Manal Saadi Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Geneva-based UMEF University
doc.dr.Jasna Cosabic professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Aleksandra Krstic Studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the
MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.
Dr. Swaleha Sindhi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of
Baroda, India. Decorated educational practitioner Dr. Sindhi is a frequent columnist on related topics, too. She is the Vice President
of Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES). Contact:
It is an Ankara-based
journalist and notable author.
She is engaged with the leading Turkish dailies and weeklies for
nearly three decades as a columnist, intervieweer and editor.
Her words are prolifically published and quoted in Turkish,
French an English.
By İLNUR ÇEVIK Modified from the original: They killed 1 Saddam and created 1,000 others (Daily Sabah)
Aine O’Mahony Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at
the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student
of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact:
Elodie Pichon Elodie Pichon has a
bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of
Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and
Security at King's College London. Contact :
a MA candidate of the George
Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. Her
research focus is on cross-Pacific security and Asian studies,
particularly on the Sino-U.S. relations and on the foreign policy
and politics of these two.
ALESSANDRO CIPRI Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro
Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department
of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction
from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International
Security". Having served in the Italian Army's "Alpini" mountain
troops, he has a keen interest in national security, military
strategy, insurgency theory, and terrorism studies. His Master's
dissertation was on the impact of drug trafficking on the evolution
of the Colombian FARC.
Ms. Lingbo ZHAO is a candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist
University, Department of Government and International Studies. Her
research interest includes Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
Elodie Pichon, Ms. Elodie Pichon, Research Fellow of the IFIMES Institute, DeSSA Department. This native Parisian is a Master in Geopolitics,
Territory and Security from the King’s College, London, UK.
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey currently lectures on Digital-Diplomacy. "Mo"
has benefited from a diverse career in investment banking & diplomacy, but
his passion has been the new avenues of communication. He was Bosnia &
Herzegovina's first Ambassador to the United Nations, Agent to the
International Court of Justice, Foreign Minister & Signatory of the Rome
Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. He also played
American football opting for a scholarship to Tulane University in New
Orleans after being admitted to Harvard, oh well!!
Amanda Janoo is an Alternative
Economic Policy Adviser to governments and development
organizations. Graduate from Cambridge University with an MPhil in
Development Studies, Amanda worked at the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) supporting government's with
evidence-based industrial policy design for inclusive and
sustainable growth. Her research focus is on the relationship
between international trade and employment generation. She has
worked throughout Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa promoting greater
economic self-determination and empowerment.
Michael dr. Logies,
Endy Bayuni The writer, editor-in-chief of
The Jakarta Post, took part
in the Bali Civil Society and Media Forum, organized by the
Institute for Peace and Democracy and the Press Council, on Dec.5-6.
Bellevrat is the WEO Energy Analysts
Kira West Kira West is the WEO Energy Analysts
Victor Davis Hanson— NRO contributor Victor Davis
Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author,
most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global
Conflict Was Fought and Won.
Chief Research Fellow at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and
International Relations (Moscow, Russia). In 1989-1991 was a member
of Soviet negotiating team at START-1 negotiations (Defense and
Ingrid Stephanie Noriega
Ingrid Stephanie Noriega is junior specialist in International
Relations, Latina of an immense passion for human rights, democratic
accountability, and conflict resolution studies as it relates to
international development for the Latin America and Middle East –
regions of her professional focus.
Syeda Dhanak Fatima Hashmi
Author is a Foreign Policy Analyst and Research Head
at a think tank based in Islamabad. She has done Master of
Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Governance and Public Policy. Her areas of
research include both regional as well as global issues of
contemporary international relations.
Pia Victoria Poppenreiter Davos: The Other Side of the Mirror
An “inventor, startup guru, conceptualist and CEO” hangs out at the
world’s four-day power lunch
Jomo Kwame Sundaram,
a former economics professor, was United
Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and
received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of
Dr. Guy Millière,
a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of
27 books on France and Europe.
Earlier version published by the GeterstoneInstitute under the title
France Slowly Sinking into Chaos
Mr. Masato Abe,
specialist at the UN Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific
highly decorated two star general of the Romanina army (ret.).
For the past two decades, he successfully led one of the most
infuential magazines on geopolitics and internatinal relations in
Eastern Europe – bilingual journal ‚Geostrategic Pulse’.
An early version of this text appeared as the lead
editorial in the The Geostrategic Pulse (No. 268/20.11.2018), a
special issue dedicated to the Centennial anniversary.
Malik Ayub Sumbal
is an award winning
journalist, co-founder of the CCSIS (Caucasus Center for
Strategic and International Studies), and a presenter for the
Beijing-based CGTN (former CCTV) Tanvi Chauhanis a global studies scholar from the US-based Troy University. She is
specialist on the MENA and Eurasia politico-military and security theaters.
Dutch - Nederlands Belangrijke nieuws
French - Français
Nouvelles importantes German - Deutsch
Latifah&Sara Al-Dhahri - Responding to new challenges: OIC in the
International Institute for Middle East
and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia,
regularly analyses developments in the Middle East and the Balkans.
Emmy Latifah and Sara Al-Dhahri in their comprehensive
analysis entitled “Responding to new challenges: OIC in the
international Arena” are analysing the role of OIC and its
challenges in the modern world.
● Emmy Latifah
● Sara Al-Dhahri
Responding to new challenges: OIC
in the international Arena
In the following years
the faith of the Muslim world will very much depend on its
relationship with the West. It was so in the past decades, but it
will be so even more in the near future, as the West is rethinking
its overseas commitments and physical presence in the increasingly
multipolar world full of traditional and new challengers.
Channels of communication and influence will be, therefore,
detrimental for anyone who wants to understand and shape these
processes. The following lines are a policy proposal to address
challenges of the contemporary world to the benefit of all.
For over half
a century, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) serves as a
focal point for its member states (MS) and as a clearing house
between its members and the rest of the world. The OIC does that by
providing a standing forum and diplomatic tools to solve disputes,
and to address challenges in accordance with its charter.
Being the second-largest intergovernmental multilateral system after
the United Nations (UN), whose members largely occupy the most
fascinating part of the globe (that of its geographic and spiritual
centre, as well as the sways of rich energy deposits), gives to the
Organisation a special exposure and hence a distinctive role.
The OIC Charter clearly states that it is important to safeguard
and protect the common interests and support the legitimate causes
of its MS, to coordinate and unify the efforts of its members in
view of the challenges faced by the Muslim world in particular and
the international community in general. For that matter, the
Organisation should consider expanding its activities further. One
of the most effective way to do so, is by setting yet another
permanent presence in Europe. This time it would be by opening its
office in Vienna Austria, which should be coupled with a request for
an observer status with a Vienna-based Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – as prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
tirelessly advocates in his statements.
The OSCE itself is an
indispensably unique security mechanism (globally the second largest
after the UN), whose instruments and methodology could be twinned or
copied for the OIC. Besides, numerous MS of the OSCE are members of
the OIC at the same time. Finally, through its Mediterranean
partnership dimension, this is a rare international body that has
(some) Arab states and Israel around the same table.
Why does the OIC need permanent presence in
Vienna? The answer is within its charter: To ensure active
participation of the Organization’s MS in the global political, and
socio-economic decision-making processes, all to secure their common
Why Vienna in particular, when the OIC has its
office in Brussels (Belgium) and Geneva (Switzerland)?
it comes to this city, we can list the fundamental importance of
Vienna in Europe and the EU, and globally since it homes one of the
three principal seats of the OUN (besides Geneva and New York).
Moreover, numerous significant Agencies are headquartered in
Vienna (such as the Atomic Energy Agency, UN Industrial Development
Organisation, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty organisation, etc.), next to
the segments of the UN Secretariat (such as Outer Space, Trade Law,
the ODC office related to the issues of Drugs-Crimes-Terrorism,
Surely, there are many important capitals around our
global village, but after New York, Geneva and Brussels, Vienna has
probably the highest representation of foreign diplomats on earth.
Many states have even three ambassadors accredited in Vienna
(bilateral, for the UN and for the OSCE.)
