Geopolitical thread

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habal
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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby habal » 05 Jun 2013 16:43

gives context to the ramble above.

note the words totalitarian, Islamist & american stooge

Experts in their turn wonder what it is all about. The Guardian’s columnist Luke Harding claims that the thousands who took to the streets of Turkey’s major cities do not have an ideology or party political identity but they are all tired of Erdogan personally and his course in general. The Istanbul-based reporter claims that people are unhappy with Erdogan’s sultan-like ruling, neo-Islamist agenda, new restrictions on the sale of alcohol and, finally, - foreign policy, especially backing the Syrian rebels. A frequent refrain was that the prime minister was an American stooge; several posters depicted him as a puppet held by Barack Obama, Mr.Harding reported from the scene.


..

Mervenur Erol, a 21-year-old student, thinks that Erdogan “is trying to turn us into a totalitarian Islamist country like Saudi Arabia. Next he's going to forbid the morning after pill,” she said.


http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/15120 ... dogan.html

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 06 Jun 2013 10:08

Satter, David It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past Yale University Press.

The reaction to terror was, in part, the natural response of helpless individuals to pitiless force. But in Leningrad another factor also tended to destroy the memory of the Great Terror’s victims. This was the city’s experience during the Second World War. The entire Soviet Union suffered during the war, but the fate of Leningrad was exceptional. The Nazis laid siege to the city for nine hundred days. There was soon no heat, water, or electricity, and almost no food. In the bitterly cold winter of 1941-42, the food ration reached one quarter-pound of bread a day. It was impossible to survive on that, and the flood of death was overwhelming.

In a gruesome way, the Great Terror primed Leningrad for the mass slaughter that was to come. During 1937-38, the city suffered at the hands of its own rulers. During the war it was besieged by a foreign enemy. But the murder of tens of thousands of selected individuals during the Terror prepared the people of the city to be sacrificed in the hundreds of thousands in the interests of the Soviet state. The principle had been established that the objectives of the state, justified or not, were the highest objectives of all.

Soviet officials said that the citizens of Leningrad were united in its defense. This is doubtful in light of the high number of persons arrested in the besieged city for sabotage and espionage. But they were treated as if victory in the war was their fervent objective and their lives could have no other goal. The conditions in Leningrad during the winter of 1941-42 defied imagination. As people died in droves, the dead from the Kuibyshev, Dzerzhin-sky, Red Guard, and Vyborg sections were transported to the Piskaryevsky cemetery, where steam shovels dug trenches amid thousands of corpses. A Leningrader wrote, “There were on both sides of the road such enormous piles of bodies that two cars could not pass. A car could go only on one side and was unable to turn around. Through this narrow passage amidst the corpses, lying in the greatest disorder, we made our way to the cemetery.” Many of the corpses were eventually placed in common graves. More than 650 common graves were dug in Leningrad in the winter of 1941-42.14

To compound the horror, the city was stalked by cannibals. Relatives bringing corpses to the cemeteries were revolted to see that the bodies lying around in piles had the fleshy parts cut away. In the Haymarket, starving people did not inquire too closely about the nature of the cutlets offered for sale. “In the worst period of the siege,” a survivor told Harrison Salisbury, “Leningrad was in the power of the cannibals. God alone knows what terrible scenes went on behind the walls of the apartments.”15

...

The number who died in the siege of Leningrad is unknown, but it is generally thought that 1 million persons died of hunger and that the overall military and civilian death toll was between 1.3 and 1.5 million. Nothing on this scale had ever happened in a modern city.17



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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 08 Jun 2013 10:18

Silent War

On the hidden battlefields of history’s first known cyber-war, the casualties are piling up. In the U.S., many banks have been hit, and the telecommunications industry seriously damaged, likely in retaliation for several major attacks on Iran. Washington and Tehran are ramping up their cyber-arsenals, built on a black-market digital arms bazaar, enmeshing such high-tech giants as Microsoft, Google, and Apple. With the help of highly placed government and private-sector sources, Michael Joseph Gross describes the outbreak of the conflict, its escalation, and its startling paradox: that America’s bid to stop nuclear proliferation may have unleashed a greater threat.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 08 Jun 2013 10:19

On Your Left, the Decline and Fall

Visiting Brussels soon? A new museum offers a peek into the future to see how the European dream died.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 11 Jun 2013 23:49

Abi,might do if time permits.

Here's how the west maintain's the despicable hold onto Diego Garcia,by pretending to turn the islands into a "marine park",preventing the return of the islanders,while DG is home to US nuclear subs,B-52 bombers et al! What a conspiracy and travesty of justice-argument that "EU rules" apply right here in the Indian Ocean!

Defeat for exiled Chagos islanders over controversial Indian Ocean marine park
John Aston
Tuesday 11 June 2013

A Government decision to create a controversial marine park in the Indian Ocean was upheld by the High Court today.

Former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forced into exile say the move, involving a ban on commercial fishing, was unlawfully aimed at preventing them resettling their former "paradise" homeland.

But today Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting, sitting in London, ruled that the marine protected area (MPA) was "compatible with EU law".

The British expelled the Chagossians between 1965 and 1973 to allow the US to establish an air base on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago.

The expulsion has been described by critics as one of the most shameful episodes in modern British colonial history.

The exiled Chagossians have fought a long series of legal battles for the right of return.

Lord Justice Richards described the challenge to the MPA by the Chagos Refugees Group, led by Louis Bancoult, as "a further chapter in the history of litigation arising out of the removal and subsequent exclusion of the local population from the Chagos archipelago".

The MPA was created by top British diplomat Colin Roberts in his role as commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) on the instructions of the then Foreign Secretary in April 2010.

Chagossian lawyers said the moved followed British consultations with the US during which the Americans were assured the use of their base on Diego Garcia would not be adversely affected by the MPA.

Mr Roberts denied under cross-examination at the High Court that the marine park was created for the "improper purpose" of keeping the Chagossians out, as the US wanted, and said it was for environmental and conservation purposes.

Today the judges accepted his evidence. Lord Justice Richards said "a truly remarkable set of circumstances" would have to have existed for the case on improper purpose to be right, involving a long-term decision "somewhere deep in Government" to frustrate Chagossian ambitions by promoting the MPA.

"Those circumstances would provide an unconvincing plot for a novel. They cannot found a finding for the claimant on this issue," Lord Justice Richards ruled.

Lawyers for the islanders said a classified US government cable leaked by WikiLeaks supported their accusations.

They said Mr Roberts was reported in the cable telling US diplomats at the US embassy in London in May 2009 that the MPA would keep the Chagossians from resettling the islands and mean "no human footprints" or "Man Fridays" in the BIOT.

Nigel Pleming QC, appearing for the exiled islanders, asked Mr Roberts about the alleged "Man Fridays" comment and suggested to him that it was "a totemic phrase that offends".

