The Sino-US Rivalry

South Asia which resides in Indian Ocean, has remained an important region for the super powers. Strategic significance of Indian Ocean was highlighted by Alfred Thayer Mahan in 1940. However, it 2009, Robert D. Kaplan has hypothesised Indian Ocean to be centre stage of rivalry in 21st Century. Historic Soviet desire to seek an entry into India Ocean also signified the strategic importance of the region. In nutshell, SA has remained a battle ground for super powers and consequently, it has become least integrated, conflict prone and most impoverished region of the World.

Emergence of China as a prospective super power coupled with its future ambitions has again brought Indian Ocean to the fore. Fact of the matter is that the biggest landmass of the World which is known as Eurasian Landmass and The World Island needs access to water bodies. Frozen or semi-frozen status North inhibits entry in that direction. In the West Atlantic is fairly far for China and NATO is there to contest it. In the East the Pacific is emerging as hotspot due to the US Indo-Pacific Strategy and Quad Alliance.

In this backdrop, access to Indian Ocean has become critical for not only China but even for Eurasian Landmass. The US wants to keep Russia and China confined to their backyard whereas these powers need and opening to the World in order to grow. Indian Ocean becomes the only viable opening for the Eurasian Landmass. In 19th as well as 20th Centuries Soviet Union attempted to secure this opening which was blocked by British Empire and the US respectively.

CPEC is providing that critical access to China which has become a soar in the eyes of the US and India. In order to contain and contest China strategic partnership of the US and India is taking shape. Geopolitics of SA in 21st Century is becoming ominous due to Indo-US rivalry with China. On one hand CPEC has critical importance for China, but at the same time it is critical as an objective for constraining forces to check-mate China. SA is again emerging as possible battle ground for 21st Century Sino-US rivalry. What has really changed in this matrix of SA? In earlier play of global geopolitics in SA, US has been one of he antagonists and Pakistan served as a conduit to target enemy of the US. This time round, while the US stays as one of the antagonists, China has emerged as the second. India has replaced Pakistan as a conduit to take-on China and Muslim zealots have been replaced by Hindu zealots.

Unless people of SA behave mature, the region may again suffer from another cycle of conflict. In the above cited highly informative clip, General Secretary of EU has realised that EU should not become part of Sino-US conflict, similarly, the most powerful country of SA, ie India should behave mature and responsible not to become a conduit for Sino-US conflict.

ME on the Edge

Iranian nuclear scientist is ‘assassinated’ reports Iran claim https://mol.im/a/8993605 via http://dailym.ai/android

ME is a blessed, endowed and equally volatile region. Largest number of prophets descended here. It comprises 15 Muslim countries and a Jewish state. After World War 2, in May 1948, evil geniuses of the World drove Israel like a peg into the region of ME. Oil riches of the ME had been discovered 39 years ahead of creation of Israel. Ever since then Israel has amply proven genius of its creators. Israel played a role to keep Arab World on the edge so that fossil fuels stay in control of the developed world.

Credit should go to the crafty handling of affairs of ME by powers to be and curse should go to inept, selfish and un-visionary leadership of the Arab World. As admitted by George Friedman in his book, Next 100 Years, instability in ME has been a key objective of the US. A divided and chaotic ME serves interests of the US.

Seeds of Shia-Sunni split were sown right after return of Holy Prophet PBUH to his creator. The same has been covered by Lesley Hazleton in her book ‘After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam’. The way this discord has been propelled and augmented makes one at loss to decide about creditors and dis-creditors. I am reminded of a Punjabi verse of Munir Niazi

Kujj shehar de log wee zalam san

Kujj sanu maran da shauq wee see

While people were also cruel to kill, I was too, fond of getting killed

Recent developments in ME are mind boggling. Autocratic rulers of Arab World are busy in strengthening their crutches on which they have survived for so long. Their love for rule has put them on a dangerous course. The unholy alliance of prominent Arab countries with Israel is ominous for the Muslims. The most logical consequence of this bon-homie could be heightening of Shia-Sunni discord. Such an infighting among Muslims can only benefit the non-Muslims.

The tragic assassination of father of Iranian nuclear program Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh could be ominous and disastrous. It is bound to be seen as act of MOSSAD and complicity of KSA and/ or UAE. Taking a cue from Henry Kissinger, those who cannot hear drums of war in ME are deaf.

