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 m the US-based Troy University. She is
specialist on the MENA and Eurasia politico-military and security theaters.
Giorgio Cafiero 140
Elizabeth Deheza is a founder and CEO of the London-based,
independent strategic intelligence entity DEHEZA, focused on Latin
America and Caribbean.
Where do we go from here? – revisiting words of Steve Clemons
On 1 July 2020, the first real-time conference in Europe past the
early-spring lockdown took place at the Diplomatic Academy Vienna. This
highly anticipated event, entitled From the Victory Day to Corona
Disarray 75 years of Europe’s Collective Security and Human Rights System
Legacy of antifascism for the common pan-European future, was
organized by the International Institute for the Middle East and Balkan
Studies, Media Platform Modern Diplomacy, Scientific Journal European
Perspectives, and Action Platform Culture for Peace.
(the entire conference proceedings are available:
After the end of World War II,
the United Nations was founded in 1945 to maintain international peace and
security, build relationships among nations, promote social progress, better
living standards, and human rights. The Nurnberg and Tokyo trials
(1945-1948) prosecuted war crimes and contributed to the development
of international criminal law as well as the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (1948). These laid down the foundation for the liberal international
system that is based on the shared interest in maintaining rule of law, the
cooperation to resolve security issues, and to maintain an open, stable
system, in which institutions reinforce cooperation and collective
The first panel reflected on the legacy of World War II, collective
security, Human Rights, and the importance of mutual trust within alliances.
Discussions emphasized the testing times that we are living in, which
unwittingly remind us of the set of challenges that the international system
must overcome. Challenges
that will commend other solutions, while testing the integrity of the
current international system. During the first panel, discussions touched
upon a crucial and complex issue, which came under the spotlight due to the
severe worldwide effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of
international institutions as well as the transatlantic relations.
As the health crisis started to unfold rapidly, an unprecedented
macroeconomic shock was triggered. To slow the spread of the virus, national
governments-imposed sanctions, lockdowns, curfews, closed educational
institutions, and non-essential businesses.
National borders were shut down in a matter of hours, governments started to
look for unilateral solutions to solve their lack of medical and food
supply, and suddenly it seemed like the globalized world and the relevance
of the international organizations are fading away, as the interest to act
in concert would not exist anymore.
National crisis management aimed at containing the spread of the virus and
minimize the economic damages, at the same time sent an immediate warning
that the collective problem-solving mechanisms are not functioning properly.
It also demonstrated how interdependent the economic, social systems are and
this magnitude of crisis cannot be dealt with unilaterally within national
borders. As Mr. Steve Clemons, Editor-at-large, HILL pointed out in his
intervention, the course that a nation should take is more in question than
it has ever been before. ‘When you look at the Transatlantic
experiment, it looked like it succeeded enormously until it stopped
succeeding and working.’
As the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates, the scale of transnational threats
cannot be dealt with on a national level. Combatting interstate terrorism,
cybercrimes, climate change, the slow pace of clean energy transition,
migration, global pandemics require transnational solutions. Meanwhile,
countries are putting more emphasis on strengthening their positions as a
nation in the international discourse and seeking a different role by
redefining themselves and embracing other core values and institutions.
Attempts to look for alternatives and transform the existing institutional
structure put in place after World War II have surged in the last decade,
especially after 9/11, the financial crisis in 2008, but with the outbreak
of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world arrived at another tipping point. As Mr.
Clemons phrased it: ‘A point of diminishing return that these
institutions need to be rethought, reconsidered, and recalibrated, that the
power players that now guide much of the world need to be reassorted. There
is no doubt that countries like Brazil, India, etc. are not included in
those power centers, and yet they have enormous stakes in the way global
A global power transition has been taking place for years, the question is
how the shift from unipolarity will accommodate rising powers, who will be
able to take the lead and fill the power vacuum that the United States
leaves behind. As opposed to the rules of the liberal value-based world
order, a new set of rules is being written by rising powers. Some of the
political leaders turned back to ideologies like nationalism and populism,
as a potential alternative to liberalism. Conflicts in recent years
reinforced this tendency, like disputes between Hong Kong and mainland
China, the Ukraine crisis, and Turkey`s autocratic behavior. In addition to
this, the United Kingdom left the European Union and Hungary changed its
raison d'état by redefining itself as an illiberal democracy.
Even the United States is less committed to the post-war world order.
Demonstrating that by leaving institutions that it helped to build, such as
the World Health Organization, the Paris Climate Accord, questioning the
legitimacy of NATO and certain UN institutions. Mr. Clemons stated that the
United States has become a serious competitor with its allies to a certain
degree and the notion of shared interest has diminished. He emphasized the
different stand that the United States took in the COVID-19 pandemic as
oppose to its position in World War II: ‘The United States has chosen
not to be the kind of leader that it has been in the past. It did not step
forward in the COVID crisis to help become a broker of strength and benefits
and help support nations around the world. We may have done something here
and there, but nothing on the scale.’
The set of challenges put the resistance of decade long alliances to a test.
At the same time, they create the opportunity to find comprehensive
solutions and more efficient problem-solving mechanisms for the future, by
revitalizing and reforming institutions that are the cornerstones of
long-standing regional orders, cooperation, and collective problem-solving.