The OIC has nine of
its MS who are the OPEC members as well. Four of those are the
OPEC’s founding members. Vienna hosts OPEC as well as its
developmental branch, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
Some of the OIC MS have lasting security vulnerabilities, a fact
that hampers their development and prosperity. The OIC places these
considerations into its core activities through co-operation in
combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, organised
crime, illicit drugs trafficking, corruption, money laundering and
human trafficking. Both the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UN ODC)
and the OSCE have many complementarities in their mandates and
instruments in this respect.
As an Islamic organization that
works to protect and defend the true image of Islam, to combat
defamation of Islam and encourage dialogue among civilisations and
religions, the effective tool for that is again Austria. It is the
very first European Christian country to recognise Islam as one of
its state religions – due to its mandate over (predominately Muslim)
Bosnia, 100 years ago.
Back to its
The Organization was formed by a decision of the Historical
Summit in Rabat, the Kingdom of Morocco on 25 September 1969, after
the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
Today, after fifty years of this ferocious incident, the OIC still
firmly holds as one of the core issues its resolute support to the
struggle of Palestinians, yet under foreign occupation. It empowers
them to attain their inalienable rights, including that of
self-determination, to establish their sovereign state with Al-Quds
Al-Sharif as its capital while safeguarding its historic and Islamic
character, and the holy places therein.
When we look back to
Austria, it was Chancellor Bruno Kreisky (himself Jewish) who was
the very first western leader to receive that-time contemporary
Yasser Arafat, as a Head of State, and to repeatedly condemn many of
the Israeli methods and behaviours. As prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
wonderfully reminded us during his recent lecture with Amb. Goutali
of the OIC and Excellency Elwaer of the IsDB President’s Office;
‘Past the Oil embargo, when the OPEC – in an unprecedented
diplomatic move – was suspended of its host agreement in Switzerland
and requested to leave, it was none but that same Chancellor,
Kreisky who generously invited the OPEC to find Austria as its new
The OIC is also heavily involved in environmental
issues, such as water implementation. According to the Stockholm
International Water Institute, around two-thirds of the world’s
transboundary rivers do not have a cooperative management framework.
The OIC Science-Technology-Innovation (STI) Agenda 2026 has also
called on the MS to first define water resource quality and demand
by planning national water budgets at the ' local ' level where
appropriate. In this regard, certain MS lack the ability to conduct
a thorough exercise. An organized and focused action plan to adopt
the OIC Water Vision is introduced to help Member States address
As for the implementation plan for OIC
Water Vision, Vienna is focal again. This city is a principal seat
of the Danube river organisation – an international entity with the
most elaborated riverine regime on planet. This fact is detrimental
for the Muslim world as an effectively water-managing mechanism and
instrumentation to learn from and to do twinning with.
far, the OIC covers Vienna (but only its UN segment)
non-residentially, from Geneva – respective officers are
residentially accredited only to the UNoG. Permanent presence, even
a small one – eventually co-shared with the developmental arm of the
OIC – that of the IsDB, would be a huge asset for the Organization.
That would enable both the OIC and the Bank to regularly participate
in the various formal and informal multilateral formats, happening
daily in Vienna.
Absence is the most
security is a constant global challenge that is addressed the best
way through the collective participation in multilateral settings.
It is simply the most effective, cheapest, fastest – therefore, the
most promising strategy to sustainability and stability of
According to the Global Peace Index (2019
figures), the economic impact of violence on the global economy in
2018 was $14.1 trillion. This figure is equivalent to 11.2% of the
world’s GDP, or $1,853 per capita. The economic impact of violence
progressed for 3.3% only during 2018-19. Large sways of it were
attributed to the Muslim Middle East.
The OIC fundamental
purpose is to contribute to the maintenance of international peace
and security, as embedded in its and the UN Charter and other acts
of the international (human rights and humanitarian) law.
this light, requesting the Observer status with the largest Security
mechanism on the planet (outside the OUN system), that of the OSCE,
which has rather specific mandates; well-elaborated
politico-military, early prevention and confidence building
mechanisms; net of legally binding instruments; extensive field
presence (incl. several OIC members), and a from-
Vancouver-to-Vladivostok outreach is simply the most natural thing
to do. This would be very beneficial to the OIC MS, as well as one
of the possible ways to improve its own instruments and their
monitoring of compliance and resolution machinery.
can be easily combined with the bolder presence before the
Vienna-based Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in advocating a just and
sustained settlement for the Middle East – which is a nuclear free
Among the 57 OIC MS, 21 of them are listed within a top
50 countries in the Global Terrorism Index for 2019. (With a ranking
of 9.6 points, Afghanistan is infamously nr. 1 on the global terror
index, making it the nation most affected by terrorism on Earth. The
OIC member – Afghanistan, scored the most terror attacks in 2018 -
1,294; and the most terror-related deaths in 2018, with 9,961
casualties. Several other MS follow the same pattern.)
OIC Charter (article 28, Chapter XV) clearly states that the
Organisation may cooperate with other international and regional
FORAs with the objective of preserving international peace and
security and settling disputes through pacific means.
said, Vienna is a principal seat of the second largest security
multilateral mechanism on earth, OSCE. This is a unique
three-dimensional organisation with its well elaborated and
functioning: politico-military, economy-environment; and the human
dimension – all extensively developed both institutionally and by
No doubt, the OIC so far successfully
contributes to international peace and security, by boosting
understanding and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and
religions, and by promoting and encouraging friendly relations and
good neighbourliness, mutual respect and cooperation. But to remain
to the contemporary challenges, it necessities more forums to voice
its positions and interests. Many of the OSCE Member states have
even three different ambassadors and three separate missions in
Vienna. Presence of other relevant international organisations
follows about the same pattern.
The strategic importance of
the MENA (Middle East- North Africa) lies on its diverse resources,
such as energy, trade routes, demography, geography, faith and
culture. The OSCE has a Mediterranean partnership outreach, meaning
some of the LAS and OIC members states are already participants,
whereas the Central Asian states, Caucasus as well as Turkey,
Albania and Bosnia are fully-fledged member states of the OSCE.
Taking all above into account, the OIC should not miss an
opportunity to open another powerful channel of its presence and
influence on the challenging and brewing international scene. It
would be a permanent office to cover all diplomatic activities and
within it –the observer status before the OSCE (perhaps the IAEA,
too). This would be to the mutual benefit of all; Europe and the
Muslim world, intl peace and prosperity, rapprochement and
understanding, present generations and our common futures. About
the authors: Emmy Latifah is a professor of international law,
arbitration specialist, and is an international relations
coordinator of the UNS University of Indonesia. Sara Al-Dhahri
is an Intl Relations scholar of the Jeddah-based Dar Al-Hekma
University and the Project Coordinator for the Sawt Al-Hikma (Voice
of Wisdom) Centre to the OIC.
Ljubljana/ Jakarta/Jeddah, 28
Link (ENG): https://www.ifimes.org/en/9760 (Research
- Emmy Latifah&Sara Al-Dhahri - Responding to new challenges:
OIC in the international Arena)
Link (BSH): https://www.ifimes.org/ba/9759 (Analiza -
Bosna i Hercegovina 2019: Završna faza "Dodikizacije" Republike
Link (BSH): https://www.ifimes.org/ba/9745 (Analiza -
Crna Gora 2020: Da li će Crnogorska pravoslavna crkva postati
Link (ENG): https://www.ifimes.org/en/9752 (Research
- Montenegro 2020: Will the Montenegrin Orthodox Church become a
Greek Catholic Church?)
Link (ENG): https://www.ifimes.org/en/9753 (Research
- Iran 2020: The assassination of Iranian General – the
"Napoleon" of Iranian revolution)
Link (ENG): https://www.europeanperspectives.org/en
International scientific journal "European Perspectives"
Link (ENG): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=645V9eryieI&t=5s
(IFIMES presentation film)
IFIMES - The International Institute for
Middle-East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has a
special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/UN since 2018.
January 31, 2020
Revisiting the Ukraine-Russia-EU triangular dynamics
With the narrative that floats around, one is tempted to think that the
Ukraine crisis is all about Crimea; that it started and ended there. So what
about the internal oblasts like Odessa, Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk (the
South- Eastern regions) where a protracted conflict broke out? Are they not
part of the resolution to the Ukraine crisis? But before any party decides
on how to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, it is crucial to understand what
needs to be resolved.
What needs to be Resolved?
