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"Why China Will Support Russia in Belarus"


China wird sich beim Umgang mit der Staatskrise in Weißrussland an die Seite Russlands stellen, ist Brian G. Carlson sicher. "Russia’s primary objective in Belarus is to avoid a 'color revolution' resulting in the installation of a new, pro-Western government seeking closer ties with the European Union and NATO. China fully supports Russia in this objective, just as it has joined Russia in opposing color revolutions elsewhere in the former Soviet Union. China also supports Russia’s call for the EU and other outside actors to refrain from intervention in the crisis. China’s interests in Belarus, meanwhile, focus on its recent investments in the country as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Russia has given its blessing to the BRI, as expressed in a 2015 agreement to link the Silk Road Economic Belt, the continental component of the BRI, with the Eurasian Economic Union, the Russian-led regional integration project of which Belarus is also a member."

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"Will Afghanistan’s Long-Delayed Peace Ever Arrive?"


Angesichts der Hinhaltetaktik beider Seiten sinke in Afghanistan die Hoffnung auf einen tatsächlichen Erfolg der Friedensverhandlungen mit den Taliban, berichtet Ezzatullah Mehrdad. "The longer the peace talks take to begin, the deadlier the war becomes. The achingly slow process hurts the widespread Afghan consensus that war is, at heart, an aberration. In turn, public disappointment hurts the chances for peace, giving the upper hand to anti-peace groups seeking to exploit the battlefield. Under such circumstances, regional powers step in to safeguard their interests. The delay in peace talks 'hurt the process hard,' said Ali Amiri, a lecturer at Avicenna University, a private university in Kabul. 'The blame games replaces [talks]. The public are less confident about the process. Anti-peace groups are more confident. Terrorist groups and regional powers are more hopeful to exploit the disruption in the process.'"

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"Central and Eastern Europe Is Not in Bed With China"


Viele westliche Beobachter sind Andreea Brînză zufolge der Ansicht, dass China in Osteuropa bereits heute großen politischen Einfluss habe. Die Wahrheit sei für Peking "weit weniger rosig". "First of all, Central and Eastern Europe is not a monolith, but a disparate group of over a dozen countries with different backgrounds. Treating it as a bloc is incorrect. (…) Among the CEE countries, some — like Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia — are staunch U.S. allies; some, like Bulgaria or Croatia, are more flexible; and there are pro-China governments in Serbia or Hungary. One important difference is that Baltic countries are very passionate about human rights, while others, like Serbia or Hungary, are less interested in this topic. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are among the few countries around the world that have a parliamentary support group for Tibet. (…) When the United States or the EU fear China’s influence in the CEE, it is because they assume 'small,' 'weak' countries will no longer have the courage to oppose or criticize a great power. Yet, a 'small' country — and even a city like Prague — proved the contrary. (…) If there are three countries in the region that may look more friendly toward China — the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Serbia — each one has very different stories behind their ties to China and none is, in fact, dependent on China."

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"How America’s Wars in Asia Militarized the Police at Home"


Alireza Ahmadi betrachtet die derzeit häufig kritisierte Militarisierung der Polizei in den USA auch als historisches Erbe der amerikanischen Kriege in Asien. Veteranen dieser Kriege hätten im vergangenen Jahrhundert eine führende Rolle beim Aufbau der Polizeibehörden gespielt und ihre militärischen Prinzipien und Erfahrungen "importiert". "Much attention has been paid to the literal usage of military hardware because it is the most obvious manifestation of this phenomenon. But there is a much deeper history that goes beyond just American police choosing to take on military garb and ride Armored Personnel Carriers: American military adventures abroad have long fueled a broader militarization that shapes norms, processes, mentalities, and the relationship between the local police and the citizenry. (…) scholars have been mapping the relationship between wars and the evolution of domestic policing for some time. Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall’s work on the matter is particularly informative. They posit that a 'boomerang effect' contributes to the incorporation of intrusive and aggressive means used to subdue foreign populations in domestic civilian settings. Other scholars have looked at the impact of specific conflicts or the mindsets that govern police conduct."