Talking generally Mr Roberts said he "absolutely" agreed and would never have used the phrase in such circumstances, but he refused to answer specific questions about the authenticity and accuracy of the contents of the cable.

Initially the judges ruled that Mr Roberts should answer questions about the cable, and could not rely on a Government policy of "neither confirming nor denying" allegations involving matters of national interest.

But further submissions were put by Steven Kovats QC, on behalf of the Foreign Secretary.

The judges then ruled the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, which incorporates the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations into domestic law, meant the alleged cable, or copies of it held by newspapers, were inadmissible in evidence.

Today the judges explained their decision, saying there was now "a settled principle of public international and municipal law that the inviolability of diplomatic communications requires that judicial authorities of states parties to the 1961 Convention should, in the absence of consent by the sending state, exclude illicitly obtained diplomatic documents and correspondence from judicial proceedings."

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 13 Jun 2013 08:17

China uber alles! The sheer scale and size of Chinese thinking and global ambitions is truly terrifying.When will we seeIndian leaders attepting something special '

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... way-panama
Nicaragua waterway to dwarf Panama canal
Chinese firm to build and run $40bn trans-oceanic plan as opponents demand proper scrutiny of environmental impacts

Nicaragua waterway to dwarf Panama canal

Chinese firm to build and run $40bn trans-oceanic plan as opponents demand proper scrutiny of environmental impacts



Lake Cocibolca in Nicaragua, which the new waterway would go through.
Lake Cocibolca in Nicaragua, which the new waterway would go through. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

Nicaragua's parliament is due to vote on Thursday on one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Latin America's history – a trans-oceanic canal that is to be built and run by a Chinese company.

If it goes ahead, the $40bn (£26bn) scheme, which is twice as expensive as Brazil's Belo Monte dam and likely to be three times longer than the Panama canal, looks set to transform global shipping and jump start the economy of this Central American nation.

As well as the waterway, the draft agreement between Nicaragua and a Hong Kong registered firm — Nicaraguan Canal Development Investment Co Limited – includes provisions for two free trade zones, an airport and a "dry canal" freight railway.

"This will be the largest project in Latin America in 100 years," Ronald Maclean, the executive fronting the operation in Managua told the Guardian. "If Nicaragua gets to do this, it is going to be a transformational project not only for Nicaragua but for the region."

Given the government's large majority, parliamentary approval is expected to be a formality, but critics warn the plan is being rushed through without adequate scrutiny of the environmental impact, business viability and public well-being.

A one-year viability study is now under way and the operators soon plan to tap international financial markets in New York, London and Tokyo for investment in a scheme that they say will be entirely privately funded. President Daniel Ortega is also said to be promoting the scheme in meetings with ambassadors from Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

Although hydro-engineering techniques have advanced considerably since the 48-mile (77 km) Panama canal was completed in 1914, the logistical challenge will be enormous. The new canal, which will pass through a much wider stretch of land, is likely to be more than 250km long. It will also be much wider to allow passage by the biggest container ships. The project will be operated by HKDN — a Hong-Kong based firm set up last year that has established a holding company in the Caiman Islands. It will pay $10m a year for 10 years to the Nicaraguan government.

Bigger benefits are expected in the wider economy. Paul Oquist, secretary of public policies of the presidency of the republic, said the Great Interoceanic canal will allow Nicaragua's GDP to double and employment to triple by 2018.

Legislators have complained that congressional committees had only two days to review a bill that could shape the country for a century.

"Given its complexity, the length of the concession and its importance for all Nicaraguans, this project deserves to be fully discussed and explained, seeking the broadest national consensus," noted the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development, an independent think-tank. "How can we as Nicaraguans be sure that the conditions stipulated in the bill are the best that could have been achieved?"

Details of the possible route have yet to be disclosed, though it is thought likely that it will run through Lake Nicaragua, the most important source of freshwater in the country and a home to sharks and numerous other species.

Jaime Incer, a renowned environmentalist and presidential adviser, urged caution. "There are alternatives for linking one ocean to the other, but there are no alternatives for cleaning a lake after a disaster has happened. We don't have another Lake Nicaragua," he told the Confidencial newspaper.

Indigenous groups also say they have not been adequately consulted.

The operator says it has hired one of the world's leading consultancies, Environmental Resources Management to conduct impact assessments: "HKND Group has committed to develop the project in a manner that conforms with international best practices, delivers significant benefits to Nicaragua and its people, generates local job growth and economic development, honours the local population and heritage of the country, and serves the best interests of Central America and, indeed, the world."

But little is known of the group behind the project, which is headed by Wang Jing, the head of one of China's biggest telecom firms Xinwei. It is unclear whether he has any experience in the field of hydroengineering, shipping or infrastructure, but earlier this year his company signed an agreement with the state-owned China Railway Construction Company, and Jing has met senior leaders in Beijing, including president Xi JInping.

Margaret Myers, director of the China and Latin America programme at the Inter-American Dialogue, said Wang's involvement did not necessarily mean the involvement of the Chinese government.

"The extent to which this project will increase 'China's' influence in the region and on global trade routes is unclear. This would depend on a wide variety of factors, including HKC's connections to the Chinese government and who else, if anyone, decides to invest in the project," she wrote.

The Nicaraguan government was due to be a 51% shareholder in the projects, according to preliminary legislation passed last year. There is no mention of this in the latest bill, but Maclean said there has not been a change.

"I think it involves a gradual transfer from the company to the government over the life of the concession and that eventually the government will own the canal," he said.

Opposition lawmakers said immunity, tax breaks and other preferential treatment for foreign investors in a still-to-be determined project was a violation of nation sovereignty.

The Sandinista Renovation Movement said it would oppose the bill and "any document that gifts a concession, privileges, exonerations and tax exemptions to an unknown company, for an unknown route, for a period of 100 years."

"We are going to hand over the country's sovereignty without knowing where the canal is going to go, how much it is going to cost, its ecological impact or how long its construction is going to last," Independent Liberal party legislator Eliseo Núñez, told La Prensa.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby paramu » 13 Jun 2013 20:32

For the Chinese if the Malacca straits and IOR is forbidden they will be willing to spending an amount to reach the other side of the oceans


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby devesh » 15 Jun 2013 21:32

http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/ ... _iran.html

Switzerland looks the other way on Iran

page 1:

one important banking center in Europe has consistently undermined these efforts by refusing to adopt the very sanctions that have had the most impact -- Switzerland.
...
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Switzerland has also refused to join its EU neighbors in adopting a ban on imports of Iranian oil, despite the demonstrable evidence that the oil embargo by the West has significantly curtailed Iran's ability to access hard currency to fund its nefarious activities. This allowed Geneva-based oil trader Vitol to buy 2 million barrels of fuel oil from Iran in August 2012 and profit from its sale to Chinese traders.
...
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Ceresola, for example, a tunneling technology firm, signed a contract worth over €1 billion in 2010 with the Rahab Engineering Establishment, a known IRGC entity. The same year, Credit Suisse was fined $536 million for egregious banking violations, instructing employees not to "mention the name of the Iranian bank in payment orders."


page 2:

Luxury good powerhouses Richemont, Swatch Group and Rolex continue to export their merchandise to Iran's elite while knowing that only those affiliated with the regime can afford them. According to recent data, Swiss exports to Iran constituted 311 million Swiss Francs ($330.99 million) in the first 8 months of 2012.
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Luxury good powerhouses Richemont, Swatch Group and Rolex continue to export their merchandise to Iran's elite while knowing that only those affiliated with the regime can afford them. According to recent data, Swiss exports to Iran constituted 311 million Swiss Francs ($330.99 million) in the first 8 months of 2012. Alas, Libya and Syria have no such lucrative markets.

