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1. The New Great Game

2. Nuclear Proliferation and Threat of Nuclear War Breakout North Korean Nuclear Program
3. FATA Reforms Bill and Its Effects
4. Census-2017
5. Trump and Globalization
6. MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) & SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)
7. Pak-India Relations (Kashmir, Trade and LoC)
8. Pak-Russia Relations
9. Pak-China Relations (CPEC)
10. Pak-US Relations
11. Pak-China-Russia and now Turkey Alliance
12. ECO and its Future
13. BRICS and its Future
14. Multipolar World Order
15. Syria Crisis
16. South-China Sea Crisis

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1. The New Great Game

The new great game as it unfolds:

Southern Asia is all set to witness the unfolding of several new geopolitical gambits. The U.S.
appears to have found a new strategic balance in the region; China is pushing its way through the
great American wall in Southern Asia; the ‘cold war’ between Kabul and Rawalpindi seems to
be getting frostier by the day; Pakistan is focused on several strategic moves; and New Delhi is
looking to navigate various regional dilemmas and strategic indeterminacies. The stage is set for
a new great game.

The flurry of American activities, including the recently concluded visit by Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson, indicates Washington’s last-ditch attempt to regain control, and pre-eminence,
over a region which is being pulled in conflicting directions, much to the discomfort of the U.S.
administration. In doing so, Washington views New Delhi as the centerpiece of its regional grand
strategy. New Delhi would do well to carefully, and constantly (re)consider its options vis-à-vis
the U.S. grand strategy in Southern Asia.

Afghan calculations

Despite its initial reluctance, Washington is back to the Afghan chess table with renewed vigour
— Mr. Tillerson and his colleagues in the Trump administration realise that an
inability/unwillingness to get back in the game could potentially render them insignificant in the
years ahead.

Having been militarily outsmarted by the Taliban in the recent past, the U.S. has renewed efforts
to hunt down the Taliban leadership with the eventual aim of bringing them to the negotiating
table as well as checking Rawalpindi’s influence in the country, something Afghan President
Ashraf Ghani would deeply appreciate. Washington and Kabul have expressed a desire to enlist
New Delhi’s support to do so. For Washington, courting New Delhi is also useful in balancing
the increasing Chinese presence in the region, including in Afghanistan.

Moreover, the U.S. probably views its Afghan engagement as a face saver in the midst of its
steady decline in Asia and President Donald Trump’s lack of credibility and standing abroad —
hence there’s likely to be a lot of focus on Afghanistan in the days ahead. In a way, then, the
U.S.’s unsavoury statements about Pakistan are intended to woo India to cooperate closely on
Afghanistan. But make no mistake, the U.S. is also courting Pakistan in pursuit of its strategic
objectives in the region, its anti-Pakistan rhetoric notwithstanding.

Contradictions in U.S. policy

Shorn of the rhetoric and the feel-good melodrama, something every government in New Delhi
has a strong liking for, a cold, closer look at the U.S. policy towards Southern Asia shows
several inherent contradictions. Consider, for instance, the American strategy of courting India to

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counter Pakistan in Afghanistan, and engaging India and Pakistan to checkmate China in the
region, while at the same time viewing China’s role in Afghanistan as that of a potential
stabiliser. Certainly, strategic engagement of a conflict-ridden region can never be a
straightforward affair — yet the balancing of these contradictions can throw up unanticipated

Even as India takes delight over the American tirade against Pakistan, it is important to place the
U.S.’s relationship with Pakistan in the correct historical and geopolitical perspective. The U.S.
has had a deeply puzzling love-hate relationship with Pakistan since the Soviet intervention in
Afghanistan in 1979 through to 2001, and thereafter. Pakistan is not only aware of it but also
knows how to make use of it. The indispensability of this relationship needs to be properly
understood by India when fashioning its own response.

We must also be aware that the absence of long-term commitments is one of the central features
of American foreign policy. U.S. strategy has been susceptible to domestic, electoral,
geopolitical and other determinants, and it has been no less so in the Southern Asian context.
While being on the same side of the reigning hegemon is smart statecraft, a failure to cater for
alternative futures would be shortsighted. International politics disincentivises blind loyalty.

“Terror havens will not be tolerated,” Mr. Tillerson declared at a joint press conference with
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, echoing similar statements emanating from the Trump
administration in the past weeks. Ms. Swaraj joined in by underlining that Pakistan must
dismantle the terror infrastructure on its soil. Washington’s hard talk on terror is welcome, but
here again, one should not be deluded into thinking that the U.S. will punish Rawalpindi for not
acting against India-specific groups in Pakistan. The focus is on groups fighting against
Afghanistan where U.S. soldiers often get caught in the crosshairs of the Pakistan Army’s
manoeuvres. Recall that there was no reaction from Washington when Islamabad decided to drop
terror charges against Jamaat-ud Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed.

The China conundrum

China is the new kid on the block in the Southern Asian strategic landscape — challenging
American hegemony in the region, willing to build peace and mine minerals in Afghanistan,
pushing India into a tight corner in its own traditional backyard, and selling dreams of inter-
regional connectivity and economic prosperity to a conflict-ridden, impoverished and under-
linked region. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s bold declaration at the recently-concluded 19th
Party Congress that China intends to emerge stronger in the world stage indicates its new
geopolitical resolve.

There is only so far the U.S. can ignore China’s overtures, and there is only so much India can do
to match the Chinese sales pitch. The dividends are already in sight. For instance, China is
emerging as a key player in Afghanistan. The potential revival of the Quadrilateral Coordination
Group (comprising U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan) shows just that. It’s a matter of time
before the U.S. utilises China’s potential to serve its interests in Afghanistan. After all, national
interests matter above all else.

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Mr. Ghani stated last week that Afghanistan would not join the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor if Pakistan refuses to permit connectivity between India and Afghanistan. New Delhi
must appreciate Mr. Ghani for being a true friend, but let’s be realistic: Pakistan is unlikely to
allow overland connectivity between Afghanistan and India through its territory, nor will Mr.
Ghani jeopardise Afghanistan’s relationship with China by insisting on bringing India on board.

Clearly, the emerging geopolitical landscape in the region requires deft handling by New Delhi.
It should consider participating in Afghan peace talks while being conscious of its redlines and
ability vis-à-vis Afghanistan. New Delhi should stick to its decision not to send troops to
Afghanistan while at the same time enhancing its training of Afghan security forces and
reconstruction efforts.

Much potential

Second, we must be able to see through complicated American geopolitical signalling in the
Southern Asian region. To reduce complex American geopolitical signalling to binary equations
vis-à-vis Pakistan or China would be a grave mistake. Third, New Delhi needs to carefully
design the contours of its China policy: aligning our China policy to suit U.S. interests would not
help our long-term interests. Recall that the U.S. kept a studied silence through the Doklam
stand-off and the issue hardly figured in the public statements during Mr. Tillerson’s recent visit.
Fourth, Russia is not only an unavoidable traditional ally of India but it is in fact increasing its
stakes in the region, including in Afghanistan, with close strategic ties with China, and
increasingly with Pakistan. Let not the sound of what we would like to hear from Washington
distract our attention from the strategic realities of the neighbourhood.

Finally, both geo-economically and geopolitically, the Indo-Pacific region remains pregnant with
potential and possibilities for New Delhi. This is one crucial area where New Delhi and
Washington, along with other regional stakeholders such as Tokyo and Canberra, could
synergise political, diplomatic and military efforts to “uphold rule-based rights of navigation and
overflight in the area” and promote free trade in the broader region.

Happymon Jacob is Associate Professor of Disarmament Studies, Centre for International

Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru

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The new Great Game: An all Asian game?

The next round of Moscow talks on Afghanistan is scheduled for 10 April. Besides hosts Russia,
other participants include India, China, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. The conference seems to
mark the beginnings of a new version of the Great Game among Asian powers with only one
semi-European country, Russia. The US, having turned down the invitation to participate,
presumably has its own rules of the game. It could be that the US does not want to be seen
playing second fiddle in a Russian symphony at this stage of their bilateral relations. Each of the
participant nations will naturally push their own agendas while pretending to be doing so for the
benefit of the aggrieved nation, Afghanistan. Chances of a successful outcome of the Moscow
meeting therefore remain dim. The only certainty is that major global powers like Russia and
China and regional powers like Iran are now ready to embrace the Taliban — in their own
interest, but ostensibly for peace in Afghanistan.

First, a quick review of the internal security and political situation is necessary. The Afghans say
that the security situation is not as bad as outside experts suggest it is; but then, it is not as good
as the Afghans would have us believe. Measured by any yardstick, the Taliban controls more
territory today than they did last year. The fall of Sangin district in Helmand province to the
Taliban on 23 March perhaps epitomises the security problem in the country. Strategically
located between the Helmand River and Kandahar province, the district is a centre of the
lucrative opium trade. Control of Sangin is thus very important for controlling the opium trade,
and provides the Taliban a direct link between the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. The
stakes are thus high and corruption is high alongside. No wonder that battles have been fierce
and the largest number of British and American troops died in Sangin than in any other district in
Afghanistan. Since 2013, when the control of the district was transferred to Afghan forces,
hundreds of Afghans too have died battling the Taliban. It is possible that like in many other
cases in the past, Sangin will also change hands, but for the moment the Taliban occupy the

This conflict became progressively more intense throughout 2016 and is likely to worsen in
2017. This enabled the Taliban to increase their footprint by about 15% all over the country as
compared to 2015. The Afghan government of Ashraf Ghani controls about 60% of the territory.
There will also be no reduction in Pakistani support to the Taliban. Unless the Afghan National
Security Force acquires urgently needed weaponry and equipment, the ANSF will remain under
considerable strain.

Individual valour does not make up for institutional weakness. A loss in morale would adversely
affect ability to withstand increasingly intensified and sophisticated attacks by the Taliban.

The US remained extremely deferential to Pakistani hypersensitivity about Afghan rearmament.

The Afghans thus never had the equipment and adequate training to be able to function as an
army that was both an effective counterinsurgency force and able to engage against conventional
transborder threats. Ironically, foreign observers of the security scene in Afghanistan are now
dismissive of the Afghan army’s capabilities as if the present state where everything possible is
dysfunctional, is entirely the fault of the Afghans themselves. Consequently, despite the
estimated 780 billion dollars spent mostly by the US all these 15 years, the Afghan army remains

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under equipped and under trained. A smarter, well-equipped, well-trained army comprising
locals fighting on and for their own land would have been far greater value for money than well-
equipped highly trained foreign troops.

Ultimately, American forces seen as saviours of 2001 became just another occupation force in
the eyes of the Afghan. This is what the Taliban has capitalised. The Taliban has been able to
attract some non-Pushtun to its ranks which increases their ability to withstand pressure or
become more active in other parts of the country. Places like Kunduz, Sar-e-pul, Baghlan and
Farah could be under Taliban pressure in the next few months.

Today, no one really wants to discuss the two major problems afflicting Afghanistan; one, the
opium trade that financially sustains the Taliban and the impoverished Afghan farmer; and two,
the support Pakistan has rendered Taliban and continues to do so.

Much is being made out of the presence of so-called Islamic State in Nangarhar province of
Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan. Informed opinion from Afghanistan asserts that there is no such
entity like ISIS-K (Daesh) in the country. Some elements merely fly the ISIS flag. These are
really those belonging to the Haqqani Network, closely associated with the ISI. The ISIS has
brand equity amongst western nations, and now with Russia. Additionally, it provides Pakistan
with deniability and innocence in its operations into Afghanistan. This might make the Haqqani
faction look good, even humane, in the bargain. If the narrative about the Taliban among some
powers can change to suit the occasion, so can that for the Haqqani Network. The ISIS is
becoming a convenient diversion for various reasons from the main threat to Afghanistan — the

The cynosure of the globe in Afghanistan

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the US, as the sole super power, also became the global
cynosure of other people hoping for American support in their struggles against oppressive
regimes. The world hoped for a generous magnanimous nation trying to uplift the less
advantaged. Instead, what they saw was an unshackled America pursuing only its interests and
using other nations for promoting its interests. Besides, over the years, excessive use of military
force has only exposed its limitations. In the 1990, as the Taliban threatened Afghanistan, the US
was willing to do business with Taliban hoping this would help American petroleum companies
like UNOCAL with the Turkmenistan gas connection. Less than a decade later, in a role reversal,
the US was hunting the Taliban. Today, the discourse is that the US should do deals with them.
In the process, the US does not get a high score on the reliability index. This is an unfortunate
commentary on a superpower.

Meanwhile, the US is yet to decide what would be its next course of action in Afghanistan. But
the White House has other items on its to-do list. Afghanistan is not one of them. One section
seeks a greater military engagement in Afghanistan. The American commander in Afghanistan,
General Nicholson, has sought an increase of US force by about a few thousand. If this increase
is only to guard US embassies and interests in Afghanistan, this is bad optics. This implies that
the US no longer feels safe in a country that it set out to rescue or fears its inhabitants. If this

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additional force is meant to reverse the tide, then it is hopelessly inadequate. America First is a
fine slogan at home but this does not work in another country where troops are out to defend that

Years ago, writing for The Hindustan Times, I had said: "In Kashmir, Pak-sponsored terrorists
have never numbered more than 3,000 to 3,500 in an operating season, yet the Indian force
deployed along with the paramilitary has been anywhere up to 100,000. Assuming that there are
10,000 Taliban loose in Afghanistan, a force of 250,000 would be needed to engage the Taliban.
What is needed is boots on the ground, not aerial attacks that create more enemies than they
destroy. The present NATO/US force of 40,000 is not only inadequate, it is also
counterproductive to deploy a force thinly."

What is needed is boots on the ground, not aerial attacks that create more enemies than they

Daniel Davis, a former lieutenant-colonel in the US army, who served in Afghanistan at the
height of 2010, made a similar observation. He confirmed that even with more than one hundred
thousand US troops on the ground, there were still massive swaths of the country that were no-go
territory for friendly troops, and the Taliban and other insurgents ran wild. [i] He added that so
long as Pakistan refused to stop the Taliban from using its territory as a safe haven and the
government in Kabul remained as corrupt as it has been, it wouldn’t matter if President Trump
sent two hundred thousand troops to Afghanistan. The US, frozen by its dependency on Pakistan,
could never bring itself to push that country far enough on this. The issue is that given the usual
ratio between terrorists and counter terrorist forces, US would need upwards of 500,000 troops in
Afghanistan to control the 50,000 Taliban. There just are not that many troops available nor the

Sameer Lalwani in his essay, Ambling Blindly Back into the Mountains: 5 Hard Questions for
the Next Phase in Afghanistan, [ii] summed up the various policy recommendations available for
handling Pakistan. He said: "[T]he greatest obstacle to any turnaround in Afghanistan is that
there is the absence of a realistic strategy to deal with Pakistan" and that many assessments
identified Pakistan as the chief culprit because of the material support and safe havens it gives to
Afghan Taliban. If there is no strategy to change Pakistan's behaviour – coercion, inducement or
brute force — the situation in Afghanistan will not improve substantially. This is the crux.

The original sin continues. Wars fought from the comfort of airconditioned consoles thousands
of miles away or bombardment seen as blips on LED screens do not record the sound of pain or
the anguish of death that a cluster bomb dropped from the air brings. Drones kill terrorists,
mostly; but they do not defeat terrorism. Drones can kill but they cannot win counterterror wars
because they cannot control territory. There can be only one explanation why such a small troop
increase is now being sought. Armed drones, the latest gift to weaponry and tactics from the
Afghan war, will be used increasingly for close air support or for targeted killings.

Drones can kill but they cannot win counterterror wars because they cannot control territory.

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Many in the US feel that America cannot be seen to be abandoning Afghanistan and there was
need for a deeper American commitment. This was also supported by the former NSA, Lt. Gen.
Michael Flynn and possibly by his successor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. There is a demand from
the US CentCom Commander General Votel and Republican Senators McCain and Graham for
putting more troops on the ground with "greater authorities". There is support for this line of
thought in other think tanks in the US. Yet, by far the growing feeling is that America has lost
this war and the one in Iraq-Syria. The question is how to retrieve the situation and remain in

In a recent commentary, Barnett Rubin points out that the Taliban were a product of the decades-
long war that led to the collapse of the state of Afghanistan as the two superpowers battled for
supremacy. Rubin added that Al Qaeda was an Arab product that grew in the ungoverned spaces
as the mujahedeen fought the Soviet Union and then the Taliban. Finally, the Islamic State is a
result of the US invasion of Iraq and was now showing signs of its presence in Afghanistan. [iii]

With Pakistan now strengthened after the CPEC agreement with China and the recent opening of
avenues with Russia, it is likely to be even more intransigent than in the past. It would be
necessary for a combined multination diplomatic and military initiative if a solution has to be
attained. The US cannot run solo on this anymore. The US would not be able to leave, if at all,
without appearing to have put in place an agreement that seems to secure the future of
Afghanistan. Views and interests of other neighbouring nations — Russia, China, Iran Pakistan
and India — would need to be taken on board.

From Russia with ambition

At a time when the entire region is in a flux, the Taliban is the flavour of the season. The
Americans, Russians, Chinese and Iranians are currently wooing this retrograde grouping of
Islamists as Pakistan sits secure and smug that its policies of investing in the Taliban are
seemingly beginning to give dividends. The only holdouts to this fervour for the Taliban are the
Afghans themselves and the Indians. Quite naturally, the suitors have to construct a convenient
story line as each of the players have their own interests in mind; Afghanistan is incidental to
these interests.

The Russians see an opportunity in the weakening of the US stature in the Middle East. Events in
Iraq first and then in Syria have left the Russians in an advantageous position. Moscow probably
sees that its navy has an assured presence in the Mediterranean through the Syrian coastline, and
if they have access to Iran via Afghanistan, then they have access to the Persian Gulf. This may
not be an adequate counter to the CentCom, but will be to the Chinese presence in Gwadar and
Indian interests in Chahbahar. The Russians thus see for themselves a new opportunity in the
region provided they can handle two negative but related factors. One is that of the rising
Islamist threat to themselves through Afghanistan and Central Asia. The second, related to this,
is the never-ending problem of narcotics, which is now centrepiece to any solution in
Afghanistan. These worries are genuine.

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The renewed Russian interest is not so much about Afghanistan as about being strategically
relevant in the entire region in opposition to US interests. The clash between Russia and the US
along with its European allies has been building up since Georgia in 2008, onto Crimea in 2014
and finally, the Ukraine. The current allegations that Russia had interfered in the last US
presidential elections are getting enlarged in scope, thereby exacerbating bilateral relations.

Russia has moved a considerable distance away from its last stance in the 1990s when along with
India, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan a joint effort was made to keep the Taliban at bay. This
was successful until the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud on September 9 2001. The
suicide bombers had travelled via Pakistan with visas from a Pakistan Embassy. The implications
of this otherwise major event were lost in the catastrophe of 9/11.

The Russians have met Taliban representatives several times in the past two years. It is possible,
the Russians seek to get the Taliban to destabilise the Ghani Government seen by the Russians to
be a US-backed regime. This is payback time for the Afghan jihad in the 1980s. Ironically, they
would be using the Taliban’s hatred for the Americans for this. Besides, neither the Russians,
Chinese nor Iranians have taken too kindly to the US decision to maintain its bases in
Afghanistan for power projection into Central Asia. President Putin’s special envoy to
Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, has said Russia "will not tolerate this." [iv]

Kabulov has also said that the ISIS is a bigger threat to the region than the Taliban. The story
line is that in the interest of peace in Afghanistan, the Taliban be considered as a political and
social movement. [v] The Russians believe that the ISIS cannot be eliminated without
cooperation from Pakistan. This cooperation means being on the same page about the Taliban.
Many Russians along with Iranians and Chinese see the ISIS as a Trojan horse to destabilise their
countries; on the other hand, the Americans see the Russians, Chinese and Iranians highlighting
ISIS presence in the region to extend their control in areas vital to the US. It is interesting that
none of the powers is willing to even talk about the role that the Pakistan-backed Haqqani
Network, of whom not much seems to have appeared in the news, will be playing in this game
that is unfolding.

The Russians do have genuine worries though. An estimated 50,000 Russians die every year
because of heroin addiction. This is a huge number in any country but even more in a country
with a declining population. Fifteen years ago, the Muslim population in Russia was about 10%;
today it is more than 13%. Moscow is now home to about 1.5 to two million Muslims, making it
the second largest Muslim city in Europe. The Muslims are mostly Sunni but many have been
without the traditional Muslim moorings. This is beginning to change with increasing

Russia does have a serious problem if one considers that an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 ISIS cadres
speak Russian of which half are Russian citizens and the rest from Central Asia. This makes
Russian the second most popular language in the ISIS. The Russian contingent have their own
command and control structure. In Raqqa, there was a Russian enclave with their own grocery
store and Russian language schools. Most of the ISIS cadres from Central Asia were recruited
and radicalised in Russia. The Russian rulers did what the Arab rulers did to their jihadists —
seemingly solved their problems by pushing them out to other pastures. Inevitably, the fear now

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is that these jihadis will return to Russia. By 2015, these battle-hardened cadres were finding
their way home and Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, remarked that many of the Russians
who had fought for the Islamic State had returned home and they presented a direct threat. Later,
speaking at the UNGA in September 2016, President Putin asserted that these fighters, having
tasted blood in Syria, would return to pose a threat.

The other Russian apprehension seems to be that these returnees could make a base in northern
Afghanistan from where they would move into Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and they could be
using the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, already present in Afghanistan, for this.
Simultaneously, the Russians also see Taliban inroads into the Uzbek and Tajik populations in
northern Afghanistan, which could put the leadership of Uzbek leaders like General Dostum
under some strain along with that of the Tajik leaders.

China is worried about an Islamist spill over from the ISIS or even the Taliban, into Xinjiang
province and Iran is decidedly uncomfortable with a strong Sunni presence on its borders. The
Iranians are also apprehensive now of the recently formed Saudi-sponsored Islamic Military
Alliance to Fight Terrorism — a collection of Sunni nations. Policies in and about Afghanistan
are more likely to remain a reflection of a larger US-Russia antagonism and a high level of
mutual suspicion accompanied by rising ambitions and fears of China and Iran.

Chinese checkers

As they did in Syria, the Chinese seek to move into empty spaces that might be vacated by an
America that is looking for exits and solutions that are not seen to be failures. Yet the Chinese
have until recently refrained from getting militarily involved and have let the Russians lift the
heavy load for them in Syria. They themselves give the image of a responsible country with deep
pockets, but most do not quite see the tight fists inside them. Their investments in Afghanistan
designed for extracting mineral resources are less than India’s. China’s strategic interest in
Afghanistan and Central Asia revolves around the One Belt One Road project, of which the
CPEC is a subsidiary project in the South Asian context. China sees an opportunity in Iran,
which would enable it to have access to the Gulf through Afghanistan and to the Caspian Sea
through Iran.

China's security interests hover around keeping Xinjiang free of Islamist influences i.e., Taliban
and ISIS varieties. Banning beards of a certain length and veils may be a part of this attempt to
provide conformity, but also indicates a growing fear among China’s rulers about their restive
province. This may not be enough and hence the Chinese have been using the Pakistani
connection for contacts with the Taliban. They will go along with the Pakistani distinctions
between 'good Taliban' and 'bad Taliban'. It suits China to have direct contacts with the Taliban,
which gives both the Taliban and Pakistan greater legitimacy and the Chinese hope to secure
themselves somewhat in Xinjiang. India may have provided some limited military assistance
lately (M-25 attack helicopters) but the Chinese too have conducted joint patrols with Afghan
forces to indicate their availability in the face of US drawdown.


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Iranian interests

The Iranians have worried about events in Afghanistan from the time the Afghan jihad started in
the 1980s. The presence of Soviet troops in their neighbourhood and a jihad bankrolled by the
Saudis along with archenemy America’s active assistance was a cause of deep concern. Later in
the 1990s, they cooperated with India and Russia to try and stem the Taliban tide but many
arrangements fell off the table after September 2001. The growing uncertainties in Iran's
neighbourhood and the fears about ISIS have also pushed the Iranians to seek a solution of the
problems in Afghanistan that involve the Taliban. Iran has sheltered Taliban elements in the past
and Gulbuddin Hikmetyar was a long term resident in Iran. Obviously, Iran's leaders remind
themselves that they need a peaceful and secure border with Afghanistan at all times and for that
would need to come to terms with the Taliban.

A triangular relationship between Iran, Russia and China had been evolving for some time.
Afghanistan is one of the reasons as part of a larger political, economic and military equation in
Eurasia. All three would be watching the new president in US to see if he successfully distances
his country from China and Iran and moves closer to Russia. China and Iran signed a military
cooperation agreement in November 2016, which envisages bilateral military training and closer
cooperation on regional issues; Syria and terrorism being on the top of the Iranian list. Around
the same time, the Russians also announced that the two countries were negotiating an arms deal
worth US $ 10 billion to supply Iran with T-90 tanks, artillery systems, aircraft and helicopters.
Soon after sanctions against Iran were lifted, President Xi Jinping visited Iran in January 2016
and the two countries agreed to increase trade to USD 600 billion. The joint agreement referred
to strategic relations between the two countries. Earlier this year, Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani visited Moscow in a well-publicised visit (not in India though). The signal was to the
US — that the relationship was alive and strong. This kind of tripartite closeness makes
agreements on issues like dealing with the Taliban and Afghanistan a lot easier for the three

Pakistan geopolitical problem

"Kabul must burn," so said Gen. Akhtar Rehman of the Pakistan Army and the DG ISI during
the Afghan jihad. This was in the 1980s as the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were ramping
pressure on the Soviets and the Afghans. This policy has not changed. Only the directors of the
policy and actors on the ground may have got new names. Kabul still burns, thanks to Pakistan's
inimical policy towards Afghanistan. Pakistan may assume it has successfully turned the tide in
the short term by having major powers willing to do a deal with the Taliban. One is not sure if
the cure proposed is worse than the disease. Terrorism never pays back folly with kindness.
Concessions under duress only lead to more terror.

A tripartite Russia, China and Pakistan engagement has also begun to work. The three had met in
Moscow to discuss Afghanistan with a flexible approach to lift sanctions against select Taliban
leaders. This must have been at Pakistani prompting about 'good Taliban' and 'bad Taliban'. [vi]
Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are important for Russia in its push for greater presence in South


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Asia. Meanwhile, Pakistan will continue to exert pressure on Afghanistan through groups
operating from Pakistani sanctuaries.

Pakistan's attitude has been consistent. The Taliban are the true representatives of Afghan
politics and need to be supported in the hope that a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul will
recognise the Durand Line and not allow India any meaningful profile in Afghanistan. We
should not expect any change in this approach. Pakistan punishes Afghanistan for being India’s
friend and for its policies towards India.

It is relevant to note what two US generals said recently about Pakistan in their statements before
the Senate Armed Services Committee. In February, Gen. John Nicholson stated that the Taliban
and the Haqqani network were the greatest threats to security in Afghanistan, adding that their
senior leaders remained insulated from pressure and enjoyed freedom of action within Pakistan
safe havens. They thus had no incentive to reconcile. Later in March 2017, General Joseph
Votel, the CentCom Commander, was forthright when he said that out of 20 US-designated
terrorist organisations operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan subregion; seven were in Pakistan.
"So long as these groups maintain safe haven inside of Pakistan they will threaten long-term
stability in Afghanistan. Of particular concern to us is the Haqqani Network (HQN), which poses
the greatest threat to coalition forces operating in Afghanistan." It is eminently clear where the
problem is — Pakistan's sanctuary and support for the enemy converting this into a perpetual
war. [vii]

If the ISIS is seen as a global threat by those who will meet in Moscow shortly, then the correct
way of handling is through global efforts and not through appeasement of a regional menace —
the Taliban. By dealing with the latter in this manner, we are only encouraging its mentor and
sponsor to continue with its policies in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Heart of Asia bleeds

Americans now tell themselves this is their longest war with nothing much to show for it, apart
from the billions spent and American lives lost. Americans and others can pack up and leave,
Afghanistan is not their country. Where do the Afghans go? To some decrepit refugee camps,
maybe. So spare a thought for the Afghans. They have seen war and turmoil for nearly forty
years. Children have been born to parents and died in the war before they became adults. Many
young Afghans have not understood what peace means. Today, their neighbours are preparing to
make deals with the Afghans' main tormentors who trade in narcotics and violent obscurantism.
The Afghans are told that is in their interest that they do this. Such travesty.

Afghanistan is being punished for its location; Pakistan is rewarded for the same reason and
India is simply ignored. That is realpolitik.

Afghanistan will continue to need large amounts of international assistance to build the economy
in the decades ahead. There is no getting away from that. Afghans do not need doles and
handouts. Their foremost need is to be able to control and eradicate the menace of narcotics that
feeds the unscrupulous and the terrorists and denudes the country. The trouble is everyone knows


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this has to be done, but no one really follows it up. Merely spraying opium cultivation with
pesticides is not enough. It is essential to cut off this source of funds to the Taliban and the drug
lords. Tonnes have been written about counterinsurgency but much less has been written or done
about the drug menace.

Afghanistan needs an immediate upgradation of its military and air force to transform the forces
into modern day fighting forces. Similarly, its law and order systems need improvements in
recruitment, training and equipment. Weak security systems with insurgents rampant are a sure
prescription for disaster. The Afghan government does not need an arrangement foisted upon

If we do not begin with a universal declaration defining terrorism and tackling it collectively, and
prefer selective appeasement, we are staring at an abyss. Instead of a concerted counter-terror
action against the Taliban, we are now seeing some of the most powerful powers of the world
meeting to decide how best to acquiesce to them. As a result, what the world will have, including
the world they seek to protect, is more of the same. Maybe even worse. The end of Afghan jihad
was seen as a victory of the faith over a superpower. A deal with the Taliban will lead to similar
interpretations with consequences for all of us, including Pakistan.

India a spectator, or a player?

The first step is to decide whether we want to play to our strengths. Second, that Afghanistan
expects a great deal from India, so depending upon our decision on the first issue, what are we
prepared to do. Unlike other nations, we need to do something for the Afghans to help ourselves.
It is self-congratulatory to tell ourselves our stock among the Afghans is high, our image is good
and our soft power is appreciated. The first danger is that this image can change. The second
danger is that this will certainly not be enough in the long run. We have to step up our act and be
the power that we say we are. This means much more economic developmental assistance in
terms of projects, training in skills, technical and medical education, or anything else the
Afghans need. Ask them. An India-Afghanistan Economic Task Force that is nimble and
empowered will help in quick decisions and rapid implementation. Health and medicine
(research production and health care facilities), and academia, both in India and Afghanistan and
some scholarships even outside India would help. Research of various kinds, water management,
alternative cropping, small-scale manufacture are some of the activities that would help. All
these should be geared to creating skills and employment opportunities.

We simply have to step up our military assistance to Afghanistan. We need to be quite forthright
about this and not apologetic. Indian interest lies in a robust and comprehensive military
assistance to Afghanistan that would strengthen the afghan National Defence and Security
Forces. Lack of similar support from other major powers like China and Russia should not
discourage us; on the contrary, we should see this as an opportunity. As a regional power, we do
not have to perpetually keep looking over our shoulder and seek approbation for our actions. We
need to bolster Afghan security across the board to bolster ours. Close intelligence and security
cooperation is necessary. India and Afghanistan have a Strategic Cooperation Agreement. This
must be energised.


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Trump triggers new 'Great Game' in South Asia

Speaking at Fort Myer last week, the president promised that “American strategy in Afghanistan
and South Asia will change dramatically.” In Afghanistan, it is unlikely to. In South Asia, it
already has — in deep but disturbing ways and mostly because of what President Donald Trump
had to say about Pakistan.

Here’s how the stakes, consequences and options for each of the major players in South Asia
have been transformed.

The speech left Pakistan hurt and angry.

The country’s foreign minister, Khawaja Asif, was livid at President Trump’s threatening tone
and words, claiming that his country’s “sacrifices” as an American coalition partner were
“disregarded and disrespected.” Pakistan’s National Security Council (NSC), which includes
both the prime minister and the military chief, echoed the consensus in Pakistan that both
Washington, D.C. and Kabul are bent on “scapegoating” Pakistan for their own failures.

Remarkably for Pakistan, President Trump seems to have united a deeply divided country.
Government, opposition, military and civil society are all equally offended. All point out how
Pakistan itself has had to spend many times more of its own resources in fighting America’s war
than whatever America may have provided: 70,000 casualties, 17,000 Pakistanis killed; a nation
living in constant fear of Taliban terrorism; an economy devastated to the tune of over $100

Of course, American allegations that Taliban encampments exist in Pakistan are not new. But
President Trump has refused to recognize that Pakistan’s struggles to eliminate them are no less
challenging than Afghanistan’s or America’s efforts within Afghanistan. This has been seen as
particularly disingenuous.

Given the timing, tone and especially the fawning overtures toward India, Pakistanis read
President Trump’s speech as the newest episode of abandonment from the nation's longest but
most fickle ally.

Privately, Pakistan and the United States have each long considered the other to be equally
unreliable. With President Trump signaling that America will now look elsewhere, Pakistan feels
compelled to do the same. Both China and Russia have been quick to exploit the chasm,
advancing their own deep interests not only in Afghanistan but in greater South Asia.

Even before Pakistan had made any response to President Trump’s speech, the Chinese, already
wildly popular in Pakistan for investing heavily in its infrastructure, responded with an official
statement calling Pakistan an “all-weather friend” and thanking it for its “great sacrifices” in the
fight against terrorism.


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Not to miss the opportunity, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov,
proclaimed that Pakistan is “a key regional player,” the pressurizing of whom could “result in
negative consequences for Afghanistan.”

In Pakistan, such statements and the speed with which they came have been viewed as evidence
that Pakistan does have choices, i.e., it may be time for Pakistan to move out of the U.S. orbit
and seek deeper alliances elsewhere. Pakistan’s foreign minister, for example, immediately
postponed his planned visit to Washington. This is not simply to register displeasure, but to gain
time to visit other capitals and explore alternative options.

India’s initial reaction, not surprisingly, was to gloat. Its narrative about Pakistan was thoroughly
embraced in President Trump’s speech. However, this is a gift horse they are likely to examine
more carefully. Being anointed America’s sheriff in South Asia brings with it a new stress to
their already-strained relations with China.

It is inevitable for tension to grow between these two Asian behemoths, but India would clearly
have preferred to plan out the timing and terms of the escalation itself.

President Trump’s message to India that it “makes billions of dollars in trade with the United
States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan,” is likely to be met with nothing
more than a polite smile from New Delhi. There is certainly no likely relief for the American
taxpayer in how much they have to pay to keep dysfunctional governments in Kabul in place
even while 40 percent of Afghanistan remains under Taliban control.

But the biggest consequence of President Trump’s South Asia strategy is that it gives India a
license to elevate a new proxy conflict with Pakistan in Afghanistan. Pakistan is clearly terrified
of being trapped in a pincer squeeze on its eastern and western borders by its arch nemesis, India.

But Afghanistan, as recent statements from its former president, Hamid Karzai, suggest, can also
not be thrilled by the prospect of yet another major power becoming entrenched in yet another
“Great Game.”

Therein lies what is truly new and frightening in Donald Trump’s South Asia strategy.

For the entirety of the last seven decades — including throughout the Cold War, when India was
firmly ensconced as a Soviet ally — the American goal in South Asia was, above all, to maintain
regional stability. The aim was to avoid and to actively resist tensions in a region that was a
powder keg well before India decided to go rogue with nuclear weapons, and Pakistan followed
suit. As of last week, the new American policy is to pit neighbor against neighbor in South Asia.

One day, one hopes, someone will explain to President Trump, like Chinese President Xi Jinping
did about why North Korea is “complicated,” why the India-Pakistan relationship really is as
fraught with danger as it is.


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Russia’s New Great Game, in Afghanistan

Russia’s recent diplomatic overtures toward Afghan peace and its secret rapprochement with the
Taliban show that the country wants to play a new “great game” in Afghanistan. In this regard,
President Vladimir Putin seems to have capitalised on the election of Donald Trump as the US
president to steadily outsmart Uncle Sam in . Under President Xi Jinping, China is also poised to
stand by this ‘Russian strategic adventure’ against US pre-eminence in the region.

The new great game in Afghanistan is likely to culminate into the formation of a new security
partnership in South Asia, making the region a major centre of power politics for, at least, the
next two or three decades. Given its vital geostrategic position, Pakistan should brace itself
diplomatically and militarily because the looming Russo-American muscle-flexing and sabre-
rattling will have adverse impacts on the country’s security dynamics as well as the economy.

Russian’s strategic invasion of Crimea and its successful bolstering of the tottering Assad regime
in Syria have ‘potentially’ emboldened Putin to smartly play his diplomatic cards with regard to
the lingering Afghan question. This Russian diplomatic manoeuvring is chiefly calculated to
outweigh the US’ diminishing clout in Afghanistan.

Russia began its new great game in Afghanistan back in 2007 when it established
communication links with the Taliban. When a delegation from Afghan Taliban’s Qatar office
visited Iran in May 2015 for talks on countering Daesh in Afghanistan, some Russian officials
are believed to have taken part in the deliberations. The Taliban have lately disclosed that Russia
had provided tactical support to them for the takeover of Kunduz in October 2015.

Russia’s ongoing flirtations with the Taliban and its sudden interest in Afghan peace are
designed to attain some economic and military objectives in the region. First, the resurgent
Russia cherishes the grand dream of watching American failure in terms of defeating the Taliban
in Afghanistan. Moscow considers Afghanistan a suitable war theatre to ravage its Cold War
rival that trained and funded the mujahideen to defeat the Red Army in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

To pursue this objective, Russia supplied arms to the Taliban for the takeover of the northern city
of Kunduz. Russia will presumably continue its intelligence coordination with the Afghan
Taliban and providing the group with arms and ammunitions against US and Nato forces in

Second, Russia not only wishes to dominate Afghanistan’s uranium resources, it also wants to
spread its economic and military wings to the Persian Gulf via the Chabahar Port. Moscow has
already connected itself with Afghanistan by means of road and rail links through energy-rich
Central Asia. India, Russia’s long-standing regional partner, has built a 600-kilometre-long
highway linking Chabahar to Zahedan in Iran’s north. New Delhi has also completed the
Delaram-Zaranj Highway in the Nimruz province of Afghanistan, thus connecting the Delaram
district in Afghanistan to the northern border of Iran.

Given the cordial friendship between Iran and Russia and their convergent strategic interests in
the region, Tehran is likely to permit Moscow to use its transport and port infrastructure to


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access the warm waters of the region. But, insecurity and insurgency in Afghanistan will create
impediments to the Russian dream of reaching the Persian Gulf. Russia has, therefore, decided to
reset its relations with the Taliban so as to rely on the insurgent group to safeguard its supply
lines through Afghanistan.

Third, Russia is highly apprehensive of the spillover effects of Daesh over the Central Asian
Republics (CARs). As per the recent estimates, there are about 2,700 Russian and nearly 4,000
Central Asian fighters within the fold of the militant outfit. So far, America and the Afghan
government have displayed a lack of seriousness to flush Daesh out of the terror-infested
Russia suspects that the US has allowed Daesh to overtly establish its foothold in Afghanistan so
as to weaken the Taliban and create debilitating instability in Russia’s backyard. The Kremlin
has decided to partner with the Taliban in order to weaken Daesh in Afghanistan so that it may
not pose a security threat to the Russian peripheries.

Fourth, Russia has shown concern over the supply of Central Asian gas to South Asia through
the US-sponsored Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline. Russia is opposed
to TAPI because it wants the CARs to remain dependent on it as the main purchaser of natural
gas. Such reliance will help Russia play an overriding role in the security matters of the region.
Moreover, Moscow is fearful of US interference in Central Asian security domain because
Washington has already shown its willingness to acquire Turkmenistan’s Mary airbase for the
security of TAPI.

Russia has continued to use backstairs influence to discourage the CARs from diversifying their
natural gas markets to energy-starved South Asia. To divert Pakistan’s attention from TAPI,
Moscow has repeatedly offered Islamabad an all-out assistance for the construction of
Islamabad’s share of the IP gas pipeline. However, the PML-N government has not shown its
inclination to complete its portion of the IP due to the apprehension that economic sanctions
could be snapped back on Iran anytime in the future.

Now, Moscow has resorted to a rapprochement with the Afghan Taliban as they can block the
supply of Central Asian energy resources to South Asia. In this regard, Russia has taken a
surprising step by burying the hatchet with those Taliban leaders who once played a pivotal role
in inflicting a humiliating defeat on the Russia’s predecessor — the Soviet Union — in
Afghanistan. Apparently, the failure of TAPI will compel the CARs to remain heavily dependent
on Russia as the main buyer of their natural gas.

Fifth, more and more Central Asian states are falling under China’s economic influence. If China
continues increasing its economic footprint, Russia will probably lose its hegemonic role in the
region. This has prompted Putin to merge the Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union with the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Therefore, Putin is trying to reset relations with the
Taliban so that the insurgent groups will support Russia for the protection of this grand
connectivity initiative in Afghanistan.

Lastly, the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan has severely impacted Russia over the past five
decades. Russia is not only a transit route for Europe-bound Afghan opium, but is also a major


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consumer market. According to some estimates, Russians consume around one-fifth of the
world’s opiate supply. For the Kremlin, it is imperative to partner with the Taliban and work
with them to block opiate smuggling to mainland Russia.

The Trump administration seems increasingly perturbed over the Russian inclination toward
Afghan reconciliation and its geostrategic interests in the region. What is important to note is that
the US is inclined to stay in Afghanistan to contain China’s influence and monitor the nuclear
programmes of Iran and Pakistan.

So, Russia’s new great game will prompt the Trump administration to increase its military and
intelligence presence in Afghanistan. The declining superpower will evidently employ punitive
diplomacy, disruptive power and will deliberately meddle in China’s Xinjiang unrest,
Balochistan’s low-intensity insurgency and Iran’s clandestine nuclear programme.

Pakistan should move cautiously and avoid siding with any of the two rival powers with regard
to the unfolding new great game in Afghanistan. The government needs to take such diplomatic
steps that serve the country’s greater national interests.


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2. Nuclear Proliferation and Threat of Nuclear War

Experts on North Korea’s latest threat: “This is how war by miscalculation

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on Monday threatened to shoot down US warplanes,
claiming “the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside
the airspace border of our country.” It’s one of the most serious threats the North has leveled to
date — and it has experts extremely worried.

“This is how war by miscalculation starts,” Vipin Narang, a professor at MIT who studies
nuclear weapons, tweeted after seeing Ri’s comments. “My anxiety level is up sharply today.”

The reason for his increased anxiety is clear: The US frequently flies warplanes over the Korean
Peninsula. Ri’s comments appear to be a direct response to such a flight conducted on Saturday,
in which US B-1B bombers flew along the North Korean coast while remaining in international
airspace. It was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea that
any US fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, according to the Pentagon.

The idea behind these flights is to deter a war, not start one. They’re designed to show the North
Korean government that the US is willing to use force if it does something provocative, and thus
deter the North from trying anything.

But the recent tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
seems to be making the North more aggressive, not less. North Korea’s foreign minister’s
comments suggest the country may no longer tolerate this kind of defensive signaling from the
US, and may begin treating these flights as aggressive acts of war even if they don’t cross into
North Korean airspace.

An actual exchange of fire between North Korea and the US — two nuclear-armed powers — is
still unlikely, but the fact that it is much more plausible today than it was yesterday is disturbing.

“I would take Ri's words seriously. This is where we are now,” Jenny Town, the assistant
director of Johns Hopkins’s US-Korea Institute, tells me. “I'm not sure how we walk back from
this without some serious diplomatic efforts.”

This is the fruit of badgering a nuclear-armed rogue state

The root of the current standoff, experts explain, is something called the “stability-instability

Here’s how it works: Nuclear weapons can deter war, as we observed during the Cold War. The
US and the Soviet Union worked hard to avoid outright conflict because no one believed they
could win a nuclear war. In that sense, nuclear weapons enhance stability.
But the sense of security that nuclear weapons grant — because who in their right mind would
attack a nuclear power? — can also encourage lower-level bad behavior. In 2010, for example, a
North Korea submarine sank a South Korean destroyer, the ROKS Cheonan, without things


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escalating to war. The North gambled that the South wouldn’t risk being hit by Northern nukes
(and its conventional arsenal) over one destroyer, and so wouldn’t respond with all-out war. It
was right.

This paradox — where nuclear weapons deter full-scale war but at the same time encourage
lower-level provocations — is why Kim thinks he can get away with threatening, and perhaps
even firing on, US bombers.


Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies,
compares this dynamic to what happened when car manufacturers first began putting seat belts in
cars: “There is some research about seat belts — early on, it seems, drivers with seat belts drove
more aggressively,” Lewis says. “Nuclear weapons, for some leaders, do the same thing.”

North Korea hasn’t fired on any US warplanes since becoming a nuclear power in 2006, despite
the US conducting many defensive flights like the one on Saturday. The reason it’s flexing its
muscles now, experts say, is that Trump’s threats — like his tweet on Sunday warning that North
Korea “won't be around much longer!” if it keeps threatening the US — makes the North wary
that the B-1B flights might be a prelude to an actual bombing run.

“DPRK really hates the B-1B flights,” Narang tweeted. “They're clearly making the regime
nervous about surprise attack.”

Now the Trump administration has two choices: stop doing these flights and look like you’re
bowing to the North’s threats, or keep doing them and risk an actual exchange of fire. If the
administration chooses the latter, then what happens if Pyongyang isn’t bluffing and actually
fires on a US warplane? Does Trump back down, or does he respond with a strike of his own?

Lewis calls this scenario “the nightmare I’ve been warning about,” in which a war no one wants
becomes plausible. Other experts agree.

“The B-1 threat definitely escalates,” Mira Rapp-Hooper, a North Korea scholar at Yale
University Law School, tells me. “We're in first strike instability territory.”

Again, this does not mean a US-North Korea war will break out tomorrow. It does not even
mean a war is likely. But it does suggest that North Korea’s threat this morning is not its typical
bluster, but may be a qualitative shift in the nature of US-DPRK tensions — one that moves us
from a vague war of words to having a very specific scenario in which a hot war could start. And
that should trouble everyone.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warns threat of North Korea nuclear attack
is accelerating


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US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has warned that the threat of nuclear missile attack by North
Korea is accelerating.

In remarks in Seoul with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo at his side, Mattis
accused the North of illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear programs - and vowed to defeat
any attack.

Mattis said North Korea engages in "outlaw" behavior and that the US will never accept a
nuclear North.

He added that regardless of what the North might try, it is over-matched by the firepower and
cohesiveness of the decades-old US-South Korean alliance.

"North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbours and the world through its
illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs," he said, adding that US-South
Korean military and diplomatic collaboration thus has taken on "a new urgency."

"I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a
nuclear power," he said.

As he emphasised throughout his week-long Asia trip, which included stops in Thailand and the
Philippines, Mattis said diplomacy remains the preferred way to deal with the North.

"With that said," he added, "make no mistake - any attack on the United States or our allies will
be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military
response that is effective and overwhelming."

Mattis' comments did not go beyond his recent statements of concern about North Korea,
although he appeared to inject a stronger note about the urgency of resolving the crisis.

While he accused the North of "outlaw" behavior, he did not mention that President Donald
Trump has ratcheted up his own rhetoric. In August, Trump warned the North not to make any
more threats against the United States, and said that if it did, it would be met with "fire and fury
like the world has never seen."

Song, the South Korean minister, told the news conference that he and Mattis agreed to further
cooperation on strengthening Seoul's defense capabilities, including lifting warhead payload
limits on South Korean conventional missiles and supporting the country's acquisition of "most
advanced military assets." He offered no specifics and refused to answer when asked whether the
discussions included nuclear-powered submarines.

Some South Korean government officials have endorsed the nation getting nuclear-powered
submarines amid calls for more military strength. There's a growing concern among the South
Korean public that North Korea's expanding nuclear weapons arsenal, which may soon include
an intercontinental ballistic missile that could target the U.S. mainland, would undermine Seoul's
decadeslong alliance with Washington.


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South Korea's conservative politicians have also called for the United States to bring back
tactical nuclear weapons that were withdrawn from the Korean Peninsula in the 1990s, which
they say would make clearer the U.S. intent to use nukes in a crisis. But Mattis and Song were
strongly dismissive of the idea.

"When considering national interest, it's much better not to deploy them," said Song, adding that
the allies would have "sufficient means" to respond to a North Korean nuclear attack even
without placing tactical nukes in the South. Mattis said current U.S. strategic assets are already
providing nuclear deterrence and that the South Korean government has never approached him
with the subject of tactical nukes.

Also discussed in the meeting were the conditions under which South Korea would be given
wartime operational control of its forces. Currently, if war with the North broke out, the South's
forces would operate under the US-led UN Command.

Trump entered office declaring his commitment to solving the North Korea problem, asserting
that he would succeed where his predecessors had failed. His administration has sought to
increase pressure on Pyongyang through UN Security Council sanctions and other diplomatic
efforts, but the North hasn't budged from its goal of building a full-fledged nuclear arsenal,
including missiles capable of striking the US mainland.

If Trump sticks to his pledge to stop the North from being able to threaten the US with a nuclear
attack, something will have to give - either a negotiated tempering of the North's ambitions or a
US acceptance of the North as a nuclear power.

Could World War Three actually happen?


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The US ambassador to the UN told an emergency Security Council meeting North Korea
is "begging for war" and called for "the strongest possible measures".

Trump has threatened military action and warned North Korea it faces "total annihilation" if
it threatens the US or its allies Japan and South Korea.

But defiant Kim Jong-un threatened America with a "miserable end" as he reportedly moved a
ballistic missile to the country's west coast, ready for another test launch.

He has previously threatened to launch rockets at US Pacific island Guam and moved fighter
jets to the coast to intercept US bombers after accusing Trump of declaring war.

The past months have seen a series of alarming events that appear to have brought the two states
to the brink of armed conflict:

April 9: A US strike force was sent towards the western Pacific Ocean near the
Korean peninsula.

April: President Trump ramped up the pressure on China to take action against the secretive
state by declaring the US would “solve the problem” alone if it did not step up.

April 14: During parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born, a
devastating arsenal was on show including a KN-08 rocket, thought to be capable of flying more
than 7,000 miles – within range of Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC. But experts
have since questioned if the weapons were genuine.
Hours before the parade a top general had told North Korean state TV "we’re prepared
to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war”.

April 15: North Korea again enraged the US with a missile test but this time it was
an embarrassing flop exploding almost immediately.

April 17: US Vice President Mike Pence told Pyongyang the "era of patience is over" as he
warned tubby tyrant Kim Jong-un not to test Trump as plans were made to send a missile
defence system to South Korea earlier than planned.

April 19: Vice President Mike Pence warned Kim Jong-un the US would "defeat any attack" as
he spoke to soldiers aboard a massive aircraft carrier.

April 28: North Korea launched a devastating attack on the US Capitol to spark World
War Three in a terrifying propaganda film.
May 2: Kim Jong-un warned that it would be a "piece of cake" to nuke Japan - warning
that those who tried to retaliate and their supports would not be safe
May 11: The hermit state said that it has the right to “ruthlessly punish” any US citizens after
it detained a fourth American at the start of May


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May 5: Pyongyang announced it would seek the extradition of anyone involved in what it
says was a CIA-backed plot to kill leader Kim Jung-un with a biochemical poison

June 13: North Korea threatened to nuke Trump's home town of New York after he mocked
the missile programme.

July 5: North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile which analysts say has a range of 6,700
kilometres and brings Alaska within reach. Pyongyang later said it was a “landmark” test of a
Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. Trump responded with an tweet saying; "Does
this guy have anything better to do with his life?".

July 31: It was reported that Donald Trump was ready to order a military strikeagainst a
North Korean nuclear weapons facility hidden beneath a mountain range.

August 8: Trump warned North Korea faces “fire and fury” if it threatens the US – as
intelligence documents reveal Kim Jong-un has made mini nukes to attach to his new rockets

August 10: North Korean state media said it was planning to launch four rockets towards the
US territory of Guam.

August 10: Trump declared North Korea "better get their act together" or they will be in trouble
like "few nations have ever been". He also suggested he might not have been tough enough
with his previous comments on the rogue state.

August 11: The Sun revealed Britain would play no part in a military strike on the communist
state in a move that was slammed as “weak and ill-judged" by ex-Commander of British
Forces Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp.

August 11: Speaking from his New Jersey golf resort Trump told North Korea it would
"truly regret" any action it takes against Guam.

August 12: New satellite images of North Korea bases appear to show the volatile state
is overhauling its missile sub fleet.

August 15: North Korea appeared to back down from an imminent strike by saying Kim Jong-un
would watch "the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" before deciding whether to fire on

August 28: It was reported that North Korea had fired a missile towards northern Japan.
Residents were called to take immediate shelter underground.

August 29: Officials confirmed the North's missile launch. The "unidentified projectile"
hurtled over the country before breaking into pieces, according to South Korea's military.
August 31: The US responded to Kim Jing-un's latest missile outrage with a terrifying show of
strength, dropping huge bombs near the North Korean border.


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September 3: The West awakes to the news North Korea has detonated a nuclear device in a test.
The blast triggered an artificial earthquake six times larger than any previous test.

September 4: James Mattis, the US Defence Secretary, warned of a "massive military

response" to any threat from North Korea against the United States or its allies.

September 6: North Korea promised a "redoubling" of its nuclear arsenal in response

to threatened sanctions and warned the US faced "catastrophic consequences".

September 10/11: Two Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missiles were test-fired with
a range of more than 6,210 miles.

September 15: North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific,responding
to new UN sanctions with its furthest-ever missile flight.

September 25: North Korea threatened to attack US warplanes and accused Donald Trump
of declaring war.

September 26: North Korea moved jet fighters to the coast to intercept US bombers.

October 1: Trump says US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time”trying
to negotiate with “Little Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un.

October 3: North Korea threatened "suicidal" Japan with “nuclear clouds” as it blasted
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for the world to pile more pressure on the rogue state.

October 7: Trump issues chilling threat to North Korea, insisting "only one thing will
work" when dealing with the rogue state.

October 21: Supersonic US B-1B strategic bombers zoomed over South Korea as part of an
air show prompting Kim to warn the Korean peninsula is on the “eve of explosion”

October 23: Trump has put nuclear bombers back on 24-hour alert for the first time since the
end of the Cold War.

October 31: US and Russian nuclear bombers fly near North Korea, while reports in Japan say
a Kim regime nuclear facility has collapsed with 200 people inside.

North Korean UN envoy says 'nuclear war may break out at any moment'


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North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador has warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula
“has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment”.

Kim In-ryong told the UN general assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the
only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat”
from the United States since the 1970s and said the country has the right to possess nuclear
weapons in self-defence.

He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using “nuclear assets” and said what is
more dangerous is what he called a US plan to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of
our supreme leadership”.

This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-
fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the
atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets”.

“The entire US mainland is within our firing range and if the US dares to invade our sacred
territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe,” he

Kim’s speech follows escalating threats between North Korea and the United States, and
increasingly tough UN sanctions.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said on Monday that his country was curtailing
economic, scientific and other ties with North Korea in line with UN sanctions, and the European
Union announced new sanctions on Pyongyang for developing nuclear weapons and ballistic

The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said on Sunday that diplomatic efforts aimed at
resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops”.

His commitment to diplomacy came despite President Donald Trump’s tweets several weeks ago
that his chief envoy was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim
Jong-un, whom he derisively referred to as “Little Rocket Man.” The president said “only one
thing will work” with North Korea but refused to elaborate on what that was.

North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador called his country’s nuclear and missile arsenal “a
precious strategic asset that cannot be reversed or bartered for anything”.

“Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the US is thoroughly eradicated, we will
never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any
circumstances,” Kim said.

He told the disarmament committee that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which
North Korea calls itself, had hoped for a nuclear-free world.


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Instead, Kim said, all nuclear states were accelerating the modernisation of their weapons and
“reviving a nuclear arms race reminiscent of [the] cold war era”. He noted that the nuclear
weapon states, including the United States, boycotted negotiations for the Treaty on the
Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was approved in July by 122 countries at the United

“The DPRK consistently supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the efforts for
denuclearisation of the entire world,” he said. But as long as the United States rejected the treaty
and “constantly threatens and blackmails the DPRK with nuclear weapons … the DPRK is not in
position to accede to the treaty”.


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A Japanese survivor of one of the only two nuclear attacks ever conducted in history
has appealed to world leaders to abandon the weapons of mass destruction and enact a
comprehensive ban on their production, testing and possession.

"None of them having (nuclear) weapons will contribute toward having peace," Tokuko
Kimura, 82, said Monday at an anti-nuclear weapons event in New York City, according to The
Japan Times.

Kimura was 10 years old when the U.S. Air Force dropped the so-called "Fat Man" atomic bomb
on her city of Nagasaki in August 1945. The event, along with the atomic bombing of the
Japanese city of Hiroshima three days earlier, killed at least 250,000 people and brought an end
to World War II. It also introduced the world to the vast destructive capabilities of nuclear
power, inspiring similar programs in other countries, the most recent being North Korea. As the
world's first nuclear power threatens to disarm the latest, Kimura urged all governments to
outright ban such weapons.

"The bombing happened in an instant, but the survivors can never forget. I don't want anyone
in any country to experience the hardship that I and fellow survivors have endured," she added,
according to Japan's official outlet NHK News.

A nuclear test explosion from April 1954 is shown in this undated photo from the U.S.
Defense Department. The world's leading powers scrambled to build nuclear weapons during
the Cold War that followed World War II and several other countries followed suit.