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"The Significance of Ending the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement"


Der philippinische Präsident Duterte hat einen seit 1999 geltenden Vertrag über die militärische Zusammenarbeit mit den USA aufgekündigt. Prashanth Parameswaran erläutert, welche bilateralen und regionalen Folgen dieser Schritt haben könnte. "For the Asia-Pacific more generally, this will only increase uncertainty about the regional balance of power amid the intensification of U.S.-China competition. To be sure, the Philippines is a single country, and the U.S.-Philippine alliance may not rank as highly in terms of policy prioritization relative to Washington’s alliances with Japan or South Korea. But perception-wise, much like the closure of U.S. Philippine bases at the end of the Cold War, the fact the United States is being dealt such a blow by its own treaty ally – with potential follow-on implications for aspects such as its overall military presence in the Asia-Pacific – will only further intensify doubts that exist today about U.S. policy initiatives such as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific vision and the extent of alignment on regional issues between Washington and its allies and partners."

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"China Has a Head Start in the New Space Race"


Namrata Goswami stellt das chinesische Weltraumprogram vor und schreibt, dass China mit einem Vorsprung in das neue "Weltraumrennen" mit den USA gehe. "Like NASA’s Apollo missions, named for the Greek god, China’s Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) is named after a mythical figure: Chang’e, a Chinese moon goddess. Unlike Apollo, however, China’s Chang’e lunar mission is not a 'flags and footprints' enterprise. Instead, like its mythical namesake Chang’e, who made the moon her home, the CLEP is aimed at establishing a permanent presence on the lunar surface by 2036, with an aim to utilize lunar resources like titanium and uranium, as well as iron-ore and water ice for rocket construction and propellant. This in-space manufacturing capability is a vital step to achieve China’s plans for deep space exploitation, to include asteroid mining and build solar power stations in geo-synchronous orbit by 2050. (...) The competition between countries to get to the lunar poles is on, in the aftermath of the Chang’e 4 landing on the far side. There is, however, a clear difference between China’s ambitions and those of others. While countries like the United States, India, Japan, South Korea are aiming for lunar pole landings for space science and exploration purposes, China is the only country to articulate a long-term vision of space settlement and utilization. It is the only country to have invested serious money ($30 million) in future space technologies like space-based solar power that will help power such a lunar base. No other country has been able to match the long-term space goals of China as of yet."

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"Why Vietnam Should Host the Second Trump-Kim Summit"


Viet Phuong Nguyen empfiehlt, das nächste Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong Un in der Hauptstadt Vietnams abzuhalten. "(...) one criterion makes Vietnam really stand out from other potential candidates: its warm relation with all three major players in the recent nuclear dialogue including North Korea, the United States, and South Korea. Although disagreements did occur in the relationship between Vietnam and North Korea, the two still consider each other 'fraternal' state due to their ideological closeness, and North Korea’s support for North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Vietnam’s successful economic reform during the 1980s has also been cited by North Korean officials as a possible model for the new economic policies carried out under Kim Jong Un’s leadership. On the other hand, even though the U.S. and Vietnamese political systems share almost no common values, the United States has quickly become one of the biggest trading partners of Vietnam since the end of its embargo of Vietnam in 1995, and more recently Vietnam has been considered a key partner of the United States in the latter’s Asia-Pacific strategy under both the Obama and Trump administrations."

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"What a Midterm 'Blue Wave' in America Would Mean for Asia"


Joshua Kurlantzick erwartet, dass eine Übernahme des Repräsentantenhauses durch die Demokraten bei den anstehenden Kongresswahlen Auswirkungen auf die Asienpolitik der USA haben würde. "(...) although Congress has in general deferred more on foreign policy issues to the president in the past two decades, on Southeast Asia, Congress has continued to wield significant influence – because the region is often ignored by executive branch policymakers, because several prominent congresspeople have deep interests in Southeast Asia policy, and because Congress has taken a strong interest in human rights in Asia. (...) For one, Democrats are likely to push the Trump administration harder to actually explain and devote resources to its 'free and open Indo Pacific' strategy, including resourcing the increasingly depleted State Department. (...) Although the Trump administration has pursued a notably hawkish China policy, Democrats are not necessarily going to back off on that tough approach; there is an increasingly bipartisan consensus in Washington that the United States should adopt a tougher policy toward Beijing. Still, a Democratic majority might pose more questions for the White House about the wisdom of the Trump administration’s trade policies toward China".