First, the negotiating status. Formal peace talks began with the
Minsk-I ceasefire in September 2014 but Kyiv refused to engage with rebels
as negotiation partners, even while Kyiv’s negotiators had no official
status, proceeding to brand rebels as ‘terrorists’ (Matveeva, 2018, p. 260).
For as long as the insurgents are not considered cohorts in negotiating a
peace deal and power sharing arrangements, the Ukraine crisis will not
resolve. Second, the political fate of the insurgent territory. At the
crisis’s outset, Donbas seemed to concord with Russia about the
federalization idea (Davies, 2016, p. 737), but as the conflict progressed,
rebels’ aspirations were geared either towards complete independence or
irredentism with Russia – the former, Ukraine would never give, and the
latter, Russia did not want. The ‘Special Status’ option running into a
political impasse coupled with Ukrainian civil activist efforts against
Minsk agreements meant that the crisis was not ripe for peace from Kyiv’s
On the split side, the Donbas rebels’ dissatisfaction with Moscow and
Kyiv for neglecting rebel wishes also meant that the crisis was not ready to
be resolved from their side either. All parties were dissatisfied with the
outcomes. It is not wrong therefore to say that Ukrainian nationalism and
monist identity approach was only becoming stronger with rebels’ resistance
to Kyiv’s biddings. Thus, for as long as the rebels are not awarded some
sort of autonomy or freedom to live their “Russianness,” the crisis will not
be resolved. At the same time, for as long as the rebels are firm on
irredentist motives instead of attributing some form of loyalty to Kyiv, the
SE-Ukraine crisis will prolong and cannot be resolved. It goes without
saying that the resolution needs to be political, not military. As with any
conflict, ceasefires are only temporary arrangements for until a greater
political plan is formed. As the many (failed) ceasefire attempts indicate,
Ukraine needs to seriously determine a political solution for the conflict
to truly stop.
Ukraine Crisis and European Security
No matter how the Ukraine crisis is resolved, some things from the crisis
serve as important notes for European security. First, the Donbas conflict
is a strong reminder that for regional stability and order, it is necessary
to devote attention to grassroots rebellions instead of single-mindedly
fantasizing over the “all-Putin” narrative. Crimea was the tip of the
iceberg; it is possible that such dormant grassroots rebellions could foment
and induce a regional domino effect throwing the fragile balance off the
continent. Second, it is unreasonable to take insurgent groups’ military
organization and political aspirations for granted. Within Ukraine, rebels
have showed the skill and experience needed to spontaneously mobilize and
acquire modern warfare methods, which means, that such revolutions can very
much happen despite state defense methods.
Was (is) Ukraine prepared for
this? Are Kyiv’s European friends prepared for this? Furthermore, when
grievances are addressed in the form of violent conflict, a pro-war culture
unites people with similar ideologies. How can Europe stop European
fighters from fighting in Donbas? The moment that a cultural war becomes
war-culture is indeed tricky – so Europe needs to take into account the
strength of identities, symbols, and beliefs, and how that can affect the
fragile security in the region, instead of brewing the
‘Russia-orchestrates-all’ beverage. Lastly, with whatever political
resolution that Ukraine comes up with, European security and stability is
only possible with Russia’s cooperation.
Antagonizing Russia will not help
integrate pro-Russian factions within pro-West states like Ukraine. This
would mean not only cooperating with Russia for further regional stability,
but also not isolating it. Russia’s past attempts of halting the Novorossiya
project in Donbas, postponing elections in rebel territories, enthusiasm for
peace prospects including suggesting UN peacekeeping troops cannot be simply
rewarded with more economic sanctions. That defeats good faith from Russia.
This causes Russia to turn away from cooperation with the EU, and with it,
induce its pro-Russian supporters (scattered all over the FSU) to imitate
Ukraine Crisis and Russian Security
If a political-military resolution is found to end the Ukraine crisis, it
has some implications on Russian security too. First, Russia needs to be
prepared for calls to the ‘Russian World.’ A population who was driven to go
to war because they had faith Russia would repeat Crimea means that such
dormant attitudes maybe present within other FSU populations. Matveeva
(2018, 286) states that “Russia does not have a universalist approach to
regional conflicts,” and Donbas is a clear example of that. Whatever the
resolution is agreed upon for Ukraine, a big question that looms over
Russian security is about how it would take care of regional military
confrontations. Russia uses a bilateral and multilateral approach in order
to bind states into a regional order, but the aspect about a military
confrontation remains unanswered (Slobodchikoff 2014).
Whether we look at
CIS or some other multilateral organization, there needs to be some forum
which either addresses collective security operations (actual military
confrontations) or allows Russia to intervene as necessary. The Collective
Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has been a good tool for Russia in
integrating Eurasia against external threats (Hansen 2013), but has Russia
seriously considered civil and transnational (internal) conflicts which can
turn into full-blown civil wars if allowed?
Even if Russia finds it
pointless to entertain civil skirmishes like the one in Donbas, how can it
ignore the fundamental drive – Novorossiya – which served as the
rebels’ motivational catalyst? All this indicates that Russian security is
invariably a matter of regional stability, very much taking into account
Ukraine. So, it is only in Russian security interests to mollify such
uprisings using support from mainland governments and/or a multilateral
security architecture, thereby standardizing its approach to such regional
hostilities. Unless, of course, it is Russia’s wish to stay mysterious with
its security approach.
If that be so, such an approach does not bode well
for regional security. Secondly, for any sort of crisis resolution to
sustain, Russia will have to understand Kyiv’s perspective. Although it has
to rush to aid its Russian World when she summons her, Moscow cannot
overplay this cultural dimension so much as to explicitly challenge the West
and thereby feed into the Western normative discourse. Ukraine will be more
than unwilling to make any more concessions past Crimea, so Donbas’s
resolution (when it happens), would require sacrifices on both fronts and
acknowledgment of bitter history.
Of course rebels in Donbas or Kyiv, the governments in Moscow and Kyiv, as
also the wider continents of Europe and America would appreciate a true
peace, but ‘peace’ cannot be viewed as an absolute dichotomy: either my way
or the highway. A ceasefire may bring about a transient military resolution,
but without a political one unanimously agreed by involved parties, it is
unlikely that the Ukrainian crisis will end in spirit.
In order to avoid such future conflicts, both Russia and Europe must
understand how overlooked conflicts such as those in Donbas have security
implications for both of them. For Russia, it means acknowledging the
dormant (but very potent) society within the Russian World, as also Russia’s
obligation as leader of that world – and while doing all of this,
maintaining a delicate balance between itself and the West. For Europe it
means acknowledging indigenous uprisings, giving due value to cultural
enthusiasm uncontaminated by political conspiracies that feed in the
all-Putin perspective, and faithfully cooperating with Moscow to attain
So as we see, there is much theoretical resolution to the Ukraine crisis and
how that will affect Russian and European securities, but practically, one
has to wait to see. As Matveeva (2018, 298) writes, “we can only hope
humanity survived in those who went through it,” to which it would do well
to add: I hope some foresight and rationality is present in those who are to
Davies, L. (2016). Russia’s ‘Governance’ Approach: Intervention and the
Conflict in the Donbas. Europe-Asia Studies, 68(4), 726–749.
Hansen, F. S. (2013). "Integration in the Post-Soviet Space."
International Area Studies
Kofman, M., Migacheva, K., Nichiporuk, B., Radin, A., Tkacheva, O., &
From Russia’s Operations in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
Santa Monica: RAND Corporation. Matveeva, A. (2018). Through Times of Trouble: Conflict in
South-eastern Ukraine Explained from Within. New York: Lexington Books.
Slobodhikoff, M O. (2017). "Challenging US Hegemony: The Ukrainian
Crisis and Russian Regional Order." The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
About the author
Tanvi Chauhanis a global studies scholar from the US-based Troy University. She is
specialist on the MENA and Eurasia politico-military and security theaters.
January 23, 2020
Give me religion that does not polarise society!