Kimura was joined at the U.N. headquarters building by Akira Kawasaki, a member of the
2017 Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and
family members of others affected by the 1945 atomic bombings. The event, organized by
Japanese non-governmental organization Peace Boat and the U.N. missions of Austria and
Costa Rica, was designed to pressure countries into signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of
Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty, which has been opened for signing since September 20, needs to be ratified by 50
countries in order to come into effect. So far, 53 nations have signed, but only three —Guyana,
the Holy See and Thailand— have ratified the historic agreement. The two countries most
responsible for bringing nuclear weapons to headlines lately have neither signed nor ratified
the treaty.

The U.S. does not recognize North Korea's self-proclaimed right to develop and possess nuclear
weapons for deterrence purposes and President Donald Trump has threatened to disarm the
reclusive, militarized state by force. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, however, has overseen
significant advances to his country's nuclear and ballistic weapons program, vastly increasing
the lethality of a potential strike against his country.


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North Korea's nuclear weapons program began under Kim's grandfather and the country's
founder, Kim Il Sung. North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006 under his successor,
Kim Jong Il, followed by a second test in 2009. Under the youngest Kim, who took power in
2011, North Korea has conducted four more nuclear tests, the most recent being a hydrogen
bomb test last month that was by far more powerful than the previous five combined.

Since 1945, more than 2,000 nuclear explosive tests have been carried out around the world.
The vast majority have been conducted by the U.S. and Russia.

The most powerful detonation occurred in 1961 when the former Soviet Union detonated
the RDS-220 hydrogen bomb, nicknamed "Tsar Bomba" by the West.

North Korea also tested in two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July, placing the
U.S. mainland in North Korea's missile trajectory for the first time. Defying U.S.-led sanctions
from the U.N., North Korea has continued to develop and test its weapons, arguing that
abandoning such efforts could allow a Western invasion, as it did Iraq and Libya.

The dispute has led Trump and Kim, along with their respective administrations, to trade
violent threats and mean-spirited insults toward one another, keeping allies and foes on edge.

While the U.S. and North Korea have arguably been most vocal about their nuclear arsenals
in recent months, Russia actually has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons with an
estimated 7,000 warheads. The U.S., Russia, China, France and the U.K. are all signatories to
the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but nuclear powers India,
Israel and Pakistan have not. North Korea acceded in 1985 but withdrew in 2003.

Kindly go through these articles too




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3. FATA Reforms Bill and Its Effects

History of FATA Reforms

In November 2015, the Prime Minister set up a six member FATA Reforms Committee “to
propose a concrete way forward for the political mainstreaming of FATA areas.” At its very first
meeting on 21 November 2015, the Committee decided to carry out an in-depth study of all
previous attempts for FATA Reforms to determine why successive governments had failed in the
past six decades to introduce meaningful reforms or undertake substantial development efforts.

It soon became clear that political mainstreaming of FATA would be a very complex process
because it would also involve legal, administrative and security mainstreaming. Equally
important would be the sequencing of these reforms and their complementarity in terms of
timing and scale. Different attempts at reforms in the past 40 years, though useful, did not bring
about a fundamental mainstreaming of FATA because these elements were missing.

A brief history of FATA Reforms has been included in Chapter 2 of the Committee report. The
first serious attempt was made when Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto formed a Committee
under General (Retd.) Naseerullah Babar which included Hafeez Pirzada, Rafi Raza and Dr
Mubashar Hassan. The aim of the committee was to create a framework so that FATA could
become a part of NWFP for general elections in March 1977. But it was decided to take up the
issue after the elections. That did not happen because of a military coup in July 1977.

The second attempt came twenty years later when, in 1996, the government extended the adult
franchise system to FATA, so that representatives from FATA could be elected to the National
Assembly by the people directly and not through selected tribal maliks. This important step did
not, however, increase self-governance, partly because of Article 247 of the Constitution and
partly because FATA was not a province or part of another province and could not, therefore,
elect its representatives to a provincial assembly, which actually elects ministers to govern the

Efforts to introduce the system of local bodies in FATA have totally failed. In 2002, the
Government extended Local Government Regulation to FATA and in 2004 some Agency
Councillors were nominated by the Political Agents. However, the system did not take off
because general public had no confidence in the nominated office bearers who had no powers. In
2012, FATA Local Government Regulation 2012 was prepared to establish local bodies in
FATA. However, the Regulation was never promulgated.

Another serious attempt at FATA Reforms was made in 2006, through a special committee,
chaired by Sahibzada Imtiaz Ahmad. The focus of this report, submitted in 2006, was on
administrative reforms and resulted in the increased independence of FATA Secretariat under a
separate Additional Chief Secretary and a substantial increase in development funding for
FATA. But in the absence of major legal reforms and concentration of all powers in the hands of
political agents, there was no visible improvement in governance or development indicators. The
security situation in FATA was also very fragile at that time and the resultant destruction of
infrastructure and related facilities could not be restored by a few development projects
undertaken by the government during that period.


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A Committee on legal reforms, chaired by Justice (R) Mian Mohammad Ajmal, was constituted
in 2005 “to recommend modifications in FCR after public consultation across FATA.” The
Committee recommended many important amendments in the FCR. Many of these were
accepted and implemented in 2011. The amended FCR removed some of its shortcomings but
more fundamental changes were needed to bring the judicial system in line with the rest of
Pakistan and restore the fundamental rights of the people of FATA, as equal citizens of Pakistan.

Following the introduction of Adult Franchise Act, 1996, the Political Parties Order 2002 was
also extended to FATA in 2011, to allow political parties to campaign freely in FATA. This was
an important step, but in the absence of provincial elections, its impact was limited. This step
did, however, generate greater political awareness in FATA and also intensified the demand for
fundamental reforms.

In addition to these partially successful attempts at FATA Reforms, there have been many other
studies, conferences and seminars on different aspects of FATA Reforms during the past 10
years, which provided useful inputs for the Committee’s work.

The Way Forward

During its visit to all the seven FATA Agencies, the Committee met not only jirgas of tribal
elders and maliks but also representatives of political parties, civil society, traders and
journalists. The Committee concluded fairly early in these deliberations that FATA could no
longer be retained as a “buffer against foreign aggression.” It must be fully integrated with
Pakistan and basic legal reforms introduced to restore peoples’ fundamental rights. At the same
time, extraordinary efforts would be required to accelerate development of FATA to bring it at
par with the rest of Pakistan. That led to the key recommendation that 3% of gross divisible pool
i.e. Rs. 90-100 billion should be allocated every year for the next 10 years, to finance a
comprehensive socio-economic development plan for FATA.

The Committee also carefully examined the option of a separate province for FATA but
concluded that it was not a feasible option. The Agencies are closely connected with the
adjoining districts but not with each other. Similarly, the economic and cultural links between the
Agencies and districts are fully strong but not among the FATA agencies. In addition, FATA
does not have the financial resources or the administrative capacity to manage a separate
province. The merger of FATA with KPK, the Committee concluded, was the only viable option
for mainstreaming FATA.

The next important issue was the timing of the merger option. FATA had to be prepared for the
merger. As a minimum, the rehabilitation and reconstruction in North Waziristan, South
Waziristan and Orakzai had to be completed.

Moreover, the task of extending the provincial boundary right up to the international border with
Afghanistan would be a major strategic undertaking and would require a careful realignment of
the security infrastructure and recruitment and training of additional FC personnel for the
Frontier Corps and the levies.


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In addition, an inter-provincial consensus will be required to allocate 3% of the divisible pool to

finance the proposed 10-year development plan for FATA.

Considering all these factors, the Committee recommended that the merger of FATA with KPK
will require a transition period of about 5 years. Meanwhile, local bodies elections can be held in
FATA and the possibility of enabling the people of FATA to elect their representatives to the
KPK Assembly in 2018 could be examined.

The demand for abolishing the FCR, a legacy of the colonial era, was widespread and virtually
unanimous. But many tribal elders wanted their traditional Rewaj system of justice through jirgas
to continue because of the court system in Pakistan, they said, was “time-consuming, expensive
and corrupt.” The Committee tried to balance these viewpoints by proposing a blended judicial
system. The FCR will be abolished and the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and High Court
extended to FATA. But the traditional Rewaj System retained as a local dispute resolution
mechanism. The criticism that the proposed Rewaj Act would continue the FCR in another
forum is not correct because FCR would be abolished and the jurisdiction of courts will be
extended. Within this system, this Act will allow parties, if they so wish, to ask the Agency
Judge (not the political agent) to appoint a jirga, whose decision will be appealable. In addition,
the new law will also ensure that the Rewaj System is consistent with fundamental rights laid
down in the Constitution.

Under Article 247(vi) of the Constitution, “the President may at any time direct that the whole or
any part of the Tribal Area shall cease to be tribal area, provided that before making any order
under the clause, the President shall ascertain the views of the people of the Tribal Areas
concerned, as represented in Tribal Jirga”. The Committee has fulfilled this requirement by
holding jirgas in all the 7 Agencies and consulted about 3000 tribal maliks and elders. In
addition, the Committee received over 29,000 comments on the hotline of Ministry of SAFRON
and most of them supported the merger of FATA with KPK and abolition of FCR.

Despite this extensive process of consultations, there are demands from certain quarters for a
referendum on the future of FATA. Given Pakistan’s unpleasant experience with referendums in
the past, this option was not considered politically advisable.

The jubilation, with which the news of the Government’s decision of 2nd March has been
received in FATA, further reinforces the Committee’s conclusion that these reforms would be
widely welcomed by the majority of the people of FATA. After all, the main objective of these
reforms is a much-needed improvement in the lives of the people of FATA.

If the recommendations of the Committee chaired by Gen (R) Naseerullah Babar to merge FATA
with KPK (then called NWFP) had been implemented in 1976, FATA would not have become
“the most dangerous area in the world”, as former US President George Bush called it. S imilar
views were expressed by General David Patraeus, US Commander of ISAF.

FATA reform package


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THE merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan with Khyber
Pukhtunkhwa (KP) or else giving it a separate status of province has been under considerations
for last few years. As per recent developments, the federal Government in consultation with all
political parties and stakeholders is finally heading towards its merger with KP. Initially, this
merger would be for a five years transitional period and thereafter; a permanent solution will be
sought, taking into considerations the ground realities, the will of the people and surely keeping
in view the outcome these five years.
Irrespective of its future status, the immediate attention, the tribal areas need is its economic
prosperity through peace and stability in the region, which will be attained through; rehabilitation
of displaced people, provision of civic facilities and opportunities of economic activities in the
region. Unfortunately, ever since US invasion in Afghanistan in October 2007, the Tribal Areas
of Pakistan have undergone a crisis situation. The military operation in all Agencies resulted into
the displacement of huge population.
Apart from the seven Agencies of the FATA, the entire frontier region and parts of Khyber
Pukhtunkhwa have undergone the process of transformation. However, the law and order has
improved over the years, yet the elements of stability, peace and economic prosperity are far
from being actually taken roots. The military operations, particularly Operation Zarb-i-Azb has
crossed the psychological barrier of impossibilities and there exists optimism that, nothing is
impossible. Besides, the majority of the displaced people have returned back to their parent
areas, started reconstruction of their houses and business centres. However, still, there is a huge
number of the people, awaited to return back. These left over people have either decided to settle
elsewhere or waiting for harsh winter to get over, before they move back. The Government has
also asked all displace people to get back to their respective areas or face the cancellation of their
registration as temporarily displaced people’s status. In all eventualities, there is an urgent need
for the provision of basic facilities in entire FATA with priority goes to rehabilitation through
reconstruction of houses and civic facilities.
The Federal Government decided to bring constitutional and reform package in FATA. In
November 2015, Prime Minister of Pakistan constituted a high level committee under the
Advisor on Foreign Affairs; Sartaj Aziz to prepare reform package for the mainstreaming of the
FATA. The committee under Sartaj Aziz presented the FATA Reform Package in August 2016.
The salient of the reform package is that, FATA will be gradually integrated into Khyber-
Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The proposals of the reform package were debated by the Parliament. As per
the reforms, proposed, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) will be repealed and in lieu of this
there would be a system of Jirga and Rewaj and this would be under Tribal Areas Rewaj Act,
which will be implemented in phases.
The other salient features of this reform package are; there will be party based local bodies’
elections, which will be held by end of 2017. While Levies force will be beefed up with 20,000
more troops. This is primarily to cater for the security needs of the FATA. Unlike the current
practice, the package proposed that, Afghan citizens will only be allowed into FATA areas once
they have proper documentation. Pakistan has already decided for introduction of new border
rules at all crossing sites along the Pak Afghan Border, as part of border management. Foreign
Secretary, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry emphasized that, “This border management is in the interest
of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The Afghan Govt is very critical to this type of the border
FATA Reform Package came under very severe critic in Parliament and even by Human rights
commission. The Coalition partner of the PML (N) Govt, Moulana Fazulur Rehaman, has


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opposed the on many aspects. Besides, Mahmood Khan Achakzai too opposed the bill. JUI (F)
chief proposed a referendum to decide, whether FATA people want to be part of KP or would
like to have their own separate province. The committee proposed Supreme Court and Peshawar
High Court should extend their jurisdiction up to FATA. This aspects runs contradictory to
Rewaj Act, proposed in same reforms package.
Nevertheless, the parliamentarians belong to FATA want implementation of the reform package
and merger of FATA into KP. Following the heated debate in Parliament, the Government of
PML(N) has been able to persuade the opposing groups within coalition and got their consent for
the adoption of this bill. As per the Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Lt General (retd)
Abdul Qadir, “We have removed all bottlenecks which came in way of implementation of
merger of Fata with KP. We have addressed concern of JUI-F and PkMAP and implementation
of Fata reforms is a matter of few days.” The FATA reform package, if implemented would be a
major breakthrough in the history of Pakistan. These people were ignored by successive
governments of Pakistan, thus remained under developed and educationally backward. The
reform package would enable the mainstreaming of FATA region, thus doing away with the FCR
and many ills, associated with it. Nevertheless, there has been remarkable reduction in number of
terrorists’ attacks in FATA region and elsewhere in Pakistan. However, the decrease in numbers
of terrorist attacks does not bring complete peace, but positive social engagement, leaving no
space for miscreants and militants, would bring real peace and economic opportunity in tribal
Whereas, the locals of the tribal areas are key to this all, the administration and particularly the
federal and Provincial Govt of KP need to play their roles. The local administration must take
over the areas cleared by Pak Army, rehabilitate the internally displaced people, and create the
opportunities for the economic activities, which need to take place on priority through good
governance. Following the reform package and successful military operations, the Tribal Areas
of Pakistan can become an ideal place, provided, a dedicated effort is undertaken for proper
rehabilitation of displaced people through a sustained peace and stability, which would surely
pave the way for economic prosperity and social harmony.


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The Fata merger: Towards a brave new world

Even before the process leading to Fata reforms could take off, it was beset by two problems: the
Panama leaks and formidable opposition from one of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s closest
allies, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman. And if there were
some doubts, the first indication came with the turbaned Maulana warning to ‘jam’ everything, if
reform laws were allowed to go through, during last week’s National Assembly session
convened specifically to discuss Fata reforms.

Subsequently, the PPP has not only voiced its opposition to the Rewaj Act, but wants a clear cut
statement on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) merger with Fata. This will further delay the reforms
procedure given that the upcoming federal budget is scheduled for May 26, followed by post-
budget debate in June/July, and so will take the process to August, therefore, leaving insufficient
time to implement the KP merger plan before the 2018 elections.

Despite political challenges faced by Mr Sharif, there is no illusion that implementation of the
reform package is by no means a small undertaking. Implementing the reforms agenda is a
complex task requiring robust mechanisms to oversee a five-year transition period.

If done seamlessly to overcome constitutional and political challenges slated to emerge along the
way, the tribal region will be able to achieve a level of prosperity that will gradually bring it at
par with the rest of the country.

The reforms plan has been allocated 3pc from the NFC with the government providing
development funds for 10 years.—Photos by Abdul Majeed Goraya, WhiteStar

Merger versus mainstreaming

This is where the complexity lies. The reforms plan recommends electing parliamentarians from
Fata to the KP assembly during the 2018 election, thus, effectuating the merger with KP in the
duration of a year. Further, without actually giving control to KP, it calls for mainstreaming the
region “after five years”. For its part, the KP government insists that after an amendment to the
Constitution, it should be allowed to decide the pace and course of the transition process leading
to a seamless merger.

Administrative complexity

KP and Fata are congenital twins with different body functions. KP has a defined constitutional,
legal and administrative system, albeit somewhat weakened by decades of frequent tweaking, not
to mention the reign of militancy, which has not only diluted executive authority but also
undermined the latter.

However, Fata ruled directly by the federal government through executive powers invested in the
president, has its own administrative system, largely unaccountable, a system that resembles
fiefdoms with individual political agents. How these two entities can be merged into one


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coherent administrative body would be achievable with the revamping of the administrative and
legal systems.

Additionally, the status of Fata employees, governed by different rules, including those serving
under a presidential order, must be looked into. This would require the extension and assertion of
state authority, along with revising the administrative structure to bring it in sync with the one
prevalent in KP.

Political and electoral integration

By far the most pressing challenge, legislation for electoral integration is yet to be made.
Recommendations include representation from the tribal region in the KP assembly in the 2018
elections. That said, the government would need to wait for the outcome of the national
population census — resulting in the delimitation of national and provincial assemblies’
constituencies, including those in Fata — before going ahead with electoral integration.

The tricky part is how this will be achieved. How can Fata remain within the ambit of Federally
Administered Tribal Areas and still be able to elect representatives to the KP assembly without
the executive authority of the (KP) province actually extending to those areas? What impact will
this have on representation in the provincial assembly, the National Assembly and the Senate?

Other than having Fata representatives in its provincial assembly, KP will have no control over
the political and administrative affairs of Fata. This is an anomaly that would need to be
overcome through amendments in Article 1, Article 59 and Article 106 of the Constitution. But
so far there is no indication of that happening.

Constitutional anomaly

Possibly the most mind-boggling issue is how to keep Fata under the federal government’s
administrative control during the five-year merger plan while allowing it to elect representatives
to the provincial assembly, thus effectively paving the way for the final merger with the chief
minister of KP having no executive authority over the tribal region during the transition period.

These are inter-contradictory terms. Critics have warned that any attempt to convert Fata into a
Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) would be risky given KP’s history of struggling to
mainstream its own Pata. Short of a full merger, there should be no other option. This, of course,
cannot be done when all other key elements required — including administrative, judicial and
security infrastructures — are not in place.

Resources allocation and development

The proposed plan envisages a three per cent allocation from the National Finance Commission,
while the federal government would continue to foot the bill for the Annual Development
Programme for ten years. The plan provides for a committee headed by the governor of KP and
constituting parliamentarians from KP and Fata.

The role of the KP government, which will eventually own and inherit the entire 27,200
kilometre area comprising the tribal regions, has been left undefined. At present, the KP


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government believes that the Fata Secretariat and Fata Development Authority do not have the
capacity to undertake this gigantic task and that the entire matter needs re-examination.

Local bodies’ elections

KP wants party-based elections in Fata before the end of 2017 under the Local Bodies Act so
that the provincial government can synchronise the entire system. The system proposed by the
federal government is different. The cabinet has decided to hold the local bodies’ elections after
the 2018 election, and under a different system.


The recommended plan provides for the creation of 20,000 levies force posts to perform police
functions in the tribal areas. But it fails to provide any timelines as well as budget commitments.
KP wants these personnel be integrated into the provincial police force in the future.

Security personnel standing guard at a checkpoint in the Jamrud town of Khyber Agency in KP.

Directorate of transition and reforms

One of most critical recommendations involves the establishment of a dedicated unit for
implementation. Instead of a temporary organisation overseeing the integration process, the KP
government wants to lead.

Although there is general agreement among the KP government and the federation on the course
and broad contours of the reform agenda, the disagreement is only on the timeframe and certain
issues pertaining to legislation and administrative measures.

Complex as this transition plan may appear, it is by no means unfeasible provided there is
political will and determination to see the process through to its end. But many ardent supporters
of the merger suspect Mr Sharif lacks the enthusiasm for it.

History, they say, repeats itself. Given its association with militancy and perception as the
badlands in the northwest, history will not forgive us if we fail to seize this opportunity. And,
with time running out, we may not have the same opportunity again.


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The unanticipated perils of merger of FATA with K-P

The debate over the abolition of Fata as a distinct administrative entity is raging and creating
ripples across the political spectrum. As it so often happens in the ‘Islamic Republic ‘ the
discussions are sponsored ,dominated by vested interests with strong ,enduring ties to the area
way beyond Fata where their properties, residences and businesses are located .

A group of parliamentarians who won their seats by just a handful of votes are now claiming to
have a mandate to change the status of the tribal area. That is a ludicrous assertion. Because
firstly these elected members do not live in the tribal area nor would they ever contemplate to
settle in their ancestral homes with families in the foreseeable future. Secondly having been
returned to Parliament by winning just a couple of thousands of votes can they have an authority
to change the complexion of the area?

Thirdly, is it not a fact that money played a vital role in the election for Senate as far as the tribal
area is concerned? Fourthly, can these members of Parliament raise their voice in support of
abolition of the status of tribal area in the hinterland of Fata — amongst rank and file tribesmen?

Coming to the merits of the merger scheme, a dispassionate examination of the whole scenario
would show that the scheme of integration would not be implemented without creating utter
chaos, confusion that would not only impede progress and development but would generate a
climate of hostility that would lead to long-term insecurity and lawlessness .

To subject the people of the tribal area to the rigours and agonies of our decrepit criminal justice
system would be unjust and unwarranted. Imagine for a moment the SHOs operating in areas like
Tirah or Shawal or Nawa pass! Would the people of the tribal area be prepared or willing to
accept the pain of pursuing their criminal or civil disputes in courts for years or decades? Would
they have the resources to engage lawyers and pay hefty fees for years with no end in sight?
Would merger not lead to a dramatic escalation in the number of disputes over land, shops and

If the extension of jurisdiction of superior courts is any answer to normalising an area then look
at Karachi where all the laws of the land extend, where courts are functioning but has Karachi
seen peace or normalcy for the last nearly three decades?


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And more importantly have the people of the tribal area ever raised the issue of the abolition of
the FCR—ever in the last many years?

Those who are in the vanguard of the movement for merger are comfortably lodged in cities of
K-P or Islamabad. The few political parties which are supporting merger are motivated purely by
their own narrow political agendas — namely, hoping to secure a couple of seats in provincial or
national legislatures. They see in merger a dream coming true and have no regard for the colossal
damage that the measure would inflict in a sensitive region that would assume more importance
as new regional alliances take shape.

Lastly, when focus should be on reconstruction and rehabilitation of an area and people that has
gone through such turmoil and seen so much of devastation, attention is being diverted to
‘changing the status’. Is it more important to build bridges that have been blown up, houses
which have been destroyed, markets that have been decimated, schools and hospitals that have
been turned into ghost buildings or to have a ‘new system’ for governance ?

Has the issue of return of IDPs been finally resolved so that attention could be focused on

Have we been able to manage the return of 140,000 people of North Waziristan who have taken
temporary abodes in Khost area of Afghanistan?

Thousands of people—mostly women and children are traumatised thanks to one of the most
brutal drone campaign ever launched in recent history anywhere in the world. Is their
rehabilitation not a priority with politicians espousing the cause of merger — politicians who
have never seen a tribal village or have never spent a night in the tribal area?

The Government has to decide whether they bend or kneel before a lobby that exists, functions
and operates in the settled area or whether they take into account the aspirations of the great
silent majority who happen to reside in the remote tribal areas. It has to decide whether it bows
down to a lobby of lawyers, politicians of marginalised political outfits or some misguided youth
or whether it is keen on delivering quality education, better health care, water, electricity, roads,
economic opportunities, skill development centres, industrial parks or prefers to ‘change the


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Mainstreaming means socio-economic emancipation. It means creating cadres of trained,

educated youth. It means economic prosperity. There is need for a comprehensive programme of
exploring and exploiting the mineral potential of the area. That would guarantee long-term
prosperity. And above all there is need for a fast-track human resource development programme
that alone would transform the tribal area.

Let the Government not take any hasty step under pressure from a small band of people, having
vested interests and plunge into a ravine with horrific consequences for a strategically important


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The Anticipated Benefits of FATA Reforms

This piece is in response to Rustam Shah Mohmand’s Article in this paper titled ‘The
Unanticipated Perils of FATA Merger with K-P”. While targeting the reflexivity of Fata
parliamentarians and those advocating the reforms as ‘alien’ to the region’s culture as they might
not be living in Fata, hence not qualified to debate Fata reforms, I may not be qualified too
according to this definition of ‘competency on Fata’ as I belong to K-P. However, I take the
liberty for the fact that he has served as Chief Secretary of my province while hailing from Fata.
What is more distasteful is the disgust he has shown for the system which he has served as a top
bureaucrat. Furthermore, if not living in Fata should be the sole reason for not advocating Fata
reforms, this principle should also be applied on those who are apposing reforms but living in
Peshawar and in Islamabad.

Mr. Rustam Shah Mohmand in his article attacked the legitimacy of the Fata parliamentarians by
quoting their ‘handful’ votes in the general election 2013. However, if we compare the votes
secured by them, other constituencies in mainstreamed Pakistan, this is still a high margin. Mr
Shahji Gul Afridi from NA-45 secured 29,488 votes and Mr Sajid Hussain Turi secured 30,524
votes. Both are strong advocates for reforms. There are 10 MNAs from the rest of Pakistan,
including Federal Minister for SAFRON ministry, who have secured less than 29,000 votes but
still represent their constituencies. In fact, Mr Muhammad Jamaluddin from the JUI-F secured
only 3,356 votes; the lowest of all MNAs in Pakistan and the JUI-F is the only representative
party in Fata which is opposing the reforms. Therefore, if any political party should stop
opposing Fata reforms based on the number of votes, the JUI-F should be the first one. Majority
of political parties want merger and only the JUI-F and PkMAP is standing in the way of
political and human rights of people of Fata.

Mr. Rustam Shah Mohmand has shown disgust for the judiciary and democratic form of
government by predicting chaos and civil war as consequences of the Fata reforms. To make his
argument stronger, he has presented Karachi where the law and order situation is dismal for the
last three decades. But he failed to acknowledge that worsening law and order situation and
taking total control of area are two different things. Most parts of tribal areas remained under the
full control of the Taliban where the state writ was minimal. It seems he is fully supporting the
existing farm of governance in Fata without superior courts jurisdiction and non-representative
status. How can any sane person defend FCR in 21st century is beyond my understating. Yes, the
majority of people in Fata are against FCR and this is obvious from the recent study published by
Fata Research Centre titled “Governance Reforms in FATA: People’s Perspective”. The study
depicts that 68% population of Fata is for abolition of FCR, and 74% endorsed the option of
merger with K-P. In this survey, in any case, if FCR is so perfect for tackling the Taliban, why
should it not be extended to Karachi and other parts of Pakistan as well?

Mr Rustam Shah Mohmand has rightly pointed out the need for social and economic
development of Fata. However, this development is not possible when Fata is governed
administratively through K-P, economically and politically through the federal government.
Those who are supporting merger are well aware of the fact that Fata Senate seats will have to be
reduced. Yet, due to geographical, cultural and economical proximity of Fata agencies with K-P
districts, increase share in NFC award (which should be at least 5% given the population and


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backwardness of Fata), and protection of fundamental rights owing to extension of superior

courts jurisdiction are some of the key consideration which help understand the thinking of
proponents of merger. The existing governance structure is no more working in Fata and the
federal government has to move for reforms for giving full citizenship status to the people of
Fata. Normalcy will not return even after many successful military operations until and unless
the civilian administration is capable enough to take over. Let’s not delay the process of reforms.
As a first step, the federal government should immediately extend superior courts jurisdiction to


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3. Census - 2017


Carrying out the upcoming population census with diligence could have a significant impact on
the future political and socio-economic landscape of Pakistan. Various Provincial concerns have
been raised with regard to the census.
In Sindh an urban-rural divide seems to be at play. Some people in the urban areas demand that
the formation of the census blocks should be according to population changes, even though the
process identifying census blocks is independent of population. The rural claims are also similar
in terms of a population swell. Some forces allege that rampant issuance of CNIC’s in rural
areas, and encouraging residents of the province to register themselves as ‘Sindhi’s’ during the
form filling process blocks a fair census - the rural areas are also concerned about the out-of
province influx and its impact on the census.

In Balochistan, several Baloch leaders have asked for the census to be put off till the Afghan
refugees (especially those believed to be carrying CNICs’) and the matter of IDPs is dealt with
because this can turn the Baloch into a minority.
The local Pashtun population of Baluchistan on the other hand fears misunderstandings in
‘proving’ citizenship amidst the refugee influx.
In Punjab there is speculation that major migrations have occurred in the recent past especially
from South Punjab, which has changed the population demographics. Some fear that a possible
dent in the status quo may cause some forces to tamper with the enumeration.
In Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa there are grievances regarding the recent delay of KPFATA merger
and its impacts on enumeration of the Pashtun population. Some are of the view that this under-
represents the total Pashtun population.
Concerns have also been raised regarding the transfer of census data from KP to Islamabad.
In Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK regions the prime concerns appear to revolve around incomplete
mention of various languages and religions in the census forms, thereby carrying the potential of
hindering adequate representation of all people of the country.
According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) its first and foremost duty is to count all the
people present in Pakistan’s territorial limits on dates of enumeration, regardless of any other
factor. One ethnicity residing in another province will only be recorded under the ‘new province’
if a person has been residing there for more than six months. If not then, the person will be
recorded under the native province. Apart from the issue of people migrating to other provinces
for socio-economic reasons several citizens are believed to be displaced from local areas due to
security concerns. Finding out these shifts would help paint a more accurate picture of which
regions require immediate development and indicate which regions are strained with population
The end goal should be towards uniform national development and a more even population
dissemination across Pakistan, which in the long run also creates a positive impact on our
political system.
As for apprehensions regarding prosecutions, according to the census ordinance 1959:
“(1) No person shall have a right to inspect any book, register or record made
by a Census Officer in the discharge of his duties as such, and notwithstanding anything to the
contrary in the ’Qanun-e-Shahadet, 1984 (President's Order X of 1984‘, no entry in any such


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book, register or record shall be admissible as evidence in any civil proceeding whatsoever, or in
any criminal proceedings other than a prosecution under this Ordinance or under any other law
for any act or omission under this Ordinance, which constitutes an offence under such other
(In case anyone has apprehensions, nearly 200,000 armed personnel are being deployed
alongside civilian enumerators for the exercise to ensure that rules are followed, and the process
remains impartial and transparent. Some reports claim that external observers would also
monitor the process and reports in the media indicate that judicial powers have been given to the
military personnel employed on census duties.)
“(2) The individual information furnished in the Census returns, except so much of it as is not
traceable to an individual, shall be confidential and shall not be used for any purpose other than
compilation of Statistics.“
However, “Nothing in this ordinance shall be deemed to prevent any person from being
prosecuted under any other law for any act or omission under this Ordinance, which constitutes
an offence under such other law: Provided that no such prosecution shall be instituted except
with the previous sanction referred to in section 14”.
(A person can be prosecuted if he/she shares false information or shows noncompliance in
sharing information. Similarly, a census officer can be prosecuted for lack of proper assistance,
harassment or returning false information) Collating census data of Balochistan and KP in the
capital, has less to do with intentions to manipulate and more to do with lack of enhanced local
data analysis facilities.
Several forces appear to be entangling issuance of CNIC with the census. However, the PBS
chief has stated that for the sole purpose of enumeration.
CNIC though highly preferable, doesn't translate to exclusion or prosecution of citizens (few
reports claim NADRA’s presence at the time of census, which could help fill in certain gaps).
Nonetheless, once the exact number of population has been determined, the data would be shared
with NADRA. This would facilitate;
1. In analysing and cancelling fake ID cards (which helps in understanding the ratio of illegal
2. Through matching with NADRA’s records the number of locals without a CNIC, which could
then be used to encourage such individuals to get registered much before elections, or updating
of the electoral rolls.
Least to say, great responsibility has been put on the PBS, Armed Forces, NADRA for the
census; and PBS, NADRA, and ECP post enumeration. These entities could look into drafting
cooperative strategies to ensure smooth transition to the next general elections and beyond.
It is noteworthy, that the matter of census falls under Part ll of the Federal legislative list, making
it a matter of federal and provincial concern. After the 18th amendment the CCI was given the
task of mediating federal-provincial dialogue and dispute resolution. It is also required to
overview the census.
Some believe the matter of census was not paid adequate attention until the Supreme Court’s
suo-moto notice last year. Utilisation of these mechanisms could be strengthened, especially in
the upcoming days to ensure various parties and institutions formulate a uniform vision
regarding the census.


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Post Census Suggestions

A cumulative view of most concerns voiced so far reflects a line of thought revolving around
possible shifts in political powers and provincial resource allocation. It is likely for contentions
to surface in matters of politics and provincial resource allocation post-census results. PBS
should ideally remain neutral; other institutions would also be required to take a neutral stance in
order to subdue any potential contentions and to carve out unbiased, positive reforms to improve
Pakistan's political, economic, and social standing in accordance with facts.

General Elections 2018

Once census data is shared with the ECP, the institution would most likely be occupied with the
meticulous task of:
1. Delimiting constituencies.
2. Reallocating national and provincial assembly seats.
3. Updating electoral rolls.
4. Perpetuating programs aimed at informing citizens regarding any changes.
Sections 3, 7, 8 and 9 of the Delimitation of Constituencies Act 1974 stipulate:
3. Commission to delimit constituencies.
7. Allocation of seats in the National Assembly. (On the basis
of population).
8. Delimitation of Constituencies. - for the purposes of election to
the National Assembly, the Commission shall divide:
(a) Each Province into as many separate territorial constituencies as
the number of general seats allocated to that Province under Section7.
9. Principles of Delimitation. All constituencies for general seats shall, as far as practicable, be
delimited having regard to the distribution of population in geographically compact areas,
existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public convenience
and other cognate factors to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies.
Furthermore, if the delimitation Act, Article 51 and 106 are added up not only does the deep link
between delimitation and seat allocation appear to exist; but the prerequisite of an unbiased
population census to evolve the above stated processes (in the Act) is very clear. And as per the
constitution an alternate for population count other than a census doesn’t seem apparent, for now.

Though, some are of the view that the 18th amendment lays a defined seat allocation for
National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies, some are also of the view that electoral roles
suffice delimitation of constituencies (a recommendation which was also offered by the IP3 EU -
only because of lack of census).
Further, the changes stipulated in the Draft Election Bill 2017 appear to somewhat de-link the
necessity of population count with delimitation (which could become a source of contention).
However, certain local aspects would have to be kept in mind, before accepting a population
count discount: Pakistan has signed various international treaties conferring its support for
protecting political rights. For most of these frameworks, including our local laws, so far, equal
suffrage across constituencies is a key principle.
Several reports have recorded disparities across constituencies. According to a report by FAFEN
in one case the voter density from one constituency to another varied by 500% (ideally the


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deviation should not exceed a maximum of 15%). The element of malapportionment carries the
potential for voting advantages/disadvantages in certain areas and may compromise fairness.
However, if the seat quota is somehow proven to be unchangeable and future delimitation
changes are made in accordance with the Bill and with a reliance on registered voter list this then
translates to: only changing sizes of constituencies in accordance with the set number of seats in
order to resolve the burgeoning issue of voter density disparities.
Though this could help resolve the issue of malapportionment to some extent, Pakistan relies on
single member constituencies for representation of general seats in NA and PA, using first past
the post voting system. Merely, enlarging or reducing constituency sizes in accordance to
electoral rolls could bring significant complications for local body elections and the general
elections as well.
Moreover, the voting system in itself is meant to bring few disadvantages when multiple parties
exist as it is acknowledged to favor few parties, the element of wasted votes or low voter turnout
under this system is also a noted concern, this in turn also leads to under or over representing
certain parties.
Looking at the 2013 elections data, which was conducted under constituencies defined in 2002
based on the 1998 census data the total voter turnout was stated to be 55% of the approximated
population, and the ruling party bagged nearly 14 million votes.
The votes of other majority parties varied from 7 million to 2 million from the 55% of voter
population not the entire population. This somewhat diminishes the use of electoral rolls as a
means to carve out major changes as they appear to be in need of an improvement. Therefore,
ideally the entire number of citizens should be accounted for purposes of delimitation and seat
Secondly, more people need to be encouraged to vote, possibly alongside a reform in the voting
system, in a manner which caters to widespread representation while ensuring political stability
as well. Multiple alternate voting solutions for improved representationhave been suggested for
Pakistan, which could be looked into. However, accepting new realities as they are may impact
standings of several political forces, therefore hindering the process with non-related and often
inaccurate allegations from some forces.
One possible chronological order could be:
1. Unbiased population count
2. PBS shares results with NADRA to identify any fake recordings, if NADRA is present during
census; cross checking and new recordings could be done in tandem.
If it is not present then:
3. NADRA could cross check the PBS listings; devise a strategy that would reach out to non
CNIC holding citizens, and create a final updated list
4. This data could be shared with ECP to cross check and update electoral rolls, work on
delimitation process and stipulate changes accordingly. Perhaps, efforts could be directed into
drawing a line between ethnicity and province. Ethnicities need to be preserved and protected-
under a separate mechanism. It should also be realized that migrations, due to whatever reasons,
have occurred within the same country. This can also bring certain good opportunities in terms
1. Provincial mix-ups (?)
2. If in case political representation is subdued in a certain region, then focus on uplifting that
region's socio-economic or security issues could be enhanced so population dissemination
normalizes over time.


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3. Altering the voting system, post a successful census, could also be looked into; if in case
adherents of a certain party have migrated out of a certain region in large numbers mechanisms
to compensate their representation in the province of residence could be carved out.
On the note of accepting realities, a stark disadvantage of postponement of census is the
squeezed time frame on carrying several opportunities for positive political reforms before the
next elections. The process of delimitation in particular stands out as a challenging and time
consuming issue in most countries.
Nonetheless, several of ECPs initiatives in the local body elections 2015 were commended and
the hope remains that public trust enshrined in the institution would be upheld in the near future.
Because if the above challenges are not diligently worked out keeping in view Pakistan's multi-
party-multi-ethnic environment it could dent political trajectory and enhance polarisation.

NFC award and National Budget

With the current fiscal year nearing its end and working on the upcoming one initiated, two core
issues appear to have resurfaced, especially with a new population census on the way:
The federal government aspiring to reduce the size of the divisible pool and the provinces
aspiring for a larger share. This has stirred concerns regarding lack of adequate provincial
autonomy in matters of taxation, overpowering role of the federal government in development
related matters and the demands to forsake a percentage of population as the major criteria in the
NFC award formulation. When speaking of provincial autonomy: the deep link of financial
matters and development projects with security concerns and foreign relations (strict federal
concerns) cannot be overlooked in the present day. Secondly, even legally, provincial autonomy
does not translate into unchecked independence from the centre. Instead the relevant laws call for
closer coordination between centre and provinces in decision making. Multiple mechanisms are
in place for resolutions, which need to be utilized.
As per Article 160; the duration of each NFC award is 5 years. But, the methodology of the 7th
NFC award is still in use.
Some widely accepted changes were implemented under the 7th NFC award which included:
increase in vertical allocation, which is at nearly 57.7% of the divisible pool, various indicators
such as: poverty and backwardness (10.3%), revenue collection/generation (5%) and inverse
population density (2.7%) were considered for horizontal distribution. Population carries 82%
KP was awarded additional 1% from the pool and an increase in grants of approx Rs.83 billion
were offered to Balochistan. Nonetheless, something still remains amiss.
In Pakistan, resource allocation is carried out in four major ways:
1. Vertically—from federal to provincial (% of funds set aside for provinces - revenue generated
from tax collection is a major source of these federal funds)
2. Horizontally - percentage of funds allocated to each province.
3. Funds are further distributed internally amongst the various tiers of local governments under
the Provincial Financial commission awards.
4. The federal government often offers loans or grants to various provinces.
Presently, the federal side claims that a strain on funds is a result of security crises whereas
provinces blame lack of access to adequate funds for their depressed development. Moreover, the
densely populated regions, contributing to higher revenue generation are demanding more funds;
and so are the socio-economically backward regions, in order to catch up.


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This could turn into an endless argument, which would cost the nation valuable time. There is a
close relationship between the tax system, total population and economic growth. Therefore, to
start off the tax system itself could undergo some changes.
The details of the census data could be shared with FBR and other tax authorities in order to
better understand the tax dynamics and devise policies accordingly. It remains unclear whether
the new data would be implemented in carving out this year's national budget or in the
formulation of the 9th NFC award. Ideally it should.
Further, other indicators, besides population, could be offered a more balanced weightage during
horizontal budget allocation for the intended purpose of disseminating population across the
country as over-development of a single region could add to increased influx, which is not
sustainable in the long run.
Another issue which has been raised is the exclusion of overseas Pakistani’s from the census.
Firstly, the form does not entirely discount overseas Pakistani’s as the ‘number of family
members residing outside Pakistan for more than 6 months and their gender’ is included in the
form. It does, however, skip details such as name, reasons for migration and so on. Perhaps a
collaboration with DG I&P’s (Ministry of Interior) and NADRA could be carried out for
obtaining more details during the data analysis period.
Such details could be of crucial importance for identifying, expanding and utilising national
revenue sources.
Vision 2025 and UN Sustainable Development Goals Pakistan conceded to the Millennium
Sustainable Development Goals in 2000 with the deadline to implement changes proscribed by
the framework in 2015.
Based on UN’s review of Pakistan, glitches were witnessed in terms of improving health and
education as per the standards.
In 2016, Pakistan ratified the new framework of the Sustainable Development Goals the deadline
for which is in 2030. In the same timeframe our own Vision 2025 was also released.
The three key indicators used while determining Human Development include:
life expectancy (health), mean years of schooling (literacy), GNI per capita (decent work and
poverty eradication).
The objectives set under Vision 2025 for the purpose of Human
Development include:
1. Increase Primary school enrolment and completion rate to 100% & literacy rate to 90%.
2. Increase Higher Education coverage from 7% to 12 %, and increase the number of PhD's from
7,000 to 15,000.
3. Improve Primary and Secondary Gender Parity Index to 1, and increase female workforce
participation rate from 24% to 45%. Increase proportion of population with access to improved
sanitation from 48% to 90%.
4. Reduce infant mortality rate from 74 to less than 40 (per 1000 births) and reduce maternal
mortality rate from 276 to less than 140 (per 1000 births).
5. Reduce the incidence/prevalence of Hepatitis, Diarrhea, Diabetes and Heart Disease by 50%.
6. Pakistan will be World Champions in 2 sports and win at least 25 medals in the Asian
games. Progress reports on Vision 2025 are unavailable so far.
The UN would also be releasing their first Pakistan-SDG review in 2018. However, a separate
report on Human Development was released in 2015.


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There appears to be a subdued emphasis on a crucial prerequisite i.e a fair and impartial census,
instead, the focus is on procedures Measures to spread awareness regarding the impartiality of
the process described or adopted by PBS should be amplified in order to enhance public
cooperation, which could be hindered by influences of political voices.
However, steps should be taken to improve the overall quality of the census methodology for
future purposes.
Pakistan’s 6th housing and population census would complete its enumeration process across the
168,120 country wide census blocks by end of May 2017. 84,000 civilian enumerators would be
deployed for data collection and 34,000 individuals are staff and supervising members. 200,000
army personnel are also included in the exercise in order to ensure security. Each civilian
enumerator would be accompanied by a soldier.
55 million forms have been printed for data collection. A hefty budget has been assigned for this
Though, manual population census still remains a widely used method globally but there are
alternatives, which incorporate use of technology to attain a headcount, systems applicable to
Pakistan’s dynamics could be designed. This could help in improving fairness and impartiality of
the process.
As for data collection purposes; the main form (2) could use improvement. Most questions,
especially those related to literacy, occupation, languages, religions and marital status offer
limited options and overuse the term ‘etc’ which could lead to an element of generalisation in the
Statements from the PBS suggest that they carry a stronger inclination towards use of random
sampling for collecting detailed data on various socio-economic indicators even though this
extensive exercise could have been used to collect sufficient, relevant data keeping in view
Pakistan’s current challenges.
Nonetheless, post enumeration the sampling techniques would also require a re-working as
complete and accurate population frame is essential for purposes of random sampling.
Despite certain flaws in the current census methodology, especially in regards to obtaining
‘details’it cannot be discarded as a defective exercise. If conducted with impartiality and
fairness, it provides crucial insight on total population within the territorial limits of Pakistan,
and reflects population densities across the country. Clarity in these two core areas would serve
as strong building blocks for further research purposes and provide ample opportunities to carve
out fair political-economic and social reforms.
However, post-results little attention should be paid to engaging in arguments directed by
political contentions and fact-based changes, which benefit the people of Pakistan should be the
immediate focus.


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Population Census 2017: what next

According to provisional report of 2017 population census, presented to Council of Common

Interests (CCI) on Friday, Pakistan’s current population stands at more than 207 million. This
means that a staggering 75 million people were added to national population since the last
census conducted in 1998. The economic Survey of Pakistan published in June this year had
estimated the country’s population at 199 million which shows the increase has been more than
earlier estimates.

The population growth rate which was 2.69 percent in 1981-1998 has slightly decreased to
2.40 percent between 1998-2017. This is still extremely high compared to other countries in
South Asia and among developing economies.

Regionally, the growth rate has been more than the last census period in KP and Balochistan
while it has dropped in Sindh and Punjab. Some of the 3.37 percent growth in population of
Balochistan may be because of the inability of census teams to visit remote districts in 1998
but overall the growth in both the provinces show that better health and hygiene facilities have
resulted in the decrease in mortality rate.

One hopes that present growth rates are closer to 1.86 percent estimated by the Economic
Survey of Pakistan. Even in Sindh and Punjab the population growth is higher than other
countries in the region. Population control needs to have more efficacy to keep the population
growth at a manageable and sustainable number.

The provisional figures show slight changes in the provincial share of the country’s population
which will have an impact on the distribution of seats in the National Assembly as well as in the
provincial share in Federal receipts. Punjab is still home to the majority of Pakistanis but its
share in population has decreased by 2.6 percentage points to less than 53 percent.
Correspondingly, the population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan has increased by one
percentage point each. There was a slight increase in the total population of Islamabad and
Federally Administered Tribal Areas too. Sindh’s total population remained almost the same.

Within the province, distribution of population has been a contentious and sensitive issue
in Sindh and Balochistan.

In Sindh, the urban rural ratio is important because the urban centers of Karachi, Hyderabad
and Sukkur are associated with Urdu speaking people while rural areas are associated with
Sindhi speaking population.

Although the overall urbanization in Sindh has increased, and the majority of its population,
24.9 million out of 47 million, live in urban areas, the increase in population of Karachi and
Hyderabad has been slower than presumed and far less than Lahore and other major cities of the
country. It appears that the distribution of National and Sindh Assembly seats among Karachi
and the rest of the province will not be subject to much change.

Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi retained their position as the most populous cities in


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that order. However, Gujranwala and Peshawar with higher population growth have displaced
Hyderabad and Multan from fifth and sixth position respectively. These figures may not truly
reflect the population in cities as the suburbs developed in the outskirts of most of the cities
in recent years but are still counted as rural areas.

The Census will have effect on distribution of seats in the National Assembly and distribution
of federal revenue from taxes among provinces

The census will have an effect on distribution of seats in the National Assembly and
distribution of federal revenue from taxes among provinces. Distribution of seats among
provinces needs constitutional amendment.

Under article 51(5) of the constitution “seats in the National Assembly are to be allocated to
each province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Federal Capital Territory in accordance
with the last preceding census officially published”.

As per the provisional results, the number of seats allocated to provinces and federal territories
given in article 51 of the constitution will have to be redistributed. KP and Balochistan will
get more seats than those in Punjab.

It has put the government in a tricky situation. CCI has decided that census figures will be
published only after being debated in the Inter-Provincial Coordination committee and approved
by the Federal cabinet. This may take several months. On the other hand Election Commission
has said it would be able to create allocations according to the new census if the census results
are available by October this year.

Irrespective of redistribution of seats among provinces there are a lot of demographic changes
within provinces too. The same would have to be reflected in fresh delimitation of
constituencies of the national Assembly as well as in the respective provincial Assembly.
Presently, the average National Assembly constituency represents about five hundred thousand
people. That average will go beyond seven hundred and fifty thousand if the seats in the
National Assembly remain the same.

While the constitution entails that seats are to be distributed in accordance with the last
published census, there is no time period mentioned. This may create legal issues close to
elections if the seats are not redistributed in accordance with the new census or some other
constitutional remedy is not found. The political leadership will have to do the needful as early
as possible to avoid any attempt to derail or postpone elections on these grounds.


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About the Census 2017

A Controversial Count?

The Results

The 6th census, after all the hues and cries, has finally reached a conclusion with the Pakistan
Bureau of Statistics (PSB) declaring the results of the country-wide population count and details.
The results reveal an increase of 57% in the total population (excluding Azad Kashmir, and
Gilgit-Baltistan) of the country in the last 19 years, and the total population at present stands at
207,774,520 as compared to 132,362,279 back in 1998. Of all the states, the Federal capital
territory, Islamabad, recorded the highest population annual growth rate of 4.91%, while the
other provinces stand at a maximum of 2%. While Punjab and Sindh have witnessed a decline in
their population growth rates, Punjab still remains host to the largest population of 110 million,
with Sindh following on the second spot with a population of 48 million. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
(KP) and Baluchistan, although lag behind in numbers, have registered an increase in their
respective population growth rates.

The census results also revealed an astonishing increase in male gender population, which now
stands at 106.449 million, outnumbering the previously leading female gender now recording a
population of 101.314 million. The males in our society constitute 51% of the total population,
while women are 48.6% of the latter. 0.24% of the population was identified as transgender.

The trend of urbanisation has taken an inverted growth trajectory, and has increased from
32.52% in 1998 to 36.38% in 2017. Sindh province is the most urbanised among all the
provinces in Pakistan as per the results with 52.02% of its population based in urban areas.
Approximately 33% of Sindh’s total population lives in Karachi and Hyderabad alone. Karachi,
yet again, tops the list of most populous cities of Pakistan with a population of 14.9 million,
recording an increase of 59% in the last 19 years. Contrary to Sindh, and Karachi, the Islamabad
capital territory recorded an acute decline in urbanisation with the population in urban areas
dropping down to 50.58% as opposed to 65.72% in 1998.

The release of a further detailed breakup of population and its growth trend by the Bureau of
Statistics in near future will enable us to gain a thorough insight into the overall Human Capital
Index (HCI) of the country with an analysis of primarily imperative indicators such as literacy
rate, health and infant mortality, the per capita income, and others.

The Controversies

The census, prior to being conducted, remained a victim of political criticism, and controversies
were hurled from all ends. Lack of availability of required finances along with military support
in terms of human resource allocation for ensuring security during the process also lead to a
delay in the conduction of this major activity.


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After almost two decades, 19 years to be precise, now that the census has been carried out, the
results seem to have raised many eye brows, as expected, and seem to have given birth to many
new questions instead of answering the existing concerns appropriately.

An increase in male population as compared to that of females, increase in Islamabad capital

territory’s population growth rate but declining urbanisation there, Sindh being the most
urbanised province, Pakistan’s population ballooning up by 57% although two of its most
populous provinces, Punjab and Sindh, have witnessed a decline in their growth rates, and many
more are the questions that have made the declared results of the census controversial, and
require detailed and logical explanation by the PSB (Pakistan Bureau of Statistics).

Although, on one side, the population census is essential to determine the future policy path to be
taken by the country in terms of social, economic, and developmental arenas, it is a key element,
on the other hand, that determines the political future of the country as well as the political
parties, as it jots down the exact population of the country, explains the demographic shift from
rural to urban parts of the country as well as inter-province movement which can prove to be
game changers in the general elections, since seats allocated in the National Assembly will be
devised by the new demographics. The new population figure would also change the
employment quota allocated to provinces in government jobs. And last but not the least, the
allocation of financial resources to provinces would also be affected, not to forget that the
National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, already, has always remained a major cause of
discord between the provinces. Hence all this political wrangling over the census.

Political parties, other than the one forming the government, have already expressed their
reservations over the results generated by the census. MQM has categorically rejected the results
disclosed, and has announced to protest in upcoming days. PPP senator, Saeed Ghani, was
surprised with the declaration of Sindh as being the most urbanised province, as Punjab is
believed to be the host of most urbanised population.

Census and Its Consequences

It is important to quote figures, but it is imperative to quote the right figures, else the entire
activity will be in vain. Accurate tabulation of census results is essential to gain both political
and provincial acceptance of the census. A census quoting wrong numbers can mislead the
country in devising inappropriate socio-economic and developmental policies, change the
political infrastructure via wrong allocation of seats to National Assembly, disturb the allocation
of financial resources and jobs to the provinces, and many more.

The 6th census was due to be held in 2008, however, due to reasons, necessary or unnecessary,
was forced into delay. Now with the census carried out, and its results shared, we have at our
disposal a better understanding of our demographics, if and certainly not perfect. With this first
step taken, it must now be ensured that the data provided is accurate, and results are tabulated
error-free, in order to set the future policy directions right for Pakistan.


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5. Trump and Globalization

Donald Trump and the future of globalization

The election of Donald Trump demands a reevaluation of the future of globalization and our
earlier optimism that the open global economic order will endure. It is time to consider the
possibility that a single politician could reverse decades of global trends.

We published a short paper a month ago assessing the claim that globalization was on the verge
of a retreat. Our conclusion was relatively sanguine. Based on an assessment of the movement of
goods, money, and people across international borders, we found little evidence that
globalization is already receding—see Figure 1. We also showed that the global economy is
more integrated today than during the peak of the early 20th century, which we interpreted as a
repudiation of the claim that globalization had reached unsustainable levels; we are skeptical that
such levels exist in a literal sense. Looking to the future, we speculated that the years
immediately ahead will be characterized either by stabilization in the level of globalization, or
further integration but occurring at a more modest pace than in the past.

It is worth emphasizing that a resistance to globalization was arguably the foremost policy theme
in Trump’s election campaign. In the speech announcing his presidential bid, Trump railed
against the United States’ existing trade agreements, threatened to slap taxes on U.S. companies
investing overseas, and pledged to build a wall to keep out migrants, whom he accused of being
rapists. Trump’s plan for his first 100 days in office reaffirms the centrality of this theme, with a
commitment to renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA, abandon support for the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP), label China a currency manipulator, establish tariffs to discourage companies
from off-shoring production and jobs, expel more than two million migrants, suspend
immigration from terror-prone regions, and build the wall.

Let’s assume President-elect Trump succeeds in implementing this agenda. We see its effects on
globalization playing out at three levels.

The first is the direct effect of the U.S. turning inward. The U.S. is the world’s largest economy,
measured in market dollars, and its third most populated. A partial withdrawal from the global
economy by the U.S. is therefore likely to register in measures of globalized stocks and flows,
simply by virtue of the country’s size.

Indeed, America holds the largest share of global trade, foreign capital stocks, and migrants. Yet,
relative to its size, America is not as globally integrated as many other countries. It is those areas
where the U.S. is most globally intertwined, as measured by the vertical axes of Figure 2, that the
direct impact of a Trump presidency on globalization could theoretically be greatest.


Authors’ calculations based on Lane and Milesi-Ferretti 2014, U.N. 2015a, and World Bank
2016. Capital stock assets include estimates of external debt, foreign direct investment (FDI),


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and portfolio equity stocks. Full description of sources and methodology are available in this

For instance, despite the prominence of trade during the election campaign, the U.S. is a
relatively closed economy. It accounts for only 11 percent of global trade volumes—far below its
24 percent share of global GDP. That said, this likely understates the country’s footprint in
global trade given that the U.S. imports many final goods whose production occurs along
international supply chains. By contrast, the U.S. plays a fuller role in global capital markets.
Within those markets, the area that may be most directly vulnerable to Trump’s policies is
outward foreign direct investment (FDI). The U.S. lays claim to 18 percent of global FDI assets.
However, the U.S. is most globalized, relative to other countries, in terms of its openness
towards migrants. The country is home to 19 percent of the world’s migrant stock, while
accounting for only 4 percent of the world’s population. In fact, the U.S. is the top destination for
migrants from 60 countries. The expulsion of large numbers of migrants and greater restrictions
on the number of future entrants would directly alter this aspect of the global economy.

While the direct effects of the U.S. turning inward on global economic integration are important,
they are still likely to be relatively small in terms of the three series presented in Figure 1. Much
larger effects are possible in terms of the impact Trump’s policies could have by changing the
behavior of other countries. This is the second level at which we see Trump’s effect on
globalization unfolding.

We may see countries retaliate against U.S. protectionist policies. This is the basis for concerns
that Trump could precipitate a trade war.
We may see countries retaliate against U.S. protectionist policies. This is the basis for concerns
that Trump could precipitate a trade war. The threat has already been made explicit by the state-
sponsored Chinese tabloid, Global Times, which proposed that China respond to aggressive trade
policies by cancelling contracts with U.S. suppliers, imposing tariffs on U.S. imports, and
limiting the number of Chinese students studying in American universities, and by French
presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy who has suggested that the Europe Union impose a tax on
U.S. products and limit the participation of foreign companies in EU public contracts if Trump
withdraws from the Paris climate accord.