To stand resilient against global challenges like COVID-19, the
transatlantic relationship must come back to its core values and redefine
itself. Therefore, as a first step, it must be acknowledged what led to this
harsh world without much leadership.
The strength lies within like-minded alliances and sharing the same core
values as well as in the ability to come together despite the differences
and finding a common ground again. That is what happened 75 years ago, after
the end of World War II, when the United Nations was founded. Let us
M. Steve Clemons
I cut back on Steve Clemons ’words
Where are we going from here?
By Anna Kassai
Vienna, 12 July 2020
July 31, 2020
Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES
Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East,
Balkans and also around the world.
is Sociologist – Charles University, Prague. She is a Program manager – with
the Culture for Peace Action Platform, and a marketing researcher in IPSOS
CZ. In her comprehensive analysis entitled “Vienna
Process 2020: From Culture for Peace to Culture of Peace”
she is analyzing role and important of culture for peace in the modern
● Anastasiia Pachina
From Culture for
Peace to Culture of Peace
conference whose theme was “From
the Victory Day to Corona Disarray: 75 years of Europe’s Collective Security
and Human Rights System (Legacy of antifascism for the common
pan-European future)” was held on July 1 at the Diplomatic Academy in
Vienna. One of the very few real events organized in Europe in past 6
months, this one-day conference brought together leading speakers from
different continents and spectrums grouped in three panels. This highly
anticipated international event thoroughly discussed on WWII legacy and
antifascism, multilateralism and cross-continental affairs, but also about
culture, science, arts and sports.
On a first glance, one may wonder what the panel on culture, sports and arts
have to do with topics on politics and diplomacy. An Austrian top diplomat,
historian and current Diplomatic Academy director,
who welcomed participants on behalf of the organizers – listed three
essential questions under discussion. The first is legacy and security that
remains relevant even 75 years after the end of World War II. The next one
is different aspects of culture (education, art, science, academic
cooperation). Or in his own words: “the
topic we should all talk about… Culture and cultural differences are the
main issue to be considered if we want the universal system to work the way
we want… Cultural cooperation remains one of the main problems in the EU.”
The last question listed by Ambassador Brix is that of the future.
Culture is Peace
of culture on the agenda of the conference ‘From
the Victory Day to Corona Disarray: 75 years of Europe’s Collective Security
and Human Rights System’ is not an accident. Various spheres of
culture and their tools along with geopolitics, diplomacy, security, and
history were intensely used for the past 75 years in maintaining the
established peace and contributing to the prosperous society. Experts from
different fields of culture including science, arts, and sports were invited
to present their vision under the II Conference’s Panel.
Tellingly, the centrally positioned II Panel of this day-long international
gathering – that was successfully bridging the I and the III panel –
borrowed its very title ‘From
Culture for Peace to Culture of Peace’ from the Action Platform
Culture for Peace which was one of the principal organizers of this
The first Panel’s speaker was
an urban researcher at the Vienna University of Technology with his 20 years
of experience in international urban development and urban innovation. His
take titled: "Inventing
Peace – Urban culture, creativity and the role of immaterial values in the
digital age” was dedicated to urban planning that is able to
make the world a more peaceful place. He also referred to digitalization
which is changing and shaping a new world where ‘humans and objects are
becoming rational nodes embedded in large dynamic complex systems in
entangled interdependencies. Prof. Banerjee’s vision of ways for a
prosperous society as well as his particular example of the transformation
of the city of Medellin sparked vivid dynamics of this Panel.
The next talk was presented by a lawyer, writer, and broadcaster from
O'Shea, whose writings were published among others by the
New York Times, The Guardian, and The Sydney Morning Herald, and whose book
‘Future Histories’ has become a bestseller. Her presentation was focused on
topics of privacy, human rights and surveillance in the online environment.
Ms. O'Shea extensively talked on the preconditions that societies –
supported by the diligent state – need in order to achieve the culture of
peace state. In her view, these are the ties that bound; with a peace as the
best social fabrics that evolves then into a societal culture, as the
lasting civilizational vertical.
The theme of music and its role in maintaining a balanced and harmonious
world was introduced by
musicologist, cultural manager, member of the Viennese Regional Music
Advisory Board, and fundraiser. She talked about peace activists,
scientists, and musicians such as Yoko Ono, David Adams, to name but few.
Based on David Adams’s
thesis Mag. Schreinzer defined that a culture of peace consists of values,
attitudes, behaviours, and ways of life determined by non-violence, human
rights, tolerance and solidarity. She also presented two organisations
Simon Bolivar Symphony Youth
Orchestra of Venezuela (former El Sistema) whose mission is to
enable youth to develop through music.
The theme of performing audio arts was continued by
She is an ethnomusicologist, expert on migrant cultures and Deputy Director
at Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology of the Music
University Vienna. Dr. Saglam elaborated on role that music plays in the
development and diversity of the communities and on bringing parallel
societies into contact with each other. Through the history of migration in
Europe and Austria, she traced the formation of migrant communities.
Culture of Peace
the important mission of the
Unifying Potentials for
Future – Culture for Peace Initiative is to give the floor to
the young generation; there were youth representatives at the panel as well.