Jakarta/Wed, January 22 2020
A few years ago in Aceh, a poster was put up by the Islamic Sharia
Department in Banda Aceh of the communications and information agency
office, stating: “A woman whose strand of hair is seen deliberately by a man who is not her
husband will be punished by 70,000 years in hell. One day in the afterlife
is equivalent to 1,000 years in this world. A woman who enters hell will
draw in with her two of her menfolk: her father, her brothers, her husband
or her son. This is how terrible the punishment is!” I received a photo of the poster through one of my WhatsApp groups and
shared it with friends. One of them, Harry (not his real name), hilariously
pointed out the absurdity of it all. “What? Do radicals see women’s hair as pubic hair, and are hijab underpants
for women’s heads?” he asked incredulously, referring to the headcover worn
by Muslim women in Indonesia. Harry added, to his knowledge, there is nothing in the Quran about women’s
“What’s written on the poster is a 1,000 percent deviant!” he exclaimed. It’s also a mind-crushingly asinine, idiotic and imbecilic fantasy based on
nothing but an overly fertile, sick and twisted imagination! Lucky for him, Sinta Nuriyah, the widow of Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid,
Indonesia’s fourth president (1999-2001), known for his liberal and often
eccentric views, corroborated Harry’s view. Like many respected ulema before
her, she stated recently that it was not obligatory for Muslim women to wear
hijab. The statement of Bu Sinta,
71, a well-respected figure in the prodemocracy movement, went viral. Bu Sinta
pointed out that she always tries to interpret Quranic verses contextually,
not textually. She conceded that many Muslims misinterpret the Quran because
it has gone through many interpretations, including by those who have their
own personal agenda. It’s also a matter of deliberate distortion, which has reached alarmingly
ridiculous proportions. The poster in Aceh is just one example; there are
many others, for example, related to circumcision for girls, child marriage,
polygamy, mut’ah (temporary
marriage, in fact, thinly veiled prostitution), marital rape, violence
against women, notions of halal and haram, prohibition to wish Christians a
merry Christmas, the trigger-happy way some Muslims accuse others of being kafir (infidels),
teaching kids intolerance, and even the abuse of Islam to protect corruption
and to scam people by using (or misusing) the sharia label. It’s part of what I see as being a three-pronged phenomenon across the
nation: one, creeping radicalization and intolerance; two, public duping by
distorting Quran verses or just making things up that have no basis at all
in sharia, Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence)
or hadits (the
Prophet’s sayings); and three, a kind of moral panic meant to distract from
the real issues people face that obviously differ from region to region. Remember the Chernobyl nuclear and radiation disaster in 1986 in what was
then the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic? The ongoing deliberate distortion and manipulation of Islam by a bunch of
ignoramus radicals could be said to be Indonesia’s Chernobyl. In fact it’s
worse, because it’s not an accident but deliberately engineered — not just
by radicals but also by mainstream politicians taking advantage of it to
support their political agenda. Notions of sharia and halal are also being
commercialized, where even fridges can be labeled halal. The “system” — if you can call it that — is rotten to the core. It’s a
deliberate fabrication of toxic and evil lies intended to control the minds
of many young Indonesian Muslims and turn them into mindless zombie robots
that eschew any form of logic or true knowledge of Islam and Islamic
history. Radicals ultimately want Indonesia to become a caliphate. On YouTube, an
“influencer” known as Ustad Haikal Hassan, explains that the caliphate
system is an ideal political system that we should aim for. Unfortunately,
he says that the caliphate concept is not used by Muslims but by Europeans
and it is now the basis for the European Union. What?? Talk about being
utterly clueless about what both the EU and a caliphate are! Since the beginning of the Reform Era in 1998, Indonesian Muslims have
become more and more conservative, abiding by (mis)interpretations of text
rather than going by the spirit of Islam that embodies peace, mutual respect
and love. But now, over 20 years into the Reform Era, I reckon we are now in jahilliyah (age
of ignorance) of Islam in Indonesia, which thrives on hypocrisy, greed and
ego and power-driven motives. Radicals so easily point their fingers at
others accusing them of blasphemy, when in fact it is they who are
committing blasphemy — of the worse kind because it’s done with evil intent. Islam, born in the seventh century, was intended as an “antidote” to Arabia,
which was then considered an age of jahiliyah.
So, it’s a pretty ironic state of affairs that we have become what we once
fought against. In relation to the pressure to wear a hijab (though many wear it
voluntarily), women are starting to fight back. Many now see it as part of
the Arabization of Indonesia and of the caliphate-pushing radical agenda. Late last year, Indiah, a friend who has been wearing the hijab since 2003
after she went on the haj, told me she was planning to unveil herself in
2020. She is also one of the proponents of the Selasa Berkebaya (Kebaya on
Tuesdays) movement, kebaya being
a blouse usually worn with a batik sarong, considered the Indonesian
traditional costume. A young progressive ustad known as Gus Miftah (Miftah Maulana Habiburrahman)
recounts how his wife now no longer wears the hijab. She wore it for almost
three years, especially when accompanying her husband. One day, he suggested
that she take it off “to save Indonesia from the raging influence of Arabic
culture”. She was pretty happy about it, as she didn’t wear the veil before marrying
him. Gus Miftah is now the only ustad whose wife doesn’t wear a hijab. You
can imagine the bullying they both received, but they stood their ground. In relation to Ibu Sinta,
some women activists have respectfully asked: Why doesn’t she take off her
headcover, even though it’s not a hijab, but it’s still a headcover. Ayo
Bu Sinta, just do it! You’d go triple viral!
The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad Early version published by Jakarta Post under the title:
Cover men's eyes, not women's hair!
January 22, 2020
of Europe The equation
of Communism with Nazism (First Part)
indeed cynical and out-of-touch for the EU (Parliament) to suddenly
blame, after 80 years, the Soviet Union for triggering WWII.
It is unwise (to say least) to
resurrect the arguments surrounding the circumstances of the start
of World War II. The historians have agreed, the history has been
written and well documented, and is in our books already for many
There is no point in contemporary
politicians of eastern flank of the EU (with a striking but
complicit silence from the central Europe) pushing up the facts
regarding who was to blame. There are neither mandated, nor
qualified or even expected to do so.
Germany, Imperial Japan, Mussolini ‘s Italy and its satellites
(helped by the ring of Useful Idiots, then called Quislings)
were the culprits and that is universally accepted with no
exception. It is now all in the past. Let us leave it there and not
in the 21st century which has severe multiplying challenges,
especially for the EU, that are still waiting to be tackled.
* * *
Enveloped in its own myopia of
economic egoism and überfremdungphobia,
Europeans are in fact digging and perpetuating defensive
self-isolation. While falling short to constructively engage its
neighborhood (but not conveniently protected by oceans for it like
some other emigrant-receiving countries), Europeans constantly
attract unskilled migrants from that way destabilized near abroad.
The US, GCC, Far East, Australia, Singapore, lately even Brazil,
India, or Angola – all have enormously profited from the skilled
newcomers. Europe is unable to recognize, preserve, protect and
promote its skilled migrants.
European history of tolerance of otherness is far too short for it,
while the legacies of residual fears are deep, lasting and wide.
Destructive efforts towards neighbors and accelatered hatreds for at
home are perpetually reinforcing themselves. That turns Europe into
a cluster of sharply polarized and fragmented societies, seemingly
over history and identity, but essentially over the generational and
technological gap, vision and forward esteem.
One of the latest episodes comes
from a recent political, and highly ahistorical, initiative to make
an equation of communism with Nazism. Driven by the obsessive
Russophobe notion, this myopic short-term calculus may bring
disastrous long-term consequences – first and most of all for the
Slavic Eastern/southeastern Europe, as well as to the absent-minded
Scandinavian Europe, or cynically silent Central Europe.
Needleless to say, consensus that
today’s Europe firmly rests upon is built on antifascism. This
legacy brought about prosperity and tranquility to Europe
unprecedented all throughout its history. Sudden equation of
communism with Nazism is the best and fastest way to destroy very
fundaments of Europe once for good.
One is certain, the EU-led Europe
is in a serious moral and political crisis of rapid de-evolution.
Let’s have a closer look.
Una hysteria importante
History of Europe is the story of
small hysteric/xenophobic nations, traditionally sensitive to the
issue of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and behavioristic otherness.