KSA has a very unique and important place in the Muslim world. It holds holiest places of Islam. A chaotic and disturbed KSA would hinder pilgrimage by Muslims. Such a consequence of actions of rulers of KSA will agonise and anguish all Muslims of the World. It’s dreadful to even contemplate such a consequence. UAE on the other hand is sitting in a house of glass. A small explosion will deflate economic bubble. One wishes and prays sense prevails sooner than later, however, wisdom is bound to come after suffering.

Big vs Great

copied

ماسٹر ٹائل گوجرانوالہ بمقابلہ جلال سنز لاھور ۔ انکے بچے رشتہ ازدواج سے منسلک ھوئے اور یہ مہندی رات کی کچھ تصاویر اور ویڈیوز ھیں ۔ مبینہ طور ڈیکوریشن کا ٹھیکہ سولہ کڑور میں طے ھوا

Now a days news of ostentatious and extravagant wedding ceremony of scions of Master tiles and Jalal Sons is doing rounds on social media. Every one has sole right over his wealth and can do any thing that pleases him. However, here comes the difference between The Big and The Great. The big thinks for himself, the great thinks for others. The big is complexed the great is not complexed. The big is imbalanced in attitudes while the great is balanced. The big is pleased by show off and receiving, the great is pleased by humbleness and giving. Big follow conventional behaviour the great breaks conventions.

This wedding and many like this are utter display of our desire to show off and our propensity to being big but not great. This wealth or portion there of could have taken care of oven, roof or basic needs of many of the poor of our society. Such charitable actions are visible in other religions where as less common amongst Muslims.

Most of the charity hospitals in Pakistan were either built by Christians or left behind by Hindus. One prayers we develop and nurture such spirit.

21st Century Neo-Geopolitics in SA

SA has repeatedly suffered from episodes of conflict. It played key role in 19th, 20th and 21st century rivalries of giants. Besides intra-region animosities, every now and then there are super powers walking in the region. Consequently, SA remains least integrated, most impoverished and conflict prone region of the world.

Once again the future conflict is knocking at doors of SA. US is bent upon containing and restraining the rise of China. India enthusiastically has jumped the bandwagon. It’s important to see what has really changed in new matrix. While main antagonist ie US stays same, threat has shifted from Russia to China. In order to counter the new found threat, the US has replaced Pakistan with India as a conduit.

In the past Pakistan had to do fighting part for the US. In the 20th century fight between the US and USSR, Pakistan helped the US in its victory though later it felt betrayed. In the 21st century fight between the US and Terrorism, Pakistan suffered the most and there is a stalemate.

21st century Sino-US rivalry looks more menacing and terrifying because it’s based on threat to status of sole superpower which is agitated, frustrated, reactive and arrogant. It is led by a mercurial leader. Besides that within India which has been boorish, overbearing and condescending with its neighbours, Hindu fascism is rising. One one hand the US is ambitious in retaining its global hegemony, on the other hand India is craving for Akhand Basharat. It’s a deadly mix. Another change from past may be that Islamic extremists are being now replaced by Hindu extremists.

US having won the 20th century rivalry has stalemated the 21st century rivalry in Afghanistan. Future rivalry with China may turn out to be final blow for the US. This may be do or die situation for the US. People of SA must rally to stop another play of geopolitics in their region. The region has already suffered a lot due to prolonged conflict and it is craving for growth and development.

Is US Dooming?

Rise and fall of empires has been a hallmark of human history. The US as a modern day empire has ruled the world. It’s ascend started after WW1, rapidly rose after WW2 and peaked after end of Cold War. Unchallenged supremacy of the US spanned over last decade of 20th century.

With the advent of 21st century, challenges for the US started looming large. The very first year of 3rd Millennial, it faced humiliation through 9/11 as its Supremacy was challenged by the ragtag terrorists.

The West led by the US ruled the World through domination in three domains ie Technology, Economy and Control of flow of Information. The might of the US in all domains began to be challenged by other players. China emerged as the biggest challenger of the US might. Rise of China brought to fore the basic question ie Is US facing a downfall? China came to be known as waxing power where as the US as waning power. The rise of one power and downfall of the other remains dynamic and each day there are related developments.

