Two impressive pieces by Asia Times Top Columnists Pepe Escobar and M.K. Bhadrakumar …
— both articles attached (pdf-file) —
Pakistan, China, Iran and the remaking of regional security
By M.K. Bhadrakumar
The regional security in South Asia and the adjacent regions to the west and north are on the cusp of a profound transformation. Broadly, there are three vectors involved here.
One, Iran’s integration with the international community as a ‘normal country’, a process that has already begun; two, the historic entente between Russia and China which has consolidated almost immeasurably in the past one year period since the New Cold War tendencies began appearing; and, three, a largely-unnoticed but extremely significant shift in the foreign-policy priorities of Pakistan, a genuinely ‘pivotal’ state in the politics of South Asia, given its highly strategic geographic location in the South Asian region, from where it impacts regional security in Central Asia and West Asia.
The state visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan on Monday in many ways brings together the three vectors. The visit is, on the face of it, a bilateral event of historic significance to the long-standing ties between the two relationship, which from all accounts can be expected to add much strategic content to the relationship and elevate it to an altogether qualitatively new level.
However, China is also playing the long game insofar as Beijing is actually beginning the implementation of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which is a global project in character and scope and all but prefaces China’s inexorable rise on the world stage as a superpower.
It is extraordinary that China is committing such massive investment in excess 40 billion dollars in a single country, undeterred by the perception in the western financial circles that Pakistan is a “failing state” and a revolving door of international terrorism. (…)
Eurasia as we (and the U.S.) knew it is dead
By Pepe Escobar
Move over, Cold War 2.0. The real story, now and for the foreseeable future, in its myriad declinations, and of course, ruling out too many bumps in the road, is a new, integrated Eurasia forging ahead.
China’s immensely ambitious New Silk Road project will keep intersecting with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEC). And that will be the day when the EU wakes up and finds a booming trade/commerce axis stretching from St. Petersburg to Shanghai. It’s always pertinent to remember that Vladimir Putin sold a similar, and even more encompassing, vision in Germany a few years ago – stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.
It will take time – and troubled times. But Eurasia’s radical face lift is inexorable. This implies an exceptionalist dream – the U.S. as Eurasia hegemon, something that still looked feasible at the turn of the millennium – fast dissolving right before anyone’s eyes. (…)
That Empire of Chaos …
Beijing’s Go West strategy overland is blissfully free of hyperpower meddling – from the Trans-Siberian remix to the rail/road routes across the Central Asian “stans” all the way to Iran and Turkey. Moreover, Russia sees it as a symbiosis, considering a win-win as Central Asian stans jump simultaneously aboard the EEU and what Beijing dubs the Silk Road Economic Belt.
On other fronts, meanwhile, Beijing is very careful to not antagonize the U.S., the reigning hyperpower. See for instance this quite frank but also quite diplomatic interview to the Financial Times by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
One key aspect of the Russia-China strategic partnership is that both identify Washington’s massively incoherent foreign policy as a prime breeder of chaos – exactly as I argue in my book Empire of Chaos.
In what applies specifically to China and Russia, it’s essentially chaos as in divide and rule. Beijing sees Washington trying to destabilize China’s periphery (Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang), and actively interfering in the South China Sea disputes. Moscow sees Washington obsessed with the infinite expansion of NATO and taking no prisoners in preventing Russia’s efforts at Eurasian integration.
Thus, the certified death of Russia’s previous geopolitical strategy. No more trying to feel included in an elite Western club such as the G-8. No more stra-tegic partnership with NATO. — emphasis, m.z. —