If this statement holds the truth, then we refer to events before
and after the Thirty Years’ War in general and to the
post-Napoleonic Europe in particular. Political landscape of today’s
Europe had been actually conceived in the late 14th
century, gradually evolving to its present shape.
the unquestioned and unchallenged pre-Westphalian order of
Catholicism enabled the consolidation and standardization of the
feudal socio-economic and politico-military system all over the
Europe. However at its matured stage, such a universalistic world of
Holy Roman Empire and Papacy (Caesaropapism)
is steadily contested by the explicitly confrontational or
implicitly dismissive political entities, be it ideologically (the
Thirty Years’ War culminating with the Peace of Westphalia) or
geopolitically (Grand Discoveries and the shift of the gravity
center westwards). The early round of colonizers, the two Iberian
empires of Spain and Portugal, are the first entities that emerged,
followed by France, Holland, England and Denmark. (Belgium too,
although it appeared as a buffer zone at first – being a strategic
depth, a continental prolongation of England for containment of
Central Europeans, of Dutch and Scandinavians from the open sea,
while later on also becoming a strategic depth of France for
balancing Britain and containment of Denmark and Prussia.) Engulfed
with the quest of the brewing French revolution for the creation of
a nation state, these colonizers, all of them situated on the
Atlantic flank of Europe, have successfully adjusted to the
nation-state concept. Importantly, the very process of
creation/formation of the nation-state has been conducted primarily
on linguistic grounds since religious grounds were historically
defeated once and for all by the Westphalia.All peoples
talking the Portugophone dialects in one state, all Hispanophone
dialects in another state, all Francophone dialects in the third
state, etc.This was an
easy cut for peripheral Europe, the so-called old colonizers on the
Atlantic flank of Europe, notably for Portugal, Spain, France,
England, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
geopolitically defeated at home, in France, and ideologically
contained by the Vienna Congress and its instrument – the Holy
Alliance of Eastern Conservative Courts, the very idea of a
nation-state remained appealing. Both of that-time federations of
theocracies (the non-territorial principle-based Habsburg and the
Ottoman empires) were inevitably corroding by two ‘chemical’
precursors: secularism (enlightenment) and territoriality. Once the
revolutionary 1848 ousted the principal guardian of feudalism and
Rimo-Christian orthodoxy in Europe, Metternich, the suppressed
concept got further impetus. And, the revolutionary romance went on…
Interestingly, the very creation of Central Europe’s nation-states
was actually enhanced by Napoleon III. The unification of
Italophones was his, nearly obsessive, intentional deed (as he grew
up in Nice with Italian Carbonari
revolutionaries who were fighting papal and Habsburg’s control over
the northern portions of today’s Italy). Conversely, the very
unification of Germanophones under the Greater Prussia was his
non-intentional mis-chief, with the two subsequently emerging
‘by-products’; modern Austria (German-speaking core assembled on the
ruins of mighty multinational and multi-lingual empire) and modern
Turkey (Turkophone core on the ruins of mighty multiracial and
being geographically in the heart of Europe, Switzerland remained a
remarkably stable buffer zone: Highly militarized but defensive and
obsessively neutral, economically omnipresent yet financially
secretive, it represents one confederated state of two confronting
versions of western Christianity, of three ethnicities and of four
languages. Absent from most of the modern European politico-military
events – Switzerland, in short – is terra incognita.
speaking, the process of Christianization of Europe that was used as
the justification tool to (either intimidate or corrupt, so to say
to) pacify the invading tribes, which demolished the Roman Empire
and brought to an end the Antique age, was running parallel on two
tracks. The Roman Curia/Vatican conducted one of them by its hammer:
the Holy Roman Empire. The second was run by the cluster of
Rusophone Slavic Kaganates, who receiving (the orthodox or
true/authentic, so-called Eastern version of)Christianity
from Byzantium, and past its collapse, have taken over a mission of
Christianization, while forming its first state of Kiev Russia (and
thereafter, its first historic empire). Thus, tothe eastern
edge of Europe, Russophones have lived in an intact, nearly a
hermetic world of universalism for centuries: one empire, one Tsar,
one religion and one language.
in between Central Europe and Russia is Eastern Europe, rather a
historic novelty on the political map of Europe. Very formation of
the Atlantic Europe’s present shape dates back to 14th–15th
century, of Central Europe to the mid-late 19th
century, while a contemporary Eastern Europe only started emerging
between the end of WWI and the collapse of the Soviet Union –
meaning, less than 100 years at best, slightly over two decades in
the most cases. No wonder that the dominant political culture of the
Eastern Europeans resonates residual fears and reflects deeply
insecure small nations. Captive and restive, they are short in
territorial depth, in demographic projection, in natural resources
and in a direct access to open (warm) seas.
After all, these are short in historio-cultural verticals, and in
the bigger picture-driven long-term policies. Eastern Europeans are
exercising the nationhood and sovereignty from quite a recently,
thus, too often uncertain over the side and page of history.
Therefore, they are often dismissive, hectic and suspectful, nearly
neuralgic and xenophobic, with frequent overtones. The creation
of a nation-state (on linguistic grounds) in the peripheral,
Atlantic and Scandinavian, as well as Central Europe was relatively
a success-story. However, in Eastern Europe it repeatedly suffered
setbacks, culminating in the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East.
The same calamity also remained in the central or Baltic part of
the center soft Ever since
Westphalia, Europe maintained the inner balance of powers by keeping
its core section soft. Peripheral powers like England, France,
Denmark, (early Sweden and Poland to be later replaced by) Prussia
and Habsburgs, and finally the Ottomans and Russia have pressed on
and preserved the center of continental Europe as their own
playground. At the same time, they kept extending their possessions
overseas or, like Russia and the Ottomans, over the land corridors
deeper into Asian and MENA proper. Once Royal Italy and Imperial
Germany had appeared, the geographic core ‘hardened’ and for the
first time started to politico-militarily press onto peripheries.
This new geopolitical reality caused a big security dilemma. That
dilemma lasted from the 1814 Vienna congress up to Potsdam
conference of 1945, being re-actualized again with the Berlin Wall
destruction: How many Germanies and Italies should Europe have to
preserve its inner balance and peace?As the
latecomers, the Central Europeans have faced the overseas world out
of their reach, as clearly divided into spheres of influence solely
among the Atlantic Europeans (and Russians). In rather
simplified terms, one can say that from the perspective of European
belligerent parties, both world wars were fought between the forces
of status quo and the challengers to this status quo. The final
epilogue in both wars was that Atlantic Europe has managed to divert
the attention of Central Europeans from itself and its vast overseas
possessions onto Eastern Europe, and finally towards Russia.
Just to give
the most illustrative of many examples; the Imperial post-Bismarck
Germany has carefully planned and ambitiously grouped its troops on
the border with France. After the assassination of the Austrian
Archduke in Sarajevo (28 June 1914), Europe was technically having a
casus belli - as the subsequent mutually
declared war between all parties quickly followed this assassination
episode and the immediate Austrian ultimatum to Serbia. However, the
first armed engagement was not taking place on the southeastern
front, as expected – between the Eastern belligerent parties such as
Austria, Serbia, Russia, the Ottomans, Greece, Bulgaria, etc. The
first military operations of WWI were actually taking place in the
opposite, northwest corner of Europe – something that came only two
months past the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia. It was German
penetration of Belgian Ardennes.
very epilogue of la
Grande Guerra was such
that a single significant territorial gain of Germany was achieved
only in Eastern Europe. Despite a colossal 4-years long military
effort, the German western border remained nearly unchanged.
The end of
WWI did not bring much of a difference. The accords de paix
– Versailles treaty was an Anglo-French triumph. These principal
Treaty powers, meaning: Atlantic Europe, invited Germany to finally
join the League of Nations in 1926, based on the 1925 Treaty of
Locarno. By the letter of this treaty, Germany obliged itself to
fully respect its frontiers with Belgium and France (plus
demilitarized zone along Rhine) with the unspecified promise to
arbitrate before pursuing any change of its borders with
Czechoslovakia and Poland. The same modus operandi applied to the
Austrian borders with Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
The Locarno accord actually instrumentalized two sorts of boundaries
around Central Europe (Germany–Austria): strict, inviolable ones
towards Atlantic Europe; but semipermeable and soft towards Eastern
That is how the predominant player from Central Europe, Germany, was
accepted to the League, a collective system which the Soviet Russia
(meaning: Rusophone Europe) was admitted to only a decade later
(1934). Soon after,
this double standard sealed-off a faith of many in Europe and
professor in international law and global political studies, based
in Vienna, Austria. His 7th
book From WWI to www. 1918-2018
is published by the New York’s Addleton Academic Publishers last
more accurate: Westphalia went beyond pure truce, peace and
reconciliation. It re-confirmed existence of western Christianity’s
Simply, it only outlawed meddling into the intra-western religious
affairs by restricting that-time absolute Papal (interpretative)
powers. From that point of view, Westphalia was not the first
international instrument on religious freedoms, but a triumph of
western evangelic unity. This very unity later led to the
strengthening of western Christianity and its supremacy
European languages that are taught in schools today, were once upon
a time, actually a political and geographic compromise of the
leading linguists, who – through adopted conventions – created a
standard language by compiling different dialects, spoken on the
territory of particular emerging nation-state.