Sanctioned Iranian entities have also set up shop through front companies in Switzerland. Petro Suisse Intertrade Company, for example, is an Iranian oil firm active in Switzerland that was sanctioned nearly a year ago by the U.S. because the Iran's National Oil Company was using it to evade sanctions on its oil companies. Similarly, the Naftiran Intertrade Company is under both U.S. and EU sanctions and has been described as a virtual "offshore arm of the National Iranian Oil Company."

Swiss officials defend themselves by arguing that, broadly speaking, they support those sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Closer scrutiny, however, suggests even that isn't true. In March 2013, it was revealed that Swiss commodity traders Glencore and Trafigura had engaged in barter arrangements over the past year with Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco) that provided Iralco thousands of tons of alumina in exchange for a lesser amount of aluminum metal. At the same time, Iralco has provided aluminum for Iran's nuclear program through a contract with UN-sanctioned Iran Centrifuge Technology Co. (TESA), which is a subsidiary of the blacklisted Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
..
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some of these Swiss companies continue to increase their presence in the U.S. For example, Vitol signed an agreement with Texas-based DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC to develop a coal conversion plant in Wyoming, a project that may receive significant public subsidies.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 24 Jun 2013 08:23



ramana
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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby ramana » 27 Jun 2013 09:19




8) :rotfl:

From foreign policy

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 27 Jun 2013 09:41

^ Basically these guys write lifafa articles and get access to State dept in return. It is not surprising that US public is so uninformed about foreign policy matters.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 29 Jun 2013 21:35


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 30 Jun 2013 04:39

The Middle-Class Revolution

All over the world, argues Francis Fukuyama, today's political turmoil has a common theme: the failure of governments to meet the rising expectations of the newly prosperous and educated.


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby devesh » 03 Jul 2013 09:24

http://www.realcleardefense.com/article ... 06673.html

Would the U.S. Still Lose the Naval War of 2015?

By Harry Kazianis

Over the last few days I have begun the exhausting, yet wonderful process of moving. Considering the fact I have not moved in twelve years and I am relocating from a suburban single-family home to a small apartment urban setting in Washington D.C. I have some tough decisions to make on what to keep and what to trash.

In going through my endless collection of foreign policy, national security and defense articles (I print everything) I found quite the gem that needless to say made the save box. Instead of cleaning out our soon-to-be former home, I decided to take a small break (please don't tell my wife) and travel down memory lane.

The article in question is one you may know. From the Winter 2010 edition of Orbis, James Kraska's "How the United States Lost the Naval War of 2015" was always a piece that I have gone back to over and over again. In fact, the article was one that sparked my interest in anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) and the DF-21D. Several years back, myself and fellow CSIS:PACNET WSD Handa scholar Daryl Morini had planned to write a follow-up piece -- but alas -- other projects always seemed to get in the way (I am still willing if you are my friend!).

The article creates a fictional scenario where China "sinks" a U.S. carrier. The scenario itself is rather, well, interesting:

"Americans woke up to a different world the day after the attack. The war was over almost as soon as it had started. Outmaneuvered tactically and strategically, the United States suffered its greatest defeat at sea since Pearl Harbor. The incident—could it really be called a 'war'?—had been preceded by a shallow diplomatic crisis between the two great powers. No one in the West expected the dispute to spiral out of control. George Washington was conducting routine patrols off the coast of China to send a signal of U.S. resolve. China responded with a signal of its own—sinking the massive ship. The ship broke in two and sank in twenty minutes. The Chinese medium-range ballistic missile had a penetrator warhead that drilled through all fourteen decks of the ship and punched a cavernous hole measuring twenty-feet wide from the flat-top landing deck through to the bottom of the hull. Ammunition stores ignited secondary explosions. Two million gallons of JP-5 jet fuel poured into the sea. The attack was calamitous and damage control was pointless."

The next paragraph then crafts a rather clever Chinese response:

"While the Pentagon was reeling to determine exactly what happened, a well-orchestrated and pre-planned 'rescue' effort was already underway by a flotilla of first responders from China. The Chinese media reported on the bravery of Chinese naval forces, fisheries enforcement police and common fishermen who happened to be in the vicinity of the disaster and were able to save numerous lives. The massive warship had a crew of 3,200 sailors, and there were nearly 1,800 additional sailors and airmen embarked with the wing of aircraft on board the ship. Among this floating city, thousands of souls either incinerated or drowned. In the end, China saved hundreds of desperate survivors floating in the water. Chinese state television filmed distraught young U.S. navy personnel, weeping, grateful to be alive as they were plucked from the oily water. Family members back in the States rushed to Beijing to reunite with their sons and daughters, hosted by the Chinese government and state media."

While the plot certainly thickens (read the article, it's very much worth your time) I never cared for the scenario, but always appreciated the article's ideas as a thought exercise in terms of how another nation with robust A2/AD capabilities could take advantage of a larger powers unpreparedness to confront anti-access challenges. Obviously, Kraska's piece is before the mighty pivot/rebalance/insert-new-Washington-marketing-Asia-slogan of the last several years. It is also before the operational concept known as AirSea Battle, the JOAC and efforts by many to drive home the dangers the United States and other nations face now and in the future thanks to the proliferation of A2/AD technologies.

The piece, besides going down the well-warn path of dreaming up a U.S.-China war, does something else:

"The shock of the sinking of George Washington transformed Asian security. Clearly, the United States had been unseated. Only more slowly did people begin to realize that the maintenance of world order had rested on U.S. military power, and the foundation of that power was U.S. command of the global commons. The Army could fail, as it did in Vietnam; the Air Force was ancillary to the Army. To secure the U.S. position and the nation’s security— and indeed for world order—the Navy could never fail. This was an unexpected wake-up call to the United States and its NATO partners who had become increasingly obsessed with counter-insurgency tactics and small wars doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan, forgetting the lessons of history and great power conflict."

American military power -- specifically naval power -- has clearly underwritten the idea that the global commons are a space that are to be protected and preserved for all nations to use. America's navy insures the seas are an open area of trade, commerce, and free of those who would use the oceans sweeping commons as a place to cause others harm. Indeed, the global order, whether you like it or not, is still underwritten by American military might.