Countries and their leaders may instead imitate Trump’s policy agenda, whether in pursuit of
similar electoral success or on the basis that his election gives his anti-globalization agenda
legitimacy. In the past week, politicians from Italy, Hungary, Greece, and elsewhere have
invoked Trump’s victory as justification for policies that reverse the pattern of globalization.

Alternatively, countries may repudiate global norms and institutions that underpin the globalized
economy, if they feel that the U.S. is no longer committed to upholding the liberal economic
order. This reflects the widely held belief that the stability of the existing economic order hinges
on the example set by the U.S., as the longstanding global economic hegemon. Such an outcome
foreshadows chaos, but with the era of U.S. global economic pre-eminence coming to a close,
those norms and institutions, from World Trade Organization membership and rules, to the
various U.N. conventions concerning the treatment of migrants and refugees, were always likely
to be tested soon. Trump’s election may usher a more rushed transition as emerging markets that


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have benefited most from the open global economy come to its defense. There is already some
evidence of this kind of realignment, as members of the TPP seek to patch together the deal
without the U.S., and China makes the case for its alternative regional trade deals.

The third and final way in which we interpret the effect of Trump’s election on the future of
globalization is the injection of a huge amount of uncertainty.

The breaking of globalization’s first wave a century ago is proof that the forces of global
economic integration are neither irresistible nor irreversible.
The breaking of globalization’s first wave a century ago is proof that the forces of global
economic integration are neither irresistible nor irreversible. Trump’s ascent to the White House
adds to the evidence, representing the biggest shift in the U.S.’s orientation vis-à-vis the global
economic system in the post-war period. This policy discontinuity is a source of uncertainty in
and of itself. We have assumed that Trump will deliver on his anti-globalization agenda, yet for
now it remains unclear whether he will pursue it in full and what constraints to its
implementation will arise. Perhaps the most important risk concerns how he will respond to
unanticipated events over the period of his presidency, through the prism of his anti-globalist
perspective. This uncertainty alters the way we view the direct and indirect effects of Trump’s
policies described earlier by reducing our confidence in them and expanding the range of
possible outcomes.

Taking these considerations together, our view on globalization’s future has indeed changed. We
are much less assured that the open global economic order will endure.


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Trump versus Globalization

For the first time since 1930, trade became a high-profile issue in the U.S. elections in 2016 as
the postwar consensus around the liberal order of global economic cooperation and openness
seemed to unravel. Three underlying reasons can be identified: anemic growth in median
household income since the turn of the century; continued loss of jobs in the manufacturing
sector; and evident prosperity of the top 1 percent income bracket and Wall Street. It became all
too easy to wrap these grievances into a “blame the foreigner” anti-globalization message, even
though the sources of malaise were at home, not abroad. Automation and artificial intelligence
have displaced far more jobs than imports, and the absence of a meaningful social safety net and
adequate retraining programs have been features of American public policy for decades.

Rather than address the basic causes of the economic problems, Republican presidential
candidate Donald Trump advocated policies that would reverse years of trade liberalization and
overturn the U.S.-led rules-based system. He threatened to unilaterally impose high tariffs on
imports from major U.S. trading partners (China and Mexico), renegotiate or terminate the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),
and even pull out of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. trade deficit, some $500
billion in 2016, along with alleged “unfair trade practices” of U.S. trading partners, were blamed
for stunting the U.S. manufacturing sector and causing lost jobs and lower wages. Trump
denounced U.S. companies like Ford, Nabisco, and Carrier for investing and producing overseas,
and threatened to penalize offshoring decisions. His indictments made no economic sense but
they contributed to Trump’s victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the November
presidential election.

In her campaign, Clinton also criticized NAFTA and the TPP, but with less strident rhetoric than
Trump. As First Lady in 1993, Clinton had been privately skeptical of NAFTA, which was
ratified under her husband President Bill Clinton. Subsequently, in her 2008 campaign for the
Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton promised to overhaul the agreement, as did her
rival, then-Senator Barack Obama. Senator Bernie Sanders, in competition with Clinton for the
Democratic nomination in 2016, demonized NAFTA and the TPP, linking trade pacts to
corporate greed, the top 1 percent, and Wall Street.

As a consequence of the common political front in the presidential campaign against trade pacts,
U.S. trade policy is now constrained by bipartisan sentiment: in Congress, as many Democrats as
Republicans oppose fresh liberalization and new international rules. These were popular themes
in the 2016 campaign, good for stump speeches and rounding up votes. Anti-globalization
sentiment will not disappear anytime soon.

This is unfortunate. Globalization and the expansion of international trade and investment have
delivered enormous benefits to the U.S. economy. The expansion of global trade has been
spurred by eight rounds of multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the WTO, and new regional pacts, such as the
European Union, NAFTA, and other trade agreements that further deepened trade and


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investment liberalization. Meanwhile, technological advances in transportation and

communications slashed economic distance between countries.

As a result, in the United States, trade as a share of GDP has more than tripled since 1960.
Analysis shows that the U.S. economy is $2.1 trillion larger today (about 11 percent of gross
domestic product) owing to globalization since World War II. Equally important, the huge
payoff to any nation from participating in global commerce explains why so many countries have
switched from command-and-control systems to market economy systems with freer trade. At
the same time, the post-World War II period has been a golden era for U.S. leadership, with great
success in promoting liberal economic policies and democratic politics. These achievements are
now at risk, given President Trump’s agenda.

A serious problem is that along with increased economic openness, U.S. policy did not combine
trade liberalization with a strong social safety net for workers who lose out, mostly from
technology but also from globalization. Displaced workers have a hard time criticizing robots or
automatic teller machines, but they can denounce imports from China or Mexico. Like its
predecessors, the Trump administration shows little support for policies that might relieve the
underlying economic anxiety of American workers and enable them to cope with change. One
such policy would be “wage insurance” for workers who are displaced from their jobs through
no personal fault, and subsequently accept a lower paid job. Wage insurance would compensate
these workers, through public funds, for part of their lost wages for a defined period, say three
years. But instead of constructive solutions, the Trump administration blames trade for a vastly
disproportionate share of workplace woes.

The president has broad executive authority to impose barriers to imports and exports, along with
international investment and financial flows. But, as research by the Peterson Institute for
International Economics suggests, major trade restrictions would inevitably prompt foreign
retaliation and significantly damage U.S. firms, costing millions of American workers their jobs.
Drastic trade actions would disproportionately affect core Trump constituencies, namely blue
collar workers and farming communities. Such actions would also risk confrontation with
Congress, just as Trump seeks to build consensus for major domestic reforms related to
corporate taxes, infrastructure, and healthcare. Congressional misgivings could serve as a check
on major trade restrictions, at least in the near term. On the other hand, in the medium term,
fiscal stimulus combined with tax cuts and a stronger dollar would contribute to larger trade
deficits, increasing protectionist pressures—as happened during the Ronald Reagan
administration (1981–89).

Since his election, Trump’s tone has moderated and actions have been less drastic than campaign
threats. During his first hundred days in office, Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP,
as he had promised, and he took the first steps toward launching a renegotiation of NAFTA. He
signed several executive orders to bolster trade enforcement and initiated new investigations into
U.S. imports of steel and aluminum products, hinting at similar investigations of copper and
solar panels. Trump announced a 100-Day Action Plan with Chinese President Xi Jinping,
committing Beijing to resolve certain trade disputes and facilitate greater U.S. exports. But
Trump pulled back from his campaign rhetoric that denounced China as a “currency


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manipulator.” Most of these initiatives will not have an immediate impact on trade but could set
the stage for changes during the next five years.

The Trump administration released its trade agenda in March 2017, based on the overarching
goal of expanding “trade in a way that is freer and fairer for all Americans.” As operational
guidelines, Trump seeks to reduce bilateral trade deficits (preferably by expanding U.S. exports
but if necessary by contracting imports) and ensure that foreign barriers on specific U.S. exports
are no higher than U.S. barriers on imports of the same products (“mirror-image reciprocity”).

Trump is particularly alarmed by U.S. bilateral trade deficits with five named countries (China,
Mexico, Germany, Japan, and South Korea). However, in a world of multilateral trade flows,
bilateral trade deficits do not illuminate win-win opportunities for trade liberalization. At best,
they couple potential leverage with an implicit threat: “I’ll buy less from you unless you buy
more from me.” Trump’s predilection for mirror-image reciprocity can only work, if at all, as a
two-way proposition: the United States must be prepared to reduce its barriers on products that
are out of line with its partners’ barriers. At a conceptual level, Trump’s operational guidelines
do not provide a promising framework for trade negotiations.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration has announced four priorities to ensure a level playing
field for U.S. companies and workers: defend U.S. national sovereignty; strictly enforce U.S.
trade laws; use leverage to encourage other countries to open their markets to U.S. exports and
enforce U.S. intellectual property rights; and negotiate new and better trade deals. To advance
these priorities, Trump’s first one hundred days in office were marked by early actions on trade
negotiations, executive orders, and “self-initiated” investigations into U.S. imports of dumped or
subsidized products.

Trump Trade Negotiations

Trump pledged to reject multilateral trade deals and negotiate new bilateral deals “to promote
American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.” Consistent with
campaign promises, on January 23, 2017—his fourth day in office—Trump instructed the U.S.
Trade Representative to withdraw the United States from the TPP, which was signed in February
2016 by the Obama administration after five years of negotiations, but not ratified by the U.S.
Congress. The TPP mega-regional trade deal was negotiated between the United States and
eleven countries in the Asia-Pacific, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico,
Vietnam, and others, which collectively account for more than one-third of global economic
output. The TPP was lauded as the most comprehensive regional trade deal negotiated between
developed and developing countries as it not only eliminates a broad array of barriers to trade
and investment but also establishes new trade rules in innovative areas like digital trade and e-
commerce, state-owned enterprises, and labor standards. Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP
means foregoing economic benefits: the other eleven TPP partners promised substantial
reductions in their barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services, and econometric estimates
suggest that U.S. real income in 2025 would have been $131 billion higher per year, or 0.5
percent of GDP, owing to plurilateral liberalization.

Moreover, U.S. withdrawal from the TPP has undermined American credibility as a negotiating


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partner, and ceded to China and Japan erstwhile U.S. leadership in the dynamic Asia region just
as initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, One Belt One Road Initiative,
and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) move forward without U.S.
participation. China is already a major trade and investment partner of countries in Asia and
worldwide, and TPP countries are moving forward to deepen ties; Canada and Mexico are
seeking to open talks with China while Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia are seeking
to expand existing deals, and seven of the original TPP-12 are participating in the RCEP talks.
The other eleven TPP partners are exploring ratification of the pact among themselves, without
the United States; if this happens, U.S. firms and workers will lose out on fresh opportunities and
face new discrimination since tariffs and rules for trade between the eleven would be more
favorable than those for trade with the United States.

Trump’s draft executive order in late April to terminate NAFTA entirely was quickly rescinded
after he talked with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
of Canada. NAFTA was a contentious agreement from its inception, during the administration of
President George H.W. Bush. In 1993, Bill Clinton had to twist the arms of his fellow Democrats
to secure ratification by the House of Representatives, in a close 234–200 vote. The primary goal
of NAFTA was to spur two-way trade between the United States and Mexico by eliminating
tariffs, since the earlier Canada–U.S. free trade agreement had already eliminated most tariffs on
America’s northern border. A secondary but related goal was to foster direct investment in
Mexico. NAFTA succeeded on both counts: two-way goods trade between the United States and
Mexico expanded from about $80 billion in 1993 to $240 billion ten years later. The stock of
direct investment in Mexico—mainly by U.S. firms—leaped from $41 billion in 1993 to $163
billion in 2003. But U.S. opponents of NAFTA continued to blame the pact for creating job
losses and depressed wages, even though the adverse effects were modest.

Candidate Trump promised to renegotiate NAFTA, which he called a “disaster” for perpetuating
a bilateral trade deficit with Mexico and weakening the U.S. manufacturing sector. As president,
he has also criticized specific Canadian trade practices, notably in the lumber and dairy
industries. Serious economic analysis rejects the claim that NAFTA is responsible for the U.S.
trade deficit with Mexico: there is simply no association between bilateral trade deficits and free
trade agreements. More fundamentally, a bilateral trade deficit is no proof of economic
disadvantage. Households incur bilateral deficits with their grocery stores, and bilateral surpluses
with their employers, but these imbalances do not signal economic losses or gains. The same is
true of trade imbalances between nations. The claim that NAFTA has weakened the U.S.
manufacturing sector ignores the overwhelming impact of automation and information
technology on manufacturing jobs, even though U.S. manufacturing output reaches new heights
every decade. Trump is on stronger ground when he points to specific trade practices—for
example, Canadian subsidies to its softwood lumber firms and dairy farmers—but in this
traditional realm of trade policy he also needs to acknowledge longstanding U.S. trade barriers,
for example restrictions on government procurement and coastal shipping.

Canada and Mexico strongly disagree with Trump’s negative characterization of NAFTA, but all
three countries have concurred that the agreement can and should be modernized. Under U.S.
law (the Trade Promotion Authority of 2015), the president must give ninety days notice to
Congress before NAFTA talks can begin. A draft notice of U.S. negotiating objectives was


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circulated to Congress in March 2017, signaling priorities in the new negotiation. After Robert
Lighthizer was confirmed as the new U.S. Trade Representative on May 11, he delivered the
formal notice to Congress.

Most of Trump’s objectives for the new NAFTA talks are consistent with past practice. But a
few goals expressed at times by Trump officials could derail the trade talks, foreshadowing a
possible withdrawal from NAFTA by the United States. In particular, potential breaking points
include strong demands on Mexico to eliminate its trade surplus with the United States, highly
restrictive rules of origin in the automotive sector (no imports of parts from Thailand, China,
Japan, or Korea), denial of access to government procurement contracts in favor of Buy America
requirements, and “level the playing field” in tax treatment, a reference to Canadian and Mexican
border tax adjustments for their goods and services tax and value added taxes, respectively.

Termination of NAFTA would entail a major setback in U.S. relations with its southern and
northern neighbors, and would probably undermine cooperation on drug trafficking, illegal
immigration from Central America, transit through the Arctic Ocean, and other issues. The
economic dislocation from the termination of NAFTA would likely embitter an entire generation
of Mexicans and Canadians.

On the other hand, modernization of NAFTA is a very different proposition, with potential
benefits to all three countries. In updating NAFTA, the three trade negotiators can profitably
draw from TPP chapters that addressed a range of new issues that were out of sight when
NAFTA was ratified in 1993: digital commerce; state-owned enterprises; currency manipulation
(a theoretical problem in North America, but a real problem elsewhere); defects in the investor–
state dispute settlement framework; liberalization of Canadian agricultural barriers and U.S.
cabotage rules; and stronger enforcement of labor and environmental standards.

A renegotiated NAFTA could in turn set the framework for engagement with other trading
partners. Trump officials have suggested a revised U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS),
and new bilateral trade deals with Japan and even the United Kingdom. But these face major
hurdles, namely Korea’s reticence to alter the terms of KORUS, Japan’s strong preference for the
TPP rather than a Japan–U.S. bilateral trade agreement, and the UK’s pending Brexit
negotiations with the European Union. More broadly, a bilateral approach to trade talks,
premised on significant U.S. demands for concessions from trading partners without reciprocal
concessions by the United States, seems unlikely to succeed.

Trump Executive Orders

On his own initiative, without asking for congressional assent or negotiating with foreign
countries, Trump can issue executive orders that shape the direction of trade policy and, if he so
decides, restrict U.S. imports or exports. Although he has ample statutory authority, Trump so far
has not limited U.S. trade. But he has issued several executive orders that direct new reports,
assessments, and policy proposals by the U.S. Trade Representative, Commerce Department,
Customs and Border Patrol, and others, throughout much of 2017, with a view to tightening trade
enforcement. A summary of major actions and their motivations:


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Presidential Executive Order Regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits
(March 31, 2017). The order directs the Commerce Department to “assess the major causes of
the trade deficit,” focusing on “unfair and discriminatory practices” of U.S. trading partners. But
bilateral trade deficits make little economic sense as a guide to trade policy in the twenty-first
century. Because the United States persistently spends more than it produces, it must borrow or
attract investment from abroad, reflecting a low savings rate. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
claims that underlying the deficit is the fact that the “U.S. has the lowest tariff rates and the
lowest non-tariff barriers of any developed country in the world.” However, as economist Joseph
Gagnon has demonstrated, trade policy, reflected in tariffs and free trade agreements, has little
impact on the overall trade balance. Rather, fiscal policy and currency intervention are far more
important determinants. Economist Caroline Freund concludes: “The aggregate U.S. trade deficit
may be of concern, but it should be considered in the context of macroeconomic not trade
policy.” That said, the Omnibus Report will probably serve as the “wish list” for U.S. demands
in forthcoming trade negotiations.

Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American (April 18, 2017). The order
directs U.S. agencies to “scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply with Buy American laws”
including use of domestically produced iron, steel, and manufactured goods in public projects,
and to minimize waivers and exceptions. The U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce
Department are directed to evaluate whether U.S. free trade agreements and WTO commitments
weaken or circumvent “Buy American” laws. The other half of the order relates to “Hire
American” and mandates stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and visa programs.
While politically popular, “Buy American” can be economically costly, and the United States
itself has long criticized the promotion of domestic content and other discriminatory “buy-local”
policies by other countries.

Presidential Executive Order Addressing Trade Agreement Violations and Abuses (April 29,
2017). This order was motivated by the alleged failure of U.S. trade and investment agreements
to “enhance our economic growth, contribute favorably to our balance of trade, and strengthen
the American manufacturing base.” Within 180 days, an interagency effort led by the U.S. Trade
Representative and the Commerce Department will conduct “performance reviews” of all
bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements—including trade relations with
countries in the WTO with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement and also runs a
trade deficit. The United States already issues several reports of this nature, most prominently the
annual, five-hundred-page National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, which
highlights problems facing U.S. exports, foreign direct investment, and intellectual property
rights. The new executive order could lead to demands for modifying WTO rules. Secretary Ross
has claimed that “there has never been a systematic evaluation of what has been the impact of the
WTO agreements on the country as an integrated whole.” As a presidential candidate, Trump
questioned the value of participation in the WTO, threatening to withdraw the United States from

Presidential Executive Order on Establishment of Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy

(April 29, 2017). The order establishes a new office to be run by economist Peter Navarro, which
will advise the president “on policies to increase economic growth, decrease the trade deficit, and
strengthen the United States manufacturing and defense industrial bases” and serve as a liaison


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between the White House and the Commerce Department. The new office is directed to
implement “Buy American” and “Hire American” policies in particular. It’s not clear how
influential the new office will be in shaping U.S. trade policy.

Presidential Executive Order Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of

Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws (March 31,
2017). The order is intended to rectify some $2.3 billion in uncollected antidumping and
countervailing duties. This happens because the final AD/CVD duty assessed by Commerce can
be higher than its initial estimate, leaving a balance due years later. Meanwhile, some importing
companies have since gone out of business or were dissolved to avoid paying additional duties.
The executive order requires the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the
departments of Treasury and Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative, to implement a plan
to impose bonding requirements that better cover antidumping and countervailing duty liability
for importers at higher risk of noncompliance. It also orders a new strategy to narrow violations
of U.S. trade and customs laws.

More broadly, action against U.S. imports of goods dumped at unfairly low prices or subsidized
by foreign governments—such as the recent imposition of preliminary countervailing duties
against Canadian softwood lumber—is a Trump priority. The United States is already a major
user of antidumping and countervailing duties, with nearly four hundred active orders in place.
But the administration has pledged to ramp up “self-initiating trade cases, which speeds up the
process of taking corrective action while allowing the Commerce Department to shield American
businesses from retaliation.”

In the case of steel and aluminum, the Trump administration is invoking a far-reaching, and less
commonly used, statute. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 permits an
investigation by the Commerce Department regarding whether imports “threaten to impair” U.S.
national security. The administration announced investigations for steel and aluminum as
“critical elements of our manufacturing and defense industrial bases,” with instructions to
Commerce to expedite the study. The national security exception, rarely used, faces little or no
WTO scrutiny (owing to GATT Article XXI) and is thus hard to challenge. As economist Chad
Bown cautions, “New import restrictions arising under that area of U.S. law really are akin to the
‘nuclear option’—their use really puts the entire system of international trade law at risk.”

U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan (April 7, 2017). China is the single largest source of the U.S.
trade deficit owing to its strong comparative advantage in a broad range of manufactured goods.
China’s bilateral trade surplus was more than $300 billion in 2016, accounting for more than half
of the U.S. global trade deficit of about $500 billion. This surplus, concentrated in sectors like
computer hardware, cellphones, apparel and footwear, and steel coupled with China’s reluctance
to open its markets to U.S. agriculture and service exports, have made China a pointed target of
U.S. trade disputes over the past decade. In the 2016 presidential campaign, China thus became
the object of severe criticism. Strident views were voiced by Ross and Navarro, who accused
China of stealing intellectual property, dumping goods in the U.S. market, manipulating its
currency, and unfairly restricting imports from the United States.

A comprehensive U.S.–China trade deal may be a distant reality, but managing bilateral frictions


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and improving the economic relationship remains crucial. The 100-Day Action Plan pledged to
work toward “rebalancing trade.” On May 12, both sides issued a progress report on the U.S.–
Chinese agreement highlighting, among other things, Chinese commitments to import U.S. beef,
increase market access for U.S. credit rating and credit card services, and accelerate “science-
based evaluations” of pending U.S. applications to export biotech products (such as genetically
modified organisms). The agreement aims to resolve specific trade disputes to a limited extent;
more importantly it signals the intent to work together to “avert a trade war.”

Lost Opportunities?
The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with Foreign Nations,
and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.” However, thanks to successive statutes
stretching back a full century, prior congresses have given presidents ample power to restrict
both trade and financial flows. To be sure, Congress is parsimonious when it comes to
liberalizing trade. Liberalization requires a specific time-limited delegation of power, enabling
the president to negotiate trade agreements (such as the Trade Promotion Authority of 2015), and
the president’s handiwork must then be endorsed by congressional ratification of implementing
legislation. But a president who wants to restrict trade enjoys almost carte blanche authority.

Just because Trump possesses the legal power to carry out his campaign declarations does not
mean that a trade war is around the corner. Equally important are congressional considerations.
Trump’s legislative priorities include repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, enacting corporate tax reform, and launching a massive
infrastructure program. Such landmark measures can only be passed using the budget
reconciliation process for the 2017 and 2018 budgets, thereby requiring just fifty-one Senate
votes, not the sixty needed to overcome a filibuster by naysaying Democrats. Why would Trump
muddy his priority agenda by starting a trade war, thereby infringing on congressional
sensibilities, risking a global recession, and possibly losing the votes of traditional Republicans?

Even targeted trade restrictions will attract vigorous court challenges by affected U.S. business
firms and possibly some states. Most of Trump’s actions would likely survive these challenges,
both because he would have the constitutional foreign affairs powers of the presidency on his
side and because he could cite multiple statutes giving him authority.

But foreign countries will not patiently wait for U.S. court proceedings or litigation in the WTO
to vindicate their trading rights. Targeted retaliation is almost certain, and would be carefully
crafted to hurt states, companies, and communities that count themselves as Trump supporters.
For example, in the current softwood lumber dispute, Canada has quietly threatened to restrict
imports of packaging materials from Oregon and not allow transshipment of coal from Wyoming
and Montana. The larger the battlefield of trade conflicts, the greater the opening handed to
China to lead the world trading system. This should not be a welcome outlook for Trump’s
diplomatic and security advisors.

Trump will surely open aggressive NAFTA negotiations with Mexico and Canada, and put
demands on China and South Korea. He has already dumped the TPP, and will likely shelve the


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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. His administration will initiate multiple
antidumping and countervailing duty cases and probably disdain adverse WTO rulings. These
actions bring no joy to free traders. Great opportunities for boosting the world economy and
lifting American living standards will be lost. Globalization—reflected both in escalating trade-
to-GDP ratios (annual trade in goods and services has reached nearly 60 percent of world GDP),
and in the vast growth of foreign direct investment (the FDI stock is now 35 percent of world
GDP)—has been a major driver of global prosperity since World War II. Despite contemporary
discontent, the past seventy years have been the best period of comparable duration in world

Skepticism toward multilateral trade deals combined with more protectionist U.S. trade policy
would stunt fresh policy liberalization at a time when the pace of global trade growth has been
disappointing. Since 2008, the global economy has seen its longest period of relative trade
stagnation due to a combination of sluggish global economic recovery, shorter supply chains, the
lack of new liberalization, and rising micro-protectionism. The WTO projected a slight uptick in
growth in 2017, but cautioned that policy uncertainty, namely the potential for restrictive trade
policies and the uncertain outcome of Brexit talks, could undermine a rebound.

Whether world prosperity flourishes in the next decade is clearly an open question. But if Trump
limits his actions to the measures so far announced, they will not bring the United States to the
brink of a global trade war. At the same time, his policies are sure to diminish America’s
standing as the preeminent global leader and undermine U.S. ability to influence the decisions of
foreign leaders.


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The Real Reasons for Trump’s Anti-Globalization Circus

A key element of Trump’s political success has been his masquerade of being pro-worker, which
includes posturing as anti-globalization.

However, his true economic interest is the exact opposite. That creates conflict between Trump’s
political and economic interests.

For political leaders around the world, understanding the calculus of that conflict is critical for
understanding and predicting Trump’s economic policy, especially his international economic

How Trump succeeded

Trump’s political success was based on a two-sided attack on the establishment. First, he
ratcheted up the existing Republican “illiberal” cultural values agenda into full-blown racist
authoritarian nationalism.

Second, he captured the progressive critique of the neoliberal economy, especially the critique of

Racist nationalism as gateway to the U.S. electorate

Trump’s ratcheting-up of the illiberal cultural values agenda enabled him to displace the
Republican establishment.

His extremism jumped him to the front of the Republican queue, which was critical in
theprimary process as that process engages the most extreme voters.

However, his racist nationalism also has broader political appeal because racism reaches well
beyond the Republican base, while nationalism has bipartisan establishment support.

A very effective con artist

The other side of Trump’s success was his capture of the progressive critique of the neoliberal
economy and corporate-driven globalization.

For four decades, the U.S. economy has short-changed working class voters via wage stagnation
and manufacturing job loss. That has created discontent and disappointed expectations.

Trump exploited that discontent and disappointment by masquerading as a critic of the neoliberal
economy and promising to make the economy work for working class Americans.


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In this regard, his capture of the globalization and deindustrialization debate is particularly

That is because globalization and deindustrialization are the most public face of the U.S.-style
neoliberal economy, being where the impact on wages and jobs has been most visible and

By gaining credible ownership of the globalization critique (via his criticisms of off-shoring,
China, and trade deals like NAFTA and TPP), Trump gained credibility for his claim to be on the
side of working families.

How the Democrats enabled Trump

Establishment Democrats handed Trump the opening to capture the globalization debate by
pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) despite widespread voter opposition. For this,
President Obama deserves special blame.

That capture enabled Trump to create a new twisted narrative about neoliberal globalization
which blames “foreigners and immigrants.” The Trump narrative is that the United States is a
victim, whereas it – via the U.S. government and U.S. corporations — actually is the chief

Scapegoating foreigners — to cover up for the billionaire class

According to Trump’s rhetoric, the U.S. government has supposedly negotiated weak trade
agreements and foreigners have cheated on those agreements. Simultaneously, illegal immigrants
have flooded in and taken U.S. jobs and driven down wages.

The reality is globalization has been “Made in the USA” by corporations, for the benefit of
corporations, working in tandem with the U.S. Congress and successive administrations.

Trump’s new “blame it on ‘foreigners and immigrants'” narrative of globalization complements

and feeds his racist nationalist cultural values agenda. With foreigners and immigrants
supposedly to blame for the economic difficulties of U.S. workers, that provides the rationale for
his xenophobic policies.

In sum, Trump succeeded by outflanking the Republican establishment with his racist nationalist
values agenda, and outflanking the Democratic establishment with his anti-globalization
economic rhetoric.

These two political maneuvres constituted a coherent political strategy that enabled Trump to
connect with reactionary voters while masquerading as being on workers’ side.


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Bait and switch

Trump’s representation as being on the side of workers stands in complete contradiction to his
own interests as a billionaire businessman. His real metric of success is money and wealth.

Any notions of charitable inclination or notions of public service are but cover-up pretensions.
The reality is Trump is engaged in a skillful “bait and switch” befitting a con artist.

The bait was his critique of the economic establishment and globalization and the harm they
have done to working class voters. The switch is he doubles-down on the U.S. brand of
plutocratic neoliberalism.

Manipulating people’s dark emotions

Trump’s racism, nationalism and authoritarianism also prove useful in making the switch. That is
because they further fracture and distract the national political conversation, thereby covering up
his tracks.

His nefarious politics of prejudice also provide an ugly pay-off – a form of odious psychic
income – to part of his electoral base.

Showing his real hand

Given his lack of any history of government service, Trump could initially get away with this
pro-worker masquerade.

However, the realities of Trump’s economic policies have now become clear. All the evidence
suggests he intends to worsen the U.S. economy’s neoliberal proclivity to deliver wage
stagnation and income inequality.

He achieves that by increasing the power of business and finance and by further dividing and
intimidating workers.

Hence Trump’s tax policy aims to cut the tax rate on corporations and wealthy individuals.
Hence, his budget expenditure policy aims to slash social welfare spending and provision of
public services to lower and middle class families.

And hence the fact that all forms of regulation – consumer, labor market, business, financial and
environmental – are now under profound attack.


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Sustaining the con

The one area where the masquerade continues is international economic policy. That is because
Trump is compelled to balance political needs and economic interests.

Among working families, globalization is the most visible and economically understood issue.
That is why Trump’s critique of globalization is front and center of his pro-worker masquerade.
It is his image as a critic of globalization that allows him to pursue his radical corporatization
agenda at home.

Conclusion: anti-globalization circus

Make no mistake about it: Trump’s own economic interests have him identifying with
corporations and capital. The same is true for virtually all members of his cabinet and White
House staff.

They have no interest in the ultimate truth revealing itself – that globalization has been “made in
the USA” for the benefit of large American multi-national corporations which have been big
winners from the process.

Consequently, Trump is inclined to preserve the system, although he is keen to make further
radicalizing changes if that increases corporate profitability.

The implication is one can expect lots of anti-globalization circus to address Trump’s political
needs, but he will not rock the globalization boat.


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The advantages and disadvantages of Globalization?

Benefits / Gains from Globalisation

1. Encourages producers and consumers to benefit from deeper division of labour and economies
of scale

2. Competitive markets reduce monopoly profits and incentivise businesses to seek cost-reducing

3. Enhanced growth has led to higher per capita incomes – and helped many of poorest countries
to achieve faster economic growth and reduce extreme poverty measured as incomes < $1.90 per
day (PPP adjusted)

4. Advantages from the freer movement of labour between countries

5. Gains from the sharing of ideas / skills / technologies across national borders

6. Opening up of capital markets allows developing countries to borrow money to over a

domestic savings gap

7. Increased awareness among consumers of challenges from climate change and wealth/income

8. Competitive pressures of globalisation may prompt improved governance and better labour

Drawbacks / Risks of Globalisation

1. Inequality: Globalisation has been linked to rising inequalities in income and wealth. Evidence
for this is the growing rural–urban divide in countries such as China, India and Brazil. This leads
to political and social tensions and financial instability that will constrain growth. Many of the
world’s poorest people do not have access to basic technologies and public goods. They are
excluded from the benefits.

2. Inflation: Strong demand for food and energy has caused a steep rise in commodity prices.
Food price inflation (known as agflation) has placed millions of the world’s poorest people at
great risk.

3. Vulnerability to external economic shocks – national economies are more connected and
interdependent; this increases the risk of contagion i.e. an external event somewhere else in the
world coming back to affect you has risen / making a country more vulnerable to macro-
economic problems elsewhere

4. Threats to the Global Commons: Irreversible damage to ecosystems, land degradation,


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deforestation, loss of bio-diversity and the fears of a permanent shortage of water afflict millions
of the world’s most vulnerable

5. Race to the bottom – nations desperate to attract inward investment may be tempted to lower
corporate taxes, allow lax health and safety laws and limit basic welfare safety nets with
damaging social consequences

6. Trade Imbalances: Global trade has grown but so too have trade imbalances. Some countries
are running big trade surpluses and these imbalances are creating tensions and pressures to
introduce protectionist policies such as new forms of import control. Many developing countries
fall victim to export dumping by producers in advanced nations (dumping is selling excess
output at a price below the unit cost of supply.)

7. Unemployment: Concern has been expressed by some that capital investment and jobs in
advanced economies will drain away to developing countries as firms switch their production to
countries with lower unit labour costs. This can lead to higher levels of structural unemployment.

8. Standardisation: Some critics of globalisation point to a loss of economic and cultural

diversity as giant firms and global multinational brands dominate domestic markets in many

9. Dominant global brands – globalisation might stifle competition if global businesses with
dominant brands and superior technologies take charge of key markets be it telecommunications,
motor vehicles and so on.


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6. MDGs (Millenium Development Goals ) & SDGs

(Sustainable Development Goals)


International development agenda has been actively led by the United Nations (UN) and its
technical agencies and funds from their inception in the late 1940s. Till 1990s, the approach was
fragmented and disjointed initiated by its specialized agencies or funds at various World
Summits and Conferences to address three dimensions of development — economic, social, and
environmental. The Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) saw
the convergence of development agenda of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); World health organization (WHO); United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO); and other development agencies.(1) Recently adopted Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) reflect further strengthening convergence of the development
agenda. The SDGs also strengthen equity, human rights, and nondiscrimination.

Progress in MDGs and Build Up to SDGs

The MDGs generated new and innovative partnerships, galvanized public opinion, and showed
the immense value of setting ambitious goals. By putting people and their immediate needs at the
forefront, the MDGs reshaped decision-making in the developed and developing countries alike.
It helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against
hunger, to enable more girls than ever before to attend school, and to protect our planet. Yet
inequalities persist and the progress has been uneven. The world's poor remain overwhelmingly
concentrated in some parts of the world. Several women continue to die during pregnancy or
from childbirth-related complications. Progress tends to bypass women and those who are lowest
on the economic ladder or are disadvantaged because of their age, disability, or ethnicity.
Disparities between rural and urban areas remain pronounced.(2)

India has made a substantial improvement in MDGs but the progress is mixed. The under-five
mortality rate (U5MR) has come down from 126 (1990) to estimated 48 not reaching the target
of 42 by 2015. However, the estimated child deaths have come down from 3.36 million (1990) to
1.2 million (2015) that translates to 3,300 child lives saved every day! U5MR in India is still
above the world average (43), and is higher compared to Sri Lanka (10), Nepal (36), and
Bangladesh (38). Infant mortality and neonatal mortality rates have come down to 38 (target 27)
and 28 from 88 and 57, respectively.(3) India achieved a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 167
(2011-2013) and expected to reach 140 in 2015 down from 437 in 1990, which is well above the
target of 109.(4) If we go by the latest UN estimates of MMR of 560 in 1990,(5) the target
should be 140 and India is on track to achieve this target. The target of safe drinking water has
been achieved in rural areas and is likely to be achieved in the urban areas as well. The target of
sanitation is likely to be achieved in urban areas and missed in rural areas.(5)


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The SDGs and Targets

To create a new, people-centered, development agenda, a series of global consultations were

conducted both online and offline. Civil society organizations, citizens, scientists, academics,
and the private sectors from around the world were all actively engaged in the process. The
SDGs include 17 goals and 169 targets.(6) Indicators are expected to come out in March 2016.
The 17 goals in abridged form are as follows:

1. No poverty;
2. Zero hunger;
3. Good health and well-being;
4. Quality education;
5. Gender equality;
6. Clean water and sanitation;
7. Affordable and clean energy;
8. Decent work and economic growth;
9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure;
10. Reduce inequality;
11. Sustainable cities and communities;
12. Responsible consumption and production;
13. Climate action;
14. Life under water;
15. Life on land;
16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions; and
17. Partnership for the goals.

The targets are aspirational and global and that each government will set its own national targets
taking into account the national circumstances.

The SDGs can be broadly divided into three categories: First, an extension of MDGs that
includes the first seven SDGs; second group is inclusiveness (jobs, infrastructure,
industrialization, and distribution). It includes goals 8, 9, and 10; and the third group is on
sustainability and urbanization that covers the last seven goals: sustainable cities and
communities, life below water “consumption and production; climate action; resources and
environment; peace and justice; and the means of implementation and global partnership for it”.

Health goal

The third SDG — “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” — is wider-
ranging compared to the health goals in MDGs that were limited to child and maternal mortality
and communicable diseases. The social determinants of health though not spelled as such but are
addressed through Goals 1 (poverty), 2 (hunger), 4 (education), 5 (gender equality), 6 (clean
water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 9
(industry innovation and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequalities), 11 (sustainable cities and


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communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action), and 16 (peace,

justice and strong Institutions).

Health targets

The health goal has nine targets and four subpoints.(6) The first three targets are continuation of
MDGs, the next three are on no communicable disease (NCD), and the last three are mixed. Nine
health targets and four sub-points are as follows:

1. Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to below 70/100,000.

2. Reduce neonatal mortality to below 12/1,000 and U5MR to below 25/1,000.
3. End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and
combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.
4. Reduce by one-third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases.
5. Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.
6. Halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents (by 2020).
7. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.
8. Achieve universal health coverage.
9. Reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and
soil pollution and contamination.

Four subpoints are:

a) Strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

b) Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines.
c) Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training, and
retention of the health workforce.
d) Strengthen early warning, risk reduction, and management of health risks.

Difference Between SDGs and MDGs

SDGs benefit from the valuable lessons learned from MDGs. These also carry forward the
unfinished agenda of MDGs for continuity and sustain the momentum generated while
addressing the additional challenges of inclusiveness, equity, and urbanization and further
strengthening global partnership by including CSOs and private sector. They reflect continuity
and consolidation of MDGs while making these more sustainable by strengthening
environmental goals.

There are seven major differences in MDGs and SDGs;

1. Zero Goals: The MDG targets for 2015 were set to get us “half way” to the goal of ending
hunger and poverty, with similar proportional goals in other fields. The SDGs are designed to
finish the job – to get to a statistical “zero” on hunger, poverty, preventable child deaths and


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other targets. This approach will call for very different strategies: getting “halfway there”
encouraged countries to “do the easiest parts first.” Getting to zero requires a real focus on the
empowering the poorest and hardest to reach. Much of the impetus and evidence for the success
of zero-based goals comes from Brookings Institute, the new World Bank “Zero Poverty” goals,
and the second inaugural address of US President Obama.

2. Universal Goals: The MDGs were in the context of “rich donors aiding poor recipients.” Since
then the world has changed dramatically. Official development assistance (ODA) is now tiny
compared to other resources flows, and the majority of the poorest people live in the middle-
income countries. Inequality is the issue, not national-level poverty – and this applies to rich and
poor countries alike. The SDGs will then be a set of goals applicable to every country.

3. More Comprehensive Goals: There were 8 MDGs. The High Level Panel recommended 12
Goals, and the Open Working Group final report recommends 17 “Focus Areas” that go beyond
the symptoms of poverty, to issues of peace, stability, human rights and good governance. This
will undoubtedly make mobilization around these goals more difficult, but everyone would agree
that the complexity of sustainable global development was not fully represented by the MDGs.

4. Addressing THP Pillars: While THP celebrated and firmly committed to the MDGs, they
largely ignored the three pillars of what we see as crucial for the sustainable end of hunger:
empowering women, mobilizing everyone, and partnering with local government. The SDGs
address these critical elements (to date) much more effectively, with far stronger gender goals,
people’s participation and government “at all levels.”

5. Inclusive Goal Setting: The MDGs were created through a top-down process. The SDGs are
being created in one of the most inclusive participatory processes the world has ever seen – with
face-to-face consultations in more than 100 countries, and millions of citizen inputs on websites.
Civil society has been well-organized throughout – coordinated globally through Beyond2015
(click here).

6. Distinguishing Hunger and Poverty: In the MDGs, Hunger and Poverty were lumped together
in MDG1 – as if solving one would solve the other. So much has been learned about nutrition
since that time, and the SDGs treat the issue of poverty separately from Food and Nutrition

7. Funding: The MDGs were largely envisioned to be funded by aid flows – which did not
materialize. The SDGs put sustainable, inclusive economic development at the core of the
strategy, and address the ability of countries to address social challenges largely through
improving their own revenue generating capabilities.

8. Peace Building: Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen that peaceful, reasonably well governed
countries prosper. After 2015, experts predict that the majority of those in extreme poverty will
live in conflict-affected states. The inclusion of peace-building is thus critical to the success of
ending hunger and poverty — yet was totally ignored in the MDGs. It is controversial in the
SDGs, but so far it has remained there.


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9. Data Revolution: The MDGs said nothing about monitoring, evaluation and accountability –
the SDGs target by 2020 to “increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and
reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability,
geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.”

10. Quality Education: The MDGs focused on quantity (eg, high enrollment rates) only to see the
quality of education decline in many societies. The SDGs represent the first attempt by the world
community to focus on the quality of education – of learning – and the role of education in
achieving a more humane world: “education for sustainable development and sustainable
lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence,
global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to
sustainable development.”


The four major challenges that need to be addressed for achieving the SDGs are as follows:

1. Some of the SDGs that have been costed show that the cost of the SDGs is huge. The rough
calculations have put the cost of providing a social safety net to eradicate extreme poverty at
about $66 bn a year,(8) while annual investments in improving infrastructure (water, agriculture,
transport, and power) could be up to a total of $7 tn globally. A major conference on financing
for the SDGs, held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in July, failed to ease concerns that
there will not be enough funds to meet the aspirational nature of the goals. It included a
recommitment to the UN target on aid spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) set more
than 40 years ago. Multilateral banks committed $400 bn;(9)

2. Maintaining peace is essential for development. A threat to international peace and stability by
nonstate actors is emerging as a major factor for both developed and developing countries. The
recent crisis in Syria has forced 12 million people to leave their homes and made them refuges.

3. Measuring progress: A number of targets in the SDGs are not quantified. The indicators for
measuring progress have not yet been identified. Even if they limit to two indicators per target
there will be 338 indicators to monitor and report. “Having 169 targets is like having no targets
at all.”(10) Measurability will depend on the availability of data and capacity to measure them.

4. Accountability: There was a lack of accountability for inputs into MDGs at all levels. This
challenge needs to be addressed in SDGs.

At the international level, most of the developed countries have not met the target of allocating
0.7% of GNI to international aid in the last 40 years. The lack of priority in funds allocation
within country budget has also been a problem during MDGs. Similar lack of accountability
exists at ministry, state, and local administration level. If we take SDGs seriously the
accountability needs to be strengthened at all levels.


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India and SDGs

The momentum created by MDGs in India needs to be sustained with focus on completing the
unfinished task of MDGs. India-specific goals, targets, and indicators along with the roadmap to
achieve these should be drawn up by the concerned ministry and states and union territories
(UTs). One major challenge will be to fund these goals. It is also important to estimate the
budget required and to find out from where these funds will come. The preliminary estimates
from global meetings suggest mobilizing required resources is going to be a major challenge.
The need to establish a system of collecting relevant data to monitor the progress is vital to
achieve these goals, targets, and indicators that are much larger in numbers compared to MDGs.
The reliance on data from surveys needs to be minimized. The health goal will need a major
effort in addressing noncommunicable diseases and accidents and injuries while sustaining
efforts to address maternal and child health and nutrition.


MDGs helped in mobilizing international community, leaders, politicians, civil society and
sectoral ministries, and departments to focus on achieving these time-bound and measurably
goals. We may not have achieved all these goals but have made a substantial progress in saving
lives and improving quality of lives of millions of people within the country and globally. India
has not made progress commensurate with its economic and technological might and needs to do
more. MDGs have been easy to relate, understand, communicate, implement, and monitor,
whereas SDGs, though to some extent, are a continuation of MDGs, yet suffer from the
weakness of being too many and unwieldy to implement and monitor. This has probably resulted
from large consultative process where everyone wants to see their areas of interest included.
Providing required funding to these a reality remains a challenge. There is a need to improve
accountability from international level to local level. The next 15 years is likely to see
unprecedented mobilization of resources and efforts to make the world a better place to live for
“we the people”, especially the marginalized and disadvantaged groups.


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1. No Poverty

The first sTheGlobalGoals_Logo_and_Iconsustainable development goal aims to “end poverty in

all its forms” by 2030. Since the government has signed up to SDG 1, they can be asked to adopt
the equivalent of US$1.25 per person a day as an official poverty line. The SDGs can also be
used to push for a quick consensus on ways of measuring “poverty in all its dimensions
according to national definitions”.

2. Zero Hunger

By 2030, Pakistan is supposed to “end hunger and ensure access for all, especially for the poor
and vulnerable, to nutritious and sufficient food the year round.” By signing on the SDGs, the
government has committed to ending all forms of malnutrition. However, independent of these
commitments, if the country wants to achieve high growth rates and sustain the latter to ensure
development, hunger and food insecurity need to end. The tragedy is that it is not the case that
Pakistan is not producing enough food. It can easily afford to provide adequate nutrition for all
citizens. It is a question about asymmetric income and wealth distribution which, in turn, results
in iniquitous access to food.

3. Good Health and Well-being

With Goal 3 – promoting good health and well-being – calling for an integrated approach crucial
for progress across multiple goals, including alleviating poverty and hunger, the focus includes a
commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable
diseases by 2030. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe
and effective medicines and vaccines for all.

4. Quality Education

Goal 4 prioritizes equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for
all. This goal has seven targets and three means for implementation, covering all levels of
education; from early childhood, primary to secondary, technical vocational for decent jobs, and
university through formal, non-formal and technology enabled channels, conducive learning
environments, adequacy of trained teachers and opportunities for scholarships to pursue
continuous learning.


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5. Gender Equality

The Gender Gap Index 2015 ranked Pakistan 2nd from the bottom among 145 countries. Goal 5
aims to address gender equality and women empowerment. Poverty, poor health and illiteracy
make almost 50pc of the country’s population who are not full participants in the realm of socio -
economic development. The low status of women, in fact, deprives the state of realising the full
productive potential of half the population.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal 6 of the development agenda talks about ensuring availability and sustainable management
of water and sanitation; eight specific targets have been formulated to achieve universal and
equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all, to end open
defecation with special attention given to the needs of women and girls.

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

For affordable clean energy, Pakistan requires more transmission lines, cost-effective production,
better-regulated renewable energy markets. Germanwatch’s latest Global Climate Risk Index,
which measures how nations are affected by weather-related disasters, ranks Pakistan as the
world’s 8th most impacted nation. Experts have estimated that about a quarter of the country’s
land area and half its population is vulnerable to climate change-related disasters. With its dry
climate, extreme weather events, and natural resource shortages, the country’s climate
vulnerabilities can’t be overstated.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Goal 8 empowers governments to break free from the shackles of aid and propels nation-states
towards making greater strides in trade, growth, jobs and safeguarding the dignity of individuals,
communities and nations. And, for the first time, there is an unequivocal opportunity for the
private sector and businesses to join hands with governments and the international community,
and test their mettle in the cause for sustainable development.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Goal 9 aims to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation
and foster innovation”. This goal recognises firstly, that sustainable human development
improvements cannot come without economic growth, particularly in manufacturing. Every job
in manufacturing creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors and is therefore critical in generating
employment. Secondly, it places the signatory countries’ sights on a goal that is beyond physical
manufacturing and assembly, to the higher value addition processes of innovation, research and


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10. Reduced Inequalities

Goal 10 focusing on reducing inequalities by 2030 underscores the need for policies ‘to achieve
and sustain income growth of the bottom 40pc of the population at a rate higher than the national
average’ among other targets — all focused on inclusive economic growth. For the country as a
whole, 48pc of rural households are landless, with the highest incidence of landlessness at 62pc
in Sindh.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 11 – sustainable, green and resilient cities – forms the defining constructs of an emerging
urban planning paradigm that is fast gaining global traction. Here, strategic plans are replacing
master plans. Gated communities and urban sprawl, supported by private automobile-friendly
transportation infrastructure, are being discouraged to promote mixed, integrated
neighbourhoods with walking and bicycling supportive streets. With more than half of the
world’s population presently residing in urban centres, these designs serve as the frontlines in the
battle against climate change.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 12 calls for ensuring sustainable consumption and production, reaffirming global consensus
on the centrality of sustainable practices in the quest for sustainable development. The targets
linked to Goal 12 include sharp cuts in food losses and waste; environmentally sound
management of chemicals; sustainable public sector procurement; enhancing knowledge and
awareness about the benefits of sustainable practices and lifestyle; rationalisation of fossil fuels
subsidies; and strengthening the scientific and technological capacity of developing countries to
embrace SCP.

13. Climate Action

Goal 13 specifically calls for ‘urgent actions to combat climate change and its impacts’. About
45 of the 169 targets related to this goal highlight the need to tackle climate change and avert
impacts, particularly on food, water, energy and economic development. The challenges of
climate change and its adverse impact undermine the ability to achieve Vision 2025 —
Pakistan’s development blueprint. Adverse climate impacts are reflected through increased
floods, prolonged droughts, changing temperatures and extreme weather events — heat-waves,
glacial melting, changing monsoons and cropping cycles.

14. Life Below Water

Goal 14, aimed at the Integration of Oceans into the SDG framework, calls for commitment to
ensuring the sustainability of oceans and marine life with special attention to the welfare of
populations dependent on ocean life. Pakistan has witnessed various happenings in its ocean


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fisheries environment, with numerous incidences of large mammals – sharks and whales –
washing up dead on its coastlines, similar to the incidence of the whale deaths reported in
Australia earlier this year. With seas and oceans being over-polluted due to human activity and
serving as repositories of human waste, chemical pollution and dumping grounds for industrial
non-useable outputs, our ocean has turned into a junkyard. This toll on marine life directly
impacts the welfare and livelihoods of communities dependent on these resources.

15. Life on Land

Goal 15 focuses on protecting, restoring and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial
ecosystems, sustainably managed forests, combating desertification, and halting and reversing
land degradation and biodiversity loss. Pakistan is poised for a turnaround of the system. Rapid
action is needed to sustain populations with the erosion of land resources. A reversal is possible
provided a science-based approach is followed along with institutional reform and resource

16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

Goal 16 aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide
access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

This goal has 12 targets that include reduction in violence and related death rates; an end to
abuse, trafficking, exploitation, violence and torture of children; rule of law and equal access to
justice; substantial reduction in corruption and bribery; effective, accountable and transparent
institutions; responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making; provision of
legal identity for all, including birth registration; public access to information and protection of
fundamental freedoms; and strengthening of institutions to prevent violence and combat
terrorism and crime.

17. Partnerships for the Goals

Goal 17 that aims to revitalise global partnerships for development by building domestic means
to implement the SDGs. Global partnerships must have varied elements: more development
assistance, debt relief, trade agreements that help developing countries find markets and better
conditions for foreign and domestic investment. Partnerships matter when lifting people out of
poverty, when protecting the environment and when building peace — partnerships between
governments, the private sector, civil society and the international community.


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Sustainable Development Goals & our policies

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been replaced with the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2015 to be achieved by 2030.The SDGs are a global
set of 17 goals, aimed at addressing all the three important dimensions of development — the
social, economic and environmental. Developing countries lag behind the developed countries
because of immaturity and short-sightedness in the policy formulation regarding development.
The development policies, unfortunately, revolve around myopic thinking of re-election to stay
in power, and the development manifesto is lost in the process of. This is the dilemma of the
countries like ours where development is confined to developing physical infrastructures and that
too at the cost of the well-being of the people.

Global development agenda either set by the United Nations Organisations (UNO) like
organisations are always a blessing in disguise for countries where holistic development
programs do not catch the sight of those at the helm of affairs. It forces and motivates the third
world countries to craft their development programs in tandem with global development goals
and targets. The MDGs have been instrumental in triggering global efforts to reduce poverty in
the developing world in the period 2000-2015. The MDGs played a significant role in overall
development worldwide, but all targets could not be achieved. Much needs to be done in Africa
and Asia when it comes to poverty, illiteracy, maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS and
the environment.

For example, presently one billion people, according to the World Bank, still live on less than
$1.25 a day, and more than 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. The majority of
these people live in Africa and Asia. The stark difference between MDGs and SDGs is of
application and scope. The SDGs, compared to MDGs, are universal in nature. Sustainability of
development programs is not something that the developing world relates to, it is equally
important for the developed world as well. Development must be sustained for the future
generations. So the SDGs are now applicable to each UN member state, and the very nature of
these global goals offers a unique opportunity to work collectively for their attainment. In these
circumstances, the SDGs gain more importance for us.

Pakistan has miserably failed to achieve the MDGs. There are 9.8 million stunted children in
Pakistan, and the country is ranked third in the world with the greatest number of children with
stunted growth. According to an estimate, 45 percent of the children in the country are stunted,
and 39 percent do not have access to decent sanitation. According to the Multidimensional
Poverty Index, 4 out of 10 Pakistanis — 39 percent — are poor. More than 40 percent of the
people lack access to clean drinking water. The literacy rate is 60 percent, which is lowest in the
region. So far as the environment is concerned, Pakistan is one of the top 10 countries in the
world that are badly hit by global warming and climate changes. Secondly, the reliability of data
is a matter of great concern for policy-makers and researchers. Reliable data is an important
instrument to know the present standing, and it also helps to fix problems. Sadly, the last census
in the country was held 18 years ago. It was only in 2016 that Pakistan gave its official figure of
poverty since 2005-06. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics needs to come out of slumber by
providing reliable data so that we may stand sure-footed while analyzing the problems facing the


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Thirdly, the MDGs were taken as an externally imposed agenda. Had the government been
serious in attaining them, the results would have been entirely different. Keeping in view the
socio-economic indicators, the SDGs should be taken as an opportunity to pay heed to the much-
neglected development programs addressing all the essentials of sustainable development. The
government should make the SDGs an indigenous agenda, and all stakeholders should show
unflinching commitment to achieve them by 2030.Fourthly, a government should also involve
the private sector. A public-private partnership has been very successful in different fields.
Therefore, the government must not hesitate to join hands with the private sector, especially in
areas where the private sector is well placed to come up with a meaningful contribution. What is
needed more that the leading political parties should also respond positively to the SDGs?
Political parties should incorporate the global development goals in their manifestoes. This
exercise would also sensitise political workers and the public about the importance of the SDGs.
More or less Pakistan has amped up benefits to exercise these UNO funded Sustainable
Development Goals as these goals coincide with the vision 2025 policy of Pakistan.


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7. Pak-India Relations
Pak-Indo Relations: An Overview

India and Pakistan have had a long and complicated history with each other. When British India
became independent, it was divided into two parts.

Areas consisting of more than 75 per cent Muslims were to become Pakistan. But, for quite a
while, there were as many Muslims in the Indian Territory than there were in Pakistan – until the
Indian government banned beef and the Pakistani government debarred vegetarians.

The Maharaja of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, Curry Singh Dogra, decided to
preserve the state of Kashmir as an independent state, so he decided to join neither India nor

Instead, he decided to join a local polo club that also held invigorating bingo nights every

Pakistan sent tribal lashkars to talk to the Kashmiri government to persuade it (at gunpoint) to
join Pakistan.

It’s remarkable that such a meeting even took place because the lashkar men spoke Pashtu and
the Maharaja spoke Hindi, Kashmiri and a bit of Japanese.

The Indian government saw Pakistan's action as a sign of an invasion and sent troops to the state
of Kashmir. The result of the first war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir was Pakistan
controlling 37 per cent of the area, while India controlled 63 per cent of the territory. The
Kashmiris controlled none. 0 per cent. Zilch.

The Maharaja protested, but to no avail. He decided to word his protest in Japanese – so much so
that at one point even Japan began claiming sovereignty over Kashmir.

Three more wars occurred between Pakistan and India.

One of the wars was in 1965, when fighting broke out in the Rann of Kach, a sparsely inhabited
region along the Pakistan–India border. The British had called this area Leg of Lamb.

Fighting spread from Leg of Lamb to Kashmir to Punjab and then all the way to Honolulu in
Hawaii. And in September, Pakistani and Indian troops crossed the partition line between the two
countries and launched air assaults on each other's heads. Pigeons were used for this purpose.

After threats of intervention by Japan, Pakistan and India agreed to an UN-sponsored ceasefire
and withdrew their pigeons and crows from the sky and mice on the ground.
Indian Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Shri Shri Bang Bang and President Field Air
Water Marshal Kublai Khan of Pakistan met at a Russian Vodka bar in Tashkent in the
former Soviet Union in January 1966.


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Both men after enjoying a drink or two and a game of ludo, signed an agreement pledging
continued negotiations and respect for the ceasefire conditions. After the ‘Tashkent Declaration’
(also called the Vodka Hustle) another period of relative peace ensued.

However, Indo-Pakistan relations deteriorated once again when civil war erupted in
Pakistan, pitting the beef-munching West Pakistanis against the fish-eating East Pakistanis
who were demanding greater autonomy and more gravy.

The fighting forced 10 million East Pakistani Bengalis to flee to India, mostly on handmade
gliders made from baby shark fins.

The Bengalis were being backed by the Indians, so when Pakistan attacked Indian airfields
(and Japanese restaurants) in Kashmir, India attacked both East and West Pakistan (after it
could not figure out where on earth North and South Pakistan were).