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"Be Prepared for an India-Pakistan Limited War"


Nishank Motwani meint, dass zwischen Indien und Pakistan trotz des atomaren Abschreckungspotentials auf beiden Seiten ein begrenzter konventioneller Krieg ausbrechen könnte. Interviews vor Ort hätten den Eindruck vermittelt, dass sich die strategischen Kalkulationen insbesondere auf indischer Seite spürbar verändert hätten. "The notion that the space for limited war exists makes the prospect seem more attractive and workable for its advocates in New Delhi. Notwithstanding the limited nature of India’s covert strike in September 2016, it is significant for four reasons. First, it demonstrates that New Delhi is determined to change the rules of the game by overtly showing that it has the political will to take military action against Pakistan, despite the risk of escalation. Second, it indicates New Delhi’s intention no longer to tolerate the costs of terrorism without inflicting costs of its own on the perpetrators: in other words, it seeks to increase the cost for Pakistan to employ terrorism against India. This cost, however, could be inflicted covertly to force Pakistan to retract or dampen its actions against India. Third, it is intended to show observers on both sides of the border as well as the international community (particularly China, Pakistan’s primary political and military supporter) that Pakistan is vulnerable to Indian strikes. Fourth, it signals India’s readiness to absorb the costs of a potential Pakistani retaliatory strike, as well as its willingness to escalate hostilities if required."

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"After the Moon-Kim Summit: A Time for Hope?"


Auch Harry Sa warnt nach dem Gipfeltreffen Nord- und Südkoreas vor zu großem Optimismus. Vermeintliche Durchbrüche dieser Art habe es bereits früher gegeben. Auch dieses Mal könnte es wieder zu Rückschlägen kommen, da sich der strategische Kontext der Situation in keiner Weise geändert habe. "North Korea still remains a poor, weak country, acutely vulnerable to U.S. and South Korean invasion, and nuclear weapons continue to serve as an effective deterrent. Given these conditions, taking North Korea’s charm offensive at face value is unwise. Everything North Korea does is designed to achieve two things: ensure regime survival and pry South Korea away from the United States, eventually leading to complete U.S. withdrawal from the region. (...) This is not pessimism for the mere sake of pessimism. One only needs to take a cold, hard look at recent historical record and the current strategic picture to know that with North Korea, nothing comes easy. U.S. and South Korean policymakers must accept that this is a long, slow, and painful process, and miscommunication, misinterpretation, or even a few angry tweets can derail the fragile progress made so far. Leaders in Washington and Seoul must avoid aiming for the grand-slam, marquee victory. Instead, it is precisely the time to do the opposite: they must keep their cool, coordinate as closely as they can, and, most importantly, set clear, attainable goals for the short-term."

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"China Is Starting to See India as a Major Threat"


Statt Japan werde von einigen Experten in China verstärkt Indien als zweitgrößter sicherheitspolitischer Rivale nach den USA wahrgenommen, berichtet Hemant Adlakha. "While most Chinese believe Japan to be the second biggest threat to China’s 'peaceful rise,' according to a few Chinese experts, the rising global profile of India, especially under the “right-wing” nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has gone unacknowledged. (...) Yin Guoming, a Chinese foreign affairs analyst, argued that India, and not Japan, is now the second biggest threat to China after the United States. Here’s an excerpt: 'China-India standoff has compelled us to regard India as a serious rival. During the Dong Lang [or Doklam] confrontation, it became very clear to everyone – from ordinary Chinese to foreign policy experts – China must reckon India to be its second biggest rival. And that China needs to re-assess, re-examine, and reformulate its India strategy.' However, more significantly, the article pointed out that most people in China were not yet ready to recognize the Indian threat."