Today, while still the world's dominate naval power by leaps and bounds, America's Navy is aging with numbers that may call into question if it can continue its role as guardian of the commons. Combined with the threat faced by nations developing anti-access capabilities, far more is in question than just the superiority of the U.S. Navy. While many call for America to shed responsibilities abroad, retrench, or whatever buzz-word of the day is used, a slippery slope develops at some point. Budget cuts and sequestration have already taken a sizeable chuck out of America's military might. How far does can one go? At what point can U.S. planners credibly pivot to Asia? And what about that anti-access thing? But most important of all: At what point can America's military still guarantee unfettered access to the global commons?

My personal opinion, I don't love the scenario Kraska dreams up, but the piece seems to ask much deeper questions, or at least hint at them. Although I doubt the global order would collapse overnight, international norms and rules of the road in place since the end of the Second World War could be questioned even more than they are now. While combat with China seems as likely as me keeping my prized Star Trek: The Next Generation comic collection over my wives endless array of designer bags in our battle for apartment space, thinking about what could happen next makes for interesting analysis.

What if America was no longer the assumed guarantor of the global commons?


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jul 2013 11:19

I am reminded of Gen. Paddy's book.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Samudragupta » 03 Jul 2013 19:18

It is in Russia's strategic interest that PRC gets engaged in costly wars in its East and South...so that will relieve pressure from the North in the Russian border and West in the immediate Russian backyard....We have to look the current Sino-Russian naval entente in the Sea of Japan in this light...PRC might have won the Cold war 1.0...but Russia is backing up steadily in the international scene...and PRC is getting boxed up in the island chain in the East......not sure about the South though.....

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby SSridhar » 05 Jul 2013 08:50

IOR-ARC under way - Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu
Seeking to leverage the growing strategic importance of the Indian Ocean and give new purpose to their 15-year-old regional association, countries in its littoral spanning three continents have launched an ambitious effort to find a common economic agenda.

Despite the challenges inherent in this task, ministers, officials and business delegations from the 20 countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation, who began a two-day meeting in Mauritius on Thursday, were optimistic that their common stakes in the region could lead to successful economic cooperation.

The spirit of what they had set out do was perhaps best captured by Taira Masaaki, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan, which is a dialogue partner of the IORARC. He gave the example of his country’s automotive industry working through a supply chain that transcends national borders and promotes integration in its own way.

“The parts and components manufactured in Thailand and Indonesia are assembled in India and Australia and sold in Africa and the Middle East,” Mr. Masaaki said as he highlighted Japan’s interest in the IORARC’s agenda.

The reality checks came from Ficci’s Naina Lal Kidwai, who is leading the Indian business delegation. Tariffs, import restrictions on particular products, and the absence of a clearing mechanism for trade in local currencies, were some of the challenges for increasing trade in the region, she noted.

Ms. Kidwai also spoke about the need to diversify and expand the exports basket for better trading opportunities.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, who is leading the Indian delegation, spoke of how the balance of world economic growth had shifted from the “North-West axis” to the global south, particularly the Asia-Pacific region.

This put the IORARC countries, with their combined GDP of $6 trillion (in 2011), in an advantageous position to create new pathways of cooperation not only among member-states, but with other regions, for the “shared benefit of economic development”.

Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, who was a founding member of the IORARC back in 1997, also sounded a note of urgency about the need for the IORARC, whose members range from Australia to countries in Africa and Asia, to take up the challenge.

Pointing to the proliferation of free trade agreements across the world — the trans-Pacific Partnership, and the recent decision by the EU and the United States to negotiate a Trade and Investment Partnership — Mr. Ramgoolam warned of being sidelined by the new economic map of the world.

“Can we afford to be marginalised within the emerging trade and economic configuration that will characterise the 21st century global trade and economic architecture? Of course not. Going on as before is not an option,” he said in his inaugural speech.

The uneasiness among some member-countries about an IORARC free-trade area, as some were already in such agreements with other countries, Mr. Ramgoolam said, should not prevent the group “from exploring the best possible arrangements” to foster trade and investment “in a structured manner and with clear commitment”.

He urged the group to explore the possibility of adopting “a variable geometry approach”.

Mauritius — the co-host of the event along with the IORARC chair India — is particularly keen to position itself as the main platform for the increasing financial investment in Africa. Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell spoke of a proposal to set up trade and investment promotion agencies on the IORARC platform.


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby krishna_krishna » 06 Jul 2013 05:16

I infact own a copy of gen paddy's book. But I believe that has lost relevance to an extent because of the policy decisions gov took to be close more to massa. Also some of the wrong decisions or things not acted by govt in afga has changed the opportunity that desh had. Too sad that book shows an ideal course desh should have taken.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 06 Jul 2013 20:36


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby TSJones » 06 Jul 2013 21:10

devesh wrote:http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2013/07/02/would_the_us_lose_the_naval_war_of_2015_106673.html

Would the U.S. Still Lose the Naval War of 2015?



I think the US Submarine Maifia salivatates at the mere thought of the above scenario. :) Truely, these guys think like sea going thugs.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 07 Jul 2013 07:35

Could Stalin Have Been Stopped?

Book Review:
Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War
by Frank Costigliola
Princeton University Press, 533 pp., $35.00

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 11 Jul 2013 19:42

Shooting the messengers

The life of a war correspondent has never been cheaper. Travel, equipment... even the pay cheque is lighter. But the rules of engagement are different in today's street-level combat zones, where the press corps' blue flack jacket offers little protection against conflicts and more journalists than ever are paying the ultimate price for the scoop.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 13 Jul 2013 23:08

The Murders of Gonzago

How did we forget the mass killings in Indonesia? And what might they have taught us about Vietnam?

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Prem » 16 Jul 2013 22:36

Russia Launches Massive War Games Blitz

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/201 ... ning_blitz

No one seems to be paying much attention, but in the seas off the coast of Japan, the wilderness of Siberia, and little towns north of Moscow, the Russian military is currently engaged in a massive training blitz.On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap military exercise in the country's Far East, deploying 160,000 troops, 1,000 tanks, 130 aircraft, and 70 ships. If those sound like big numbers, that's because they are -- the exercise has been described as Russia's largest since the fall of the Soviet Union.But that's not the whole story. Last week, Russia engaged in an unprecedented naval exercise with China that included live-fire drills and the crown jewel of the Russian Navy's Pacific fleet -- the guided-missile cruiser Varyag. And last Tuesday, Russia convened 500 soldiers from the Collective Security Treaty Organization -- the body that emerged out of the Commonwealth of Independent States -- for a theatrical counterterror exercise at a training center north of Moscow. Taken together, the three training operations represent a remarkable flurry of military activity -- one that has put nearly every component of Russia's armed forces under the spotlight.
By far the largest of these war games is the current one in the Far East, which has focused on rapid deployment and tested the army's logistical abilities. Some 100 tanks made a nearly 700-mile train journey to southeastern Siberia, near the Mongolian and Chinese borders, and some 562 train cars have transported 320 tons of equipment. "The peculiarity [of this drill] is that [although] we deployed here 24 hours ... it hasn't yet been disclosed to us where we will move from here and what we will be ordered to accomplish," tank commander Dmitry Manyukin told Russian television -- an indication that Russian military leaders are issuing new orders over the course of the drill and probing soldiers' ability to respond to new sets of directives.In ordering the exercise on Friday, Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that "special attention should be paid to ... the mobility of large military units." And in an indication of how seriously he takes the exercise, Putin plans to personally oversee its final phase. After ascending to the top of Russia's Defense Ministry in November 2012, Shoigu has made these snap military exercises something of a hallmark of his time in office, carrying out similar activities on the Black Sea in March. More broadly, Shoigu is engaged in an effort to modernize the army, improve its mobility, and strengthen its ability to respond to hot spots on its borders.Here's video of the logistics operation Shoigu put in place this weekend:

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby RoyG » 16 Jul 2013 22:56

They are flexing their arms because of what the Americans and others are doing in Syria. We have to be careful. Sino-Russian axis is much stronger at this point. This means that the Chinese can put pressure on us.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 19 Jul 2013 07:54


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 20 Jul 2013 20:02


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 21 Jul 2013 12:51

"Bunga,Bunga" Boy's bum chums!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 22919.html

Revealed: Silvio Berlusconi’s low friends in high places

Kazakh rendition scandal once more exposes Berlusconi’s questionable foreign relations. Michael Day reports from Milan
Milan
Sunday 21 July 2013

It is the sort of incident that you might expect to happen in a brutal dictatorship: on 29 May about 40 heavily armed police stormed a house to snatch a mother and her young daughter. The woman was erroneously accused of possessing false documents, then whisked out of the country in a private jet – before her lawyers had a chance to intervene.

The incident occurred not in the third world but in Italy. The destination of Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year-old child, however, was Kazakhstan, the stamping ground of the despot Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Now that Italy and the rest of its government has woken up to the fact that the interior ministry performed an extraordinary rendition on the family of the leading Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov, parliamentarians are demanding to know how it happened. The more pertinent question, however, might be “why did it happen?”

A colourful clue emerged in the pages of the left-wing daily paper Il Fatto Quotidiano last Wednesday, with claims that the former premier Silvio Berlusconi was invited to a bunga-bunga style sex party with Nazarbayev in the dictator’s dacia in 2009.

Claudio Barbaro, a former MP in Mr Berlusconi’s PDL party, said the tycoon had told him how, following an official meeting, the mogul was presented with dozens of topless young women “dressed only with bits of metal” in the Kazakh leader’s country residence.

Despite being told to take his pick, the media mogul, who was last month convicted of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute at one of his own adult soirees, was unusually abstemious: “Sorry, Nursultan, but my religion doesn’t allow polygamy,” he said. But that didn’t stop Mr Berlusconi referring to the dictator, who is frequently excoriated by human rights groups for his abuses, as “my dear friend”.

The rendition of Mr Ablyazov’s family has threatened the stability of the Italy’s fragile left-right coalition. Many on the centre-left believe that Angelino Alfano, the interior minister and a key Berlusconi lieutenant, arranged the deportation on the orders of Mr Berlusconi. Both Mr Berlusconi and Mr Alfano insist they had nothing to do with incident.

Instead, a senior civil servant in the interior ministry, Giuseppe Procaccini, was made to fall on his sword. But within hours of resigning, he undermined Mr Alfano’s claims of innocence, saying, “Alfano told me to receive the Kazakh ambassador at the interior ministry and that it was a delicate issue”. Astonishingly, it has emerged that the Kazakh ambassador to Rome was able to supervise the capture and arrest of Ms Shalabayeva and her daughter from a command centre in the Italian Interior Ministry.

The incident has made Italy a figuraccia – an international laughing stock. The premier Enrico Letta, who is trying to keep the wheels on a lumbering coalition and drag Italy from the abyss of endless recession, admitted as much on Friday. “It’s embarrassed and discredited us,” he said.

In truth, shady deals with unpleasant regimes have been the hallmark of Italian foreign policy for most of the Berlusconi era – that is, the best part of the last 20 years.

Mr Berlusconi’s close relations with Vladimir Putin, provide one source of these concerns. In 2010 it emerged from Wikileaks documents that the former US Ambassador to Rome, Ronald Spogli, feared that the Russian premier Vladimir Putin bought the political compliance of his Italian opposite number.

The veteran political pundit James Walston, of the American University of Rome, noted at the time that the “writing was on the wall” when Mr Berlusconi made a personal visit to Mr Putin’s country home in October 2009, accompanied only by his shadowy Russian-speaking go-between Valentino Valentini.

“There were no ministers, no civil servants present. No records of what was said – or what personal deals were cut,” he said. “That should have set alarm bells ringing.” Mr Berlusconi denied the accusations.

The Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was another of Mr Berlusconi’s good friends. Gaddafi, who was for much of his rein an international pariah, received a series of increasingly obsequious welcomes in Rome from 2008 onwards as Italy sought to cash in the former colony’s huge oils and gas reserves.

Relations between Italy and Kazakhstan are also based on more than sentiment. Eni, the Italian state energy firm, is also actively involved the former Soviet state. Magistrates in Milan are investigating claims that kickbacks worth €20m (£17m) were made to firm up substantial contracts.

Commenting on the Ablyazov case this week, Marco Travaglio, a prominent political polemicist, wrote: “Since Silvio Berlusconi became the owner of Italy, our country has been systematically prostituted to one foreign government or another in defiance of national sovereignty, the constitution and the law”.

But in a coincidence this week, the world was reminded of another extraordinary rendition from Italy, when the former CIA official Robert Seldon Lady detained in Panama by Interpol. The US spy was convicted by an Italian court of the 2003 kidnapping of a terror suspect, Abu Omar, who was allegedly flown to Egypt and tortured. This incident only became public thanks to the action of Italian magistrates. The failure of the Berlusconi administration to halt the deportation led to accusations that this was a favour to the tycoon’s friend George W Bush.

There’s no proof of these claims, but the closer you look, the murkier it all seems. So in the past 48 hours we’ve not only learnt that the Kazakh ambassador was allowed to manage the deportation from Rome as he saw fit, but that President Nazarbayev was in Italy, in the Sardinian house of one of Mr Berlusconi’s financial advisers, during these events.

Meanwhile, attempts to force Alfano’s resignation have crumbled, and Mr Berlusconi’s proxy in government will stay exactly where the billionaire ex-premier wants him.

My dear friends

* Belarussians “love you, which is shown by the elections,” Mr Berlusconi told Belarus President Lukashenko, who is regularly accused of election rigging, after firming up energy deals in 2009. Belarus was kicked out of the Council of Europe in 1997 over human rights violations.