Along with the projected change of global super power, also came projections of rise of Asia in 21st century, shifting of power from West to East and loss of hegemony of the dollar as a global currency.

As regards tipping point of the power shift from the US to China is concerned, various scholars have been predicting varying time frames. These estimates of time period range between 12-15 years to 3-4 decades. Logically speaking the US should attempt to retard the rise of challenging power with the basic purpose of delaying its own downfall. That may be US’ wish but there are indicators that the US is rather hastening it’s downfall. It may be a design of the providence because policy makers in US are not expected to be foolish.

Besides material down fall, moral degeneration has been one of the serious causes of demise of empires. It’s the moral degeneration of the US which is more serious and menacing than material degeneration. The process started with loss of writ of the US in global leadership. In 1991, the whole World stood by the US in war against Iraq, in 2001 half of the World was with the US, in 2018, on issue of shifting of US embassy to Jerusalem none was standing with the US. Seeing this outcome, the US instead of course correction resorted to browbeating the opponents.

President Trump’s coming to power has exposed moral ascendency of the US. Global leadership came to be exercised through coercion. A businessman came to rule the US and conflict of interest came to surface in its governance. Daughter of the POTUS running an office in White House is third worldly attribute and wasn’t expected from sole superpower. Neither was expected that the US will become a police state. The way super power has been humbled by the tiniest organ of COVID laid bare the true potential of the its power potential. The way racial riots played out and the way these were handled speaks a lot of moral degeneration of the society. A third World leader might claim that if he goes down, economy of the country will crumble, but same coming from President Trump was mind boggling. The unethical dimension of the pre-election debate has also been unprecedented.

Latest outrage of the President that he will not quit if he looses elections may serve as unprecedented catalyst for down fall of the empire. Civil war is being predicted in the US. While the US managed to evade a civil war in racial riots but simmering currents of the same might ignite flames of civil war in case President Trump walks his talk.

Indeed rivals of the US must be on cloud nine. Fall to a rise is also preordained but sudden fall of the US will not be in the interest of the World and more so that of people of America. It is hoped and prayed that sanity prevails in the US and third worldly tactics and petty politics do not come to haunt a super power.

BECA: Blessing Endamaged by Cursed Agreement

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN27C0OF

Signing of Indo-US agreement of BECA is a key development in the region. It is being viewed with concern by a few and as a milestone achievement of India by the rest. Indeed it emboldens India but it may be fallacious. Three global transitions are well accepted. Firstly, future is Asian; secondly, power is shifting from West to East and thirdly, China is waxing power while the US is a waning power. Seen in view of our region it is also a fact that while the US is a distant power; China is India’s neighbour.

In earlier play of geopolitics in the region, Pakistan repeatedly came to centre stage of rivalry of giants. Both of the times, Pakistan was made to play fighting role for the US. Pakistan suffered terribly for this dirty bidding for the US. While Pakistan suffered India had a hey-day. This time round, in the ongoing rivalry of the US and China while India is visibly doing fighting part for the US, Pakistan will get an opportunity for growth and development.

In 2018 at RUSI London, in a conversation with DA of India, I cautioned him that I saw India on route to fighting and I also urged him that in greater interest of the region, India should desist from doing that. He challenged my view and I explained to him by projecting the future rivalry in Indian Ocean. Things are unfolding much earlier than I had anticipated. With conflict at Ladakh still simmering, India is treading on a dangerous path. Dangerous for the region and even more menacing for itself.

US has been a very self-centred power. They once left Pakistan high and dry after winning Cold War. They will this time abandon India in similar fashion after losing rivalry with China. By then India would have been fleeced of its money for buying expensive US war equipment and will be left to the mercy of neighbouring giant ie China. It is preordained and it is a writing on the wall.

In an arms race vs Pakistan, India had an edge. In arms race vs China India will be at disadvantage. Given the present state of Indian economy where it is being termed as sick economy of the region, arms race will further aggravate Indian economic woes.

All along in its history India has been ruthless to rest of the states in the region. It has been overbearing, boorish and condescending with its smaller neighbours. As South Asia is transiting from India-centric to China-centric, smaller neighbours of India are getting emboldened and they have started to challenge India. There will be a time once India will be nibbled by its neighbours who remained oppressed by it.