Russian state has ever since expanded north/northeast and eastward,
reaching the physical limits of its outreach by crossing the Bering
straits (and the sale of Russian Alaska to the USA in 1867). By the
late 17th and early 18th century, Russia had begun to draw
systematically into European politico-military theatre. (…) In the
meantime, Europe’s universalistic empire dissolved. It was contested
by the challengers (like the Richelieu’s France and
others–geopolitical, or the Lutheran/Protestant – ideological
challengers), and fragmented into the cluster of confronted
monarchies, desperately trying to achieve an equilibrium through
dynamic balancing. Similar political process will affect Russian
universal empire only by late 20th century, following the Soviet
dissolution. (…) Not fully accepted into the European collective
system before the Metternich’s Holy Alliance, even had its access
into the post-Versailles system denied, Russia was still not ignored
like other peripheral European power. The Ottomans, conversely, were
negated from all of the security systems until the very creation of
the NATO (Republic of Turkey). Through the pre-emptive partition of
Poland in the eve of WWII, and successful campaigns elsewhere in
Eastern Europe, Bolshevik Russia expanded both its territory and its
influence westwards. (…) An early Soviet period of Russia was
characterized by isolated bilateral security arrangements, e.g. with
Germans, Fins, Japanese, etc. The post WWII days have brought the
regional collective system of Warsaw Pact into existence, as to
maintain the communist gains in Europe and to effectively oppose
geopolitically and ideologically the similar, earlier formed, US-led
block. Besides Nixon’s rapprochement towards China, the collapse of
the Soviet Union was the final stage in the progressive
fragmentation of the vast Sino-Soviet Communist block (that
dominated the Eurasian land mass with its massive size and
centrality), letting Russia emerge as the successor. The sudden
ideological and territorial Soviet break-up, however, was followed
by the cultural shock and civil disorder, painful economic and
demographic crisis and rapidly widening disparities. All this
coupled with the humiliating wars in Caucasus and elsewhere, since
the centripetal and centrifugal forces of integration or
fragmentations came into the oscillatory play. Between 1989 and
1991, communist rule ended in country after country and the Warsaw
Pact officially dissolved. Subsequently, the Gorbachev-Jeltsin
Russia experienced the greatest geopolitical contraction of any
major power in the modern era and one of the fastest ever in
history. Still, Gorbachev-Jeltsin tandem managed to (re-)brand
themselves domestically and internationally – each got its own label
say that, past the peak Ottoman times, the aggressive intrusion of
Atlantic Europe with its nation-state concept, coupled with Central
Europe’s obsessive control and lebensraumquest, has
turned lands of a mild and tolerant people, these pivotal
intellectual exchange-corridors of southeastern Europe and the Near
East into a modern day Balkan powder keg.
Miroslav Krleza famously remarked: “It was us humans who transformed
our good swine to a filthy pig.”
At the time
of Vienna Congress, there were nearly a dozen of Italophone states
and over three dozens of Germanophone entities – 34 western German
states + 4 free cities (Kleinstaaterei),
Austria and Prussia. Potsdam conference concludes with only three
Germanophone (+ Lichtenstein + Switzerland) and two Italophone
states (+ Vatican).
Why did the US join up Atlantic Europe against Central Europe in
both WWs? Simply, siding up with Central Europe would have meant
politico-military elimination of Atlantic Europe once and for all.
In such an event, the US would have faced a single European,
confrontation-potent, block of a formidable strategic-depth to
engage with sooner or later. Eventually, Americans would have lost
an interfering possibility of remaining the perfect balancer.
The very same balancer role, the US inherited from the declining
Farce or not, history of 1914 nearly repeated itself to its last
detail in early 1990s. And, it was not for the first time. 25 and
again 75 years after 1914 – meaning that 1939. was nearly copied by
the events of 9/11 in 1989. Hence, November 1989 was the third time
that the western frontiers of Central Europe remained intact, while
the dramatic change took place to its East. Besides Anschlussof
Eastern Germany by the Western one, borders there in 1990s nominally
remained the same, but many former neighbors to Central Europe have
one by one disappeared for good from the political map of Eastern
an environment of a tense standoff between Iran and the US since
the last couple of months, the United States assassinated
high-ranking Iranian military and intelligence official Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad
International Airport on Friday morning along with several other
Iran-backed officials operating in Iraq. The assassination of
Qasem Soleimani is being anticipated as the most aggressive
action, which could trigger the US and Iran towards a possible
state of war by exposing the region to alarming tragedy.
Both sides are making vengeful statements with objectives to
undermine each other with severe consequences. Iran warned of
the severe avenge of the killing of a senior commander of the
IRGC's Quds Forces Major General Qasem Soleimani. Being the
commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani was
considered as the architect of the nation’s military,
intelligence operations, and a close confidant of Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On other side, the US
used to tag Qasem Soleimani as a terrorist and one of the
world’s most dangerous men, aiding Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad in the Syrian Civil war and causing the
deaths of hundreds of Americans during the Iraq war.
US engagements in the region during the last two decades
witnessed the fact that US administration including Donald Trump and his predecessors are experts in
solving one problem by creating another big mess in the region.
In this scenario, statements from the US president following the
assassination of Qasem Soleimani that the targeted action
against Qasem Soleimani was initiated “to stop a war, not to
start one” seems hilarious.
Donald Trump has pushed the US towards an unending rivalry and
conflict by Killing Qasem Soleimani by opening a new Pandora box
in the region. The International strategists and analysts are
seeing the decision of strike of US Administration as a plethora
to divert attention from the internal crisis faced by Trump and
The killing of Qasem Soleimani became international headlines in
the global media for the last two days. Donald Trump played Iran
card for his elections and to get rid of its impeachment crisis
but this Iran card leads the US towards a major watershed.
Donald Trump old tweets about using Iran cards for Obama haunted
him and widely discussed and shared on social media. Following
the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, some elements in the US
are praising Donald Trump for the death of Soleimani, while some
others are condemning the action for escalating already fraught
tensions. It is too early to gauge the intensity of possible
consequences and implications of the assassination of Qasem
Soleimani; however, the US administration has to come out with
more solid justifications this time for its actions.
Donald Trump does not need enemies while making such kind of
decisions. The warmongering rhetoric of Donald Trump has
multiplied the intensity of tension between the US and Iran.
Donald Trump has made several tweets by justifying his stance on
Qasem Soleimani’s killing. His repeated tweets gestured that he
is well aware of any expected reaction from Iran. Trump is
trying hard to downplay the killing of Qasem Soleimani that does
not seem possible in a country like Iran.
Iran has made up its mind to react following the assassination
of powerful men of Iran in a drone strike at Baghdad
International Airport. Iran has categorically warned for
retaliation to avenge the murder of Soleimani by pointing out
that time and the target will be told by the time.
Iran Foreign Minister
Javed Zarif started
meeting with his various counterparts for their future strategy
on Qasem Soleimani. There has been huge curiosity around the
world that what kind of reaction is being expected from Iran in
the aftermath of Qasem Soleimani killing by the US.
Donald Trump put the US into the worst snare by jeopardizing US
national security by killing Qasem Soleimani. Donald Trump has
negated all his previous policies and strategies on the Middle
East for he used to criticize Barack Obama and
The killing of Qasem Soleimani will prove to be a major setback
for Trump's elections as thousands of Americans have also come
to roads in New York against war hysteria of Trump
Iran's strategic partners will support Iran at this stage when
they engineered a new battlefield for the US to engage it for
more skirmishes to weak US defense sector and waste its more
capital in the region.
On the other side, millions of people moved to roads to attend
funeral prayers for Qasem Soleimani in Iraq and Iran and to
honor Commander Qasem Soleimani, which hinted at the fact that
the situation is not as rosy as depicted by US administration.