* Also in 2009 Mr Berlusconi kept his host German Chancellor Angela Merkel waiting because he was so engrossed in a phone call with the Turkish PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Berlusconi’s office said the Italian leader had been trying to convince Erdogan to accept Europe’s candidate for the next head of Nato.

* Mr Berlusconi’s relationship with Russia’s leader was underlined at a press conference in Sardinia in April 2008, when a Russian journalist confronted Mr Putin with rumours of an affair. “Not one word of truth,” said Putin – while Berlusconi, shaping his hand into a pistol, pretended to take aim at the reporter. Mr Putin returned the favour in 2011 declaring that “however much they nag Signor Berlusconi for his special attitude to the beautiful sex … he has shown himself as a responsible statesman”.

Michael Day


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby ramana » 23 Jul 2013 22:04





Well, I think it’s all perfectly wunderbar. Before me on the yellow gingham tablecloth, I can see a foot-high glass of cold lager, and nestling beneath it a succulent plate of sausage and Kartoffel — all very reasonably priced.

And all around I have a general impression of frenzied Teutonic relaxation.

I see Germans frolicking in the delicious fresh water of the Wannsee, and Germans having meticulously organised picnics on the largest inland beach in Europe; German girls smoking roll-ups and handing round punnets of strawberries, and ancient German men, nut-brown, doing creaking callisthenics in the sun. The sky is blue and the foliage of the oaks so lush that the shade is almost black; and in an ecstasy of enthusiasm for the amazing city of Berlin I raise my glass, again, and think of my grandfathers. They both fought the Germans, you see, and I don’t think they would much mind me mentioning it now. In both of their cases, the experience was pretty awful. One grandfather was forced to crash-land his plane in Cornwall, with bad results for himself and his crew. The other man — on my mother’s side — saw his best friend drown when his destroyer was cut in two in the Mediterranean. For the rest of his life my maternal grandfather had a paramount piece of advice for the world. If we wanted peace, if we wanted happiness, then there was one thing we had to avoid.

“Whatever we do,” he used to tell me, “we must stop the Germans reuniting.” He wanted to keep Germany divided in two manageable chunks — East and West. This man was no Colonel Blimp. He was no foaming xenophobe: on the contrary, he was President of the Commission of the European Court of Human Rights, and yet he believed, on the principle of induction, that Germany could not be trusted. They did it in 1914; they did it in 1939; and given the slightest chance, he believed, they would do it again.

Two decades after unification, we have taken advantage of cheap air travel to show the kids the capital of a united Germany — the heart of what is by far the most important economic power in Europe — and I have to say that my learned grandfather has been proved wrong. Everything tells me that his anxieties were baseless, and that the reunification of Germany has been one of the greatest success stories of modern geopolitics. I look around modern Berlin, and I don’t see Prussian revanchism. I see not the slightest sign of German militarism; I haven’t noticed anyone clicking their heels or restraining their arms from performing a Strangelovian fascist salute. I see a culture so generally cool and herbivorous that the bicycle is king. I see a paradise for cyclists, where the helmetless hordes weave and wobble over the wide and tree-lined roads, and a Mercedes supercar will wait deferentially for a family to wander past his purring snout. The most serious public order problem at the moment is the tendency of Berliners to pursue the logic of their Freikörpeskultur by actually fornicating in their many magnificent parks; and such is the climate of political correctness that they decided to means-test the fines. So if you are caught in flagrante in the bushes, and you have a job, you get fined 150 euros — but only 34 euros if you are unemployed. If that isn’t broad-mindedness, I don’t know what is. :mrgreen:

You ride around Berlin, and it doesn’t feel like the new imperial capital. There is no swagger, no pomp. Indeed, there isn’t even that much bustle — unlike London, Berlin’s population seems mysteriously to have declined over the last few years. It isn’t a global cosmopolis; it isn’t a magnet for immigrants; it’s still suffering the ill-effects of its location in what was the middle of communist East Germany.

But the Berliners seem to be young and hip, drawn to what is obviously a pretty groovy nightlife, and many of them seem to be British. In fact, if I were in my twenties and had been ordered to leave London, I think Berlin would be the first place I would choose. The rents are cheap, the food comes in proper Germanic helpings and everywhere there are bright people with tattoos engaged in start-ups. You look at Berliners today, and you ask yourself what the fuss was about, 24 years ago. There were people like my grandfather, and Margaret Thatcher, who were instinctively hostile to German unification — because they remembered what Berlin had done in two world wars. Then there were the euro-federalists, who argued that Germany needed to be “locked in” to Europe. We needed a single currency to “contain” Germany, they claimed, to “tie them in” — as though the Germans were loose cannon rolling about the European quarterdeck, about to crush innocent little Slavic nations. What a load of bunk that turned out to be.

We don’t need to “lock in” Germany with the single currency or indeed any other federalist fiction. The thing has been a disaster for the non-German parts of the EU, and the euro is now causing such pain in the periphery that even German exports are being damaged. It wasn’t the euro, I am afraid, that cured the Germans of militarism.

You look around Berlin and what hits you is how much of the city was pulverised. There is scarcely a pre-war building that does not have the scars of Russian shells or Allied bombing. This is a city that was at the centre of Europe’s two worst bouts of psychosis - fascism and then communism: an extended trauma that left Germany transformed.

I can understand why my grandfather’s generation felt as it did, but it is emphatically time to forget all that and embrace the new Germany. We have much to learn and to understand. How is it that respectable men and women can think it right to take their clothes off in the equivalent of Hyde Park? Why do they clap like Italians when their planes land? Why are they so good at making cars and machine tools? We have a great deal to admire and to copy, not least their treatment of cyclists.

We have absolutely nothing to fear.


Interesting vignette.

Western Europe has suffered from periodic bouts of Latinism and Germanism.
Currently Germanism is on the ascent.

England is a Germanic people with a Latin statism.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 25 Jul 2013 00:20

Catastrophic implications of global warming and Artic melting,releasing methane.Costing $60Tn.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ate-change

Arctic thawing could cost the world $60tn, scientists say

Methane released by a thinning permafrost may trigger catastrophic climate change and devastate global economy
John Vidal
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 24 July 2013 11.39 BST

Arctic Permafrost melting in Liverpool Bay in Canada’s Northwest Territories
A satellite picture reveals permafrost melting around Liverpool Bay in Canada's northwest territories in the Arctic region. Photograph: Nasa

Rapid thawing of the Arctic could trigger a catastrophic "economic timebomb" which would cost trillions of dollars and undermine the global financial system, say a group of economists and polar scientists.

Governments and industry have expected the widespread warming of the Arctic region in the past 20 years to be an economic boon, allowing the exploitation of new gas and oilfields and enabling shipping to travel faster between Europe and Asia. But the release of a single giant "pulse" of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian sea "could come with a $60tn [£39tn] global price tag", according to the researchers who have for the first time quantified the effects on the global economy.

Even the slow emission of a much smaller proportion of the vast quantities of methane locked up in the Arctic permafrost and offshore waters could trigger catastrophic climate change and "steep" economic losses, they say.