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"Russia's Soft Power Push in Afghanistan"


Samuel Ramani berichtet, dass Russland seinen Einfluss in Afghanistan mit verstärkten wirtschaftlichen Investitionen vergrößern wolle. "As the profitability of economic investments in Afghanistan is highly uncertain due to the country’s ongoing political instability, Russia’s commitment to stronger commercial ties with Afghanistan is intriguing. A closer examination of Russian conduct in Afghanistan reveals that Moscow’s investments in Afghan economic development initiatives and military assistance provisions to Kabul are part of a broader strategy to rebrand Russia’s image in Afghanistan. Russian policymakers believe that economic development investments will help counter negative memories of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and improve Moscow’s relationship with Afghanistan’s legitimate government. If Russia manages to gain public support for its involvement in Afghanistan and forge strong links with Afghan government officials, Kremlin policymakers believe that President Ashraf Ghani could be willing to cooperate with Moscow on resolving Afghanistan’s political crisis."

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"Military Stalemate: How North Korea Could Win a War With the US"


Franz-Stefan Gady hält es im Gegensatz zu vielen Militärexperten keineswegs für ausgemacht, dass Nordkorea einen offenen Krieg gegen Südkorea und die USA verlieren würde. Das Ziel der nordkoreanischen Führung, im Kriegsfall eine militärische Pattsituation herzustellen, könnte demnach durch asymmetrische Kriegsführung und eine Guerilla-Strategie erreicht werden. "(...) should a conflict break out, it is important to understand that this will not be a simple 'shock and awe' campaign ending with a bloody American victory, a leveled Pyongyang, and a chastised North Korea. It will likely last longer and can indeed end in a military draw that partially will be the result of what Clausewitz called the 'morale forces' of war."

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"The Islamic State's Support Base in Pakistan Continues to Grow"


In der vergangenen Woche ist die Flagge des "Islamischen Staates" von Unbekannten zum ersten Mal in der pakistanischen Hauptstadt Islamabad gehisst worden. Trotz gegenteiliger Beteuerungen der staatlichen Behörden hält Umair Jamal es nur für eine Frage der Zeit, bis der IS auch in Pakistan Fuß fassen wird. "For 70 years, the ruling elite of Pakistan have accommodated religious fundamentalist demands in the country to either to safeguard their political interests or to keep the existing political power structure intact to sustain their rule. Now, in Pakistan, the credibility and legitimacy of politicians and bureaucrats is measured on the basis of their religious bona fides rather than the kinds of policies they hope to implement. The rates of terrorist violence may have decreased in Pakistan in the last couple of years, but the country still continues to provide an environment that enables militancy. In such an environment, it’s only a matter of time before the Islamic State develops a popular support base in the country. Last week’s flag unfurling may ultimately be a warning worth taking seriously."

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"China and India: The Roots of Hostility"


Mohan Malik analysiert die politischen und historischen Ursachen der verhärteten Rivalität zwischen China und Indien, die zuletzt im August in einer gefährlichen Konfrontation chinesischer und indischer Soldaten im Himalaya sichtbar geworden ist. "The periodic Himalayan standoffs have their origins in the deep-seated hostility and suspicion that China and India have for one another. My book 'China and India: Great Power Rivals' argued that given the fundamental clash of interests rooted in their history, strategic cultures and geopolitics, the threat of another war is ever present. For Asia has never known both China and India growing strong simultaneously in such close proximity with overlapping spheres of influence. India perceives itself in southern Asia much as China has traditionally perceived itself in relation to eastern Asia — as the preeminent power. Both aspire to the same things at the same time on the same continental landmass and its adjoining waters. As their need for resources, markets and bases grows, Asia’s rising powers are also increasingly running into each other in third countries. China’s global clout is manifesting itself in a millennia-old sense of superiority in Chinese behavior as Beijing seeks to recast the world in its own image."

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"Second Korean War: Would NATO Invoke Article 5?"


Bei einem nordkoreanischen Angriff auf Südkorea wären auch US-Truppen betroffen. Franz-Stefan Gady fragt, ob in diesem Fall der NATO-Beistandsartikel 5 in Kraft gesetzt werden könnte. "In an email exchange with The Diplomat, a NATO official said, 'It is up to the NATO member states to decide, by consensus, whether a specific issue should trigger the collective defense clause that is Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. This has not been the case with respect to North Korea’s past missile tests. NATO fully supports the implementation of all UN Security Council Resolutions aimed at ending North Korea’s destabilizing behavior.' Even if Article 5 would be invoked, it appears unlikely that the European members of the military alliance would commit substantial troops to a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. For one thing, most NATO member states lack the capability to project military power in East Asia."