One of them was Lawrence Gimeno, a founder & CEO of ACSL (Austrian College
Sports League), the fastest expanding and probably the largest University
Sports platform in Europe. Using his startup as an example, Mag. Gimeno
shared his vision of how sports can bring youngsters together and support a
functional, stable society that rests on culture of peace. He passionately
talked about the history and growth of ACSL from its very idea inception to
Next to the Panel’s moderator, the youngest Conference’s speaker was
an artist living in Estonia. Based on her 10-years engagement in the
European Youth Parliament as well as art works that are inspired by the
views, attitudes, reflections and visions of the European youth generation,
Ms. Lemberg-Lvova introduced how the arts make its contribution to the
development of a society in Europe – all which begins by the young
generation. She also introduced her new artwork and exhibition that is
called “Don’t avoid what
is easy” paying attention to the rights of people to alter and
adjust the environment for themselves.
All in all, the panel included experts from various fields of culture. Talks
were engaging and content rich, comprehensively covering topic of culture as
a whole and more specific issues related to music, sports and visual arts.
Although Academy’s Director Brix said that contemporary challenges are not
really new, this Panel surely offered novel ways to discuss and solve them.
Peace is Culture
several speakers of the I as well as of the III Panel praised the work of
the Culture for Pace Action Platform with their inclusion of culture of
peace into a debate about the future of Europe. Former EU Commissioner and
current President of famous Alpbach Forum, Dr.
‘wished that the EU turns more vocal on culture as unifying aspects for the
future’. Former Austrian President and current Ban Ki-moon Center Co-chair,
Dr. Heinz Fischer
stated that culture of peace is culture of cooperation, while the current
Vice-President of the EU Commission,
reminded all that ‘Europe is essentially peace project’ and that the culture
of peace is a ‘journey far from being complete’.
About the author:
Sociologist – Charles University, Prague. She is a Program manager – with
the Culture for Peace Action Platform, and a marketing researcher in IPSOS
Ljubljana/Vienna/Prague, 30 July 2020
 IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies,
based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN,
New York, since 2018.
July 30, 2020
Towards the pan-European Recalibration
(An interview with Dr. Zeno Leoni on a side of Vienna Process
years after the Victory Day and Nuremberg Trials, the Vienna Process
has leveraged on the current time of crisis in order to empower a
new process for further all-Europe integration that could put at its
centre citizens and protect these from the socio-economic and
security challenges of our times.
Among the speakers in the first of the three
mesmerising conference panels, there was Dr. Zeno Leoni, an expert
on the crisis of the Liberal International Order from the Defense
Studies Department of King’s College London.
In his absorbing speech, he sought to address the
need to rebalance state power and market forces after the market
failures seen over the last twelve years.
Dr. Leoni, why it is important to celebrate
the anniversary of Nuremberg Trials and what does it have to do with
Thanks for this question. Clearly, we are not at
war anymore and especially in the Western world human and political
rights are solid achievements.
Yet, the lesson of C-19 but also of the Great
Recession of 2008 is that if at the end of WWII it was necessary to
work on the values of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, in the
century we need a Nuremberg for social rights. We are facing a time
of socio-economic instability and we need these rights to be secured
if we do not want to see a social “carnage”, to use a language that
draws on what happened eighty years ago.
What has been unveiled by the current pandemic
Many countries have been slow to react or have
not reacted at all. I wonder whether this is because we prioritize
economic interests over life. During the pandemic, as the C-19 was
putting under stress national health systems of different countries,
EU institutions appeared to be more interested in approving the
Mechanism for European Stability, while there was no sign of a
coordinated effort to tackle this emergency. I am not arguing that
eugenics is back in fashion but both the Great Recession and C-19
demonstrate that Darwinism, whether biological or social, is still
among us because if you are strong you move forward but if you are
weak you risk perishing.
Why has the West been so unprepared?
I think the pandemic has showed that Western
societies live their lives not in a strategic manner. We have become
a society that thinks short-term, in a consumerist manner, that
looks for quick gains as opposed to long-lasting goods and effects.
In terms of strategy as science, we don’t stockpile anymore because
why stockpiling for something – like masks – that has little market
value? We do not have plans in place, either.
In terms of strategy as art, we don’t study anymore, we don’t draw
lessons from what others do, we are not creative and we do not have
skills for improvising.
From the viewpoint of strategy as
we also don’t live strategically. We stopped being a healthy
population over the last decades, we don’t value things like work
out and diet as these have become subordinated to work patterns –
this is a trend that we have seen among Mediterranean people, in
particular, as they used to be the healthiest. A healthy population
would have saved many lives given that we know C-19 tends to kill
more those who have pathologies that can be attenuated by a good
How can we get out of this stalemate?
The simple answer for this is “with more state”.
For too many years – first with Washington Consensus, then with
EU-led fiscal rigour – the state in the West has retrenched. This is
not good news, as we can see. We need a state to manage strategic
sectors – like health – with the necessary amount of financial
resources. But we also need the state to provide society with
strategic vision at any level in order not only to face future
threats but also to prevent them – as in the case of working towards
a healthy, strong population.
What role can the EU play in this?