The Arctic sea ice, which largely melts and reforms each year, is declining at an unprecedented rate. In 2012, it collapsed to under 3.5m sqkm by mid September, just 40% of its usual extent in the 1970s. Because the ice is also losing its thickness, some scientists expect the Arctic ocean to be largely free of summer ice by 2020.

The growing fear is that as the ice retreats, the warming of the sea water will allow offshore permafrost to release ever greater quantities of methane. A giant reservoir of the greenhouse gas, in the form of gas hydrates on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), could be emitted, either slowly over 50 years or catastrophically fast over a shorter time frame, say the researchers.

The ramifications of vanishing ice will also be felt far from the poles, they say because the region is pivotal to the functioning of Earth systems, such as oceans and climate. "The imminent disappearance of the summer sea ice in the Arctic will have enormous implications for both the acceleration of climate change, and the release of methane from off-shore waters which are now able to warm up in the summer," said Prof Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar ocean physics group at Cambridge University and one of the authors of the paper published in the journal Nature.

"This massive methane boost will have major implications for global economies and societies. Much of those costs would be borne by developing countries in the form of extreme weather, flooding and impacts on health and agricultural production," he said.

According to the authors, who using the Stern review, calculated that 80% of the extra impacts by value will occur in the poorer economies of Africa, Asia and South America. "Inundation of low-lying areas, extreme heat stress, droughts and storms are all magnified by the extra methane emissions," they authors write. They argue that global economic bodies have not taken into account the risks of rapid ice melt and that the only economic downside to the warming of the Arctic they have identified so far has been the possible risk of oil spills.

But, they say, economists are missing the big picture. "Neither the World Economic Forum nor the International Monetary Fund currently recognise the economic danger of Arctic change. [They must] pay much more attention to this invisible time-bomb. The impacts of just one [giant "pulse" of methane] approaches the $70-tn value of the world economy in 2012", said Prof Gail Whiteman, at the Rotterdam School of Management and another author.

The Nature report comes as global shipping companies prepare to send a record number of vessels across the north of Russia later in 2013, slashing miles travelled between Asia and Europe by over 35% and cutting costs up to 40%.

According to Russian authorities, 218 ships from Korea, China, Japan, Norway, Germany and elsewhere have so far applied for permission to follow the "Northern sea route" (NSR) this year. This route uses the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska and is only open for a few months each year with an icebreaker.

But following 2012's record collapse of the Arctic sea ice, shipping companies are gaining confidence to use the route. In 2012, only 46 ships sailed its entire length from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans and in 2011 only four. The route can save even medium-sized bulk carrier 10-15 days and hundreds of tonnes of bunker fuel on a journey between northern Norway and China.

Satellite data collated from the US National snow and ice data centre in Boulder, Colorado this week showed ice loss now accelerating and, at 8.2m sqkm (3.2m square miles) approaching the same extent as during last year's record melt. Over 130,000 sqkm of sea ice melted between July 1 and 15. "Compared to the 1981 to 2010 average, ice extent on July 15 was 1.06m sqkm (409,000 square miles) below average," said a spokesman.
Northern sea route

• This article was amended on 24 July 2013 because an earlier version of the article said the Arctic sea ice "collapsed to under 3.5m sqkm by mid September" in 2013. This has been corrected to say 2012.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 25 Jul 2013 07:55

Information Consumerism: The Price of Hypocrisy
Image

Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde? The military and the IT sphere already affiliated, as you may see in the person of one of the most powerful men of the world: Keith Alexander, Director of the NSA, recruiting hackers at Defcon 2012, wearing a t-shirt of the civil rights organisation „Electronic Frontier Foundation“; in service uniform on the right


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby devesh » 01 Aug 2013 06:34

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog ... influence/

India and China Battle for Maritime Influence

Although excursions along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) are the most obvious sign of Sino-Indian jockeying, the more subtle battle for maritime influence between Beijing and Delhi is also intensifying.

India has made a number of moves in recent months to strengthen its “Look East” policy. As noted earlier this week, Delhi has offered Vietnam a credit line of US$100 million to purchase four patrol boats that will undoubtedly be used to resist Chinese inroads in the South China Sea. The follows Vietnam’s India-born Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh’s trip to Delhi earlier this month, where he participated in the 15th Joint Vietnam-India Commission meeting. While in Delhi Pham Binh Minh also gave an important speech outlining Hanoi’s vision for regional security, as well as India’s important role within it.

Vietnam is not the only ASEAN country that India is shoring up its ties with. In June, Defense Minister A.K. Antony visited Singapore to reaffirm their long-standing bilateral defense ties.

Additionally, following Manmohan Singh’s visit to Thailand at the end of May, where the two sides pledged to work towards a free trade agreement, Antony visited Thailand on the same June trip that brought him to Singapore. India and Thailand already conduct regular joint patrols together. During the trip, Antony proposed they expand their joint defense production, incluing India increasing its arms sales to Thailand.

While in Bangkok, Antony also affirmed: “We support the resolution of differences and disputes through the process of dialogue and consensus between the parties to such disputes. All countries must exercise restraint and resolve issues diplomatically, according to the principles of international law.”

In between his stops in Thailand and Singapore, Defense Minister A. K. Antony also visited Australia, a country that—while maintaining strong ties to China—is also hedging its bets against its rise. It was the first time an Indian Defense Minister had traveled to Australia, a country that is strategically placed and a potentially strong naval ally to India. Indeed, not surprisingly Antony and his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, pledged to strengthen ties between their militaries during the visit.

Then there is Japan. India has significantly strengthened ties to Japan in recent months even as Tokyo’s relationship with China has deteriorated over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. This can partially be attributed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conscious courting of maritime democracies like India as a means of balancing against China. Still, India is clearly interested in further strengthening its ties with Japan as well.

This was evident from, among other things, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declaring during his May trip to Japan that Tokyo is a “natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region of [the] Asia-Pacific.” Furthermore, shortly after that visit it was announced that Japan’s emperor and empress will make their first ever trip to India later in the year.

Notably, along with the U.S.—with whom India has had a number of senior meetings with in recent weeks—Japan, Australia, and Singapore were the countries that joined India for the 2007 Malabar Naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal that so spooked China.

India is also concerned with its position closer to home as China has used Delhi’s frosty relations with many of its neighbors to make inroads into South Asia. It was in this context that India this week finally approved Myanmar’s long-standing request for help in building offshore-patrol vessels (OPVs). The OPV announcement was made as part of a larger agreement to expand Burmese-Indian defense ties during Myanmar’s Naval Chief Thura Thet Swe’s visit to Delhi this week.

“"Myanmar is one of our closest neighbors. We share a land border as well as maritime border with them," India’s Naval Chief Joshi said after his meeting with Thura Thet Swe. He added that the Indian Navy hoped to take its “existing excellent relations” with the Burmese Navy “to the next level.”