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"The Taliban's New Plan for Capturing Kunduz"


Die Taliban werden in ihrer neuen Frühjahrsoffensive Informationen von Franz J. Marty zufolge versuchen, die nordafghanische Stadt Kundus einzunehmen. "Usually, the Taliban’s tactic was to seize the surrounding rural areas before launching a larger assault on the cities themselves. However, according to a confidential report exclusively obtained by The Diplomat, the Taliban have amended this tactic while preparing a renewed imminent attack on Kunduz. The report indicates that this time the insurgents will concentrate on infiltrating the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in order to also assault the city from within. (...) given the past year and the most recent developments from Laghman and Kunduz, it has to be expected that the Taliban will continue to attempt to overrun provincial capitals throughout 2017. And the first major Taliban operation of 2017 might very well be again launched soon in Kunduz, also affecting the U.S. and German forces that are stationed there."

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"Central Asia and Islamic State: The Russian Connection"


Iris Oppelaar schreibt, dass sich einem Bericht der International Crisis Group von 2015 zufolge bis zu 4.000 Muslime aus Zentralasien dem "Islamischen Staat" angeschlossen haben. Darunter seien viele verarmte und diskriminierte Migranten in Russland. "Caught between lack of prospects and suppression in the home country and discrimination and harsh living conditions in Russia, the promise of a good life in the caliphate is attractive. (...) With the weakening position of Islamic State, the fear of returning Islamic State fighters is the new reality for Russia and the Central Asian countries. Putin has openly expressed his concerns about Islamic State fighters returning to Russia. In the past, Russia has also worried about the growing threat of fighters from Islamic State who were supposedly planning attacks on Central Asian states to destabilize the region. It is in fact likely that people will try to return home from the caliphate. The question is whether the Central Asian states are prepared."

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"Al-Qaeda and Islamic State Take Aim at China"


Sowohl die Al-Qaida als auch der "Islamische Staat" haben Uran Botobekov zufolge im Februar in ihren Propagandavideos China ins Visier genommen. "The production of anti-Chinese propaganda and the announcement of jihad against Beijing are not random events, but reflect both groups’ operational aims and present circumstances. First, ISIS and al-Qaeda want to divert the attention of new recruits away from military defeats faced recently in Syria and Iraq. Second, the burst of Islamist propaganda is intended to attract new militants from the Uyghur population of Xinjiang and Central Asia. Third, the leaders of global jihadist movements are likely to want to relocate the center of the conflict area closer to China, Central Asia, and Afghanistan after the downfall of the Islamic State in the Middle East. To accomplish all of these tasks, serious ideological training and propaganda among jihadists is required. These videos are evidence of that process underway."

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"4 Reasons Russia Increasingly Favors the Taliban in Afghanistan"


Russland hat in letzter Zeit offenbar engere Kontakte zu den Taliban in Afghanistan geknüpft. Nach Ansicht von Hashim Wahdatyar kann dabei sogar von einer faktischen "Allianz" mit den früheren Feinden gesprochen werden. Moskau verfolge mit dieser neuen Strategie vier wesentliche Ziele: "Russian policymakers have extended their hand to the Taliban for the following four strategic reasons. First, by maintaining ties with the Taliban, Russia reminds the West not to ignore Moscow’s interests in discussions of the Afghanistan agenda at regional and international platforms. (...) Second, by supporting the Taliban, Russian policymakers intend to strengthen barriers to U.S. and NATO interests in the region. (...) Third, Russia feels a threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Afghanistan and in the Middle East. (...) Fourth, Afghan opium is another headache for Moscow. (...) Russia’s support to the Taliban will have numerous implications for the future of Afghanistan. It will weaken the central government in Kabul, which will result in the situation that now has befallen Syria coming to Afghanistan. In Syria, Russia is supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but in Afghanistan, by supporting the Taliban, Moscow will limit the success of the legitimate government in Kabul backed by the international community."

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