The EU could become a more integrated actor not
merely concerned with fiscal rigour but also with a tangible,
implementable strategy that could prepare us to deal, in a
multilateral manner, with the future global trends – migration,
urbanisation, climate change, pandemics, great power rivalry.
However, it still is overly fragmented by three factors. Firstly,
German self-interested leadership. Secondly, the US remains a
centrifugal pole of attraction which does not allow a full process
of integration in the continent. Finally, the backlash of
globalisation has undermined the faith of people on the EU. Also,
Brussels have to follow its own interest and urgently seeks
recalibration, a new approach towards both Mediterranean and Russia
– this is a Sine Qua Non,
if we are any serious about future of this continent.
Germany and France before others have the power
to lead this change but they must put their selfish interests aside.
* * * *
The first July day of 2020 in Vienna sow marking
the anniversary of Nuremberg Trials with the conference “From the
Victory Day to Corona Disarray: 75 years of Europe’s Collective
Security and Human Rights System – Legacy of Antifascism for the
Common Pan-European Future”. This was probably the first conference
in Europe of large magnitude after the lockdown. It gathered over
twenty speakers from Canada to Australia, and audience physically at
the venue, and many more online.
The conference was organised by four partners;
the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies
(IFIMES), Modern Diplomacy Media Platform, European Perspectives
Academic Journal, and Culture for Peace Action Platform, with the
support of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna that hosted the event in
its prestigious historical setting.
Wishing to turn this event into a lasting
process, the four implementing partners closed the gathering by
marking the start of the process, tentatively named – Vienna Process:
Common Future – One Europe.
The follow up event is already scheduled for early October in Geneva
to honour the 75th
anniversary of the San Francisco Conference. Similar call for a
conference comes from Barcelona, Spain which was a birthplace of the
EU’s Barcelona Process on the strategic Euro-MED dialogue.
About the Author:
is an International Security specialist (Sciences Po Paris),
prolifically writing on the neighbourhood policy, Euro-MED
relations, and disarmament affairs. She is the IFIMES newly
appointed representative in Paris (UNESCO).
July 22, 2020
and the Vietnam’s Chairmanship
International Institute for Middle East and
Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia,
regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, Balkans and also
around the world. Bich T Tran is a PhD candidate at the
University of Antwerp and a Researcher at the Global Affairs
Research Center, Ryukoku University. In her comprehensive analysis
entitled “ASEAN, C-19 and the Vietnam’s Chairmanship” she is
analyzing the role of Vietnam as current ASEAN chair during Covid-19
C-19 and the Vietnam’s Chairmanship
COVID-19 (C-19) event is posing serious challenges for the
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2020. But
Vietnam, as current ASEAN chair, is trying to make the best of the
situation and demonstrate leadership. As 2020 marks a mid-term
review of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Building
Blueprints 2015–25, Vietnam chose ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’ as
the theme for its chairmanship.
The theme is supported by five priorities identified by Prime
Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his keynote speech on 6 January.
The priorities include contributing to regional peace, security and
stability by strengthening ASEAN’s solidarity and unity;
intensifying regional connectivity through the use of digital and
novel technologies; promoting ASEAN identities and shared values;
strengthening global partnerships for peace and sustainable
development; and improving ASEAN’s responsiveness and operational
Despite the goal of intensifying regional connectivity, the C-19
event is disturbing global and regional supply chains. Vietnam had
planned to organize more than 300 different conferences and
activities during its term to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its
ASEAN membership and to promote regional interactions. But the
pandemic is causing numerous events to be postponed or even
Many countries are in total or partial lockdown to flatten the
transmission curve. Still, social distancing is increasing the use
of telecommunication technologies used for teleworking and online
teaching and learning. This trend, in line with the priority of
promoting digital technologies, is enabling Vietnam to carry out its
chair responsibilities by holding virtual meetings with ASEAN
members and external partners.
Although division among ASEAN on how to respond to China in the
South China Sea has undermined unity in recent years, Vietnam as
chair of ASEAN is unifying member states in the fight against C-19.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Vietnam has worked closely with
ASEAN members to help cope with the complex developments of the
disease. On 14 February, Vietnam issued the Chairman's Statement on
ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of C-19, which stressed
the importance of ASEAN solidarity and promoted cooperation on
On 31 March, Hanoi held the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group
on Public Health Emergencies teleconference for member states to
share information about their situations and the implementation of
At the ministerial level, Vietnam chaired two sessions of the ASEAN
Coordinating Council on 20 March and 9 April, comprised of ASEAN
foreign ministers, to discuss ways to strengthen collaboration
between the group and its partners.
In the spirit of a ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’, Vietnam
organized the Special ASEAN Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 on 14
April to urge member states to remain united and to act decisively
in response to the pandemic. The leaders agreed to create a C-19
ASEAN Response Fund and regional reserves of medical supplies.
Non-Aligned Movement for the betterment of
Vietnam is also using the ASEAN chair to advance the organization’s
cooperation with countries around the world. It was primarily within
the universal organization of the United Nations (OUN).