India occupied East Pakistan which declared its independence as the United Fish-
Loving Republic of Bangladesh, on Dec. 6, 1971.

Under great pressure from the US, USSR and Dilip Kumar, a UN ceasefire was arranged in mid-
December, mainly due to the conspiracies of Ziono-Zoroastrian agents operating within
Pakistan’s glorious, enterprising, fit, super-duper, very muscular polity.

Chairman Zulfi Phutto emerged as the new leader of Pakistan, and Mujibur Rahman Machli
as prime minister of Bangladesh.

Tensions between India and Pakistan were alleviated by the historic Bogotá Accord of 1972
and after Pakistan recognised Bangladesh (and fish masala) in 1974.

In the early 1980s, threat of yet another war between the two poverty-stricken countries
began looming again when India (now called the Republic of Indira Gandhi) accused
Pakistan of funding the Buddhist insurgency in Indian Punjab.

To defuse the tension, Pakistan’s greatest leader ever, ever, ever and ever forever after ever,
General Zia Bin Qasim Saladin Salu, indulged in some ‘cricket diplomacy’ by sending Indian
prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi – son of Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawarlal Nehru grandson of
Mogambo – a gift of some of the finest crickets found in the bushes of Rann of Kach.

Rajiv reciprocated the gesture by sending Zia – a well-known beef lover – a video of fat
cows roaming aimlessly on the streets of Mumbai.

Cricket diplomacy.

Tensions between the two countries remained defused throughout the 1990s even when both the
skinny, poverty-stricken countries tested their respective nuclear bombs in 1998.


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In fact, Pakistani prime minster, Al-Nawaz Bin Sharif, actually invited his Indian counterpart,
Utter Bihari Vajpayee, to visit Lahore for lunch.

Utter Bihari accepted the invitation but Pakistan’s greatest ever, ever, ever and ever forever after
ever political party in the whole wide world (and imaginary caliphate), the Jamat-i-Jamat (JIJ),
criticised Nawaz for giving up beef.

But the Nawaz-led peace initiative turned out to be short-lived. In July 1999, Pakistan and India
went to war again. This one was called the Kargil War.

First, Pakistan infiltrated forces into the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir and occupied
strategic locations, such as tree tops and the insides of mail boxes.

The next stage consisted of India discovering the infiltration (with the help of a Japanese spy
embedded within the Pakistan forces). India then began mobilising its forces.

The final stage involved major battles between Indian and Pakistani forces.

A ceasefire was agreed due to international pressure from United States, Britain and especially
Tanzania who threatened to ban the smuggling of illegal elephant tusks into both India and
Pakistan. Both the forces also agreed to pull back their armies behind the Line of Control (also
called ‘Control Ki Lakeer’).

Pakistan soon sought American help in de-escalating the conflict. US President and renowned
saxophonist, Bill Groovy Clinton, refused to intervene until Pakistan had removed all forces
from the Indian side of the Line of Control.

Talking on phone to the Pakistani prime mister, he said: “I am sorry, Nawaz, but we will not be
able to intervene unless you ask your forces to withdraw back to the Control ki Lakeer.”

Unfairly, it was Pakistan that was criticised by other countries (especially Somalia) for
instigating the war.

The world suddenly came alive to the possibility of two poverty-stricken nuclear nations going to
war with their nuclear weapons. Scandinavian countries even suggested to the UN that both India
and Pakistan be shifted to the North Pole. Tanzania agreed.

The nature of the Indo-Pak relations has somewhat changed ever since the 9/11 episode in which
CIA agents staged a devastating attack on the the Twin Towers in New York and blamed it on a
couple of pious Arabs preaching peace.
Many believe India does not pose a threat to Pakistan and vice versa, but whereas this has left
some Indian generals feeling kind of bored and all, some Pakistanis think this is yet another CIA


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Can Pakistan-India ties be normal?

AS people in Pakistan and India celebrate the 70th anniversary of their independence, they
should spare a moment for introspection. The story of their relations is largely a history of
conflict, war and acrimony. The traumatic circumstances of their independence still live in
memory as does, paradoxically, the resonance of shared culture and centuries of common
experience. There have been periods of calm and relative ease and transactions of important
consequence such as the treaty on sharing of waters. Can they develop normal relations?

Personally, I have never served in India and my interaction with my Indian counterparts was
limited to a somewhat tension-free period from February 2005 to April 2008. We had differences
but managed them, maintaining diplomatic courtesy. We were able to negotiate the Delhi
Declaration of April 2005 which affirmed that acts of terrorism would not be allowed to “impede
the peace process”. We prevented disruption of the process after the Mumbai train blasts in July
2006. The November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, however, froze the dialogue. Surely, many
of my colleagues engaged with India in less salubrious circumstances.

Leaders in both capitals should not forget that they are nursing tensions under a nuclear

Arguably, Kashmir lies at the heart of the conflict between the two countries. It impacted
Pakistan’s security perceptions and policies, and aggravated mutual suspicion and distrust from
the very first day of the independence. Yet this dispute is essentially political, hence resolvable.
Historically, Pakistan’s position is based on UN resolutions which have no intractable
ideological underpinnings. Among the several bilateral efforts to address the dispute, the last and
the most sustained discussions were carried out through a backchannel (2005-06) under president
Musharraf and prime minister Manmohan Singh. Importantly, the two sides tried to evolve a text
for an interim agreement towards a settlement of this longstanding dispute. Considerable
progress was achieved. Leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference were generally consulted
except for Syed Ali Geelani who had ab initio rejected the process.

The idea was simple: to work out an understanding that protected the essential interests of the
two countries and ensured optimum freedom for the Kashmiris to be masters of their own affairs
in their sub-regions. If the 2007 judicial crisis in Pakistan had not intervened and the effort had
proceeded normally for another couple of years, it could have reached a positive dénouement.

Sound proposals are on the table for the other two, albeit minor, disputes, Siachen and Sir Creek.
As far back as in 1987, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had agreed in principle to disengagement
from Siachen. The Indian Army leadership now rejects it. To preserve the fragile ecosystem of
the Himalayas and the Karakorams, it is important that this large glacier be saved from the stress
caused by constant military activity and burning of energy.

I remember saying to my Indian interlocutors that even if we know that there are rocks of gold
underneath, the ice of the glacier is more valuable and worthy of preservation through joint
monitoring. Similarly, the shallow waters of Sir Creek (area approx 75 square kilometres) can be


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turned into a jointly managed sanctuary or nature park. These theatres of conflict can be turned
into cooperative arenas, setting a new example of international collaboration.

All this now sounds like so much wishful thinking. Relations between the two countries have hit
a low point. When a handful of militants attacked the Pathankot and Uri military bases, the Modi
government stalled all dialogue with Pakistan, blaming Pakistan-inspired terrorism for the
attacks. New Delhi conveniently ignores its own brutal repression of the stone-throwing
Kashmiri youth uprising, which began last year in a continuation of three generations of
Kashmiri rejection of the Indian control in the Valley.

Buoyed by a Hindu nationalist wave and stirrings of a resurgent India, Prime Minister Modi and
BJP hardliners think they can isolate Pakistan and insist on a dialogue on their terms only.
Pakistan can also hold back. It has its own challenges to address and can wait for Delhi to adopt
a reasonable course. However, leaders in both capitals should not forget that they are nursing
tensions under a nuclear overhang. And the threat is growing.

South Asia changed when both Pakistan and India demonstratively crossed the nuclear threshold
in May 1998. The two countries are now obliged to maintain a responsible deterrence which first
and foremost depends on a modicum of confidence building. Institutional measures and dialogue
are indispensible to addressing crises to avert catastrophe. Dialogue opens up new avenues of
cooperation; its absence is risky. In addition to multi-layered communication, periodic highest-
level contacts are invaluable in the interest of peace. A nuclear exchange should simply remain

It is incumbent on the two countries to abandon dangerous doctrines such as the Cold Start and
Pakistan’s riposte with miniaturisation of nuclear weapons. Ideas contingent on an autopilot
escalation from a terrorist attack to a blitzkrieg to use of nuclear weapons defy sanity. Diplomacy
and crisis management must interject every point of this trajectory. The two countries had
sensibly embraced the concept of minimum credible deterrence and that sufficed as the central
principle of their defence. In a situation of spiralling tension, the media is a wild card. It should
desist from fuelling fires. Much too much is at stake.

Global power balance is in a flux with the rise of China and the reassertion of Russia. US
primacy feels challenged. India aspires to great power status. This may be so, but these tectonic
shifts are not necessarily heading towards a confrontation. The Middle East offers lessons to
other regions. In this changing scenario, Pakistan retains importance, strength, relationships and
options, regionally and globally.

The two countries are not locked into perennial hostility. Regardless of how we interpret the two-
nation theory, I am among those who cannot accept Pakistan as a mere antithesis of India.
Pakistan has its distinct persona, its unique history and its positive aspirations. Looking at
Pakistan and India in this 70th year of their independence, I see ‘two sacred rivers’ sharing the
same source and moving in opposite directions; yet they belong to the same subcontinent and
will continue to flow forever.


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Under an ominous nuclear overhang

India unilaterally called off parleys with Pakistan last year. According to Indian Foreign Minister
Sushma Swaraj, New Delhi closed the window for talks when Pakistan declared Burhan Wani a
martyr of the independence movement. What Islamabad did was in line with its policy of lending
political and moral support to the Kashmiris fight for self-determination. India’s harsh tactics
that include large scale arrests and torture, imposition of curfew, frequent bans on social media
and use of pellet guns to suppress a peaceful and totally indigenous movement have led people to
take up arms. Riding a nationalist wave Prime Minister Modi and BJP hardliners think they can
isolate Pakistan and insist on a dialogue on their terms only. What Modi government wants in
particular is to force Islamabad to abandon its support for the Kashmiri’s struggle. This is simply
not going to happen. Kashmir is a disputed territory and recognised as such by the international
community. Even the Trump administration calls the occupied Valley “Indian administered

Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers. They must not allow their disputes to spiral out of
the manageable limits. A situation has to be avoided where a border incident leads to a surgical
strike, the later to massive reprisals, with everything ending up in a war with unconventional
weapons. Diplomacy and crisis management alone can stop this from happening.

There is still sufficient goodwill between the people of the two countries. On Independence Day,
a group of singers from the two countries jointly sang the national anthems of Pakistan and India.
A popular Pakistani cricketer wished India while advocating peace and mutual tolerance. A
Pakistani patient suffering from a peculiar kind of cancer was admitted to an Indian hospital. The
gestures need to be encouraged though they may take time to produce the desired effect. What is
needed meanwhile is to keep the channels of talks open at all levels. Instead of putting up
preconditions India needs to agree to initiate talks on all issues from Kashmir to terrorism.

Kindly go through these articles too.




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8. Pak-Russia Relations
Rekindled Pak-Russia relations

During the Cold War epoch, divergent priorities and self-interests, the Indo-Russian partnership
and geo-political realities could not allow a breathing space for Pak-Russia relations to grow and
strengthen. The geopolitical scalar did not change after the USSR’s collapse either. It is only
now, after a quarter of a century, that Moscow is looking to reinvigorate bilateral relations.
Moreover, traditional Indo-Russian military exclusivity, which has a history of bilateral
cooperation, has been under strain for a while — due to strong Indo-US defence ties — and
cracks are opening up, indicating that new opportunities for defence cooperation between
Pakistan and Russia are in ferment.

Taking advantage of India’s blossoming economy still remains a priority for Russia’s foreign
policy. But lately, it has also been seeking diversification in its foreign policy options and is
looking for improved multidimensional ties with Pakistan.

The Russian renaissance in global political affairs, with a strategic motif of balancing of force in
the Putin era, has been shaping new contours in international politics that could provide a
favourable environment for improving Russia’s overall relations with Pakistan.

A Russian-Pakistani rapprochement started with a milestone military cooperation pact when the
Russian defence minister, after 45 years, paid an official visit to Pakistan in December 2014.
Another landmark was achieved with a $2 billion inter-governmental deal between the two
countries for the construction of a gas pipeline from Lahore to Karachi in October 2015. In the
same year, Moscow agreed to sell four Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan and welcomed Islamabad
when it joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). This year, already, Russian Army
Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov has announced the first-ever “mutual special drills in
mountainous terrain” and Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s defence minister, visited Moscow to enhance
further cooperation.

These recent engagements between Russia and Pakistan amid changing geo-political and geo-
strategic milieu along with evolving inter-regional economic prospects and emerging threats to
regional stability, have steered both countries to define a new era of friendship.

A structured mechanism between the two countries could provide a framework to collaborate in
the areas of defence, trade, investment, science, technology, agriculture, education and culture.
In contemporary times, Russian actions have underscored the hardcore realities of the region, for
instance, combating illicit drug trafficking in Afghanistan, improving relations with Pakistan
while realising its geo-strategic importance, and preventing the emergence of the IS threat and
the overflow of the Taliban insurgency from Afghanistan to the Central Asian Republics (CAR)
and to its own territories.

Both countries also believe that transnational mega projects, including the CPEC and the Central
Asia Regional Economic Cooperation, are paving the way for regional integration. Russian
strategists have rightly realised that Pakistan’s importance cannot be ignored in Pan-Eurasian


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integration and its geo-strategic location also has a pivotal role to play in the revival of the Silk
Route, as well as in Eurasian Union integration. On the surface, no major obstacles restrict both
countries from expanding their multifaceted relations, but certain factors can slow down their
pace of growth. Pakistan and Russia are getting closer at a time when global politics is under
transformation, moving from a unipolar world to a multipolar one. Amid the US/Nato partial
withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Indian tilt towards the US and the West and Russia’s rise,
Pakistan and Russia have the opportunity to translate their engagements into tangible positive
outcomes for both countries.

Recent upward trajectories in their political, economic and security ties at bilateral and
multilateral levels are a manifestation of foreign policy directives, which mean that both
countries are ready to cooperate with each other, forgetting the bitterness of the past. Defence
and economic relations seem to be their immediate priority. Pakistan’s full membership of the
SCO would provide new avenues for security and economic cooperation with Russia, China and
CARs. The SCO can also facilitate Pakistan and India to work through their longstanding issues
and move forward for economic cooperation and regional connectivity. Pakistan and Russia have
limited cultural exchange at the moment and there are opportunities for people of both countries
to interact with each other. This is a key impediment in creating an understanding of cultures,
traditions and values. Language barriers between the two communities play a significant role in
restricting cultural exchange programmes. However, one way to get over this hurdle could be to
provide incentives to students to learn the Russian language in Pakistan, as well as Urdu in

Besides the interactions among government officials and parliamentarians, people-to-people

contacts centering around the academia, and media exchange programmes can work to catalyse
improved relations. It is difficult to predict whether these rekindled relations between Pakistan
and Russia will go a long way or not. For longstanding relations, one paramount consideration
for both sides is to comprehend emerging realities in the region and accordingly coordinate and
cooperate for a prosperous future.


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Pak-Russia Relations: Certain Realities

Pakistan has finally decided to undo the act of Liaquat Ali Khan who, in 1949, as the Prime
Minister (PM) of Pakistan, turned down the request of the then USSR to visit it; instead, he
visited the US in May 1950. The former USSR must have been annoyed at this. Fuel to the fire
was added when Pakistan joined the anti-USSR western alliance rooted in antagonism towards
the communist ideology, which was upheld and sponsored by the former USSR. This was how
the annoyance of the former USSR with Pakistan was turned into animosity and the same
reflected in the events leading up to the 1971 crisis, which witnessed Pakistan getting divided
into two halves. With hindsight, Pakistan’s reliance on the US for military and financial aid since
1947 attributed to Pakistan’s joining the anti-USSR camp, chaired by the US. Pakistan became a
prisoner to its needs sprouted from insecurity — enforced by India — by denying Pakistan even
the rightful share of assets consequent to partition.

It was the famous Atlantic Charter — a joint declaration signed and released on August 14, 1941
by Franklin Roosevelt, the US president, and Sir Winston Churchill, the PM of the UK,
following their meeting during the Second World War, expressing their post-war aims — that
offered a glimmer of hope to colonial subjects (including those populating British colonies) to
exercise the right of self-determination (i.e. the rights of all peoples to choose their own
government and which may be by opting for decolonisation), as enshrined in point three of the
charter. During the war, subjects from the Indian subcontinent fought alongside the British army
against the Nazi regime of Germany and did not hesitate to risk or lay down their lives for their
colonial commanders but did not revolt. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941
brought the US into the war theatre from where the US emerged as the victor of the war by
creating a humanitarian crisis in Japan, whereas the former USSR, which also bore the onslaught
of the Nazi army, remained one of the beneficiaries of the triumph. This point placed the former
USSR at least one notch below on the ladder of global significance vis-à-vis the US.
Consequently, it was quite natural with Pakistan to join the victor club preferably and hurriedly,
since Pakistan was beset by severe economic and military inadequacies since 1947.

The hostile embrace between Pakistan and the former USSR took place in Afghanistan from
1979 to 1991 and this time it ended in the dismemberment of the former USSR into several small
states. The score was settled. Communist ideology was defeated. From the rubble emerged the
Russian Federation carrying the cargo of legacy and the burden of the lament of the former
USSR, besides the resolve to reform its own system. The Russian Federation, the core of which
is Russia, can still be called the reduced, if not deflated, version of the former USSR.

The Russia of today is grappled with two major issues on the foreign policy front: first, how to
support the allies (such as the regime of al-Assad of Syria) of the former USSR and second how
to cope with the needs of the modern age predicating on economic realities (instead of
ideological veracities including Islamic ideology) more than ever. Russia has been trying to
balance these two incongruent aspects. Regionally, Russia has been successful in mending fences
with China. Russia is in need of China owing to China’s economic prosperity whereas China
needs Russia’s help (in terms of supplying energy resources and distributing transport networks
for the movement of goods to and fro from Europe) to develop its western half. The other leg of


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China’s need-based paradigm is to touch the warm waters of the Arabian sea, the same warm
waters the former USSR is said to have aspired to reach after stepping into Afghanistan in 1979,
even if the term ‘invasion’ is avoided to elucidate the act.

Russia has also mollified Pakistan. Immediately after 1991, Russia started extending the hand of
friendship to Pakistan to which Pakistan remained sceptical. In the meantime, Russia also tried to
associate itself with the west but failed. On the other hand, since 1991, the US has also started
bringing India closer to its fold. Post-9/11 developments offered both the US and India wider
space to figure out ways of working together in a range of fields from nuclear energy harnessing
to space exploration. In the post-9/11 era, circumstances called developments have also brought
Pakistan nearer to Russia in reciprocal reconciliatory terms on both bilateral and multilateral
fronts including sharing the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in July
2015. In short, in Asia, the priority of Russia seems to be economic cooperation and not military
invasion. Russia is looking towards the East. The word hegemony is not being bandied about.

Interestingly, the post-Cold War realignment was slow and shallow but the post-9/11
realignments are quick and sturdy between the regional countries of Asia. More interestingly
still, Pakistan was not happy with the former USSR but now Pakistan seems to be happy with the
modified but condensed version of the same called Russia. The appalling episode of 9/11 must
have offered sufficient space to Russia to yearn for revival.

Pakistan must be asked how it views its former nemesis, the former USSR, which now embodies
Russia, to destroy the Islamic militant monster it has created and which is now Pakistan’s biggest
existential threat. Pakistan is soon going to offer a land route to Russia to let its goods have
access to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea or Russia may achieve that target through China. If
amity and reconciliation are the ultimate destiny of a crisis, who will justify the lives lost on both
sides of the border in a struggle to subdue the other in the name of ideology?


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What's Behind Russia's Rapprochement With Pakistan?

A Russian-Pakistani renaissance started in 2014 when the Kremlin removed its arms embargo
against Islamabad. In 2015, Moscow agreed to sell four Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan and
welcomed Islamabad to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This year already,
Russian Army Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov has announced the first-ever “mutual special
drills in mountainous terrain,” and Khawaja Asif, defense minister of Pakistan, visited Moscow
to further discuss enhancing cooperation.

Both nations additionally agreed on a construction project to transfer liquefied natural gas (LNG)
from Karachi to Lahore. The pipeline could potentially supply 30 percent of the Pakistani
population and assist in resolving the country’s ravaging energy crisis, as well as extol Russia’s

The current rapprochement has taken many by surprise, as it might impinge upon Moscow and
New Delhi’s cooperation in the long-term. However, Russia is still willing to proceed. What
stands behind the Kremlin’s motives?

Russia still reveres its strategic and lengthy partnership with India and remains its largest arm
supplier over the past three years. Both nations also are experiencing blossoming economic
relations, with Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin looking for a bright future together.

Russian-Indian relations might seem flourishing on the outside; inside, however, they have
experienced a downward trend.

The Kremlin has grown cautious lately about India’s augmenting defense cooperation with the
United States and other Western nations. Selling weapon remains a tenet of Russia’s foreign
policy strategy and its soft power outreach; however, the country’s market share in India has
been on a gradual decline for the past several years. In contrast, the U.S.-India arms deals have
topped a record amount of $9 billion.

New Delhi is also planning to spend an additional $250 billion in the forthcoming decade for
strengthening its defense. Therefore, it is becoming evident to the Kremlin that the total share of
the Western nations and the United States, in particular, will increase amid the continuous
erosion of Russia’s current monopoly.

Russia remains one of the major contenders for a tendering procedure for building India’s fourth
aircraft carrier; however, Indian defense officials have already grown concerned about Russia’s
ethics after INS Vikramaditya’s three-fold cost increase and a five-year delay. Moreover,
Moscow agreed to participate in India’s “Make in India” national program, but this has only
further revealed its inability to live up to many of New Delhi’s expectations. In particular,
difficulties are coming to light during the Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter jet multibillion-
dollar program, with Russia currently failing to fulfill most of India’s indigenous production

New Delhi’s growing dissatisfaction with the mutual partnership and the country’s quest for


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diversification are perpetuating the shift. India needs improvements and is keen on trying other
suppliers; however, Moscow sees these moves as impinging on its current stance.

The Kremlin wants to slow down the impending downward trend, as well as leverage its
influence over New Delhi, by skillfully utilizing the “Pakistan card.” By engaging with Pakistan,
Russia leaves New Delhi with a hard choice: to honor its strategic commitment to Russia and
make concessions or to observe Russian-Pakistani rapprochement, which could potentially erode
India’s military advantage.

This maneuver comes in line with the Kremlin’s realpolitik strategy, which has become
traditional over the recent years. In 2010, Vladimir Putin famously said that “Russia is not
maintaining military cooperation with Pakistan as it takes into account the concerns of Indian
partners.” Moscow was sensitive to the India-Pakistan rivalry before; however, altering
geopolitical realities goaded Russian foreign policy into exploring new horizons.

Russian-Pakistani relations were far from harmonious during the previous decades. The Kremlin
supplied Pakistan with weapons in 1960s but both countries eventually faced a major split, as
Moscow selected New Delhi to be its strategic regional partner. Furthermore, Moscow and
Islamabad had a proxy conflict during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, with Pakistan openly
supporting the mujahideen. The geopolitical vector did not change after the USSR’s collapse. It
is only now, after a quarter of a century, that Moscow is looking to rekindle bilateral relations.

The Kremlin has chosen its moment wisely. Islamabad has grown cautious lately about its
alliance with the United States, as it perceives a lack of reliability from the White House. In
particular, the recent U.S. refusal to subsidize Pakistan’s purchase of F-16 fighter jets may have
pushed both countries farther away from each other, with Russia potentially emerging as an
alternative supplier.

Interestingly, though, Moscow is not ready to move full-speed ahead and is keen on maintaining
its distance while portraying other reasons for its recent engagements with Islamabad.

It is not a secret that Russia is extremely alarmed by the growth of ISIS and a possible collapse
of Afghanistan, to the extent that it is even ready to engage with the Taliban. By actively
coordinating with Pakistan, Moscow should be able to halt the radical jihadists’ future spillover
to Central Asia. Therefore, Russia is trying to portray its own security concerns as the raison
d’être behind the rapprochement.

Russia will not become a major Pakistani partner any time soon, and will remain closely
connected to India. Still, the Kremlin’s move delivers a strong message to the Modi
administration. In effect, New Delhi acknowledges Moscow’s security concerns but also
understands that the Russia-Pakistani partnership would continue to evolve proportionally to
India’s cooperation with the West.


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Pakistan-Russia relationship depends on a crafty balancing act

If this diplomacy maxim is to be believed, current times offer a perfect opportunity to test it. US
President Donald Trump has thrown internationalism to the wind and is sailing under the flag of
populist nationalism, so a post-American world order seems to be in the offing. American
partnerships and alliances around the world are changing and no more so than in Pakistan whose
ties with Russia are experiencing a new cordiality.

High-level visits between both countries are making news. On September 25, elite Russian and
Pakistani military commandos began two-week-long joint counterterrorism exercises, dubbed
“Friendship 2017.” After tracing the history of their bilateral ties, it’s evident that the reluctant
romance of Islamabad and Moscow usually begins when Pakistan-US ties are frayed, and ends
when those ties are mended. Though there are many elements in the bilateral equation, the US
factor dominates. So, will the recent cordiality survive if Pakistan-US relations return to normal?

The answer relies on two factors: Pakistan’s art of diversifying its bilateral relations and Russia’s
adroitness in balancing between India and Pakistan.

Pick a policy and wear it like armor

Pakistan’s foreign-policy dilemma has been its dependence on a major power while balancing its
turbulent relations with arch-rival India. Instead of diversifying its relations with other major
powers, Pakistan has always chosen to pick one and wear it like armor. There is nothing wrong
with this realpolitik, except its inevitable consequence: earning masters rather than friends. The
need for Pakistan to revisit its foreign policy has long been emphasized. However, in the face of
friction between Islamabad and Washington, Pakistan’s reactionary approach guides it towards

Moscow forged friendly ties with Pakistan but its closeness with India mars the Pakistan-Russian
link. From 1947 to 1950 and from 1965 to 1969 the Soviet Union and Pakistan cooperated in the
fields of education, trade and commerce, and culture. The Soviet Union played a proactive role
in ending Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 by facilitating the 1966 Tashkent Agreement. Pakistan
Steel Mills became a hallmark of their friendship in the 1970s. However, its stance on the Indo-
Pakistan War of 1971 and the vetoing of Pakistan’s resolutions on East Pakistan, now
Bangladesh, damaged bilateral ties. The relationship further deteriorated after the Soviet Union
invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

A strategic diplomatic four-way dance

The chill continued until Russia began to consider Pakistan strategically important. In 2005,
Indo-US cooperation started to increase which paved the way for the 2008 Indo-US Civil
Nuclear Agreement. The Kremlin had warned New Delhi about its growing cordiality with


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Washington, while the differences arose between Pakistan and the US over the so-called War on

In 2011, the Salala check-post attack by US-led Nato forces sunk bilateral relations to their
lowest ebb. Russia condemned the attack and the same year President Vladimir Putin publicly
supported Pakistan’s bid for membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In August
2013, Russian Colonel-General Vladimir Chirkin visited Pakistan and discussed issues relating
to defense and security operations.

Defence cooperation hit a milestone in 2014 when Russia lifted its embargo on arms sales to
Pakistan, which made headlines in New Delhi. Despite India’s strong opposition, Russia
delivered four Mi-35M assault helicopters to Pakistan this year. Negotiations for the delivery of
S-35 warplanes and the “Friendship 2017” military exercises have enraged New Delhi. Yet
Russia currently seems to be effectively balancing its relations between India and Pakistan. And
Moscow has announced joint military drills with India from October 19 to 29.

Russia’s vision is clear — to assert itself on the global stage. So is fostering its relationship with
Pakistan under the umbrella of defence, military, diplomacy and global terrorism. Pakistan fits
Moscow’s strategic calculus, but where Russia stands in Pakistan’s strategic aims remains

A marriage of convenience limits options

Again, it is strategic and defence cooperation which remains at the core of the recent
convergence of Pakistani and Russian interests. Islamabad’s resentment with Washington’s
mantra to “do more” to fight terrorist groups in the country and its shortsighted Afghan policy
are stimulating the marriage of convenience with Moscow. The reactionary approach has always
been a delimiting factor in tapping the true potential of Pakistan-Russia relations.

State-to-state relations endure when there are common goals. Shared animosities, frictions and
rivalries knit a bond which sustains as long as the contention sustains.

If Pakistan is to diversify its foreign policy and reduce its dependence on other great powers, it
will let economics guide its bilateral relations. Russia has expressed the desire to sign a free-
trade agreement with Pakistan, which will increase bilateral cooperation. Pakistan can provision
Russia since European agriculture imports are banned in Russia. Energy is also of interest to
Russian oil and gas companies.

Pakistan can also provide a convenient international route to Russian goods through China-
Pakistan Economic Corridor. The major obstacle to the development of economic relations has
been unsettled mutual financial obligations. To this end, an intergovernmental commission on
trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Russia and Pakistan can play a
pivotal role.


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The evolving strategic environment in South Asia, in addition to shifting power arrangements at the
global level, has led to some important, yet strange, alliance formations. Russia and Pakistan, once
Cold War antagonists, are bolstering bilateral ties across diverse realms. The warming of relations
between Moscow and Islamabad can be seen as a manifestation of fresh foreign policy directives, as
well as the Pakistan’s increasing role in its immediate neighborhood. Alternately, it may signal
Islamabad’s deviation from its traditional policy of looking “West” and a desire to reduce its
overwhelming dependency on the United States. In addition, Pakistan seeks Russia’s constructive
role in peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan.

There are several possible motivations behind Pakistan and Russia’s increasing proximity, but the
continued chaos in Afghanistan appears to be the focal point. In a meeting with his Russian
counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif emphasized Russian
engagement in the Afghan peace process. For Pakistan, Russia’s constructive engagement in peace
building is pertinent to defeating ISIS, which poses a threat to the entire Asian region.

On April 14, Russia convened a third round of conferences on peace, stability, and the
reconciliation process in Afghanistan. However, the absence of major stakeholders—including
the United States and NATO—demonstrates the divergent preferences of major powers in
advancing the reconciliation process. This great power tug of war simply adds to Afghanistan’s
fragile situation and further impairs the peace process. In fact, the U.S.-Russia divide in
conflict prone Afghanistan creates the ideal situation for ISIS to gain a stronghold.

Moscow and Islamabad’s cooperation to accommodate the Taliban, particularly those who
oppose the rise of ISIS and want to participate in the political system, could ultimately improve
the security situation in Afghanistan. Moreover, the reconciliation of the Taliban in a future
unity government, facilitated by a multilateral initiative that includes Russia, NATO, China, and
the United States, could play an instrumental role in strengthening democratic values in
Afghanistan, a nation that has largely been governed by warlords.

Drivers of Russian-Pakistani Cooperation

Two major events have contributed to the warming of Pakistan-Russia relations: India’s
growing strategic partnership with the United States and the increasingly fragile nature of U.S.-
Pakistan relations.

The last couple of years have witnessed an unprecedented development in U.S.-India relations,
which has negatively affected India’s defense cooperation with Russia, which has traditionally
been India’s largest defense partner until the past three to five years. As has been argued in
many strategic circles, the logic behind Indo-American bonhomie is to counter a rising China.
As such, the United States has enhanced its support of India’s military modernization.

Despite the ambiguity of its overall South Asia policy, the new U.S. administration has already


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shown it is keen to work closely with India. For example, in the joint statement released
following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump,
both countries noted that they seek to advance defense ties “at a level commensurate with that of
the closest allies and partners of the United States.” A bill passed in the U.S. House of
Representatives also underscored this initiative, calling on the secretaries of State and Defense to
formulate a strategy for closer cooperation between India and the United States. In 2016, the
Indian government signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)
allowing the militaries of both countries to access each other’s facilities for supplies and repairs.

Such developments have downgraded Russia to a preferred defense partner, rather than an
exclusive one. For decades, Russia remained New Delhi’s first-choice and the foremost supplier
for its defense needs. However, New Delhi’s increasing strategic cooperation with the United
States during the last few years has had an adversarial impact on Russian weapons sales. This
has led Russia to open up its defense exports to other countries, including Pakistan.

Changing Geopolitical, Security, and Economic Landscapes

In 2014, Russia lifted its arms embargo against Pakistan, which ultimately led to the first-ever
instance of military cooperation between two countries. In 2016, Pakistan and Russia conducted
their first joint military exercise, codenamed Druzhbha-2016 for the Russian word for
“friendship.” However, there was already a foundation of cooperation, as the navies of both
countries had previously participated in exercises such as the “Arabian Monsoon” in both 2014
and 2015. Moreover, the Russian military’s landing in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province
for joint exercises has been seen as a prelude for large-scale defense cooperation in the future. In
August 2015, Russia also signed a historical defense deal with Pakistan, which included the sale
of four Mi-35 “Hind E” attack helicopters.

The visit of the Russian Deputy Chief of General Staff, Colonel General Israkov Sergi
Yuryevich, to north and south Waziristan to observe Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations was
more than mere symbolism. The visit was an interesting development as it may signal that China
is playing the role of facilitator between Pakistan and Russia, given both countries’ difficult
Cold War history. As China seeks both Pakistan’s and Russia’s involvement in mediating the
Afghan reconciliation process, analysts were quick to speculate that China’s role is also
influential in burgeoning Pakistan-Russia ties.

The relationship is not only blossoming in the defense sector, but also in the economic and
development sectors. In October 2015, Pakistan and Russia signed a major $2.5 billion agreement
to build a 1,100 km gas pipeline from Lahore to Karachi. Additionally, Russia has consistently
supported Pakistan’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) membership bid.

Russia has not only expressed its willingness to become part of the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) but has also shown its intention to link CPEC with its own Eurasian
Economic Union (EEU) project. Such large-scale infrastructure projects could transform
Pakistan into a transit hub.


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The primary rationale behind the ongoing rapprochement between Russia and Pakistan is a
chaotic Afghanistan, which needs immediate attention to initiate a durable reconciliation
process. However, other regional developments and new alliance formations also play a
significant role in bringing Pakistan and Russia to a unified trajectory.

Pakistan’s political leadership is keen to boost bilateral ties with Russia. However, both
Pakistan and Russia need to develop a structural mechanism for cooperation—either in the form
of an annual plenary meeting or flagship initiative—particularly in the areas of defense,
economics, education, and science and technology. Without a structural mechanism, progress in
multiple sectors may suffer from slow momentum.

At the same time, emerging threats to regional stability as well as prospects for enduring peace
in Afghanistan need to be dealt with in the context of the changing geopolitical landscape of the
broader South Asian region. In sum, a robust friendship between Pakistan and Russia has the
potential to increase regional stability through counterterrorism cooperation, economic
engagement, and realist balancing against other alliance dynamics in the region

Kindly go through this article too



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9. Pak-China Relations
A short history of the relationship: China-Pakistan:

The countries describe their friendship as being ‘higher than the mountains, deeper than the
oceans, sweeter than honey’. To this, CPEC might well add, ‘stronger than steel’. It’s a
relationship that has endured nearly 7 decades of changes in geopolitical and strategic interests.
It’s a layered, complex story — in which considerations about India have often played a
dominant role.
On the night of July 12, 2007, hours after Pakistani commandos stormed Lal Masjid, the mosque
in the heart of Islamabad that had become a militant stronghold, General Pervez Musharraf, then
both President and Army Chief, made a sombre television address. He explained why the
operation that killed 103 people inside the mosque had become necessary. His speech contained
a valuable insight into the Pakistan-China relationship, and how the two countries conducted it.
“The worst example [of the extremist takeover of Lal Masjid] is that 7 nationals of our friendly
country China were abducted,” Musharraf said. “This shameful incident happened to the people
who belonged to our best friend, who always supported us, stood by us in troubled times and also
helped us in economic, trades and defence fields. To hold hostage Chinese nationals was a very
shameful act. The Chinese President called me over the telephone and asked me to ensure
security of its citizens. So, in my mind this is extremely shameful for our country and citizens…
If [Chinese] citizens are not secure in a country, for which they did a lot and [are] still doing, [it]
is so regrettable for us.”
China did not make a public spectacle over the hostage crisis, it preferred to quietly work the
phones instead. Among the militants holed up in Lal Masjid were Uighurs, fighting the Chinese
state in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but Beijing made no public demand that Pakistan act
against them. Later, Chinese officials flatly denied having forced Musharraf’s hand in the
decision to storm the mosque.
Imagining how the United States might have responded in the same situation helps understand
better how Pakistan and China view their relationship, and the rules of their engagement.

Pakistan-China is the only bilateral relationship, other than with Saudi Arabia perhaps, in which
Pakistan is happy to play the junior partner. Islamabad, which is wont to cast ties with China
emotionally, describes the friendship as one that has no parallel in the world. “Higher than the
mountains, deeper than the oceans” is the usual description for it from both sides — but how
they have built this “all-weather” (and all terrain) relationship is a layered story of several highs
and lows. And through all of it, India has been the dominant theme.
CPEC, China, pakistan, China-Pakistan, Belt and road, belt and rod initiative, Pervez Musharraf,
lal masjid, NSG, Pakistan, Nehru, jawaharlal nehru, Chinese president, indian express news The
Chashma nuclear power plant was built with Chinese help.
Pakistan was among the earliest non-communist countries (India was the first) to recognise the
People’s Republic of China. But while the two established diplomatic relations in 1951,
Pakistan’s eager membership of the two United States-led anti-communist military pacts,
SEATO and CENTO, soon afterward, was not the perfect starting point for their relationship in
the same decade in which India and China celebrated Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai.


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It was only after India’s defeat in the war with China in 1962 that the Pakistan-China relationship
really took off. If Beijing had by then identified Pakistan as a country through which it could
contain India, home since 1959 to the “splittist” Dalai Lama, China’s tacit support for Pakistan in
the 1965 war was a turning point — the beginning of their enduring defence and, some would
say, nuclear, cooperation.
While there is much speculation about the Chinese role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear
bomb, in 2016, China acknowledged assistance to Pakistan in building 6 nuclear reactors. Two
of these, at Chashma, were declared at the time it joined the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group in 2004,
and China was allowed to “grandfather” them as part of an agreement that predated its
membership of the elite group; since then it has helped Pakistan build 2 more reactors at
Chashma, and has declared assistance for another 2 at Karachi, despite protests at NSG.
China, which last year vetoed India’s membership to the NSG, did not oppose India’s civilian
nuclear deal with the US, but has on occasion argued for the same kind of nuclear
exceptionalism to Pakistan, which the US allowed for India.

Despite the money and military hardware the US pumped into Pakistan over the years, Pakistanis
see China as a far more reliable ally. They see the US as using their country to achieve strategic
goals in the region, and ditching it at will, constantly asking it to do “more”, and publicly
humiliating Pakistan over its “terror factories”.
China, on the other hand, provides Pakistan the security of constant backing by a big power,
while Islamabad acts as its unquestioning ally at a strategic crossroads of Asia. Indeed the idea of
the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — India’s primary objection to China’s
staggeringly ambitious Belt and Road Initiative — did not come about overnight. The first bit of
brickwork was perhaps laid by the Sino-Pak agreement of 1963, under which China ceded 1,942
sq km to Pakistan, and Pakistan recognised Chinese sovereignty over thousands of square
kilometres in northern Kashmir and Ladakh. India contests the agreement, which includes land
that is part of Jammu & Kashmir.
Possibly the first person to articulate the idea of a “trade and energy corridor” from Gwadar
overland into China, was Musharraf. The Pakistan-China relationship, he was arguing, should be
about more than simply providing an easy market for Chinese goods. At the time, China was
sinking money in Gwadar port, but many dismissed much greater Chinese involvement in
Pakistan’s economy (other than in defence production) as a pie in the sky because of Pakistan’s
security situation. The CPEC, with its energy, finance, information technology and
communications components, along with security and political dimensions, is an upgrade many
times over of that basic idea of Pakistan offering its strategic location in exchange for

Pakistan’s great moment in international diplomacy came when it facilitated Henry Kissinger’s
secret ice-breaking visit to China in 1971, laying the ground for a visit by President Richard
Nixon the following year. It went on to also act as the bridge between China and the Arab world,
starting with Saudi Arabia.
But through the years, Pakistan has also learnt not to take China for granted. It suffered a
stunning blow in 1971, months after it had helped the US and China find each other again, when


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contrary to expectations of both Pakistan and the US, and to the dismay of both, China kept out
of the war that led to the birth of Bangladesh.
CPEC, China, pakistan, China-Pakistan, Belt and road, belt and rod initiative, Pervez Musharraf,
lal masjid, NSG, Pakistan, Nehru, jawaharlal nehru, Chinese president, Though Nehru, seen in
Beijing with Chairman Mao in 1954, enthusiastically embraced China, it was the relationship
with Pakistan that the Chinese quickly came to value much more.
Pakistan also watched with worry as India and China re-established diplomatic relations in 1978
after a long hiatus. Through the 1980s and ’90s, as India-China relations improved through trade
even as they talked on the boundary dispute, the Chinese leadership’s firm casting of Kashmir as
a bilateral dispute was a bitter pill for Pakistan.
China has held on to this position, reiterating it time and again, including after its ambassador to
Pakistan suggested last year that his country supports Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.
China also refused to offer nuclear guarantees to Pakistan after India’s 1998 nuclear tests, which
Beijing condemned in harsh language, and dismissed contemptuously India’s position that its
nuclearisation was to counter the threat from China. When Pakistan tested its own devices, China
expressed “deep regret”.
During the Kargil conflict, China refused to give Pakistan any overt lift.
Seeking to balance its growing relations with India, China signed a Treaty of Peace, Co-
operation and Friendship with Pakistan in 2005 during the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao, which
one former Pakistani ambassador to China described as “a legal framework that has converted an
old friendship into marriage”.

Andrew Small, author of The China-Pakistan Axis, contends it was China that kindled Pakistan’s
interest in the use of proxies against India, quoting from a meeting between Zhou Enlai and
Ayub Khan, at which the Chinese Premier urged Pakistan to take up guerrilla warfare. He also
cites China’s own use of proxies in the Northeast, and how Pakistan, when it still had the eastern
wing, collaborated with the Chinese on building these up. China also supplied arms and
ammunition to Pakistan and US-backed mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Where it comes to protecting its interests, Beijing has drawn a red line on Islamist irregulars such
as the East Turkestan Independence Movement, which it has held responsible for terror attacks in
Xinjiang. But as was evident from the Lal Masjid episode, it does not publicly denounce
Pakistan for Uighur safe havens in north Waziristan or Afghanistan.
In the wave of international condemnation after the Mumbai attacks of 2008, China was
unsympathetic to Pakistan, lifting its technical hold on the Security Council 1267 designation of
Jamaat-ud-dawa and its chief, Hafiz Saeed. But it has refused to do this in the case of Jaish-e-
Muhammad founder Masood Azhar.
In India, each Chinese rap on the knuckle for Pakistan, or each episode of Chinese protection for
its client, tends to be viewed as representative of the whole of their relationship. In reality, the
China-Pakistan relationship is greater than the sum of these parts, one that has endured nearly 7
decades of changes in the geopolitical and strategic interests of both countries.

In recent weeks, an advertisement for a famous Pakistani masala brand was viral on social
media. It showed a Chinese couple in Karachi, the husband telling the depressed-looking wife
that she should try and make friends in the neighbourhood. The wife then makes a biryani using


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the said masala, and takes it across to the neighbours’, where she is received like a long lost
family member. The ad isn’t inaccurate in depicting Pakistanis as being emotional about their
relationship with China.
Most countries in South Asia and beyond now view ties with China as a strategic necessity, but
remain distrustful of the Asian superpower. In Sri Lanka and Myanmar, people are putting tough
questions to their governments on deals that seem to benefit the Chinese more. Never so in
Pakistan. Despite the obvious absence of cultural bonds, it is only in Pakistan that there is so
much people love for China. When Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Islamabad in 2005, such was
the “people’s” welcome that he was moved to add “sweeter than honey” to the usual frothy
allusion to mountains and oceans. CPEC might well add another: a relationship stronger than


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Pak-China Strategic and Economic Cooperation: Challenges & Opportunities

for the Region

The phenomenon of continuous swing in the global political dynamics besides a shift in power
among the major players of the world, the face of interstate relations keeps changing
respectively. Given the fact, it is important that our understanding of the world should also
evolve accordingly, and we are not stuck with a worldview that has no relevance to the evolving
realities of a world in transition.

Global politics is always characterized with three tendencies; namely, cooperation, competition,
and conflict. It is a continuous process where the state to state interactions through economic
cooperation, regional conflict, intrastate wars, power struggle between two belligerents, alliance
formation for countering common causes of security, pursuance of economic interests through
bilateral, regional and multilateral relations are on the move and further complicated by the
globalization of the world where every state at its best seeks the chances of maximizing its
national interests through various available means.

In the globalized world the rapidly emerging economy of China, which has put the position of
many states on a stake in a world where the competitive economies do not always guarantee
benefits, but also bring up many challenges and conflicts between the developed and developing
and between the rich and poor.

The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan with a cooperation deal worth
US$46 billion, focusing on a broad spectrum of cooperation addressing the core issues like
energy, transport and infrastructural developments has a greater degree of impact on the lives of
people on both sides.

The relationship of the two countries is not limited to the economic cooperation, but a time-
tested relationship based on mutual trust, respect, regional cooperation, and assistance. Both
leaders rightly proclaimed the Pak-China relations as a deep-rooted tree.

The relations of both countries have evolved from being strong strategic cooperation towards
strategic partnership and bilateral commitment of cooperation in the fields of civil nuclear energy
under IAEA safeguards by Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and
its firm commitments and efforts for en route into the global non-proliferation regime.

Pakistan is highly committed to the disarmament and non-proliferation efforts of the

international community under the IAEA, which is expressed by its firmly unilateral cessation of
nuclear testing and with highly sophisticated security mechanism for ensuring security and the
safety of the country’s strategic assets.

The Pakistan-China security interests are also professed to be firmly unified and the strategic
partnership between two countries has a mutual time-tested trust having a deep support of
political, institutional and popular sustain within the masses of both sides. Despite the unfriendly
relations of both countries with India, China encourages and appreciates Pakistan’s eagerness for


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peaceful resolution of all of the outstanding issues with the neighboring countries just for the
sake of a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous region.

Apart from the bilateral cooperation, both countries have greater role in the peace-building and
rehabilitation process of Afghanistan having realized the fact that peace and development in the
region are mostly connected with the stability and peace in Afghanistan. The new Afghan regime
under President Ghani is also desirous to use China’s increased role in bringing the Taliban to a
negotiation tables for a peaceful political solution that could bring an end to the country’s long
fought war against the Taliban.

Having said all this, China’s investment plans in Pakistan are envisioned by keeping in mind the
overall regional infrastructural developments. Therefore, through the initiative of China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC) which include building a new road network along with a railway
line, an airport, dry ports, neighbouring countries like Afghanistan and India could also benefit
from this corridor by linking their countries with this network. Moreover, these plans also
include New Silk Road linking the region with Europe through Central Asia which will not only
benefit Pakistan and China but intends broader goals of regional peace, progress and prosperity
to the whole region.


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CPEC And the Growing Indian Frustration: An Analysis

By now it is widely known that the CPEC is a collection of projects. It primarily aims at
achieving strong trade links between China and Pakistan. This 46 billion dollars project will
allow Pak-China relations to enter a new phase with added economic and strategic dimensions to
it. All this development is closely monitored in Delhi with great unease. They have made no
effort to conceal their unease and have openly voiced their displeasure by condemning the CPEC

However, both China and Pakistan are fully dedicated to turn CPEC into reality against all odds.
This is naturally an alarming situation for India which is finding it hard to curb its frustration
anymore. As is evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at a conference, in which
he resolutely disapproved the initiative of China-Pakistan economic corridor. In very vivid terms
he warned that China should stop developing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) or
be prepared to face dire consequences in Baluchistan.

The same rhetoric could be heard coming from Sushma Swaraj where she vehemently expressed
that India would not allow the route of economic corridor to be passed through Gilgit-Baltistan,
implying that the region is part of India and Pakistan first needs to seek India’s permission to
carry out any activity there.

Both these statements coming from high profile and in service political leadership, raises concern
for both Pakistan and China. The hurdles and challenges are bound to be there. But it will not be
an exaggeration to say that the biggest challenge does come from India. The statements by Indian
leadership do not leave any ambiguity that India is against the CPEC. Not only this but it is
employing different ways and means to pressurize Pakistan to behave on Delhi’s terms.

India is bent upon disallowing the passage of CPEC through Azad Kashmir. India considers
Azad Kashmir as “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”, and it assumes that it has the natural right of
jurisdiction over whole of Kashmir. On the other hand, constructing the corridor through Azad
Kashmir means China considers it a part of Pakistan which comes in direct clash with India’s
stance on Kashmir.

At the same time India feels growingly alarmed at the possibility of China’s presence so close to
India. Once Gwadar port is functional, China not only gets three times reduction in the total
distance that would need to be covered by the Chinese trading ships but China will also get an
easy access into Indian Ocean, thereby undermining India’s supremacy and influence in the
region. Chinese expected naval edge over India is naturally causing unrest among the Indian
military and civil circles.

Not just that but one of the former ambassadors of India openly expressed that the CPEC is
having a sole nefarious agenda of containment of India. Hence is seen as a valid threat to Indian
security and sovereignty where both and China are seen to be working towards weakening
India’s position in the region.

Prime Minister Modi also expressed in his Independence Day speech that people in Baluchistan


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have thanked him, implying that he is more closely integrated with people in Baluchistan. At the
same time his threat about “facing consequences” in Baluchistan, has made it clear that India is
involved in instigating the anti-state sentiments in the province. Furthermore, recently
Brahmdagh Bugti have been reported to seek asylum in India, to which he has received positive
response from the Indian government.

Baluchistan is the main site which holds the major concentration of the CPEC project. Hence
Baluchistan has been the prime target for Indian aggressive interventionist policy. The Indian
Spy Kalbuhsan Yadav was captured from Baluchistan, further reinforcing the validity of this

However it is a fact that Indian frustration against CPEC, China and Pakistan is only going to
grow further, along with the pressure from India against Pakistan. This will for sure add to the
tension in the region for which Pakistan needs to be well prepared all the time and be in a
position to counter it too.

Eventually India will have to realize that the CPEC is not just bringing dividends for Pakistan but
is integral for the socio-economic uplift of the whole region and beyond. Hence staying out of
the CPEC is not going to serve India any good and is not even advisable. The stronger economic
ties will be guaranteeing regional security and stability and ultimately benefit all the states in the
region. This is because of the pattern of interdependence that is created when countries get
engaged in the economic activity with each other such as trade. This also reduces the chances of
clash or war.

Hence instead of being frustrated by this mega project, India needs to see it from a much bigger
perspective where this may actually compliment India’s aspirations of becoming an economic
giant and ultimately emerge as a major power.


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The Port Politics: Gwadar and Chabahar

Both Gwadar and Chabahar ports have a unique geostrategic and geopolitical significance.
Economically and strategically both are vital choke-points which provide unrestricted access to
the Indian Ocean where about 100,000 ships and around 70 percent of the world’s petroleum
trade passes each year. The strategic significance of these ports is visibly clear from the fact that
these sea trade centers are located at the crossroads of international sea shipping and oil trade
routes while linking three regions that are: South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

For India, Chabahar is the adjoining port to the Indian Ocean providing direct entrance to the
Middle East and Central Asia. Chabahar will provide India with an entry to Afghanistan.
Recently Iran, Afghanistan and India reached an agreement to give Indian supplies, heading for
Central Asia and Afghanistan, special treatment and decreased tariff at Chabahar.

For China, Gwadar with a considerable head start over Chabahar, could be a finishing point for
pipelines in its oil and gas supply chain from the Middle East and the Africa, allowing it to find a
way around the crowded nip point that is the passage of Hormuz. Gwadar also opens up the
projection for a pipeline corridor bringing oil and gas to China from the Middle East as an
exchange route to transport oil around the Indian Subcontinent and through the progressively
more disputed territorial waters of the South China Sea. The path will be economical, less risky
and give Beijing greater freedom of action to chase its control over the South China Sea.

Declaration of CPEC brought India yet again in an open conflict with Pakistan. In November
2013, Pakistan handed over the Gwadar Port to Chinese Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd.
(COPHCL) for further expansion. This progress worried India and it started asking Iranian
officials to resume the construction of the Chabahar port. Chabahar is located at approximately
150 kilometers west from the Pakistani deep-sea port, Gwadar. In a way, chahbahar development
by India was a result of strategic rivalry of Gwadar.

Many in Pakistan view Chabahar as India’s answer to Pakistan’s development of the Gwadar
port, associating with China, which is something India should invest in by all means. India has
many strategic and political reasons to have partnership with Iran. India wants to counteract
China and the place it chose in Iran (Chahbahar) is just 106 miles away from Gwadar. No doubt
it is a strong effort to reduce the economic weight of Gwadar.

The imprisonment of Indian naval officer Kulbushan Yadev, along with a huge spy network
carrying out rebellious activities in Baluchistan and Karachi, specified some Indo-Iranian nexus.
Later, arrest of some Afghan spies in Baluchistan further uncovered Indo-Afghan alliance. Also,
droning of Mullah Mansur further brought such facts into the attention, which strengthened
assumption regarding Indo-Afghan-Iran nexus. In fact, this strategic competition represents the
intensity of Indian panic because of Pakistan China economic corridor. Certainly, Chabahar can
affect the timelines of CPEC, prohibiting reaping full benefits of the expected game changer.

Despite the strategic importance of Chabahar for India, there has been very little progress
observed for several reasons. First is Iran’s unresponsive support for the project. Although the
idea was first mooted in 2003, it was only in 2012 on the sidelines of the 16th Non-Aligned


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Movement Summit in Tehran that Iran — then wobbled under sanctions for its nuclear activities
— approved to set up a joint working group to function the port project as part of the trilateral
agreement between Afghanistan, India and Iran on investment cooperation, business and
transportation. A chief factor behind Iran’s unwillingness to allow an Indian presence at
Chabahar was the opposition by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, which
reportedly uses the port to ship arms to Yemen and militant groups in the region.

Furthermore, given the existence of Gwadar next door, where China has pledged to invest $46
billion for CPEC, it is unclear whether the Chabahar route will produce enough trade to justify
the investment. In fact Iran, which has been playing hardball with India and demanding greater
Indian investment in Chabahar, itself plans to invest $4 billion to build a plant in Gwadar to
process 400,000 barrels of oil per day. Clearly, resolving the Chabahar challenge is vital to
securing India’s interests in Iran and beyond. Nevertheless, given the challenges noticeable in
this project, India is unlikely to succeed on its own.

Additionally, Gulf region is in a state of strategic instability and it is difficult to forecast viability
of Iran’s strategic route, including its relationship with India. Competitors such as China and
Pakistan could obstruct or otherwise trump India’s involvement in the project. Expectantly the
development of Gwadar will attract Kabul and Central Asian Republics more.

India wants to get back Karzai type government in Afghanistan which is only possible if
Islamabad’s control is reduced by upsetting the newly formed cooperative relationship between
the two Muslim countries. With the Torkham border tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan,
it seems its designs are somewhat succeeding. However, the Durand Line conflict between
Afghanistan and Pakistan is not new. The greater economic benefits that Afghanistan can reap
from Chabahar, it’s only a matter of time before Kabul will soften its stance on the issue.

In order to be triumphant, Pakistan should exercise effective leadership by employing its

administration, military and diplomacy to maximize the Gwadar port’s potential. If Pakistan
succeeds in this regional game, the Gwadar Port will guarantee connectivity to the world as well
as speedy movement of its workforce, goods and services. And, the CPEC will result in
qualitative improvement of Pakistan’s land connectivity related infrastructure.

Failing to achieve this goal will allow India and Iran to collect all the benefits. Pakistan must ask
China, to sign and announce high-status cooperation agreements and openly announce a strategic
military coalition to help each other achieve common interests, and also to help each other in
case of any violence. CPEC is the game changer and it’s destined to be successful.


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Chabahar or Gwadar, Which one is Suitable for Afghanistan?

The Sea Politics is getting complex with an increase in world’s commercial activities. Now the
world is not only focusing on the militarily important places but it is also in the search of places
that will be productive from the business point of view in future. It is important to note that many
countries in Asia are so huge, that their access to the sea via their own land route for
international trade is very costly. They are searching for a shortest possible route for themselves.
Its example is the mighty China whose western part is several thousand kilometers away from its
seaports of the Eastern area.

Its nearest approach for its western part is from Gwadar port Baluchistan (Pakistan), so it has
decided to connect its mainland to Gwadar through a transport network which is commonly
termed as Pakistan-China Economic Corridor. India strongly retaliated and brought its all
resources to counter it. The recent statements against Pakistan by Indian Foreign Minister are in
fact representing the intensity of Indian pain because of this economic corridor.

Presently, India is taking all steps to reduce the value of this route. One of the initiatives taken is
to build a port in Gulf of Oman at Chabahar at Iranian land. India and Iran signed an agreement
to build this port in 2003, but this agreement was not feasible because of international sanction
on Iran by Western Countries. As soon as these sanctions are over, Iran’s good weather friend,
India is back to Iran and offered it to restart the 2003 agreement of building the said port. It is
important to note that India withdrew from Iran-Pakistan-India after Mumbai attack. It was
mainly done because of international pressure on India to pressurize it to roll back its nuclear
program. Mumbai attack provided a face-saving opportunity to India and it withdrew from this
agreement at once.

Why India went back to Iran to build this port? It is important to note this agreement has been
done after three subsequent events: a deal finalized between Iran and the West, Chinese
President visited Pakistan and signed $46 billion agreement with Pakistan (including Gwadar
Port building) and after Afghan President Visit to India. The finalization of deal between Iran
and the West provided an opportunity to India to resume its agreement with Iran to promote its
trade relations with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics.

