishful thinking. Sadr is indeed a mercurial personality and tends to lean toward 'red Shi’ism' in his outlook on Iraq’s political economy. His alliance partners are communists and secularists. But significantly, he met Amiri on Monday and said later in a statement: 'The process of government formation must be a national decision and importantly, must include the participation of all the winning blocs.'"

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"The Russian-Israeli-Iranian conundrum in Syria"

M.K. Bhadrakumar hält die passive russische Reaktion auf die wiederholten Zusammenstöße Israels und Irans in Syrien für eine geschickte diplomatische Taktik. "(...) Russia does not want to get entangled in what should strictly remain a Syrian-Iranian brawl with Israel. Period. (...) The point is, the Russians are not one-dimensional men. Russian diplomacy has a great tradition of juggling many balls in the air. Russia manages its friendly relations concurrently with China and Vietnam, Turkey and Greece (and Cyprus), Iran and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, Iran and Jordan and so on – and in a conceivable future, probably India and Pakistan as well. Simply put, what Iran can give Moscow, Israel cannot – and vice versa. Moscow wants good relations with both Iran and Israel, because they serve different purposes in Russian foreign policy. (...) it is unrealistic to expect Russia to be party to any Israeli agenda to vanquish the Iranian and Hezbollah presence on Syrian territory. On the other hand, Russia will also not oppose Israel or Syria’s need to safeguard their respective security interests and/or act in self-defense."

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"A color revolution in the Caucasus puts Russia in a dilemma"

Der Wahlsieg Nikol Pashinyan in Armenien könnte die Machtbalance in der Region gehörig ins Wanken bringen, schreibt M.K. Bhadrakumar in der Asia Times. "The big question is what happens when Pashinyan calls for a snap poll and succeeds in getting a popular mandate of his own, carving out a solid power base of his own. Clearly, he enjoys western support. Moscow cannot risk another confrontation with the West in Eurasia. Putin will prefer to avoid it. On the other hand, the US strategy is to encircle Russia in the Eurasian landmass with an arc running from the Baltics through Central Europe, which is now poised to encompass the highly strategic Caucasus region. Further to the east lies Central Asia where the US is already entrenched in Afghanistan."

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