As ambassador Hasmi Agam and prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
recently noted in their policy paper on the UN: “…what presents
itself as an imperative is universal participation through
intergovernmental mechanisms. That very approach has been clearly
demonstrated by UN member states, as shown by the active roles
played by Indonesia (in the SC, along with another ASEAN and NAM
member, VietNam; and on behalf of the general membership of the UN
General Assembly), Azerbaijan (on behalf of NAM) and France (on
behalf of the P5 and the EU) reaching out to Tunisia – a member of
the Arab League (LAS), AU, OIC and NAM. Same line has been also
endorsed by the UN Members States on 18 May 2020 in relation to the
independent inquiry request over the WHO conduct. … this is well
recognised by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres himself, who
recently stated that “With two thirds of UN Member States, the
Non-Aligned Movement has a critical role to play in forging global
solidarity”. (see: https://www.ifimes.org/en/9819)
But the list of Vietnam’s regional and bilateral activities is
extensive too: At the ASEAN–China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on
cooperation in responding to C-19 in Laos on 20 February, Chinese
Foreign Minister Wang Yi informed ASEAN of the situation in
Wuhan and other parts of China. The bloc confirmed its support for
China in combating the disease.
On 20 March, Vietnam chaired the ASEAN–EU ministerial teleconference
on cooperation in fighting the pandemic. The two sides agreed to
heighten information sharing, experience exchange, and policy
consultation in diagnosis, treatment and vaccine production.
As chair of ASEAN, Vietnam was invited to the G-20 emergency online
summit on C-19 on 26 March. Besides sharing Vietnam’s C-19 control
experience, Prime Minister Phuc stressed the importance of
solidarity, cooperation and collaboration at global and regional
levels. He added that fighting the pandemic should accompany
facilitating trade and investment cooperation.
Vietnam also chaired the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on C-19 on 14 April.
ASEAN members and their dialogue partners China, Japan and South
Korea acknowledged the significance of ASEAN+3 cooperation and its
existing mechanisms in addressing public health challenges.
Although the US–ASEAN Summit — initially scheduled for mid-March —
was postponed, Vietnam held the ASEAN–United States High-Level
Interagency Video Conference on Cooperation to Counter C-19, a
senior officials-level meeting, on 1 April. The two sides reiterated
the value of the ASEAN–US Strategic Partnership in facing the
unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.
The success of this meeting led to the Special ASEAN–US Ministerial
Videoconference on C-19 on 23 April with the participation of US
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Vietnamese Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh
thanked the United States for its US$19 million for financial
support to regional countries in combating the disease. Foreign
Minister Pham also proposed further ASEAN–US public health
cooperation by sharing information, experience and best practices.
Despite a rough start, Vietnam is demonstrating its leadership
through quick responses and proactiveness in coordinating member
states and external partners. Still, the accusations between the
United States and China over the disease’s origin and their handling
of the pandemic are putting Southeast Asia in complicated situation.
As both powers are important partners of ASEAN, growing strategic
competition between the two will again put ASEAN unity to the test
in the post-C-19 era.
About the author:
Bich T Tranis a PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp
and a Researcher at the Global Affairs Research Center, Ryukoku
Earlier version of this text appeared with the East Asia Forum.
Ljubljana, 24 June 2020
Footnotes:  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.
Link (ENG): https://www.ifimes.org/en/9838 (Research ●
Bich T Tran: )ASEAN, C-19 and the Vietnam’s Chairmanship
June 26, 2020
Iron Fist for Pacific East
Stephen R. Nagy
performed three very different policies on the People’s Republic:
From a total negation (and the Mao-time mutual annihilation
assurances), to Nixon’s sudden cohabitation. Finally, a
Copernican-turn: the US spotted no real ideological differences
between them and the post-Deng China. This signalled a ‘new opening’: West imagined
China’s coastal areas as its own industrial suburbia.
Soon after, both countries easily agreed on interdependence (in this
marriage of convenience): Americans pleased their corporate (machine
and tech) sector and unrestrained its greed, while Chinese in return
offered a cheap labour, no environmental considerations and
submissiveness in imitation.
However, for both countries this was far more than economy, it was a
policy – Washington read it as interdependence for transformative
containment and Beijing sow it as interdependence for a (global)
penetration. In the meantime, Chinese acquired more sophisticated
technology, and the American Big tech sophisticated itself in
digital authoritarianism – ‘technological monoculture’ met the
But now with a tidal wave of Covid-19, the honeymoon is over.” –
recently diagnosed prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic on these very pages.
Following lines are a gross-detail insights into a mesmerising
dynamic engulfing lately Far East and eastern Pacific.
Currently, China escalated its economic coercion against Australia
by imposing two tariffs on the import of Australian barley. The
first is a 73.6 % tariff on the agricultural product and the second,
an additional 6.9 % arguing that the Australian government subsidies
its farmers to grow this lucrative crop. Seen in tandem with the
beef import ban on four Australian abattoirs, Beijing is pressuring
Canberra hard to drop its calls for an independent COVID-19 (C-19)
investigation and enforcing painful economic pain on Australia for
what Beijing perceives as intolerable behaviour to a country that
has “benefitted so profoundly” from trade with China.
These actions raise serious questions for Japan and its friends. How
does Japan respond to such a clear demonstration of punitive
economic coercion against one of Tokyo’s closest friends in the
region? What about other interested parties? Do Canadian, American,
and other agricultural exporters take advantage of Australia’s
thorny relationship with Beijing as Brazil did in the midst of the
US-China trade war by exporting soya beans and other agricultural
Looking at the short term, especially in the wake economic damaged
caused by the C-19 pandemic taking, the logic of expediency to
quickly deliver economic goods to the struggling agricultural
industry is sensible.