The consequences are going to be exposed with Iranian rhetoric
that Iran has made up its mind to avenge the assassination of
Qasem Soleiman and in this connection, till filing of this
report, the missile was reportedly fired at base camp in Iraq
housing US soldiers with confirmation of news regarding injuries
of US troops.
About the author:
Malik Ayub Sumbal is an award winning
journalist, co-founder of the CCSIS (Caucasus Center for
Strategic and International Studies), and a presenter for the
Beijing-based CGTN (former CCTV).
Ljubljana, 13 January 2020
January 10, 2020
The Sino-US Trade War – Why China can’t win it
Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
Does our history only appear overheated, while it is essentially calmly
predetermined? Is it directional or conceivable, dialectic and eclectic or
cyclical, and therefore cynical? Surely, our
history warns. Does it also provide for a hope? Hence, what is in front of
us: destiny or future?
Theory loves to teach us that extensive debates on what kind of economic
system is most conductive to human wellbeing is what consumed most of our
civilizational vertical. However, our history has a different say: It seems
that the manipulation of the global political economy – far more than the
introduction of ideologies – is the dominant and arguably more durable way
that human elites usually conspired to build or break civilizations, as
planned projects. Somewhere down the process, it deceived us, becoming the
* * *
One of the biggest (nearly schizophrenic) dilemmas of liberalism, ever since
David Hume and Adam Smith, was an insight into reality: Whether the world is
essentially Hobbesian or Kantian. As postulated, the main task
of any liberal state is to enable and maintain wealth of its nation, which
of course rests upon wealthy individuals inhabiting the particular state.
That imperative brought about another dilemma: if wealthy individual, the
state will rob you, but in absence of it, the pauperized masses will
The invisible hand of Smith’s followers have found the satisfactory
answer – sovereign debt. That ‘invention’ meant: relatively strong central
government of the state. Instead of popular control through the democratic
checks-&-balance mechanism, such a state should be rather heavily indebted.
Debt – firstly to local merchants, than to foreigners – is a far more
powerful deterrent, as it resides outside the popular check domain.
With such a
mixed blessing, no empire can easily demonetize its
legitimacy, and abandon its hierarchical but invisible and unconstitutional
controls. This is how a debtor empire was born. A blessing or totalitarian
curse? Let us briefly examine it.
The Soviet Union – much as (the pre-Deng’s) China itself – was far more of a
classic continental military empire (overtly brutal; rigid, authoritative,
anti-individual, apparent, secretive), while the US was more a
financial-trading empire (covertly coercive; hierarchical, yet asocial,
exploitive, pervasive, polarizing). On opposite sides of the globe and
cognition, to each other they remained
enigmatic, mysterious and incalculable: Bear
of permafrost vs. Fish of the warm seas. Sparta vs. Athens. Rome vs.
Phoenicia… However, common for the both (as much as for China today) was a
super-appetite for omnipresence. Along with the price to pay for it.
Consequently, the Soviets went bankrupt by mid 1980s – they cracked under
its own weight, imperially overstretched. So did the Americans – the ‘white
man burden’ fractured them already by the Vietnam war, with the Nixon
shock only officializing it. However, the US imperium managed to survive
and to outlive the Soviets. How?
The United States, with its financial capital (or an outfoxing illusion of
it), evolved into a debtor empire through the Wall Street guaranties.
Titanium-made Sputnik vs. gold mine of printed-paper… Nothing
epitomizes this better than the words of the longest serving US Federal
Reserve’s boss, Alan Greenspan, who famously quoted J.B. Connally to then
French President Jacques Chirac: “True, the dollar is our currency, but your
problem”. Hegemony vs. hegemoney.
House of Cards
Conventional economic theory teaches us that money is a universal equivalent
to all goods. Historically, currencies were a space and time-related, to say
locality-dependent. However, like no currency ever before, the US dollar
became – past the WWII – the universal equivalent to all other moneys of the
world. According to history of currencies, the core component of the
non-precious metals’ money is a so-called promissory note – intangible
belief that, by any given point in future, a particular shiny paper
(self-styled as money) will be smoothly exchanged for real goods.
Thus, roughly speaking, money is nothing else but a civilizational construct
about imagined/projected tomorrow – that the next day (which nobody has ever
seen in the history of humankind, but everybody operates with) definitely
comes (i), and that this tomorrow will certainly be a better day then our
yesterday or even our today (ii).
This and similar types of collective constructs (horizontal and vertical)
over our social contracts hold society together as much as its economy keeps
it alive and evolving. Hence, it is money that powers economy, but our blind
faith in constructed (imagined) tomorrows and its alleged certainty is what
Clearly, the universal equivalent of all equivalents – the US dollar –
follows the same pattern: Bold and widely accepted promise. What does the US
dollar promise when there is no gold cover attached to it ever since the
time of Nixon shock of 1971?
Pentagon promises that the oceanic sea-lanes will remain opened (read:
controlled by the US Navy), pathways unhindered, and that the most traded
world’s commodity – oil, will be delivered. So, it is not a crude or its
delivery what is a cover to the US dollar – it is a promise that oil
of tomorrow will be deliverable. That is a real might of the US dollar,
which in return finances Pentagon’s massive expenditures and shoulders its
Admired and feared, Pentagon further fans our planetary belief in tomorrow’s
deliverability – if we only keep our faith in dollar (and hydrocarbons’
energized economy), and so on and on in perpetuated circle of mutual
These two pillars of the US might from the East coast (the US Treasury/Wall
Street and Pentagon) together with the two pillars of the West coast – both
financed and amplified by the US dollar, and spread through the open
sea-routs (Silicone Valley and Hollywood), are an essence of the US posture.
This very nature of power explains why the Americans have missed to take the
mankind into completely other direction; towards the non-confrontational,
decarbonized, de-monetized/de-financialized and de-psychologized, the
self-realizing and green humankind. In short, to turn history into a moral
success story. They had such a chance when, past the Gorbachev’s
unconditional surrender of the Soviet bloc, and the Deng’s Copernicus-shift
of China, the US – unconstrained as a lonely superpower – solely
dictated terms of reference; our common destiny and direction/s to our
Winner is rarely a game-changer
Sadly enough, that was not the first missed opportunity for the US
to soften and delay its forthcoming, imminent multidimensional imperial
The very epilogue of the WWII meant a full security guaranty for the US:
Geo-economically – 54% of anything manufactured in the world was carrying
the Made in USA label, and geostrategically – the US had
uninterruptedly enjoyed nearly a decade of the ‘nuclear monopoly’. Up to
this very day, the US scores the biggest number of N-tests conducted, the
largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry, and it represents the only power ever
deploying this ‘ultimate weapon’ on other nation. To complete the irony,
Americans enjoy geographic advantage like no other empire before. Save the
US, as Ikenberry notes: “…every major power in the world lives in a crowded
geopolitical neighborhood where shifts in power routinely provoke
counterbalancing”. Look the map, at Russia or China and their packed
surroundings. The US is blessed with its insular position, by neighboring
oceans. All that should harbor tranquility, peace and prosperity,
Why the lonely might, an empire by invitation did not evolve into
empire of relaxation, a generator of harmony? Why does it hold
(extra-judicially) captive more political prisoners on Cuban soil than the
badmouthed Cuban regime has ever had? Why does it remain obsessed with
armament for at home and abroad? Why existential anxieties for at home and
security challenges for abroad? Eg. 78% of all weaponry at disposal in the
wider MENA theater is manufactured in the US, while domestically Americans –
only for their civilian purpose – have 1,2 small arms pieces per capita.)
Why the fall of Berlin Wall 30 years ago marked a beginning of decades of
stagnant or failing incomes in the US (and elsewhere in the OECD world)
coupled with alarming inequalities. What are we talking about here; the inadequate intensity of our tireless confrontational push
about the false course of our civilizational direction?
Indeed, no successful and enduring empire does merely rely on coercion, be
it abroad or at home. The grand design of every empire in past rested on a
skillful calibration between obedience and initiative – at home, and between bandwagoning and engagement – abroad. In XXI century, one wins when one
convinces not when one coerces. Hence, if unable to escape its inner logics
and deeply-rooted appeal of confrontational nostalgia, the prevailing
archrival is only a winner, rarely a game-changer.