Gwadar port however, is under development by China to easily connect its western area with the
world. This port will also be beneficial to Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries. The
development of Gwadar by China is considered to be a part of String of Pearls strategy of the
country. On the other hand, India wants to counter China and the place it chose in Iran

On the other hand, India wants to counter China and the place it chose in Iran is just 106 miles
away from Gwadar. It is a strong attempt to reduce the economic importance of Gwadar. It can
be taken as an Indian retaliation to the agreements signed between Pakistan and China.

The establishment of Chabahar can influence value of Gwadar. The present structure of Chahbar
is not so well. The development of Gwadar will attract Kabul and Central Asian Republics more.
India wants to get back Karzai type regime’s influence in Afghanistan which is only possible if


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Islamabad’s influence is reduced by disrupting the newly formed cooperative relationship

between the two Muslim countries. The present regime of Ashraf Ghani has changed policy and
decided to bring a durable peace in Afghanistan which is only possible if the violence of Taliban
is eradicated. Here only Pakistan can help Afghanistan, so Ghani regime changed its policy.

Which port Gwadar or Chabahar is suitable for Kabul? It is 1237 kilometers away from Gwadar
whereas the distance between Kabul and Chabahar is 1840 kilometers (driving distance). It
means Gwadar is more suitable for Kabul because it is more than 600 km nearer to it as
compared to Chabahar. Kahandar is situated almost in middle as it is 1338 km away from
Gawadar and 1346 km away from Chabahar. If we calculate distance between Herat (the nearest
city to Iran) and Gawadar, it is 1637 km away whereas it is 1358 km away from Chabahar.

Distance between Gwadar and all Afghan cities is less compared to Chabahar but law and order
situation along Pakistani route is not good. These routes will only be viable, if security is
provided along this route. The security condition in Pakistani province Baluchistan is not good
and a large part of all routes to Afghanistan is through these routes. It is important to note that
Indian is playing a large of game to destabilizing Pakistan in Baluchistan. Several reports have
clarified the involvement of RAW in it. According to a statement of Pakistan’s Minister of
Defense Khawaja Asif, Baluch insurgents are using Indian Passport.

Why India is supporting Baluch insurgents, its clear reasons is that because it want to save its

Moreover, India has invested heavily to build road to join Afghans cities with Chabahar. It wants
failure of Pakistan’s route to Afghanistan. If Pakistan’s route to Afghanistan will continue, it will
bring Afghanistan closer to Pakistan which will be not acceptable to India. India wants to play
some crucial role in Afghanistan and it wants to use Afghanistan as a proxy to hurt Pakistan.
According to an Indian Philosopher Kautaliya, immediate neighbor is enemy and neighbor’s
neighbor is a friend.

Today, the pattern of international relations has been changed. Now, India is working on the
strategy to have weak neighbors. India wants a complete hegemony in South Asia. All other
states, in South Asia, except Pakistan, are so weak that they have no ability to challenge India. It
is Pakistan, that is balancing India and if Pakistan breaks, India will capable to play its game
more easily. It can succeed only by searching fault lines and one of the hottest points is
Baluchistan which India is using very cleverly by sitting in Afghanistan. Its purpose is clear here
to hurt Pakistan any time it wishes in future.

A news report is showing that a special cell has been set up in RAW under the supervision of its
chief to ruin Pak-China economic corridor. According to this report $35 million has been
reserved for this purpose. It clearly indicates that India will do its best to hinder the construction
of silk route from Pakistan. Dr Iqtidar Karamat Cheema, a professor of International Relations at
University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom wrote a comprehensive article on RAW
intervention in Pakistan and explained that Indian Prime Minister Modi declared to conduct an
operation in Pakistan territory.


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He further explained that the three arrested militants of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan namely
Khurram Ishtiaq, Ghulam Mustafa and Shamim have disclosed that RAW has been funding
suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and that the Indian intelligence agency has channeled 680
million rupees to promote instability in Pakistan. According to a report of Federation of
American Scientist, “35000 RAW agents has entered in Pakistan, with 12,000 working in Sindh,
10,000 in Punjab, 8,000 in KPK and 5000 in Baluchistan.” This is clearly showing how RAW is
operating inside Pakistan and it is at pain to destroy Pakistani peace.

Pakistan should convince Afghans that Gwadar route is suitable for them. It is an economic route
for Afghans with suitable logistic expenses but operationalization of this route is connected to
Peace in Baluchistan which is impossible in the presence of several thousand RAW agents.
Pakistan must first bring peace than focus on the construction of shortest possible route so that
Afghans can be benefitted from this route. Moreover, shortest possible route to Afghanistan will
be the shortest possible link Hydrocarbon rich CARs. If Pakistan succeeds to bring peace, its
economy will be revolutionized and it will emerge as a powerful country, which cannot be
acceptable for Modi government, but Pakistan cannot keep itself undeveloped for happiness of
Indian regime.


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The dragon in the room

A SOUTH ASIAN crisis is still brewing after US Secretary Rex Tillerson’s speed visits to
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The brief encounter in Islamabad confirmed the gulf in
Pakistan-US positions.

What the US and India want from Pakistan is impossible for it to deliver.

The US has decided to ‘stay on’ indefinitely in Afghanistan. It knows it cannot defeat the Afghan
Taliban. It is unwilling to accept an equitable political settlement. It wants to utilise Afghanistan
as a base to contain China, resist Russia, push back Iran and coerce Pakistan to target the Afghan
Taliban, in particular the Haqqanis, in order to make its ‘stay’ in Afghanistan as ‘comfortable’ as
possible. The US also wants Pakistan to suppress the Kashmiri militants and restrain its nuclear
and missile programmes. These latter aims are, of course, fully shared by India.

In his public remarks, Tillerson cloaked US demands in the garb of concern for Pakistan’s
stability. In fact, Pakistan is most certain to be destabilised if it accepts the US and Indian

In the Zarb-i-Azb and subsequent operations, Pakistan expelled the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani
fighters from its soil. Some Taliban leaders periodically cross into Pakistan, Iran and other
neighbouring countries. In the past, Washington encouraged Pakistan to maintain contacts with
Taliban leaders to promote a political settlement in Afghanistan. Now, however, it wants
Pakistan to kill or capture them.

In the crisis unfolding, China could do several things to support Pakistan.

If Pakistan does start doing so, it would produce two outcomes: one, the Afghan Taliban would
join the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaatul Ahrar and the militant Islamic State group in perpetrating
terrorism against Pakistan; and two, it would foreclose the possibility of a political settlement in
Afghanistan since there would be no one left in the insurgency with the authority or stature to
negotiate such a settlement. This will prolong Afghanistan’s civil war, the suffering of its people
and instability in the region.

The consequences of forcibly suppressing the Kashmiri militant groups are similarly predictable.
Two of these organisations, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, were placed on the
Security Council’s terrorism list when the previous government in Islamabad agreed to this
under US pressure. But these groups and others, like the Hizbul Mujahideen, enjoy considerable
popular support in Pakistan. Military and police action against members of these pro-Kashmiri
groups who have not committed any crime will produce a public outcry and possibly a violent
reaction and intensify, not restrict, extremism. A programme for deradicalisation of extremist
groups through job creation and social reintegration is the best option. This would be easier if
India halts its oppression in held Kashmir and agrees to a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s reasonable concerns fall on deaf ears in Washington and, of course, in
New Delhi. Encouraged by US patronage, the Modi government is brutally suppressing the latest


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revolt of the Kashmiri people. It has also adopted an aggressive posture towards Pakistan:
sponsoring anti-Pakistan terrorism from Afghanistan; intensifying ceasefire violations along the
Line of Control; and issuing repeated threats of ‘surgical strikes’, ‘limited war’ and a ‘Cold Start’
attack against Pakistan.

Not only has the US not opposed Indian brutality in held Kashmir and aggression and threats
against Pakistan, it has itself threatened Pakistan with sanctions, drone strikes and military
intervention unless it complies with US demands. American drone strikes appear to be already
under way. If Pakistan does not respond to unilateral US strikes, India may feel emboldened to
carry out its threats of military incursion. A South Asian conflict could be ignited by
miscalculation if not design.

To twist an idiom, it is time for the dragon in the room (China) to make an appearance.

America’s new alliance with India, its intention to arm India to the teeth, and its endorsement of
New Delhi’s aim to kill the Kashmiri freedom movement, are designed to secure India’s
collaboration to contain China’s rising power across Asia. Tillerson made no bones in spelling
this out in his CSIS speech before visiting the region.

Likewise, the US decision to ‘stay on’ in Afghanistan is designed in large measure to restrict
China’s growing influence in South and Central Asia and, more specifically, to challenge, if not
disrupt, President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Defence Secretary Mattis objected that
the Belt and Road passed through ‘disputed territory’. Tillerson last week criticised the
conditions of Chinese financing for the Belt and Road projects.

So far, China has responded somewhat passively to the US-India strategy. After Trump’s Aug 21
speech, the Chinese foreign minister defended Pakistan’s counterterrorism credentials. The
Chinese foreign ministry refuted Mattis’s comment against CPEC. However, given the anti-
Chinese genesis of the two-front threat which Pakistan faces today, and China’s strategic stake in
the success of CPEC, it appears essential that Beijing extend strong political support to its oldest
‘strategic partner’ and ‘do more’ to equalise the South Asian equation that is presently tilted
against Pakistan.

During all previous Pakistan-India crises, especially the 1965 and 1971 wars, China extended
diplomatic, material and military support to Pakistan.

In the crisis now unfolding in South Asia, China could do several things to support Pakistan:

— strongly endorse Pakistan and the UN’s demand for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan
and help build a regional coalition in favour of such a settlement;

— call for a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with
international law and denounce India’s brutal repression of the Kashmiri people;

— oppose all threats of use of force against Pakistan from any quarter and declare that any
aggression against Pakistan will evoke an appropriate Chinese response;


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— affirm that CPEC’s security is the common and joint responsibility of Pakistan and China;

— offer Pakistan advanced and appropriate weapons systems to defend and deter aggression
from the east or the west.

The forthcoming visit of President Trump to China offers the opportunity for a powerful
President Xi Jinping to convey China’s opposition to America’s India-centric policies and
destabilising demands on Pakistan, and to propose a plan for comprehensive Sino-US
cooperation to advance security and prosperity across Asia, including South Asia and the
developing world.

Kindly go through this article too.



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10. Pak-US Relations

70 years of US-Pakistan relations

In 1948, the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote to President Truman the first message
to America from Pakistan for our Independence Day. Speaking of our two nations, he wrote that
that the “common desire for order, justice and peace, and their equal wish to contribute to uplift
suffering humanity are the best proof, which I hope will lead to the intimate and confident
collaboration of our two countries in all matters for our mutual interests.” For over 70 years,
America and Pakistan have built a relationship based on these mutual interests, including
democracy, stability and security, and economic development in Pakistan and the region.

Our embassy in Islamabad is one of the largest and most modern of our missions worldwide. Its
size reflects the many ways in which we cooperate and shows our long-term commitment to
ensuring our relationship benefits both of our peoples. Every day, my team works with Pakistani
colleagues to promote trade, human development, disease control, economic prosperity, energy
efficiency, agricultural production, law enforcement training, educational and professional
exchanges, and defence cooperation. America has invested in, supported, and expanded this
relationship for reasons of our national interest – as has Pakistan – but the results are mutually
beneficial, as they must be in any healthy relationship. We seek a secure, resilient, prosperous,
and democratic Pakistan that can contribute those attributes to South Asia.

Our security partnership with Pakistan has been a pillar in the relationship since Pakistan’s
formation. Together we promote strategic stability, combat terrorism, and work to help
Afghanistan establish a viable peace and reconciliation process. Since 2001, the United States
has provided about 629 billion rupees in security assistance grants to Pakistan . These grants
have strengthened Pakistan’s counterinsurgency and counterterrorism capabilities, helped
support Pakistan’s participation in international peacekeeping operations and maritime task
forces, provided equipment and infrastructure, and reinforced our long-term military-to-military
relationship. In 2016, Pakistan was also the largest recipient worldwide of US “International
Military, Education and Training” grants for the professional development of the Pakistani

Pakistan’s military personnel and civilian population have sacrificed and suffered too much at
the hands of terrorists. Pakistan’s security operations have reduced the ability of certain militants
to use Pakistani territory to conduct cross-border attacks. This is a justifiable source of pride and
relief for Pakistanis, and we admire your successes. However, we remain concerned that the
Afghan Taliban, and specifically Haqqani militants, continue to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty by
using Pakistani soil to plan attacks in Afghanistan, including on our forces and presence there.
No state enjoys true sovereignty if its monopoly over arms and force is compromised by armed,
non-state actors operating on its soil.

Security and stability start with social resilience; therefore, we focus strongly on supporting
Pakistan’s own strategy for economic growth and development. Our 70 years of relations has
been marked by strong partnership with the people and government of Pakistan in this regard.
Together, we used American grants to help establish key institutions such as the Institute for


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Business Administration, the Lahore University for Management Sciences, and the Indus Basin
Project, as well as build key infrastructure such as the Mangla and Tarbela dams.

Since 2009, we have committed over 524 billion rupees in assistance to advance Pakistan’s
development goals: Energy, economic growth, agriculture, education, and health. Our assistance
also supports Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations, including women, minorities, and
temporarily displaced people. It enables Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism,
meet community policing needs, expand access to justice, maintain law and order, and extend the
writ of the state into under-governed areas.

Since 2011, nearly 33 million Pakistanis have benefitted from USAID’s efforts to add more than
2,800 megawatts to the national grid. In December 2016, we signed an agreement to provide
over 8.5 billion rupees for the construction of the Kurram Tangi dam in North Waziristan. This
partnership will result in the irrigation of more than 16,000 acres of agricultural land and
production of 18 megawatts of electricity, enough to benefit 100,000 Pakistanis. Last year,
America and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa completed the 7.5 billion rupee Gomal
Zam irrigation project. It will irrigate 191,000 acres in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan Districts and
increase business, trade, and jobs for 30,000 households.

Economic development is good for both Pakistan and America. Two-way trade between Pakistan
and America amounted to more than 576 billion rupees in 2015; Pakistan exports more to the
United States than to any other country. In return, America has consistently ranked among the
top sources of foreign direct investment in Pakistan . Small businesses and entrepreneurship can
be catalysts for growth in Pakistan as they are in America. Our embassy supports
entrepreneurship groups and incubators, including the WECREATE Centre, which helps
Pakistani women develop and operate businesses. We want to see continued growth in our
bilateral trade and ever more positive trends in Pakistan’s investment climate. Private sector ties
create lasting connections between the people of our two nations. What is good for Pakistani
prosperity and resilience is good for us , too.

The American people invest more in our Fulbright exchange programme in Pakistan annually
than anywhere else in the world, enabling Pakistani students to gain the skills needed to advance
their careers and build a prosperous and fulfilling future for themselves and Pakistan . While in
America, a Pakistani student is an informal ambassador of Pakistan , no doubt changing
perceptions and helping Americans re-examine some of their own assumptions. When they
return, we know Pakistani exchange students share their experiences. This deepening of two-way
understanding has intangible but invaluable benefits for our overall relationship. There is an
active network of 22,000 Pakistani alumni of American exchanges and English-language
programmes throughout the country. They work together to contribute to their communities and
serve as informal ambassadors of the flourishing Pakistani-American relationship. The highly
successful community of Americans of Pakistani origin also contribute to our relationship. We
are very proud of prominent Americans of Pakistani origin, including Federal Court Judge Abid
Riaz Qureshi and NASA avionics engineer Hibah Rahmani.

Although our bilateral relationship has faced challenges at times in our history, American and
Pakistani shared interests have shaped an enduring relationship over seven decades. In an August


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14, 1947 message to Governor General Mohammed Ali Jinnah, President Truman congratulated
Pakistan on its “emergence among the family of nations” and pledged firm friendship and good
will, saying, “The American people anticipate a long history of close and cordial relations with
your country. We rejoice with you in the prospect for rapid progress toward the advancement of
the welfare of the people of Pakistan .”

In over thirty years as a diplomat, I have learned that the most enduring ties between countries
are those made at the people-to-people level. The future depends not just on our leaders, or on
our soldiers and diplomats. It depends on our people, and whether this relationship can be shown
to benefit their mutual prosperity, stability and security. America is as committed to the
relationship with Pakistan and its people today as when Pakistan was born, and will be for many
years to come.


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US-Pakistan relations under Trump

DONALD Trump mostly acts like the proverbial bull in a china shop. He wants to act strong
without understanding the complexities of issues. During the Presidential campaign, he kept
making outrageous comments on sensitive subjects that reflected his deep prejudices and
misconceived conclusions. Trump ranted against Latinos, blacks, Chinese, and even women. He
painted Muslims as potential terrorists and threatened to ban their entry in USA. While liberal
opinion in USA rejected Trump’s extremist views, he was applauded by white supremacists that
evidently constitute a majority in the country.
During the campaign, Trump also expressed concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, fearing
that they might fall into wrong hands. He received support from American voters of Indian origin
who liked his tough anti-terrorist, anti-Muslim views and pro-business policies. More than once,
Trump promised to be “the best friend in the White House India ever had.” Some pro-India US
Congressmen have been advocating that Washington should declare Pakistan as a ‘terrorist state’
and place it under severe sanctions. Islamabad should take serious notice of a report published in
February 2017 by a leading think tank consisting of military figures, experts and former
government officials (including ex-Pakistani envoy to USA Hussain Haqqani), which urged
President Trump to carry out a ‘harsher review of ties’ with Pakistan. It has advised Trump to
adopt tougher measures towards Islamabad, with the caveat “don’t abandon it, but stop treating it
as an ally”.
The report is entitled “A new US approach to Pakistan: enforcing aid conditions without cutting
ties”. It wants US engagement with Pakistan to be based on “a realistic appraisal of Pakistan’s
policies, aspirations and worldview. The US must stop chasing the mirage of securing change in
Pakistan’s strategic direction by giving it additional aid or military equipment. It must be
acknowledged that Pakistan is unlikely to change its current policies through inducements
alone.” The report lists measures such as tying military aid and reimbursements to specific
counter-terrorism goals and working more with the civilian leadership in Pakistan.
However, some top-ranking officials in the Trump administration have expressed more balanced
views towards Pakistan. In a telephone conversation on February 9 with General Bajwa, the
Pakistan army chief, US Defence Secretary General Mattis commended the sacrifices of the
people and armed forces of Pakistan. He appreciated Pakistan Army’s role in battling scourge of
terrorism. Both reaffirmed their countries’ commitment towards the common goal of peace and
stability in the region, and agreed on continued engagement at multiple levels. Gen Mattis served
for several years in Afghanistan and is familiar with our area.
Last month, during his confirmation hearing in the Senate, he said Pakistan had suffered badly
from terrorism and he praised Pakistani army for its counter-insurgency efforts. He had stressed
need for building mutual trust and evolving an ‘effective partnership.’ He would ‘incentivize’
Pakistan’s cooperation so that it denies sanctuary to extremist forces. In a similar strain, General
Nicholson, the US military commander in Afghanistan, told a hearing in the US Senate on
February 9 that there was a need for a ‘holistic review of America’s complex relationship with
Pakistan’, which would be his priority in discussions with his superiors. Finally, it is notable that
the Trump administration did not include Pakistan among the seven Muslim countries whose
nationals were banned entry in the USA.
This relatively conciliatory stance is due to Washington’s need to seek Pakistan’s cooperation for
a settlement in Afghanistan, and keeping open the transit route for military supplies to that


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country. In fact, any rational analysis by experts in US govt departments would bring conclusion
that Pakistan cannot be ignored because of its key geostrategic location, its nuclear capability, its
close ties with China and its role, for better or for worse, in war against terror, particularly in
Note should also be taken of President-elect Trump’s telephone conversation with Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif, which indicated that Trump had good personal associations with
Pakistanis over a period of time. He had called Pakistanis as ‘one of the most intelligent,
exceptional and fantastic people’. Trump had assured Sharif of his help in finding solution of
outstanding problems. While Islamabad’s ill-advised decision to make this conversation public
did not go well with Trump, his liking for Pakistani people can be seen as something quite
positive. It is possible that Islamabad’s recent decision to detain Hafiz Saeed, dubbed as a
terrorist by the US and the UN, was done to forestall any negative step by the Trump
administration. But this step was overdue due to our international obligations. The fact of the
matter is that Pakistan’s reputation has been hurt due to allegations by several countries that
outlawed groups like those of Hafiz Saeed were using sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch terrorist
operations in other countries. A positive message is also going out from the current naval
exercise being conducted by Pakistan in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi, in which more
than 35 countries are taking part, including navies of 12 countries: Australia, China, Indonesia,
Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UK and USA, while envoys
from 31 countries will observe the exercise. The purpose of this multinational exercise is to
strengthen naval capacity against piracy and terrorism. The fact that so many countries have
joined Pakistan in naval exercise debunks Indian claims of having isolated Pakistan due to its
alleged involvement with terrorism.
It is still early days in Trump’s presidency and it would be prudent to wait before drawing
conclusions. But the old saying holds good, namely, governments come and go but interests are
permanent. Pakistan has its own importance which is likely to grow with the expected
implementation of CPEC. It will not be in US national interest to ignore or alienate Pakistan.
However, we must also come to terms with the reality that the US strategic ties with India will
continue to grow due to its global interests. Nor should we forget another reality viz. Pakistan
must eradicate the curse of terrorism for its own survival as well as for improving ties with
neighbours and other countries.


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Future Of Pak-US Relations?

As Pakistan finds itself in the crosshairs of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Afghan strategy,
cracks continue to deepen in Pak-US relations.

It has been over six years since Washington turned from rosy to thorny in its approach to
Pakistan after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Taliban chief Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil, but the
announcement about President Trump’s Afghan strategy on Monday night put an even heavier
strain on Pak-US relations. In a televised address to the nation, Trump unveiled his long-awaited
strategy on the handling of the deadly war in Afghanistan, which is the longest war in America’s
history and has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 U.S. troops since 2001.

In his remarks about the Afghan crisis, Trump saved his harshest words for Pakistan, warning
that he would cut financial aid and security assistance to its decades-old South Asian ally if it
doesn’t stop providing “safe havens” to “agents of chaos.” The U.S. President also warned that
Islamabad had “much to lose” by continuing to harbor terrorists

His remarks sparked a furious response in Pakistan, where Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan
Abbasi rejected his allegations and called his Afghan strategy an attempt “to scapegoat Pakistan”
during a high-level meeting of Pakistan’s national security committee.

The future of Pak-US relations remains undecided, as pressure on Islamabad is mounting. For
months, senior U.S. officials in the Trump administration have criticized Islamabad for allegedly
providing safe havens to militants and not taking sufficient action against the Haqqani Network

The White House is said to be considering options to strong-arm Pakistan into fighting terrorists
on its own soil. Some analysts suggest that Islamabad could be declared a state sponsor of
terrorism by the U.S. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has publicly hinted that it is
considering stripping Pakistan of its non-NATO ally status.

This was the sentiment voiced by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, less than 24
hours after Trump unveiled his Afghan strategy.

Tillerson warned that Pakistan’s status as a privileged military ally of the U.S. will be removed if
it continues to harbor militants on its soil, a claim Islamabad has long rejected. However,
Tillerson stressed that Washington would “work with Pakistan in a positive way” if it changes its
approach to dealing with militants.

As Pakistan walks a diplomatic tightrope amid strained Pak-US relations, tensions could reach an
unprecedented level. Some analysts say Trump’s Afghan strategy could lead to an “uptick” in
U.S. drone attacks on Pakistani soil, according to Aljazeera’s Asad Hashim.

The U.S. has carried out drone strikes inside Pakistan without its official consent before; four
such attacks have taken place in the nuclear-armed nation this year alone. By contrast, data from
the Bureau of Investigative Journalism shows that 132 assaults by U.S. drones occurred in


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Pakistan in 2010 during the height of Washington’s efforts to eradicate terrorism from the South
Asian nation. According to the same source, up to 427 Pakistani civilians have been killed in
U.S. drone attacks since 2010.

Of course an “uptick” in U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil without the nation’s consent would
most likely lead to deterioration in Pak-US relations. However, the possibility of U.S. troops
chasing down suspected terrorists in Pakistan territory could also be in the cards as well.
Trump’s televised address on Monday included an announcement that more troops will be sent to
the region.

Pakistan-US ties have taken a tumble during such operations by U.S. forces in the past. In a
statement released on Tuesday, the Pakistani Foreign Office warned that “Pakistan does not
allow use of its territory against any country.”

In a paper published by U.S. think tank Hudson Institute earlier this year, analysts argued that
Washington should cut financial aid and military supplies to Islamabad and possibly consider
declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. However, that’s one move that many in
Islamabad would most likely view as a point of no return in Pak-US relations.

“The U.S. must warn Pakistan that its status as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) is in serious
jeopardy,” the paper advises.

Being a major non-NATO ally grants Islamabad access to spare military parts and some U.S.
defense programs.

Such radical options may be on the table in the White House if Pakistan doesn’t “appease” the
U.S., which the nation has done “every time it has been pressured,” according to Hussain
Haqqani, one of the authors of the Hudson Institute report.

Haqqani, who is also a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, told The Atlantic’s
Krishnadev Calamur that every “great leap forward” Pakistan has taken in “appeasing”
Washington “has been followed by two steps backwards.” This time, however, it could be an
unprecedented situation, as (1) Pak-US relations have never been so cold and (2) Pakistan has
made a dramatic political tilt toward China lately, a move that prompted criticism in the U.S.,
which could leave no room for “appeasing” its former ally.

Even though Pak-US relations have been strong since the end of the Cold War era, they took a
turn for the worst after U.S.-led NATO forces killed 28 Pakistani soldiers in a 2011 airstrike. For
decades, Islamabad was torn apart by China and the U.S., but the tensions in Pak-US relations
have pushed the nation toward Beijing and away from Washington.

In fact, China has already replaced the U.S. as Pakistan’s key economic partner. The total
volume of Pak-US bilateral trade is standing at $5.78 billion, while bilateral trade between the
two Asian neighbors amounts to a whopping $13.36 billion. Additionally, their joint connectivity
project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), offers unique economic opportunities


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for Pakistan and solves its power shortages, something the U.S. has failed to address in the
decades it has been Pakistan’s major ally.

On Tuesday – the next day after Trump’s warnings to Islamabad – Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesperson Hua Chunying defended their “all-weather” friend and praised her country’s
neighbor for making “great sacrifices” and “important contributions.”

Even though the U.S. has cut its aid to Pakistan dramatically in the wake of its allegations of
sheltering militants, Islamabad still remains the fifth largest recipient of U.S. aid. This year
alone, the South Asian nation is expected to receive a staggering $740 million in military and
civilian assistance.

However, the aid plan is on thin ice following the harsh remarks from President Trump. Signs of
strained Pak-US relations are already starting to become evident in the Coalition Support Fund,
where the U.S. withheld $50 million in reimbursements to Pakistan last month.

Pak-US relations have reached their lowest since Trump revealed his Afghan strategy, and now
the Trump administration’s harsher rhetoric towards Pakistan and attempts to strong-arm Athe
nation will most likely push Islamabad further toward both China and Russia.

Unlike the U.S., which has long opposed the idea of holding a political dialogue with the
Taliban, both Moscow and Beijing have stepped up their efforts to involve the Sunni Islamic
fundamentalist political movement in peaceful political talks to resolve the Afghan crisis. In fact,
both Russia and China have spearheaded a series of talks to end the long-standing war in 2016
and 2017. Washington has not taken part in any of the China-Russia-Pakistan meetings on

Some analysts predict Pakistan will fortify its crackdown on militants in the region in the face of
the mounting criticism from Washington, but in doing so, it would not be trying to “appease” the
Trump administration. Instead, Pakistan could step up its anti-terrorism efforts on its soil to
avoid misunderstandings between its own troops and the increasing contingent of U.S. soldiers in

If Washington and Islamabad consolidate their forces to fight terrorism in the region together, it
would also minimize the risk of U.S. drones carrying out unpredictable attacks on Pakistani soil
or American soldiers chasing down suspects into Pakistani territory. Such an approach would
also allow Pakistan to remain a non-NATO ally of America, giving it access to military
equipment and U.S. defense programs.

Sentiment in favor of improved Pak-US relations was voiced by a senior White House official
earlier this week. Speaking to NDTV on condition of anonymity, the official said Pakistan can
still “choose to cooperate with the U.S. and change some of the unhelpful behaviors,” adding that
this is “very much in its interest.”

Pakistan has long been considered to be the key to resolving the deadly Afghan crisis. Thus, sour
Pak-US relations in the wake of President Trump’s remarks about Islamabad having “much to


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lose” by continuing to harbor terrorist elements on its soil would make America’s anti-terrorism
efforts in Afghanistan less effective.

Trump announced plans to deploy about 4,000 additional troops to complement America’s fewer
than 10,000 troop contingent currently stationed in the war-torn country. However, the U.S.
military will still depend on Pakistan to provide supply routes for American soldiers to

In the case of further deterioration in Pakistan-US relations, Islamabad could shut down these
supply routes as a countermeasure against the Trump administration’s shift in Afghan policy,
suggested Arif Rafiq, a nonresident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, to The
New York Times. If Islamabad cuts access to these supply routes, it would prompt the U.S. to
seek less effective routes that would likely entail additional financial expenses and a possible
loss of life among U.S. troops. With the supply routes in Pakistan, the U.S. could make its war
strategy in Afghanistan less complicated than it already is.


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Pak-US relations in retrospect

DR Hennery Kissinger, United States’ former Secretary of State famously stated “In the
international politics, there are neither permanent friends nor permanent foes of a state”.
Following the same spirit, the United States’ South Asian policy is dictated by its own interests
in the region. The 1970’s may rightly be termed as the era of estrangement in Pak-US
relationship. Z A Bhutto, in his bid to reshape Pakistan’s foreign policy, withdrew the country
from SEATO and diversified its relations. During that period, Sino-Pak ties reached the highest
ever and also acquaintance was developed with Soviet Union.
Bhutto endeavoured to materialise a Third World Power and all these developments annoyed
Washington to an extent that India’s first nuke detonation in 1974 triggered no major reaction
from Carter administration. Instead, when forced by the said explosion, Islamabad embarked on
its nuclear program for its own defense, it faced immense wrath of US in the shape of suspension
of its military and economic aid and threatening of assailing over its nuclear installations.
Alongside, President Carter, as spontaneous reaction, acknowledged India’s hegemony in South
Asia and also paid official visit to New Delhi in 1978. The same year, Indian Prime Minister
Morarji Desai reciprocated with return visit to Washington. In 1979, Pakistan withdrew from
CENTO as well and joined the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM). Then eventually came a
landmark occasion for which the Pak-US strategic relationship was actually meant and to be
made use of by the US. Yes, it was the Soviet’s military intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 that
skyrocketed Pakistan’s strategic importance. The US forged strong partnership with Pakistan and
the latter consented to fight as “frontline state” against communism.
End of the Cold-War in early 1990’s caused radical shift in global as well as regional geopolitics.
For US, the expansionism peril from its erstwhile rival was over and consequently Pakistan that
suffered most in the war against communism sharply lost strategic importance for it. She thus
once again fell victim to US’ foreign policy machinations. Selective nonproliferation or, more
suitably, ‘nuclear apartheid’ was a handy tool with US in the store Pakistan’s nuclear programme
was subjected to. And, with a view to force Islamabad rollback its nuclear program and sign
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unilaterally, Washington, under discriminatory Pressler
Amendment, withheld its military and economic assistance including 38 F-16 air falcons paid for
as well. On the contrary, however, since its first nuke detonation in 1974, India had pushed up its
nuclear and missile program and had got a stockpile of most sophisticated nuclear weapons
including short, medium and long range ‘Akash’, ‘Prithvi’ and ‘Agni’ missiles under the
Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) that virtually ignited arms race in
South Asia. But, amazingly, the amendment ibid didn’t have any bearing on it. The 1998’s nuke
detonations by both the South Asian rivals nonetheless evoked US’ embargoes alike.
In the post cold-war, the only perceived irritant left for US is China’s growing power, both
economically and militarily, in the region which it shares with India for having an unresolved
territory-dispute with China. Similarly, for India, Soviet Union didn’t exist anymore to associate
with, nor did the concept of non-alignment find room in the post Cold-War global panorama.
Thus, it is ‘China peril’ that has brought Indo-US relations from almost all time low to the
current close strategic and defense partnership between them. Since India is Pakistan’s arch rival
and adversary, therefore, her coming close to Washington is at the cost of distancing Islamabad
from it. While announcing his much awaited ‘Afghan policy’ last month, president Trump
overtly accused Pakistan of providing “safe havens to agents of chaos, violence and terror”. He
boldly and harshly warned “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe-havens for terrorist


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organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.” On this
pretext, the Pentagon has already cut down 50 million dollars in military assistance to Pakistan
and, following Trumps warning in the policy statement, his administration is considering even
more tough actions against Islamabad.
The blame however is bizarre in the sense that Pakistan itself has been victim to worst kind of
militancy and terrorism and the sacrifices she has rendered since it commenced fighting as
frontline state in US’ declared holy war-on-terror in the wake of 9/11 in 2001 is not a hidden
fact. For Pakistan, it is the same war what she had commenced in union with US as its strategic
partner in the 1980’s. If the US isn’t ready to accept this undeniable fact then what can Pakistan
does except to bear the brunt of the blunder she had committed as ‘fate accompli’. Pakistan
understands that her dream for peace on its own soil can only be translated into reality when
there’s complete peace on Afghan soil also.
Trump also invited India to play a bigger role in Afghanistan when he said “India makes billions
of dollars in trade with the United States ___ and we want them to help us more with
Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.” But, who can
understand better than US policy establishment that New Delhi can be of no use to Washington
or Kabul in establishing peace in Afghanistan. Military presence of US and India in Afghanistan
thus mean nothing other than to have unrest in the region to hinder China’s economic initiatives
like CPEC, One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and also to deter the potential global block
comprising eminently China, Pakistan, Russia and Central Asian states. True, if Trump’s
‘Afghan policy’ and the tones he delivered in ‘tough message’ for Pakistan and ‘praise’ for India,
manifested to rub salt on wounds of twenty million Pakistanis, then he successfully
accomplished this task. Of course, Pakistan is an important and responsible nuclear Muslim state.
In the Pak-US ties, scapegoating Pakistan by US for the sake of its own interests is bygone
matter. Islamabad realizes that in the current global scenario, her cordial relationship with the
global super power is as necessary as was earlier provided these are based on mutual interests
and trust as well.


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The do-it-yourself history of Pak-US relations

Relations between US and Pakistan were first cemented in 1951 when the Pakistani PM visited
Washington and met the then US President Harry Atomic Truman.

Truman is said to have asked the Pakistani PM: ‘Do you do?’

The Pakistani PM replied: ‘Of course we do.’

Truman then said, ‘Done,’ and a friendship was struck between the two countries.

On his return to Pakistan, the PM briefed his cabinet about his meeting with the US President,
saying: ‘to maintain our relations with the US we will have to do stuff.’

When a minister asked what kind of stuff, the PM replied: ‘You know, stuff like keeping the
communists out, promoting democracy and setting up Coca Cola factories in Pakistan.’ It was
this last bit which finally made the cabinet members agree to just do it.

From 1952 onward the US began to supply economic and military aid to Pakistan.

Relations between the two nations continued to grow when in 1956, the then US President,
Duckworth-Lewis Eisenhower, asked Pakistan to do and a very important do.

‘Of course, how can we not do the do?’ replied the then PM of Pakistan whose name has been
lost to history because there were so many Pakistani PMs in the 1950s.

The ‘important do’ in this case was to allow the US to set up an air base in Peshawar from where
the US spy planes could fly over the Soviet Union and see if the Soviets were developing a better
and fizzier version of Coca Cola.

The air base was still functional when Air Water Field Marshall Sharbat Gul became President of
Pakistan in 1959. The US Air Force plane which was shot over the Soviet Union in 1960 had
taken off from this base. The pilot of the plane, Lieutenant Tom Cruise, is reported to have
spotted a cola factory near Moscow when his plane was shot down by a Soviet surface-to-air—
then-back-to-surface missile.

In 1964 the US doubled its economic and military aid to Pakistan and also promised that it would
share with the Pakistani scientists the secret Coke formula if Pakistan continued to do stuff.
When the Indian intelligence agency RAWT managed to get hold of this information, the Indian
Prime Minister Sri Chandan MohanPapaya, ordered his country’s armed forces to attack the
Pakistani city of Lahore.

President Sharbat Gul asked the US to do for Pakistan what Pakistan had being doing for the US.
But to Pakistan’s surprise, the US did not provide Pakistan with the military support that it had
pledged. Many believed that a plot was being hatched to dismember Pakistan with the help of
India, Israel and maybe even Iceland.


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In a statement released by the White House, US President Lyndon B. Johnson & Jonson said:
‘The US has always desired peace in the Middle East.’ When he was told that Pakistan and India
were not in the Middle East but South Asia, Johnson & Johnson said, ‘well, there was already a
war going on in the South Asian country of Vietnam.’ When told that Vietnam was in South East
Asia and not South Asia, Johnson & Johnson said that he was misled by his 4th grade geography
teacher, Mrs. Patricia Wood, who he now believed might have been a communist spy.

After the 1965 war between Pakistan and India ended in a stalemate, relations between the US
and Pakistan began to nosedive. However, relations between the two countries improved when
Sharbat Gul resigned and handed over power to Gen Kublai Khan. In 1971, the new Pakistani
leader facilitated US President John Wayne’s historical visit to a Chinese restaurant in Karachi.

This was the beginnings of the thawing of relations between the US and communist China which
hated communist Soviet Union just like capitalist US did which hated communism in general but
was now kind of okay with Chinese communism.

Gen Kublai was a tad confused by the maneuver but he did say that he enjoyed the chicken corn
soup at the restaurant a lot.

Nevertheless, in 1971, when a civil war erupted in Pakistan’s eastern wing India entered the fray
triggering another war between the two countries. Gen Kublia sent an urgent message to
President Wayne: ‘Do?’

The US President replied: ‘No can do.’

The US refused to lift the arms embargo. By now, a majority of Pakistanis were convinced that
indeed a plan was afoot to dismantle Pakistan with the help of India, Israel, Iceland, and maybe
even Ireland.

Pakistan’s president issued a short but strongly worded statement against the embargo. In it he
stated: ‘This is a strongly worded statement against the US arms embargo.”

The White House was quick to respond. US President John Wayne assured Khan that the US
remained to be a strong ally of Pakistan and saw its existence as vital for the stability of the East
African region.When told that Pakistan was in South Asia and not East Africa, President Wayne
asked, ‘how come nobody tells me these things?’

It turned out that his 4th grade geography teacherwas also Mrs. Patricia Wood.

Mrs. Patricia Wood who taught geography to two future US presidents. Both went on to believe
that she might have been a Soviet spy.

Mrs. Patricia Wood who taught geography to two future US presidents. Both went on to believe
that she might have been a Soviet spy.

Relations between the US and Pakistan remained somewhat steady during the populist regime of


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Prime Minister Mao Tse Bhutto in the 1970s. Pakistan did not do much and the US didn’t ask it
to do much. This is exactly what President Wayne’s Secretary of State Henry Bukowski wrote in
his book, Much Ado About Nothing.

But things in this respect began to change again when Democratic Party candidate, Jeramiah
Corny Carter won the 1977 US Presidential election. The US intelligence agency, the CAIO,
briefed him, suggesting that Bhutto was planning to nationalize all Coke factories in Pakistan
and maybe even making a stronger, fizzier cola.

In a brief message to Bhutto, President Corny Carter wrote: ‘Don’t do.’

In an equally brief reply, Bhutto wrote: ‘Don’t do what?’

But before Carter could write back, Bhutto’s regime was toppled by Gen Nasimul Hijazi. Then
in 1979, Soviet troops invaded the Maldives.

In 1980 when Ronald McDonald replaced Carter as President, he asked Gen Hijazi ‘to do stuff.’
Hijazi complied because he saw the Soviets the same way President Ronald McDonald did i.e. as
evil people who didn’t believe in Santa.

In 1981, Pakistan and the United States agreed on a $3.2 billion military and economic assistance
program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the Soviets in the Maldives. President Ronald
McDonald hoped that the US and Pakistan could work together to once and for all eradicate the
communist menace from the Australasia region. When told that Pakistan was in South Asia, the
President remarked, ‘but communism is everywhere.’ He then added that the US will go to any
length to save the sanctity of Santa.

Hijazi turned Pakistan into an entirely pious nation which also helped him make the country the
launching pad for an equally pious insurgency against Soviet forces in the Maldives. The
insurgency was largely funded by the US, Saudi Arabia and Santa Clause. It was navigated by
the Hijazi regime in Pakistan. It was all very groovy.

In a personal message to President Hijazi, President Ronald McDonald said: ‘Doing awesome.’

Hijazi replied: ‘We can do more.’

To which President McDonald responded: ‘Please do, please do.’

However, in the late 1980s, when the insurgency became a stalemate, the US asked Pakistan to
‘do peace.’ Hijazi was livid: ‘But we can still do more.’

‘Nothing doing,’ the US insisted.

After the insurgency ended in 1989 and Soviet troops quit the Maldives and democracy returned
to Pakistan and all kinds of nuts began trying to form a government in the Maldives, the US


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completely disengaged itself from the region. Its message to Pakistan: ‘Now do whatever you
want to do with it.’

In 1998 relations between the US and Pakistan hit rock-bottom when Pakistan tasted its own
indigenous cola. India had done the same. Coco Cola and Pepsi protested and US President
Fleetwood Mac imposed severe economic sanctions on Pakistan.

Prior to the tragic 9/11 attacks in New York, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were key supporters of
the Teletubbies in the Maldives. The Teletubbies are a large group of herdsmen who were
convinced that goats were more valuable than women. By 1996, they were ruling the Maldives.

Rise of the terrorism and new US President W G. Grace’s wish to bomb everything that moved
made the US bring Pakistan back into its do-orbit. The new Pakistani President Gen Matiullah
Abideen received a call from US President WG Grace. The transcript of the phone call was
recently leaked by the National Geographic:

In June 2004, President Grace designated Pakistan as a major ally. The US began dishing out
millions of dollars’ worth of economic and military aid. In a message to Pakistanis, President
Grace said: ‘Doing awesome, dudes. Keep doing.’

The Pakistanis replied by setting fire to US flags and hailing the Teletubies as the true saviors of
their pious nation.

But by 2008 US was accusing Pakistan of playing a double game. It believed that Pakistan
wasn’t doing enough to go after the Teletubies. New US President Denzel Washington asked the
new Pakistani President and PM and military chief to ‘do more.’

‘We are doing’ Pakistan kept on saying, but the US continued to ask for more: ‘Dil Mangey Aur,
dil mangey aur,Dil mangey aur …’

All the while the Teletubbies got bigger, fatter and badder. Until the concerned Americans
elected a decisive man as their new President: Don Hump.

Blessed by Santa, President Hump in his infinite wisdom – fueled by his love for wrestling, game
shows and the colour orange – decided that the best way to tackle rabid Muslim radicalism was
through fanatical Hindu nationalism.


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11. Pak-China-Russia and now Turkey Alliance

China, Russia And Pakistan: New Superpower Triangle

The world is approaching what is often referred to as Doomsday. In other words, the World War

China, Russia and Pakistan may have just formed an unofficial alliance to counter America’s
global dominance. China, Russia, Pakistan and other authoritarian counties in Central Asia could
join their forces to try and take away Washington’s dominance.

The U.S., meanwhile, is not twiddling its thumbs either. Washington has a number of allies in
Asia, including Japan, all of whom are ready to jump into the fire and die for the Americans on
the battlefield.

If that happens and China, Russia and Pakistan would go to war against the U.S., Japan, the
European Union and their allies, one way or another, either side would put its nuclear weapons to

And given the fact that Russia, China and Pakistan have about 7,620 nuclear warheads
combined, the United States would lose that nuclear war even before some guy in Pentagon
would open his mouth to say, ‘Look, it’s a nuc…’

Bipolar nuclear world: China, Russia and Pakistan vs. U.S. and allies

There are a number of reasons why we’re coming toward a bipolar world with Russia, China and
Pakistan on one side and the United States and its allies on the other side.

First, Russia has been actively strengthening its military ties with both China and Pakistan. In
fact, Russia has just received a crucial support from China on the most important global issue of
our time: Syria.

But what’s even more concerning is that Russia has been strengthening its diplomatic and
military ties with Pakistan, its Cold War rival. Having both China and Pakistan on their side
would get Russia a serious advantage in an imminent nuclear war against the U.S.

Second, China has been very supportive of not only Russia, but also Pakistan lately. In fact,
Pakistan has always been China’s traditional ally and Beijing has always protected Islamabad
against its historical rival, India.

Third, Beijing, Moscow and Islamabad see the need to form the China-Russia-Pakistan triangle,
because it would finally allow them to put an end to U.S. global dominance.

And the U.S. is particularly weak right now, as the country is divided over its upcoming
presidential election. The Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton polls clearly indicate that the
country has never been so divided before, and it makes it look weak from the outside.


PAK MCQS PK www.pakmcqs.com.pk

And since Russian President Vladimir Putin is known for his sophisticated plans to attack
enemies at the most inopportune times for them, there is a high chance Russia would seek
China’s military support to strike their mutual enemy.

A few weeks back, Russia sent a contingent of its soldiers to hold Pak-Russian military drills.
The move was interpreted as Putin’s excuse to send his ground forces into Pakistan to protect his
ally against India.

The drills came at a time when tensions between Pakistan and India reached its peak level
following an attack on the Uri military camp in India-held Kashmir.

Nuclear-powered India with or against U.S.?

India, which has nuclear weapons on its own, is actually a crucial player in the imminent bipolar
world. While India has previously slammed Russia for its ever-growing ties to Pakistan, it’s still
not so quick to jump into the bed with the United States.

Earlier this year, India rejected an offer from the U.S. to join naval patrols in the South-China
Sea alongside Japan and Australia. Patrolling the South-China Sea alongside Japan would mean
the end of India’s diplomatic relations with China, the move that India is definitely not prepared
to do.

Even though India has been criticizing Russia for its military cooperation with Pakistan, New
Delhi has a number of joint military projects with Russia of its own.

So India is sort of torn apart between China-Russia and the United States. But Pakistan has
surely already made up its mind which bed is cozier, and it went with China and Russia.

Pakistan: ‘U.S. is NOT superpower anymore’

Last week, Mushahid Hussain Syed, the Pakistani PM’s special envoy to Kashmir, threatened to
break ties with Washington and officially cozy up to Russia and China, because America is “a
declining world power.”

“[The] US is no longer a world power. It is a declining power. Forget about it,” Syed said,
reiterating one of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s diplomats’ recent comments, in

which he said Pakistan would make a deal with China and Russia if the U.S. stays neutral on the
Pak-India conflict in Kashmir.

Interestingly, China supplies Pakistan with more weapons than any other country in the world.
But more importantly, Beijing is actively building nuclear reactors in Pakistan, which means
China wants to strengthen its allies and prepare them for a possible war with the West.

When the U.S. and many other countries signed the NPT Treaty in 1996, neither India nor


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Pakistan signed it. And as tensions on the India-Pakistan border continue to grow every week,
one of the sides could actually resort to nuclear weapons.

And it’s more likely that Pakistan would make its nuclear move first, because it knows it has the
military support from China and Russia. In fact, Beijing has already pledged to help Pakistan in
the case of any foreign aggression.

Can U.S. survive China’s alliance with Russia?

While the Russians haven’t made those pledges to Pakistan yet, it doesn’t take a Sherlock
Holmes to predict that Russia would side with China in any international conflict.

China, Pakistan and India all possess ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and sea-based nuclear
weapons, which means it would be interesting if India could side with China and its historical
rival Pakistan after all.

India has no idea whether it can or cannot rely on receiving any sort of help from the U.S. And
while the country is stronger than Pakistan in terms of its army power, Pakistan has more nuclear
weaponry than India, which means A LOT in any global conflict.

And the thing is that the U.S. has no idea if India would side with them in an international
conflict either. So if there will be a nuclear confrontation between the U.S. on one side, and the
China-Russia-Pakistan triangle on the other side, there is a high probability that the U.S. would
be the defeated side.


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Once a US Ally, Pakistan Now Looks to China, Russia

Once a key ally in the U.S. war on terrorism, Pakistan finds itself increasingly isolated from
Washington amid allegations that it harbors more than a dozen terrorist groups. Instead, it has
been steadily cozying up to China and Russia.

Both of America’s primary rivals have been taking advantage of Pakistan’s paranoia about India,
and gaps in Washington’s global influence as President Donald Trump continues to form his
foreign policy in the strategic region.

Pakistan’s relations with three of its four neighbors — Afghanistan, India and Iran — are at a
low point. And instead of trying to rein in extremism, the government appears to be feeding the
growing conservative movement with no sign of backing off a controversial blasphemy law that
has led to repeated mob violence.

Experts say 13 of the approximately 60 U.S.-designated global terrorist organizations are based
in Pakistan, mostly in the tribal region that borders Afghanistan.

Major militant groups include the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network, along with
Laskar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Jundullah. And despite denials that Islamic State has
a presence in the country, the terror group has claimed responsibility for recent attacks there.

Two U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation last September to designate Pakistan a terror state
over its inability to curb homegrown militancy and the threat it poses to its neighbors.
Republicans Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher accused Pakistan of harboring global terrorist
leaders and supporting terror groups, including the Haqqani Network, which targets Afghan and
U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Pakistan should be
designated as a state that is sponsoring terrorism.

"The Haqqani Network, which is an ally of al-Qaida and Taliban extremists, has operated as
Pakistan's proxy," Khalilzad told VOA recently. "If Pakistan refuses to move against the
Haqqani Network sanctuaries, the U.S. should consider actions against the sanctuaries, including
striking them."

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States in 2008-11 and now director for
South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington, has advice for Trump.
"... for Pakistan, the alliance has been more about securing weapons, economic aid and
diplomatic support in its confrontation with India,” Haqqani wrote recently in an op-ed column
in The New York Times.

“The Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration
forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off
support for the Afghan Taliban. … Mr. Trump must now consider alternatives,” Haqqani wrote.


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Pakistan also has done little about the thousands of unregistered Islamic schools known as
madrassas, which are linked to an increase in militancy in the Afghan-Pakistan region. The
schools nurture militant ideology and are known to provide foot soldiers for the Taliban.

Instead, Pakistan has portrayed itself as a victim of terrorism and a staunch ally in the U.S.

A statement issued after a National Security Committee meeting on Friday in Islamabad said,
"No other country in the world has done as much for global safety and security as Pakistan at a
huge cost of both men and material."

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakariya said the allegations about the Haqqani
network’s presence in tribal areas are mere rhetoric.

"This is only aimed at putting the blame of their own failures on Pakistan,” he said.

The reality on the ground is different. Just three weeks ago, the most recent drone attack in
Hangu, a Pakistani district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, eliminated a Haqqani Network
commander. Officials confirmed his identity to local media.

Pakistan has repeatedly accused Afghanistan and India of allowing terrorists to use their territory
to plot and carry out cross-border attacks. Both countries make nearly identical claims against

India blames the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba group for attacks in 2008 in Mumbai that
killed more than 150 people, including six Americans. Afghanistan blames the Haqqani Network
for a bombing in Kabul's diplomatic area that killed at least 150 and injured more than 450.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a
summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Astana, Kazakstan, June 9, 2017. Moscow
has been been making diplomatic overtures to Islamabad, recently participating in joint naval
exercises off Pakistan.

At the center of Pakistan’s actions and policies are its fears about India. The two countries have
fought three wars, and another is always a threat. Both sides have nuclear arsenals capable of
destroying the subcontinent several times over.

Last month, the U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on Syed Salahuddin, the Pakistan-
based chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, one of the major anti-Indian militant groups fighting in
Kashmir, saying he poses "a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the
security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United

Islamabad criticized the move and said militants fighting New Delhi’s rule in Kashmir are
involved in a “legitimate" struggle for freedom.


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Relations with Kabul have taken a downturn this year after terror attacks in Pakistan that it
claims were at least planned by extremist groups in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has closed border crossings for lengthy periods and has begun construction of a border
fence with Afghanistan.

In May, Tehran warned Islamabad that it would hit bases inside Pakistan if the government does
not confront Sunni militants who carry out cross-border attacks. Ten Iranian border guards were
killed and one abducted by militants last month.

While President Trump has yet to come up with a policy to deal with Pakistan’s worsening
quagmire, China has stepped in as part of what appears to be a concerted effort to expand its
sphere of influence. It currently is involved in a major mutually beneficial project to build a
network of roads and other infrastructure from its territory to Pakistan’s Gwadar port in order to
provide a shorter route to the Persian Gulf.

Russia, too, has been making diplomatic overtures and recently participated in joint naval
exercises off Pakistan.


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Trump’s Warning To Islamabad Has Formalised The China-Pakistan-Russia


In calling out the "safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan" as part of his Afghanistan policy, US
President Donald Trump has given formal shape to a reality that has been brewing in South Asia
since Washington fell out with Islamabad post the Osama bin Laden raid.

With both Beijing and Moscow coming out in Islamabad's defence almost immediately, the
China-Russia-Pakistan axis has been formally inaugurated, with the US and India allying in
Afghanistan—as epitomised by Trump's call for New Delhi to help out Washington in the

Washington and New Delhi have been conspicuously drawn toward each other since the 2008
nuclear deal, a similar version of which Islamabad has been demanding as well. However, initial
US policy had been to ensure that proximity with India doesn't alienate its traditional ally
Pakistan, which heretofore had a pivotal role for Washington in Afghanistan.

What the Trump regime has done to chastise Islamabad over Afghanistan echoes the Indian
stance in the region, specifically targeting Pakistan's "jugular vein": Kashmir.
Following the bin Laden raid, the relations between the US and Pakistan became increasingly
acrimonious under the Obama regime. Under the Trump presidency, the Republicans in the
Congress that had already been clamouring to revisit aid to Pakistan—asking Islamabad to pay
for its F-16s last year, for instance—now have a formal outlet to vent their frustration.

What the Trump regime has done to chastise Islamabad over Afghanistan echoes the Indian
stance in the region, specifically targeting Pakistan's "jugular vein": Kashmir.

In little over three months, Trump implicitly equated Kashmir's freedom fight with terrorism at
an Islamic summit in Riyadh, sanctioned the Kashmir-bound Hizbul Mujahideen and its
commander Syed Salahuddin as terrorists, and now officially underscored the problem of
Pakistan "harbouring terrorists" while seeking the solution from India.

Meanwhile, China has continued to forestall New Delhi's move to blacklist Kashmir-bound
jihadists at the UN, as it continues work on the $62 billion corridor with Pakistan, while further
reigniting its own border dispute with India in Doklam.

Moscow drawing closer to Islamabad, at least militarily, naturally overlapped with US angst vis-
à-vis Pakistan. It started with Russia lifting its self-imposed arms embargo on Pakistan in
November 2014, followed by a landmark "military cooperation" agreement that culminated in
the first ever joint military drill between the two countries last year.

In the meantime, Pakistan will be importing Mi-35 combat helicopters in addition to the Russian
Klimov RD-93 engines for its JF-17 multi-role fighters. Moscow and Islamabad have also signed
a deal for the construction of the North-South gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore, to cater to the
ever growing energy needs in Pakistan's most populous province.


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The shaping of these axes in South Asia has been further facilitated by Indo-Pak ties reaching
their nadir amidst increasing volatility in Kashmir.

This formation of hard alliances is a return to 20th century diplomacy and the rigid rulebook that
defined bilateral relations, and which caused wars of all kinds.
With the US involved in direct confrontation in Ukraine and the South China Sea, as on-ground
samples of its longstanding rivalries with Russia and China, the formalisation of coalitions
means the respective alliances could henceforth be backing territorial disputes and regional crises
as single units, drawn against one another and overlapping with the security and economic
cooperation between the groups.

Even so, Russia cannot overlook the economic power that India is growing into. It is especially
unlikely that Moscow would stop its military exports to New Delhi, despite its two-pronged
security antagonism with Islamabad and Beijing.

Another promising ally for the China-Russia-Pakistan axis would've been Iran, considering
Tehran's proximity to Moscow and bitterness vis-à-vis the US, which has seen it join Beijing and
Moscow in condemning Trump's accusations against Islamabad. But Pakistan's own ties with
Iran have deteriorated in recent times, with Tehran echoing the US and India in accusing
Islamabad of providing safe havens to terror groups, and even threatening military invasion
inside Pakistani territory.

Furthermore, Pakistan's unflinching obligations to Saudi Arabia, which is the foundation of its
differences with Iran, coupled with New Delhi and Tehran's growing economic cooperation
along with Kabul—as exemplified by the Chabahar Port—mean that Iran isn't a natural fit for
either of the two groups, especially since Washington is unlikely to diplomatically ease things
for Tehran under Trump, who has signed a "$110 billion" arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

This formation of hard alliances is a return to 20th century diplomacy and the rigid rulebook that
defined bilateral relations, which caused wars of all kinds. But there still might be a chance that
the China-Pakistan-Russia axis might end up being shaped by the common interests that define
it, rather than the ramifications for the states that it alienates.