India present leadership is eying at short term gains while being oblivious to long term impact.

Missing the Wood for the Trees

https://sammilogger.blog/2020/02/24/our-contradictions/

It’s extremely ironic that heinous crimes are not abating in our utterly Islamic society. It’s equally ironic that powers to be remain unmoved. Every time we cry hoarse on these disdainful incidents but do nothing to avoid recurrence. Legislators are shying away from legislation, judiciary is shying away from meting justice and teachers are shying away from converting animals into humans.

I have always been so much critical of our societal decay that sometimes I feel guilty of being over critical. However, ashamedly no sooner than later my intellect boils down to critiquing. I have written numerous blogs not to find faults with the society but to serve to create awareness. My above cited blog is on our contradictions. Unless we resolve or get these contradictions resolved we are not likely to find solutions.

Another aspect is equally ironic that every time in our ensuing debates we miss the wood for the trees. Essence of the issue takes a back seat and we grapple with subsidiary issues. Issues like how was she dressed, what did CCPO say, why she didn’t check the fuel etc etc are thrashed to the hilt. Both at macro and micro level visibly the focus remains flawed.

Justice should be our slogan. For a while we should forget about what’s happening outside Pakistan and we should focus on what is happening inside Pakistan. Our inner decay and disorder is more menacing than our external issues. Once house is in order external issues will fall in their place. More worrying than what’s happening to us, is the way society is reacting. Tweets, slogans, fiery speeches will not serve the purpose. Actions speak louder than words.

Hyper Imagination

Is China Investing in Iran After Losing Hope with CPEC?
Oct 29 , 2019
Anan Aamir https://www.chinausfocus.com/finance-economy/is-china-investing-in-iran-after-losing-hope-with-cpec

Came across this bizarre and disturbing assessment. Restraining forces which are bent upon scuttling CPEC are doing thier utmost to throw-up wonky narratives. The author seems to have very little knowledge about ground realities. Being imaginative is good but imaginations ought to be confined within bounds of irrefutable realities. A hyper imaginative mind may one day conclude that since weather is not harsh it may be raining on the Sun.

CPEC is a reality and Daniel Markey has said, “CPEC cannot fail – that is a political and diplomatic impossibility”. Undoubtedly, China has its ambitions and it needs certain allies for that. Pakistan, Iran, India and Afghanistan can fill these slots. However, each country has a peculiar set of advantages and limitations. These are based on geography, historical relationship with China, topography and demography. Based on these ground realities a particular country has a peculiar relevance for China. In all these aspects Pakistan is irreplaceable unless we decide to quit and China has no option but to choose the lesser evil. No port in the World has cargo handling capacity equivalent to Gawadar. Chabahar’s capacity is 20 times less than that of Gawadar. No country has been historical ally of China. Even if we imagine that Iran can replace Pakistan how will Iran be accessed by China? How will secure passage be ensured through Afghanistan which is still in control of US and India.

Karakorum Highway KKH has a relevance for CPEC. I call it as a prelude of CPEC. Will China dump this legacy of KKH and already built port of Gwadar and start a fresh for a new corridor.

For any change like BRI and CPEC, there are enabling and restraining forces. Enabling forces work for the change to occur while restraining forces strive for the change not to take place. It is incumbent upon enabling forces to reduce, curtail and mitigate potential of restraining forces. Because, if they gain greater potential than the enabling forces the change will no more be possible. Visibly, so far the US and India are on the lead of restraining forces. India had been wooing Iran and had even succeeded to get it on board. If Gwadar formed a pearl in Chinese strategy of String of Pearls, Chahbahar was supposed to be a diamond in Indian strategy of Necklace of Diamonds. China through huge investments in Iran is attempting to wean Iran away from restraining forces and in particular India. It is basically meant to curtail potential of restraining forces and secure CPEC.

Ladakh episode as well as agreements with Iran are China’s bidding to mitigate potential of restraining forces and secure CPEC.

If we follow anology of the author then we can even conclude that China is investing in Bangaldesh and Myanmar becuase China is no more interested in CPEC. I shall rather like to draw another analogy and put the worthy author in company of Modi and Trump based on this joke:

Narendra Modi announced in a news conference that India would be sending a man to the sun within ten years!