In that scenario, those countries with amicable relations with China
would fill the vacuum being created by economic coercion against
Australia. The candidates include Brazil, Russia, amongst others.
In the mid to long term, this sends the wrong message to states that
engage in economic coerci messageere is that
countries that are vulnerable to punitive economic measures have
litttant economic coercion.
One by one, what can be done?
Japan and other liberal democratic states cannot make up for the
sheer volume of agricultural and other exports that the Chinese
market consumes. Even if they could open their markets as a
temporary alternative, there would still be a huge gap.
Nevertheless, an agreement to buy goods from a targeted state may
relieve some of the economic pressure being applied by coercive
Duanjie Chen of Canada’s MacDonald Laurier Institute correctly
points out that Beijing practices economic coercion in a
sophisticated and well-worn manner, by discreet to evade World Trade
Organisation (WTO) disputes, precise calculation for maximum impact,
and they are tailored to split western allies.
To lessen the effectiveness of these practices, Japan and other
like-minded states need to mindful of these patterns and build
multilateral mechanisms to create more resilience against punitive
In the first area, discreet to evade WTO disputes, Japan and other
middle powers need to work collectively to close the WTO loop holes
such that they cannot be exploit to deliver painful economic
messages to states that are deemed to cross Beijing’s red lines.
To accomplish this task, WTO reform is crucial and that means
collectively lobbying the US to work with allies to reform the WTO
such that it functions better and can protect member states from
If consensus cannot be achieved to reform the WTO, then like-minded
states should consider a scrap and build approach that starts with
like-minded countries but aims to achieve the same objectives.
The 2nd area Chen identified was the precise calculation for maximum
impact. Japan felt this in 2010 with the rare-earth embargo, an
embargo that hurt its high-tech firms and automobile industry.
Australia is feeling this now with its beef and barley industries
beings targeted. Canada felt similar measures against its canola,
soya and pork industries in the wake of Ms Meng Wanzhou arrest. The
tactics even included the hostage diplomacy of Michael Kovrig and
Michael Spavor who are still detained to this day.
this hard-line approach requires a multilevel approach and
multilateral cooperation. At the first level, like-minded states
need to brainstorm and commit to collective and equal reciprocation
of the economic coercion. For instance, collective stopping the
export of a key or key ingredient, components or otherwise to China
until the respective coercion stops.
Here agricultural products come to mind. The growing middle class in
China also has a growing appetite for the high quality and safe
agricultural from countries like Japan, Australia, Canada, the US,
and the EU. These like-minded states should find ways to
collectively limit their agricultural exports when one or more of
its members are subject to economic coercion. China is vulnerable in
other areas as well.
Reputational costs are also critical levers that should be
collectively applied as well. Chen mentions withdrawing membership
from the Asian Infrastructure and Investment bank (AIIB) as a
possible measure. I would add MoUs signed with the BRI, and 3rd
country infra-structure projects as well. These are crucial
institutions that China has invested both treasure and political
resources in to bolster its international credentials as a provider
of global public goods.
Of Ban and Japan
Japan would play a key role here in that Beijing has assiduously
courted Japan to join the BRI and 3rd country
infrastructure as a way to build credibility for the BRI
infrastructure projects. Without partners, China’s signature
initiatives cannot be internationalized, and China will not
recognized as a globally admired and responsible stakeholder.
Another key initiative to be collectively adopted by Japan and other
countries in their trade negotiations with Beijing is a clause that
expressly forbids economic coercion on Japan and or its allies. This
kind of clause could be included in other trade agreements and
negotiations that Beijing deems critical to its socio-economic
Thinking creatively, Japan and like-minded countries such as Canada,
Australia, South Korea and others should think about ways to
introduce their own “poison pill” into trade agreements. The US did
this with he USMCA FTA between Canada, Mexico and the US by the
inclusion of a clause in which the US had veto over Canada and
Mexico’s other free trade partners, in particular if either entered
a free trade deal with a with a “non-market country”, i.e. China.
In this hypothetic “poison pill” or let’s call it “Musketeer
Clause”, trade agreements would include a clause that required
partners to collectively respond to economic coercion of one of its
members by applying diplomatic, economic and other pressure on the
offending actor. This could be a collective boycott, collective
lobbying in international organizations, collective reciprocal
tariff increase, etc. In short, an embodiment of the The Musketeers
motto of One for all, all for one.
The third area that needs be addressed is the tactics deployed to
tailored to split western allies. The above hypothetic clause would
go far in doing that by creating as grouping of like-minded states
that are interested in protecting their national and collective
This will not be enough. With China being the largest trading
partner of Japan, South Korea, Australia and many ASEAN states, an
economic re-balancing must take place in which states collectively
socially distance themselves from China. Here, the key that they are
less dependent on bilateral relations for economic prosperity and
more dependent on a balanced, multilateral trade relations with a
collection of like-minded, rules-based countries and China.
Complete decoupling from China is not realistic considering the
level of integration of our economies. It is also not in the
economic or security interests of the states in questions nor the
global community. What is in the interests of Japan, Australia,
South Korea, Canada and other middle powers and smaller powers is
finding ways to buttress a rules-based international order and to
push back against a track record of punitive economic policies.
Resistance is not futile. Victims of economic coercion need to
channel their own Winston Churchill and epitomize the his views on
never giving up in the face of force.
“This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never,
never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give
in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to
force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the
Stephen R. Nagy (@nagystephen1) is a senior associate professor at
International Christian University and a visiting fellow with the
Japan Institute for International Affairs.
June 18, 2020
Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (
from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East
and the Balkans. Dr. Antonia Colibasanu is
Geopolitical Futures’ Chief Operating Officer. In her comprehensive analysis
an Oil Production Catastrophe”
she is analysing situation and changes in the energy market in the time of
● Dr. Antonia Colibasanu
Postponing an Oil
off helping to broker a global agreement on oil production cuts on April 12,
declared American cuts a priority for the country. Texas, however, said it
needed more time.
The Railroad Commission
spent April 14 debating whether the state’s oil output should be reduced.
The commission regulates Texas’ energy sector, which means it oversees about
40 percent of the United States’ oil and gas production. Like other
producers around the world, U.S. shale producers have seen prices crater
since late February as the coronavirus crisis set in. And like other
producers, the U.S. was hurt by the price war launched in early March after
a first attempt at an OPEC+ deal
fell through. But pressure on the U.S. has been reduced by this week’s deal,
which came about after the scale of the economic damage in Europe and the
U.S. persuaded Russia to give way. American producers were also aided by
Saudi Arabia’s decision on April 13 to shift more of its supply toward Asia
to reduce pressure on the U.S.
Nevertheless, the size of these moves pales in comparison to the challenges
ahead. If no adjustment had been made, the point at which production would
have become unprofitable would have been weeks away. But with the output
cuts announced this week, if current conditions hold and economic activity
doesn’t pick up in May, the unprofitable threshold will be crossed in a
couple of months. The cuts are clearly not enough to restore the market
equilibrium, but they are the best that countries can do right now.
An Incalculable Decline
demand is relatively inelastic — the quantity purchased doesn’t change much
when the price does. Yet small changes in demand create sudden (and
sometimes dramatic) changes in price. According to the International Energy
Agency, China’s lockdown caused a decrease in demand in February of 1.8
million bpd compared to February 2019. Global demand as a whole fell by 2.5
million bpd year-over-year (about 35 percent) during the first quarter of
2020. It also anticipates that the coronavirus pandemic will generate a drop
in demand that’s similar to (or worse) than 2009 crisis levels — and that
prediction assumes, rather optimistically, that demand returns to normal
levels during the second half of 2020. This is impossible to know: Global
supply chains have broken down as the coronavirus put countries in lockdown.
With emergency measures in place all over Europe and the U.S., the key
consumers of oil such as airlines and factories have stopped consuming.
Social distancing means that people are mostly indoors and businesses are at
least partially shut down. If we knew how long this state of affairs was
going to last, we could calculate its impact — but we don’t.
(click to enlarge)
In times of less uncertainty, OPEC has often chosen to micromanage the oil
market by subtracting small quantities of supply to balance market prices.
Countries with the highest levels of production and flexibility, like Saudi
Arabia, could use the cartel to manipulate pricing to their advantage. But
never before have changes occurred over a timeframe of several months, with
no end in sight, and never before have fluctuations in demand been more than
a couple of million barrels per day; analysts now discuss a drop in demand
of between 15 million and 35 million bpd over the first quarter, with the
bulk of it happening during the last three weeks of the quarter, when the
U.S. implemented its emergency containment measures.
(click to enlarge)
on April 12 means to reduce oil output by 9.7 million bpd, just short of the
10 million bpd that OPEC members wanted and market analysts expected. This
is obviously too little to bring supply in line with demand, considering the
demand projections cited above. But it helps delay the onset of the disaster
and allows key political players to save face.
idea of a supply agreement dates back to February, when a drop in demand of
nearly 10 percent — led by China, the world’s largest importer of crude —
began to affect market pricing. Saudi Arabia turned to OPEC, expecting OPEC
members and affiliates to follow its lead and voluntarily cut production by
1.5 million bpd. Everyone signed on to the idea except Russia. Russia’s
budget is balanced at a lower oil price than it is for Saudi Arabia and
enabling Russia to ride out lower prices while maintaining a budget surplus.
And considering its sluggish economic growth since 2015, Russia also wanted
to bring more oil to market to bring in extra revenue. Moreover, Moscow saw
an opportunity to push U.S. competitors out of Europe by driving prices down
to levels at which U.S. shale production would be unprofitable.
(click to enlarge)
Finally, Russia’s climate and geological conditions make it costly for the
country to reduce output. Unlike its competitors, Russia gets most of its
output from bitterly cold environments, where costs are higher due to
technology needed to keep crude flowing into pipes and to keep gas from
freezing. In fact, oil extraction is currently unprofitable in about 33
percent of Russian fields. The quality of Russia’s reserves has been
deteriorating for the past decade, and production is on the wane. Therefore,
the most Moscow was willing to do in early March to reduce output was what
it had always done: to feign cooperation and scale up seasonal maintenance
periods to slightly reduce output temporarily.
(click to enlarge)
In response, Riyadh launched a price war. It started bringing its spare
production online to see how much oil it could dump on the market and to
force Moscow to capitulate. Saudi exports grew b billion dollars’ worth of financial reserves, but
most of it is not denominated in U.S. dollars. This means the value of these
reserves decreases as the U.S. dollar gets ber relative to other
currencies — which tends to happen during global crises as investors rush to
the safety of the dollar. All these factors combined to push Moscow to
compromise. The last thing President Vladimir Putin wants is tomed
for economic mismanagement — if reserves drop in value and Russians have to
suffer, it needs to be someone else’s fault and not Moscow’s.
shale oil companies, like other producers, have been struggling with falling
prices since March. U.S. President Donald Trump, facing a re-election
campaign and a plunging economy this year, had to respond and therefore made
an agreement on production cuts a priority. Apart from the
the U.S. got extra help from the Saudis. On April 13, Riyadh announced that
it had added $5 to the price per barrel of crude shipped to the United
States, while cutting $5 from the price for Asian deliveries. This means the
Saudis will stop dumping crude oil on the U.S. market, and therefore many
U.S. producers — mostly shale producers — will stay in business a little
Without Saudi oil on the U.S. market, American production doesn’t really
need to be cut. The nature of U.S. shale is different from that of more
conventional oil fields. Shale isn’t pumped; instead, natural pressure in
the rock formation pushes the oil up and into pipes that carry it to loading
facilities at ports. Lifting costs are minor, and much of shale producers’
daily operating costs stem from pipeline rates. Under the present
circumstances, when little to no other oil will compete for the American
market, shutting in may incur higher costs for producers than simply letting
things run normally.
Furthermore, even though the U.S. brokered the historic
it lacks the legal tools to force its own states to implement oil cuts. The
federal government doesn’t have a state-owned company, and its regulations
are not as centralized as those of Russia or Saudi Arabia. It is instead up
to the states and the companies themselves whether to cut.
At the same time, U.S. producers are very responsive to price changes, which
means shale producers will keep production going only as long as it is
profitable for them to do so. And with prices continuing to slide despite
the OPEC+ deal,
that won’t be long. On April 10, Trump asked the U.S. Department of Energy
to purchase crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which will boost
prices temporarily. But eventually companies will close down production
because of low prices — something Washington can pass off as a “cut”
to the OPEC+ countries.
Defining the Limits
Saudi announcement on price differentiation between American and Asian
markets means that, in spite of the
Riyadh will effectively intensify its price war in Eurasia. Whatever Saudi
output is not sent to the Gulf of Mexico will be sent to Asia, where Saudi
Arabia competes with Russia (and others, to a lesser extent, including Iran,
Nigeria and Iraq). Though Saudi Arabia knows that Russia will break the
agreement — as it has before — it also knows that Saudi oil has only limited
time to gain profits.
The global storage capacity is estimated to be between 900 million and 1.8
billion barrels. This is equal to roughly 9-18 days of global supply based
on output in 2018, when the world produced nearly 95 million bpd. Assuming
that 10 million bpd is put into storage, facilities would be filled in
between 90 and 180 days. Since early April reports have been coming in that
the United States’ Caribbean and Cushing storage hubs are nearing capacity.
The math suggests this will soon be true for the rest of the world. Saudi
Arabia, as well as Russia and other producers, is interested in selling as
much oil as it can until storage capacity is reached. At that point, the
production price of oil will fall close to or even below zero if the
coronavirus crisis hasn’t abated and the world is still effectively
Even assuming that all producers stick to the
if we take the median of the estimate of global storage capacity — 1.35
billion barrels — then the world’s stocks of oil storage will be full by
early June. If the deal collapses, and everyone maximizes output, then
production prices will fall to single digits or even zero earlier,
potentially by mid-May. This reality can be avoided only if the coronavirus
outbreak is quickly contained and the global workforce is able to get back
About the author: Dr.Antonia Colibasanu
is Geopolitical Futures’ Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for
overseeing all departments and marketing operations for the company. Dr.
Colibasanu joined Geopolitical Futures as a senior analyst in 2016 and
frequently speaks on international economics and security topics in Europe.
She is also lecturer on international relations at the Romanian National
University of Political Studies and Public Administration and associate
professor for the Romanian National Defense University Carol I Regional
Department of Defense Resources Management Studies. Prior to Geopolitical
Futures, Dr. Colibasanu spent more than 10 years with Stratfor in various
positions, including as partner for Europe and vice president for
international marketing. Prior to joining Stratfor in 2006, Dr. Colibasanu
held a variety of roles with the World Trade Center Association in
Bucharest. Dr. Colibasanu holds a Doctorate in International Business and
Economics from Bucharest’s Academy of Economic Studies, where her thesis
focused on country risk analysis and investment decision-making processes
within transnational companies. She also holds a Master’s degree in
International Project Management. She is an alumna of the International
Institute on Politics and Economics at Georgetown University.
Copyright 2020 Geopolitical Futures, LLC. Republished with permission.
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Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena
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Bich T Tran is a PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp
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