Even so, with stridently antagonistic voices and policymaking now at the helm in Washington
and New Delhi, coupled with Islamabad's rigidly masochistic shielding of jihadist groups, it is
likely that confrontation rather than cooperation will remain the order of the day in South Asia—
at least in the near future.


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China And Russia Defend Pakistan Against Trump’s Strategy

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Pakistan strategy has rallied allies China and Russia to oppose
the new U.S. plan to address the unending war in Afghanistan.

Beijing and Moscow have come to Pakistan’s defense in light of Trump’s Afghan and Pakistan
strategy unveiled on Monday. In a televised address, Trump slammed his country’s former major
ally for going too easy on terrorists on its soil and warned that aid and security assistance to
Islamabad could be reduced if the nation doesn’t stop providing “safe havens” to militants.

Trump's Pakistan Strategy

Trump’s harsh remarks about Pakistan, which the U.S. has long accused of harboring terrorists,
drew a fiery response from both China and Russia, two emerging allies of Pakistan that have
recently begun working with the South Asian nation on resolving the Afghan crisis.

President Trump, who says he is committed to leading the U.S. to victory in America’s longest
war in history, warned that Islamabad had “much to lose” by continuing to offer safe havens to
“agents of chaos.” The U.S. has lost more than 2,200 troops in Afghanistan since 2001, and
Trump announced that he will deploy about another 4,000 troops to complement his nation’s
fewer than 10,000 troop contingent left in the war-torn country.

Trump on Pakistan

Trump’s Pakistan strategy sparks fury in Russia and China

Trump’s Pakistan strategy vowing “a fight to win” has sparked criticism in both China and
Russia, whose roles in the South Asian nation have grown substantially since U.S.-Pakistan
relations turned sour after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Taliban chief Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani
soil in 2011.

Beijing and Moscow engaged Islamabad in December 2016 to hold a series of trilateral talks
focused on eliminating terrorism in the region. Nearly 22,000 Pakistani civilians and over 6,800
security force personnel have been killed in terrorist violence since 2003, according to
estimations by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP).

Addressing a daily news briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua
Chunying defended Pakistan after Trump’s speech and praised her country’s “all-weather” friend
for making “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” in the fight against terrorism. Mrs.
Chunying also called on the international community to “fully recognize” Islamabad’s struggle
against terrorism.

Russia echoed a similar sentiment on Tuesday. When speaking to Russia’s “Afghanistan” daily,
Russian Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov lambasted Trump’s Pakistan strategy
and insisted that Islamabad is “a key regional player to negotiate with.”


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“Putting pressure [on Pakistan] may seriously destabilize the region-wide security situation and
result in negative consequences for Afghanistan,” the Russian presidential envoy to Kabul said.

If the U.S. cuts aid to Pakistan, Islamabad would barely notice

U.S. generals have long accused Moscow of destabilizing Afghanistan by arming the Taliban,
but the Kremlin has vehemently denied supplying weaponry to the Taliban and has called for a
political dialogue on the Afghan crisis involving the Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political
movement. In 2016 and 2017, Russia and China spearheaded Afghan talks involving Pakistan,
Kazakhstan and several other regional players. Washington has not taken part in any of the
China-Russia-Pakistan peace talks on Afghanistan.

Several senior U.S. officials have warned that Washington may cut financial aid and security
assistance to Pakistan if it continues to offer safe havens to terrorist elements. However, critics
would argue that if the U.S. reduces aid to Pakistan, they would barely notice. Islamabad’s
dependence on American aid has declined in recent years. China, meanwhile, has come in to fill
America’s prior role in the South Asian nation and asserted its economic and military might in
the region.

Pakistan could cut supply routes to Afghanistan

America’s shrinking role in Pakistan and the China’s simultaneously growing role in the nuclear-
armed South Asian country offer Islamabad more room to maneuver amid Trump’s Pakistan
strategy. The White House is said to be considering more radical measures to strong-arm
Pakistan into fighting terrorism, including removing Islamabad’s status as a non-NATO ally and
even declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism.

Any extreme measures against Pakistan would not only push the nation further toward China and
Russia but also trigger potential countermeasures. One such countermeasure Islamabad could
take is closing supply routes to Afghanistan, suggests Arif Rafiq, a nonresident fellow at the
Middle East Institute in Washington, according to The New York Times. This would not be an
unprecedented move by the Pakistani government, as Islamabad cut off all NATO supplies to
Afghanistan after U.S.-led NATO forces killed 28 Pakistani soldiers in a November 2011

Trump’s strategy to drive Pakistan closer to Russia and China

As Trump’s Pakistan strategy eclipses U.S.-Pakistan relations, Islamabad could seek deeper ties
with Moscow and Beijing, according to two unnamed senior Pakistan officials cited by The
Express Tribute ahead of the U.S. President’s announcement. Two officials familiar with
Pakistan’s foreign policy plans said the Pakistani government would have “no option” but to
further enhance its cooperation with both China and Russia.

The Pak-China diplomatic and military friendship has been steady for the past few decades, with
their economic partnership reaching new heights in light of China’s announcements regarding


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the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in 2014. Russia, for its part, has
gravitated towards Islamabad only recently.

The two former Cold War-era rivals managed to put their differences behind them and step up
their diplomatic, military and economic cooperation in recent years. In 2014, Moscow lifted the
decades-old embargo on arms sales to Pakistan, and later that year, the two nations signed an
agreement to expand their military ties, striking an energy deal worth $1.7 billion. In 2016, the
Pak-Russian defense partnership reached new highs with the Pakistani Army and Russian Army
carrying out unprecedented joint military exercises under the name of “Friendship 2016.”

Later this week, a Pakistani delegation is expected to attend Russia’s Army 2017 exhibition, as
announced by Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah last week. At an event dedicated
to the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, Khalilullah also vowed that Islamabad and
Moscow will increase their partnership in areas of mutual interest, including in the energy and
defense sectors.

Pakistan rattled by Trump’s request for India’s help

Trump’s request for India’s help on Afghanistan has drawn criticism in Pakistan, India’s long-
time enemy. Analysts in Islamabad warned that Trump’s appeals to their South Asian neighbor
to “help us more,” especially with economic assistance, could result in even more tensions
between Pakistan on one side and India and Afghanistan on the other.

By asking for India’s assistance in the Afghan crisis, President Trump has “confirmed the worst
fears of Pakistan’s generals: that America is in cahoots with India against Pakistan,” according to
Mosharraf Zaidi, a foreign-policy analyst in Pakistan who was cited by The New York Times.

The Pakistani government has long accused New Delhi of supporting and financing a hostile
political regime in Afghanistan and providing financial support for militants to launch terrorist
attacks against Pakistan from Afghan soil. Critics in India, meanwhile, allege that Islamabad uses
militants such as the Taliban as a means to challenge New Delhi’s growing regional influence.
Pakistan has long denied the allegations that it shelters militants on its territory, insisting that it
takes action against all terrorist groups.


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China, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey Superpower Circle: Reality Check

The friendship between Turkey and Pakistan may have just given birth to a superpower circle
involving Ankara, Islamabad, Russia and China. While Turkey and Pakistan are celebrating 70
years of diplomatic ties, the decades-long mutual trust and cultural, diplomatic and economic
relations between Ankara and Islamabad are also bringing together China and Russia to form a
formidable four-nation circle.

The brotherly relations between Turkey and Pakistan can trace their roots back several centuries.
This very fact has laid the groundwork for bringing together two more nations that could benefit
from a superpower circle – Russia from Turkey’s side and China from Pakistan’s side.

The speakers of the Turkish and Pakistani parliaments met on Monday to discuss strengthening
the partnership between two nations that share close religious, cultural and economic ties. There
are several reasons why closer ties between the two nations can fuel the machine that is the
China-Russia-Pakistan-Turkey superpower circle and power it to run the world.

Turkey wants to join China-Russia bloc via Pakistan

The two nations have signed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of military deals and have
been trading more and more diplomatic trips. But it was Turkey that first sparked speculations
about a possible superpower circle with Pakistan, China and Russia in November. That’s when
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly declared that his country would pursue joining
a bloc dominated by China and Russia and give up its hopes to join the European Union, which
Ankara has expressed interest in joining for decades.

Erdogan declared that Turkey should join forces with Pakistan, China and Russia amid the EU’s
criticism toward the Turkish regime’s seemingly dictatorship policies in the wake of the failed
anti-government coup in July 2016. In fact, the EU has been stalling talks about Turkey’s
membership, something that has enraged the Erdogan regime and motivated it to seek other
powerful blocs as an alternative.

In recent months, Erdogan has publicly enhanced his interest in joining the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) led by Russia and China. If Ankara joins what is arguably the
most ambitious organization in Eurasia, it would be a game-changer not only for Europe and
Asia but also the world as a whole. It could also give rise to the China-Russia-Pakistan-Turkey
superpower circle, which is an even more powerful and formidable political, economic and
military bloc compared to the China-Rus-Pak triangle.

Why is it time for the Turkey-Pakistan-China-Russia circle?

Last week, the Turkish military band Janissary Mehter participated in the Pakistan Day military
parade and was met with a standing ovation when it played “Jeeway Jeeway (Long Live)


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Pakistan.” This was the first time that the military band, which was established in 1299, took part
in the Pakistan Day parade.

Last year, Turkey refused to back India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) while
supporting Pakistan’s membership in the NSG. Despite having close trade ties with India,
Turkey has remained loyal to its brotherly nation Pakistan on many international issues,
including the dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi in Kashmir.

In November, Erdogan visited Islamabad and reiterated that his country is eager to strengthen
ties with Pakistan. His visit came months after the Turkish President visited Moscow, where he
and Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to strengthen trade, economic, military and
diplomatic ties. China and Turkey, meanwhile, share deep economic and military ties, which
means the four nations are coming together from all directions and could even form a four-nation
superpower circle in the coming months.

In May, China plans to host its first major summit called “One Belt One Road,” which is focused
on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The nation is expected to seek partnership support
from Russia and Turkey at the summit.

Erdogan to join China, Russia-led bloc, not EU

Erdogan has been facing an incredible amount of criticism from the West in the past few months,
which would make more sense if his country officially joins forces with China, Russia and
Pakistan and gives up its decades-long hopes of joining the EU, something the Turkish president
suggested a few months ago.

Turkey now has more chances of joining the China- and Russia-led SCO than joining the EU.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said earlier this month that Turkey should expect deeper relations
within the SCO, as Ankara holds vital importance for Eurasia and has been a prominent ally for
the organization. In fact, in December, China said that it would be willing to consider Turkey’s
application to join the Chinese- and Russian-dominated bloc.

Erdogan has loudly declared that Turkey doesn’t need to join the EU “at all costs” and should
instead pursue joining the SCO. His statements come in the aftermath of plummeting relations
and a lack of trust between the West and Ankara after he purged his country’s military following
the failed coup in July 2016. While the West criticized the Erdogan regime’s methods of
punishing the organizers of the attempted coup, Pakistan, China and Russia stood firm in their
support and showed solidarity with Turkey.

Is the Turkey-Pakistan-China-Russia superpower circle happening?

The four allied nations – Turkey, Pakistan, China and Russia – seem to be moving rapidly
towards the creation of a four-nation superpower circle, as each country has stepped up efforts to
strengthen ties within that circle.


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China relies on stability in its relations with Turkey while enjoying a closer partnership in many
areas with Pakistan and Russia. Russia is restoring its once-brotherly ties with Turkey, is
warming up to China on all fronts and is even seemingly abandoning India, its top Asian ally for
decades, to strengthen ties with Pakistan. Pakistan, meanwhile, has been particularly close to
both China and Turkey for decades, and in recent years has started getting diplomatic, economic
and military support from Russia.

Turkey, meanwhile, remains one of Pakistan’s major allies in terms of diplomacy, trade,
economic ties and defense cooperation. Ankara has enjoyed stable trade, economic and military
ties with China, but their bilateral relations are set to skyrocket after China’s support for the
Erdogan regime over the attempted July 2016 coup. Ankara is also restoring ties with Moscow
after their relations took a turn for the worse after the Turkish Air Force downed a Russian jet in


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Pakistan, China, Russia Plus Turkey Bloc To ‘Revolutionize’ Geopolitics

Pakistan embarks on a path to forming a united front with China, Russia and Turkey in response
to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled Afghan strategy.

Earlier this week, Islamabad announced plans for Pakistani Foreign Minister to travel to Beijing,
Moscow and Ankara to hold Pakistan-China-Russia plus Turkey talks on resolving the unending
war in Afghanistan.

Even though the Foreign Ministry stopped short of revealing the details of Khawaja Muhammad
Asif’s visit to the three nations whose positions on the Afghan war are in accord, experts argue
the Pakistani FM’s tour around key Eurasian nations is a direct response to Trump’s Afghan

Three weeks ago, U.S. President unveiled his new formula to resolving America’s longest war in
history, criticizing Pakistan for providing “safe havens” to terrorist elements and warning it had
“much to lose” by continuing to harbor terrorists.

What will China and Pakistan discuss on Friday?

Speaking to ValueWalk on condition of anonymity, a Chinese diplomat revealed the details of

Pakistan Foreign Minister’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, which is scheduled
to take place on Friday, September 8.

“There’s a press conference by the two ministers around 2pm local time (2am EST time),” the
diplomat said, adding that a welcoming lunch and a meeting between Mr. Asif and China’s state
counselor are also scheduled as part of Pakistani FM’s visit. Besides talking about bilateral
China-Pakistan relations, the diplomat said Pakistan Foreign Minister is coming to discuss
Afghanistan, U.S. and India.

Pakistan’s immediate response to Trump’s Afghan strategy

Trump’s Afghan strategy drew fury in Pakistan. Islamabad slammed its once biggest ally for not
acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terror, which claimed the lives of nearly
22,000 Pakistani civilians and over 6,800 Pakistani soldiers. In addition to the massive loss of
life and mass displacement, Islamabad’s war on terror also resulted in tremendous economic
losses amounting to $118 billion.

Experts warned the U.S., which has spent over $1 trillion on the Afghan war in 16 years, that
attempts to strong-arm Pakistan would push it deeper into the arms of Russia and China, its “all-
weather ally.” In fact, both Moscow and Beijing were quick to react to Trump’s harsh remarks
about Islamabad, defending their ally in the latest round of U.S.-Pakistan tensions.


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Pakistan-China-Russia and Turkey forming a united front

In addition to engaging its partners on the Afghan issue – China and Russia – Pakistan is also
bringing Turkey onboard to apparently form a multipolar response to America’s recently
announced Afghan strategy, which unveiled plans to deploy nearly 4,000 troops to the war-torn

Mr. Asif’s visit to China, Russia and Turkey, whose views on the Afghan crisis converge with
those of Pakistan, is expected to bring the four nations together on the deadly conflict and
achieve peace and stability in the region through diplomacy. In fact, all of the four nations
already enjoy close diplomatic, economic and military ties with one another, which lays out the
groundwork for a coherent strategy to challenge America’s renewed military efforts in

Speaking to ValueWalk in a personal capacity, Moscow-based political analyst Andrew Korybko

said the U.S. may “expectedly try to sow discord” between Pakistan, China, Russia and Turkey
through “information warfare” means. “The US wants to avoid the strategic convergence of these
four Great Powers in general, especially as it relates to Afghanistan,” Mr. Korybko explained.

However, the analyst insists that it doesn’t mean Washington will succeed in its attempts to slow
down the Russian-Pakistani rapprochement, which has been consistent since Russia lifted
embargo on arms sales to Pakistan and has been establishing closer ties with the South Asian
nation since then.

While Mr. Korybko argues that U.S. attempts to put Islamabad and Moscow at odds may include
reminding of the 1980s Afghan War and trying to prove a link between Russia and the Taliban,
“more than likely, however, none of this will be sufficient in stopping the imminent quadrilateral
coordination and cooperation between these four Great Powers over Afghanistan.”

Are Pakistan, China, Russia and Turkey preparing a military solution to Afghan war?

When asked if it’s possible to expect Pakistan, China, Russia and Turkey to join their military
forces to resolve the Afghan crisis, the analyst said the four “leading Eurasian states will likely
limit their actions to the diplomatic sphere.”

“None of them wants to get embroiled in fighting a proxy war with the US, but their political
support could still have a powerful impact in giving a much-needed boost to the stillborn Afghan
peace process by rejuvenating it through the Moscow Format,” Mr. Korybko explained.

While the agenda of the discussions has not been immediately disclosed to the media, forming a
united front between Pakistan-China-Russia and Turkey on the Afghan issue is expected to not
only become a game-changer strategy to achieving peace in the war-torn nation, but also help
“revolutionize” Eurasian geopolitics as a whole, says Mr. Korybko.


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Turkey could join China- and Russia-led bloc ‘in the near future’

Turkey’s role has taken the center stage in Russia-China-Pakistan talks on resolving the Afghan
crisis, as the country of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has made a U-turn in its foreign policy
plans lately. After decades of seeking membership in the European Union, Ankara is becoming
increasingly interested in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a China- and
Russia-led Eurasian political, economic, and security organization.

In fact, Mr. Korybko believes that “multilateral and trusted cooperation” between Russia-China-
Pakistan and Turkey would bring Ankara closer to joining the SCO “in the near future.”
Pakistani Foreign Minister’s upcoming visit to Turkey comes as the EU is considering to
suspend or end membership talks with Turkey.

As an alternative to its membership in the EU, Ankara is expected to embrace its budding
partnership with Russia, China and Pakistan. In a reciprocal manner, Moscow has stepped up
efforts to finalize the deal with Ankara regarding the purchase of the S-400 air defense system in

Will Pakistan, China, Russia and Turkey form a bloc?

Although the U.S. seems unwilling to acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror in
the region, Islamabad has been at the forefront of the regional fight against terrorist groups on its
soil and is oftentimes called the key to resolving the Afghan crisis.

Despite the complicated relations between Islamabad and Kabul, Pakistan remains one of
Afghanistan’s biggest trade partners, importing nearly $400 million worth of Afghan goods in
2015 alone.

Turkey has been a vital player in regional efforts to put an end to the Afghan crisis as well. In
addition to Turkey’s defense contributions to Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist groups from its
soil, the country of President Erdogan has also engaged in development projects across the
nation, participating in 850 development projects since 2004.

Turkey’s participation in the SCO would allow Pakistan-China-Russia and Turkey to form a
“bloc within a bloc for strengthening regional integration processes and reforming the global
economic and financial systems,” said Mr. Korybko.


PAK MCQS PK www.pakmcqs.com.pk

12. ECO And Its Future

Trade opportunities and cooperation: Pakistan with SCO and Eurasian


Greater interaction between Pakistan and global organizations particularly within region will
contribute to the dialogue of economic, trade, culture and civilization. The Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, security organization which was founded
by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. It is a permanent intergovernmental
international organization formally created in 2001 in Shanghai, China; and has established itself
as an internationally recognized and authoritative multilateral association.

In the 21st century, the Globalization has increased interdependence of states which enhances the
prosperity and progress. Economic integration and cooperation among SCO members on the
basis of principles of equality and mutual benefits is very important for trade creation,
employment generation, efficient movement of goods and services through greater market

The organization provides the means to share development, progress and prosperity and help in
stabilizing the region. Pakistan's participation in SCO as member will strengthen its economic
ties with Eurasian. The SCO members are jointly counteract emergent challenges and threats to
boost economic, trade and other available potentials for member's states as well as neighbors.

Pakistan has become the full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the
17th Summit of Heads of States held in Astana, Kazakhstan on June 9, 2017. The permanent
membership is a milestone which will strengthen deep-rooted historical and cultural links as well
as strong economic and strategic relations with all the members' countries of the SCO.

China has supported Pakistan's entry in SCO and the membership particularly in the backdrop of
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a flagship of One Belt One Road project
will further enhance Pakistan's importance in the entire region aimed at further enhancing the
connectivity, regional stability, development, economic prosperity and trade with the member's

SCO is now a group of eight countries ie Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India. Among its member states the Russia and China have significant
role because of their global and regional importance as major powers. At present Iran,
Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia are observer members of SCO will get full memberships in
the forthcoming years. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are the
dialogue partner of SCO.

With the expansion of organization, the region has become vibrant covering 60 percent of total
territory of Europe and Asia, will now represent over 40 percent of the world population (3.5
billion) and nearly 25 percent of the global GDP. The membership of SCO gives the opportunity
to Pakistan to create new linkages in the world economy and also expand its trade relations with


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member countries and avail the trade concessional opportunities which are currently under

Currently, share of SCO in Pakistan's total trade is 32 percent which indicates that there exist
opportunities for trade and economic relations. The SCO region not only has geographical
proximity with Pakistan but also provides easy accessibility and makes a very profitable market
for Pakistan's exports.

Pakistan has dynamic relations with SCO members. China is a time tested friend, while Central
Asian countries have historical ties with Pakistan. Russia is also on the way of developing
relations with Pakistan. While mega project a game changer-China - Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) is at implementation stage and also provides market access to Central Asian states.

The development of Gwadar port makes Pakistan an indispensable link for SCO member states.
The Central Asian countries have enormous resources of oil, natural gas, liquefied gas, uranium
and hydropower that could be channelized to market electricity to the member's nations of SCO
such as China, Pakistan, Russia and observer members like Afghanistan and Iran.

In the economic domain, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and CASA-1000 are

important projects for both Pakistan and Central Asian States. TAPI's long 1735km pipeline is
planned to transmit 27 billion cubic meters of gas annually to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India
from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan respectively, with a potential to enhance the capacity to 33
billion cubic meters.

On the other hand, CASA-1000 project also provides a landmark cooperation opportunity
between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The plan envisage export of a total of
1,300 MW of excess electricity available during summers from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, 1,000
MW for Pakistan and 300 MW for Afghanistan.

Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have also agreed to initiate a bus service that would
not only enhance trade but also be an important tool to promote people-to-people contacts
between the four countries. Similarly, Pakistan can attract the investments in the energy and
infrastructure sector in which some of the SCO countries have a comparative advantage.

The strategic location of Pakistan in the region and its economic potential can also help the SCO
members to exploit their economic potential. With the prospects of Afghanistan and Iran and
possibly Turkey also joining the Organization in the near future, SCO is likely to emerge as a
very strong regional Organization and may merge the Economic Cooperation Organization.

A part from trade, there is a huge potential in culture, sports, tourism, education, science and
technology.The Shanghai Business Council created in 2006 with its headquarters in Moscow,
Russia aims to boost economic cooperation in the framework of the Organization, establishing
direct links and dialogue among business and financial circles of the SCO member states,
assisting practical promotion of multilateral projects determined by the heads of government in
the Programme of trade and economic cooperation.


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To explore opportunities of the Shanghai Business Council, the FPCCI may introduce itself in
the Council. This forum will give opportunities to Pakistani Businessmen to interact with the
businessmen of the members countries for trade and joint ventures investment. It is concluded
the regional economic integration may need to transform into cooperative-union in framework of
SCO to stabilize the region and to evolve the socioeconomic prosperity.


PAK MCQS PK www.pakmcqs.com.pk

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) And The Future Of Pakistan And


On Friday, Pakistan became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a historic
day for the country. Alongside Pakistan, India too became a full-fledged member of the
organization that has been dubbed as the New World Order, a Eurasian plan to dominate the

In the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, which was held in Astana, Kazakhstan,
the start of a new regime took place, which is powered by the East. The SCO, for those who do
not know, is also referred to as the European Union (EU) of the East, consisting of major powers
like China, Russia, a number of Central Asian Republics (CARS) and now, the two superpowers
of the subcontinent, Pakistan and India.

Over the period of history, the four countries, namely Russia, China, India, and Pakistan have
never been on the same page. Russia has always sided with India, while China has supported
Pakistan, creating a feeling of warmth and friendship. The SCO gives all four countries a
platform to create unprecedented economic and military ties for the future, which would indeed
curb the forever prolonged lobbying over the world by the West.

Since the last few years, relations between India and Pakistan have been severed due to a number
of reasons. However, the main cause of turbulence between both countries still remains the
Kashmir issue. Indian occupation of Kashmir (IOK) and the constant high-handed approach of
the Indian Army has forced Pakistan to speak in favor of their Muslim brothers, in a bid to give
Kashmir the right of self-determination.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is considered to as an intimidating factor by the West,

namely the United States, as the strength of this organization overpowers the US hegemony
which it has held over the East for the longest time. Powerful figures like Chinese President Xi
Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin provide enough confidence to SCO and its members that the
East can survive without the interference of the US and her satellites. The SCO is considered as
the brainchild and force behind China’s vision of the 21st century Silk Route, which is the
One Belt One Road (OBOR) project.

China has already injected $50+ billion in Pakistan in the shape of the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC). The project, which has often been referred to as a ‘game-changer’ for
Pakistan, has given the country an economic and geographic boost, with the pivot of the multi-
billion project being Gwadar Port, the only deep-water sea port currently functioning in the
South. Literally, every country in the world has shown interest in Pakistan ever since CPEC was
formally announced by the two nations.

Even with Pakistan and India now becoming full members of the SCO, the future and
relationship between both the countries hang in the balance. Only a day after both countries
joined SCO, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa, yet again, showed
complete support for Pakistan’s Kashmiri brothers across and in-between the Line of Control
(LOC), while at the SCO, Modi refrained from talking on the Kashmir issue and Indo-Pak


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relations. The current issue of conflict, however, is that of the Indian Navy spy who was working
at the behest of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), named Kulbhushan Jadev.

Kulbhushan was arrested last year by Pakistani security agencies in Balochistan. The spy made
his way into Pakistan through Iran, where he worked undercover in Chabahar. Upon being
apprehended, the Indian spy confessed to activities of espionage and sabotage in Balochistan and
Karachi, alongside funding of anti-state actors in Pakistan on the orders of RAW. Pakistan’s
COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa sentenced Jadev to death through Military Courts. This move was
challenged by India at the International Court of Justice situated at The Hague, Netherlands.
India approaching the ICJ for the Kulbhushan issue has been labeled as a folly by many,
including a former judge of the Indian Supreme Court, Markandey Katju.

Unprecedented by India, Pakistan currently stands in a rather pleasant situation when it comes to
the Pakistan-India relationship. The ICJ has asked Pakistan to defer Jadev’s sentence. If the ICJ
does find Jadev guilty, Pakistan can go ahead with Jadev’s hanging. However, if they do call-off
Jadev’s sentence as per international laws, Pakistan can then openly take the Kashmir issue to the
ICJ, which India then cannot shy out from.

Apart from the Kulbhushan deadlock, Pakistan and India, after joining the SCO, are now
compelled to straighten their relationship out, with Russia and China, along with other CAR
countries now keeping a keen eye on the bilateral ties between the two countries for a stable
South Asia. What happens next is unknown, but what we can see is that Pakistan, currently,
seems to be in a fit position to tackle any challenge thrown its way by India — even if it means
forgetting the past and turning over a new leaf.


PAK MCQS PK www.pakmcqs.com.pk


Today the SCO is facing two extremely important, strategic problems that until recently were
addressed by multilateral diplomacy and proved intractable because of disagreements between
states. Nevertheless, diplomatic compromises and tools have made it possible to find somewhat
satisfactory solutions.
The first problem is expansion. In fact, SCO expansion has already occurred, and now the task is
overseeing the harmonious (or as harmonious as possible) incorporation of India and Pakistan,
with all their difficult internal and regional problems, into the SCO’s structures, procedures, rules
and politics.
The second problem is how to use the SCO to consolidate the Eurasian Economic Union and the
Silk Road Economic Belt.
Today, the first problem seems settled, but more problems are likely to crop up later. In the
second case, there are problems galore but they seem set to disappear in the wake of decision-
making; either that or the SCO will have to muddle through.
Generally, one has the impression that certain member states are slowly but surely losing interest
in the SCO and are reluctant to look for new ways to develop it.
The growth of China’s economic clout in recent years has made this country an informal SCO
leader, causing political and diplomatic discomfort among some members. Economic power,
finances and projects have gravitated to China, which was a non-violent, natural and in some
respects reasonable process. For the CIS countries, this could have been compensated with
political and security benefits, but the SCO’s performance has been insufficient in this regard
and the compensation is mostly provided by the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
Under the SCO rules, the decision to accept new members is taken by consensus. Sluggish
consultations went on for a long time, with common approaches and positions asserted in various
documents, including declarations, but actual accession was permanently delayed, no matter how
strongly it was urged by candidates, particularly Pakistan and Iran. Foreign ministers asked them
to be patient. Allegedly, the accession documents were insufficiently elaborate or there were
none at all. The SCO secretaries-general cited procedures and rules, and ultimately there was no
Two important events spurred on the process. First, Russia has launched its Eurasian project that
includes the Eurasian Economic Union. China has launched its Silk Road Economic Belt project
that includes the New Silk Road, etc. And, finally, the Greater Eurasia idea was proposed
(EAEU, SCO, SREB, ASEAN and, possibly, the EU, with SCO candidate countries squeezed
in). This was the geopolitical task.
Second, the candidates were increasingly coming to favor freezing their accession bid, weary as
they were of the long wait. This was a very unpleasant sign for the SCO member states, given the
organization’s repeated statements about its openness, transparency, and so on. This was the
geostrategic problem.
US activity in India played a no small role as well, and it was reciprocated by Delhi.
The joining of India and Pakistan and Iran’s planned accession will boost the SCO’s geopolitical
resources and potentially its economic standing. This will lead to the emergence of the biggest
international organization (of the non-integrated variety) in history in terms of territory,
population, and cultural and civilizational diversity, if not in terms of GDP.
On the other hand, this will weaken the already inefficient organizational, logistic and
administrative structure and ultimately turn the SCO into a conference of heads of state. There is


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nothing terrible about this: the majority of international organizations function in the same way
and only a few can claim to be any different.
The newcomers’ positions on what the main members see as crucial and the commitments they
take are also of importance. And this is where a lot of PR problems as well as geostrategic,
political, economic and other discrepancies come to the surface. To avoid them, many pressing
and urgent issues will have to be dropped from the agenda and the relevant documents, including
the declarations.
India’s accession will understandably enhance the importance of the RIC, which will
occasionally (or continuously as the case may be) discuss SCO problems, some of which are
even more serious than within the SCO, which makes consensus between them a crucial factor.
Within this triangle, relations between Russia and India and between Russia and China seem
more favorable and friendly than those between China and India. Can Russia play a mediating
role, given the disagreements existing between China and India, or will this role be assumed by
some other country? The compatibility of these two countries (and Pakistan) will either enhance
or diminish this opportunity.
The most difficult problem is how Indian-US relations will develop after India joined the SCO.
Does this portend new trouble or new preferences? Some changes, albeit not fundamental, are
certainly in the offing.
With India and Pakistan in, the SCO acquires some unique and unprecedented characteristics.
First, it emerges as a community of nations with different political systems. Second, all of them,
particularly the leading members, are on different economic development levels. Third, they are
home to different faiths. Fourth, they belong to different civilizations. But there are other
differences as well. The SCO used to combine these traits earlier, but now its frayed identities
are particularly obvious. Neither the EU, nor NATO, nor ASEAN, nor any other international
organization can boast a similar set of characteristics.
But this heterogeneity is a source of different approaches to understanding the role one’s country
and other states play internationally. Accordingly, it influences diplomacy and political
orientations. All of this will certainly affect the positions of countries within the SCO.
Is this a positive or negative factor? I think, neither. Much will depend on concomitant, non-SCO
factors and circumstances.
Some share of the world certainly hopes that the SCO will be in a position to (1) facilitate the
emergence of a new political and economic order, (2) curb extremism, terrorism and other cross-
border crime, (3) provide economic assistance to developing and backward countries, (4) devise
new or upgrade old rules and standards of international economic affairs, and so on and so forth.
But before following these vectors, the SCO would do well to analyze what keeps it together. Is
it anti-Americanism? Hardly. Fighting religious extremism and terrorism? Maybe. Creating a
common economic space? There is no question of that.
Given these different approaches to international issues and economic cooperation, the SCO
needs a new concept of development that is radically different from all currently existing ones.
Another serious problem is its future cooperation with the EAEU and connectivity with the Silk
Road Economic Belt.
By and large, it has the necessary set of capabilities as a (1) partner, (2) geographical entity and
(3) resource.
As a partner, the SCO is an established and internationally recognized organization with
functioning administrative and executive institutions. What is needed is a partner status. The
question is whether the EAEU will need this partner, particularly after the Eurasian Commission


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has reached a cooperation agreement with China? Greater Eurasia will certainly have a slot for
the SCO, but it is likely to remain a passive observer.
The SCO’s geographical factor is highly attractive. First, this space is “well-documented.”
Second, the SCO space, particularly in Central Asia, needs to be covered by economic
development projects with relevant foreign investment and technologies. Third, its security is
basically satisfactory but there is still a need for a regional collective security system that can be
created jointly by the CSTO and the SCO.
As a resource for promoting ideas and initiatives, the SCO is not quite so constructive due to
disagreements between its member states.
The SCO is at a crossroads. With the Eurasian project on the move, with new members and
others on the way, and faced with new and not always positive circumstances, factors and
conditions in its member states, the SCO needs a thorough conceptual and organizational
overhaul. But this must be arranged between the SCO member states.

Kindly go through this article too.



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13. BRICS and its future

BRICS Summit 2017

As China prepares to host next week’s summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa (Brics), some are questioning whether the club of fast-developing nations is viable
anymore given economic woes and sharp rivalries.

With no unifying political philosophy, the BRICS group has never been as cohesive as other
global alliances like NATO. And with the global economy slowing, some Brics members have
been hit harder than others.

In recent weeks, the competition between China and India has also come into focus with a tense
military standoff across disputed borders in the high Himalayas.

The summit on Monday and Tuesday in the city of Xiamen gives Chinese president Xi Jinping
an opportunity to showcase his leadership and promote his country as a central pillar of 21st
century global governance.

Here is a guide to Brics, its future prospects and what to expect from the summit.

What is BRICS?

A Goldman Sachs economist came up with the acronym Brics for Brazil, Russia, India and
China in 2001 to describe emerging economies that might challenge the West. The four held
their first summit in 2009, and were joined by South Africa in 2011.

Together, the five countries now account for 40% of the world’s population, and have accounted
for 45% of the increase in world growth since 2009, driven mainly by China and India.

The Brics also account for 23% of its gross domestic product — a figure that is expected to
steadily increase.

What’s in store for the Xiamen Summit?

The summit’s agenda—under the theme “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”—includes
discussions on economic collaboration, political and security cooperation and people-to-people
exchanges, and probably also issues of particular concern for China and India like renewable
energy and coping with climate change.

Officials are also expected to discuss setting up a Brics credit rating agency as an alternative to
the big three Western agencies that some nations accuse of favouring Western economies.
China’s own credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s in May.

They may also discuss expanding Brics to include new members, something analysts say may be


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crucial in energizing the grouping. China has employed a “BRICS Plus” approach this year by
inviting leaders from Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand to attend the summit. The
goal was for “a more broadly based partnership,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said

The Brics nations will likely position themselves as advocates of globalization, even if
protectionist elements persist in their economies, especially in China, where key sectors are still
closed to foreign investors.

Their final statement is expected to underline their commitment to globalization—in contrast to

the West’s more inward-looking trend following the election of US President Donald Trump and
the British vote to leave the European Union.

Typically, final statements are “bland” and intended to project an image of consensus, said Steve
Tsang of the China Institute at SOAS University of London.

“You can always draft them. You don’t have to agree with each other,” he said.

More interesting will be the discussions happening on the side. Bilateral meetings between Xi
and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be closely watched following the seeming
conclusion this week of China and India’s most serious confrontation in decades — a 10-week
border standoff over disputed land.

What has Brics achieved to date?

Observers say one of the group’s top achievements is somewhat intangible—shifting the global
power balance toward the developing world, and winning a bigger say in global economic
discussions at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The group is also lauded for establishing the alternative New Development Bank in 2014. This
week, the bank announced $1.4 billion in new loans for sustainable development projects in
China, India and Russia.

Brics nations “have a demographic advantage” over Western nations, said analyst Sreeram
Chaulia, dean of Jindal School of International Affairs near New Delhi. “We have high economic
growth, and in some cases also rising military power.”

Brics also promotes ties between countries that had limited links before. Brazil’s politically
embattled president is eager to court potential investors to help his country’s ailing economy, and
the opportunity to meet face-to-face with other leaders makes this his “most important weekend
on the foreign policy front of the year,” said Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations
at Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo.

The China-India dialogues could help reduce tensions between the world’s two most populous


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Is Brics still viable?

Almost a decade after the first summit, relations between China and India are hampered over
their wide-ranging political rivalry.

Brazil, Russia and South Africa, meanwhile, are in economic recession or in the early stages of

Some see too many divisions and disagreements between the members for Brics to provide
leadership for the developing world.

“Russia, India and China all care deeply about security issues in Asia, but have different
preferences, and in some ways are strategic rivals,” said Scott Kennedy of the Center for
Strategic & International Studies in Washington DC.

In terms of governance, he said, “India, Brazil and South Africa are democracies, whereas China
and Russia are not, and hence, have conflicting views about individual liberty and issues such as
Internet privacy.”


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A Brighter Future for BRICS

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China is not a routine meeting because it comes at a time
when the bloc is entering a new stage of intensive development.

Moreover, it is the place for China to demonstrate its new role in international relations and the
global economy.

The summit also comes at a time of increased political tensions in different areas, both close to
the venue itself – that is, the Korean peninsula – and faraway Syria and the Middle East.

At the same time, US policy seems to be in disarray and there is no clear understanding of how
US President Donald Trump’s inward looking economic policy would be coordinated with the
aggressive interference in other countries, which still remains the trademark of his
administration’s activities despite his intention to withdraw from many regions.

The Alternative

BRICS, therefore, should demonstrate its role as an alternative source of power, derived from the
combination of global rising powers that can contribute to the stability of the world order and
introduce new rules of behavior, and new rules of cooperation on an international scale.

Regional security issues are acute. The BRICS mechanism has already proved its efficiency in
becoming a channel for finding solutions in the bilateral and intra-BRICS political arena.

It was during a BRICS High Representatives meeting in China when Chinese and Indian
officials found compromise to the Doklam territorial issue.

For most of this summer, Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a tense military standoff in
the Doklam area on the Sikkim sector of the India-China border.

Their compromise to disengage on August 28 was implemented just in time so as to not

aggravate the BRICS summit.

BRICS will also be united on issues like the Korean peninsula and the need for a diplomatic
solution to this problem, and on the fight against terrorism as well as other hot issues of today’s

BRICS is in fact presenting a clear-cut strategy of creating a just world order which facilitates an
increasing role for developing nations, including the bloc.

In fact, BRICS is becoming the meeting place for developing countries and the platform for
South-South cooperation.


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The “BRICS-plus” concept introduced by China (to invite five other nations to attend the
Summit) is the innovation that brings to the BRICS process other regional powers on a
permanent basis, and not on a case-by-case basis which it was before.

We hope that it is not a one time event and in the future a sort of “BRICS friends club” will
emerge that will help these countries to cooperate with BRICS on various economic and political

Financial Redesign

BRICS is particularly interested in the financial architecture of the world, and the Xiamen
Summit will help develop the new approaches to increasing the influential role of BRICS and
other developing countries in structures like the IMF and World Bank.

A demonstration of this financial vigor is nowhere more evident than in the increasing activity of
the New Development Bank.

It has adopted its long-term strategy; it just opened its branch office in Johannesburg (South
Africa) and is scheduled to open such branch offices in other BRICS countries.

The Bank has already disbursed $1.5 billion in the first seven credit lines for all BRICS countries
and now is planning to disburse another $2.5 to 3 billion this year for projects as different as
Russian judicial system informatisation and Chinese ecological projects.

The BRICS summit will surely defend the bloc’s position on the observation of WTO rules, will
strongly stand against protectionism and economic discrimination, sanctions and attempts to
downgrade the ratings of BRICS countries.

It is also vital that BRICS brings new ideas into the information security sphere, suggesting to
sign a new intra-BRICS agreement on international information security.

This is a very logical sphere of BRICS’s interest because the five nations comprise the greatest
number of internet users in the world and access should not be a national regulated enterprise but
the sphere of necessity for all mankind.

This is part of where BRICS can demonstrate a new level of cooperation in humanitarian and
people exchange in the science and technology, civil sector, youth, women etc.

China’s hosting of the summit, in line with the Beijing leadership’s commitment to increase
multilateralism and globalization, will help BRICS move further intensively and extensively by
pushing from the project inception stage to discussions, from discussions to signing the
agreements and the real “on the ground” implementation.

That will help consolidate BRICS’s role as a vital player in global governance.


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BRICS – Potential and Future in an Emerging New World Economy

1. Global Economy and BRICS

Peter Koenig: Let’s put the BRICS in perspective: The BRICS are of course Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa. Together they make up for almost 50% of the world population
and close to one third of the world’s economic output, or GDP.

This alone would make them fully independent from the western economy, from the western,
what I call, fraudulent dollar-based monetary system. And it will happen – it will happen sooner
than the world believes. However, with the current political structure of the BRICS, the relative
lack of political and economic coherence, safe for Russia and China, this for the moment is just

If you allow me, let’s backtrack a bit in history, to where the term BRIC came from, and who
coined it. At the beginning, South Africa was not yet member of the association. In 2001, shortly
after the 9/11, in 2001, the chief economist of Goldman Sachs, Jim O’Neill, invented the term
BRIC – as he was forecasting that these emerging economies, spread throughout the world,
Brazil, Russia, India and China – would overtake the so-called western economy by 2041. The
forecast was later revised several times, all the way to 2032 – and now, there is, I believe no
formal forecast, but it could easily happen by 2025, or earlier, especially with the new Oil-for-
yuan and gold exchange market soon to be opened in Shanghai. Many predict this to be the end
of the petro-dollar, and the end of the dollar hegemony.

Then strangely and formidably the four BRIC countries realized their potential and took things in
their own hands. That’s how dynamics work – often totally unpredictably. For sure, Goldman
Sachs and their Chief economist had no clue that this would create the western monetary and
economic system’s most daunting adversary.

The first BRIC summit was held in Russia in June 2009. That was the formal conference to
create the BRICS.

By 2011, the five countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China – plus South Africa were the five
fastest growing emerging markets, and in April 2013, South Africa was added to the BRIC group
– to make it formally the BRICS.

This just as a little historic introduction – to show that the impetus for the BRIC(S) came actually
form a most unlikely western source – Goldman Sachs.

In the meantime, the BRICS are struggling with another reality. For the BRICS to be an effective
alternative to the western economy, or the western monetary system, they need a unified political
vision, as well as a coherent and unified economic development approach, one that distances
itself from the western dollar-euro based system. Unfortunately, today this is not so. But that
doesn’t mean it will not happen. Personally, I believe it will. It may just take longer than the
majority of the world may have liked.


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Both Brazil and India are totally in the hands of Wall Street, the World Bank and the IMF. In the
case of India, you will recall last fall’s deadly monetary fiasco, when PM Narendra Modi
decided to cancel more than 80% of the countries circulating cash currency, and as an interim
step to replace it with other bills and eventually digitalize the Indian economy.

It is not known how many poor Indians perished, those with no access to bank accounts, those
who have no alternative means to pay for food. Uncountable small businesses failed – an
important impact on the Indian economy. More, much more inhuman was the impact on the poor
average Indians. But – Modi followed the dictate of the west, of Wall Street and the IMF – with
a program to test digitalization in a large emerging economy, implemented by USAID. – How
much trust does India under Modi as a BRICS member deserve?

And Brazil under neoliberal Temer, who is under accusation of corruption; he has literally
handed his country’s economy to the sharks of Wall Street, the IMF and the WB. So, when
Temer and Modi stood there holding hands with the other three BRICS members in Xiamen,
China on 4th and 5thSeptember – it looked to me like a club that was united only by name.

Yet, the theme of this 9th BRICS Conference was “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter
Future”. – I truly hope this objective will be achieved. And it very well may – over time. It is
important to approach such an event in a positive and forward-looking spirit.

Perhaps it was along the same philosophy, that ahead of the September summit in Xiamen,
President Putin said something crucial, but highly political and highly diplomatic: “It is
important that our group’s activities are based on the principles of equality, respect for one
another’s opinions and consensus. Within BRICS, nothing is ever forced on anyone. When the
approaches of its members do not coincide, we work patiently and carefully to coordinate them.
This open and trust-based atmosphere is conducive to the successful implementation of our

2. Understanding Industrialization / development and the Brics Bank

PK: Let’s start with the BRICS development bank, now called New Development Bank (NDB).
It emerged as an idea from the Durban BRICS summit in March 2013 and was formally created
in 2014, and signed as a Treaty in July 2015.

Under the Agreement the BRICS Development Bank, as it was first called – now the NDB, they
set up a “reserve currency pool” of US$ 100 billion. Each of the five-member countries was to
allocate an equal share of the US$ 50 billion start-up capital, to be expanded later to the US$ 100

Contributions per country were, Brazil, $18 billion, Russia $18 billion, India $18 billion, China
$41 billion and South Africa $5 billion. The problem is that the initial capital and the
Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of US$ 100 billion was set up in US dollars.


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How can they break loose from the western dollar-based monetary system, if their contribution is
dollar based?

Also, South Africa and Brazil are heavily indebted – in US dollars. South Africa’s current debt is
today above 50% (US$ 153 billion) of GDP which stands just below 300 billion.

To comply with their contribution to the dollar-denominated CRA, Brazil and SA may have to
borrow from where? – Wall Street, or the IMF, as the CRA is a dollar reserve fund. This puts
these countries even more into a dollar bondage, in the hands of the FED and the Bretton Woods
Organizations – instead of freeing them from this predicament.

As a parenthesis, South Africa’s interest on foreign debt of $153 billion was about US$ 5 billion
(2016). Foreign debt is almost 52% of SA’s GDP of close to US$ 300 billion. The US$ 5 billion
debt payments are higher than the country’s spending on tertiary education (about R60 billion /
US$ 4.6 billion equivalent). This is also a good reason to detach from a debt-based monetary
system – and, as originally was planned by the BRICS – migrate towards a BRICS own
monetary and international payment system – similar to the one already introduced to the world
by China – the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS).

On Industrialization – the NDB will certainly help boost industrialization within each of the
BRICS countries, but also among the BRICS countries – and even outside the BRICS nations, as
trade will increase.

At present the NDB has approved seven investment projects in the BRICS countries, worth
around $1.5 billion. This year, the NDB is to approve a second package of investment projects
worth $2.5 to $3 billion in total.

Although it is not clear what precisely these projects entail, the original idea for the NDB was to
support infrastructure and energy projects within the BRICS countries. There is a big need for
infrastructure and independent energy production. Of course, infrastructure and energy
development, means also industrialization and trade.

3. Economic diversification

PK: A solid BRICS cooperation, as well as an own development bank, will most likely attract –
and through the NDB leverage – new investments. This was one of the goals discussed during
the Xiamen summit. The amount of which is difficult to predict, but Indian PM Modi has talked
about an expected 40% increase over the next few years. But even if India or any BRICS country
receives foreign investments, it will be difficult to discern which investments are directly related
to the new BRICS strength, as so fervently expressed in Xiamen.

More important is the diversification of investments, as well as the related trade. There are
currently several countries on a – what shall I call it – “wait list” – to become members of the
BRICS. For example, South Korea and Mexico (both are OECD members), Indonesia, Turkey,
Argentina, have been mentioned.


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Trade between emerging and developing markets has already been increasing more rapidly than
“globalized average trade” for which WTO imposes the rules. I could imagine that trade – and,
thus, diversification – between BRICS countries, or better even, an enlarged BRICS block, could
really boom. It would be a sort of ‘globalization’ with most trade barriers removed, of a peace-
oriented economy, one that strives for the well-being of the people, rather than an elite – and of
course, an economy that does not work for the war industry, as does the western dollar-based

For that reason, it will be important that the BRICS detach themselves from the western dollar-
based economy and eventually have their own currency. At the Xiamen summit, this was
discussed in some ways.

The five members have agreed to “promote and develop BRICS Local Currency Bond Markets
and jointly establish a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund, as a means of contribution to the
capital sustainability of financing in BRICS countries, boosting the development of BRICS
domestic and regional bond markets.”

This comes pretty close to what the Euro was before it became Fiat money, i.e. it was the
European Currency Unit (ECU) that then converted into the virtual Euro, before in January
2002, the Euro became paper and dollar like Fiat money.

By now we know that the US drove this European currency effort – establishing the euro as the
foster child of the US dollar – totally unsustainable as a unitary currency of a group of countries
that have no common political interests and goals, that have no common Constitution. Their only
common denominator is NATO, their permanent drive for war. It was clear from the beginning
that such a project will be doomed to fail.

Hopefully – and I trust, the BRICS will learn a lesson from this failed exercise, and only with a
strong bond that includes political, economic and defense long-term goals, a common currency
can flourish.

In Xiamen, the BRICS also established the Strategy for “BRICS Economic Partnership and
initiatives related to its priority areas such as trade and investment, manufacturing and minerals
processing, infrastructure connectivity, financial integration, science, technology and innovation,
and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cooperation, among others.” All this for
sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth.

This Strategy already is indicative for a different development and monetary approach than was
the one that laid the cornerstone for the European Union.

4. Trade between BRICS and the dollar

PK: This will be interesting to see emerging. In the medium term, I see a full integration
between the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS. Several
countries are already today members of both associations; for example, Russia and China,


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recently also India joined the SCO. The SCO also comprises most of central Asia, the former
Soviet Republics, and also new Iran and Pakistan. The SCO has already a common long-term
objective, in economic development, political vision, as well as defense strategy.

During the recent Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, President Putin and President
Xi announced cementing of the fusion between the Eurasian Economic Union (EUAU) and the
new ‘Silk Road’, also called “One Belt One Road” (OBOR), or for short “OBI” – the One Belt

Since OBI is largely driven by SCO, i.e. by China, this also means that the countries of the
Eurasian Economic Union are part of SCO. Imagine, the economic power of the entire group
SCO, EAEU and BRICS…. Western supremacy will be a thing of the past.

This means worldwide trading – but without the dollar hegemony, without an economic and
monetary systems that allows Washington to impose “sanctions” – outrageous and illegal
punishments on countries that refuse to follow their dictate. Its high time that this high crime
stops. And that we reinstate international law – which today is completely ‘bought’ by

Today it is clear to most progressive and forward-looking economists that the future is the east;
the west has practically committed suicide with its constant wars for greed and dominance and
disrespect for the very peoples that foot the western empire’s war bills.

5. BRICS Development Bank and World Bank

PK: Yes, the original idea was – and I hope still is – that the BRICS New Development Bank
will be able to compete with the WB and the IMF. In other words, by applying non-neoliberal
economic policies and with loans that do not impose austerity – which, as we know, is
devastating for economic development – but will promote peoples’ based development – aiming
at a more just income and wealth distribution.

This is not yet the case.

As mentioned before, the problem is that the BRICS bank’s initial capital and the Contingency
Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of US$ 100 billion was set up in US dollars.

Also, as said before, South Africa and Brazil are heavily indebted – in US dollars, an existing
bondage that is difficult to break. But not impossible!

The same is true for the Chinese Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), whose capital
of currently also US$ 100 billion is also dollar denominated, and of which about US$ 18 billion
is paid in.

It is very likely that the NDB and the AIIB will work together in the future – and jointly break
the stranglehold of the WB and the IMF.


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In order to do so, they both need to totally break loose from the dollar economy – which is about
to happen, perhaps soon, with the enactment of the Chinese Petrol exchange in Shanghai, where
trading will NOT be in US dollars but in gold-convertible Yuan.

A possible solution is an SCO-BRICS currency basket, similar to the IMFs Special Drawing
Rights (SDR) basket which currently consist of 5 currencies – the US-dollar, British Pound,
Euro, Yen and since October 2016 also the Chinese Yuan. This may start out as a virtual
currency for external trade, while each country preserves her own monetary system.

It looks like a brighter future is ahead.


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Imagine BRICS: Four Scenarios of the Future

Today BRICS represents a club of emerging powers attempting to increase their political and
economic integration in response to new global challenges. The reason this opportunity
presented itself to these five countries in particular is because similar institutions are either not fit
to tackle today’s global challenges or they do not have the proper resources. The four BRICS
development scenarios presented below, which are based on the intensity of their overall political
and economic integration, address the scope of their possible development.

BRICS: From concept to club

In the thirteen years since the term was first coined by Jim O’Neill in a Goldman Sachs
analytical memo, the famous BRICS acronym has taken on a new meaning. While the group of
emerging countries was initially just one of many similar acronyms without any real basis for
action (such as MINT1 or CIVETS2), today the five countries represent an active organization of
the world’s leading emerging countries. The cooperation under the BRICS umbrella continues on
many levels, from the closely followed annual summits of its heads of states to student
exchanges and youth forums.

Even though the BRICS countries do not have their own secretariat or a permanent supranational
executive body, there are many formats that enable them to meet and discuss common issues.
For example, ministerial meetings take place on
a regular basis, while a new Development Bank is in the making (the BRICS bank), and the
BRICS Business Council is fully operational. In addition, the BRICS countries hold regular
academic forums and even created the BRICS Think Tanks Council to formulate long-term
development strategy.

Today, the BRICS represents a club for discussing common problems, with the G7 probably
being its closest equivalent. However, what makes BRICS different from other clubs is its
potential: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa account for around 20% of global GDP,
they are home to 40% of the planet’s population, and their aggregate share of global trade totals
17%. In other words, the BRICS countries are collectively the largest market in the world, and
their cumulative GDP has more than tripled in the last 10 years.

However, despite these impressive figures and the institutions they have already put in place,
‘BRICSoskeptics’ note that the volume of trade within the alliance, which in 2013 was estimated
at $300 billion, accounts for a mere 6.5% of their total turnover of goods with the outside world.
This can be explained by the fact that there are great distances separating the BRICS countries,
and not just geographically. They enjoy different rates of economic growth; direct air service
exists only between a few of their very largest cities (even though it may be technically
possible); their respective languages are not commonly studied at schools and universities,
meaning that even educated people from the five countries have very little understanding of their
respective histories and cultures; and their societies are made up of different ethnic and religious


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One could say with a degree of certainty that, as a political actor, the BRICS have already come
of age. According to Fyodor Lukyanov, a prominent Russian political scientist, the BRICS
member nations enjoy full sovereignty – they are capable of conducting an independent foreign
policy that is not restricted by any alliance or association and they have sufficient economic
potential to sustain it. On numerous occasions, they have made political statements on
a broad range of topical issues on the global agenda – from the conflict in Syria to international
sanctions, and often these statements are in sharp contrast to the stance taken by the G7

However, despite their cumulative potential and the power of individual members, the
sustainability of BRICS (or any other international organization for that matter) depends on how
well it can rise to modern challenges. It is in this context that the BRICS countries have wiggle
room, because any other international organization that exists today was created in a different era
of global challenges and was designed to pursue different objectives.

BRICS could become a new platform to meet global challenges

The vast majority of international institutions that are active today were set up after World War
II with one single goal in mind: to create a system of governance that would entirely rule out the
possibility of a global armed conflict and that would safeguard the principles agreed upon in
Yalta and Potsdam. By extension, international organizations could be broken into two
categories depending on the type of their integration – political or economic – where the
integration was implemented as a response to contemporary challenges.

The main objective of any political integration is primarily to strengthen the alliance’s ability to
influence the context in which it operates. For instance, the highest form of political cooperation
is a military and political alliance, such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization or NATO.
There are also more neutral forms or larger platforms for dialogue such as the CIS, the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization or the League of Arab States. While these platforms may have a
specific economic infrastructure built around them, it is merely there to serve the needs of
members while putting political objectives at the forefront. The main objective of these
associations is to exert influence upon and broadcast consolidated opinions to international
institutions regarding economic challenges.

In contrast, economic alliances are built primarily to find answers to domestic challenges faced
by their members. Thus, they place the greatest emphasis on fostering the economic development
of their members by way of creating instruments to synchronize their economic activities,
including their trade and customs regulatory mechanisms. Regional free trade zones – such as the
Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), NAFTA, and Mercosur – are good examples of such alliances.
On the other hand, alliances such as ASEAN and the East African Community not only help
their member nations to address their domestic development problems but also raise regional
issues at the international level.

The European Union is certainly a different sort of alliance in this sense – it fosters both political
and economic integration in response to numerous domestic and foreign challenges.

Yet the innate rigidity of successful alliances, or the lack of coordination in those that are less


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successful, prevents them from adapting their respective agendas to account for future
challenges. NATO is a particularly telling example – after the collapse of the Soviet bloc it lost
its ‘raison d’être’. For two decades it has been searching for a new mission. Two other examples
are the IMF and the World Bank; the distribution of voting rights in these two organizations is
completely out of sync with reality and does not account for the shifting economic balance
between the developing and the developed countries.

Currently, we are witnessing a radical change across the entire global landscape. Humanity faces
new challenges, many of which the world has yet to come to grips with. What measures need to
be taken to meet the population’s need for water and food? What needs to be done to defeat
poverty? Where should one look for new sources of economic growth? How should one go about
replacing non-renewable energy sources to ensure energy security? How can different continents
be connected by transport infrastructure? What steps need to be taken to overcome the wide
cultural gap between civilizations? Very soon these questions – as well as many others – will
need to be answered. This will only be possible if all countries are united in their efforts.

These emerging challenges require an adequate response, which includes not just a common
coordinated approach but also significant investments. According to the UN, the implementation
of the Millennium Development Goals alone would require at least $100 billion. And this is only
the social component, because infrastructural challenges would require far greater investments.
According to some estimates, the infrastructure development market in emerging countries alone
could reach $4 trillion in the next several years, whereas a complete transition to renewable
sources of energy would cost the global economy dozens of trillions of dollars.