A reporter said – “But the sun is very hot. How can your man land on the sun?”

There was a stunned silence. Nobody knew how to react.

Then Narendra Modi quietly answered “We will land at night”.

The entire audience broke out in thunderous applause !

Back in the White House, Donald Trump and his entourage were watching the news conference on TV.

When Trump heard what Modi had said, he sneered – “What an idiot. There is no sun at night time !”

Now, his cabinet broke up in thunderous applause !!

Hail CPEC. Pakistan Ziandabad. Pak-Cheen Dosti Zindabad.

Hail CPEC

https://flip.it/_bif6T

CPEC is a sine-qua-non for BRI as well as rise of China. Its significance has been amply highlighted through chrestinging it as Linchpin, Flagship, Game-changer, Early Harvest and Pivotal project of BRI. Its importance for China, Pakistan and the region is getting vindicated through fast unfolding Chinese actions.

Kurt Lewin model of change assumes that for any change there will be ENABLING forces and RESTRAINING forces. The former will seek the change to occur while the later will try to scuttle it. The lines are already drawn. It is incumbent upon enabling forces to mitigate potential of restraining forces so that change can take place uncontested. In my view China is doing bidding for Pakistan too, by mitigating potential of possible restraining forces for CPEC. Ladakh and now roping-in of Iran are meant to keep India at bay. I always held a thought that Iranian stakes must be integrated into CPEC because owing to its proximity, Iran is the only country which can create security problems in Gwadar. Visibly India was collaborating with Iran to the same end. Iran being estranged with the US is a blessing in disguise for enabling forces. Else, US would have roped-in Iran to create trouble in Gawadar which is critical for the whole system of rise of China.

Around half a trillion dollar Chinese  projects in Iran and now elbowing out of India from Chahbahar related 628 km long Chabahar-Zahedan railway line are meant to mitigate restraining forces to CPEC.

All these developments signify importance of CPEC for China which will equally augur well for future security of Pakistan as well as economic interdependence of the least integrated and conflict prone Region of SA.

Tables Turning on India

In mid of 2018, I was visiting UK where I delivered a talk at Oxford University and also at Royal United Strategic Institute RUSI (oldest think tank of UK). The talks were on CPEC. At RUSI, Indian Defence Attache (an Army Brigadier) was sitting across the table. Towards end of discussion, I tried to leave a message for India. Addressing the Brigadier, I said that, in greater interest of the region, India should join CPEC, as region was craving for growth and development after prolonged conflict. I also said to him, that for many decades Pakistan had stayed on the course of fighting and cautioned him that in my assessment now India was getting on to that track. He looked at me with utter amazement and questioned me, how could I say that? I explained to him that the way India was toeing line with the US and the way battle for ports was going on in IOR between China and India, portended hostilities. I told him there were over five countries in IOR whose one port was with China and second with India. Rivalry in IOR between China and India could any time turn into hostility.

Now; that was the story of the past. Right now we were witnessing manifestation of my projections. A shallow leader in India felt flabbergasted with support of the US. He felt it to be the right time to flex his muscles. He created a challenge for Pakistan and China in Kashmir by abrogating Article 370. Apparently, an end in itself was actually a step towards endangering CPEC. Modi did bite more than he could chew. CPEC was more critical for China than even Pakistan. A threat to CPEC, China could never afford. Scuttling of CPEC infact meant endangering BRI and future ambitions of China.

Indian actions had to invoke response. China responded beyond expectations. Even for Pakistan, Modi’s actions were beyond tolerance, however, our vulnerabilities kept us at bay. Though we were clenching our teeth vociferously. Stand off at Ladkha in quick succession of the one in 2017 at Doklam has shaken India. India should now be looking towards its master the US. But alas! the master was engrossed in it’s own troubles.

China through its actions has attained a position of advantage and has effectively created a deterrence against future Indian misadventures. Though, this instability doesn’t augur well for the region but this storm will ensure future stability of the region. Because evil of Modi had to be nipped in the bud. In Feb 19, Pakistan did its bit to show India its place now again it was due from China. China has done it so well and so effectively that India for sure will rest in peace for at least a decade. That’s the critical time for CPEC to take foundations – unhindered and without trouble.

The future holds great promises for Pakistan, China and the region.