Indeed, the two sides already enjoy friendly military-to-military ties. According to Times of India, India has in the past sold Burma everything from “islander maritime patrol aircraft and naval gun-boats to 105mm light artillery guns, mortars, grenade-launchers and rifles.” It also regularly hosts Burmese officers at its military academies. In March of this year the two navies conducted their first joint exercise in the Bay of Bengal.

Still, India had demurred on Burma’s OPVs for some time and its willingness to approve it now demonstrates a diminishing concern for offending China. One Chinese policy that is particularly alarming to both India and Myanmar and India is Beijing’s arms sales to Bangladesh, with which Burma has had a maritime dispute that was only ostensibly solved by an international court ruling last year.

For India, China’s proposed arms sales are indicative of Beijing’s growing presence in its neighborhood and the India Ocean more generally.

In May for instance, Xi Jinping hosted Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Beijing and the two leaders agreed to upgrade their relationship to a strategic cooperative partnership. Then, last week, China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) signed a deal with the state-run Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) in which CCCC pledged to spend US$1.4 billion to build a “port city” around the Colombo harbor. Another Chinese company, China Harbour Engineering will open a new container port in the Colombo harbor next month, which it will maintain control over for the next 35 years. Chinese oil companies are also operating in the area.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque headed an inter-ministerial delegation on a five-day trip to China at the end of June. Similarly, Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam wrapped up an extended visit to China over the weekend. Although few details have been released about the visit, concern inside India that China is establishing a naval base in Seychelles has been so high that Defense Minister Antony recently felt the need to issue a statement denying a deal had already been struck. China has, however been increasing its defense ties with the Maldives, and Seychelles would be a logical next step.

Perhaps most troubling from India’s perspective is China’s apparent offer to fund upgrades to Iran’s Chabahar Port, one of India’s long-standing pet projects and the last remaining viable port standing between China’s Gwadar Port in Pakistan and the Middle East.

These moves are already prompting a response from India. Earlier this month Delhi signed a trilateral maritime security pact with Sri Lanka and Maldives. Much to Washington’s chagrin, India began July by publicly calling Iran “critical” to its energy security. The two sides then worked out an agreement for Delhi to purchase Iranian oil all in rupees.

Delhi has also expedited discussions with the Iranian government for Indian businesses to be given the exclusive rights to develop Chabahar Port for 60-90 years. This comes despite Indian media outlets noting that the Chabahar Port does not have any “immediate commercial viability.”

These moves appeared to pay off when Iran’s President-Elect Hassan Rouhani stated, “Expansion of all-out relations with India will be a foreign policy priority for the next Iranian administration.”

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby skher » 02 Aug 2013 13:49

devesh wrote:http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/07/31/india-and-china-battle-for-maritime-influence/

India and China Battle for Maritime Influence

Perhaps most troubling from India’s perspective is China’s apparent offer to fund upgrades to Iran’s Chabahar Port, one of India’s long-standing pet projects and the last remaining viable port standing between China’s Gwadar Port in Pakistan and the Middle East.


1. An integrated city concept and increased private interface can help in terms of the upgrades.

2. The creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle with its officers posted as liaison (retired Indian Engineering Service/Indian Economic Service/RITES/IAS/IFS personnel) to the contractors/PSUs/Railways/Ministries/Iran/Afghanistan can help reduce red-tape on our end.DMRC can plan a metro rail service for Chabahar.

3. Indian private shipyard players can build offshore & shipbuilding facilities for the Iranians.

4.Indian navy with contractors like L&T can help Iran establish or jointly run a naval base with an airfield serving the area, something on the lines of INS Kadamba in terms of power projection.

5. A dedicated refinery jointly built by MRPL/ONGC and National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company can serve Chabahar and more importantly India's own oil needs.

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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 02 Aug 2013 19:55


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Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 03 Aug 2013 17:23

Germany ends Cold War spying pact with US, Britain.
For NATO ally Germany to do this is unprecedented.While the consequences might be slight,the political message is a slap in the face of the US and O'Bomber.It indicates the seriousness of the crime that has been committed by the US,totally against all democratic norms.This is also what India should be doing instead of our circus buffoons making excuses for the US,acting like pimps.

http://bostonherald.com/business/busine ... us_britain

ILE - The July 8, 2013 file photo shows the former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling, near Munich, southern Germany, that was closed in 2004. The German government has canceled a Cold War-era surveillance pact with the United States and Britain following concerns about their alleged electronic eavesdropping in Germany. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Friday, Aug, 2, 2013 that ending the agreement was "a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy." A government official says the move is largely symbolic and has no practical consequences for intelligence cooperation. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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Friday, August 2, 2013
Associated Press

BERLIN — Germany canceled a Cold War-era surveillance pact with the United States and Britain on Friday in response to revelations by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden about those countries' alleged electronic eavesdropping operations.

The move appeared largely symbolic, designed to show that the German government was taking action to stop unwarranted surveillance directed against its citizens without actually jeopardizing relations with Washington and London. With weeks to go before national elections, opposition parties had seized on Snowden's claim that Germany was complicit in the NSA's intelligence-gathering operations.

Government officials have insisted that U.S. and British intelligence were never given permission to break Germany's strict privacy laws. But they conceded last month that an agreement dating back to the late 1960s gave the U.S., Britain and France the right to request German authorities to conduct surveillance operations within Germany to protect their troops stationed there.

"The cancellation of the administrative agreements, which we have pushed for in recent weeks, is a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy," Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

British Foreign Office brushed off the significance of the German move. "It's a loose end from a previous era which is right to tie up," the Foreign Office said in a statement, noting that the agreement had not been used since 1990.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin, Ruth Bennett, confirmed that the agreement had been canceled but declined to comment further on the issue.

A German official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the cancellation would have little practical consequences.

He said the agreement had not been invoked since the end of the Cold War and would have no impact on current intelligence cooperation between Germany and its NATO allies. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

Germany is currently in talks with France to cancel its part of the agreement as well.

Public reaction in Germany to Snowden's revelations was particularly strong, with civil rights campaigners recalling the mass surveillance carried out by secret police in communist East Germany and during the Nazi era. Chancellor Angela Merkel went so far as to raise the issue of alleged NSA spying with President Barack Obama when he visited Berlin in June.

"The government needs to do something to show voters it's taking the issue seriously," said Henning Riecke of the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think tank. "Ending an agreement made in the pre-Internet age gives the Germans a chance to show they're doing something, and at the same time the Americans know it's not going to hurt them. Given the good relations between the intelligence agencies, they'll get the information they need anyway."

According to Snowden, Germany has been a particular focus on U.S. intelligence gathering operations in recent years. Several of those who plotted and carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States had lived in Germany.

In March 2011, two U.S. Air Force members were killed and two wounded when a gunman from Kosovo fired on a military bus at Frankfurt International Airport. The gunman told police he was motivated by anger over the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/busine ... BwTJW.dpuf


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