Technologically, economically, and even institutionally, no single country in the world is

capable of overcoming these challenges alone. It is obvious that against the backdrop of the
changing landscape, alliances and coalitions would have to transform as well. Among other
things, their success would be predicated on the extent to which the corporate players who are
directly involved in their economic life would be integrated into their decision-making and
agenda-setting mechanisms.

The international community is faced with the question: which platform can offer an adequate
response to these pressing global challenges? And, can BRICS occupy this niche? Their
combined economic, technological, human, and cultural potential shows that the five countries
are capable of implementing projects on a vastly different scale jointly and efficiently. It is
perfectly within their power to find answers to global challenges of the 21st century that both
developed and emerging markets are facing. What is more, the alliance may claim an even
greater role and tackle something larger than just discussions of global and regional issues – it
may actually offer a solution to them. Whether the BRICS countries can succeed will depend on
one key factor: how adequately and intensively they are able to rise to these challenges by
transforming their structures for political and economic cooperation.


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The four BRICS development scenarios

Taking into account the high degree of political and economic uncertainty in the world and the
fact that the BRICS development context is anything but predetermined, we used a scenario-
based approach to address various degrees of political and economic integration of the BRICS
countries in the face of global challenges. We chose a 15-year horizon, which is comparable to
that used for investments in large infrastructure projects. It is this horizon that informs different
development scenarios. While presuming that the main international actors are very likely to
change over the next 15 years, we believe that the types of responses to global challenges that
these actors could offer – deeper political and economic integration – are unlikely to change
compared to what we see today.

If we look at a combination of proactive efforts along these lines, there are four possible BRICS
development scenarios that are most likely:

Maintain the status of a ‘club of emerging nations’ that exists to discuss a global agenda
formulated by other countries and supranational alliances;
Increase its ability to influence the global agenda using political integration tools such as
expanding its membership and building a political alliance;
Step up economic growth and trade between the BRICS countries by way of intensifying their
economic integration and building a full-fledged economic union. Thanks to its growing
economic power, this union will be able to find answers to the challenges faced by these
Pursue not only economic but also political and cultural integration. Economic integration, if
boosted to a significant degree, will enable members to achieve sufficient global competitive
edge to address global problems faced by all of humanity.
Each scenario involves a different set of political and economic integration initiatives that would
have to be implemented. The former may include, for instance, steps to introduce visa-free travel
between these countries; the creation of supranational bodies that would take precedence over
national ones; the development of joint solutions to security issues; the pursuit of a coordinated
foreign policy; the creation of joint rapid response military forces; and the integration of adjacent
regions. The economic toolbox may include such initiatives as removing barriers to trade;
ensuring greater connectivity between commodities, labor, and capital markets; or creating
supranational bodies and free trade zones with other countries.

Scenario 1

Against the backdrop of global transformation, it turned out that further integration of the BRICS
countries remained well out of their comfort zone, which is why the BRICS remained a club of
emerging nations. Once a lofty and representative forum, today it is merely one of many voices
in international politics. Each BRICS member nation prefers to pursue its own geopolitical and
economic interests and take part in an ever-growing set of regional and international platforms,
alliances, and clubs.


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At the same time, the deteriorating global economic situation pushes the BRICS countries to
defend their national markets and resort to protectionism. Local economies remain resource-
intensive and depend on borrowed innovations and institutions.

The reluctance on the part of national governments to give up any part of their political and
economic sovereignty, coupled with the entangled system of each country’s external obligations,
prevented them from forming supranational bodies. The BRICS continue to exist in the form of
periodic meetings between their respective leaders. At the same time, the generation of the
political elite that founded the club has already left the scene and their successors did not inherit
sufficient political will to formulate
a common vision.

The expansion of BRICS never took place and many countries that 15 years ago were viewed as
potential candidates to join the alliance created their own clubs (MINT, CIVETS, the Turkic
Council, ALBA, and many others).

Faced with the threat of long-term domestic instability caused by a number of institutional
failings, each BRICS member decided to go it alone and entered into alliances with the G7
countries based on the calculation that influence within a specific region could be exchanged for
a chance to influence the global agenda.

The development of other more dynamic organizations caused the BRICS nations to focus more
on alternate platforms, while experts predict that the BRICS Summit in 2030 will be the club’s

This scenario presupposes certain inertia and therefore may prove quite realistic; however, it
does not allow for tapping into the entire political and economic potential of the ‘Big Five.’

Scenario 2

After Western countries continued to ignore calls to reform the world’s political and financial
institutions, the BRICS countries focused their efforts on strengthening their political clout by
way of creating a full-fledged international organization. This organization was called upon to
convey to the developed community the agenda of the developing nations that are still struggling
with economic problems and bearing the burden of structural reform. To increase their weight
and ability to respond to key global agenda issues, the five countries preferred to put aside their
historical disagreements and signed a breakthrough agreement on ways to ensure mutual

At the same time, each country prefers to search for answers to common global economic
challenges on its own or through existing international platforms. The BRICS Development
Bank remains the only significant instrument of economic integration, which nevertheless, is
predominantly used for financing politically motivated projects. The EU and the United States


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still remain the five countries’ main trading partners, which prevents them from discussing truly
pressing issues.

In an attempt to achieve this objective, the BRICS countries adopt a two-tiered strategy:
strengthening their representation in the system of global governance institutions and
communication platforms while simultaneously expanding their membership by opening doors to
other countries. Argentina is the first country to join the alliance. Later, in an effort to boost the
Eurasian agenda and contain China, Russia manages to bring Turkey into the fold, a move that is
widely considered a major political success.

A multi-tier membership system is formed in the alliance, with the result that Indonesia and
Saudi Arabia are likely to be offered membership during the upcoming Summit of Emerging
Nations in Ankara in 2030. Turkey, which had earlier withdrawn from NATO, and Vietnam have
already been members of the alliance for over a decade, while individual members of MINT and
CIVETS are going through various dialogue partnership stages.

It took the founding countries of the Alliance a long time to complete an arduous negotiations
process to determine the degree of sovereignty they were willing to give up in favor of the newly
created organization.

The agreement between the BRICS countries on ways to ensure mutual security has become a
cornerstone document for building an Alliance of Developing Nations with its Secretariat in
Mumbai, headquarters in Vladivostok, and Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul. Large-scale joint
military exercises are held on a regular basis, while the Alliance’s Collective Rapid Response
Forces outperform regular armies of several developed nations, both in terms of personnel
strength and military sophistication.

The key challenge in this scenario is the need to overcome internal tensions, including
competition in a number of regions, legacy border disputes (primarily between India and China),
and reluctance to share even a part of these countries’ sovereignty in favor of an alliance fully
integrating all members. On the other hand, the fact that selected countries share certain
problems does not mean that they perceive them as common. From this perspective, a positive
case in point would be NATO, where countries with historical tensions dating back centuries
manage to successfully co-exist in a single supranational military structure and jointly search for
answers to political and economic challenges.

Scenario 3

The deteriorating economic situation in the emerging markets, coupled with the launch of a third
industrial revolution in the developed countries, prevented the BRICS from sustaining their
previous economic growth. Against this backdrop, the leaders of the five countries opted for a
strategy of national economic development by way of fostering integration. The BRICS’ political
agenda has become a mere function of its economic development, while the member nations


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follow a paradigm whereby a strong and sustainable economy may overcome political challenges
of any magnitude.

Over the last 15 years, the BRICS economic agenda has changed considerably. Having created
numerous institutions to support business cooperation today, the ‘Big Five’ have become a
powerful economic union. The BRICS countries are among each other’s top 10 trading partners
and have embarked upon the development of a common currency. However, this union is more
than just another ‘global free trade zone’ – it is built on the concept of sustainable development
and a new approach to innovation including technological development. What makes this
approach unique is that the five countries are taking targeted and streamlined joint efforts to
develop their innovation potential, factoring in the distinctive traits of their respective
technological ecosystems and placing a greater emphasis on innovations for citizens at the
‘bottom of the pyramid.’

Pursuing their institutional development, the BRICS countries are not setting their sights on a
technological race on the developed markets; rather, they are trying to find solutions to their
most vital domestic problems: natural resources, the environment, and social issues. These
solutions include ‘precision land farming,’ ‘precision production,’ and social business tools. The
technologies they produce are highly sought after in the emerging markets, including the poorest
countries, and stimulate sustainable social and economic development in the world.

These technologies are already starting to penetrate the ‘tip’ of the pyramid, finding their way to
the developed markets, which brings about the creation of a global technological ecosystem as an
alternative to the existing one that is based on the concentration of research capabilities in
Western countries and Japan. In this environment, the BRICS Economic Union narrows down its
foreign policy agenda and focuses more on cooperation with other trade blocs and isolated
countries (creating Free Trade Zones, stepping up work in various regions of the world, and
diversifying its projects portfolio). However, the union’s primary objective remains the pursuit of
deeper economic integration.

The main supranational body of the BRICS nations is the Economic Commission based in
Shanghai to which both the Development Bank and the Monetary Fund report. A single BRICS
Merchant Fleet Directorate was also set up to deal with transportation issues inside the Union.
The BRICS countries conduct a common foreign trade policy with thousands of common trading
houses all over the world. Moreover, against the backdrop of persisting economic instability in
foreign markets and disintegration of the eurozone, the BRICS Economic Union set up its own
Ministry of Planning and Forecasts with the task of analyzing the competencies and production
capacities of the BRICS countries in long-term complex strategies.

The BRICS economic integration initiative, if it is to become a reality, will have to overcome the
following key challenges: low level of mutual trade, weak economic ties, and mutual
competition in third markets.


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Scenario 4

The limited potential offered by initiatives to grow trade inside the ‘Big Five’ underscored the
need to consolidate their economic and political tools to address broader global challenges.
Given the primacy placed on economic integration, the global competitiveness of the BRICS
became the key factor driving their further development.

At the same time, it is also the BRICS that have become the main agent to solve the problems of
the developing world. Representing key continents that act both as drivers of global growth and a
source of key global problems, the BRICS countries have become the main agent to address
universal challenges and are not forced to pursue objectives falling outside their political and
economic interests.

Economic, digital, cultural, and educational contacts between the BRICS countries are on the
rise. Their societies are learning to plan the future of the entire world. Companies from Brazil,
Russia, India, China, and South Africa are running development projects on a global scale, while
the alliance’s political subsystem supports its economic power.

A particularly illustrative example is a large-scale infrastructure project called ‘The African

Crossroads’ to build transport communications between the largest countries of Central, East,
South, and West Africa. More than 300 companies from the ‘Big Five’ countries joined their
efforts to implement this project, while the BRICS Rapid Response Forces acting under a UN
mandate provided security during the construction of the continental transport artery. These
examples are constantly growing in number: Latin America has become a global hub for
biotechnologies, China’s Northeast manufacturers more high tech products than the remaining
countries in the Asia-Pacific region put together, while Russia has become the global hub of
fundamental sciences.

Deeper integration as a priority did not lead to its expansion; instead of being integrated, each
member country became a political, technological, and economic leader in its own region
assuming the responsibility for the development of its neighboring countries. The BRICS nations
now serve as role models in a broad range of key areas. Models of behavior and public wealth
distribution, education and public governance, business practices, healthcare, and sustainable
development practices are implicitly integrated in any BRICS project.

The BRICS system of governance is based on a corporate model where the Parliamentary
Assembly acts as a ‘supervisory board,’ while the ‘corporation’s CEO’ and the ‘Board of
Directors,’ consisting of these countries’ heads of government, exercise day-to-day management.
They manage specific problem resolution functions – committees and commissions dealing with
innovation, culture, defense, social issues, and business development.

We realize that, apart from the domestic challenges characteristic of BRICS alone, such as the
need to create a new model governing relations between states and an effective system of checks
and balances on such a scale, this scenario does not factor in the challenges and opportunities
offered by the previous scenarios. The contemplated evolution of events in and of itself does not


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provide any preconditions for the BRICS countries to emerge in that role, and whether this
scenario could be successfully implemented depends on the ability of the BRICS countries to
project a common future.

According to the UN, the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals alone would
require at least $100 billion. And this is only the social component, because infrastructural
challenges would require far greater investments. According to some estimates, the infrastructure
development market in emerging countries alone could reach $4 trillion in the next several years,
whereas a complete transition to renewable sources of energy would cost the global economy
dozens of trillions of dollars


Undoubtedly, the above scenarios are extremely aggressive. Taking into account the scale of
global challenges, various obstacles inside the BRICS, complex country dynamics, and a
difficult environment for reaching consensus, we realize that any development trajectory for the
BRICS would include different elements taken from all four scenarios. We admit that there is
little chance that the ‘Big Five’ will be able to realize its full potential.

Moreover, we only looked at successful models of international associations such as the G7 (a

club), NATO (an alliance), EEC (a union), and the EU (a corporation). The world has seen many
more unsuccessful attempts to build alliances than successful ones. One of the reasons behind
these failures is the ineptitude of those attempting the transformation and the resulting inability
to rise to new challenges and select a political or economic response to them. Another reason is
that, in certain cases, this transformation could not be completed even if the selected vector of
development was right.

The success of the BRICS countries depends on how well they will face today’s global
challenges and on their ability to develop a consistent integrative strategy and use their available
resources efficiently.

At the same time, we believe that the future of BRICS will involve not only the five countries in
question but also the rest of the world, which today more than ever needs new international
institutions capable of addressing global challenges. However, what the world really needs is not
another EU or NATO. The power of the existing alliances, their cultural and regional identities,
their well-oiled governance models, and a common stance on global and regional issues has also
proved to be their weakness in this day and age. They are too entrenched in the challenges and
experiences of the past and are proving inefficient in responding to today’s world.

If the BRICS didn’t exist, a similar concept would have to be invented because the challenges
faced by humanity require that we act outside of our customary parameters. Looking at the
history of the European Union one could say with certainty that, if there is one lesson to be
learned from the Western European experience, it is that the hope for a utopia starts with an
attempt to institutionalize a common dream for the future.


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14. Mutipolar World Order

A Multipolar World Order

Emergence & Challenges

As the world inevitably moves toward multipolarity, countries should prepare for future
challenges to benefit most from this long-awaited gift from globalization, to give balance to the
globe, limit the abuses of some powers and empower those they abuse.

1. Development

A multipolar world order is like that of a decentralized or polycentric country, where cities and
provinces share power and resources, differently but fairly, like in many developed countries, as
opposed to the undeveloped ones suffering centralization of service, governance, etc. in one city
only, usually the capital. Examples of advanced polycentric countries are Switzerland, Germany,
and "the US" with its states' relative diversity and equality—something its leaders apply at home
but resist worldwide, to remain the only "center of the world's" power, politics, technology,
media, etc.

A bipolar world is good, a multipolar world is better, and a non-polar world is best only with a
proper UN/world government fairly managing it, without favoring any power. There are many
scenarios of how multipolarity develops:

The best scenario is if the UN develops several world centers simultaneously, which requires a
strong, independent UN, unavailable at present.

The worst multipolarity type is when a single superpower leads the world instead, not without
bias, while it constantly EXPANDS by attracting satellite states to its orbit, allying and eventually
merging with it, like the US with its trans-Atlantic trans-Pacific global hegemony and allies—
Canada, EU, Japan, S. Korea, etc.—who become eventually poles within it just like any US state:
Hawaii, California, Texas, etc. This takes the longest time and causes the most damage as such
Superpower only allows and benefits countries serving its self-interest and ever-expanding ego, while
excluding or antagonizing the rest.

A better scenario is to have an "immediate" balance by another superpower forming another
world camp including other countries, to focus and coordinate their efforts, which inevitably but
temporarily leads to a bipolar world, e.g. US-EU vs. Russia-China, or, more realistically, the
West vs. the Rest. World bipolarity is like the "two-party" majority system in some countries,
which is a sign of political immaturity yet needed for faster decision-making than being
paralyzed, failing to have a majority party or a coherent coalition to form a government. It's
common when the need is urgent for "more unity than diversity," e.g. to face an external
insecurity or/and pursue external ambitions (which usually causes insecurity too).


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Then, as other powers emerge (India, Brazil, Asia-Pacific, or any other country/bloc), it's
better if each forms its own new "third, fourth, fifth ..." camp, than join the two other already-
strong camps, to add more value and diversity to the world as a whole, which is the objective of
any fair world-order planning.

One can compare examples of world unipolarity, bipolarity and multipolarity, present and past,
although multipolarity has never fully materialized due to insufficient world connectivity (there
were world multiple powers, but not a multipolar world). Thanks to present communication
technologies, world governance and cooperation are becoming more possible, for nations to
"voluntarily" choose their path, rather than follow the path of history or circumstance. Examples:

Unipolar: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, UK, US ...

Bipolar: Rome & Persia, England & France, US & USSR.
Multipolar, in progress: US, EU, Russia, China, East Asia, India, Brazil, and many world blocs,
rather than single countries, still forming: Latin America, Middle East, Central Asia, African
Bloc, etc.

2. Regress

A multipolar world can yet face a setback, equally by the decline of useful powers or rise of
harmful ones.

A superpower may suffer weakness/division, leaving world stage empty for fewer powers, or
worse one power. An alliance may face the same fate, by unexpected mishaps facing its member
states (financial, political, or natural), where some suffer more and even lose the support of other
members (unless stated otherwise in their agreement together). Thus it faces internal division, if
not external aggression, and becomes internationally ineffective. For this, a multipolar world
needs to grow harmoniously, in a healthy rate, not too fast/slow. A country may quickly join an
alliance/superpower it doesn't belong to or can't coexist with. Another may be too slow to join or
even lead others when it should (for being engrossed in home problems, fearing competitors, or
ignorance about possible allies and alliance's methods and benefits).

Meanwhile, a harmful or false power can be fast risen to power, assuming a leadership role it
abuses, after discovering/rediscovering a new fortune, replacing a falling/weakening power,
inheriting a newly-divided power it was part of, etc. It may assume a mediating/arbitrating role
between opposing states, while self-interested or incompetent for the job. A true power must be
powerful inside and outside, with real credentials (geographic, economic, technological, and
cultural), that usually grows gradually not suddenly.

In a multipolar world, whenever a superpower surpasses others, even slightly, as all
superpowers can never be completely equal, it will always push its boundaries and seek extra
power. It may initially use its soft powers for deception (media/intelligence/diplomacy/etc.) to
justify its own "truth." Then, if it succeeds, it takes ideology into action, using its hard powers to
gradually control other countries. The world can thus regress to an unbalanced state of
unipolarity. That single "hyper-power" will assert its new status by soft powers again, spreading


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typical "unipolar fallacies" that all "dictator-countries" use, appealing to stability and harping on
doomsday scenarios (world war, nuclear winter, etc.) it alone can prevent.
Disillusioned after world wars, many sought better solutions to world endless conflicts and
discordance. Morgenthau's pragmatism was intended for the benefit of ALL world countries, not
of one country and allies turning in its orbit, while others annihilated and kicked out of existence.
Greed is an instinct in all humans and "countries" (that consist of humans too), requiring
refinement by law and order. Gradually it grows self-annihilative too, e.g. the fall of the Roman
Empire by its own decadence and divisiveness, and the US decline (of world popularity, civil
rights achievements, demography balance, and scientific progress rate), after its golden age in the
second half of the 20th century, when there was more competitiveness in world politics.

Any old superpower must accept the new realities and step back to allow space for others to
share power with, which is useful for all sides, seeking alliance together rather than monopoly of
world power and control over others. The latter is already difficult and dangerous in a multipolar
world, where others are now powerful enough to respond/retaliate. True leadership is not the
choice of oneself or even others; it's circumstance's choice, which is constantly changing.
Leadership is unjust by nature, and relative, as anyone is forced to the top sometimes. The only
stable leadership is that of law, where man-made laws try to match nature's laws.

3. Governance

As countries grow stronger and closer, more diplomacy and arbitration are needed, to avoid
clashes between superpowers, as well as spare them any resource-consuming arm race and cold
war, and the constant insecurity about possible world wars and other tragic scenarios.

As more countries share power, a more meaningful lasting harmony will slowly, but surely,
replace the false transient harmony forced by former manipulative powers. This will however
"slow down" some vital activities (decisions, actions, agreements, etc.), to which the inevitable
solution is to accept "compromises, diplomacy, cooperation, understanding others'
interests/differences, and more data-gathering and future-planning" to know the benefits all
parties eventually get.

The United Nations' role is more vital in a multipolar world, requiring its reform/overhaul to be
more effective. As emerging superpowers become influential in world politics, economy and
technology, their representation in the UN and other international bodies should reflect their role,
to protect their interests and those of their respective alliance members, against the monopoly of
external powers.

Within international organizations, emerging powers can have more influence by their mere
alliances therein: suggesting subjects, dictating terms, blocking agreements, negotiating with
opposing parties, etc.

If UN organizations are still stagnant, ineffective and biased, there must be temporary, but
immediate alternatives. More just and effective equivalent organizations must be founded by the


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countries biased against, until "one" in each pair/group of similar organizations eventually
survives, accepted by all sides, and merging into/replacing the rest. Such can be
governmental/non-governmental, regional/international organizations regulating all aspects of
life, e.g. alternative world/regional banks, IMF, trade organization ... and, above all, military and
intelligence alliance, until the abusive or corrupt ones are treated or removed, which is only
achievable by other superpower camps.

Many world unified systems are biased toward a single superpower only, which must be changed
to fit the new world order and reality. The need is growing for NEUTRAL/MULTIPLE world
currency, technology hubs, multinational forces and military installations, and even lingua franca
which is largely responsible for world cultural unipolarity. English must be "universalized" to
absorb more from world languages, and "revolutionized" for more simplicity, accuracy and
convenience (things that are not part of a language natural "arbitrariness" of its origin).

After all, most such systems (language, culture, economy, borders, etc.) were forced/spread by
colonialism. Universality is the fate of every breakthrough by every civilization since the
beginning of history, that many people barely remember which country presented what:
electricity, satellite, internet ... wheel, lever, etc.

4. Responsibility

• Global issues previously ignored, for the of lack of international coordination or powers'
evasion and procrastination, will receive more world attention. Nuclear threats, climate change,
deforestation, illegal migration, economic monopoly, or interfering into others' sovereignty are
no more a single country's business. Fewer states can no longer act on their own on critical issues
affecting the entire planet or certain regions that now have more power to stop home/foreign

On the other hand, many home-only issues will be not so: dictatorship, right abuses, corruption,
illiteracy, extremism, poor planning, etc. A group of countries can pressure a single country
adopting wrong home policies harming itself and foreign countries alike. However, many neo-
colonial powers frequently use this as a "pretext" to control and disrupt other countries, rather
than reform them. To limit this, only countries within multinational alliances can be subject to
external pressure, not small/unprotected/unaligned countries. Also, any sanctions should not
harm the livelihood and statehood of a country. This is almost contrary to most examples of
international sanctions/intervention, even those by the ill-founded ill-controlled UN: to topple
unwanted leaders, disrupt/divide countries, control their resources, etc. for the benefit of the
superpowers controlling the UN.

• No international cooperation is possible without reconciliation first, and old crimes only die
when their effects die. The abuses committed by certain superpowers against other countries with
STILL damaging effects must be acknowledged and compensated for (the damage they inflicted
while acting under no power balance/checking by other equal powers and well-enforced
international laws).


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• Countries that do not belong to any world bloc or ally with any superpower can be subject to
the abuses of others, until a proper world government is formed. Superpowers can cooperate
together, but also ignore/collude against weaker states. Globalization made the strong grow
stronger and the weak weaker, where rapid premature technology put countries together, before
arranging their positions first.

Some states are more harmed than others by superpowers' actions, economically, naturally,
culturally, and politically. Examples: the detrimental effects of superpowers' policies and
industries on water sources, food ingredients, climate change, small businesses and consumer
rights, cultural diversity and heritage, etc. Thus, poor/small/remote/non-aligned countries need
more protection and positive discrimination by receiving more advantages and incentives than
other countries to make up for their susceptible position.

Superpowers can help smaller states protect national policies (their autonomy, economy, culture,
etc.) in the sea of globalization, e.g. by banning importing harmful/useless/locally available
products. Meanwhile, abusive states should be penalized till they change their internationally
detrimental manipulative policies. If no action is taken, nationally and internationally, in
economy for example, home-made products become swiped away in the flood of world products,
and home services pale in comparison with those presented by the big countries controlling
world economy, esp. with the sophisticated media campaigns and seductive techniques
accompanying such "invasion." Its national currency will plummet, foreign reserves shrink,
prices hike, and salaries decrease, while many employees are laid off, corporations go bankrupt,
factories close, and public services, living conditions and security worsen.


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It's high time for a new, multipolar world order

While the new US administration was busy reining in support for international trade and freedom
of movement, China's president, speaking at the annual Davos forum in the Swiss Alps,
performed a stunning defence of globalisation. While Donald Trump was withdrawing the
United States from the Paris climate agreement, France's newly elected President Emmanuel
Macron was trolling him by demanding to "make the planet great again" - now an official
website - and China's leadership, meeting with the EU institutions, was reaffirming its
commitment to leading the fight against climate change.

While we should take China's new global role with a pinch of salt, one thing should be clear to
all: global governance is in shambles. The recent failure of the G7 meeting in Taormina, Sicily,
with the lack of agreement on measures to tackle climate change and the refugee crisis, is only
the latest event to signal a breakdown of international cooperation. The unipolar world order of
American hegemony is over.

This is not necessarily bad news: the so-called Pax Americana has been anything but peaceful,
ushering in an endless string of wars that have inflamed the Middle East. But the risk of moving
from a unipolar to an anarchic world system is real. A system where powers vie for influence - in
Eastern Europe or in the South China Sea - in a zero-sum game of opposed national interests
always one step away from catastrophe.

This is worrying, because today's world requires cooperative global governance as never before.
The list of new global challenges goes well beyond fighting climate change, as if that were not
already enough: just take wealth distribution and economic globalisation. Brando Milanovic's
"elephant graph" (pdf) may be the reference chart for the decline of Western middle classes, but
it also shows something else: the stunning rise of the wealthiest one percent globally. Excessive
concentration of wealth creates distortions and inefficiencies, as even the International Monetary
Fund now admits. Short of expropriation, the solution is progressive taxation - and here is the

Multinational corporations are increasingly able to play one state against the other to drive a
fiscal bargain all but unimaginable for small and medium enterprises. Well beyond Apple's
infamous 0.005 percent Irish tax rate, the scandal stretches to a majority of the largest
corporations - from the furniture of Ikea to the toothpaste of Procter&Gamble. Only international
cooperation can put a break to such practice. Yet, progress is stalling, at both European Union
and global level, with the G7 failing spectacularly to take a position on the issue despite pressure
from the Italian hosts.

The cooperative, transnational experiment of the European Union represents a powerful blueprint
for a new multipolar world order, one where proud nations are no longer pitted one against the
other but work through consensus and the rule of law to reach mutually beneficial solutions.
The list of crises that go well beyond the remit and reach of any nation-state keeps on growing.
The refugee crisis is here to stay, fuelled by ongoing warfare and the nefarious effects of global
warming, such as droughts, increasing in intensity in the most vulnerable African economies. Or,
again, the need to regulate internet surveillance and data privacy, something Angela Merkel is


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hoping to raise at the upcoming Hamburg G20 summit in July. The list could be extended at

We need to reconstruct a global governance for this century or risk letting go of our capacity to
govern some of the most important challenges of our time.

One part of the answer comes from cities. Cities are taking an increasingly central role all across
the world. Often, as the in the US experience of the sanctuary cities that offer protection to
undocumented migrants, they go directly against central government policy. And cities are now
creating elaborate networks that could turn into effective agents of transnational governance.

On June 10, Barcelona hosted a global summit, fearless cities, bringing together mayors from
across the world to commit to joint initiatives to tackle precisely the global challenges that
national leadership seems increasingly unable to address.

Actions on climate, for instance, with reinforced cooperation over the implementation of
ambitious environmental standards are more than just rhetoric: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
has just signed an executive order committing the city to the Paris agreement. Actions on
refugees, with initiatives such as Solidarity Cities creating a pan-European network of municipal
governments for the integration of migrants and refugees, are also taking place. Such initiatives
need to be fostered, for cities matter enormously: More than half the world's population and over
70 percent of Europeans live in urban areas, while the top 100 cities produce just under half the
world's GDP. They deserve political and economic recognition from national governments,
constructing a space for global cooperation below the level of the nation state.

And then there is the level above. And here the cooperative, transnational experiment of the
European Union represents a powerful blueprint for a new multipolar world order, one where
proud nations are no longer pitted one against the other, but work through consensus and the rule
of law to reach mutually beneficial solutions.

There is a risk. We should not forget that the policy mix supported by Angela Merkel's Germany
over the long years of European crisis - rebranded "austerity" - has brought Europe to the brink
of collapse. Nor should we be fooled by Macron's youthful personality, when he seems to be
supporting the same market-friendly economic policies that have led to the crisis in the first

Without a serious policy rethink - such as a comprehensive New Deal to put the continent back
to work and a profound democratisation of EU institutions - Europe's path towards greater
integration risks becoming a fast-track to disintegration. This would be a shame for Europe as
much as for the world.

Yes, we run the risk of stumbling towards a chaotic world of nationalism and conflict. But
today's crisis of global governance also offers the chance to move beyond a system that never
truly worked in the first place. Crafting a new global role for cities and reforming Europe are the
heart of this challenge.


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New World Order: The rise of multipolarity

It seems as if history is repeating itself with so many rising powers on the global stage. Although
the US has long maintained its uni-polar status for quite some time, it seems now that America's
days of being the world's cop are over, with the other emerging power galvanizing rise of
multipolarity. In retrospect, the world witnessed multipolarity in 1914 when on the one side were
Germany, Italy and Austria, called the Triple Alliance and on the other side there were Great
Britain, Russia and France called Triple Entente, which was the counterbalance. They came to
the stage and brought with them the devastating World War I, which led to catastrophic
economic, social and financial damages.

When the Triple Alliance was defeated by the Triple Entente, Woodrow Wilson, along with his
British counterpart came with his Fourteen Points to reshape Europe by making certain territorial
changes in Germany (which was to disintegrate it); this was done in accordance with the Treaty
of Versailles. That treaty sowed the seed for World War 2, Axis Powers under the leadership of
Hitler and Mussolini regained power and staged another war, the deadliest war. Though Britain
with her allies defeated the Axis Powers but the days of Pax-Britannica were over and Pax-
Americana had yet to begin. Thus, the multipolar world order proved to be a total failure in
maintaining global peace.

Post World War II, the US and Soviet Union emerged as great powers, an era of the tight bipolar
world started, which ended with the collapse of communism and disintegration of Soviet Union
in 1990 after a long and covert Cold War. With the fall of Soviet Union, the US emerged as a
super power. The days of Pax-Americana began and America became the police officer of the
world by introducing its own policies.

The USA emerged as the policymaker in the world, as its structural power had unmatched
influence across countries to state their policies. However, the then world order did not seem to
guarantee peace with the outbreak of Gulf War and later on American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Most think-tanks opined that America's policy of interventions and invasions would result into
imperial overreach. Perhaps, the opinions seem prescient today with the US continuing to be
beset by fiscal deficits, facing increased unemployment and losing its relative economic power.
Moreover, a resurgent Russia, rising China and other emerging great powers gaining ground on
the global stage are ensuing the multi-polar world order.

Putin is rethinking of strategic alliances in South Asia and Moscow's role in Syrian Crisis has
brought it enough support from Middle East to govern the world affairs. Russia's military power,
as well as improving economic power, indicates Kremlin's growing influence on world affairs.

Often 21st century is regarded as Chinese century due to Beijing's growing relative economic
power and military power. China is leasing out world's major economic corridors to access
markets and it is making its grip stronger on the global arena by incorporating manufacturing
industry. Moreover, as the Western bloc is unable to apply economic aggression. This leaves
Bejing free to pursue its main political objectives, such as strengthening Army on its maritime
boundaries, carrying on drilling activities on disputed Islands, and expanding its influence and


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commercial facilities across the continent, without fear of economic isolation. Thus, China is
another actor challenging American hegemony.

Other emerging powers are India, Brazil, Iran and South Africa which are gaining quite notable
space on the world stage. It is yet to be seen what this new order unwraps. Historically, no order
has witnessed long-term peace. Wars have shaped modern world more than the treaties. In the
era which is marked by security dilemma, where nuclear bombs are credited for being the
greatest deterrent of war instead of understanding and institutions, where expenditure on nuclear
proliferation exceeds the expense of human welfare— there peace seems like an Utopian dream.
Let's hope this time the new order brings out peace and prosperity for the planet. Let's hope the
pen, not the gun writes the future of coming generations.


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Multipolar World Order: The Big Picture in the Qatar-Saudi Fracture

In a climate of outright confrontation, even the Gulf monarchies have been overtaken by a series
of unprecedented events. The differences between Qatar on one side, and Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other, have escalated into a full-blown diplomatic
crisis with outcomes difficult to foresee.

Officially, everything started with statements made by Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
that appeared on the Qatar News Agency (QNA) on May 23, 2017. A few hours before the
conference between the 50 Arab countries and the US President, Al Thani was reported to have
said the same words that appeared on QNA. The speech was very indulgent towards Iran and
described the idea of an «Arab NATO» as unnecessary. The exact words are not known because
the event in which Al Thani had made such incendiary remarks concerned military matters and
was thus not accessible to the general public. Especially to be noted is that QNA denies having
published words in question and attributed them to a cyber-attack.

The public dissemination of the Emir's words on QNA promptly provoked an unprecedented
diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. Immediately, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE),
Bahrain, Egypt and the Maldives took advantage of the confusion created by Al Thani’s alleged
words by enacting a series of extreme measures while accusing Doha of supporting international
terrorism (through Hamas, al Qaeda, Iran and Daesh). Qatar’s ambassadors in the countries
mentioned were requested to return home within 48 hours, and Qatari citizens were given 14
days to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. At the same time, Riyadh proceeded to close
its airspace as well as land and sea borders to Qatar, effectively isolating the peninsula from the
rest of the world.

Realistically, what interest would Qatar have had in promulgating the words of Al Thani in order
to antagonize Riyadh and Abu Dhabi? Even if the Emir had made such remarks, Doha would
certainly not have given them to QNA to publish on its website. If it was not a cyber-attack, it
was certainly a miscalculation on Doha's part or, worse, possibly internal sabotage to damage the
Al Thani family.

To explain the dynamics that have officially created this unprecedented situation, it is necessary
to sift through the facts in order to discern reality from fiction.

There is no difference between Saudi Arabia and Qatar

The Saudi charge that Qatar supports terrorism is well supported by the facts, Doha having long
supported terrorist groups in North Africa and the Middle East, from Libya to Syria through to
Egypt and Iraq. The problem is that the one throwing the charge, Saudi Arabia, is as guilty of it
as is the accused. Both countries have provided the financial backing for much of the extremism
that has been infesting the globe for decades. The Saudi royal family is the ultimate expression
of the Wahhabi heresy that historically corresponds to the ideology of al Qaeda. Riyadh's support
for terrorist organizations was complemented by the US neoconservative strategy designed to
destabilize Afghanistan in the context of anti-USSR geopolitics, as admitted by the recently
deceased Zbigniew Brzezinski.


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The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has deep roots and affects not only the ideological
difference between Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood, but also the increased religious
tolerance of Doha as opposed to the ideological intransigence of Riyadh.

Qatar, through the Muslim Brotherhood, has supported the Arab Spring that deposed Mubarak
and placed Morsi in charge of Egypt, creating in the process strong tensions with the Saudis.
Riyadh supported al Sisi to remedy the situation in Egypt, financing the coup that sent Morsi to
jail. In 2014 this prompted a crisis between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with
Qatar’s ambassadors being expelled from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Differences were soon
patched up by the convergence of interests in destabilizing Syria and Iraq with extremist
terrorism funded by both nations together with Turkey's important contribution.

The Neocon Zionist and Wahhabi plans

What is interesting to note in connection with the Gulf crisis is the change in strategy in recent
months by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Washington's plan, shared by Tel Aviv and
supported by Riyadh, is to pin the blame for sponsoring international terrorism on Tehran and
Doha, fingering Qatar as the key financer of Hamas, al Qaeda and Daesh. The reason and
purpose behind this are manifold.

The problem of Islamic terrorism has become a subject of focussed attention for European and
American citizens because of frequent attacks. Security agencies are incapable of preventing
terrorist attacks from the same elements they have for years funded and supported as part of their
anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian strategy. The difficulties faced by secret services in halting such
attacks (as opposed to rogue secret services who aid terrorist networks a la Operation Gladio)
have made people question.

Citizens, increasingly frightened and angry with their governments for the lack of security, are
beginning to realize that the extremists receive their financial support from the Gulf countries,
who are known to be in business with many European capitals. The last thing that the
governments of France, Italy, Germany, the UK and the US want is the revelation that they are in
league with Islamic terrorism for geopolitical purposes. The consequences would be disastrous
for the already fragile credibility of the West.

Further confirmation of this strategy to gang up on Qatar can be seen in the economic field. S&P
downgraded the credit rating of Qatar a short time ago to AA-, setting the stage for a further
downgrade that could have important implications for the future economic stability of the

Trump and other leaders of the G7 seem to have made up their minds, agreeing with Saudi
wishes, heaping on Qatar all the blame for Islamic terrorism. The US administration, more
eagerly than its European vassals, also insists on including Tehran in the charge of state sponsors
of terrorism. For Washington, the aim is to curtail covert Western support for terrorism, all the
more urgent given the worsening state of affairs in Europe. Politicians from the Old Continent
understand that it is fundamental for a culprit to be found before being accused of being unable


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to stop Islamist terrorism. It is a desperate exit strategy that aims to attribute primary blame to
Qatar and secondary blame to Iran.

Europeans are more reluctant to endorse this vision, given the possible trade opportunities for the
European private sector in Iran following the removal of sanctions. It is even possible that some
European leaders are opposed to Trump's idea, probably discussed during the G7 in Italy, given
Qatar's billions of investment poured into the dying European economy.

Israel has officially maintained a neutral position concerning the Arab Spring, benefiting from
the chaos in the region and the weakening of geopolitical opponents like Syria and Egypt. Qatar's
support for Hamas, Israel's historic enemy, is a factor that has contributed to Tel Aviv's support
for Riyadh's manoeuvres against Doha.

The Saudis, on the other hand, have multiple reasons for attacking Qatar. Firstly, it brings Doha's
foreign policy back into line after showing leanings towards Tehran. Secondly, it aims to
incorporate Qatar in order to absorb its enormous financial resources, as an extreme measure to
help solve Saudi Arabia’s disastrous economic situation.

Chaos as a means of preserving global hegemony

Behind a convergence of convenience involving the triumvirate of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar
lies a well-outlined project of preventing Tehran from becoming a regional hegemon. The Saudis
regard Iran as a heretical nation with regard to Islam and have always promoted policies against
Tehran. Israel considers Iran the only real danger in the region as it is also a military powerhouse
like Israel. As for the United States, the main objective is to mediate a diplomatic rapprochement
between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is needed for the two nations to officially develop a
military alliance against Tehran. The final goal is the creation of an Arab NATO to contain Iran,
mirroring NATO's stance towards the Russian Federation.

The fault lies in Qatar.

Washington sees only one possible way to at once allay the concerns of her European allies
suffering an onslaught of Islamist attacks while simultaneously giving the impression to a
domestic audience of fighting extremists. It plans to do this by entering into a major agreement
with the two nations closest to Islamist terrorism - Israel and Saudi Arabia - while blaming a
third terrorist-supporting nation for all the terrorism -Qatar. Of course the weakest and
strategically least relevant of these three countries is Qatar.

The real challenge: Unipolarity vs. Multipolarity.

The most salient point in this story is the contrast between the new multipolar order and the
American unipolar world order. Qatar, thanks to its enormous financial resources, has
maintained high-level contacts with a wide variety of countries that are not necessarily allied to


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From the point of view of energy, Qatar is the region's second power after Riyadh, getting 90%
of its revenue from exports of liquefied natural gas from the world's largest deposit that is shared
with Iran. In the case of relations with Moscow, the problem is not significant given the relations
between Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation. For example, Qatar has recently injected
capital into Rosneft by acquiring a large share of stocks. Qatar foreign minister meet with Lavrov
in Moscow a couple of days ago discussing how to deescalate tensions but also reaffirming the
importance of relations between Doha and Moscow. Qatar, on the back of its economic wealth,
has expanded its political horizons by moving away from Riyadh, infuriating Washington and
Tel Aviv.

The strengthening of the Iranian position in the region was achieved thanks to two main factors,
namely the victories in the Syrian war and the agreement with the Obama administration over
Iranian nuclear power. This rehabilitation of Iran on the international scene following the signing
of the agreement slowly led Doha to advance back-channel dialogue with Tehran to reach a
compromise, especially in relation to the exploitation of the South Pars / North Dome gas field.
About three months ago, Qatar removed the moratorium on exploiting the field and carried out
dialogue with Iran over its development. It seems that an agreement has been reached between
Qatar and Iran for the future construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to the Mediterranean or
Turkey that will also carry Qatari gas to Europe. In exchange, Doha’s ending of support for
terrorism has been demanded, openly contravening Saudi and American directives to destroy

The Saudis have bet all their chips on the continuation of American hegemony. They prefer to
please the United States by avoiding the sale of oil to China in yuan, and are consequently
paying the price, with China buying more and more oil from Angola and Russia instead.
Moscow Central Bank has even opened a bank branch in Shanghai to convert yuan into gold,
creating something that resembles the US dollar gold standard of yesteryear.

In Yemen, Riyadh has compromised its future by squandering huge amounts of wealth, with the
only thing to show for it being a pending military defeat at the hands of the poorest Arab country
on the planet. The collapse of the price of oil has only exacerbated these difficulties. Qatar has
avoided these problems by virtue of having huge gas reserves as well as a somewhat more
diversified foreign policy than Riyadh. For the Saudis, placing under their control the world's
largest gas reserve, as well as an obscene amount of cash, would offer the opportunity of at least
recovering in part the huge losses experienced recently.

In this bloody game, Qatar is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the mainstream media's
coverage of the events leaves us with little doubts as to what the future for Doha will be. CNN's
interview with the Qatari ambassador to the United States represented a rare example of
journalistic integrity when the ambassador was embarrassed by the CNN host’s airing
accusations of Qatar’s support for terrorists.

Neocon Deep State Vs Neoliberal Deep State

The fratricidal war within the US deep state also affects the Middle East, especially in the clash
between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It has long been known that Huma Abedin has deep ties to the


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Muslim Brotherhood, as did the previous American administration as well as Hillary Clinton.
This proximity has had repercussions on the relationship between Obama and the Sunni
countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

Until a few months ago, Washington was full of rumours about alleged lobbying efforts by
former Trump adviser Michael Flynn on behalf of Erdogan. Considering that the former general
was fired, this could be an important indicator of Trump’s position on Qatar, as the Turkish
President is very close to the Muslim Brotherhood, a Doha-backed ideological movement. Flynn
could have been fired by Trump for his close indirect relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The mainstream media close to the Clinton/Obama clan may have used the alleged links between
Flynn and Russia to obscure the hidden links between Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the other hand, the evidence of collusion between the Muslim Brotherhood and Washington
dates even before 2010, with Obama's speech in Cairo in 2009 and the resulting Arab springs, all
funded by Qatar via the Muslim Brotherhood, with Washington’s blessing. The consequences of
those actions are well known, having increased the chaos in the region, forced a greater US
presence in the Middle East, and contributed to increasing synergies between the Shiite axis in
response to terrorist aggression.

In this context, Turkey backed the same terrorist groups as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the
abortive July 2016 coup only served to strengthen the takeover of power by Erdogan and the
Muslim Brotherhood faction supporting him. Even today the consequences of the coup
reverberate in the region, with the alliance between Ankara and Doha recently strengthened with
the presence of Turkish troops in Qatar. Another element not to underestimate was Iran's attitude
towards Ankara following the failed coup d'état, with Tehran declaring its solidarity with

The strategic choices of previous administrations in the Middle East were disastrous in every
respect. They strengthened enemies and weakened historic allies. No wonder Trump has decided
to hit the rewind button, placing strong confidence in the two main allies in the Middle East,
Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Trump and the deep-state faction loyal to him aims to create an Arab NATO able to confront
Iran in its own right, freeing Washington from a constant presence in the Middle East. The
United States is focussed on two key factors in this strategy, namely the sale of Saudi oil in US
dollars, and the sale of weapons to US allies to keep its military-industrial complex happy. These
goals coincide with what happened recently in the emirates with Trump's visit. The United States
and Saudi Arabia have signed agreements worth over 350 billion dollars. Saudi Arabia strongly
supports the creation of an Arab NATO. The organization would make official Tehran's role as
the greatest danger for the entire region. Moreover, the project of an Arab NATO would suit
Israel fine, as it hates Tehran.

For the US deep state, or at least part of it, the most urgent strategy concerns the transfer of
American forces in terms of presence and focus, from the Middle East and Europe to Asia in
order to face the main challenge of the future, namely China’s intention to dominate the Asian


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region. What is happening in the Philippines with Daesh, which the author wrote about last
week, is simply the continuation of a wider strategy that also affects the Saudi-Qatar conflict.

With Obama and the ruling Democrats, much attention had been paid to the issue of human
rights. In particular, the component of the deep state close to the Clinton/Obama clan embraced
the Muslim Brotherhood's attempt to subvert power in the Middle Eastern region through the
Arab Spring. The approach of neoconservatives and neoliberals towards hegemony is very
different and shows conflicting strategies, highlighting the diversity between the two souls of the
US deep state that has long been battling each other.

On one hand, the neoliberal/human-rights clan is very close to Obama and Clinton as well as
supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar indirectly. Neoconservatives, however, are
historically more aligned with Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of whom seem to support Trump in
order to make the US role in the Middle East less central, thanks to an Arabian NATO that
would free the US up to shift its attention to Asia by delegating regional control to Riyadh and
Tel Aviv.

In this regard, the nuclear agreement between the Obama administration and Tehran is explained.
The neoliberals hoped to see Iranian revolts in the wake of the Arab Spring, leading to the
overthrowing of the regime and the ushering in of democracy. Neoliberal human-rights
interventionists abuse the word democracy, wielding it as a baton. The results of these efforts can
be seen in the disasters in Libya and Syria. Paradoxically, Obama and Clinton's strategy has
backfired on Washington, since Iran, thanks to the nuclear agreement, has increased its weight in
the region, forcing the Neocon-Saudi-Zionist faction to try to sabotage it in any way.


Qatar is at a crossroads. Acquiescing to Saudi pressure means falling into line and abandoning its
dalliance with the multipolar world order. The fate of Doha is probably already determined, with
Iran and Russia hardly desirous of becoming too much involved in the sanguinary game. A likely
outcome is that the Al Thani family will in the end acquiesce to Saudi demands after resisting
thanks to foreign partners help. What is interesting to note is that the situation in Washington has
deteriorated to such an extent that even Washington's historic allies are fighting each other.

Iran, Russia and China, assisting Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, have created the necessary
conditions to end Middle-Eastern destabilization, even prompting an internal crisis in the Gulf
Cooperation Council. The bet that Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington embarked on with the
aggression against Doha could prove to be an unforgivable strategic error, even leading to the
end of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the weakening of the anti-Iran coalition in the region.

If Qatar should decide to resist Saudi pressure, which is only possible with the covert support of
Russia, China and Iran, it is likely that the Syrian war has its days numbered. This is not to
mention the fact that such an outcome would provide Turkey with an even easier path to
transition into the Eurasian alliance.


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Should Doha decide to oppose the demands of Riyadh (their economic capacity is certainly not
lacking), it will be up to Russia, Iran and China to decide whether to risk supporting Qatar
against Saudi Arabia in order to stabilize the region. The hostility of the United States, Saudi
Arabia and Israel hold towards Qatar are warning signs for the Eurasian bloc, already facing
many obstacles in the world as it is.

Despite this, Tehran and Moscow are providing and offering Qatar's first needed goods in terms
of food and medicine. Iran is also opening its own airspace to Doha-based companies. Iran, in
addition to being a nation usually ready to help when demanded, sees the opportunity to continue
the destruction of the axis opposed to it. An overall assessment (In Astana at the SCO meeting?)
will be needed to determine which strategy is best to follow. Above all it will be necessary to
understand how Qatar will want to proceed in this unprecedented crisis in the Gulf region.

Even in Syria, the terrorist groups funded by the monarchies and Turkey are fighting each other,
reflecting the divisions and tensions within the Gulf. It is only a matter of time before the
conflicts between various organizations extends to other places in Syria, leading to the collapse
of the opposition groups. In light of these developments, it appears that Iran and Syria have
proposed to Qatar that they switch from supporting terrorism and instead cooperate in the
reconstruction of Syria with Chinese and Iranian partners. Receiving credible responses to such a
proposition is impossible, but following dialogue between Doha and Tehran on the development
of the North Pars Gas Field, one cannot rule out that an agreement could be reached in Syria in
the medium term, which would also bring enormous benefits to Doha as well as to Damascus
and Tehran.

The American century is rapidly coming to an end. Terrorists are biting their masters’ hands and
the vassals are rebelling. The unipolar world order that defers to the United States is rapidly
disappearing, and the consequences are being felt in many areas of the world.


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15. Syria Crisis

Syrian Civil War Fast Facts

Here is some background information about the ongoing civil war in Syria. Since the war began
in 2011, an estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations.


Bashar al-Assad has ruled Syria as president since July 2000. His father, Hafez al-Assad, ruled
Syria from 1970-2000.
The ongoing violence against civilians has been condemned by the Arab League, the European
Union, the United States and other countries.
As of March 2017, more than 5 million Syrians have fled the country and 6.3 million people are
displaced internally.
There are four main factions of fighting groups throughout the country: Kurdish forces, ISIS,
other opposition (such as Jaish al Fateh, an alliance between the Nusra Front and Ahrar-al-Sham)
and the Assad regime.


March 2011 - Violence flares in Daraa after a group of teens and children are arrested for
writing political graffiti. Dozens of people are killed when security forces crack down on

March 24, 2011 - In response to continuing protests, the Syrian government announces several
plans to appease citizens. State employees will receive an immediate salary increase. The
government also plans to study lifting Syria's long standing emergency law and the licensing of
new political parties.

March 30, 2011 - Al-Assad addresses the nation in a 45-minute televised speech. He
acknowledges that the government has not met the people's needs but he does not offer any
concrete changes. The state of emergency remains in effect.

April 21, 2011 - Al-Assad lifts the country's 48-year-old state of emergency. He also abolishes
the Higher State Security Court and issues a decree "regulating the right to peaceful protest, as
one of the basic human rights guaranteed by the Syrian Constitution."

May 18, 2011 - The US imposes sanctions against al-Assad and six other senior Syrian officials.
The Treasury Department details the sanctions by saying, "As a result of this action, any property
in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons in which the individuals listed
in the Annex have an interest is blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging
in transactions with them."


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August 18, 2011 - The US imposes new economic sanctions on Syria, freezing Syrian
government assets in the US, barring Americans from making new investments in the country
and prohibiting any US transactions relating to Syrian petroleum products, among other things.

September 2, 2011 - The European Union bans the import of Syrian oil.

September 23, 2011 - The European Union imposes additional sanctions against Syria, due to
"the continuing brutal campaign" by the government against its own people.

October 2, 2011 - A new alignment of Syrian opposition groups establishes the Syrian National
Council, a framework through which to end al-Assad's government and establish a democratic

October 4, 2011 - Russia and China veto a UN Security Council resolution that would call for an
immediate halt to the crackdown in Syria against opponents of al-Assad. Nine of the 15-member
council countries, including the United States, voted in favor of adopting the resolution.

November 12, 2011 - The Arab League suspends Syria's membership, effective November 16,

November 27, 2011 - Foreign ministers from 19 Arab League countries vote to impose
economic sanctions against the Syrian regime for its part in a bloody crackdown on civilian

November 30, 2011 - Turkey announces a series of measures, including financial sanctions,
against Syria.

December 19, 2011 - Syria signs an Arab League proposal aimed at ending violence between
government forces and protesters.

January 28, 2012 - The Arab League suspends its mission in Syria as violence there continues.

February 2, 2012 - A UN Security Council meeting ends with no agreement on a draft

resolution intended to pressure Syria to end its months-long crackdown on anti-government

February 4, 2012 - A UN Security Council resolution condemning action against Syria is not
adopted after Russia and China vote against it.

February 6, 2012 - The US closes its embassy in Damascus and recalls its diplomats.

February 7, 2012 - The Gulf Cooperation Council announces its member states are pulling their
ambassadors from Damascus and expelling the Syrian ambassadors in their countries.


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February 16, 2012 - The United Nations General Assembly passes a nonbinding resolution
endorsing the Arab League plan for al-Assad to step down. The vote was 137 in favor and 12
against, with 17 abstentions.

February 26, 2012 - Syrians vote on a constitutional referendum in polling centers across the
country. Almost 90% of voters approve the changes to the constitution, which include the
possibility of a multi-party system.

March 13, 2012 - Kofi Annan, the UN special envoy to Syria, meets in Turkey with government
officials and Syrian opposition members. In a vist to Syria over the weekend, he calls for a
ceasefire, the release of detainees and allowing unfettered access to relief agencies to deliver
much-needed aid.

March 15, 2012 - The Gulf Cooperation Council announces that the six member countries will
close their Syrian embassies and calls on the international community "to stop what is going on
in Syria."

March 27, 2012 - The Syrian government accepts Annan's plan to end violence. The proposal
seeks to stop the violence, give access to humanitarian agencies, release detainees and start a
political dialogue to address the concerns of the Syrian people.

April 1, 2012 - At a conference in Istanbul, the international group Friends of the Syrian People
formally recognizes the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of the Syrian

June 10, 2012 - Abdul Basit Sieda, a Syrian native living in Sweden, is now Syria's National
Council leader.

July 23, 2012 - The Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, threatens to use
chemical and biological weapons against outside forces: "No chemical or biological weapons
will ever be used...unless Syria is exposed to external aggression."

July 30, 2012 - The Syrian Charge d'Affaires in London, Khaled al-Ayoubi, resigns, stating he is
"no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts
against its own people."

August 2, 2012 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announces that Annan will not renew his
mandate when it expires at the end of August.

August 6, 2012 - Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab's resignation from office and defection
from Assad's regime is read on Al Jazeera by his spokesman Muhammad el-Etri. Hijab and his
family are said to have left Syria overnight, arriving in Jordan. Hijab is the highest-profile
official to defect.

August 9, 2012 - Syrian television reports that al-Assad has appointed Health Minister Wael al-
Halki as the new prime minister.


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October 3, 2012 - Five people are killed by Syrian shelling in the Turkish border town of
Akcakale. In response, Turkey fires on Syrian targets and its parliament authorizes a resolution
giving the government permission to deploy its soldiers to foreign countries.

November 11, 2012 - Israel fires warning shots toward Syria after a mortar shell hits an Israeli
military post. It is the first time Israel has fired on Syria across the Golan Heights since the 1973
Yom Kippur War.

November 11, 2012 - Syrian opposition factions formally agree to unite as the National
Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

November 13, 2012 - Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib is elected leader of the Syrian opposition
collective, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

January 6, 2013 - Assad announces he will not step down and that his vision of Syria's future
includes a new constitution and an end to support for the opposition, which he calls terrorists.
The opposition refuses to work with Assad's government.

February 12, 2013 - The UN Security Council estimates that the number of civilians killed in
the two-year civil war in Syria is approaching 70,000.

March 19, 2013 - The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces elects
American-educated Ghassan Hitto as its prime minister. Though born in Damascus, Hitto has
spent much of his life in the United States, and holds dual US and Syrian citizenship.

April 25, 2013 - Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announces the United States has evidence
that the chemical weapon sarin has been used in Syria on a small scale.

May 27, 2013 - European Union nations end the arms embargo against the Syrian rebels.

May 27, 2013 - US Senator John McCain visits rebels in Syria. It is reported that he is the
highest ranking US official to visit since the beginning of the war.

June 13, 2013 - US President Barack Obama says that Syria has crossed a "red line" with its use
of chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin gas, against rebels. His administration
indicates that it will be stepping up its support of the rebels, who have been calling for the United
States and others to provide arms needed to battle Assad's forces.

July 6, 2013 - Ahmad Assi Jarba is elected the new leader of the Syrian National Coalition.

August 2, 2013 - The UN calls for an investigation into an incident in July in Khan al-Assal in
northern Syria. Videos on the Internet purport to show Syrian rebels executing as many as 30
people, most of them government soldiers.

August 18, 2013 - A team of UN weapons inspectors arrives in Syria to begin an investigation
into whether chemical weapons have been used during the civil war.


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August 22, 2013 - The UN and the United States call for an immediate investigation of Syrian
activists' claims that the al-Assad government used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians
on August 21. Anti-regime activist groups in Syria say more than 1,300 people were killed in the
attack outside Damascus, many of them women and children. Video footage and witness reports
appear to bolster claims that chemical weapons were used.

August 24, 2013 - Medical charity Doctors Without Borders announces that three hospitals near
Damascus treated more than 3,000 patients suffering "neurotoxic symptoms" on August 21.
Reportedly, 355 of the patients died.

August 26, 2013 - UN inspectors reach the site of a reported chemical attack in Moadamiyet al-
Sham, near Damascus. En route to the site, the team's convoy is hit by sniper fire. No one is

August 29, 2013 - The UK's Parliament votes against any military action in Syria.

August 30, 2013 - US Secretary of State John Kerry says that US intelligence information has
found that 1,429 people were killed in last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria, including at
least 426 children.

August 31, 2013 - President Obama gives a speech asking Congress to authorize military action
against Syria.

September 9, 2013 - Syria agrees to a Russian proposal to give up control of its chemical
September 10, 2013 - In a speech, President Obama says he will not "put American boots on the
ground in Syria," but does not rule out other military options.

September 14, 2013 - The US and Russia agree to a plan to eliminate chemical weapons in

September 16, 2013 - The UN releases a report from chemical weapons inspectors who
investigated the August 21 incident. Inspectors say there is "clear and convincing evidence" that
sarin was used.

September 20, 2013 - Syria releases an initial report on its chemical weapons program.

September 27, 2013 - The UN Security Council passes a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate
its arsenal of chemical weapons. Al-Assad says he will abide by the resolution.

September 30, 2013 - At the UN General Assembly in New York, Syrian Foreign Minister
Walid al-Moualem says that Syria is not engaged in a civil war, but a war on terror.

October 6, 2013 - Syria begins dismantling its chemical weapons program, including the
destruction of missile warheads and aerial bombs.


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October 31, 2013 - The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announces that
Syria has destroyed all its declared chemical weapons production facilities.

November 25, 2013 - The UN announces that starting January 22 in Geneva, Switzerland, the
Syrian government and an unknown number of opposition groups will meet at a "Geneva II"
conference meant to broker an end to the Syrian civil war.

December 2, 2013 - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says that a UN fact-
finding team has found "massive evidence" that the highest levels of the Syrian government are
responsible for war crimes.

January 20, 2014 - The Syria National Coalition announces it won't participate in the Geneva II
talks unless the United Nations rescinds its surprise invitation to Iran or Iran agrees to certain
conditions. The UN later rescinds Iran's invitation.

February 13, 2014 - The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons tells CNN that
Syria has shipped out 11% of its chemical weapons stockpile, falling far short of the February 5
deadline to have all such arms removed from the country.

February 15, 2014 - A second round of peace talks ends in Geneva, Switzerland, with little
progress in ending Syria's civil war.

February 23, 2014 - The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution boosting access
to humanitarian aid in Syria.

June 3, 2014 - Al-Assad is re-elected, reportedly receiving 88.7% of the vote in the country's
first election since civil war broke out in 2011.

September 22-23, 2014 - The US and allies launch airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria,
focusing on the city of Raqqa.

September 14-15, 2015 - A Pentagon spokesperson says the Russian military appears to be
attempting to set up a forward operating base in western Syria, in the area around the port city of
Latakia. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Russia is supporting the Syrian government
in its fight against ISIS.

October 30, 2015 - White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that the US will be deploying
"less than 50" Special Operations forces, who will be sent to Kurdish-controlled territory in
northern Syria. The American troops will help local Kurdish and Arab forces fighting ISIS with
logistics and are planning to bolster their efforts.

February 26, 2016 - A temporary cessation of hostilities goes into effect. The truce calls for the
Syrian regime and rebels to give relief organizations access to disputed territories so they can
assist civilians.


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March 15, 2016 - Russia starts withdrawing its forces from Syria. A spokeswoman for al-Assad
tells CNN that the Russian campaign is winding down after achieving its goals of helping Syrian
troops take back territory claimed by terrorists.

September 15, 2016 - At least 23 people, including nine children, are killed during airstrikes in
Syria, with the United States and Russia accusing each other of violating the ceasefire in effect
since September 12.

September 17, 2016 - US-led coalition airstrikes near Deir Ezzor Airport intended to target ISIS
instead kill 62 Syrian soldiers.

September 20, 2016 - An aid convoy and warehouse of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are
bombed; no one claims responsibility. The strike prompts the UN to halt aid operations in Syria.

September 23-25, 2016 - About 200 airstrikes hit Aleppo during the weekend, with one activist
telling CNN it is a level of bombing they have not seen before.

December 13, 2016 - As government forces take control of most of Aleppo from rebel groups,
Turkey and Russia broker a ceasefire for eastern Aleppo so that civilians can be evacuated. The
UN Security Council holds an emergency session amid reports of mounting civilian deaths and
extrajudicial killings. The ceasefire collapses less than a day after it is implemented.

December 22, 2016 - Syria's state-run media announces government forces have taken full
control of Aleppo, ending more than four years of rebel rule there.

April 4, 2017 - Dozens of civilians are reportedly killed in a suspected chemical attack in the
rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that gas was released
when Syrian forces bombed a chemical munitions depot operated by terrorists. Activists,
however, say that Syrians carried out a targeted chemical attack.

April 6, 2017 - The US launches a military strike on a Syrian government airbase in response to
the chemical weapon attack on civilians. On President Trump's orders, US warships launch 59
Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase which, US officials say, was home to the warplanes that
carried out the chemical attacks.

July 7, 2017 - President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin reach an
agreement on curbing violence in southwest Syria during their meeting at the G20 in Hamburg,
Germany. The ceasefire will take effect in the de-escalation zone beginning at noon Damascus
time on July 9.

October 17, 2017 - ISIS loses control of its self-declared capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa. US-
backed forces fighting in Raqqa say "major military operations" have ended, though there are
still pockets of resistance in the city.


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10 simple points to help you understand the Syria conflict

THIS is a complicated war. This is a messy, cruel war where neither side has much regard for
civilian casualties.
This war is not black-and-white. You might think it’s the brave rebels versus the evil dictatorial
regime, and that’s part of the story. But it’s not all of it. Not by a long way.
Confused about Syria? Us too. But this quick 10-point explainer will help. To help us navigate
this tragic conflict, we spoke to two Australians with a unique view on the troubled nation.
We spoke to Dr Rodger Shanahan, former peacekeeper in Syria and non-resident Fellow at the
Lowy Institute for International Policy.
And we spoke to Father David Smith, a Sydney Anglican priest who this year travelled to Syria
on a humanitarian mission. You can read his blog here at prayersforsyria.com.

1. Syria
A country smaller than the state of Victoria with almost the exact same population as Australia
(22.5 million to our 23 million) which borders Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon. Syria
has both deserts and fertile areas and is steeped in history dating back to biblical times.

2. The Syrian regime

The Syrian Civil war is a conflict between its long-serving government and those seeking to boot
it out of office. The Assad family has held power in Syria since 1971. First it was Hafez al-
Assad, then Bashar al-Assad.
Unlike many regime leaders in the middle east middle, The Assad family is not religiously
extreme. They are Alawites – a relatively obscure branch of Islam which is not particularly hard-
line. So the people have not been protesting against hard-line Islamists, as happened in other
countries which participated in the Arab Spring uprisings.
But people are still angry at their government. As Rodger Shanahan points out, what they’re
angry about is the failure of long-promised economic and political reforms.

3. The Civil War begins

Rodger Shanahan says the catalyst was the jailing on March 6, 2011, of some children who
painted anti-regime graffiti. Some were killed in detention, and this led to public protests which
spread around the country – fuelled by the failure of the government to punish the perpetrators.
Another theory says the war started with demonstrations which mirrored those in neighbouring
countries, and which soon led to a security crackdown. In April 2011, the Syrian Army fired on
demonstrators and the protests became a full-scale armed rebellion.

4. The rebellion grows…

By July 2011, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had formed. As Dr Shanahan explains, the FSA
never existed before that. “Local areas formed their own militias with the aim of toppling the
government without any co-ordination or centralised command or control,” he says.
“The militias were a combination of local area tribal groups, deserters from the military [who
had been conscripted despite holding anti-government beliefs] and disaffected locals.”
Then a combination of Jihadists, some from Syria and some from elsewhere, joined the FSA.
Some even came from the faraway Caucasus region – where accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev originally hailed from.


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So in other words, you had genuine Syrian freedom fighters joined by people with their own
Islamist agendas. But because the FSA was underarmed and undermanned, they had little choice
but to form a loose coalition with these volatile new kids on the revolutionary block.

5. And pretty soon, bad guys on both sides are killing civilians…
As Father Dave Smith says, “the way it’s been depicted the last couple of years, you get the
impression the rebels are Robin Hood and his band of merry men, and that all they want is
freedom and justice for all. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Father Dave illustrates his point with a communication he had with a Syrian woman which he
published on his blog. The woman’s name is Ghinwa and she wrote by text:
“The situation is very bad now in Latakia province. 7 Alawite villages were massacred. We
know about the killing of 136 villagers all killed on sectarian bases. A friend of mind lost 21
member of his relatives.
“All of my friends who were documenting the name and the events of massacres in Latakia
against Alawites are now being threatened to be killed by FSA and Al Nusra terrorists … On TV
we are shown something different. It is only a propaganda. They’re trying to say that Alawites
are not being killed or displaced. The truth is being hidden by mass media. .. This is sick… My
sister now is very ill … I guess a part of her illness is caused by sadness … we are afraid.”
A quick recap. Alawites are the ethnicity of the ruling family. The fact they were allegedly being
killed by rebel groups suggests the rebels are not all angels.

6. Civilian casualties
“There are accusations of atrocities on both sides,” Rodger Shanahan confirms. We should
believe some of them, absolutely. There’s no accurate confirmation, but it’s a nasty horrible civil
war with people on both sides getting killed.
Dr Shanahan says there is evidence that opposition car bombs have killed countless civilians in
the name of taking out a government target. But there are equally distressing reports that
government soldiers executed civilians. Others, shockingly, were executed for taking a moral
stance and failing to follow orders to execute civilians.
Like we said, it’s a bloody mess. Literally. The death toll in the war is now said to be well over

7. The president’s wife

Allow us to break up this tale with a story of the president’s wife. Her name is Asma al-Assad
and she was raised in Britain by Syrian parents. She’s smart, glamorous and she worked as an
investment banker before meeting her future husband in Britain in 2000 – just months before he
became president.
In March 2011, the American version of Vogue magazine ran a long, glowing profile of Asma
al-Assad. Talk about bad timing. The story was soon removed from Vogue’s website and the
journalist who wrote it tried to cover her tracks by penning a separate story elsewhere entitled
“First Lady of Hell”.
Even as the Civil war rages, the Assad family remains popular with many middle class Syrians,
especially urbanised Sunni Muslims, says Dr Rodger Shanahan. “They still prefer him to the
opposition,” he says.


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8. Refugee hell
The United Nations estimates that more than 1.5 million refugees have now fled Syria. Father
David Smith visited several camps across the border in Lebanon – a country whose population of
4.3 million is bulging with the influx of a total of nearly 2 million Palestinian and Syrian
“The camps I saw were deeply impressive,” Father Dave says. “Every Palestinian family took in
two, maybe three Syrian families. These included polygamous families which presented a whole
new problem. The wives often lived in separate houses in Syria but now they were not just under
the same roof but sleeping on the same floor. The domestic violence and rape problems are
enormous. I was deeply impressed with camp and people running it.”

9. Chemical weapons
Just who unleashed the chemical weapons attack which killed hundreds of children and other
civilians last week – and why? UN weapons inspectors arrived yesterday with a mandate to find
that out. And when they do, it will affect what the world does next.
“They have a mandate to say whether a chemical attack occurred but not to apportion blame,” Dr
Shanahan cautions. “First, they have to establish whether an incident occurred [it is still disputed
by some] and at what level the action was authorised. It is plausible that Assad didn’t authorise it
but a local commander did.”

10. What happens next

The world waits. “You would think the way diplomatic manoeuvrings are going that if there is
some kind of military strike it would be quite limited,” Dr Shanahan says. “It would be punitive,
not designed to tip the military balance.”
In other words, no Iraq-style invasion or prolonged Western intervention.
And Father Dave’s opinion of what comes next? He doesn’t know. But he’s praying. He speaks
of a man he met in Syria who said he’s gone “from unemployment to slavery”. That’s his way of
saying the revolution has so far achieved a whole bunch of nothing except bloodshed and
“I see the faces of all those beautiful people and I pray,” he says.


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UNICEF Syria Crisis Situation Report August 2017 - Humanitarian Results


In Syria, violence continues to impact civilians across the country despite an overall reduction of
civilian casualties in areas where de-escalation zone agreements are in place. Military operations
are further deteriorating the humanitarian situation in Raqqa City and Deir-ez-Zor, with severe
food, water, electricity and medical shortages. Protection of vulnerable families and their
children remains a key concern.

Military operations in the area surrounding Aarsal near the Syria-Lebanon border led to the
evacuation and relocation of more than 4,900 people to Idleb and rural Hama, where they were
provided with humanitarian assistance, including UNICEF-supported malnutrition screening for
393 pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and 1,166 children - 19 children were referred for
treatment. In addition, 1,230 children and 60 PLW were provided with high energy biscuits.

In Iraq, military operations to retake Mosul City and surrounding territory have been ongoing
since 2016, and have displaced 998,010 people including 548,906 children. Continued insecurity
in Iraq has not had direct impact on the existing Syrian refugee population, but increased national
security spending, protracted mass displacement, ongoing economic downturn and
disagreements between the federal and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on internal
budget allocations have prevented both governments from taking over services for refugees as

With the approach of the new 2017-2018 school year, UNICEF and implementing partners are
joining national efforts in accelerating Back to School/Learning outreach campaigns in camps
and host community settings. The appeals for the Education sector in Syria and in countries
responding to the Syrian refugee crisis are 59 per cent and 44 per cent underfunded respectively.
Additional funding is critical to sustain current activities, particularly those for out-of-school

As of 14 September, UNICEF’s appeals for Syria and Iraq response to Syrian refugees are 63 per
cent and 59 per cent underfunded respectively, including carry-forward. Donor funding is
urgently needed to continue this critical assistance to vulnerable populations - particularly
children – sustainably.


In Syria

6 million # of children affected

13,500,000 # of people affected (HNO, 2017)


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Outside Syria

Nearly 2.5 million (2,458,074) # of registered Syria refugee children

More than 5 million (5,164,020) # of registered Syrian refugees (UNHCR, 6 September 2017)

UNICEF Appeal 2017 US$1,396 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs: In Syria, violence continues to impact civilians
across the country although there has been an overall reduction of civilian casualties in areas
where de-escalation zone agreements have been put in place. The humanitarian situation has
nonetheless escalated significantly in the face of military operations in Raqqa City and Deir-ez-
Zor where UNICEF remains extremely concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children
facing constant aerial bombardments and caught in the cross-fire of fighting. Conditions in these
areas continue to deteriorate due to severe food, water, electricity and medical shortages. In
Raqqa, the population has resorted to collecting unsafe water from the Euphrates River,
increasing the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks. Since the onset of the Raqqa offensive in
November 2016, around 299,000 people (half of them children) have been displaced, some on
multiple occasions. A large proportion of the displaced are living under poor conditions in IDP
camps in Hasakeh and Raqqa. In August alone, around 2,234 people were displaced from Deir-
ez-Zor. Armed groups are actively preventing the movement of people outside of area, where the
fighting is intensifying with numerous risks reported for those attempting to flee including death
and forced conscription. Along the Syrian-Jordanian border, approximately 50,000 people
remain in a precarious protection and humanitarian situation as they have been cut-off from
humanitarian assistance since June 2015. The provision of humanitarian assistance to besieged
and hard-to-reach (HTR) areas continues to be extremely challenging due to delays in receiving
government approvals, shifting conflict lines and deliberate restrictions by parties to the conflict.
Throughout Syria, an estimated 232,000 children are living in 11 areas under siege with an
estimated 2.1 million children living in hard-to-reach areas with limited access to humanitarian
assistance. Also in the reporting month, military operations in the area surrounding Aarsal town
near the Syria-Lebanon border led to the evacuation and relocation of more than 4,900 people to
Idleb and rural Hama, where they were provided with necessary humanitarian assistance. In
addition, a shift in territorial control in Idleb created concerns regarding humanitarian access
from Turkey to northern Syria. Nevertheless, the major border crossings during the reporting
month remained unaffected, with only one closure of Bab al-Hawa crossing on August 31 due to
a religious holiday.

In August, the number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers registered in Turkey remained
relatively static at approximately 3.4 million, with just over 4,000 non-Syrians newly registered.
More than 3.1 million Syrians refugees are under temporary protection in Turkey, including over
1.4 million children, while the remaining 324,100 are nationals from primarily Afghanistan
(141,200) and Iraq (137,100).1 On Turkey’s western border, the number of refugees and
migrants on the move toward Europe continued to rise, likely as a result of the warm weather and
calm seas. Nearly 3,700 people arrived in Greece by sea in August, a 64 per cent increase over
the previous month, an estimated one-third of whom were children. An additional 2,670 people


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were rescued or apprehended in the attempt. Under the framework of the EU-Turkey Statement,
three rounds of returns took place in August for 19 people2 , bringing the total number of people
re-admitted to Turkey to 1,308 since the Statement came into effect in March 2016.

The humanitarian situation in Lebanon, which hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian and 300,000
Palestinian refugees, remains precarious and unpredictable. In August, Hezbolah and the
Lebanese Armed Forces, in coordination with Syrian Armed Forces, conducted a series of
offensives against the Islamic extremist groups, clearing the border areas (e.g. Arsaal outskits)
with Syria, which were long occupied by individuals/groups that are alleged to be extereme
Islamists. During the offensive, around 1,900 individuals sought refuge in Arsaal town from
outskirts. The offensives were concluded in agreements to repatriate militants and their families
to Syria. While those returns included some refugees, the UN were not involved but monitored
the situation through partners and provided humanitairan assistance to the displaced during the
offensive. The UN is planning to support government’s efforts to ensure basic services in Arsaal,
with estimated population of 120,0003 , and its surrounding, which has long been a contentious
area with the penetration of individuals/groups that are alleged to be extreme Islamists that
resulted in security restriction on movements, which in turn negatively affected the economy and
livelihood of the population. Ein El Hilweh, the largest Palestinian camp, with an estimated
population of 80,000-90,000, saw renewed clashes between an allegedly extreme Islamist group
and the Joint Security Force that took place between 17 August and 23 August, resulting in
several casualties as well as significant damagesto properties. Despite a ceasefire agreement, the
presence of opposing groups within the camp are expected to lead to similar clashes in the near

Jordan hosts 2.8 million refugees, including 659,125 registered Syrian refugees (51 per cent
children)4 , 64,258 Iraqi refugees (32.8 per cent children), and over 2.1 million long staying
registered Palestinian refugees. While 78.7 per cent of the 659,125 Syrian registered refugees
live in host communities, 79,879 refugees live in Za’atari camp, 53,266 are officially registered
in Azraq camp, 332 live in King Abdullah Park, and 7,279 live in the Emirati-Jordanian camp. In
addition, a population of approximately 50,000 Syrians, of whom 66 per cent are women and
children, remain in the remote locations at Jordan’s northeast desert border area with Syria.

Among the refugees living in host communities, about 17,000 Syrians live in temporary
settlements. Children living in these sites are much less likely to enol in public school (only
estimated at 12 per cent) due to barriers posed by child labour, high mobility, financial
constraints, cultural sensitivities and fear of leaving the community.
As Iraq’s intense summer heat continued, often reaching above 45 degrees in August, the need
for safe water supply, shaded spaces and cooling equipment remained high. Military operations
to retake Mosul City and the surrounding territory have been ongoing since 2016, resulting in
displacement of 998,010 people including 548,906 children5 . Following the retake of Mosul
City, the Government of Iraq (GOI) launched a new offensive in August to retake Tel Afar in
northern Ninewa, announcing their full control over this area by end of the month. While the
continued insecurity in the country has not had direct impact on the existing Syrian refugee
population, increased national spending on security, protracted mass displacement, continued
economic downturn and disagreements between the federal and Kurdistan Regional Government
(KRG) on internal budget allocation have greatly restricted the capacity of the GoI and KRG to


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complete the planned takeover of services for refugees. UNICEF, UNHCR, and humanitarian
partners therefore continue to provide significant support to the Syrian refugee caseload, while
trying to increase community resilience, build the capacity of government service providers, and
strengthen sustainable strategies. As of the reporting month, UNICEF Iraq remains significantly
underfunded against its 2017 appeal for the Syrian refugee response, with only 36 per cent
received (including carry-over), making it necessary to prioritize with government and NGO
partners, on an as-needed basis by sector, location, partner and type of services.
Egypt hosts about 3,085 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), with the majority being
from sub-Saharan Africa, Iraq and Yemen.

Of these, 1,899 are unaccompanied children aged 15-17 years coming from Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

UASC are vulnerable to many threats and face particular protection challenges. Their main needs
include availability of alternative care arrangements, community support, access to sustainable
services and protection from violence and exploitation, including child labour and early
marriage. According to the new law that regulates the work of non-governmental organizations
(70/2017), which came into effect in June 2017, new committees are being established to provide
registration approvals for national and international NGOs working in Egypt. This has relevant
implications in terms of the nature and type of work which NGOs can conduct at the community


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Supporting the future of Syria and the region: co-chairs declaration

1. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and
Vice-President of the European Commission, the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-
Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations and the Foreign Ministers of
Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar, and the United Kingdom chaired today in Brussels a
conference on the Syrian conflict and its impact on the region. This conference brought together
representatives of over 70 countries and international organisations, international and Syrian civil
society, and built on previous years' conferences in Kuwait and London.

2. The conflict in Syria has brought about destruction and human suffering on an enormous
scale. In particular, the Conference condemned the use of chemical weapons by the Government
and ISIL/Daesh, as identified by the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism, and the attacks
on Khan Sheikhun yesterday. The use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, must stop

3. The international community is deeply committed to engaging and working together to

support a peaceful future for Syria and all its people. To that effect, the conference stressed the
importance of maintaining a sovereign, independent, unitary and territorially integral country
where all Syrians will be able to live in peace and security. It aimed at further progress towards a
sustainable inclusive peace, while addressing the urgent humanitarian and resilience needs inside
Syria and supporting the efforts of neighbouring countries in hosting over five million refugees.

4. The conference recognised that the humanitarian and resilience needs of vulnerable people
(especially women and children) inside Syria and in the region have never been greater. It took
note of UN-coordinated appeals requesting $8 billion in 2017 to cover assistance and protection
needs inside Syria as well as in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. It acknowledged the
continuing generosity of neighbouring host countries and their communities in providing refuge
to millions of displaced people. Participants agreed that in order to meet the massive needs of
populations inside Syria and in neighbouring countries and strengthen the resilience of host
communities, significant financial support and innovative and holistic approaches are needed.
The generosity of the participants has resulted in the pledging $ 6 billion (€ 5.6 billion) for 2017,
as well as multi-year pledges of $ 3.73 billion (€ 3.47 billion) for 2018-2020. In addition, some
international financial institutions and donors announced around $ 30 billion (€ 27.9 billion) in
loans of which elements are on concessional terms. Co-chairs and others agreed to widen the
resource base and ensure greater predictability, coherence and effectiveness of the aid by
translating the Grand Bargain commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit into action
to deliver concrete dividends for the people affected by the Syrian conflict.

5. Humanitarian assistance alone, however, cannot stop the suffering of Syria's people in the
absence of a political solution negotiated between the Syrian parties, on the basis of relevant
UNSCRs, including 2254, and the 2012 Geneva Communique. The conference highlighted that
any lasting solution to the conflict has to be centred on meeting the democratic aspirations and
needs of the Syrian people and providing safety and security for all. Only through a genuine and
inclusive political transition will there be an end to the conflict.


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6. Participants therefore re-iterated their full support and commitment to the UN-moderated
intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, as the only forum where a political solution should be negotiated.
They welcomed the talks in Geneva, looked forward to further progress, and commended the
tireless efforts of the UN Special Envoy. The role for civil society, including women's
organisations, was recognised as a key part of a lasting solution. Participants explored how the
international community and the region can contribute to ensuring the success of the talks.

7. Participants recognised the constructive role that regional actors can play in facilitating a
resolution to the conflict and welcomed the initiative of the EU to find common ground between
them on the future of Syria.

8. The Astana meetings have a potentially crucial role in consolidating and strengthening the
nationwide ceasefire, guaranteed by Russia and Turkey, and, now, with the participation of Iran.
Constructive contributions from the Astana meetings should complement the efforts of the
Geneva Task Forces. While supporting these efforts, strong concerns were expressed about
ongoing military activity and all sides were urged to redouble their efforts to achieve full
compliance with the ceasefire. A genuine ceasefire should facilitate unimpeded, country-wide
humanitarian access. Immediate practical measures such as the release of detainees/abductees,
the exchange of prisoners and handover of bodies, to identify missing persons, were also
recognised as important confidence building measures. Participants welcomed the UN's
readiness to provide technical support to improve the efficiency of the trilateral mechanism to
observe compliance with the ceasefire.

9. The protection of civilians remains paramount. Participants condemned the continued

violations and abuses of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law
by parties involved in the conflict, including the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian
infrastructure, in particular medical and educational infrastructure and places of worship, and
sexual and gender based violence. In particular they noted the findings of the UN Headquarters
Board of Inquiry on the UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy. In addition participants
condemned the atrocities committed by ISIL/Daesh and other UN-designated terrorist groups
and reaffirmed their strong commitment to defeat them. Co-chairs called for support, including
through adequate financial means, for the implementation of the UNGA Resolution 71/248
establishing an International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to ensure
accountability for such systematic, widespread and gross violations and abuses of IHL and
human rights in Syria.

10. Participants recalled the urgency of allowing rapid, safe, sustained and unhindered
countrywide humanitarian access by UN agencies and NGOs to all those in need through the
most direct routes, including across conflict lines and across borders, and to end all arbitrary
denials of humanitarian access. Starvation of civilians through besiegement as a method of
combat and their forcible displacement, as identified by the Commission of Inquiry established
by the UN Human Rights Council, are clear breaches of IHL, and as such, they are unacceptable
and must cease immediately. Providing immediate humanitarian support and protection to all
those in need throughout the country remains imperative. Participants praised the work of Syrian,
regional and international aid organisations, and called on those responsible on the ground to
ensure that humanitarian relief and medical workers can deliver assistance without facing the


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risk of violence. Humanitarian mine action to reduce the impact of explosive hazards in Syria
was also recognised as a critical protection issue for civilians. Neighbouring countries were
called upon to continue to facilitate humanitarian access.

11. Participants recognised the challenges faced by neighbouring countries, notably Jordan,
Lebanon and Turkey due to the extended presence of millions of Syrian refugees, and
commended those governments, together with Iraq, Egypt and others in the region including
Gulf states hosting significant numbers of people from Syria, for providing leadership in
responding to the impact of the conflict. Participants took note of the resolution of the League of
Arab States on the Syrian refugee crisis and reaffirmed their strong commitment to support host
countries in providing public services, protection and assistance to refugees and host
communities. The conference paid particular tribute to all those who had delivered such support
in the most difficult of circumstances. Substantial progress has been made by regional
governments in meeting London Conference objectives and participants welcomed the
generosity of the countries hosting refugees.

12. The co-chairs and others acknowledged the need for support for the economic development
of Jordan and Lebanon to address the impact of the protracted crisis as well as opportunities for
Syrians to secure their livelihoods. They welcomed progress in opening labour markets to
refugees and agreed to support job creation programmes aligned with the host country
governments' social and economic development strategies. Bearing in mind the need to
accelerate progress to create 1.1 million jobs, the co-chairs undertook to support economic
growth for the benefit of all, including through access to external markets and concessional
funding, as well as infrastructure development. The co-chairs called upon the other participants
to join them in supporting the necessary reforms, which would include improved regulation and
investment climate, strengthened public-private sector links and adoption of clear reform
strategies. Participants committed to increasing access to vocational training for refugees and
host communities, closely aligned with private sector labour needs and accompanied by skills
matching programmes. Details of how we will pursue this shared vision are set out in the
documents in annex.

13. Participants agreed to continue to work towards the target of ensuring No Lost Generation of
children, in Syria and in the region and increase efforts to reach the goal of getting all refugee
children and vulnerable children in host communities into quality education with equal access for
girls and boys. They committed to increase access to learning for 1.75 million children out of
school in Syria itself. In this regard, it was also agreed to centre efforts on improving learning
outcomes for boys and girls from the refugee and vulnerable host communities and to prevent
drop out due to financial and non-financial barriers.

14. Participants highlighted the close links between protection, education and livelihood
opportunities and welcomed host countries' renewed commitment to the protection of refugees,
including through addressing those factors that place them in a situation of illegality.
Humanitarian assistance to support the basic needs of the most vulnerable refugees, with a
specific emphasis on children and women, must be strengthened. Participants recognised the
critical role of resettlement as a protection tool for particularly vulnerable refugees, in order to
offer, together with other legal pathways, safe and dignified access to safety beyond the


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immediate region. The importance of safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees, in
accordance with international law and once conditions are in place, was recognised.

15. Reconstruction and international support for its implementation will be a peace dividend only
once a credible political transition is firmly underway. It is vital that post-agreement planning
progresses in order to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively when the conditions
outlined in the UNSCR 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué are in place. Participants therefore
welcomed the work of the UN Inter-agency Task Force on UN post-agreement planning and its
efforts to engage with relevant stakeholders and address international coordination, and took note
of the principles for civilian stabilisation outlined at the London Conference. Damage and needs
analyses are currently being undertaken by the UN, EU and World Bank, with a view to
initiating a full Recovery and Peace Building Assessment when appropriate. Co-chairs and
others reflected on ways in which Syrians and their neighbours could contribute to Syrian
economic recovery and reconstruction once a credible political transition is firmly under way.

16. Participants acknowledged that reconstruction will be successful only in the context of a
genuine and inclusive transition that benefits all the Syrians. The legitimate grievances and
democratic aspirations of the Syrian people need to be addressed to secure lasting peace.
Reconciliation and transitional justice will also be an integral part of rebuilding the country on a
peaceful basis.

17. The attached fundraising annex sets out the pledges made at this Conference. The co-chairs
committed to track and report on delivery of pledges, in coordination with the UN. They also
undertook to review progress on the commitments of this conference regularly at key
international events during the year.

18. Today's conference has agreed on a comprehensive approach to the Syrian crisis. It
underlined the need to continue to respond to the dire humanitarian situation by ensuring
principled assistance and protection for those populations in need and support to the
neighbouring countries. The scale of suffering is such that a political solution is more urgent than
ever before. Investment of political efforts in supporting a resolution to the crisis is therefore
paramount in securing a future for Syria and its people. Only Syrians can make the agreement
that will secure peace. But the commitment of the international community and the region to
supporting them in achieving that peaceful future is essential. Sustainable and inclusive peace in
Syria for the Syrians remains the objective of all our efforts.


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16. South-China Sea Crisis

The South China Sea Dispute: A Brief History



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A small outcropping of sand occasionally breaks the vast expanse of the South China Sea. These
islands are modest, even diminutive, but they form the core of a fierce territorial dispute among
six primary claimants: Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. These
claimants also clash over their rights and duties in the nearby waters as well as the seabed

The disputes in the South China Sea have the potential to ignite a broader regional conflagration.
Multiple claimants contend over issues of sovereignty not susceptible to easy legal resolution.
Worse, the stakes are high: the Sea is one of the primary routes for international trade, and many
claimants believe that the Sea hides bountiful oil reserves in addition to its plentiful fishing
stocks. The disputes are further entrenched by rampant nationalism, as each claimant attaches
symbolic value to the South China Sea islands that far exceeds their objective material wealth.
And, finally, the disputes are also tinged by great power politics as China and the United States
begin to jostle each other for control of the international order.

Over the last year, disputes in the South China Sea have dominated headlines, and they seem
sure to continue to generate fresh national security issues. Already, too, they have raised a
variety of legal questions that will inform the future course of both the conflict and the region.

Accordingly, Lawfare decided to prepare a backgrounder on the South China Sea that proceeds
in two parts. First, in this part, I will lay out the history of the disputes and highlight key events
necessary to understanding the crises of the day. In the second part (which will run later this
week), I will introduce the primary legal issues underlying the disputes.

Centuries of Contested History

As readers can see in the map above, the islands of the South China Sea can largely be grouped
into two island chains. The Paracel Islands are clustered in the northwest corner of the Sea, and
the Spratly Islands in the southeast corner.

Reflecting the Rashomon nature of the dispute, the claimants have argued bitterly over the “true”
history of these island chains. Some have tried to ground their modern claims by proving a long
and unbroken record of national control over claimed features. These states assert that, for
example, their nationals fished around the islands of the Sea or used them for shelter from
storms. In particular, Beijing has taken an active role in subsidizing archeological digs to find
evidence of exclusive Chinese usage of the Sea’s many features since time immemorial.

It is hard—if not impossible—to wade through these partisan claims (many of which constitute
pure propaganda). No impartial tribunal has yet taken on that challenge. To the extent that it is
possible to draw any conclusions from the morass, though, it seems fair to say that no claimant
has conclusively demonstrated a pattern of exclusive historical control over the South China Sea,
or even over isolated parts of it.


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A Period of Relative Quiet

In any case, the issue was moot for most of the region’s history. Through the first half of the
twentieth century, the Sea remained quiet as neighboring states focused their attention on
conflicts unfolding elsewhere.

In fact, at the end of World War II, no claimant occupied a single island in the entire South
China Sea. Then, in 1946, China established itself on a few features in the Spratlys, and in early
1947, it also snapped up Woody Island, part of the Paracel Islands chain, only two weeks before
the French and Vietnamese intended to make landfall. Denied their first pick, the French and
Vietnamese settled for the nearby Pattle Island.

But even at this stage, the South China Sea was not seen as a priority by any of the claimants.
For that reason, after suffering their cataclysmic defeat at the hands of Mao’s Communists,
Chiang Kai-shek’s forces retreated to Taiwan and abandoned their stations in the South China
Sea. Even the French and Vietnamese could not be bothered to take advantage of the lapse in
Chinese control, as they were preoccupied with the rapidly escalating war in Vietnam.

The Claimants Rush for Control

However, the next half century saw accelerating interest in the South China Sea. In 1955 and
1956, China and Taiwan established permanent presences on several key islands, while a
Philippine citizen—Thomas Cloma—claimed much of the Spratly Island chain as his own.

Once again, this phase of frenetic island occupation was cooled off by a longer period of inertia.
But by the early 1970s, the claimants were at it once again. This time, though, the scramble was
spurred by indications that oil lurked beneath the waters of the South China Sea. The Philippines
was the first to move. China followed shortly thereafter with a carefully coordinated seaborne
invasion of several islands. In the Battle of the Paracel Islands, it wrested several features out
from under South Vietnam’s control, killing several dozen Vietnamese and sinking a corvette in
the process. In response, both South and North Vietnam reinforced their remaining garrisons and
seized several other unoccupied features.

Another decade of relative inaction was punctuated once again with violence in 1988, when
Beijing moved into the Spratlys and set off another round of occupations by the claimants.
Tensions crested when Beijing forcibly occupied Johnson Reef, killing several dozen
Vietnamese sailors in the process.

Once again, though, tensions deescalated for a few years, only to rise again in 1995, when
Beijing built bunkers above Mischief Reef in the wake of a Philippine oil concession.

Diplomatic Developments

The dispute seemed to take a turn for the better in 2002, when ASEAN and China came together


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to sign the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The Declaration sought
to establish a framework for the eventual negotiation of a Code of Conduct for the South China
Sea. The parties promised “to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would
complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining
from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other
features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.”

For a while, the Declaration seemed to keep conflict at bay. Over the next half decade, Beijing
launched a charm offensive across Southeast Asia, and the claimants refrained from provoking
each other by occupying additional features.

Rather than fighting battles out on the Sea, though, the claimants began to needle each other
through demarches and notes verbales. In May 2009, Malaysia and Vietnam sent a joint
submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf setting out some of their
claims. This initial submission unleashed a flurry of notes verbales from the other claimants, who
objected to the two nation’s claims.

In particular, China responded to the joint submission by submitting a map containing the
infamous “nine-dash” line. This line snakes around the edges of the South China Sea and
encompasses all of the Sea’s territorial features as well as the vast majority of its waters.
However, Beijing has never officially clarified what the line is meant to signify. Instead, it has
maintained “strategic ambiguity” and said only that “China has indisputable sovereignty over the
islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, and enjoys sovereign rights and
jurisdiction over the relevant waters as well as the seabed and subsoil thereof (see attached
map).” This could mean that China claims only the territorial features in the Sea and any
“adjacent waters” allowed under maritime law. Or it could mean that China claims all the
territorial features and all the waters enclosed by the nine-dash line, even those that exceed
what’s permitted under maritime law.

Recent Crises

Since the publication of the nine-dash line, the region has grown increasingly concerned by
China’s perceived designs on the South China Sea. In 2012, Beijing bore out some of these
concerns when it snatched Scarborough Shoal away from the Philippines. The two states had
quarreled over allegations of illegal poaching by Chinese fishermen. After a two-month standoff,
the parties agreed to each withdraw from the Shoal. Manila did. Beijing did not. Since then,
China has excluded Philippine boats from the Shoal’s waters.

In response to this escalatory move, Manila filed an arbitration case against China on January 22,
2013, under the auspices of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The
Philippine claims center around maritime law issues, although China asserts that they cannot be
resolved without deciding territorial issues first. For that reason, Beijing has largely refused to
participate in the proceedings, although it has drafted and publicly released a position paper
opposing the tribunal’s jurisdiction. The Philippines has submitted its memorial as well as a


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response to China’s position paper, and both nations are currently awaiting a decision from the
tribunal as to its own jurisdiction.

As the case proceeds in the background, China has adopted an increasingly assertive posture in
the region. In early May 2014, a Chinese state-owned oil company moved one of its rigs into
waters claimed by Vietnam south of the Paracel Islands. This provocation touched off
confrontations between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels around the rig, as well as rioting against
foreign-owned businesses in parts of Vietnam. Faced with this pushback, China withdrew the rig
in mid-July, a month ahead of schedule.

Additionally, over the last year, Beijing has launched an accelerating land reclamation campaign
across the South China Sea. In at least seven locations, Chinese vessels have poured tons of sand
to expand the size of features occupied by China. Beijing has also begun construction of
infrastructure on much of this reclaimed land, including an airstrip capable of receiving military
aircraft. Although other claimants have reclaimed land in the past, China has reclaimed 2,000
acres of new land, more than “all other claimants combined over the history of their claims,”
according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The other claimants have condemned this latest project as counterproductive, and President
Obama has urged China to stop “throwing elbows and pushing people out of the way” in pursuit
of its interests. Thus far, Beijing has not complied with these entreaties, and it is unclear what the
next twist or turn in the story of the South China Sea will be.


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The Real South China Sea Crisis Everyone Is Missing

China will soon host a dialogue with Southeast Asian nations aimed at managing tensions in the
South China Sea. But it’s not clear whether the talks will help to save a marine environment that
in parts is facing collapse.

While diplomats discuss the implementation of a code of conduct for rival claimants in the vast
waterway, scientists say that the region’s marine environment also deserves attention, partly
because overfishing on all sides is depleting fish stocks.

Chinese fishermen in search of valuable giant clams have destroyed vital coral reefs on a vast
scale, although that practice now appears to be slowing.

Rachael Bale of National Geographic, who has written extensively on the South China Sea, aptly
summed up the situation early this year, saying that “While politicians argue over which country
controls the region, the fishery … is on the brink of collapse.”

According to The Nature Conservancy, overfishing is a common problem around the world.
Maria Damanaki, global managing director for oceans at the Conservancy, explains that “when
too few individual fish of breeding age remain, they simply don’t produce well …”

It is what she describes as “a lose-lose situation for both fishermen and conservationists.” The
stakes are particularly high in the case of the South China Sea.

High stakes:

Occupying more than 3.5 million square kilometers, the South China Sea is one of the world’s
five leading fishing zones, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia.

The fishery employs more than 3 million people, contributes heavily to the global fish trade and
provides a major source of vital protein to millions of people living in the nations that depend on

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In addition, experts believe that huge reserves of oil and gas lie unexploited beneath the disputed

US Air Force Captain Adam Greer, who has done research partly funded by the National
Defense University, says that the stakes in the South China Sea can be summed up by a “3 P’s
rule”—politics, petroleum, and protein.

In an article published in The Diplomat, Greer argues that the protein derived from fish may be
the most important factor driving competition in the South China Sea.


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The best news for the environment, one leading American scientist says, was a Chinese decision
early this year to enforce regulations calling for a halt to the harvesting and processing by
Chinese fishermen of giant clams in the South China Sea.

John McManus, a professor of marine biology and fisheries at the University of Miami, said that
the decision, announced by China’s southern Hainan province, could mark a major step toward
helping to preserve and restore a vital part of the marine environment.

The giant clams are embedded in coral reefs that protect small fish from predators. The coral
reefs also play a role in replenishing fish stocks.

According to McManus, Chinese poachers using boat propellers to dig up reefs and uncover the
clams have caused widespread damage to many of the reefs. Chinese dredging aimed at
gathering sand and gravel to build artificial islands has caused further serious damage.

The highly valued shells of the clams have been carved much like elephant ivory into intricate
ornaments for sale to Chinese tourists visiting Hainan Island. Some Chinese regard the meat
from the clams as a rare delicacy and an aphrodisiac.

Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Washington DC-
based Center for Strategic and International Studies believes that the biggest factor in reducing
the giant clam shell trade may be Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

“As the crackdown on corruption has spread, people are understandably hesitant to accept
jewelry or statues made from poached giant clams,” Poling said.

Zhang Hongzhou, a research fellow at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, says
that it appears the crackdown on the giant clam trade has been “very decisive, at least as of now.”

The local government on Hainan Island, he says, also intends to promote “fishing tourism” as an
alternative source of income for the local fishermen.

But Zhang says that he sees some evidence that the price for giant clams is rising, which could
lead to an underground trade that spurs illegal harvesting.

The various nations involved in the South China Sea, including China, have laws aimed at
preserving the marine environment. But the problem so far has been a lack of implementation.

Talks bring hope:

China’s recent negotiations with Vietnam have offered another source of hope. During a recent
visit to Beijing, Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary, signed 15
agreements dealing, among other things, with economic cooperation, defense relations and


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But another development points to potential conflict.

Satellite photos taken by the firm Planet Labs on March 6 show the clearing of land by China for
possible new construction in the disputed Paracel Islands. Taiwan and Vietnam claim the
Paracels as their territory.

Last month China’s agriculture ministry announced a fishing ban, including over a number of
areas claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, among others, in the South China Sea,
that would last from May 1 to August 16. The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry strongly objected to
the ban, which it described as “unilateral.”

At the same time, on the diplomatic front, China claims to be drafting a new code of conduct
with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), although some experts doubt that
diplomats can complete it as promised by the end of this year.


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China’s History and the South China Sea

The South China Sea disputes are complex because of the number of parties and the issues
involved. Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping
territorial claims to parts of the maritime zone. Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around the
Natuna Islands also overlaps with China’s claims. The disputes cover issues such as territorial
integrity, sovereignty, resources, freedom of navigation and international law. And because of its
geopolitical and economic heft in East Asia, China has been the focus of analysis in the disputes.
China’s claim over the South China Sea has deep historical and philosophical roots. Scholars
working on international law tend to brush aside the historical claims made by China, but the
Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) perception of its own history is crucial in understanding how
Beijing views the South China Sea disputes and its relations with other countries in the region.

During the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), a tributary system was devised in order to minimize
border skirmishes with the steppe nomads. These skirmishes were protracted and drained
China’s resources. The Han emperor preferred to negotiate peace and cease these drawn-out
conflicts. China’s enemies offered symbolic submission in exchange for peace and trade. For the
Han emperor, it was cheaper to bribe China’s enemies with money and treasure than to fight
protracted border wars, which caused hardship among the peasants. Vassal states would send
tributes to the emperor to demonstrate their acknowledgement of China’s dominance, and in
return, China bestowed gifts more valuable than the tributes. China also promised to protect
vassal states against their enemies. This generosity demonstrated China’s benign intentions, but
was financially unsustainable for the Han Dynasty. The emperor was also reluctant to send
troops to protect far-flung vassals in order to help them settle petty disputes with their
neighbours. Eventually, during the reign of Guang Wudi in the middle of the Han Dynasty (25-
57 CE), China turned isolationist. Nevertheless, succeeding dynasties continued the rituals of the
tributary system with its vassal states.

China’s contemporary economic diplomacy has its roots in the tributary system. The projects and
loans given by China to countries in the region under the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) are
astounding. China has learnt to utilise its largesse not only to forge partnerships, but also to settle
disputes, provided the states involved demonstrate some form of subordination. The reactions of
countries working with China are varied. Countries distant from Asia, such as those in Eastern
and Central Europe, and Africa, for example, have embraced the BRI. The case is quite different
for China’s neighbours. Ultimately, the tributary system proved unsustainable for Han China.
Can the same be said for these current aid initiatives?

Equally significant is the 19th Century, and especially the two Opium Wars (1839-42 and 1856-
60). The unequal treaties resulting from China’s defeat was humiliating. The Chinese had
traditionally viewed Europeans, as well as the Japanese, as inferior. This period, presumed to
have ended in 1949, is still fresh in Chinese memory, and the ‘Hundred Years of Humiliation’
carries significant emotional weight among the Chinese population. The young generation has
inherited these sentiments through an effective citizenship education system. China is suspicious
of the West, and American behaviour in the region feeds into Chinese suspicions. China is


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encircled by US allies in the Asia-Pacific and, despite US denials, Beijing feels that Washington
is trying to contain China.

In January 2017, China’s leadership demonstrated its aspirations for its role in the Asia-Pacific
with the release of a White Paper titled ‘China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation’.
The White Paper emphasised peaceful development in the region, friendly cooperation with all
countries and reinforced the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Without naming any one
country, the White Paper states that ‘some countries are increasing their military deployment in
the region [perhaps referring to the US], a certain country seeks to shake off military constraints
[quite clearly referring to Japan], and some countries are undergoing complex political and social
transformations.’ The White Paper also states that ‘small and medium-sized countries need not
and should not take sides among big countries’ but should ‘build an Asia-Pacific partnership
featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation.’

On the South China Sea disputes, the White Paper stresses China’s commitment to a peaceful
resolution through cooperation. Nevertheless, the White Paper states that China has ‘indisputable
sovereignty [无可争辩的主权]over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters’. It also
mentions momentum towards establishing a Code of Conduct in the region. With regards to non-
regional parties in the disputes, China urges external parties not to ‘internationalize and
judicialize the South China Sea issue’. Under the topic of Common Security, the White Paper
criticises the US alliance system: ‘Common security means respecting and ensuring the security
of each and every country involved. We cannot just have the security of one or some countries
while leaving the rest insecure, still less should we seek “absolute security” of oneself at the
expense of the security of others. We should respect and accommodate the legitimate security
concerns of all parties. To beef up a military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to
maintaining common security.’

Shortly after the release of the White Paper, President Xi delivered a speech at the World
Economic Forum and advocated economic globalisation, urging the world to open their
economies and adopt development models that are fair, inclusive and sustainable. Taken
together, the White Paper and Xi’s speech point towards three general directions in China’s
strategic agenda vis-à-vis the Asia-Pacific. First, China is not prepared to compromise on claims
over the East and South China Seas. Second, China is willing to take some form of leadership in
writing the rules for Asia-Pacific trade, and even the security agenda. Third, despite displeasure
towards American involvement and alliances in the region, China is not ready to take hard
military actions.

China wants to maintain peace and stability in the region, especially in the South China Sea.
What it asks is, in fact, for the parties to behave like the vassal states of the past. States involved
will enjoy de facto control over the area, as long as they demonstrate a symbolic
acknowledgment of China’s sovereignty over the area. The Philippine President Duterte’s visit to
Beijing in 2016 demonstrated China’s stance on the issue. Following Manila’s submission,
Beijing was happy to give some concessions on the South China Sea. China is willing to offer
substantial benefits to countries that are willing to yield. Crucially, this yielding may at times
require no more than symbolic actions on the part of China’s smaller partners.


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What Is the Future of the South China Sea?

On July 12, a court based at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague rejected China’s
sweeping claims over much of the South China Sea. The Philippines filed the case against China
in 2013, arguing that some of China’s claims and activities violated the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The court ruled that a scattering of rocks and
reefs in the contested South China Sea does not qualify for exclusive economic zones (EEZ), and
stated that the nine-dash line, an imprecise demarcation including most the South China Sea,
could not serve as the historical basis of China’s sovereignty claims. China refused to participate
in the arbitration and has repeatedly declared that it will not accept the court’s ruling. In this
ChinaFile conversation, experts share their reactions to the decision and thoughts about Beijing’s
rejection of the ruling. — The Editors

My initial reaction is that the tribunal’s award overwhelmingly favors the Philippines — a huge
win for Manila.

China’s only lawful claims in the South China Sea would be 12 nautical miles of territorial seas
from the land features in the Spratly Islands deemed to be rocks above high tide. China cannot
claim an EEZ from any of the land features of the Spratlys Islands, including the largest, Itu Aba.
Nor can it claim any historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line.

In particular, the tribunal ruled as follows:

China cannot lawfully claim historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line.

China (and others) cannot claim an EEZ from land features above high tide in the Spratlys, which
were all judged to be “rocks” entitled only to a 12 nautical mile (nm) territorial sea.

Mischief Reef was determined to be a low-tide elevation on the Philippines’ continental shelf.
China’s construction of artificial installations on the reef violates the Philippines’ sovereign rights.

The Spratly Islands as a group cannot generate any maritime zones as a unit. This appears to
be an effort to pre-empt a Chinese claim to any maritime zones based on straight baselines that
could be drawn around the Spratlys as a whole.

What does this mean? The only lawful claim to maritime zones that China can claim in the South
China Sea would be a 12 nautical mile territorial sea from land features in the Spratly Island that
are above high tide. China (and others) cannot claim an EEZ from any land feature in the
Spratlys, as none were judged to be islands under UNCLOS warranting such a zone. China
cannot claim any historic rights to resources, either, as the tribunal judged that China gave up
those rights when it acceded to UNCLOS. In this way, the tribunal’s ruling restricts significantly
the scope of maritime claims that China can lawfully make under UNCLOS in the South China


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Seathe tribunal’s ruling restricts significantly the scope of maritime claims that China can
lawfully make under UNCLOS in the South China Sea. Paradoxically, this may further increase
the importance that China attaches to its sovereignty claims over these land features.

Finally, a few areas of the ruling favored China:

Gaven/McKenna Reef was deemed to be a rock and not a low-tide elevation.

The tribunal claimed no jurisdiction in the standoff over Second Thomas Shoal, as it concerned
military activities exempted by Article 298.

Traditional fishing rights for all states within the territorial sea of features in the Spratlys were
apparently upheld, based on the finding that the Philippines had traditional fishing rights at

The tribunal did not define what the nine-dash line might mean but only ruled on what it could not
mean, namely, a claim to historic rights.

The Chinese government and media have repeatedly rejected the tribunal’s jurisdiction in
anticipation of the ruling, creating ample space for China to maneuver. On WeChat, a popular
social media platform in China, Chinese state media are stressing that the best response is to
ignore the verdict. So far, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has been highly effective
at both stoking and quashing nationalist sentiment over the South China Sea. His government has
fanned patriotic sentiment through the media but kept it online rather than in the streets. Chinese
police intervened when demonstrators sought to protest over Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and
repressed anti-Vietnamese demonstrations after Vietnamese protests killed several Chinese
workers during the oil rig standoff in 2014. Protests by Vietnamese and Filipino activists have
been met with Chinese scorn rather than countermeasures.

If we now see Chinese protests over the United States or other countries’ actions to enforce the
ruling, we should take them seriously — as a sign of China’s resolve.If we now see Chinese
protests over the United States or other countries’ actions to enforce the ruling, we should take
them seriously — as a sign of China’s resolve. However the United States and its allies proceed,
a quiet approach — actions with a minimum of publicity and a clear legal rationale — would be
most effective. The more we trumpet China’s defeat or loss of face, the more domestic pressure
or temptation the government will feel to respond with more than bluster.

The award is breathtaking in its scope and the degree to which it gives long-needed clarity to the
law of the sea. That it is a unanimous opinion from five of the most learned and experienced
practitioners of international law of the sea is especially important.

I see three major takeaways from today’s opinion.

First, the opinion is a strong reinforcement of the dispute resolution process of the UNCLOS and
also a strong reinforcement of international law over power politics. The tribunal issued a strong


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rebuke to those who would use coercion to have their way on the seas. In that sense the ruling
strongly supports the administration’s calls for peaceful dispute resolution in accordance with
international law. But the United States could and should do more. Currently, we stand with Iran
and North Korea as one of the very few coastal states to have failed to ratify UNCLOS. Full U.S.
participation will ensure our leadership over the future development of the law of the sea and
best protect our rights and interests. In rejecting the tribunal’s authority, China has shown it
respects only the role of power and not the rule of law. The Senate should ratify UNCLOS and
thereby underscore U.S. leadership and commitment to an international system based on law.

Second, the award adds great clarity to the law of the sea.the award adds great clarity to the law
of the sea. We now have a much clearer understanding of what types of islands are entitled to
resource zones and which are not. The ruling will cause many states to reexamine their own
policies in this regard. We now know with certainty the very limited role history plays in
determining resource rights at sea and that the Spratly Islands cannot claim resource zones as a
group, both points on which China has relied to justify its behavior. The award strikes down
China’s expansive claims to historic rights beyond UNCLOS, its blatant interference with the
Philippine fishing and hydrocarbon rights, its unilateral island-building on the Philippine
continental shelf, and its wanton abuse of the environment.

Finally, this decision is much more than a pyrrhic victory for the Philippines as some will
suggest. This opinion will have normative power that over the long run will and should affect the
way every state thinks about the South China Sea in the future. Ultimately, the ruling’s power is
not in its direct enforceability, but in the way it will inevitably alter perceptions about right and
wrong actions in the South China Sea. Coercion will no longer stand with moral impunity. Even
if indirectly, the opinion should therefore serve as the basis for improved bilateral negotiations in
the future. It has significantly narrowed the scope of what is in reasonable and justifiable dispute
and therefore should help the parties move closer to a final resolution of their differences.

The ruling just handed down by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in response to the
complaint made by the Philippines after the seizure of Scarborough Shoal by China in 2012 now
looks destined to radically alter not only China’s interaction with its Asian neighbors, but with
the United States as well. Because the ruling so undermines China’s claims in the South China
Sea region, Beijing finds itself at a critical juncture point: It can either adjust course and seek
accommodation with various claimants in these maritime disputes that have put it at odds with
not only the Philippines, but with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and now even Indonesia, or it can
double down and become even more obdurate.

What mitigates against the likelihood that Beijing will become less obdurate and more flexible in
its approach to the South China Sea is the reality that having identified these contested islands
and rocks as part of China’s so-called “core interest,” it has become trapped by its own
conviction that disputes involving the question of Chinese sovereignty are never negotiable. As a
result, China’s neighbors and the United States — which has treaty obligations with the
Philippines, Japan, and Korea, and growing partnerships with other South East Asian countries,
such as Singapore and Vietnam — must be ready for a much more rigid, even belligerent,
Chinese posture. It will, of course, be the United States that will be most immediately challenged


PAK MCQS PK www.pakmcqs.com.pk

by the Hague’s ruling and China’s response. For having had the Seventh Fleet long deployed in
Asia and playing an important role in assuring freedom of navigation in the region, the White
House will be confronted by some very difficult decisions about how far it wants to go in
confronting a potentially aggrieved and even more aggressive China.

This will be a delicate high-wire act that must also take into account the importance of the larger
U.S.-China relation and the need for cooperation on other crucial issues such as nuclear
proliferation (and particular the fate of the North Korea’s nuclear arsenal), climate change,
global trade, and pandemics.

How these other important issues can compete with what surely will be a vitriolic Chinese
reaction is far from certain. But suffice it to say, the interaction over the next few weeks between
China, the United States, and its Pacific neighbors will be crucial, for it will help cast the die for
future relations in the whole region.

What does the ruling change? It does not increase the military strength of any Indo-Pacific
country threatened by the party’s state expansionism. It will not increase the willingness of Indo-
Pacific governments to join in collective security to resist further Chinese expansionism.

The ruling may, however, strengthen those forces in Beijing that argue that the present
international system was created by the United States to serve the interests of the United
StatesThe ruling may, however, strengthen those forces in Beijing that argue that the present
international system was created by the United States to serve the interests of the United States
and therefore is a system that does not serve Chinese interests. China could become more
chauvinist, militarist, and revisionist.

Or, the decision instead may strengthen those forces in Beijing which have long argued that a
Beijing switch from Deng Xiaoping “hide and bide” policies to post-Deng (post 2007-2008
Great Recession, understood as the United States decline and China unstoppable) assertiveness is
not serving Chinese interests in the Indo-Pacific but is instead uniting the countries of the Indo-
Pacific to join together, including military preparedness, against China in what party leaders see
as China’s neighborhood.

What matters most for war and peace in the Indo-Pacific is the impact of the ruling on the
ongoing struggle over foreign policy inside of Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the Chinese
government in Beijing.

I was struck by language in the ruling that pertained to the environmental damage done in these
waters. This was an often-overlooked element in the Philippines’ case — overlooked because the
South China Sea has rightly been seen primarily as a major geopolitical and strategic issue. The
ruling finds that the Chinese have inflicted “irreparable” damage to the environment in the
course of its building up the various islands, with airstrips and so on. That’s damage done to the
coral reef environment, and what the tribunal said was harm “on a substantial scale” to marine
life in the area.


PAK MCQS PK www.pakmcqs.com.pk

Kindly go through this article as well.