Tag "pepe escobar"

Caspian games: Central Asian ‘stans’ vie for connectivity market

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Azerbaijan held a presidential election this month. Predictably, incumbent leader Ilham Aliyev won his fourth consecutive term with a Kim dynasty-esque 86% of the votes. International monitors for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) stressed “widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, numerous instances of serious irregularities and lack

Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Even in the context of a post-truth geopolitical environment run amok, Russian President Vladimir Putin telling his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over the phone that any further Western strikes against Syria may “lead to chaos in international relations” should at least be seen for what it is; a massive understatement. According to the Kremlin, Putin and

Why even a trade war won’t derail Made in China 2025

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Designed to calm down fears of an ominous US-China trade war, President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Boao Forum, crammed with Chinese metaphors, was the logical extension of his landmark address to Davos early last year – when he established China at the vanguard of globalization 2.0. At the Boao Forum, Xi stressed a “new phase

From Ankara to Moscow, Eurasia integration is on the move

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) The Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union is spreading its wings and gaining strength, with some key projects, big players and big plans in the pipeline As presidents Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Ankara for a second Russia-Iran-Turkey summit on the future of Syria, Moscow hosted its 7th International Security Conference attended by

China taking the long road to solve the petro-yuan puzzle

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Few geoeconomic game-changers are more spectacular than yuan-denominated future crude oil contracts – especially when set up by the largest importer of crude on the planet. And yet Beijing’s media strategy seems to have consisted in substantially play down the official launch of the petro-yuan at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. Still, some euphoria was in

Will the Putin-Xi era supersede the Western liberal (dis)order?

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) The Chinese constitutional amendment allowing Xi Jinping the possibility of further presidential terms — staying in power long enough to bring “national rejuvenation” combined with the Russian election re-confirming Vladimir Putin in the presidency have assured consistency and continuity for the Russia-China strategic partnership way into the next decade. This will facilitate the interaction between the

The myth of a neo-imperial China

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and

The Xi Silk Road is here to stay

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) It took only two sentences for Xinhua to make the historical announcement; the Central Committee of the CCCP “proposed to remove the expression that ‘the president and vice-president of the People’s Republic of China shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s constitution.” That will be all but confirmed at the end of the annual

Afghanistan ready to play connector role in Eurasian integration

The inauguration of TAPI – the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline – signals Kabul is on-board with the grand project of Eurasian integration by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) One of the top roller-coaster sagas in what, some years ago, I christened Pipelineistan, has yielded a definitive twist. The US$8 billion,1,814-kilometer Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) was officially inaugurated on Friday, in full pomp, and with proceedings broadcast live

China’s ‘New Silk Roads’ reach Latin America

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Beijing is turbo-charging its infrastructure connectivity across the region and the Caribbean A sharp, geoeconomic shift took place last month in Santiago, Chile at the second ministerial meeting of a forum grouping China and the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told his audience that the world’s second-largest economy and

China’s latest move in the graveyard of empires

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Beijing’s strategic priority is to prevent ETIM fighters exiled in Afghanistan crossing the Wakhan Corridor to carry out operations in Xinjiang The latest plot twist in the endless historical saga of Afghanistan as a graveyard of empires has thrown up an intriguing new chapter. For the past two months, Beijing and Kabul have been discussing the possibility

When it comes to Davos, it’s inequality, stupid

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) For billions of people, the Groucho Marx rule applies when talking about Davos. This is the exclusive club, which meets in the luxury Swiss resort each year to discuss the global business environment. Groucho, of course, has been immortalized along with the rest of the Marx Brothers in the zany Hollywood movies of the 1930s, such

‘Make Trade, Not War’ is China’s daring plan in the Middle East

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Under the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing aims to connect western China to the eastern Mediterranean China’s “Go West” strategy was brought into sharp focus at a forum in Shanghai last weekend. Billed as the Belt and Road Initiative: Towards Greater Cooperation between China and the Middle East, it highlighted key aspects of Beijing’s wider plan.

Finding the answer to a riddle shrouded in a mystery

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) The art of the non-deal might be the only way out of the stand-off between the US and North Korea High-level inter-Korean talks at the border village of Panmunjeom not only represent a vital step in Winter Olympics’ diplomacy but also offer a tantalizing chance of a breakthrough in stalled six-party discussions. In stark contrast with

The petro-yuan bombshell

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy  (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as “revisionist” powers, “rivals”, and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States. The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an “attempt to build a great partnership with those

Vladimir Putin takes spotlight as Eurasia connector

At his year-end press conference, the Russian president let drop nuggets essential to understanding what lies ahead on the Eurasian geopolitical chessboard by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) At his trademark annual year-end press conference in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again let drop selected foreign-policy nuggets essential to understanding what lies ahead on the turbulent Eurasian geopolitical chessboard. By now

Silk Road fever grips the Russian Far East and boosts economy

China’s Belt and Road Initiative heralds a new era with mega infrastructure projects dotting the landscape by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) If  you are looking for the latest breakthroughs in trans-Eurasian geoeconomics, you should keep an eye on the East – the Russian Far East. One interesting project is the new state-of-the-art $1.5 billion Bystrinsky plant. Located about 400 kilometers from the Chinese border

From the Caucasus to the Balkans, China’s Silk Roads are rising

by Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times (cross-posted by special agreement with the author) With its focus on Central Asia and Eastern Europe, the Belt and Road Initiative can be seen as fulfilling a strategy of challenging the West that can be traced back to Mao The 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress made it clear that the New Silk Roads – aka, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – launched

Syria war, Sochi peace

In a well choreographed Sochi summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin defines a peaceful future for Syria after the liberation of the country from militants by Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times (cross-posted by special agreement with the author) The main take away of the trilateral, two hour-long Russia-Iran-Turkey summit in Sochi on the future of Syria was expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin: “The presidents of Iran and Turkey supported

How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads

by Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times (cross-posted by special agreement with the author) A pacified Syria is key to the economic integration of Eurasia through energy and transportation connections Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will hold a summit this Wednesday in Sochi to discuss Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the three power players at the Astana negotiations – where multiple cease-fires, as hard to implement

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