To sum up; After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Americans accelerated
expansion while waiting for (real or imagined) adversaries to further
decline, ‘liberalize’ and bandwagon behind the US. Expansion is the path
to security dictatum, of the post-Cold War mantra, only exacerbated the
problems afflicting the Pax Americana. That is how the capability of
the US to maintain its order started to erode faster than the capacity of
its opponents to challenge it. A classical imperial self-entrapment!!
The repeated failure to notice and recalibrate its imperial retreat brought
the painful hangovers to Washington, the most noticably, by the last
presidential elections. Inability to manage the rising costs of sustaining
the imperial order only increased the domestic popular revolt and political
pressure to abandon its ‘mission’ altogether. Perfectly hitting the target
to miss everything else …
Hence, Americans are not fixing the world anymore. They are only managing
its decline. Look at their footprint in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan,
Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria or Yemen – to mention but a few.
When the Soviets lost their own indigenous ideological matrix and maverick
confrontational stance, and when the US dominated West missed to triumph
although winning the Cold War, how to expect from the imitator to score the
lasting moral or even a temporary economic victory?
Lasting collision course already leads to the subsequent calls for a
decupling of the two world’s largest economies. Besides marking the end of
global capitalism which exploded since the fall of Berlin Wall, this may
finally trigger a global realignment. The rest of the world would end up –
willingly or not – in the rival (trade) blocks. It would not be a return to
1950s and 1960s, but to the pre-WWI constellations. Epilog is plain to see:
Neither more confrontation and more carbons nor more weaponized trade and
traded weapons will save our day. It failed in past, it will fail again any
Interestingly, China opposed the I World, left the II in rift, and ever
since Bandung of 1955 it neither won over nor (truly) joined the III Way.
Today, many see it as a main contestant. But, where is a lasting success?
(The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is what the most attribute as an
instrument of the Chinese planetary posture. Chinese leaders promised
massive infrastructure projects all around by burning trillions of dollars.
Still, numbers are more moderate. As the recent The II BRI Summit has
shown, so far, Chinese companies had invested USD 90 billion worldwide.
Seems, neither People’s Republic is as rich as many (wish to) think nor it
will be able to finance its promised projects without seeking for a global
private capital. Such a capital –if ever – will not flow without
conditionalities. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the
BRICS or ‘New Development’ – Bank have some $150 billion at hand, and the
Silk Road Infrastructure Fund (SRIF) has up to $40 billion. Chinese state
and semi-private companies can access – according to the OECD estimates –
just another $600 billion (much of it tight) from the home, state-controlled
financial sector. That means that China runs short on the BRI deliveries
worldwide. Ergo, either bad news to the (BRI) world or the conditionalities’
How to behave in the world in which economy is made to service trade (as it
is defined by the Sino-American high priests of globalization), while trade
increasingly constitutes a significant part of the big power’s national
security strategy? And, how to define (and measure) the existential threat:
by inferiority of ideological narrative – like during the Cold War; or by a
size of a lagging gap in total manufacturing output – like in the Cold War
aftermath. Or something third?
Greening international relations along with a greening of economy –
geopolitical and environmental understanding, de-acidification and
relaxation is that missing, third, way for tomorrow.
That necessitates both at once: less confrontation over the art-of-day
technology and their de-monopolized redistribution as well as the resolute
work on the so-called Tesla-ian implosive/fusion-holistic systems (including
free-energy technologies; carbon-sequestration; antigravity and
self-navigational solutions; bioinformatics and nanorobotics). More of
initiative than of obedience (including more public control over data
hoovering). More effort to excellence (creation) than a struggle for
Finally, no global leader has ever in history emerged from a shaky and
distrustful neighborhood, or by offering a little bit more of the same in
lieu of an innovative technological advancement. (Eg. many see the Chinese
5G as an illiberal innovation, which may end up servicing authoritarianism,
anywhere. And indeed, the AI deep learning inspired by biological neurons
(neural science) including its three methods: supervised, unsupervised and
reinforced learning can end up by being used for the digital
authoritarianism, predictive policing and manufactured social governance
based on the bonus-malus behavioral social credits.)
Ergo, it all starts from within, from at home. Without support from a home
base (including that of Hong Kong,
Xinjiang and Tibet), there is no game changer. China’s home is Asia. Its size and its
centrality along with its impressive output is constraining it enough.
Hence, it is not only a new, non-imitative, turn of technology what is
needed. Without truly and sincerely embracing mechanisms such as the NaM,
ASEAN and SAARC (eventually even the OSCE) and the main champions of
multilateralism in Asia, those being India Indonesia and Japan first of all,
China has no future of
what is planetary awaited – the third force, a game-changer, lasting
visionary and trusted global leader.
Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic,
Vienna, 16 AUG 2019
To varying degrees, but all throughout a premodern and modern history,
nearly every world’s major foreign policy originator was dependent (and
still depends) on what happens in, and to, Russia. It is not only a size,
but also a centrality of Russia that matters. That is important as much (if
not even more), as it is an omnipresence of the US or a hyperproduction of
the PR China. Ergo, that is an uninterrupted flow of manufactured goods to
the whole world, it is balancing of the oversized and centrally positioned
one, and it is the ability to controllably destruct the way in and insert
itself of the peripheral one. The oscillatory interplay of these three is
what characterizes our days.
Author is chairperson and professor in international law and global
political studies, Vienna, Austria. He has authored six books (for American
and European publishers) and numerous articles on, mainly, geopolitics
energy and technology.
Professor is editor of the NY-based GHIR (Geopolitics, History and Intl.
and editorial board member of several similar specialized magazines on three
His 7th book, ‘From WWI to www. – Europe and the World 1918-2018’
has been realised earlier this year.
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Mads Jacobsen Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently
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Department of English Language and Literature - undergraduate
University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Philology, Department of English Language
and Literature - graduate study Rakesh Krishnan Simha
New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. According to him, he
writes on stuff the media distorts, misses or ignores.
Rakesh started his career in 1995 with New Delhi-based Business World magazine,
and later worked in a string of positions at other leading media houses such as
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he was the news editor.
He is the Senior Advisory Board member of one of the fastest growing Europe’s
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Candidate in Political studies at the Sapienza University, Rome. Author of three
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in History from Università degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History
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North Sulawesi, IndonesiaEducation: Bachelor in Public
Writer was a member of the House of Representatives
of Indonesia (DPR/MPR-RI) period of 1987-1999, and Chairman of
Committee X, cover Science and Technology, Environment and National
Development Planning (1988-1997).
Currently as Obsever of Nuclear for peace.
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Senahid LAVIĆ Nizar Visram Nizar
Visramis a Ottawa-based free-lance writer from Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Recently retired Senior lecturer on Development studies, he extensively
publishes in over 50 countries on 4 continents. He can be reached at nizar1941(at)gmail.com.
Robert Leonard Rope
He studied at the University of
He lives in: San Francisco, California: San Francisco, California, USA
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with the London-based AEK international, specializing in Europe and Eurasia.
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of international relations, global governance and human rights. Author has
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capacity, and for a publishing company as a pre-editor.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and
ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to
understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since
1981. He is the author of ‘Why
Violence?’His email address is email@example.com
his website is here.
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a member of the organization of Security and Strategic studies in Algeria. She
is also Research Assistant at the Idrak Research Center for Studies and
Ms. Ouchenane was researcher at Algiers University from 2011 to 2018.
(Department of International relations and African studies).
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(SAARC)-New Delhi, Nafees Ahmad is an Indian national who holds a Doctorate
(Ph.D.) in International Refugee Law and Human Rights. Author teaches and writes
on International Forced Migrations, Climate Change Refugees & Human Displacement
Refugee, Policy, Asylum, Durable Solutions and Extradition issues.
Sinta Stepani International relations specialists
based in São Paulo, Brazil.
Professor of the World History
at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. He is
also senior anlaysit at the Geneva
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Juan Martin González Cabañas
is a senior researcher and analyst at the Dossier Geopolitico
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this text appeared in the Chronicles, under the title: “Greta the Swede, or
Gretinizing the Global Media”
Wan T. Lee
He is a Hong Kong based scholar and researcher.
The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad
Early version published by Jakarta Post under the title:
Cover men's eyes, not women's hair!
Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena
Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena